Author Topic: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget  (Read 63972 times)

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #400 on: April 15, 2018, 07:13:12 PM »
I need to share -- I had another sub $650 grocery month.  This time only $580!! and $40 of that was for hazelnuts  and supplies for my mom's special birthday cake and dinner.

Whoo Hoo.   That's roughly equivalent to $225 for two adults, in US dollars.. not even adjusting for the higher per pound meat, dairy and produce pricing here.   I did not think it was possible, and we did it without too much effort.

Thanks, AP for the inspiration.

What was different? 
1)  A lot less food in the fridge..  less to waste, less choice at one time.  Salsa was the only condiment I bought.
2)  Bought a huge ham for Easter, and we ate off of it for two weeks.  (The last of it / bone is in the bean pot now).   It was the pricier ham with the bone, but many many meals.
3)  Cooked a turkey -- and made many meals out of it.
4)  Cooked a large pork loin --  ditto
5)  Cooked  3 roast chickens  (I only get 6 servings per chicken however, so only one meal each and two lunches)
6)  Did not buy a lot of variety for veg / fruit, unless super sale, (Broccoli, carrots, onions, squash, potatoes, froz veg, apple, banana, cabbage, that's about it) did not buy much bread (made half of it) and we ate a lot of rice and pasta and potatoes as sides, etc.
7) Taught  teenage son how to make bean burritos, and we will make it again tonight, for school lunches.   Keeps him off the frozen pizza / frozen prepared foods, or eating a lot of the more expensive foods in the fridge.

Kudos to you, Goldielocks! Fine work keeping waste to a minimum, and capitalizing on the versatility of the ham/turkey/pork loin. And +1 for teaching how to make cheap, healthy, filling lunches!

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #401 on: April 15, 2018, 09:19:24 PM »
Leftovers for dinner tonight. I added a tomato, some lettuce, and a couple slices of bread to round it out, so total cost is probably <$.50. I did sandwiches, mainly, using the leftover chicken breast. Sorry, no pics today.




robartsd

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1675
  • Location: Northern California
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #402 on: April 16, 2018, 09:10:53 AM »
I would like to just take a minute and rave about my Instant Pot. I know that it happens to be the hip and trendy kitchen gadget right now, and I really don't like being on a bandwagon. But it is pretty much amazing. I use it at LEAST 3 times a week, if not daily. It cooks rice perfectly. It cooks beans from dry to tender in 90 minutes. I can cook lentils with it in 30 minutes. I used it to steam/boil potatoes for mashed potatoes-- again, 30 min to done instead of boiling on the stovetop for an hour. I can make perfect hard-boiled eggs in 12 min from "put them in the pot" to "peel and eat". I can also use it as a slow-cooker/crockpot, which is handy for doing large roasts that need a low-and-slow cooking style to come out perfectly tender and juicy. I can use it as a warming pot for serving soup/chili/stew at a party.

I had my doubts, and was hesitant to spend $90 on a kitchen appliance that I had zero experience with, and no real-life observation of its operation. But now that I have it, I use it almost. every. day.
No experience with other brands of automatic pressure cookers, but we've been happy with the Instant Pot I gave DW for Christmas. I got it in a cyber Monday deal for about as much as many of the competitors (I think was notified about the deal on these forums). My sister gave one to Mom the same Christmas and Mom liked it so much she bought a second when she found it on sale later. I like that it can function as a rice cooker or slow cooker if desired - replacing both with one similar sized appliance that also has a pressure cooking feature. The only issue we've had is it doesn't seem to be as good at delayed rice cooking as the dedicated rice cooker. I'm guessing that the dedicated rice cooker makes some cooking adjustments for the soaking time that the instant pot does not make.

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #403 on: April 16, 2018, 07:39:00 PM »
Potatoes, potatoes...what to do with potatoes? Some days I just draw a blank for ideas that aren't exactly the same thing every week. So I cast around in my mind, and did a few google searches for "meat and potatoes flavour profiles" and "mashed potato entree"...and decided to try shepherd's pie.



Ground beef: $1.80
Onion: $.11
Garlic: $.10
Celery: $.20
Peas: $1
Potatoes: $.40

Total dinner cost = $3.61 plus a bit of cornstarch to thicken the gravy. I wasn't sure it'd come out super great, but as it turned out-- it got two thumbs up from the kids, so that's a definite win. Also, it turned out to fill up my 11"x13" pan, so there are tons of leftovers. Mmmm.

Basenji

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 954
  • Location: Near U.S. prezies 44 and 45
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #404 on: April 16, 2018, 07:47:00 PM »
Ooh, looks like I have some reading to do here. I may not get down to $200 but I sure like having some good ideas. Thanks for this thread!

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5382
  • Location: BC
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #405 on: April 16, 2018, 07:55:31 PM »
Potatoes, potatoes...what to do with potatoes? Some days I just draw a blank for ideas that aren't exactly the same thing every week. So I cast around in my mind, and did a few google searches for "meat and potatoes flavour profiles" and "mashed potato entree"...and decided to try shepherd's pie.



