Author Topic: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget  (Read 63953 times)

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #100 on: January 06, 2018, 10:00:23 PM »
Fajitas for dinner. They're kiiinda like sandwiches, right?



Chicken: ~$1
Peppers: $1
Onion: ~$.33
Cheese: ~$.25
Tomatoes: $.44
Cilantro: $.25

Tortillas:
-flour: $.20
-oil: $.15

Total meal cost = $3.62 + salsa

The kids also ate some pineapple with lunch today...not sure how much, but likely price-equivalent to the oranges.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2018, 08:48:27 PM by APowers »

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #101 on: January 07, 2018, 05:00:50 AM »
I've been wincing at all your photos of cheap starch and iceberg lettuce, but you really scored with those fajitas.  Those look amazing, and for less than four bucks!  Very badass; my hat's off to you.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #102 on: January 07, 2018, 08:55:56 AM »
I've been wincing at all your photos of cheap starch and iceberg lettuce, but you really scored with those fajitas.  Those look amazing, and for less than four bucks!  Very badass; my hat's off to you.

I feel bad about the iceberg lettuce, too, but SO pretty much despises vegetables, and it's one of the few that she'll eat reliably. Also, it's so much easier to prepare, because no major washing procedures are required.

I'm confused about "cheap starch" though. So far, I've done

Taco Rice: brown rice
Pasta Something Something: I can see how this is "cheap starch"
Bean Burritos: beans and tortillas (I guess the tortillas are "white bread", so there's that)
Lentil Stew: with homemade rolls (half whole wheat flour) on the side
Fajitas

Or are you referring to the oatmeal I eat for breakfast? I thought whole-grains were supposed to be healthy?

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #103 on: January 07, 2018, 07:32:21 PM »
I've been wincing at all your photos of cheap starch and iceberg lettuce, but you really scored with those fajitas.  Those look amazing, and for less than four bucks!  Very badass; my hat's off to you.

I feel bad about the iceberg lettuce, too, but SO pretty much despises vegetables, and it's one of the few that she'll eat reliably. Also, it's so much easier to prepare, because no major washing procedures are required.

I'm confused about "cheap starch" though. So far, I've done

Taco Rice: brown rice
Pasta Something Something: I can see how this is "cheap starch"
Bean Burritos: beans and tortillas (I guess the tortillas are "white bread", so there's that)
Lentil Stew: with homemade rolls (half whole wheat flour) on the side
Fajitas

Or are you referring to the oatmeal I eat for breakfast? I thought whole-grains were supposed to be healthy?

Sorry, didn't mean to come across as so critical.  Rice, pasta, legumes, bread, oatmeal - all are cheap starches.  None of which are a bad thing in moderation (except maybe the pasta, as you noted).  And I eat oatmeal for breakfast most days, too.  In my opinion, they only become a health issue when they dominate the plate at every meal with little color from vegetables and lean protein (although I know the paleo folks might take a stricter view).

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #104 on: January 07, 2018, 07:41:51 PM »
We (Kiddo and I) made some granola "bars" today-- oats, sugar, pancake syrup, oil, vanilla, cinnamon... probably ~$.75 in ingredients for 12 two-inch rounds (we just baked them in muffin tins). We snacked on most of them, and saved three to be packed in Kiddo's school lunches.

Today was leftovers day, so leftovers for lunch and dinner. I made another batch of tortillas, as we had mostly leftover beans and taco rice. Added in a red pepper and some cucumber, and that was dinner



Cucumber: $.50
Red Pepper: $.50
Tortillas: $.35
Cilantro: $.10
Leftovers: $0

Total dinner cost = $1.45
« Last Edit: January 31, 2018, 08:49:00 PM by APowers »

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #105 on: January 07, 2018, 08:04:27 PM »
I've been wincing at all your photos of cheap starch and iceberg lettuce, but you really scored with those fajitas.  Those look amazing, and for less than four bucks!  Very badass; my hat's off to you.

I feel bad about the iceberg lettuce, too, but SO pretty much despises vegetables, and it's one of the few that she'll eat reliably. Also, it's so much easier to prepare, because no major washing procedures are required.

I'm confused about "cheap starch" though. So far, I've done

Taco Rice: brown rice
Pasta Something Something: I can see how this is "cheap starch"
Bean Burritos: beans and tortillas (I guess the tortillas are "white bread", so there's that)
Lentil Stew: with homemade rolls (half whole wheat flour) on the side
Fajitas

Or are you referring to the oatmeal I eat for breakfast? I thought whole-grains were supposed to be healthy?

Sorry, didn't mean to come across as so critical.  Rice, pasta, legumes, bread, oatmeal - all are cheap starches.  None of which are a bad thing in moderation (except maybe the pasta, as you noted).  And I eat oatmeal for breakfast most days, too.  In my opinion, they only become a health issue when they dominate the plate at every meal with little color from vegetables and lean protein (although I know the paleo folks might take a stricter view).

