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Old 07-20-2009, 01:32 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic east coast
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I plan my weekly shopping list from the super market flyers, what's on sale that week, mostly seasonal produce.

I cook everything from scratch including salad dressings. Except for cold cereals, but mostly I'll have oatmeal (from the large house brand Quick Oats cylinder). Or a one-egg scramble with a side of fresh fruit.

Staples include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, various beans in bags or cans, brown rice, lentils, barley, whole wheat pasta, buckwheat Japanese soba noodles, honey, mustard, vinegars, olive oil, cannola oil, tomato sauce and paste, and seasonings...local eggs. Tofu on occasion when I'm doing a stir fry.

Bread is usually corn tortillas or whole wheat bread...this winter, I'd like to bake more bread..trouble is, we eat it too fast...

I try to eat a big green salad every day using seasonal greens and other vegetables--or fruit. Top with some walnuts for extra essential fats...Otherwise I'll steam collards, Swiss chard or mustard greens and top with an olive oil, lemon juice and garlic dressing.

We drink soy milk and I stock up when its on sale...no soda's or canned fruit juices, I will make OJ when oranges are in season...mostly drink plain water with a bit of wine or beer on occasion.

When my body says, "Must eat meat," I'll buy some skinless chicken breasts or some thin, breakfast pork chops and use sparingly...use canned salmon and sardines once a week or so...love fresh fish and buy from locals when it's affordable...

Guess that's about it...I also frequent farmer's markets and produce stands when it's the season and grow a small garden, too--can't beat fresh, home-grown tomatoes or bell peppers...

Sometimes, dinner for us is a baked sweet potato and steamed and sauced Swiss chard or collards...sliced apples or fresh peaches for dessert. Whatever fruit's in season. Quite happy with that. Find it filling.

So that's our grocery list and pantry staples. Very few boxed or prepared foods. I do buy jars of salsa and condiments, though...
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Old 07-20-2009, 04:34 PM
 
Location: SoCal desert
8,095 posts, read 12,759,507 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by formercalifornian View Post
The really frugal shopper may have a cart filled with foods and other items that seem to make no sense, like bags upon bags of TP and lots of cans of tuna fish. The difference is that they have a stockpile at home of other foods also bought on sale at other times from which they can make meals.
You just described my spare bedroom/not a bedroom. Shelves of TP, paper towels, tuna, coffee, name brand soda bought at $1 a 6 pack, dry creamer, tea, tomato sauce & paste, clothes soap, tuna, green beans, mayo, cat food, etc etc etc.

The store manager just laughs at me now when they say "limit 4" of whatever ... I buy 4 and take it to my truck. And then march right back in to buy 4 more.

If something's NOT on sale ... I don't buy it. And I keep a price journal to help me remember prices. So when they advertise "Lowest price of the year", I can say, "Yeah, you had the exact same price last March. So lower it a dime or 2."

Hee
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Old 07-20-2009, 04:46 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,535 posts, read 29,278,439 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjohnson4381 View Post
In another thread, several people mentioned that they spend $150 or less per person on groceries. I don't understand. I'm making my weekly grocery list and I can't get it below $39 (for just one person). And it was a little bit painful to get it down to there. I'm including non-food items like shampoo and aspirin in that.

I guess I could get it lower if I ate Ramen noodles or pinto beans every day. Is that what you guys do? I want to have a somewhat small grocery bill and also eat healthy foods. Is that possible?
You're crazy if you reduce the quality of your food to cut expenses. Food is the most important thing you can possibly spend your money on, and you should be buying top quality items to feed yourself and your family.

Instead, try cutting back on non-essentials like cell phones, second cars, gym memberships, subscriptions - yes even INTERNET access. If things are so bad financially, that you would even consider reducing the quality/quantity of your food, then you need to reexamine your priorities, money wise.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:22 PM
 
26,589 posts, read 53,010,643 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 20yrsinBranson View Post
You're crazy if you reduce the quality of your food to cut expenses. Food is the most important thing you can possibly spend your money on, and you should be buying top quality items to feed yourself and your family.

Instead, try cutting back on non-essentials like cell phones, second cars, gym memberships, subscriptions - yes even INTERNET access. If things are so bad financially, that you would even consider reducing the quality/quantity of your food, then you need to reexamine your priorities, money wise.

20yrsinBranson
Go back and read my post on the first page of this thread and tell me I'm not eating VERY healthy food for $150 a month. Tonight I'm having sirloin beef kabobs for dinner. Steak at $4.29/lb. and peppers and tomatoes from my garden. Total cost for three adults is about $5. Eating inexpensively but healthy isn't that difficult if you put your mind to it.

BTW--Today my other meals were two packets of oatmeal with a sprinkle of cinnamon and tablespoon of raisins for breakfast (about $.50) and salad with cubed chicken breast for lunch (about $1.50). Snack was grapes which are in season, about $.50. Please tell me how any of that is unhealthy?
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:23 PM
 
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To be clear, I was not suggesting that you never plan a menu, but I think weekly menus based on a sales flyer is unnecessarily burdensome. Try thinking holistically about meal plans and grocery purchases. We all have meals that we enjoy on a regular basis, and, as such, we should always have our eyes peeled for savings on the ingredients for those meals. What do you like to eat?

My family enjoys turkey chili year round, so I buy canned beans and tomatoes in large quantities whenever they are on sale. Because we have a shoppers card for King Soopers, we often find coupons for our favorite brands in the mail and on the backs of our receipts. By stocking up when those items are least expensive, we have a ready supply all the time. If I waited until Friday, when I usually shop, to plan a menu including chili, I might find one of the items on sale, but I would probably pay full-price for the other ingredients, which limits my total savings. Much better to buy the items in turn whenever the savings is available and pack them away in the cabinet for meals later on in the month than to plan only one week at a time.