Ground beef: $1.80
Onion: $.11
Garlic: $.10
Celery: $.20
Peas: $1
Potatoes: $.40

Total dinner cost = $3.61 plus a bit of cornstarch to thicken the gravy. I wasn't sure it'd come out super great, but as it turned out-- it got two thumbs up from the kids, so that's a definite win. Also, it turned out to fill up my 11"x13" pan, so there are tons of leftovers. Mmmm.

AHA!  I know potatoes... and cheap recipes using them..

Potato Pie -- like a meat pie using potatoes (and maybe eggs) instead of meat.
Pirogies
Mashed potato patties fried in a cast iron pan.  (my favorite, usually using leftovers).  I may add peas or veg, too, or have them on the side.
Boiled potatoes topped with sour cream
Shepard's pie
Scalloped potatoes with ham (and corn)

Fries, baked potatoe, twice baked with cheese, etc.

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #406 on: April 16, 2018, 11:02:14 PM »
Potatoes, potatoes...what to do with potatoes? Some days I just draw a blank for ideas that aren't exactly the same thing every week. So I cast around in my mind, and did a few google searches for "meat and potatoes flavour profiles" and "mashed potato entree"...and decided to try shepherd's pie.

**

Ground beef: $1.80
Onion: $.11
Garlic: $.10
Celery: $.20
Peas: $1
Potatoes: $.40

Total dinner cost = $3.61 plus a bit of cornstarch to thicken the gravy. I wasn't sure it'd come out super great, but as it turned out-- it got two thumbs up from the kids, so that's a definite win. Also, it turned out to fill up my 11"x13" pan, so there are tons of leftovers. Mmmm.

AHA!  I know potatoes... and cheap recipes using them..

Potato Pie -- like a meat pie using potatoes (and maybe eggs) instead of meat.
Pirogies
Mashed potato patties fried in a cast iron pan.  (my favorite, usually using leftovers).  I may add peas or veg, too, or have them on the side.
Boiled potatoes topped with sour cream
Shepard's pie
Scalloped potatoes with ham (and corn)

Fries, baked potatoe, twice baked with cheese, etc.

Yay! The tricky thing for me in trying to come up with potato recipes (that actually taste good) is that Kiddo is dairy-free. Which means that cheese is out, *creamy* mashed potatoes are out, scalloped potatoes are out....it's kiiiind of depressing, and I'm sort of glad for him that he has no idea what he's missing out on. :(

I've never tried potato pie (or meat pie, for that matter, unless you count chicken pot pie). I've also never tried pirogies. I would be happy to look at your recipes if you have any. I've actually done mashed potato pancakes with leftovers before, and the kids rate those pretty highly! I think shepherd's pie will make a more regular appearance in the menu rotation; with a bit more prep, it shouldn't take quite so long to get it on the table as it did tonight.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 06:10:21 AM by APowers »

savedough

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 128
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #407 on: April 16, 2018, 11:14:08 PM »
The dairy free recipe void for potatoes!   I, too, have a dairy free child and he loves make your own baked potato with dairy free butter, bacon, broccoli and black olives.  Weird but it works for him.   I also fry them, make potato bread rolls, breakfast burritos or shepherds pie.   

Roadrunner53

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1293
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #408 on: April 17, 2018, 04:45:45 AM »

CrustyBadger

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 443
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #409 on: April 17, 2018, 05:46:46 AM »
Yay! The tricky thing for me in trying to come up with potato recipes (that actually taste good) is that Kiddo is dairy-free. Which means that cheese is out, *creamy* mashed potatoes are out, scalloped potatoes are out....it's kiiiind of depressing, and I'm sort of glad for him that he has no idea what he's missing out on. :(

I've never tried potatoe pie (or meat pie, for that matter, unless you count chicken pot pie). I've also never tried pirogies. I would be happy to look at your recipes if you have any. I've actually done mashed potato pancakes with leftovers before, and the kids rate those pretty highly!

Are eggs OK?   This is a KILLER potato pancake recipe. It mixes mashed and shredded potatoes for an awesome texture my picky eaters really love: 

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/killer-potato-latkes


couponvan

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4339
  • Location: Illinois
    • My journal
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #410 on: April 17, 2018, 05:55:12 AM »
If this wasn't the sub $200 grocery thread I would recommend vegan cheese for the potatoes.

What about latkes with pork and applesauce?  I'm sure there are some dairy free alternatives for those. Like this one:

https://www.jesselanewellness.com/recipes/gluten-free-latkes/

Or getting a spiralizer and doing shoestring potatoes.

Or making potato gnocchi dairy free (probably too pricey for the $200 thread to get the ingredients).
http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/dairy-free-homemade-gnocchi-499352

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #411 on: April 17, 2018, 06:52:33 AM »
Can you use almond milk or cashew milk?

https://www.thespruce.com/best-non-dairy-milk-alternatives-1000954

I can use non-dairy milk. I don't always have it on hand, though, since it tends to be expensive unless it's on a really good sale. And it's not really creamy the way real milk/cream/sour cream is, so I'd almost rather suffer through less-than potatoes, and save the almond milk for Kiddo to eat with cereal.