I see what you're saying. On our budget, all our food is cheap, lol. I do try to do whole grains when possible, as they are so much more nutritious. We don't tend to be meat-heavy, so I rely a lot on the non-meat proteins, which happen to be starchy. Legumes are an incomplete protein without grains, and vice versa. I do think we could do to eat more veggies, but sometimes I feel like it's an uphill battle just to eat as much as we do -- and it's not because they're expensive (they're not).

robartsd

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #106 on: January 08, 2018, 04:31:03 PM »
I do think we could do to eat more veggies, but sometimes I feel like it's an uphill battle just to eat as much as we do -- and it's not because they're expensive (they're not).
61% of the cost of the dinners you've presented so far is in the vegetable category. 32% is meat. 28% is grain (including corn served as vegetable). Legume is 3% (but you lentil night isn't included here). 4% is dairy.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #107 on: January 08, 2018, 08:43:24 PM »
I do think we could do to eat more veggies, but sometimes I feel like it's an uphill battle just to eat as much as we do -- and it's not because they're expensive (they're not).
61% of the cost of the dinners you've presented so far is in the vegetable category. 32% is meat. 28% is grain (including corn served as vegetable). Legume is 3% (but you lentil night isn't included here). 4% is dairy.

Hm. That's actually really interesting. I would never have estimated that veggies comprised such a large proportion of dinner costs.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #108 on: January 08, 2018, 09:12:12 PM »
Tonight was potatoes night, so I did Chicken and Mashed Potatoes.



I roasted three split breasts, plus the trimmings from the chicken breast I used for fajitas on Saturday-- all in all, about 4lbs of chicken (4 breasts per 5lb package). Added some carrots to the roasting pan for me, gave the kids theirs raw. We each had about 1/2 breast, leaving about 1.5 breasts, which will become dinner tomorrow, if all goes according to plan. I'm accounting for the cost of all the chicken today, though. Kiddos didn't get a granola bar in their backpacks, so they had theirs for dessert.

Chicken: 3+ breasts = $4.00
Potatoes: ~8 medium russets (~3.5lbs) = ~$0.50
Carrots: 6 medium = $0.60
Bell pepper: 1 = $0.50
Butter: ~1oz = $0.13

Dinner + leftovers = $5.73
------------------------------------

I ate some dessert after everyone else was in bed...sorry, no pics. :(

I took a couple leftover tortillas and about 1.5oz of chocolate chips and made a chocolate quesadilla. Used a dollop of peanut butter as a dip/spread. Was delicious. Nom.

Tortillas: $0
Chocolate: $.13
Peanut butter: ~$.22

Total = $0.35
« Last Edit: January 31, 2018, 08:49:15 PM by APowers »

Chippewa

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #109 on: January 08, 2018, 09:17:45 PM »
chocolate quesadilla with peanut butter?!? Yum! Why have I never thought of that. Sounds delicious. It would be something I would add sliced strawberries to.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #110 on: January 08, 2018, 09:43:16 PM »
chocolate quesadilla with peanut butter?!? Yum! Why have I never thought of that. Sounds delicious. It would be something I would add sliced strawberries to.
Mmmmm. Strawberries would be delish. Too bad strawberries aren't as cheap out here in CO.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #111 on: January 09, 2018, 11:13:55 PM »
Went to Safeway to pick up some more chicken for $.99/lb. They were out. So I got a raincheck instead. I did also pick up some corn tortillas, as we're just about out.


Total receipt: $3.29

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #112 on: January 09, 2018, 11:49:49 PM »
Tonight was rice night. SO used the leftover chicken and put it in a tomato-based curry(ish) sauce.




Chicken: $0
Tomato sauce: $.75
Onion: $.40
Potatoes: $0 (leftover)
Rice: $1.35
Garlic: $.10
Gluten free breadmuffin: $.05

Total meal cost = $2.65

I cooked the rice in homemade chicken broth from all the breast/rib bones I saved from the chicken. The rice by itself was delicious and chicken-y. I do feel a little bad that I didn't serve any green veggies tonight, but oh well.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2018, 08:49:39 PM by APowers »

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #113 on: January 10, 2018, 05:15:28 PM »
Wednesday is pasta night....

Pasta Something Something Else


It was delicious. AND the kids liked it so much they had second helpings! A definite win. Which was good, because the gluten-free pasta doesn't become leftovers nearly as well as regular pasta-- it gets weird and dried out, and then Kiddo ends up hating it. The regular pasta leftovers will be perfect to add some mayo and more seasoning, and have pasta salad. Yum!

Pasta (regular + gluten-free): $1.10

1lb pork (from the freezer): $.99
3/4 onion: $.35
1oz garlic: $.10
2 roma tomatoes: $.44
1lb frozen peas: $1
1 red bell pepper: $.50

Total cost for dinner + leftovers = $4.48
« Last Edit: January 31, 2018, 08:49:52 PM by APowers »

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #114 on: January 10, 2018, 06:54:24 PM »
Wheee! Wednesday is new grocery ads! I haven't looked at them yet, so we'll see if anything good is on sale.

*Looks up ads online*

Looks like it's

Cantaloupe, cucumbers, and romaine lettuce at Sprouts. Oooh, green onions are 3/$1, as are grapefruit; I should probably get some of those. Also, oats are $.69/lb; I have about 1.5 buckets-- I'm not sure if I should buy them this week, or wait to see if they'll go on sale for $.50...I'm tempted to wait, because with the kids in school (so not eating as much breakfast at home), and with hot oatmeal using slightly less oats/serving as cold oatmeal, the bucket and a half should last another month-ish.

