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Old 08-02-2009, 08:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetana3 View Post
I would say it is cheaper for me in the winter. We use baked potatoes with some simple toppings, frozen veggies, big pots of chili with lots of beans, and ohter things where we can use oven.

Summer brings the great farmer's markets with the fresh veggies for salads and lots of sweet corn and ripe tomatoes. We pay premium to buy off the truck here in town and love it.
We do hardly any meat or dairy in Summer, so that's how we save $$ this time of year. We do tons of fresh veggies & fruits, and lots of cold grain salad dishes like tabouleh or greek salad or pasta salads and that sort of thing during the summer. We do chicken but we buy it whole for less than $1 a pound and it lasts for days. In winter though, our spending goes up because we buy more meat and more dairy, which costs more $$. There's also the holidays, and we have lots of birthdays that time of year, too... holidays and birthdays mean bigger grocery bills for us. In summer, too, we've been trying to grow some of the vegetables the we use the most: tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, fresh herbs, peppers, broccoli, peas, leafy greens, green beans. Even though all we have is a sunny balcony, it's amazing what we're learning to grow in such a small space in containers. You can find little packets of seeds for around a dollar each (we found ours through a local grower at our farmer's market) and can grow so much with it! Saves you so much money. I can't wait to have a whole yard to grow things in. We're already talking about how, when we buy our first home, the first thing we're going to do is rip up the front and back lawns and plant FOOD instead.
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:19 PM
 
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My grocery list for the week:
-Chicken legs, back attached: $6.55 ($1.67/lb)
-12-pack of 1 litre wide-mouth mason jars (for storing bulk beans and grains): $12.74
-Blueberries: $8/4 lbs (on sale from $10)
-Broccoli: $1.57 ($1.50/lb)
-Carrots: $1.41 ($0.98/lb)
-Excel gum: $4.39/60 pieces
-Dozen large eggs: $2.69
-Red cabbage: $2.12 ($0.88/lb)
-Red potatoes: $2.30 ($0.98/lb)
-No-name block of cheddar cheese: $13 ($13/lb)
-Store-brand extra-virgin olive oil:$7.69/500 ml
My grocery store has a 15% off deal once a month on orders over $50, so the total was $52.15, including gst. It'll be enough for two adults for about a week. The menu for this week:
Dinners:
1) Lentil and vegetable curry with rice. Dessert: fresh blueberries.
2) Spicy cabbage and vegetable soup with homemade bagels. Dessert: rice pudding.
3) Chicken pot pie. Dessert: baked apples.
4) Chickpea hot pot. Dessert: homemade banana-oatmeal cookies (frozen leftovers from last week)
5) Vegetable stir fry with rice. Dessert: blueberry crumble.
6) Hearty sausage, bean, and vegetable soup with homemade bread. Dessert: leftover blueberry crumble.
7) Cheesy baked potatoes with steamed vegetables. Dessert: homemade banana-oatmeal cookies.
Breakfasts:
A choice of
1) yoghurt and granola with fruit
2) hot cereal with pieces of frozen fruit
3) pancakes with maple syrup
4) eggs
Lunches:
Either leftovers from the previous night's dinners, or a sandwich. I keep supplies of tuna, peanut butter and honey, and homemade hummus around for sandwiches.
Other:
-Cheesy dog biscuits
-Dog food
I try to stock up on bulk non-perishables like flour, rice, beans, canned tomatoes if they're cheap, as well as baking supplies (sugar, baking soda/baking powder, cocoa, oil, honey on sale) so that when I go shopping, I don't need to buy much more than vegetables to make up a meal. We rarely eat meat (well, the dog regularly eats meat. The two human family members aren't so lucky), but the chicken was on sale this week.
I think the only really expensive things on my average list are the pre-prepared curry paste (but I'm looking for a recipe to make my own) and real maple syrup. I can't stand corn-syrup pancake syrups, so I'm willing to pay more for that one item.
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Old 08-05-2009, 06:53 PM
 
Location: SoCal desert
8,095 posts, read 12,740,520 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krytes View Post
-No-name block of cheddar cheese: $13 ($13/lb)
I hope that is a typo? Or does cheese actually cost that much in Canada? (I'm assuming Canada, with the comment about 'gst') That's $12.15 US!