Yay! The tricky thing for me in trying to come up with potato recipes (that actually taste good) is that Kiddo is dairy-free. Which means that cheese is out, *creamy* mashed potatoes are out, scalloped potatoes are out....it's kiiiind of depressing, and I'm sort of glad for him that he has no idea what he's missing out on. :(

I've never tried potatoe pie (or meat pie, for that matter, unless you count chicken pot pie). I've also never tried pirogies. I would be happy to look at your recipes if you have any. I've actually done mashed potato pancakes with leftovers before, and the kids rate those pretty highly!

Are eggs OK?   This is a KILLER potato pancake recipe. It mixes mashed and shredded potatoes for an awesome texture my picky eaters really love: 

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/killer-potato-latkes

Eggs are fine. Kiddo is just no milk products and no gluten. That latke recipe looks like it uses breadcrumbs (gluten); but even if I substituted something, it still seems like a really labour-intensive process with boiling and grating and food-processing all just for some pancakes. To be honest, I'm pretty lazy, and it just sounds like too much work for me, lol!

If this wasn't the sub $200 grocery thread I would recommend vegan cheese for the potatoes.

What about latkes with pork and applesauce?  I'm sure there are some dairy free alternatives for those. Like this one:

https://www.jesselanewellness.com/recipes/gluten-free-latkes/

Or getting a spiralizer and doing shoestring potatoes.

Or making potato gnocchi dairy free (probably too pricey for the $200 thread to get the ingredients).
http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/dairy-free-homemade-gnocchi-499352

Yes, vegan cheese. I keep thinking I might try it, but it's just so expensive. We do have a container of nutritional yeast which we call "cheesy flakes", but we bought that ages ago (before we moved to CO), and I have absolutely no idea where I'd get more, so I don't really want to use large quantities of it to make some kind of "cheesy sauce".

I've done hashbrowns before, which are just latkes with fewer steps....but it's the "wring the water out of the grated potatoes" step that I get hung up on. I mean, it's no big deal if you're only making 4 potatoes worth, but it's a bit more hassle when you're trying to wring out 3-4lbs of grated potatoes. I just haven't figured out a good way or a tool I can improvise to make quick and easy work of it.

I like the idea of shoestring potatoes, but deep frying uses SO much oil.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 06:55:46 AM by APowers »

mountain mustache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 80
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #412 on: April 17, 2018, 07:03:21 AM »
Can you use almond milk or cashew milk?

https://www.thespruce.com/best-non-dairy-milk-alternatives-1000954

I can use non-dairy milk. I don't always have it on hand, though, since it tends to be expensive unless it's on a really good sale. And it's not really creamy the way real milk/cream/sour cream is, so I'd almost rather suffer through less-than potatoes, and save the almond milk for Kiddo to eat with cereal.

Yay! The tricky thing for me in trying to come up with potato recipes (that actually taste good) is that Kiddo is dairy-free. Which means that cheese is out, *creamy* mashed potatoes are out, scalloped potatoes are out....it's kiiiind of depressing, and I'm sort of glad for him that he has no idea what he's missing out on. :(

I've never tried potatoe pie (or meat pie, for that matter, unless you count chicken pot pie). I've also never tried pirogies. I would be happy to look at your recipes if you have any. I've actually done mashed potato pancakes with leftovers before, and the kids rate those pretty highly!

Are eggs OK?   This is a KILLER potato pancake recipe. It mixes mashed and shredded potatoes for an awesome texture my picky eaters really love: 

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/killer-potato-latkes

Eggs are fine. Kiddo is just no milk products and no gluten. That latke recipe looks like it uses breadcrumbs (gluten); but even if I substituted something, it still seems like a really labour-intensive process with boiling and grating and food-processing all just for some pancakes. To be honest, I'm pretty lazy, and it just sounds like too much work for me, lol!

If this wasn't the sub $200 grocery thread I would recommend vegan cheese for the potatoes.

What about latkes with pork and applesauce?  I'm sure there are some dairy free alternatives for those. Like this one:

https://www.jesselanewellness.com/recipes/gluten-free-latkes/

Or getting a spiralizer and doing shoestring potatoes.

Or making potato gnocchi dairy free (probably too pricey for the $200 thread to get the ingredients).
http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/dairy-free-homemade-gnocchi-499352

Yes, vegan cheese. I keep thinking I might try it, but it's just so expensive. We do have a container of nutritional yeast which we call "cheesy flakes", but we bought that ages ago (before we moved to CO), and I have absolutely no idea where I'd get more, so I don't really want to use large quantities of it to make some kind of "cheesy sauce".

I've done hashbrowns before, which are just latkes with fewer steps....but it's the "wring the water out of the grated potatoes" step that I get hung up on. I mean, it's no big deal if you're only making 4 potatoes worth, but it's a bit more hassle when you're trying to wring out 3-4lbs of grated potatoes. I just haven't figured out a good way or a tool I can improvise to make quick and easy work of it.

