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Old 11-19-2008, 10:21 AM
 
Location: N. TX / S. OK
39 posts, read 77,095 times
Reputation: 35

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According to government figures, I'm below the poverty line, but I buy +90% organic. I do so very cheaply. This will take quite a bit of explaining.

Most of my foods come from 3 sources: supermarket, local organic buying club, and amazon.com Perishables of course only come from supermarket or buying club.

(Just a note, almost everyone is near a buying club, and most people don't even know it. You have to do some extensive searching online. I'm very rural, surrounded by cattle and wheat fields, but I found one very close to me. During the process of searching, I discovered they are EVERYWHERE).

I closely watch prices at all 3 sources, and get whichever is cheapest at a given source.

My flour, cornmeal, rice, oatmeal, dry beans, and similar items are through the buying club, because I can get those CHEAP in 25# and 50# bags (certified organic!). When you figure the cost per pound, I get the organic, whole grain varieties cheaper that way than buying non-organic in the supermarket. For example, my certified organic oatmeal is about 2/3 the price per pound of the generic oatmeal in the supermarket that you get in the round cans. No kidding!

Don't let the bag sizes scare you (though you can get smaller 5# and 10# bags through the buying clubs). If you cook from scratch for a family, those bags get used up FAST.

As for Amazon.com, I watch the organic grocery sales very closely. They don't always have anything I can use, but sometimes have tons of stuff. By being careful to "work the system", I can save 50% to 70% off the supermarket prices.

Each month Amazon has different items on sale, and different terms. Sometimes it might be $10 off a $25 order, or something else entirely. Since you get free shipping for orders over $25, you have to take that into account. I'll combine sale items with non-sale items to make the $25, or combine 2 sets of sale items that have different deals. That was clear as mud, let me explain better.

Let's say they have one group of items that are $10 off $25. A different group of items is $15 off $35. I'll make 2 separate lists, combine a group of $25 sale items with a group of the $35 sale items so that my order after the discount will total over $25 (to get the free shipping), then put both sale codes in so that I get a $10 discount and a $15 discount and the free shipping all on the same small order.

Then take your next 2 groups of sale items and again get the $10 discount and the $15 discount and the free shipping on that group (or combine sale with non-sale items to get the $25 minimum. I "save up" the items I buy regularly so I can use them for this purpose).

What you are doing is making multiple small orders so you can use the coupon codes over and over. That way you are getting, say, $25 off each of several small orders (free shipping for each one), instead of $25 off only once on one large order.

Is that clear?

For the supermarket, I check sales and markdown baskets. I also use my organic coupons that I get from magazines, websites, and so on, and combine them with the sales. I go to all the organic manufacturers websites regularly and sign up and I get LOTS of printable coupons, as well as coupons in the mail.

If you have dollar stores and salvage food stores, keep an eye out on them. I have gotten cases of organic goods at the Dollar Tree for a fraction of the normal retail price. Unfortunately our local salvage food store closed down year before last, but until then, I got tons of organic stuff there for pennies on the dollar. It was mostly NOT expired stuff. It was discontinued items, and items with damaged packaging.

I should mention I cook everything from scratch in bulk (and freeze). Sounds scary if you're not used to it, but once you get in the routine, it takes no more time, even LESS time, than cooking a meal of convenience foods every night. I posted here how I do my bulk cooking: totallyher.com/forum/showthread.php?p=15918#post15918

If anyone else has money-saving tips to pass on, please do so.
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Old 11-20-2008, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
746 posts, read 1,943,402 times
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You have some interesting methods here. I buy quite a bit of things at a local bulk food store. Most of what they carry is organic and the prices and quality are better than what you can find at the supermarket. Packaging is done at the store and is very basic and utilitary, so you aren't paying for fancy labels. I can also find hard to find items like whole or steel cut oats, various grains and beans. I save a lot of money when I buy things there. They have good spices too.