Quote:
Food is the most important thing you can possibly spend your money on, and you should be buying top quality items to feed yourself and your family.
I agree, but there is absolutely no reason to pay top dollar for something when a little planning will allow you to purchase the same item at a lower cost.

Last edited by formercalifornian; 07-20-2009 at 08:32 PM..
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Denver
682 posts, read 1,829,308 times
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I'm not a great cook, at least not from scratch. I'm always so busy I haven't taken the time out to learn. I can cook basic things like spaghetti, tacos and pizza. And I used to eat a lot of grilled salmon and chicken, but I think I might try to cut those out of my diet for awhile, since they cost a little bit more. So, I'm trying to use cheap ingredients that will make my meals as low-cal as possible. Basic ingredients are way cheaper than prepared foods, but the more you have to cook from scratch, the harder it gets to keep up with the calorie content.

Tonight, I tried to make some tuna spaghetti. I didn't follow the recipe exactly because I couldn't figure out how to convert a pint of plum tomatoes into ounces. So, I didn't use enough fresh tomatoes, and since it didn't look right to me, I added some canned tomatoes. Then, I cooked way too many noodles. But I figured that was okay, because I'd use the other noodles for something else tomorrow. And then the bottom of the pot of noodles got scorched. So I scraped the bottom layer out and threw it away. But now I have no idea how much of the package of noodles went into the food that I didn't throw away. And I ended up dividing the food into several portions to freeze, but I lost track of how much of what went into each container. Sheesh. Cooking is not fun. I think I'm going to consider another alternative. Pinto beans and ramen noodes don't look so bad now.

Last edited by mjohnson4381; 07-20-2009 at 09:00 PM..
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:47 AM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,535 posts, read 29,278,439 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
Go back and read my post on the first page of this thread and tell me I'm not eating VERY healthy food for $150 a month. Tonight I'm having sirloin beef kabobs for dinner. Steak at $4.29/lb. and peppers and tomatoes from my garden. Total cost for three adults is about $5. Eating inexpensively but healthy isn't that difficult if you put your mind to it.

BTW--Today my other meals were two packets of oatmeal with a sprinkle of cinnamon and tablespoon of raisins for breakfast (about $.50) and salad with cubed chicken breast for lunch (about $1.50). Snack was grapes which are in season, about $.50. Please tell me how any of that is unhealthy?
I'm not saying that you aren't eating healthy meals, however, at some point, if you continue to cut back, your quality will suffer. Because food is a large expenditure they always see to think that buying cheaper quality food is the answer to saving money.

You have to take into consideration also, that since you are eating out of your garden, which is GREAT, that unless you preserve some of that food, in the Winter your food costs will be higher. So, I would definitely be looking at canning, freezing, or dehydrating any extra produce now.

As for your oatmeal. You might want to take a good look at the ingredients. My guess is that there as some kind of non-caking ingredient and possibly also some preservatives involved. Better to make a trip to the natural food store and get some steel cut oats with no preservatives and eat it for breakfast. It tastes better than those rolled oats too! IMHO

20yrsinBranson
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Old 07-21-2009, 12:23 PM
 
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Steak at $4.29/lb.

I'm loving this move to Texas... everything that comes from a cow is cheap here.

I was used to paying $4-5/gal for milk and would stock up & freeze it when it went below $2.50. Here, it's $1.99 NOT on sale. Eggs are 99 cents for a dozen everywhere. I'd buy them ON SPECIAL for $1.89 in Colorado Springs.

Steak (for kabobs, stews, stir frys, etc) are easy to find here for $1.66/lb... the price of the meat in my freezer. Brisket went on sale last week for 99 cents a pound. Regular price for ground beef here (80/20) is $1.99-$2.39/lb vs $3.50/lb.

American cheese here (KRAFT!) is less than HALF the price it was in Colorado Springs.

Our grocery bill has been SLASHED. I'm so happy. I need a ***-dancing smilie!
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Old 07-21-2009, 12:31 PM
 
5,748 posts, read 10,513,337 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 20yrsinBranson View Post
As for your oatmeal. You might want to take a good look at the ingredients. My guess is that there as some kind of non-caking ingredient and possibly also some preservatives involved. Better to make a trip to the natural food store and get some steel cut oats with no preservatives and eat it for breakfast. It tastes better than those rolled oats too!
I favor oat bran, which is quicker to make. Just pour in hot water and stir.
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Old 07-21-2009, 12:49 PM
 
26,589 posts, read 53,010,643 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 20yrsinBranson View Post
I'm not saying that you aren't eating healthy meals, however, at some point, if you continue to cut back, your quality will suffer. Because food is a large expenditure they always see to think that buying cheaper quality food is the answer to saving money.

You have to take into consideration also, that since you are eating out of your garden, which is GREAT, that unless you preserve some of that food, in the Winter your food costs will be higher. So, I would definitely be looking at canning, freezing, or dehydrating any extra produce now.
Living in Florida I can grow many items year round, I jsut ahve to adjust for the various seasons. In the cooler months when growing peppers isn't possible I pick oranges off the trees in my neighbors yard (with their eprmission and invitation of course!). It all works out in the long run. I grow tomatoes year round.

Quote:
As for your oatmeal. You might want to take a good look at the ingredients. My guess is that there as some kind of non-caking ingredient and possibly also some preservatives involved. Better to make a trip to the natural food store and get some steel cut oats with no preservatives and eat it for breakfast. It tastes better than those rolled oats too! IMHO

20yrsinBranson
Frankly I'm not all that worried about it. Just as often I have eggs ($1 a dozen from a farm stand) with some diced tomatoes.
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