I like the idea of shoestring potatoes, but deep frying uses SO much oil.

For mashed potatoes, you could do some full fat coconut milk (in the can), which is usually much less expensive than non-dairy milks, and a little goes a long way to making things creamy.  Nutritional yeast is my favorite thing, as a dairy free person, to put on almost anything. Baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, any place where I would normally put shredded cheese, or parmesan. You can get it at Sprouts, it's not extremely cheap, but a little goes a long way and it lasts forever. It's also super nutritious!!

Most dairy free cheeses I find pretty meh. I like Daiya shredded cheese if I'm going to have a pizza night with friends. It melts the best, and tastes closest to real cheese. But it has literally 0 nutritional value. I buy a few bags when it is on sale at Sprouts, and stash them in the freezer, only to be taken out at special occasions. There's also an almond cheese at Sprouts that is pretty good, it actually has about 7 grams of protein per serving, so closer to "real" cheese. I eat that by the slice, I think it's tasty and has a good cheese texture. But, again I only buy it on sale, and stash it away for every once in a while. I don't really find it can be a "staple" in keeping a low cost food budget.

the_fixer

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 367
  • Location: Colorado
  • mind on my money money on my mind
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #413 on: April 17, 2018, 07:08:40 AM »
I believe you posted some Curry stuff in the past I recently made this out of leftover cocunut curry and potatoes, added some broccoli.

Honestly I figured it would be horrible but it was amazing all of the flavors work so well and the broccoli gave it a hearty meat quality.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk


couponvan

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4339
  • Location: Illinois
    • My journal
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #414 on: April 17, 2018, 07:58:25 AM »
For latkes, if you have a salad spinner that works and doesn't throw out too many potato skins.  It's not as perfect as using clean dish towels, but it is fast.  I think latkes are 100% worth the effort - yum with applesauce for kids....

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #415 on: April 17, 2018, 08:04:16 AM »
For latkes, if you have a salad spinner that works and doesn't throw out too many potato skins.  It's not as perfect as using clean dish towels, but it is fast.  I think latkes are 100% worth the effort - yum with applesauce for kids....

I don't think I've ever owned a salad spinner in my whole life. I don't even think my Mom ever had one when I was a kid, lol. I might try one if I find one for cheap in the thrift store.

robartsd

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1675
  • Location: Northern California
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #416 on: April 17, 2018, 08:48:33 AM »
I've done hashbrowns before, which are just latkes with fewer steps....but it's the "wring the water out of the grated potatoes" step that I get hung up on. I mean, it's no big deal if you're only making 4 potatoes worth, but it's a bit more hassle when you're trying to wring out 3-4lbs of grated potatoes. I just haven't figured out a good way or a tool I can improvise to make quick and easy work of it.
I didn't know there was a "wring the water out of the grated potatoes" step. I grew up in a large family (8 kids). Potatoes were grated and placed in a large colander to await being fried up on the stovetop 2-3 skillets at once. Cooked potato patties were placed in the oven to keep warm while the next batch cooked. Our hash browns were usually a bit soggy and grey, but we still liked them.

savedough

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 128
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #417 on: April 17, 2018, 10:54:25 AM »
Nutritional yeast is pretty cheap in bulk at any granola type health food store.  Dairy-free cheese is just NO!   I don't like to use coconut milk peronsally because then my mashed potatoes taste like coconut, but cashew milk and pea plant milk are very good in them.

I don't think I'm in the right place because with three strapping boys and a 6'4" husband (plus a full-time job), I don't know that I could do a sub-$200 month.    Maybe if I psych myself up...

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5382
  • Location: BC
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #418 on: April 17, 2018, 01:01:56 PM »
I have a couple of scalloped potato recipes that primarily use flavoured chicken stock, then just end with a splash of cream and a sprinkle of cheese.  I bet they would be good without the dairy.

The key for eliminating the nice fatty dairy may be to use homemade chicken stock, that you don't skim all the fat off of..   You make your own, so you know what I am talking about here..!

Alternate Sliced potatoes and sliced onions, in a large, foil lined, greased, rectanglar (like a jelly roll) pan, top with chicken stock to almost cover (seasons stock with thyme, savory, salt, pepper). Dot with butter / other fat.  Top with diced ham (optional).  Bake on low oven for a long time until the potatoes are soft and most of the stock has been absorbed / evaporated, and the top edges start to brown and crisp up a bit.   Eat.

CrustyBadger

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 443
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #419 on: April 17, 2018, 02:44:43 PM »
Eggs are fine. Kiddo is just no milk products and no gluten. That latke recipe looks like it uses breadcrumbs (gluten); but even if I substituted something, it still seems like a really labour-intensive process with boiling and grating and food-processing all just for some pancakes. To be honest, I'm pretty lazy, and it just sounds like too much work for me, lol!