King Soopers has ground beef for $2.77/lb-- which is pretty good, but Safeway regularly runs it at that price, so I won't go out of my way just for that.

Aww, yeah! Safeway has sour cream for $.99/lb! Which will be great, since I'm doing tacos for this weekend's dinner and board game night, and I don't currently have any. I'll have to pick some up when I go in to use my raincheck for the chicken breast.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #115 on: January 10, 2018, 07:18:01 PM »
SO decided she wanted dessert. She made a maple-y sticky cake. I don't think it turned out quite as sticky as she intended, but no matter, still tasted good. Cost to make from scratch: ~$0.55.



Yes, she and I already ate half of it, lol. Told you it was good.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2018, 08:50:05 PM by APowers »

Bicycle_B

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #116 on: January 10, 2018, 08:20:53 PM »

61% of the cost of the dinners you've presented so far is in the vegetable category. 32% is meat. 28% is grain (including corn served as vegetable). Legume is 3% (but you lentil night isn't included here). 4% is dairy.

Their food cost is 128%?

APowers, enjoying your adventure so far.  Was the sticky cake mostly sugar and butter?

Thanks for explaining your bread recipe.  Some of us Real Basic Readers get benefit from these things.

PS.  In the spirit of at least trying things, I made chicken stew for the first time last week.  It turned out fantastically delicious.  In the past, I've gotten by without cooking much, so half the battle is just cooking more.  But your shopping details are opening my eyes too.  My groceries are nowhere near as cheap...yet.  :)
« Last Edit: January 10, 2018, 08:23:19 PM by Bicycle_B »

Chippewa

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #117 on: January 10, 2018, 08:26:50 PM »
I love getting corn tortillas. use them for breakfast tacos or chiliquiles, dinner tacos, to make chips when I want a snack. There is always a pack on my counter. Okay, off to check my grocery ad...

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #118 on: January 10, 2018, 08:47:21 PM »

61% of the cost of the dinners you've presented so far is in the vegetable category. 32% is meat. 28% is grain (including corn served as vegetable). Legume is 3% (but you lentil night isn't included here). 4% is dairy.

Their food cost is 128%?

APowers, enjoying your adventure so far.  Was the sticky cake mostly sugar and butter?

Thanks for explaining your bread recipe.  Some of us Real Basic Readers get benefit from these things.

PS.  In the spirit of at least trying things, I made chicken stew for the first time last week.  It turned out fantastically delicious.  In the past, I've gotten by without cooking much, so half the battle is just cooking more.  But your shopping details are opening my eyes too.  My groceries are nowhere near as cheap...yet.  :)

128% lol! I totally didn't even catch that! I think the 28% grains is part of the 61% vegetable category. That means 61% vegetable [28% grain, 33% other veg], 32% meat, 3% legume, 4% dairy.

I didn't make the cake, but SO said she followed the pineapple upside down cake recipe from our 1980s BHG red and white cookbook, and just used maple-flavoured syrup on the bottom instead of pineapples. So, pretty standard vanilla cake recipe.

Most of my recipes are pretty much just winging it. One of the things that this series is making me do is take a minute to measure my ingredients as I use them. I am SO happy that digital kitchen scales are so mainstream now. Also, shout-out to my older brother who gave me my scale as an early birthday present.

eliza

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #119 on: January 10, 2018, 08:48:00 PM »
I'm really, really enjoying this.

Learning to plan my shopping around the sales and stock up the pantry when things are at their lowest was game-changing for me.

But, I still have much to learn.  (And I need to expand my cooking repertoire beyond the same four meals I always make.)

DaMa

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #120 on: January 10, 2018, 10:26:01 PM »
I'm really enjoying reading this.  I'm trying to eat a lot less meat, but also looking for simple easy recipes.  I'm going to pick up some lentils this week and give them a try.

galliver

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #121 on: January 11, 2018, 12:27:08 AM »
Very interesting to follow along :)

Question: how often do you usually end up grocery shopping?
Also question: I feel like if I was very strict with myself about sticking to sales, I might be tempted to stock up on perishables and then they'd go to waste. E.g. I'd be afraid to run out of sour cream for tacos before it went on sale again, and overestimate how long it keeps, so I'd get more than I could finish. Also, while I realize that something is always on sale and so forth...do you ever run out of a staple outside the cycle and everything that is on sale is stuff your family doesn't really eat?

Comment/suggestion: If you are interested in having the family eat more vegetables (possibly including yourself?) do you ever hide them? For example, I find meatballs can camouflage probably a third of their weight in "evil" I mean vegetable matter ;)  I've used whatever I had on hand...wilting arugula, dregs of baby lettuces (yeah I wouldn't normally cook these, but it was fine), spinach, kale, and I think minced broccoli and cauliflower, perhaps shredded zucchini? Each in addition to onions and garlic of course :)  I've also had totally unnoticeable cauliflower in mashed potatoes, and some people find it blends well into rice (I think it's fine but not unnoticeable). I've also recently read it's high in pectin and thus blends into a silky/creamy mass so I'm excited to try cauliflower alfredo and creamy cauliflower roasted garlic soup sometime. It's possible adding it to potatoes involves blending the cauliflower first then adding to potato mash (otherwise it could be chunky? Just a guess.)

