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Old 09-26-2015, 08:22 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
11,271 posts, read 21,195,108 times
Reputation: 26853

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kalfur View Post
I appreciate you saying to ignore them. It's what you have to do these days. I think there are more immature adults around than we think. I am glad to hear you have lost weight. I understand very much. I really don't care about the comments made about the wrong things on the thread. Some people have their views and others make a valid point. I am only out to take notes of what may help my situation and not things that won't. I've cut back on the spending recent and really didn't think my decisions would cause people to stare as they did.

Let me ask you this..... Do you think an $850 budget is still too high? That's a major step down from $1300. What could I buy to piece meals together week to week? including breakfast and lunch. People are suggesting other items that sounds pretty good but not full days. So, what I was estimating was for 7 days/3- meals a day per month. We use to eat a lot of healthy foods such as nuts/ mixed nuts/ fruit/ produce and the boys love meat...meat...meat, but they are healthy. They will easily get to 6'2- 6'4 feet tall. My ten year old is at 5' now. any thoughts???
$850 sounds reasonable if you're including other household necessities like soap and toilet paper.

I usually make a menu for two weeks at a time. I go to Sam's and buy the meat and cheese and things like that, then HEB for produce and anything I need that Sam's doesn't have. The next week I buy more produce and usually milk and eggs.

My kids eat cereal for breakfast, or they make a muffin mix. If you're wanting something fast and cheap, make up a bunch of pancakes on the weekend, then freeze them on wax paper or parchment paper (so they don't get stuck together). Then store them in a bag in the freezer and just microwave a few for breakfast. You could make a pancake and egg sandwich so they got the protein from the egg, although eggs are pretty expensive right now. If you have an electric griddle, it's easy to make a really big batch of pancakes.

Since my kids eat lunch at home, they eat a corn dog or a yogurt and a piece of fruit, or they make bean and cheese tacos (the little one knows how to make tortillas ). You might see how much school lunch costs for your kids, that might be cheaper than packing a lunch for them, depending on what they want to eat. When my kids went to school it was $2 or less per day, so even with three kids, that's $30/week so not too terrible. Then you only have to figure out lunch on the weekends.

About dinners, I have a week's worth that I will usually just repeat. For example, go to Sam's and buy 3 packages of boneless skinless chicken breast and a 10lb tube of lean hamburger meat, which will cost about $70 all together. Divide the hamburger meat into six portions. I cook hamburgers the night I buy it and then I freeze the other 5 portions. The next day, I cook one package of chicken breast (about 6lbs) in the crock pot. I split that into two portions and freeze one. I divide the other two packages of chicken breast into meal-sized portions and freeze them. So if you did that, you'd have 2 days of shredded chicken, 6 hamburger-based days, and 4 other chicken days. That's 12 out of your 14 days for the two weeks. Then you just write down a meat for each day...the shredded chicken goes in enchiladas or tacos or chicken salad or you can make some chicken gravy for it and have it with mashed potatoes and stuffing. Plan on hamburgers one day the next week, maybe spaghetti one night each week (if you feel guilty feeding the kids pasta, buy the one with the protein added to it...more filling and healthier). That takes care of four of the hamburger days, you could make tacos with the other hamburger...hamburger, potato, bell pepper, onion, garlic and some petite diced tomatoes seasoned with cumin will make picadillo tacos...add extra potatoes to stretch the meal if you need to. Serve rice with your tacos, Fiesta seasonings brand has a Spanish rice seasoning that tastes great and it just takes a cup of rice and a can of tomato sauce. On the days when you're cooking baked chicken, use different seasoning blends to make different flavors, and then you can make your side dishes go with it...for example, McCormick's back yard brick oven seasoning on chicken, served with some alfredo noodles and broccoli, or Weber's garlic sriracha seasoning on the chicken, with stir fry veggies, fried rice (the HEB frozen kind that cooks in its bag is good) and an egg roll. For the two days that you don't have a meat planned, look at the HEB ad and see what's on special. For example, they had beef fajitas for $3/lb this week so that's what I'm making for dinner tonight, with homemade tortillas, rice and a can of borracho beans...yummy!

My husband takes leftovers to eat at work, or he takes a frozen burger if there aren't any leftovers. He doesn't eat lunch when he's on the day shift (too busy) so half the year it's not an issue. When I eat lunch, it's a can of soup, which I get at the 99 Cents Only store...I just go now and then and stock up.
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Old 09-26-2015, 08:50 PM
 
133 posts, read 133,578 times
Reputation: 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by livingandmoving View Post
This is because a few years ago the food industry decided they are going to significantly increase the price of ALL FOOD, even double or more, through both increased prices directly, as well as secretly manipulatively hidden increased prices through smaller portion sizes, so that the rich can get richer but everyone else gets less for their money, and we haven't even begun talking about inflation yet.