Yeah, it is a potato pancake recipe for a special occasion, not for everyday.  But, it is REALLY yummy!   You can use cracker crumbs from any gluten free cracker for the breadcrumbs as a binder.   I do have a potato ricer, so the mashed potatoes are easy for me; I don't have a food processor though so I just use a blender.  But I also have two teens to do all the grating for me!

couponvan

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4339
  • Location: Illinois
    • My journal
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #420 on: April 17, 2018, 05:32:33 PM »
I like using my salad spinner as the salad bowl, and it really does make a difference in crisping up the lettuce to wash it and chill it more. I didn’t buy my spinner-it was a gift from my MIL.

What about potato chowder? Or potato shepherds/cottage pie?  Probably higher effort than you want, but they do freeze well if you batch them. For chowder I leave out the dairy until I thaw it.

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #421 on: April 17, 2018, 08:18:42 PM »
Just did leftovers for dinner, so dinner cost = $0 plus a bit of sriracha and sour cream.

Mtngrl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 281
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #422 on: April 18, 2018, 06:06:25 PM »

[Or making potato gnocchi dairy free (probably too pricey for the $200 thread to get the ingredients).
http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/dairy-free-homemade-gnocchi-499352[/quote]

Yes, vegan cheese. I keep thinking I might try it, but it's just so expensive. We do have a container of nutritional yeast which we call "cheesy flakes", but we bought that ages ago (before we moved to CO), and I have absolutely no idea where I'd get more, so I don't really want to use large quantities of it to make some kind of "cheesy sauce".


[/quote]

It's been a few years since I've lived on the front range, but I'm pretty sure you can get nutritional yeast at Sprouts in the bulk bin section. Might be worth price checking.

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #423 on: April 19, 2018, 06:52:18 PM »
Wednesday was pasta night





Pasta: $1.00
Ham: $.75
Lettuce: $.20

Total dinner cost = $1.95 plus a bit of mayo. I chopped my lettuce and ham and added a smidge of garlic and paprika for a pasta salad-ish something.

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

Tonight was beans night, and we did burrito/tacos.



Tortillas: $.60
Beans: $.84
Cheese: $.50
Lettuce: $.20
Onion: $.11
Tomato: $.25
Sour cream: $.10

Total dinner cost = $2.60 plus a bit of salsa and cilantro from the freezer.

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #424 on: April 19, 2018, 08:12:20 PM »
Also did a grocery errand to Safeway on Thursday:



Black beans: $.78
Kidney beans: $3.12
Garbanzo beans: $.78
Tomato sauce: $0 (free monopoly ticket coupons)
Milk: $1.99

Total receipt = $6.67. Beans were $.39/can, which is still not a great price for regular (i.e., pinto) beans, but for beans that I don't often find for cheap, it's not terrible. Garbanzos will almost certainly end up as hummus, and the black and kidney beans will probably end up in some kind of curry or bean salad or something where pinto beans would be "boring".
« Last Edit: April 19, 2018, 10:19:25 PM by APowers »

alsoknownasDean

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #425 on: April 20, 2018, 02:46:04 AM »
39 cents a can for black beans sounds awfully good to me. I stock up when they're under a dollar.

Made a cauliflower curry yesterday with chickpeas ($A0.73 a can), frozen peas, coconut milk ($A0.89 a can), some curry paste/garlic/tomato paste and a few onions. Goes really well with rice.

Yes, I cook an awful lot of things in a wok.



APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #426 on: April 20, 2018, 06:03:07 AM »
39 cents a can for black beans sounds awfully good to me. I stock up when they're under a dollar.

Made a cauliflower curry yesterday with chickpeas ($A0.73 a can), frozen peas, coconut milk ($A0.89 a can), some curry paste/garlic/tomato paste and a few onions. Goes really well with rice.

Yes, I cook an awful lot of things in a wok.

[IMG]

Don't forget that I'm talking US$ and you're talking AU$. Your $1/can is my $.77/can.

Cooked beans are ~3x the size of dry beans; I'm pretty sure that I can buy dry black beans very easily for 99˘/lb, so cans have to be pretty close to 3/$1 to be comparable. But even that is beside the point. The way I look at it from a food budget point of view is this: I can get nutritionally equivalent (but boring) pinto beans for 50˘/lb dry-- which is like 17˘/can; so black beans for 39˘ is like paying a 22˘/can premium for a variety in colour/shape (and a bit of different flavour). Is that variance in colour worth the extra cost? If I were only feeding myself-- the answer would be "no", because I'm okay with my food being the same every day for months on end; but I'm also cooking for SO and the kids, and they are way less motivated by saving 22˘/can vs eating the same kind of beans every week, so I splurge the extra for their sakes.

alsoknownasDean

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #427 on: April 20, 2018, 07:23:57 PM »
39 cents a can for black beans sounds awfully good to me. I stock up when they're under a dollar.

Made a cauliflower curry yesterday with chickpeas ($A0.73 a can), frozen peas, coconut milk ($A0.89 a can), some curry paste/garlic/tomato paste and a few onions. Goes really well with rice.

Yes, I cook an awful lot of things in a wok.

