Author Topic: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget  (Read 56194 times)

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #550 on: July 01, 2018, 02:48:20 PM »
Did burrito-tacos for dinner last night. Pretty low-key. Maybe $3 in ingredients.



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

Also did a Safeway errand



Corn: $1.00
Ground beef: $22.33
Shredded cheese: $0 (freebie)

Total receipt = $23.33. I had originally only gone in to pick up the corn at 6/$1, but ground beef was $1.99/lb on a manager special. Couldn't pass it up at that price. Then I got it packed up in meal-size portions-- about 0.9lb per ziploc. I like to flatten them out so they're super-easy to defrost and I can pull them out of the freezer right before I start prepping dinner and they can defrost in the skillet.


robartsd

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #551 on: July 02, 2018, 08:45:55 AM »
I like to flatten them out so they're super-easy to defrost and I can pull them out of the freezer right before I start prepping dinner and they can defrost in the skillet.
[/quote]
Plus, I bet it makes keeping the freezer organized easier.

Trifele

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #552 on: July 02, 2018, 08:59:47 AM »
Thank you for this thread, APowers.  Badass. 

Megs193

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #553 on: July 02, 2018, 01:50:12 PM »
Flattening the ground beef out is genius!  Not only does it thaw faster but its a space saver. I buy my ground beef in bulk at Costco. Its a little more but I think the quality is excellent and I am definitely stealing this method!

Roadrunner53

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #554 on: July 02, 2018, 04:29:06 PM »
You could also cook it up with onions, let it cool and then vacuum seal it flat then freeze it. I do that all the time. Then you are 1 step ahead with most recipes that call for cooked ground beef and I love onions in everything.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #555 on: July 02, 2018, 06:35:09 PM »
Quote from: APowers
I like to flatten them out so they're super-easy to defrost and I can pull them out of the freezer right before I start prepping dinner and they can defrost in the skillet.
Plus, I bet it makes keeping the freezer organized easier.

Yeah. It does help the organization a lot. Especially since I can stand them on edge and pull them out like books, instead of them just piling and falling all over themselves when I go to take one out. I use quart-size ziplocs-- and the grocery store usually packs their value-size ground beef in ~3.5lb trays, so it's easy to portion out-- just 1/4 of the tray per bag. No measuring or trying to portion it on a scale.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #556 on: July 02, 2018, 06:45:13 PM »
Had a friend over for dinner last night. She brought a salad, and I pan-roasted three bone-in chicken breasts ($4.07) with a few carrots, and served with corn on the cob. It was delicious.

Pro-tip: ALWAYS marinate your meat. I used to think "marinate" meant I had to fix up some fancy brine solution, but it's easier than that. The goal is to get salt on the meat. So all I do is take my chicken breasts and use my salt shaker and shake salt on both top and bottom, and pile them all in a container and let them sit in the fridge overnight. Or for 30 minutes. Or for a few hours. Generally, the longer the better. They cook up SO MUCH juicier and more flavourful. Salt is amazing.

Tonight we pretty much just did leftovers-- chicken, leftover corn, and I cooked up the asparagus. _I_ wanted some bread, so I made a loaf's worth of dough, and then pan-fried it in my cast-iron skillet; it turned out really good for going from flour to flatbread in 90 minutes or less.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #557 on: July 03, 2018, 09:36:22 PM »
I was gone working pretty much all day. SO made pancakes for dinner. I had mine with peanut butter and strawberry sauce. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm.



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

Also, stopped at Safeway on the way home and picked up a couple extra somethings, because it's our anniversary.



Chocolate bar: $2
Oreos: $1.72

Total receipt = $3.72. Chocolate for her, because, well, yeah. And Oreos, because, well, also for her :). She is my favourite human in the world.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #558 on: July 05, 2018, 10:23:53 PM »
Did hamburgers on 4th of July-- free patties on homemade buns. Was super delicious.