You see, they were going to just raise all the prices, but when the public would NOT STAND FOR IT and just bought less food, instead they began tricking people by bringing the price down and keeping the same size packaging but putting as much as half or less food inside the packaging to trick everyone into thinking they were getting the same thing as before but really they were getting half or less.
I definitely agree here!!! You hit it right on the money. I thought I was seeing things with the packages and even boxed goods. Me and another customer stood buy the dairy section mumbling to ourselves looking at packages of Kraft Cheese- Shredded with a label that says SMALLER Package but same 1 lb bag. When I brought it home and tried to top the pasta bake with it/ it was mostly crumbs. But I only was able to top half that pan. So, I do see smaller items but price increase, which also has something to do with the amount + quantity = more money / less product.
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Old 09-26-2015, 08:50 PM
 
Location: Midland, MI
505 posts, read 546,832 times
Reputation: 1096
The price of meat has got to be killing you. You could try to do a meatless meal once a week. Soup (easy to make homemade, use the leftover meat, vegetables, in the fridge, some pasta or rice). Add some kind of bread and you've got a meal.
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:07 PM
 
133 posts, read 133,578 times
Reputation: 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedgehog_Mom View Post
$850 sounds reasonable if you're including other household necessities like soap and toilet paper.

I usually make a menu for two weeks at a time. I go to Sam's and buy the meat and cheese and things like that, then HEB for produce and anything I need that Sam's doesn't have. The next week I buy more produce and usually milk and eggs.

My kids eat cereal for breakfast, or they make a muffin mix. If you're wanting something fast and cheap, make up a bunch of pancakes on the weekend, then freeze them on wax paper or parchment paper (so they don't get stuck together). Then store them in a bag in the freezer and just microwave a few for breakfast. You could make a pancake and egg sandwich so they got the protein from the egg, although eggs are pretty expensive right now. If you have an electric griddle, it's easy to make a really big batch of pancakes.

Since my kids eat lunch at home, they eat a corn dog or a yogurt and a piece of fruit, or they make bean and cheese tacos (the little one knows how to make tortillas ). You might see how much school lunch costs for your kids, that might be cheaper than packing a lunch for them, depending on what they want to eat. When my kids went to school it was $2 or less per day, so even with three kids, that's $30/week so not too terrible. Then you only have to figure out lunch on the weekends.

About dinners, I have a week's worth that I will usually just repeat. For example, go to Sam's and buy 3 packages of boneless skinless chicken breast and a 10lb tube of lean hamburger meat, which will cost about $70 all together. Divide the hamburger meat into six portions. I cook hamburgers the night I buy it and then I freeze the other 5 portions. The next day, I cook one package of chicken breast (about 6lbs) in the crock pot. I split that into two portions and freeze one. I divide the other two packages of chicken breast into meal-sized portions and freeze them. So if you did that, you'd have 2 days of shredded chicken, 6 hamburger-based days, and 4 other chicken days. That's 12 out of your 14 days for the two weeks. Then you just write down a meat for each day...the shredded chicken goes in enchiladas or tacos or chicken salad or you can make some chicken gravy for it and have it with mashed potatoes and stuffing. Plan on hamburgers one day the next week, maybe spaghetti one night each week (if you feel guilty feeding the kids pasta, buy the one with the protein added to it...more filling and healthier). That takes care of four of the hamburger days, you could make tacos with the other hamburger...hamburger, potato, bell pepper, onion, garlic and some petite diced tomatoes seasoned with cumin will make picadillo tacos...add extra potatoes to stretch the meal if you need to. Serve rice with your tacos, Fiesta seasonings brand has a Spanish rice seasoning that tastes great and it just takes a cup of rice and a can of tomato sauce. On the days when you're cooking baked chicken, use different seasoning blends to make different flavors, and then you can make your side dishes go with it...for example, McCormick's back yard brick oven seasoning on chicken, served with some alfredo noodles and broccoli, or Weber's garlic sriracha seasoning on the chicken, with stir fry veggies, fried rice (the HEB frozen kind that cooks in its bag is good) and an egg roll. For the two days that you don't have a meat planned, look at the HEB ad and see what's on special. For example, they had beef fajitas for $3/lb this week so that's what I'm making for dinner tonight, with homemade tortillas, rice and a can of borracho beans...yummy!