As for saving money on groceries, here is a link to another thread which has many good tips.
Coupon Mom on Oprah this week...
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:37 AM
 
Location: 👶🏾CHI🛫CVG🛬AVL🛫CMH🛬CHI🛫?
926 posts, read 2,458,419 times
Reputation: 400
I go to farmers markets (yes even this time of year!) and its fresher and cheaper for me. In cincinnati it is called Findalay Market and it is year round
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:50 AM
 
5,090 posts, read 9,852,485 times
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Maybe . . . . grow them . . . instead of buying them?

Yeah, I know, productionism (is that a word?) v. consumerism is just a crazy idea.
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Old 11-20-2008, 09:23 AM
 
Location: N. TX / S. OK
39 posts, read 77,095 times
Reputation: 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by babigyrl5 View Post
I go to farmers markets (yes even this time of year!) and its fresher and cheaper for me. In cincinnati it is called Findalay Market and it is year round
The farmer's market here is only open a few months a year, is very small, has a poor selection at extremely high prices, has no organics at all, and 90% of the stuff is NOT grown locally; ithe vendors purchase the stuff from the same wholesalers that the supermarkets use.

The supermarket I go to has a good selection of organic produce at very good prices.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip T View Post
Maybe . . . . grow them . . . instead of buying them?

Yeah, I know, productionism (is that a word?) v. consumerism is just a crazy idea.
Unfortunately, that's not possible for everyone to grow 100% of their food.

I certainly would not be able to grow several hundred pounds a year of wheat, corn, beans, rice, and other dry staples, let alone all the rest of my food.
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Old 11-21-2008, 07:16 AM
 
Location: Loudoun County, VA
1,148 posts, read 3,370,259 times
Reputation: 402
Ladycat - thank you so much for your post! Recently I cut back from buying organic (used to buy perhaps 75%) due to rising food costs. Haven't looked into food buying clubs, gotta check them out! I know I could get local "organic" free-range poultry, beef and lamb in bulk but unfortunately we don't have a chest freezer to store all that meat.
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Old 11-21-2008, 11:23 PM
 
5,090 posts, read 9,852,485 times
Reputation: 3955
Quote:
Originally Posted by ladycat View Post

I certainly would not be able to grow several hundred pounds a year of wheat, corn, beans, rice, and other dry staples, let alone all the rest of my food.
Not saying that anyone in particular would / could / should grow all of their food. I am thinking just some combination -- especially if one wanted organic. (he typed whilst eating a lemon twinkie and sipping hot cocoa with extra mini-marshmellows )

Not really on your case at all. More musing this as we have poked at it for the past couple years (veggie household) in various container garden models and getting ready to jump into big(ger) time (Electric Farm) this Spring, out in East Texas.

Some of the bulkier items on your list there -- wheat in particular -- is pretty easy growing -- I used to do that in the 100's acres ranges. But for "just" several hundred pounds -- or about 10 bushels (60 lbs a bushel) that would be about a 1/6th to 1/4 acre plot. (depending on yield -- allowing 40 to 60 bushels per acre). So that would be a typical suburb sided lawn? Guess the HOA would go a little crazy, huh?

Some folks who are into this have told me that about 2000 square feet with a mix growing on it will feed a person for a year. So I guess 10,000 square feet would feed a family of 4 or 5? 10,000 square feet is about 1/4 acre or that typical suburb yard. I guess that would go along with the concept of eatable [make that edible landscape for anyone looking up details] landscaping.
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Old 11-21-2008, 11:27 PM
 
702 posts, read 2,063,547 times
Reputation: 649
Wow - I don't do the things you posted about. Honestly, I didn't even read the entire original post. Yawn! I frequent my local co-op and have my pick of two local farmer's markets, plus whatever I grow in my own garden. This isn't rocket science - it's just pure and simple food. Find the best source, whether it's yours or your neighbor's (or a nearby farmer), and that's it! Once in a while I'll see a product that I think is priced way too high - guess what: I don't buy it. I've survived.
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