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #122 on: January 11, 2018, 05:07:36 AM »
I've also had totally unnoticeable cauliflower in mashed potatoes, and some people find it blends well into rice (I think it's fine but not unnoticeable). I've also recently read it's high in pectin and thus blends into a silky/creamy mass so I'm excited to try cauliflower alfredo and creamy cauliflower roasted garlic soup sometime. It's possible adding it to potatoes involves blending the cauliflower first then adding to potato mash (otherwise it could be chunky? Just a guess.)

We skip the potatoes altogether and just make mashed cauliflower.  Of course, we're not feeding any picky kids.  Cook the cauliflower until soft, season to taste, and whir in the food processor with a little milk until it is smooth.  It comes out a little more granular than mashed potatoes, but not by much.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #123 on: January 11, 2018, 07:02:17 AM »
I'm really enjoying reading this.  I'm trying to eat a lot less meat, but also looking for simple easy recipes.  I'm going to pick up some lentils this week and give them a try.

I've found that it's really easy to undersalt when cooking legumes. I haven't nailed down what the "right" amount of salt is, because I always just eyeball it-- but I feel like I always put in a bit more than I think I really should, and I put it in before they're cooked, so they draw the saltiness in as they expand.

My basic method for eyeballing salt/seasonings: I imagine that I've been served this whole pot, but it hasn't been salted. Take the salt shaker and shake until I think I'd be happy to eat the top 1-1.5 inches, then stir around. Repeat the procedure for however deep the pot is. Then do it one more time for good measure. When I'm salting a pot of beans or lentils, I'll do another round of salt shaking for good measure again.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #124 on: January 11, 2018, 07:41:04 AM »
Very interesting to follow along :)

Question: how often do you usually end up grocery shopping?
Also question: I feel like if I was very strict with myself about sticking to sales, I might be tempted to stock up on perishables and then they'd go to waste. E.g. I'd be afraid to run out of sour cream for tacos before it went on sale again, and overestimate how long it keeps, so I'd get more than I could finish. Also, while I realize that something is always on sale and so forth...do you ever run out of a staple outside the cycle and everything that is on sale is stuff your family doesn't really eat?

Comment/suggestion: If you are interested in having the family eat more vegetables (possibly including yourself?) do you ever hide them? For example, I find meatballs can camouflage probably a third of their weight in "evil" I mean vegetable matter ;)  I've used whatever I had on hand...wilting arugula, dregs of baby lettuces (yeah I wouldn't normally cook these, but it was fine), spinach, kale, and I think minced broccoli and cauliflower, perhaps shredded zucchini? Each in addition to onions and garlic of course :)  I've also had totally unnoticeable cauliflower in mashed potatoes, and some people find it blends well into rice (I think it's fine but not unnoticeable). I've also recently read it's high in pectin and thus blends into a silky/creamy mass so I'm excited to try cauliflower alfredo and creamy cauliflower roasted garlic soup sometime. It's possible adding it to potatoes involves blending the cauliflower first then adding to potato mash (otherwise it could be chunky? Just a guess.)

I'd guess I probably go grocery shopping once or twice a week. I guess I'll find out for sure doing this series, won't I?

I almost always have enough stuff in the pantry to ride out a week or two of bad ad cycles, except fresh veggies, which is why I try to keep some frozen, just for that purpose. Sometimes we do run out of something we'd normally use, and then it's improv time-- like last week when we didn't have tortillas, I ended up making some from scratch (which I'd never done before). If we absolutely need something that's not on sale, I buy only just barely enough to get us by, and then make sure to re-stock when it does go on sale.

Sour cream keeps really well (like seriously a month or three, if unopened), and we use it regularly (if only a little at a time). So for us, I'll buy three or four containers and keep them shoved in the back of the fridge where it's coldest.

Sometimes I'll hide vegetables in things, but my problem is that I'm lazy, and hiding veggies requires a little cunning, and a few extra steps...and that's where it breaks down.

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #125 on: January 11, 2018, 08:50:44 AM »
PTF :)

robartsd

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #126 on: January 11, 2018, 01:14:21 PM »
61% of the cost of the dinners you've presented so far is in the vegetable category. 32% is meat. 28% is grain (including corn served as vegetable). Legume is 3% (but you lentil night isn't included here). 4% is dairy.

Their food cost is 128%?
Sorry, I didn't realize I had a typo. 36% was vegatables when I did that calculation - that still comes to 103%, but I was rounding to whole percentages. The point is that eating more vegetables regularly would probably break the $200/month budget (a little). Maybe I'll do another breakdown after there is more data.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #127 on: January 11, 2018, 07:49:02 PM »
Groceries!

Needed some more green things. Went to Sprouts.


