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Old 10-23-2008, 09:13 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,841 posts, read 51,286,023 times
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"1)We live where cost of living is high. Milk is 4.20 now but I usually get it
at the warehouse stores and freeze a dozen gallons. "

Dried milk is FAR better now than when I was growing up. Mix some up and cut it into fresh milk on a 50%/50% basis. If you keep the packages hidden, I doubt anyone will notice. After a few weeks, increase the percentage of dried milk.

The absolute key to power shopping is to know the average price for items, and keep enough stock so that you can pass on overpriced items for a few weeks. Produce is the worst offender, and you'll see trends in various stores. In south Florida, I could go to a 99 cent store and get a package of mushrooms for 99 cents. I could go to Publix and pay $2 for the same size, or I could go to Whole Foods and pay $3.

If you are serious, you will want to make a price book. Just enter the items and prices from your shopping receipts into a spreadsheet, and fill in the blanks by hand when you shop at different stores.

You'll find that stores will sometimes double the price of an item for a while, in a reverse "sale". Sometimes that higher price works out to more profit and acceptable quantities sold, and the price sticks. Around here, in an agricultural area, fresh corn is commonly a dollar an ear at the stores. Tomatoes got so high (close to $4/lb.) that I not only boycotted them, but planted a dozen (better tasting) plants and have them frozen for when I want them. I no longer worry about salmonella for Mexico.

Some foods are incredibly easy to grow. Seeds for sprouting are cheap, leaf lettuce can be grown on windowsills and harvested as baby lettuce, etc..

Then there is the whole concept of "putting food by." Our freezer is stuffed full of garden produce from this summer. I canned the pears from our pear tree. Got the canner for $10 at a flea market, bought the jars for less than $1 per jar and lid. Those will last for years, and now I can have pears without added sugar, and avoid the $1.50/lb canned pears from China.

You don't have to have a garden to can or freeze in quantity. Look for the sales of produce. If you see cheap green beans or squash or whatever, buy it up. Use ziplock sandwich bags from a dollar store to freeze portion sized quantities. Cook up a couple of whole chickens (on sale) and strip off the meat and store it the same way. The stock broth will keep for months in the refrigerator. When you find a sale on ground beef, buy a lot, form it into hamburger patties, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and freeze.

By having various items all ready to heat or quickly cook, you can have the equivalent of a mix and match tv dinner. Toss a package of those blanched green beans in some water, microwave a portion of chicken or thaw and fry a hamburger, toss on some rice or nuke a potato, and in ten minutes you can have a full meal. I can fix a 1/4 lb lunch hamburger sandwich in five minutes or less at a total cost of about 60 cents.

Homemade pizza can also be made and frozen. DW mixes up the pizza dough in the bread machine, and we make two or three pizzas (using our own tomatoes and other veggies), cook, cut into portions and freeze. The cost is minimal. We can do two big pizzas to our tastes for about $3. By using whole wheat flour and grapeseed oil, it is healthier than what the stores offer.

Chickpea hummus is easy and cheap. Homemade yogurt is far cheaper than store bought.

Sometimes I think I should write a book.
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Old 10-23-2008, 09:55 AM
 
5,092 posts, read 9,600,213 times
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Kelly - maybe a mindset shift, too?

From being a consumer/buyer . . . to . . . . becoming a producer?

Pretty hard to get much healthier than your own garden.
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Old 10-23-2008, 10:15 AM
 
Location: Colorado Plateau
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My favorite frugality book is The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. Check it out at the library. Lots of great ideas for eating well for less.

One of the other forums I frequent is frugalvillage.com, click on Forums. Lots of great posts there on cutting your budget and living well on less.
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Old 10-23-2008, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Colorado Plateau
1,133 posts, read 3,176,021 times
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Like harry chickpea is saying, make your own "convenience foods."

I recently cooked up about 6 gallons of vegetable chili. Most of it I put into the little 8 oz yogurt containers and put in the freezer, several dozen of them. They are perfect meal size, just microwave and eat. I also put some in qt size containers for larger meals.

(I have a lot of those small yogurt containers, some I have been reusing for over 5 years now!)

We also cook up spanish rice, pasta, brown rice, ratatoule (sp?),squash, etc and freeze in the small containers. Instant meals.
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:12 PM
 
7,695 posts, read 12,838,929 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michigansnowflake View Post
I spend 180-200 every 2 weeks grocery shoppping for a family of 4. DH gets paid every 2 weeks, so thats how/when I shop.

Really, 200 every 2 weeks is only 50 bucks per person. This includes pet food and paper goods and cleaning supplies too.

I hit the dollar store and get my dish soap and toilet bowl cleaner and other things. Same as the grocery store, but for a dollar.

Stock up when things are on sale, plan meals around the sale ads, make things from scratch and freeze leftovers for another meal.
I need to write down prices to figure out if store sales or warehouse prices are best. I do find and freeze meats when they are on sale.
Good idea about the dollar store.
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:15 PM
 
7,695 posts, read 12,838,929 times
Reputation: 9599
Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
"Dried milk is FAR better now than when I was growing up. Mix some up and cut it into fresh milk on a 50%/50% basis. If you keep the packages hidden, I doubt anyone will notice. After a few weeks, increase the percentage of dried milk.

.
I think you should write a book also!!!!
So many great ideas.
My mom used to do 1/2 powdered milk when I was growing up.
I really love the pizza idea!!
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:17 PM
 
7,695 posts, read 12,838,929 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip T View Post
Kelly - maybe a mindset shift, too?

From being a consumer/buyer . . . to . . . . becoming a producer?

Pretty hard to get much healthier than your own garden.
I think you are right.
I may just start with tomatoes and a few other things this year.
We are even considering a few chickens.
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:20 PM
 
7,695 posts, read 12,838,929 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eofelis View Post
Like harry chickpea is saying, make your own "convenience foods."

I recently cooked up about 6 gallons of vegetable chili. Most of it I put into the little 8 oz yogurt containers and put in the freezer, several dozen of them. They are perfect meal size, just microwave and eat. I also put some in qt size containers for larger meals.

(I have a lot of those small yogurt containers, some I have been reusing for over 5 years now!)

We also cook up spanish rice, pasta, brown rice, ratatoule (sp?),squash, etc and freeze in the small containers. Instant meals.
Big batches are a great idea. That is so hard to have small meals ready
for one person.
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Old 10-23-2008, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Some place very cold
5,500 posts, read 19,506,418 times
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I'm going to start with tomatoes next year. I'm going to start producing my own food.

I wonder if it's possible to grow tennis balls?
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:07 PM
 
3,460 posts, read 4,789,502 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woof Woof Woof! View Post
I wonder if it's possible to grow tennis balls?
It depends on your climate. Tennis ball trees grow a lot better in the tropics, but they can do ok in a greenhouse if you're further north.
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