Lordy! I feel for you!
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:37 AM
 
Location: Moku Nui, Hawaii
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You got the right idea, Haggard House Elf! Our yard is mostly edibles even though it looks like regular sorts of landscape foliage. We eat yard and gulch food more than grocery store food.

This week is the start of avocado season. Found four of them under a tree in the gulch yesterday and these are the big red smooth skinned avocados so there's about three or four cups of avocado on each one of them. I've already swapped one for some tomatoes with one of my neighbors, gave another one away, ate one and there's still one left as well as probably more under the tree tomorrow. Avocados don't freeze well, but guacamole can be frozen. Not quite as good as fresh, but when there's no avos around, it will do.

There are five hens and one rooster in the back yard. He doesn't crow real loud which is why we kept that particular rooster. I put the extra eggs into an incubator and hatch them out. The chicks are sold for $5 each with a "rooster return" policy. I can't tell the gender of the chicks so they just all get sold. If they turn into a rooster, the folks can bring him back when he crows and I'll refund their money. Basically, they are letting me use their $5 for about six months, feeding up a rooster to eating size and then giving him to me. I give them their money back, but it was something they gave me in the first place. This basically gives us free roosters to eat. They are free range backyard type of roosters and very tasty.

There are vegetables in the garden, fruit trees along the sides of the yard, chickens and eggs, honey from the bees hiding in the back of the garden. Sweet potatoes grow well in our area so we've been growing those. Coffee, tea and bananas are also from the back yard, but I don't think those would be an option for everyone to grow.

We get bulk stuff from a food co-op. Fifty pound bags of stuff like demara sugar, rolled oats, hard red winter wheat (for grinding into bread flour), 3 gallons of oil at a time, etc. It comes out really cheap overall when one doesn't have to pay for packaging and handling to make it into serving sizes. We do buy some yeast in three pound bags, but there is also sour dough if we didn't want to spend any money on yeast.

Our neighbors give us the occasional feral pig which they catch in a trap. There is generally frozen pork in the freezer.

There are some of our neighbors who shop even less than we do. It's kind of a bit of a competition to see who can shop the least around here. Kinda refreshing after the crazy years between 2001 and 2005.
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotzcatz View Post
If they turn into a rooster, the folks can bring him back when he crows and I'll refund their money. Basically, they are letting me use their $5 for about six months, feeding up a rooster to eating size and then giving him to me. I give them their money back, but it was something they gave me in the first place. This basically gives us free roosters to eat. They are free range backyard type of roosters and very tasty.
I find it interesting that your buyers don't think to slaughter & eat the roosters themselves.
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mistoftime View Post
We don't buy anything that is pre-prepared, no mixes or ready to eat products. most of our food is made from scratch and contains mostly food that we grow and put away. Our average food bill is about 150.00 per month for three of us. I know everyone can't do what we do, but thats how we cut food cost and have better quality food for our family.

Hi Mistoftime,

Amazing how Ramen noodles taste compared to fresh pasta. Eggs and flour are cheap and the difference is between gourmet and a rather desperate edible. I have bread mix, pasta mix, pancake mix etc. because I already have flour, eggs milk, and butter.
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haggardhouseelf View Post
We do hardly any meat or dairy in Summer, so that's how we save $$ this time of year. We do tons of fresh veggies & fruits, and lots of cold grain salad dishes like tabouleh or greek salad or pasta salads and that sort of thing during the summer. We do chicken but we buy it whole for less than $1 a pound and it lasts for days. In winter though, our spending goes up because we buy more meat and more dairy, which costs more $$. There's also the holidays, and we have lots of birthdays that time of year, too... holidays and birthdays mean bigger grocery bills for us. In summer, too, we've been trying to grow some of the vegetables the we use the most: tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, fresh herbs, peppers, broccoli, peas, leafy greens, green beans. Even though all we have is a sunny balcony, it's amazing what we're learning to grow in such a small space in containers. You can find little packets of seeds for around a dollar each (we found ours through a local grower at our farmer's market) and can grow so much with it! Saves you so much money. I can't wait to have a whole yard to grow things in. We're already talking about how, when we buy our first home, the first thing we're going to do is rip up the front and back lawns and plant FOOD instead.