[IMG]

Don't forget that I'm talking US$ and you're talking AU$. Your $1/can is my $.77/can.

Cooked beans are ~3x the size of dry beans; I'm pretty sure that I can buy dry black beans very easily for 99˘/lb, so cans have to be pretty close to 3/$1 to be comparable. But even that is beside the point. The way I look at it from a food budget point of view is this: I can get nutritionally equivalent (but boring) pinto beans for 50˘/lb dry-- which is like 17˘/can; so black beans for 39˘ is like paying a 22˘/can premium for a variety in colour/shape (and a bit of different flavour). Is that variance in colour worth the extra cost? If I were only feeding myself-- the answer would be "no", because I'm okay with my food being the same every day for months on end; but I'm also cooking for SO and the kids, and they are way less motivated by saving 22˘/can vs eating the same kind of beans every week, so I splurge the extra for their sakes.

Yeah black beans and red kidney beans are about the same price dried here ($5-6/kg, which is about $US2/lb IIRC). It's just that black beans (and pinto) aren't quite as common here and there's no generic brand black beans (often they're over in the 'Mexican' section of the supermarket instead of with the other beans), so the normal price is about $1.95 a can for the brand name ones, instead of $0.75-0.80 for generic brand red kidney beans. I'll still buy them when they're on special though.

I don't mind spending a bit extra on some ingredients, price isn't everything :)

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #428 on: April 20, 2018, 10:06:01 PM »
Lentils night. I made a double batch, so I can put some more up in the freezer.



Lentil soup (onions, garlic, carrots, celery, lentils, chicken broth, seasonings): $3.50
Tortilla chips: $0 (leftover)
Watermelon for dessert: $1.00

Total dinner cost = $4.50. Made a giant pot full, so there will likely be two dinner-sized batches to go in the freezer, plus some leftovers for Sunday.

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #429 on: April 20, 2018, 10:33:53 PM »
Did a Sprouts errand today, too:



Lettuce: $.99
Green pepper: $1.00
Corn (6 ears): $1.00
Watermelon: $3.96
Canteloupe: $2.00

Total receipt = $8.95. I don't know who's growing watermelons that are ripe in April, but for $1.98? Yes, please. Also, it seems a bit early for corn, but again, the price is right.


dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7966
  • Registered member
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #430 on: April 21, 2018, 03:41:20 AM »
Inspiring

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #431 on: April 21, 2018, 10:22:38 PM »
Sandwiches for dinner tonight:



Bread: $.99
Cold cuts: $3.33
Cheese: $.50
Green pepper: $.50
Tomato: $.25
Onion: $.11
Lettuce: $.25
Watermelon for dessert: $0

Total dinner cost = $5.93.

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #432 on: April 22, 2018, 09:00:07 AM »
Stopped in the discount store yesterday:



Bread: $1.98
Pineapple: $1.98
Coconut cream: $2.19

Total receipt = $6.15. The basement remodel is 98% finished, so I'm planning on a "basement warming" party in a few weeks with a pizza menu-- so I'm planning ahead for toppings, hence the pineapple. Also, coconut cream! This is the first time I've even seen it (even counting regular grocery stores!); it was more expensive than I'm willing to pay on a regular basis, but I thought it'd be worth a try-out, to see if it's really worth keeping on the list of things in my head.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2018, 12:08:48 PM by APowers »

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #433 on: April 22, 2018, 09:33:10 PM »
Normally, it's leftovers night on Sundays; but I've got a busy couple weeks of work coming up, so I've been putting all the leftovers in the freezer for future easy dinners.

So tonight I did corn-on-the-cob with chicken and carrots


Chicken: $4.93
Corn: $1.00
Carrots: ~$.60

Total dinner cost = $6.53. SO doesn't like the crispy delicious fatness of the skin, so I get it all to myself hahaaaa! Omnomnomnom. There were 2+ breasts out of 4 left over, so they'll come in handy for some lunches and probably another dinner.

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #434 on: April 23, 2018, 07:28:55 PM »
It's actually Potato Night on Mondays, but I was all prepared to make a giant batch of jambalaya...so that's what I did.



Rice: $.92
Sausage: $1.99
Tomato sauce: $0 (freebie cans)
Garlic: $.15
Onion: $.60
Celery: $.25
Green pepper: $1.00
Tomatoes: $.40

Total dinner cost = $5.31. I made it a triple batch, because I've been doing a "stock up my new freezer" thing, trying to make sure I'm set up with some easy dinners for when the next few weeks get crazy busy again. This recipe gave me 4 dinners' worth to put up. As a note-- I'm recording the cost of these pre-prepped dinner assemblies as I actually make them (i.e., tonight's "total dinner cost" includes all four of these leftover dinners too). So when I go to pull them out of the freezer, you'll see me list out a $0 cost, since it's already been accounted for here.


APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #435 on: April 24, 2018, 09:26:25 PM »
Since I did rice yesterday, I did potatoes today:

Girlie's plate:


Potatoes: $.45
Carrots: $.65
Lettuce: $.20
Chicken: $0 (leftovers)

Total dinner cost: $1.30 plus a bit of homemade ranch. I make my own ranch, because Kiddo is non-dairy; it's not really hard-- ranch is basically just mayo with seasonings, thinned down to a pourable consistency. I add garlic, a bit of salt, pepper, and dill; ideally, I'd also add some onion powder, but I don't have that in my spice cabinet.

Mezzie

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 821
    • Mezzie Learns
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #436 on: April 25, 2018, 07:19:24 AM »
This month I've only spent $123.78 (my next grocery trip isn't until May). That was with a rather extravagant farm delivery. I wish I'd paid closer attention to what I ate so I could replicate this fluke.

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #437 on: April 25, 2018, 08:34:55 PM »
This month I've only spent $123.78 (my next grocery trip isn't until May). That was with a rather extravagant farm delivery. I wish I'd paid closer attention to what I ate so I could replicate this fluke.

Those are always nice months to see in the budget spreadsheet. Sometimes I wonder *what did we even eat?* lol!

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #438 on: April 25, 2018, 08:38:10 PM »
No pictures tonight, sorry. Everything was pretty basic; plain-jane pasta with some green pepper, lettuce, and chicken.

Pasta: $1.00
Chicken: $0 (leftovers)
Lettuce: $.20
Green pepper: .50

Total dinner cost = $1.70 plus a bit of mayo and ranch.

avalanchecity

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • Location: the wide wide midwest
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #439 on: April 27, 2018, 07:43:35 AM »
what do your typical breakfasts and lunches look like? are your lunches mostly leftovers?

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #440 on: April 27, 2018, 09:44:34 PM »
Sorry for the slow updates! Work has been starting to get busy, so I'm trying to cram everything else into a bit smaller time schedule. I'm sure I'll get the wrinkles worked out of the new routine pretty soon.

Annnnyway... I did a couple grocery errands yesterday:

Costco:



Tortilla chips: $3.89
White flour (25lb): $5.99
Salsa: $9.90
Peanuts: $5.69
Garlic: $4.69

Total food receipt = $30.16. Bread turns out best when you add gluten in some form to your whole wheat flour-- the easiest way to do that is to mix in some white flour; I'd been waiting and waiting for flour to go on sale in the grocery store, but no luck. The peanuts are designated to end up in the granola bars that I've been making for school lunches/snacks (which reminds me, I need to do a photo/recipe post about those at some point). The chips will end up as a side to go with my legume-heavy freezer meals (beans, lentils), as the pairing with corn makes it a whole protein; and it's super easy-- pull from freezer, defrost, serve with chips and bam.

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

Also did a Sprouts errand:



Strawberries: $6.16
Ginger: $1.17
Green peppers: $1.00
Red peppers: $3.00
Lettuce: $.99

Total receipt = $12.27. Strawberries! 88˘/lb! I'm definitely going to put my new freezer to use here; SO has been wanting to make smoothies, so I prepped and froze 6lbs (minus the chef's portion, lol) on a baking sheet tonight (friday). I'm going to buy another batch to freeze tomorrow, and probably another batch after that, before the sale goes off.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2018, 05:46:42 AM by APowers »

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #441 on: April 27, 2018, 09:52:47 PM »
Dinners:

Thursday was beans night, so I started a batch in the instant pot in the morning before work. I love my instant pot. I picked the kids up from school, went to Costco, then came home and beautiful beans were ready and waiting for us-- I used some of the tortilla chips, plus some pepper and lettuce. Probably ~$2.50 plus a bit of sour cream and salsa.

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

Tonight was lentils night, but the kids didn't have school, so I took them to work with me (currently doing a big landscaping project, so there are lots of dirtpiles for them to play on). Didn't get home until 5:45pm; I thought about pulling lentils from the freezer, but decided that since they'd eaten leftovers for lunch, I would just serve them lunch for dinner with some extra veggies and then they could just get a bath and go to bed (they were totally worn out). Between a pbj and some bits of leftovers, and some frozen veggies, probably dinner cost ~$1.75ish.

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #442 on: April 27, 2018, 10:04:18 PM »
what do your typical breakfasts and lunches look like? are your lunches mostly leftovers?

Typical breakfast is oatmeal. Either with milk and brown sugar, or cooked with brown sugar and a dash of salt. Lately, when milk has been on sale, I've been adding in a bit of the breakfast cereal to my oatmeal-- so oatmeal + milk + ~1/2cup frosted flakes (or shredded wheat, or corn flakes, etc) on top. I love breakfast cereal, but it's not really very filling, and using it as a mix-in helps satisfy that "want" while still leaving me with a filling and nutritious breakfast.

Lunches tend to be mostly leftovers. I usually make more than enough dinner portions that there are a couple or three lunches' worth of leftovers. If there don't happen to be any leftovers, then I'll do pbj sandwiches or something similar. I personally often skip lunch, as breakfast usually holds me well past noon; I'm also self-employed, and that gives me more paying hours in a shorter day, plus we normally eat dinner around 4pm, which is a lot earlier than many folks. The kids are also normally in school, so they eat lunch there; Kiddo is gluten/dairy sensitive, so we usually pack him a lunch, which is why sometimes you'll see me post about granola bars and stuff like that.