Celery: 2@$.88/each = $1.76
Green onion: 2@$.333/each = $0.67
Cucumber: 3@$.50/each = $1.50
Romaine: 1@$.88/each = $0.88
Carrots: 5lbs = $2.99
Cantaloupe 1@$1.98/each = $1.98

Total receipt = $9.78
« Last Edit: January 31, 2018, 08:50:29 PM by APowers »

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #128 on: January 11, 2018, 08:51:44 PM »
Tonight was Beans night.

Not sure exactly what to call it, but something like seven-layer dip or bean salad...or this and that...



I still haven't gotten to Safeway yet, but managed to pick up a single serving of sour cream at work today, so that was very lucky.

1/4 head of romaine: $.22
1 cucumber: $.50
1 bag potato chips: $.99
4 cups beans: $.84
1/8 onion: $.06
Cilantro: ~$.10
1 can corn: $.25
1/2 avocado: $.25

Total meal cost = $3.21 + salsa

I cooked extra beans because I'm doing a dinner/game night on sunday, and the menu is a taco bar, so I figured I'd kill 2 birds with one stone.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2018, 08:50:53 PM by APowers »

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #129 on: January 13, 2018, 12:51:22 PM »
Groceries! I had to go to the library to pick up some items on hold, and Safeway is exactly on the way, so I stopped on my way home.



Sour cream 4 @ $.99/each: $3.96
Chicken breast ~5lb @ .99/lb: $5.08
Tortilla chips: $1.17
Potato chips: $.95

Total receipt = $11.16

I would normally wait for a sale to buy tortilla chips for under $1, but want to make sure I have a dairy-free (i.e., not cheesy-flavoured) chip option for Kiddo at board game party tomorrow.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2018, 08:51:14 PM by APowers »

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #130 on: January 13, 2018, 12:58:30 PM »
Sorry, I'm playing catch-up from yesterday, but we just did leftovers. Normally, friday would be Lentils Night, but sunday will be friends coming over and I'm doing tacos, so we're doing leftovers friday and saturday, to make sure we don't end up leaving something in the fridge too long. And to make space in the fridge, lol!

I had leftover Pasta Something Something Else, and the kids had leftover potatoes and beans and rice. I gave them each a big leaf of romaine and some celery w/peanut butter. Sorry, no pic this time.

Probably total cost for dinner was $0.85.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #131 on: January 13, 2018, 01:13:18 PM »
So....it turns out that game night will likely be more people than I was expecting. Which is great! Unfortunately, it means I should have bought ground beef at Safeway last week. So I made a King Soopers errand; fortunately, I was already planning on going that way to run some other errands, so I just added a stop instead of needing to make a whole separate trip.



Lettuce: $.99
Ground Beef 3lb @ $2.77/lb: $8.31
Popcorn: $0 (free friday item)
Almond milk: $1.49
Tortillas: $8.15

Total receipt = $18.94

Lettuce, ground beef, and tortillas are mainly for taco night tomorrow, but there'll probably be leftovers from that.

Mikila

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #132 on: January 13, 2018, 01:45:00 PM »
Reading this thread is inspirational.  Thank you, A Powers!

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #133 on: January 13, 2018, 11:06:04 PM »
Mostly leftovers for dinner tonight again.

SO had a salad with a bit of cheese and walnuts, plus a handful of pasta with a dollop of sour cream. I'd guesstimate ~$.85 max. She didn't weigh anything out, so it's hard to know for certain.

I added some mayo and crushed red pepper to the last of the leftover pasta and had a delicious pasta salad. The kids had the last of the the head of romaine, a couple slices of bread, some pineapple, and a two-egg omelet for protein (I chopped up about an ounce or less of pepperoni to give the omelets that "yum" factor)  each. Probably <$1.00 altogether. I tried to convince them to eat some of the leftover rice, but that was a non-starter.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #134 on: January 14, 2018, 10:14:53 PM »
Had 7 people over for dinner and Scattergories. Was a lot of fun. I made soft tacos. Sorry, no pictures, but it was delicious. Omnomnomnom.

Tortillas: $2.78
Beef (3lbs): $8.31
Beans: $0 (leftovers)
Rice: $.69
Cheese: $.99
Lettuce: $.99
Onion: $.38
Celery: $.11
Olives: $2.00
Green onions: $.67
Cilantro: $.10
Sour cream: ~$.30


Total food cost = $17.32. There is SO much food leftover. We're actually having the neighbours come over for dinner tomorrow, and we'll just have more tacos, and it'll be all leftovers.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #135 on: January 16, 2018, 09:31:25 PM »
Three nights in a row of tacos. Most of the fillings are finally gone...so now we can move on to other things. We had the neighbour over with her three kids yesterday, and still had enough for dinner tonight.

AND I actually remembered to snap a couple pics. Of the kids' plates, at least.



I also baked up four chicken breasts, which will become dinner for the next couple/three days. SO took about 4oz for her tacos, as she much prefers lean meat, so that adds about $.25

All in all, not too bad-- ~$18 over three nights = ~$6/dinner. And we got to have a party/game night out of the deal. Considering how many people we fed, maybe we should do tacos more often, lol. It'd be less "taco night" and more like "taco week". I'd be ok with that. I don't know if everyone wouldn't get bored of tacos after a while, haha.