Dinner tonight was beans and corn chips. We also did a Costco errand, and had a pre-dinner snack-- pickles, cheese, salami, trail mix, some fruit/chia sauce, etc.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #559 on: July 05, 2018, 10:32:27 PM »
Costco errand:



Ranch seasoning: $5.99
Bananas: $1.39
Ham: $7.69

Total receipt = $15.07. SO wanted "real" ranch. This will be way less expensive than buying it pre-made, and much more consistent than my "add a little of this, and a little of that, and about yay much dill..." method.

robartsd

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #560 on: July 06, 2018, 08:41:47 AM »
Those burgers look great. In addition to being cheaper, I think that ranch made from seasoning tastes better than the bottled stuff too.

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #561 on: July 06, 2018, 10:45:50 AM »
Costco errand:

Ranch seasoning: $5.99
Bananas: $1.39
Ham: $7.69

I did not know that Costco sold ranch seasoning! That's going on my list. Husband loves ranch dressing, and I like the flavor but not all the additives in shelf-stable bottled dressing.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #562 on: July 06, 2018, 09:08:39 PM »
Sorry for the long delay...I saved all the receipts from our vacation, and thought y'all might appreciate the cost breakdown.

Food |$241.66|
Restaurants: $109.02 (7 different occasions. Mostly Costco food court, with a couple Wendy's, a Denny's, and a Chipotle)
Groceries:$132.64 (Mostly our share of food while we shared the Airbnb with family, but also some bread/meat/cheese for travelling lunches)

Lodging |$716.60|
Hotel in Billings, Airbnb in Tacoma, Hotels in Redding/St. George/Moab

Fuel |$480.52|
Stopped for gas more than once per day, on average (16 stops/13 days). Also included in this are a couple quarts of oil, and a couple toll roads. According to Google Maps, this road trip was ~4,000 miles.

Fun activities
National park pass: $80 (we will definitely use this multiple times before it expires)
Arches souvenirs: $10.64
Legoland CA: free (guest passes; grandparents are lifetime members and had extra tickets)
Little Sister's wedding: free (more or less, haha)

-----------------------------
We also managed to forget SO's razor, so we spent a couple dollars for a pack of disposables-- of which she only used one or two, so we still have some left.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2018, 09:28:05 PM by APowers »

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #563 on: July 09, 2018, 11:01:33 PM »
Ohkay.... catchup time!

Thursday and friday were pretty normal boring dinners. Did beans as dip with tortilla chips, lettuce, and cheese for dinner on thursday. Friday was mainly leftovers.

Saturday we invited some (new) friends over-- well.... they insisted on dinner being their treat, since we've hosted them before, but instead of going out, they came over and brought pizza fixings (homemade dough, plus a bunch of different toppings). I threw together a salad to go with it, and splurged on a 2L bottle of soda (mainly for the kids, but what's a pizza party without soft drinks). It was fun, and we plan on doing other fun things with them in the future.

Yesterday, we did sandwiches for dinner, and tonight we had jambalaya (two meal portions squirrelled away for the freezer).

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #564 on: July 09, 2018, 11:18:40 PM »
Grocery errands over the weekend:

Safeway on Friday:


Chips: $0 (freebie)
Eggs: $0 (freebie)
Milk: $1.77
Cantaloupe: $.97

Total receipt = $2.74. The melon works out to be ~$.33/lb, which is pretty cheap for fruit, imo.

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

King Soopers:



Otter pops: $2.50
Protein bar: $0 (freebie)
Sour Patch Kids: $0 (freebie)
Bagels: $0 (freebie)
Butter: $4.47
Soda (not pictured-- 2L bottle store-brand soda): $.86

Total receipt = $7.83. The bagels were a pretty nice giveaway item; I think it must have been a new flavour introduction offer.

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

Sprouts:



Anaheim pepper (spicy): $.34
Celery: $1.29
Lettuce: $.99
Radishes: $.50
Apples (not pictured): $.38

Total receipt = $3.50. The apples aren't pictured because they got eaten before we got home; the kids were doing pretty amazing on this errand, and apples were $.50/lb, so I let them each pick one to eat in the car on the way home.

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

Discount Store:



Bread: $1.98.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #565 on: July 10, 2018, 07:22:14 AM »
Here's the end-of-month tally for June. Obviously this month is not normal because of the giant 2-week roadtrip vacation we took. But let's see how the numbers actually shake out...