My husband takes leftovers to eat at work, or he takes a frozen burger if there aren't any leftovers. He doesn't eat lunch when he's on the day shift (too busy) so half the year it's not an issue. When I eat lunch, it's a can of soup, which I get at the 99 Cents Only store...I just go now and then and stock up.
Wow!! This really helps me out. I appreciate your efforts to help me save here. I am writing it down tonight! I will be headed to the store soon so I'm making a list/ with add ins like detergent, bar soap, bleach, and a few other $1 cleaners. Shampoo and hair products - deodorant and such things also adds on to the budget. So, I'm working on it. Someone else suggested homemade soap . . . not sure but I will try it. I have skin allergies so I have to be careful with products. Thanks so much.
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:09 PM
 
Location: I am right here.
4,929 posts, read 4,215,349 times
Reputation: 15621
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalfur View Post
I like this idea!! I think my biggest problem is the meat prices have gone up a bit and so have the boys wanting to eat more of it. I am looking for rural land at the time but don't want to get ripped off. I think it would help to have room to grow enough and have more of a mini farm which is not permitted in the deeded neighborhood I live in. Do you know of any trust worthy places- such as farmers or meat markets that would ship to TEXAS? I grew up with farming Grandparents but my Mother was a city person. If I could save on food than I could make better investments with the savings.??????
WHY ship to Texas, home of the ranch?!? Goodness, find a Texan rancher and purchase your meat directly from them.

Farming is hard...and expensive! And farm land is expensive. So if you choose to go that route, go in with your eyes wide open.
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:47 PM
 
2,081 posts, read 2,492,075 times
Reputation: 2166
This thread has me scratching my head. Go to your local supermarket and meet with the nutritionist on staff. Usually free. Go over some meals that will work with a budget you are happy with. You should have some meat free meals in there as well. Stay away from processed food and learn to use what is on sale when preparing meals as often as possible.
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:52 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
524 posts, read 372,634 times
Reputation: 765
I'm reading your posts, OP and while i understand you live in Houston TX, i think your budget for your family of 4 with 3 kids is high. Im a family of 4 with husband, two boys and myself. granted my boys are young, but on food alone i usually spend 175-200 a week so that ranges about 700-850 a month on food. This includes breakfast, lunches and dinner but we also do eat out and take out 1-2x weekly easily and my food budget becomes close to your budget. you don't eat out though, so thats why im stumped why so much?

other pp ideas are great; adapt a meatless night 1-2x a week and buy a warehouse membership like BJ's, Sam or costco. That would give you MORE food for more or less same pricing as your regular supermarket. My supermarket sells rotisterri chickens for 4.50 bucks and i isually get 2 where i can make soups, enchilandras, stir-fry with vegetable heavy and other options. I also do breakfast meals as dinner one night too; load of challah bread to make french toast, sausage, bacon, pancakes and eggs served with fruits.
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Old 09-26-2015, 10:12 PM
 
7,462 posts, read 4,112,269 times
Reputation: 15426
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalfur View Post
I don't know about you but, I can't fill up my pantry anymore. I use to be able to shop for a lot of groceries - like 2- 3years ago. But here lately it's been very hollow and empty with few canned goods and a loaf of bread. I mean, I grew up looking into the pantry as a kid with stacked shelves of all sorts of interesting products. To a fat kid this was beautiful to me- lol. So, I'm a Mother now with growing children in the house and it's hard to keep food in the house yet I'm spending more money on food. I would love to grow my own veggies in the back yard but I'm in a neighborhood that sometimes has strict water usage. I would love to re- live the days when you could fill up the pantry with "good" products again. These days the packages are getting smaller and the prices are still going up. Any thoughts of how much money should a family spend to eat 3 meals a day and a snack at least??? What do you buy- honestly? When I'm in the store shopping and try to shop cheap- I get looks from others passing by. . .WTH. . .I'm trying to budget but as soon as I reach for a pack of Ramen noodles or cans of tuna - everyone acts as if I broke a rule. This is crazy!
What I do:

I pay for a membership at Sam's Club. It's $45.00. I then get access to some really good prices, if I buy in bulk. (Also, clothes and household items and pet items. I bought my red wool blend London Fog winter coat there for $50-$60.)

I spend time to search for and print coupons off the internet. I used index cards I had already, put tabs on them with labels for categories, and starting filing my coupons there. I found an old pouch I had at home that the index cards fit into...voila, a coupon pack! It fits in my large purse.

I look thru flyers during grocery shopping week for sales.

I shop at two or more very close grocery stores (not just one).