Nurse_Nash

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #136 on: January 17, 2018, 07:32:24 AM »
My Spending is $25/week despite the month. It can be $100 or $125/month for one person. Depends on if there is 4 weeks or 5 weeks in the month. My budget is higher for my solo self as I eat 4+ Meals/Day

Please note: I powerlift and compete. So, I eat more or less depending on if I am trying to cut weight or gain weight.

This Week: Jan 14, 2018
1 lbs Ground Turkey  (93% Lean / 7% Fat) - $3.99
Chicken Thighs 3 lbs usually- $4.38
2.5 Dozen Eggs- $3.99
16 oz Bag Spinach- $2.99
Milk (Gallon)- $3.99
2 Green Sweet Peppers-  ~$1
3 Bananas- ~ 0.48
Arnolds Double Protein Bread Loaf: $2.99 on sale
Avocados (2) - $1.49

   ---- TOTAL $25.30

What I have on stock that lasts several weeks at a time:
Whey Isolate Protein Powder
5lbs lb Long Grain Brown Rice
24 oz lbs Whole Wheat Pasta
3 lbs Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Mayo
Mustard
Saracha Sauce
Various Spices

Weekly Menu Consist of almost the same things daily. Keeps me on track for my competition goals. What I eat and how much I eat depends on my workout of that day or no workout at all.

6 AM Egg muffin with cheese and peppers.
10 AM 2 hard boiled eggs
2 PM 4 Oz Chicken Thighs + Spinach salad and cup COOKED brown rice.
6PM 4 oz Turkey Patty Sandwich with 2 slices of bread with mayo, mustard and sprinkle of spinach.
10PM Protein Shake with 1 Cup Whole Milk
Note: Im not always on this exact schedule. It will vary with class schedule or work but I try to stick to this as much as possible. Each week I may change up my purchases. Maybe get yogurt instead of milk. Maybe purchase bacon instead of turkey.

-Nash


PMG

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #137 on: January 17, 2018, 08:21:53 AM »
Hey OP,

Tacos are a favorite of mine as well, especially for guests.  Its easy to have nutritious options for vegetarians, meat eaters and vegans at the same time.  I make lentil tacos for myself most but have found that people who dont usually eat lentils dont notice or mind when I use some lentils to stretch ground beef.  They blend in with the meat and hold the taco flavor.  Might be a way to reduce cost but add more legume and fiber to the meal. 

Im enjoying reading along but eat more fresh foods and less processed carbs than yall.

Also, gotta agree with other posters, Im jealous of those low prices! 

Nice work.  Best of luck.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #138 on: January 17, 2018, 09:09:50 PM »
Now that we're done with tacos, it's Pasta Night! Yay!

Featuring: This-Pasta-Dish-That-I-Just-Made-Up.


I know the kids like their veggies raw, so I served them their ingredients all separate-- sliced red+green peppers, cucumber, and celery; a serving of plain (but salted/buttered) pasta and some chicken on the side.

Pasta: ~$1
Garlic: $.10
Chicken: ~$5
Onion: $0 (leftover from taco toppings)
Red + green bell pepper: $1
Cucumber: $.50
Celery: ~$.20
Butter: $.05

Total cost of dinner + probably two more meals' worth of chicken = $7.85

The pasta in the picture: I put some onion, celery, and garlic in my skillet-- once they started browning a bit, I added some peppers. It smelled vaguely asian, so I decided to swing in that direction: I sprinkled in a bit of salt, ginger, and a bit of coriander. I put some chili powder on a big handful of chicken pieces, then some soy sauce, so they'd be like nuggets of salty/spicy throughout the pasta. I added the (still cold) chicken and ~3/4 of the batch of (salted) pasta and stirred it all around.

It wasn't blow-my-socks-off amazing, but I'd eat it again, so I consider that a success.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2018, 08:51:38 PM by APowers »

Chippewa

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #139 on: January 17, 2018, 09:20:33 PM »
Those are fun noodles! Sounds good to me. I think improvising is the best most times. It doesn't always wow every time for me either, but lots of times it does work.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #140 on: January 17, 2018, 09:24:23 PM »
My Spending is $25/week despite the month. It can be $100 or $125/month for one person. Depends on if there is 4 weeks or 5 weeks in the month. My budget is higher for my solo self as I eat 4+ Meals/Day

Please note: I powerlift and compete. So, I eat more or less depending on if I am trying to cut weight or gain weight.

This Week: Jan 14, 2018
1 lbs Ground Turkey  (93% Lean / 7% Fat) - $3.99
Chicken Thighs 3 lbs usually- $4.38
2.5 Dozen Eggs- $3.99
16 oz Bag Spinach- $2.99
Milk (Gallon)- $3.99
2 Green Sweet Peppers-  ~$1
3 Bananas- ~ 0.48
Arnolds Double Protein Bread Loaf: $2.99 on sale
Avocados (2) - $1.49

   ---- TOTAL $25.30

What I have on stock that lasts several weeks at a time:
Whey Isolate Protein Powder
5lbs lb Long Grain Brown Rice
24 oz lbs Whole Wheat Pasta
3 lbs Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Mayo
Mustard
Saracha Sauce
Various Spices

Weekly Menu Consist of almost the same things daily. Keeps me on track for my competition goals. What I eat and how much I eat depends on my workout of that day or no workout at all.