$6.96 --- Safeway [2 visits]
$28.44 --- King Soopers [2 visits]
$21.57 --- Sprouts [3 visits]
$4.87 --- Discount Store [2 visits]


$109.02 --- Restaurants on the road trip (7 meals out; some Wendy's, some Costco, a Denny's, and a Chipotle)
$132.64 --- Groceries on the road trip (Some WinCo, some wal-mart, some Costco)
______

$303.50 --- Total Food Spending for June.


$124.70 = January
$210.46 = February ($201.28 if you don't count eating out)
$286.43 = March ($277.78 if you don't count eating out)
$185.53 = April ($172.57 if you don't count eating out)
$238.63 = May ($108.63 if you don't count eating out)
$303.50 = June ($194.48 if you don't count eating out)

YTD Averages:

$224.88 = Monthly average (including eating out)
$179.91 =  Monthly average (not counting eating out)

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #566 on: July 11, 2018, 08:20:00 PM »
Costco errand on tuesday:



Tortilla chips: $3.89
Tortillas: $3.95
Corn tortillas: 2.99
Rotisserie chicken: $5.40

Total receipt = $16.23. I have determined that our last Costco bag of tortilla chips lasts for _at least_ 6 chip-centric meals; my "buy it" point for a regular bag of tortilla chips (1 meal) is $1. I didn't expect it to be more than a break-even deal, but I am pleasantly surprised. Yes, we ate the rotisserie chicken for dinner that night. Served with some bread (GF pasta for Kiddo), and a few veggies (kids had veggies with their lunch, so not too concerned).

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

Sprouts errand tonight:



Cucumber: $.50
Red peppers: $1.50
Green peppers: $.50
Tomatoes (1.8lb): $.89
Cherries (3.3lb): $3.20
Oatmeal (7.2lb): $7.12

Total receipt = $13.71. I discovered this morning that we were OUT OF OATMEAL. This pretty much constitutes an emergency in my house, lol! I should have bought some 3 weeks ago when it was $.69/lb, but I thought I could make it another ad cycle. I was wrong. These oats were $.99/lb, so not TOO bad, but still 50% more than I want to pay. Lesson learned: always buy the oatmeal when it's on sale.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #567 on: July 11, 2018, 08:29:34 PM »
On a food-unrelated note....

Last weekend, I noticed my work truck front wheels were WAY out of alignment. I jacked it up on saturday only to find that the tie rod linkage (drag link?) rod had somehow been STRIPPED out of the tie rod end. Not. Okay.

It took me about 4hrs to fix the truck from start to finish, including doing an alignment. The new part was $36. If I had taken it to a shop, it would have cost me $300-600! Even assuming the low-end estimate of $300-- that's about $65/hr SAVED. Maybe it's not additional cash in my pocket, but it's sure a lot of money that didn't have to come out of my pocket. I have worked on cars before, but I have never done this. Having the ability to fix/service my own vehicle saves me a TON of money, because otherwise I'd be at the mercy of a shop (and even a cheap auto shop charges $70/hr for labour).

Trifele

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #568 on: July 12, 2018, 04:07:06 AM »
On a food-unrelated note....

Last weekend, I noticed my work truck front wheels were WAY out of alignment. I jacked it up on saturday only to find that the tie rod linkage (drag link?) rod had somehow been STRIPPED out of the tie rod end. Not. Okay.

It took me about 4hrs to fix the truck from start to finish, including doing an alignment. The new part was $36. If I had taken it to a shop, it would have cost me $300-600! Even assuming the low-end estimate of $300-- that's about $65/hr SAVED. Maybe it's not additional cash in my pocket, but it's sure a lot of money that didn't have to come out of my pocket. I have worked on cars before, but I have never done this. Having the ability to fix/service my own vehicle saves me a TON of money, because otherwise I'd be at the mercy of a shop (and even a cheap auto shop charges $70/hr for labour).

Fantastic.  You're the man!

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #569 on: July 12, 2018, 09:28:26 PM »
Dinner tonight was the leftover beans. I had carrot sticks with mine, the kids ate the last of the lettuce.