Hi haggardhouseelf,

The font yard is where I get the best sun. It does not even have to look bad with alpine strawberries, bambino egg plants, runner beans and other fantastic looking edibles. Also the same here with meat. I find myself eating the fresh summer vegetables much more.
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Old 08-28-2009, 11:18 AM
 
Location: New Jersey
4,085 posts, read 7,447,401 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?
Like most others, I don't go do a weekly shopping. I try to keep stocked on food and that saves me money. Less trips to the store (usually), and buying in bulk lets me take advantage of lower prices, less packaging (and therefore less garbage) and when there are sales on staple foods I stock up.

2 things I have that help me shop this way: a freezer (separate from the one on my fridge) and a pantry, which is actually a metal office cabinet (which I got free from someone who posted it on craigslist). The freezer obviously is for freezing perishables, but the pantry is more for quantity control; without it, I'd overbuy canned items and other staples.

I also make a lot of my own things as opposed to buying prepared items like frozen dinners or any prepared or processed foods.

I shop at a supermarket which has high value for the $, and for produce I go to farm and produce stores. I also go to ethnic grocers for inexpensive bulk ingredients like rice, bulghur wheat, beans, split peas/lentils, spices, and ethnic specialties. I even get sushi ingredients and make my own!

At the supermarket, I wait for sales on canned items, cereal, and meat and coldcuts which I freeze. I usually buy large meat packages and then immediately cut and clean it, then wrap them well in smaller portions so that I can freeze them and later pull out only a little at a time to thaw. Coldcuts are the same - I freeze them and then pull them out as I need them.

I reuse ziploc bags - I turn them inside out and wash them in a bowl of soapy water, then rinse, then let them air dry. I do the same with the plastic bags I get vegetables and fruits in. The goal here is to reuse them a few times, not forever. After a few uses when they get a little worn I toss them, but I must go through less than 1/4 what I used to go through, and I use much less plastic wrap and tin foil than I used to.

In the same vein, I use old containers like jars and plastic containers like those for ricotta cheese, sour cream, chinese take-out, etc. as my own kind of tupperware. Again, when they get worn or old I can toss them. I wash and reuse plastic forks and spoons and knives, also. I do also use those disposable "glad ware" type containers. If I take something out of the house, like taking lunch to work or a snack or meal for a picnic, I don't have to worry if I lose these items; I try to save them, but if the situation makes it hard or impossible, I can toss them. Unlike most people, I'm only throwing these kinds of things out one in ten times (if that), whereas most people throw those things out every time.

For coffee I have an insulated travel mug for my first cup of the day (which I don't always have anyway, I'm not a real huge coffee drinker). For water, I got a couple of those aluminum water bottles as a freebie from TripAdvisor.com, and I use those for water when I go out. I try to find water fountains to refill the bottle when I'm out; if worse comes to worse, I WILL buy a bottle of water, but I've found that I can avoid that 90% of the time by carrying this aluminum bottle around.

It's interesting, but when I started to look at how much waste was in my life - mostly packaging and "disposable" items - and tried to cut back on the waste, I found myself saving lots of money because I was reusing things most people throw out and I was buying in bulk so I'd have less packaging to throw out. Temporary packaging like ziploc and plastic bags can be reused, so it is much cheaper and environmentally friendly in the long run - I'm sure I reduce waste and money spent by well over 1/2 by doing this. You don't have to really care about the environment or be a "tree-hugger" to do this; think of eliminating waste as a benefit for yourself, in that you save yourself money and the effort it takes to shop for this stuff.

Americans waste so much time and money on what they perceive as "convenience" and they create so much waste and garbage in the process. The large amounts of waste not only pollute our environment, but that pollution ends up costing ALL of us; it costs us quality of life and cold hard cash. It's indirect, so people don't realize it, but it's a very real hit on our pocketbooks in the end.