6 AM Egg muffin with cheese and peppers.
10 AM 2 hard boiled eggs
2 PM 4 Oz Chicken Thighs + Spinach salad and cup COOKED brown rice.
6PM 4 oz Turkey Patty Sandwich with 2 slices of bread with mayo, mustard and sprinkle of spinach.
10PM Protein Shake with 1 Cup Whole Milk
Note: Im not always on this exact schedule. It will vary with class schedule or work but I try to stick to this as much as possible. Each week I may change up my purchases. Maybe get yogurt instead of milk. Maybe purchase bacon instead of turkey.

-Nash

I'm no competitive power lifter, so I don't strive for extra protein in the menu-- that can make a big difference in spending. Chicken thighs cook pretty well from frozen, so if you have the freezer space, you can often save a bit by stocking up when there's a sale that's less than you normally pay. Also, Eggs keep really really well-- for a lot longer than you might expect-- so you could likely save a bit by buying an extra 3 dozen when they dip under $1/dozen. I always watch out for things that I use regularly to dip in price, so that I can stock up; it also makes it me less stressed about running out of a staple item.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #141 on: January 17, 2018, 09:27:22 PM »
Hey OP,

Tacos are a favorite of mine as well, especially for guests.  Its easy to have nutritious options for vegetarians, meat eaters and vegans at the same time.  I make lentil tacos for myself most but have found that people who dont usually eat lentils dont notice or mind when I use some lentils to stretch ground beef.  They blend in with the meat and hold the taco flavor.  Might be a way to reduce cost but add more legume and fiber to the meal. 

Im enjoying reading along but eat more fresh foods and less processed carbs than yall.

Also, gotta agree with other posters, Im jealous of those low prices! 

Nice work.  Best of luck.

If it were up to me, I'd likely be happy eating some variation of burritos every day. But I have three other people who get bored of eating the same thing all the time. A lot of times, I like to make my lentil soup thick enough and wrap it in a tortilla with a bit of sour cream and salsa.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #142 on: January 17, 2018, 10:03:34 PM »
Those are fun noodles! Sounds good to me. I think improvising is the best most times. It doesn't always wow every time for me either, but lots of times it does work.

My older brother explained that he finally figured out cooking: "Everything is just hash. You have a protein and a carb and a vegetable, and you pretty much just mix and match, and make sure to season so it tastes good." I was like, yeah, that's pretty much how it works.

A while back, I did some research on how to get complete proteins without meat. I knew that beans have some proteins, but not all; I knew that (brown) rice has some proteins, but not all; etc.... As it turns out, the complete set of proteins are essentially grains + legumes. Legumes (beans, lentils, peanuts, soy, peas, etc) have one set of proteins, while grains (wheat, corn, rice, barley, oats, etc) have the other set. All of a sudden, literally ALL the traditional "peasant" food dishes made so much sense. Think about it: beans-on-toast (beans/wheat), rice-and-beans, pea soup w/bread, soybeans in stir-fry over rice, PBJ sandwiches, bean burritos, falafel in a pita, pasta fagioli...the list goes on.

eliza

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #143 on: January 18, 2018, 04:52:31 AM »
I'm no competitive power lifter, so I don't strive for extra protein in the menu-- that can make a big difference in spending. Chicken thighs cook pretty well from frozen, so if you have the freezer space, you can often save a bit by stocking up when there's a sale that's less than you normally pay. Also, Eggs keep really really well-- for a lot longer than you might expect-- so you could likely save a bit by buying an extra 3 dozen when they dip under $1/dozen. I always watch out for things that I use regularly to dip in price, so that I can stock up; it also makes it me less stressed about running out of a staple item.

+1 for stocking up on sale items (to the extent you can use up before they go bad). My local  store has eggs on sale for $.47/dozen (limit 4).  Guess who is buying 4 dozen eggs this week?

Nurse_Nash

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #144 on: January 18, 2018, 08:26:22 AM »

I'm no competitive power lifter, so I don't strive for extra protein in the menu-- that can make a big difference in spending. Chicken thighs cook pretty well from frozen, so if you have the freezer space, you can often save a bit by stocking up when there's a sale that's less than you normally pay. Also, Eggs keep really really well-- for a lot longer than you might expect-- so you could likely save a bit by buying an extra 3 dozen when they dip under $1/dozen. I always watch out for things that I use regularly to dip in price, so that I can stock up; it also makes it me less stressed about running out of a staple item.

APower,
I absolutely get where you're coming from. I do purchase more when sales hit and put things in the freezer.  I often purchase off-brand and price/pound method instead of seeing a low price tag initially. It's whatever has a better bargain for myself. It's exciting to get eggs for free or extra fruit and veggies. The protein does pull more weight in my budget. 

-Nash

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #145 on: January 18, 2018, 09:58:28 PM »
Beans Night tonight. No pics, sorry.

I did a baked beans flavoured bean dish with beans and sausage. Cooked the beans in the broth I made from the rib bones of the chicken breasts. I ate mine over the last leftovers of rice from tacos. Yum! The kids don't always appreciate rice, so I had it all to myself. We also had carrot sticks and a green pepper on the side.