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

As another side-note unrelated to food-- I've mentioned that I was remodeling the basement. Well, we got it pretty much finished and outfitted and listed it on Airbnb towards the beginning of the month. It booked up really quickly and we have our second set of guests already! I'm really excited that our house can now generate some income for us. It's a new adventure for me, since I've never done this before.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #570 on: July 13, 2018, 06:33:34 AM »
Dinner tonight was the leftover beans. I had carrot sticks with mine, the kids ate the last of the lettuce.


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

As another side-note unrelated to food-- I've mentioned that I was remodeling the basement. Well, we got it pretty much finished and outfitted and listed it on Airbnb towards the beginning of the month. It booked up really quickly and we have our second set of guests already! I'm really excited that our house can now generate some income for us. It's a new adventure for me, since I've never done this before.

As much as I like the idea of generating income by renting out part of my house, I don't think I would like a parade of weird people coming and going in my house. You might have 50 great renters and then comes along the one scary odd ball. Good luck to you but not my cup of tea!

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #571 on: July 13, 2018, 06:46:17 AM »
Dinner tonight was the leftover beans. I had carrot sticks with mine, the kids ate the last of the lettuce.


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

As another side-note unrelated to food-- I've mentioned that I was remodeling the basement. Well, we got it pretty much finished and outfitted and listed it on Airbnb towards the beginning of the month. It booked up really quickly and we have our second set of guests already! I'm really excited that our house can now generate some income for us. It's a new adventure for me, since I've never done this before.

As much as I like the idea of generating income by renting out part of my house, I don't think I would like a parade of weird people coming and going in my house. You might have 50 great renters and then comes along the one scary odd ball. Good luck to you but not my cup of tea!

Our basement is such that it has a separate entrance, and access to the main house can be locked. These were some of the modifications I made during the remodel process-- specifically for privacy/security reasons.

zoochadookdook

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #572 on: July 13, 2018, 09:48:12 AM »
Broke single 26 year old here. I live with the girlfriend of 7 years. Together our grocery budget is around 200 a month. I spend maybe 4 times a month on pizza. She doesn't cook, mainly all prepackaged so it makes it tricky but we manage. So far Costco bags of rice and our local (ungraded so cheaper) bulk meat market are god sends. That and discovering a rice cooker. Protein powder from myprotein comes out to 200 servings at 19g protein for like $50 which is by far the cheapest protein source I've found, etc.

Does anyone have any healthy/flavorful rice cooker meal ideas? I eat around 3000 calories a day (instruct wrestling at night/work all day) and find it hard to cook multiple healthy meals so I'm all about convenience.

Thanks

mm1970

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #573 on: July 13, 2018, 11:14:33 AM »
On a food-unrelated note....

Last weekend, I noticed my work truck front wheels were WAY out of alignment. I jacked it up on saturday only to find that the tie rod linkage (drag link?) rod had somehow been STRIPPED out of the tie rod end. Not. Okay.

It took me about 4hrs to fix the truck from start to finish, including doing an alignment. The new part was $36. If I had taken it to a shop, it would have cost me $300-600! Even assuming the low-end estimate of $300-- that's about $65/hr SAVED. Maybe it's not additional cash in my pocket, but it's sure a lot of money that didn't have to come out of my pocket. I have worked on cars before, but I have never done this. Having the ability to fix/service my own vehicle saves me a TON of money, because otherwise I'd be at the mercy of a shop (and even a cheap auto shop charges $70/hr for labour).
My spouse's car's AC broke, right before an incoming heat wave in the 100's. 

He googled.  Well known for Civics of that age.

He made an appt with Honda.

He googled some more.  Found the broken relay.  Pulled a different relay, put it in the AC relay spot.  AC worked.
He cancelled the Honda appointment.  Went to car parts store.  $20 for the new relay.

Google says having it replaced by Honda would be $102-$200

zoochadookdook

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #574 on: July 13, 2018, 11:29:00 AM »
On a food-unrelated note....