Also, I use, whenever possible and effective, simple "homemade" cleaning items and solutions. It's cheaper, safer, and just as effective for me to use baking soda, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, etc. for cleaning. Why use bleach and chemicals that cost more? IF a situation calls for a stronger solution, I'll go with it, but it costs pennies to try vinegar or something similar first, and if that works, I've saved money and kept chemicals out.

And, for produce, I bought some of those "Green Bags" to see if they'd work, and they really do. So, now I only have to get produce once every couple of weeks (or longer). I won't buy fresh produce just to freeze it; it has to remain fresh or else I'd just buy it frozen to begin with. The green bags do well, and refrigeration helps. Also, you learn tricks; these fruits and veggies give off ethylene gas which causes ripening. The "green bags" remove that gas so ripening is slowed down. I buy some things that are not quite ripe - bananas, avocados, etc. and keep them in the green bags, but when I want to ripen one up, I put it in a REGULAR plastic bag with a piece of ripe fruit (that is giving off ethylene gas) or white bread and this ripens the fruit quickly. This is what your supermarket does anyway - they get in green, unripe bananas, keep them in back, and as they need to put out ripe, yellow bananas to sell, they "gas" a bunch of them to instantly "ripen" them (to get the ripening process going).

All these things I do require very little extra effort. In fact, I save more time in the long run, I think. It SEEMS like a lot of extra effort at first because you have to rethink your strategy for buying food and storing/rotating it, but once you get used to it (the way you're used to your current food-buying habits) you realize it's not more work, it's just a different way of doing it. The difficulty isn't in any "extra" work but in doing it differently.

And, the one thing that might require extra work at first is that you need to learn to cook to make this all work. But that's not hard at all; it takes some time and as you do it more it becomes second nature. I can whip up delicious homemade meals in well under 30 minutes. I often cook up a large amount of food and freeze individual portions of the leftover for future use. Lasagne, for example - I make a whole tray, which is easy, I enjoy a couple squares of lasagne fresh, then I freeze each of the remaining squares. When I need a quick, easy meal I just microwave a square or two - it is cheaper, easier, and BETTER than store-bought frozen lasagne, and with less packaging waste (none, because I store it in reusable tupperware-type containers).

I hope, for YOUR sake, that you explore options to do things differently and save money. It might actually cost MORE at first to buy large quantities of bulk items, and it will take more time and effort to learn new ways of doing things, but if you do this for several months you will very, very clearly see the benefit. Your mindset will change, too. I can't stand to see some of my friends and their wives take a sandwich or grapes or whatevere out of a ziploc bag and then just toss it out, a perfectly good and reusable bag. But I wasn't always like this, I used to toss things out like that also.
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Old 09-05-2009, 06:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lisdol View Post
Not the poster, but I have found the cheapest prices on meat to be at the regular grocery store when they put them on sale as loss leaders.

Our boneless skinless chkn breasts get as low as $1.89/lb and as high as over $3/lb. I buy a ton when they are at the $1.89.

Costco, WM, many times even the commisssary(the military grocery store) cannot touch the loss leader prices.
Where do you live? Here in SE Michigan, I have not seen regular boneless, skinless chix breast for less than $3.50/lb. The Amish breasts (no hormones) are $5.50/lb, which is off the charts. Occasionally, there are sales on chix, but only down to $1.89/lb for cut up whole chickens with all the skin and bones. No food deals here in Krogers, Meijers or Buschs, unless you call over $3.00/lb for skinless boneless chix a deal. I don't.
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Old 09-05-2009, 08:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by xz2y View Post
Where do you live? Here in SE Michigan, I have not seen regular boneless, skinless chix breast for less than $3.50/lb. The Amish breasts (no hormones) are $5.50/lb, which is off the charts. Occasionally, there are sales on chix, but only down to $1.89/lb for cut up whole chickens with all the skin and bones. No food deals here in Krogers, Meijers or Buschs, unless you call over $3.00/lb for skinless boneless chix a deal. I don't.
There are a lot of other stores in SE Michigan where you can do better than the large chains - Eastern Market, Spartan stores, etc.

Personally, I never found the prices in that area to be high and was in general cheaper than Cleveland.
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