Beans (~13oz dry): $.42
Onion: $0 (leftover chopped onion from tacos)
Sausage (8oz): $1.00
Carrots: ~$.30
Green pepper: $.50
Cheese: ~$.13


Total cost for dinner = $2.35
----------------------------------------------------
Girlie and I also made some granola bars, so that's ~$0.75. We ate four of them tonight, and the rest will probably end up as school lunch/snacks.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2018, 08:52:09 PM by APowers »

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #146 on: January 20, 2018, 12:39:53 AM »
Lentils tonight, and I actually remembered to take pictures as I put it together, so y'all can have my secret recipe, lol.

Lentil soup = $4.51
Bread-rolls = $0.55
Gluten-free muffins = ~$0.75
Cucumber on the side = $0.50

Total cost of dinner + leftovers = $6.31. There is literally enough leftover lentil soup for lunch AND a whole 'nother dinner, at least. Sometimes I'll fill up a quart ziploc bag and freeze part of a batch-- a quart ziploc happens to be exactly enough lentil soup for one dinner for us.


16oz dry lentils: $.99
2/3 lb ground beef: $2.08
1 medium-large onion: $.45
1 Tbsp minced garlic: $.10
6 medium carrots (~12oz): $.45
~1/3-1/2 head of celery: $.44
~2 Tbsp sausage grease

Broth/water
Salt
Garlic powder
Pepper
Italian seasoning

Grease in first. I used the leftover sausage grease from the sausage I put in the baked beans yesterday, but it'd work just as well to use butter or oil


Then onions, garlic, and celery. I'm cooking in my Instant Pot, but a regular big pot would work too.


Then carrots as soon as I could peel and chop them.


I could have added the carrots first; I don't know that it matters that much. I generally start with onions and garlic, then add my other veggies as soon as I can get them chopped up. I just stir them until the bottom of the pot starts getting browned-- like, almost burned, but not quite, just very dark brown. This is not rocket surgery. As long as there isn't charred ashes in your pot, you're pretty golden. If you are afraid that it's starting to go a bit too far, you can add a glug of water/liquid and stir it around a bit; that will pretty much stop the browning process immediately (at least until that bit of water evaporates).

Then add the ground beef. Mine is frozen. I just cook it long enough to break it up into relatively bite-sized bits: think "marble-sized". Again, there's no precision here-- you're not worried about actually cooking it through (that will happen regardless by the time you pressure cook)... you're just defrosting and maybe browning some bits.


Then I add the lentils and broth-- I used about 50/50 broth and water, so as to use up the last of the chicken broth. I use 4:1 ratio of liquid to lentils.


I add an appropriate amount of salt (probably a bit more than you think you need), yay-much garlic powder, and about a "cover-the-surface-of-the-liquid-in-the-pot" amount of italian seasonings. Then pressure-cook for 20 minutes. If you use a regular pot, you'll want to simmer it on the stove for ~2-3 hrs.


Meanwhile, I made a rushed version of bread-rolls. It turns out that even if you only let your bread dough rise for like 5 minutes, and just chop it up into roll-sized pieces.... it still bakes up pretty decent and still tastes like fresh-baked bread. YUM.



I also made some gluten-free rolls for Kiddo. I've been trying to get the bake time right, as it's my own improvised recipe...I think I overbaked this batch by about 3 minutes.


APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #147 on: January 20, 2018, 09:05:19 PM »
Saturday night sandwiches!

Leftover chicken breast: $0
Pepperjack cheese: $.99
Onion: $.40
Tomato: $.25
Bread: $.60
Red pepper: $.50
Lettuce: ~$.50
Cantaloupe: ~$.60

Mayo, mustard, sriracha, and a bit of ranch.

Total = $3.84 plus condiments.


APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #148 on: January 20, 2018, 09:43:01 PM »
Groceries!

Safeway for ham and pasta sauce + the Discount Store for bread. Ham is $.87/lb at Safeway, so I decided to get one and slice it up for sandwiches, then eat the parts that don't slice so well for a dinner, then use the bone to make broth for beans/rice/lentils.

Ham: $10.38
Spaghetti sauce: $0 (ad coupon for free on saturday)
Bread: $0.99

Sprouts. Needed to get onions, and they were $.50/lb. Also was running low on greens, and wanted some lettuce and tomato for sandwiches tonight. Tomatoes were $.50/lb! They aren't usually that cheap...they were pretty pale and mediocre looking, but I think that's just what I get for tomatoes in the winter.


Cantaloupe: $1.98
Celery: $1.96
Cucumbers: $1
Green peppers: $1.5
Avocados: $2
Lettuce: $0.99
Tomatoes: $1.33
Onions: $4.41

-----------------------------------------------------------

Total Groceries = $26.54

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #149 on: January 21, 2018, 06:01:37 PM »
Leftovers for dinner. I baked a fresh batch of rolls to go with it, as it was mainly lentils.

Bread: ~$.55
Leftovers: $0

« Last Edit: January 31, 2018, 08:52:43 PM by APowers »