Last weekend, I noticed my work truck front wheels were WAY out of alignment. I jacked it up on saturday only to find that the tie rod linkage (drag link?) rod had somehow been STRIPPED out of the tie rod end. Not. Okay.

It took me about 4hrs to fix the truck from start to finish, including doing an alignment. The new part was $36. If I had taken it to a shop, it would have cost me $300-600! Even assuming the low-end estimate of $300-- that's about $65/hr SAVED. Maybe it's not additional cash in my pocket, but it's sure a lot of money that didn't have to come out of my pocket. I have worked on cars before, but I have never done this. Having the ability to fix/service my own vehicle saves me a TON of money, because otherwise I'd be at the mercy of a shop (and even a cheap auto shop charges $70/hr for labour).
My spouse's car's AC broke, right before an incoming heat wave in the 100's. 

He googled.  Well known for Civics of that age.

He made an appt with Honda.

He googled some more.  Found the broken relay.  Pulled a different relay, put it in the AC relay spot.  AC worked.
He cancelled the Honda appointment.  Went to car parts store.  $20 for the new relay.

Google says having it replaced by Honda would be $102-$200

my 04 civic ac compressor decided to seize the other day
The compressor is $200 or so. Labor is a pita.
I may decide to buy it (or not, it never worked anyway) when I have my timing belt done in 10k miles but for now I got a shorter belt that skips the ac compressor pulley and just winds the alternator and crank. Cost $50 installed vs 400

Hirondelle

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #575 on: July 13, 2018, 11:30:25 AM »
Broke single 26 year old here. I live with the girlfriend of 7 years. Together our grocery budget is around 200 a month. I spend maybe 4 times a month on pizza. She doesn't cook, mainly all prepackaged so it makes it tricky but we manage. So far Costco bags of rice and our local (ungraded so cheaper) bulk meat market are god sends. That and discovering a rice cooker. Protein powder from myprotein comes out to 200 servings at 19g protein for like $50 which is by far the cheapest protein source I've found, etc.

Does anyone have any healthy/flavorful rice cooker meal ideas? I eat around 3000 calories a day (instruct wrestling at night/work all day) and find it hard to cook multiple healthy meals so I'm all about convenience.

Thanks

Couldn't you cook meals for your girlfriend while cooking for yourself? E.g. meal planning/bulk cooking. There's several threads on this forum talking about meal plans and bulk cooking so you should be able to find plenty of inspiration there. Considering you're already as low as $200 while using many prepackaged foods is quite good!

I don't have a rice cooker, but I regularly make big batches of Thai or Indian style curry. They are 3-5 portions at a time depending on amount of veggies/tofu I throw in (I know that's not a big batch but I'm a single person with a small freezer so it's the max I can stock up). Another easy rice option is just good old fried rice with veggies SE-Asian style. Have the rice/spice/some veggies frozen as a base meal and throw in variations while heating it up.

zoochadookdook

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #576 on: July 13, 2018, 11:40:11 AM »
Broke single 26 year old here. I live with the girlfriend of 7 years. Together our grocery budget is around 200 a month. I spend maybe 4 times a month on pizza. She doesn't cook, mainly all prepackaged so it makes it tricky but we manage. So far Costco bags of rice and our local (ungraded so cheaper) bulk meat market are god sends. That and discovering a rice cooker. Protein powder from myprotein comes out to 200 servings at 19g protein for like $50 which is by far the cheapest protein source I've found, etc.

Does anyone have any healthy/flavorful rice cooker meal ideas? I eat around 3000 calories a day (instruct wrestling at night/work all day) and find it hard to cook multiple healthy meals so I'm all about convenience.

Thanks

Couldn't you cook meals for your girlfriend while cooking for yourself? E.g. meal planning/bulk cooking. There's several threads on this forum talking about meal plans and bulk cooking so you should be able to find plenty of inspiration there. Considering you're already as low as $200 while using many prepackaged foods is quite good!

I don't have a rice cooker, but I regularly make big batches of Thai or Indian style curry. They are 3-5 portions at a time depending on amount of veggies/tofu I throw in (I know that's not a big batch but I'm a single person with a small freezer so it's the max I can stock up). Another easy rice option is just good old fried rice with veggies SE-Asian style. Have the rice/spice/some veggies frozen as a base meal and throw in variations while heating it up.