Cheap foods to create easy to make meals with:

*WHOLE GRAIN PASTA (spaghetti, elbow, etc.)
*JARS OF CLASSICO OR OTHER BRAND PASTA SAUCE (or cans of tomato sauce & tomato paste & make your own; I buy the Classico already prepared sauces usually....preferably on sale or w/coupon)
*WHOLE GRAIN BREADS
*Rolls of frozen turkey meat at Wal-Mart (preferably on sale) (use this in your pasta sauce)
*Bags of brown rice
*Bags of dry beans (black beans, lentils, garbonzo beans, etc.)
*BIG bags of frozen veggies at Sam's
*Chicken - big bags of frozen chicken parts at Sam's. Sometimes WalMart has a better price.
*Bags of fresh peppers at Sam's (bell, jalapeno, etc.). These will freeze.
*Chicken broth (generic, the big boxes not the small cans)
*Bag of iceberg lettuce (3 of 'em in a bag...cost about $5 for the bag)
*Big chunk o'cheese from Sam's OR cheese (generic or on sale) from WalMart or cheap grocery store - cheese can be pricey. Grated cheese will last longer, so grate it at home.
*Bag of popcorn kernels (CHEEP. Make popcorn in a pot on your stove. It's way cheaper and way healthier. Kids will love it.)
*Large container of generic canoli oil (for popcorn, stir fry, etc.)
*Cereal - if you buy cereal, buy generic. Or on sale with a coupon, too. Cereal is too pricey to pay full price for a brand name.
*Milk - buy the gallon size, generic or store brand. I rarely see milk on sale.
*Fruit - Fruit is pricey. I buy fresh fruit ONLY on sale or the large bags at Sam's. OR I will buy a HUGE bag of frozen fruit at Sam's. It's costly, but none of it goes to waste (it's frozen!) and will last a while. Or I'll buy a whole round watermelon at WalMart for $5.
*If fruit is too pricey, and you choose to buy cookies or such for snacks, buy only generic and/or on sale and/or with a coupon.

The above provides the makings for weeks of meals for a family, costing pennies per serving. Bean soup (peppers added, bit of cheese on top), bean casserole, spaghetti with turkey meat sauce, chicken & rice casserole, turkey burgers, chicken sandwiches, baked chicken, stir fry chicken with vegetables, salads. Snacks of home popped popcorn, fruit, or cookies.

Sam's doesn't take coupons, but has specials.

Coupons, coupons, coupons! You probably don't have much time, but you can probably spend some time and get at least some coupons.

You should concentrate on the meat part being the smallest part of the dish. Chicken stir fry with veggies, for instance, should have at least the same amount of veggies as the meat, as opposed to mainly meat with some veggies. BEANS are a meat substitute..excellent source of protein and fiber and vitamins, and they are yummy, especially in winter. Buy the DRY versions in bags, not canned.

In winter, you can get cans of SOUP on good sales AND use coupons at the same time.

I'm not a cook at all, and I can do this, so I know you can, too. Try not to buy packaged meals or anything not on sale or that you don't have a coupon for.

I try to go to the grocery store only once a month, and then go back later for things I ran out of (like milk). That way, I make do with what I have on hand. That bill is expensive, since I'm buying so much, but it saves $ in the long run.
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Old 09-26-2015, 10:49 PM
 
Location: In a little house on the prairie - literally
10,202 posts, read 6,255,015 times
Reputation: 4535
Buy as few as possible processed foods. What are processed?

Noodles, Pasta
Canned goods
Cheese
Yogurt
Peanut butter
Jam
Almost anything packaged

How to avoid?

Buy fresh food and learn how to cook it into different meals. Kids like Cheerios or other packaged cereal? They now get oatmeal. Healthier and cheaper. Like yogurt? Make your own.... it's easy. Buy fresh fruit in bulk in season, and freeze it... same for some veggies.

I'm single. I spend between $120-150 a month on food, and associated household items. As example, I don't need toilet paper, and won't for a couple of months. But there is a screaming good deal on sale this week, and I will buy. I watch the sales like a hawk.

I will buy chicken when on sale, and cut it up. I get at least five meals out a chicken, plus the carcass for soup. I buy a pork lion when they go on sale, and cut it up into pork chops, and freeze them. Specialty items like mangoes on sale? I buy a couple of cases, and cut them up, make a mango salsa and freeze it.

Coupons are useful IF you are buying that item anyway, but usually it is on processed foods, so I rarely use them.


Benefit? Not only do you save money, but you eat healthier also.
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Old 09-26-2015, 11:34 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
26,153 posts, read 24,911,876 times
Reputation: 32423
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalfur View Post
Yes, and I do understand the Military issues with moving. I was on the east coast for 4 years - Navy but relocated back to Houston and it has changed in many ways here. I spend about $ 1850 on food now for a 10 year old and 14 year old -boys. My daughter and I eat pretty lite. I know it cost a bit for boys as they are active but I can't see my self spending $2,000 to $3,000 on food. They are regular size boys. Me and my daughter are on the slim side. But, it's hard to stretch the money and still eat healthy.
Ahhh, teenagers. They'll tear into a food budget. They really do have a hollow leg... or something.

When my son was a teen, he or one of his friends would find a "buy one get one free" coupon for a cheap buffet. He always went with two friends and they split the cost. Well, to say they got there their monies worth is an understatement. I'm surprised that the place had more food or clean dishes by the time they left.
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