I should do a couple more "here's what I'm having for breakfast/lunch" posts, so people who didn't start from the very beginning can see.

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #443 on: April 29, 2018, 07:11:03 AM »
More grocery errands yesterday.

King Soopers:


Tortillas: $2.00
Taco seasoning: $0 (free Friday)
Tictacs: $0 (free friday)
Pineapple: $1.94
Pasta (5lbs): $2.45
Milk: $.50
Almond milk: $4
Potato chips: $0 (free friday)

Total receipt = $10.89. I was planning on buying milk at Safeway for $2/gallon, but as I was in the dairy section, I noticed they had short-dated half-gallons marked down to $.25 each!

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

Also went to Sprouts again (fortunately, it's directly on the way home from King Soopers (and Home Depot, which was the other errand I did yesterday).



Strawberries: $6.16
Oranges: $1.83
Craisins: $.72

Total receipt = $8.71. More strawberries for the freezer. The craisins are planned to end up in my granola bars. They also had bananas on sale for cheaper than Costco, but they were out, so I made sure to get a raincheck; which is fine, actually, since we still have a watermelon and the two pineapple to work through.

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #444 on: April 29, 2018, 07:28:14 AM »
Sandwiches for dinner yesterday (saturday). Sorry, no pics again.

Bread: $.99
Meat: $3.33
Cheese: $.65
Lettuce: $.20
Red pepper: $.50
Green pepper: $.50
Onion: $.11

Total dinner cost = $6.28 plus mayo and mustard. We used about 1/2 the package of cold cuts, which I slipped back in the freezer, so next time we do sandwiches it will count as that much cheaper.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2018, 08:01:54 PM by APowers »

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #445 on: April 29, 2018, 08:04:02 PM »
Went to pick up a microwave off craigslist, and stopped in King Soopers on the way:



Pineapple: $2.91. Since I'm on a freezing streak, and it's only 97˘/each....I am so happy to have that additional freezer space!

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #446 on: April 29, 2018, 08:07:19 PM »
Dinner tonight was leftovers. Finished off the beans most of everything else that was left over this week. Probably added ~$.50-.75 of other ingredients (some veggies, a few chips, a few tortillas, etc.).

momcpa

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 89
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #447 on: April 29, 2018, 09:05:17 PM »
I am amazed at the low monthly costs that some/most of you have for your groceries. I keep track of all our expenses on Quicken and just did a summary of our grocery costs for last year and our dining out costs for last year.  The combined number is really big compared to all of you.  And I don't think we eat that extravagant or fancy.  Pretty much meat and potatoes.  Bad habit of soda that doesn't help the total costs.

My question to you who inspire me.........do you keep your toiletries, house cleaning, laundry supplies separate from your food costs?  I lump all those costs in with my grocery expense.  (shampoo/bath soap/toothpaste/laundry soap/batteries/toilet paper/printer ink/foil/etc)  Is that what is making my numbers so high?  Or maybe I'm kidding myself on the amount of food I buy!!

Thanks for any comments.  (and keep up the great work!)

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #448 on: April 29, 2018, 10:13:05 PM »
I am amazed at the low monthly costs that some/most of you have for your groceries. I keep track of all our expenses on Quicken and just did a summary of our grocery costs for last year and our dining out costs for last year.  The combined number is really big compared to all of you.  And I don't think we eat that extravagant or fancy.  Pretty much meat and potatoes.  Bad habit of soda that doesn't help the total costs.

My question to you who inspire me.........do you keep your toiletries, house cleaning, laundry supplies separate from your food costs?  I lump all those costs in with my grocery expense.  (shampoo/bath soap/toothpaste/laundry soap/batteries/toilet paper/printer ink/foil/etc)  Is that what is making my numbers so high?  Or maybe I'm kidding myself on the amount of food I buy!!

Thanks for any comments.  (and keep up the great work!)

Thanks for the compliment!

I do separate out "household" costs (printer ink, foil, batteries, ziplocs), from "toiletries" (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper), from "food" (actual food only). So the costs here are only food-- things that we actually eat.

I don't know what portion of your "groceries" are food vs. other stuff, only you can tell. I do recommend tracking it, if you really want to see where your spending goes. For us, I don't have the exact numbers in front of me, and I'm too lazy to dig them out, but historically, household/toiletries/etc certainly don't average more than another $100/month (usually more like $20, unless we have to buy printer ink or replace a laptop or some other relatively big ticket item).

APowers

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #449 on: April 29, 2018, 10:16:50 PM »
Really, all I want to do is to make a thread worthy enough to be part of the Ultimate Mustachian Food Guide created by @acorn, lol. I discovered it a while back, and then was disappointed that I hadn't made the cut *sad face*. It is such a great compilation thread, though. If any of you haven't checked it out, you should.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2018, 10:19:15 PM by APowers »