I love thai food but whenever I head over to krogers it seems like I could have ordered out from the insanely good authentic joint (massive portions) for the same price as ingredients. Curry I could get down with; a rice cooker acts as a slow cooker/saute then simmer as well.

Fried rice I completely forgot about. Any tips? I normally just throw it with some eggs, hot sauce, canola oil, bag of veggies.

Hirondelle

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #577 on: July 13, 2018, 01:13:10 PM »
I'm not any more creative with my fried rice but changing up the veggies and indeed some egg/tofu. I'm also a fish sauce lover so it's a variety of fish sauce, spicy sauce and/or soy sauce. Cashews are also a good add! And some lime. And now I want to go back to Asia and eat it all :p

zoochadookdook

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #578 on: July 13, 2018, 01:20:24 PM »
I'm not any more creative with my fried rice but changing up the veggies and indeed some egg/tofu. I'm also a fish sauce lover so it's a variety of fish sauce, spicy sauce and/or soy sauce. Cashews are also a good add! And some lime. And now I want to go back to Asia and eat it all :p

Yeah the fish sauce was spendy but it definitly has to have the spice. I can't ever seem to make it near as hot as this local thai place (they have some sort of nuclear government lab thai chili going on). This weekend I might take another crack at it; or at the very least try some new fried rice.

Getting enough protein in that tastes good is another sort of tricky requirement. I eat a ton of chicken, eggs, etc a week and cooking flavorful/not dry chicken in bulk is always a bit of a challenge!

seattlecyclone

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #579 on: July 13, 2018, 07:00:27 PM »
I've recently started following the weekly sales and coupons more closely. Pretty proud of today's shopping trip. I got:

* 4 3/8 gallon containers of ice cream,
* 4 pounds of cheese,
* 12 cans of fizzy water (got mint in the CSA this week and want to make some mojitos),
* 3 50-yard dental flosses,
* 2 pounds of frozen potatoes,
* Some weird milk made out of pea protein (I'll try anything if you pay me to take it out of the store),
* a loaf of bread,
* a dozen eggs, and
* a candy bar.
Net cost: $12.85 after coupons and scanning my receipt with the ibotta app, plus I got a $2 coupon for my next trip.
I made a blog! https://seattlecyclone.com/

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APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #580 on: July 13, 2018, 09:55:04 PM »
Broke single 26 year old here. I live with the girlfriend of 7 years. Together our grocery budget is around 200 a month. I spend maybe 4 times a month on pizza. She doesn't cook, mainly all prepackaged so it makes it tricky but we manage. So far Costco bags of rice and our local (ungraded so cheaper) bulk meat market are god sends. That and discovering a rice cooker. Protein powder from myprotein comes out to 200 servings at 19g protein for like $50 which is by far the cheapest protein source I've found, etc.

Does anyone have any healthy/flavorful rice cooker meal ideas? I eat around 3000 calories a day (instruct wrestling at night/work all day) and find it hard to cook multiple healthy meals so I'm all about convenience.

Thanks

Jambalaya is a great rice dish. And easy to make in a big batch and freeze for later. If you make it with more meat per portion than I do, it's likely even pretty good protein-wise.

On a side note, $1/lb for chicken gives the same protein/cost as your protein powder. Or, 1 cup cooked beans + 1 cup cooked rice = ~24g protein, and I know those are cheaper than $1/lb.

I would give you recipes....if I cooked from them, lol! I think most of the recipes I've written down in this thread have been based on me pausing to measure things as I just added them by eye. Stir-fry is great. Rice and beans are great. I'm not sure how much sameness you can stand from day to day, but rice/bean dishes keep really well-- if I was only cooking for myself, I'd probably make a batch of rice, a batch of beans, and eat them in various combinations for a week, and then switch it up once they were gone. Or just cook a new batch. But I'm not one to be compelled to always eat something different every day. Eating planned leftovers is probably the most convenient food situation I can think of.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #581 on: July 13, 2018, 09:58:39 PM »
I've recently started following the weekly sales and coupons more closely. Pretty proud of today's shopping trip. I got:

* 4 3/8 gallon containers of ice cream,
* 4 pounds of cheese,
* 12 cans of fizzy water (got mint in the CSA this week and want to make some mojitos),
* 3 50-yard dental flosses,
* 2 pounds of frozen potatoes,
* Some weird milk made out of pea protein (I'll try anything if you pay me to take it out of the store),
* a loaf of bread,
* a dozen eggs, and
* a candy bar.
Net cost: $12.85 after coupons and scanning my receipt with the ibotta app, plus I got a $2 coupon for my next trip.

That's a pretty great grocery bargain! Did you manage to get the ice cream for free? Getting 4lbs of cheese along with a bunch of other stuff in a $13 purchase is some fine sales-catching!

ETA: This was at Fred Meyer, wasn't it?
« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 10:06:24 PM by APowers »

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #582 on: July 13, 2018, 10:00:33 PM »
Dinner tonight was rice, brussels sprouts, and the leftover chicken from Costco.



I added a bit of soy sauce and bbq to mine, the kids ate theirs pretty plain.

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #583 on: July 14, 2018, 12:56:24 AM »
I've recently started following the weekly sales and coupons more closely. Pretty proud of today's shopping trip. I got:

* 4 3/8 gallon containers of ice cream,
* 4 pounds of cheese,
* 12 cans of fizzy water (got mint in the CSA this week and want to make some mojitos),
* 3 50-yard dental flosses,
* 2 pounds of frozen potatoes,
* Some weird milk made out of pea protein (I'll try anything if you pay me to take it out of the store),
* a loaf of bread,
* a dozen eggs, and
* a candy bar.
Net cost: $12.85 after coupons and scanning my receipt with the ibotta app, plus I got a $2 coupon for my next trip.

That's a pretty great grocery bargain! Did you manage to get the ice cream for free? Getting 4lbs of cheese along with a bunch of other stuff in a $13 purchase is some fine sales-catching!

ETA: This was at Fred Meyer, wasn't it?

It was QFC, same corporate parent as Fred Meyer.

The ice cream was a 99 Friday/Saturday only deal, limit 5. I wasn't sure my freezer could hold all five, so I only bought four. In hindsight I probably could have bought the fifth one. ibotta gave me 25 back on the first ice cream.

The dental floss was this deal: $1.99 normal price, but part of the "buy 5, save $5" promotion, making them 99 each if you purchase participating items in multiples of five. Printable coupons get $1.00 off the first floss and 75 off subsequent flosses, bringing the cost for three down to 47. Then if you buy three or more the cash register spits out a coupon for $2 off your next shopping trip, meaning they're paying you $1.53 to take home some dental floss. I'm happy the Kroger Krazy blog exists to tell me about these things because I would never spend the time to put the pieces together on my own. It's fun when it works out!

The cheese was also part of the "buy 5, save $5" promotion. I bought two two-pound packages to round out the discount from the dental floss: a brick of colby jack and a bag of shredded mozzarella. They ended up being $5.49 each. Seems like they mess with the price of cheese every week at QFC. Sometimes one size will be on sale, making bigger sizes less cost-effective. Sometimes they'll put Tillamook on sale, leaving the store brand more expensive. It makes no sense. We go through a lot of cheese in our house and my rule of thumb is to replenish our supplies when it's $3/pound or less, skip it otherwise.

The candy bar was the "Free Friday" promotion they run every week where they give you some little thing free for signing into the store coupon app on Friday. You don't actually have to go to the store that day, but I did anyway.

The pea protein milk and frozen potatoes had ibotta rebates making them free, or slight money makers after factoring in the credit card points.

I paid full price for the fizzy water, bread, and eggs (minus 25 from ibotta for the eggs).

Bringing the total down farther was a $5 off $25 coupon QFC sent in the mail, and a $2 coupon the cash register spat out the last time I went to the store.
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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #584 on: July 15, 2018, 07:48:27 AM »
Here's my grocery errands yesterday:

King Soopers:



Eggs: $2.57
Milk: $.99
Ice cream: $4.95
Yellow peppers: $.99
Chocolate bar: $0 (freebie)

Total receipt = $9.50. After all that talk about ice cream.... My register never seems to give me any $2 off coupons-- I bet it's because I don't ever buy any non-food high-margin items.

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

Discount Store:


Bread: $1.98. I also noticed that they had sliced turkey cold cuts in their freezer section for $1.69/lb-- that's the best price I've seen for lunch meat-- which means we'll be able to do sandwiches more often. I'm going to go back today to pick up a batch of them.

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

Sprouts:


Cucumbers: $1
Green peppers: $1.50
Lettuce: $1.98
Cherries (2.25lb): $2.18
Tomatoes (1.5lb): $.75
Corn (8 ears): $1.60
Chicken breast (~14.5lb): $14.00

Total receipt = $23.01. I was going to get chicken at Safeway (where it's $1/lb), but I happened to glance at the Sprouts flyer while I was in the store, and they had chicken breast for $.97/lb-- so that saved me a whole trip to Safeway!

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #585 on: July 15, 2018, 07:49:56 AM »
Dinner tonight was sandwiches. I pan-toasted mine with some bacon grease. Yum!


APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #586 on: July 15, 2018, 03:40:09 PM »
Grocery errands to report!

Went to Save-a-Lot foods, which is not really in my shopping radius, as it's further away than I like to go. But they had bacon on sale!



Bacon (15lbs): $22.50
Potatoes: $1.98

Total receipt = $24.48. Bacon was $1.50/lb! I don't think I've seen this low of a price in literally years.

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

Discount store:



Turkey cold cuts: $25.35
Milk: $.99

Total receipt = $26.34. The turkey was frozen, and only $1.69/lb, which is way cheaper than I can find lunch meat anywhere else. This meas sandwiches (a perennial dinner favourite) are able to be in the dinner rotation much more often.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #587 on: July 15, 2018, 03:41:53 PM »
Also, my chest freezer is officially full now. It also needs to be re-organized so that everything can be reached as needed. Or maybe we need to start eating from it more....

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #588 on: July 17, 2018, 05:45:58 AM »
So lunch meat can be frozen and defrosted? Why have I never figured this out in all my years?? Lol. I am the only one that likes sandwiches with turkey meat in my family.
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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #589 on: July 17, 2018, 06:02:02 AM »
Dinner on sunday...we had friends over, so cooked larger portions than normal, but totally worth it. Aaaaaannd I totally forgot to take a picture again. We did corn on the cob with roasted chicken breast and salad on the side. And root beer floats for dessert!

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

Dinner yesterday was fajitas! SO made dinner since I was working late. But leftover chicken and stir-fried peppers/onions/tomatoes/corn. NOM.


APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #590 on: July 17, 2018, 06:06:49 AM »
So lunch meat can be frozen and defrosted? Why have I never figured this out in all my years?? Lol. I am the only one that likes sandwiches with turkey meat in my family.

YES! Lunch meat freezes Really Well, imo. Which makes it really easy to stock up on when the price is right. You do have to make sure that you allow it to completely defrost, otherwise sometimes the slices can be still frozen together in the center, even if all the surface is completely thawed. I haven't noticed the texture/flavour being affected, either-- not like cheese, which becomes a bit crumbly and hard to slice after being frozen; it tastes the same, so I still freeze cheese, though-- I just make sure to slice it *before* freezing, instead of freezing it as a block.

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #591 on: July 18, 2018, 08:06:48 AM »
For a family of 4 , 2 Adults 2 young teenagers and occasionally a 5th when one comes home for college we have still steadily held at 600$ a month. I dont seem to get below that number unless I cut out way to much nutrition and or freshness. We do eat meat pretty much every night and that also includes all toiletries and cleaning supplies and laundry stuff. We dont have waste so thats good but I think thats as low as I can get.
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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #592 on: July 18, 2018, 08:19:45 AM »
So lunch meat can be frozen and defrosted? Why have I never figured this out in all my years?? Lol. I am the only one that likes sandwiches with turkey meat in my family.

I buy lunch meat and have the kids make up cold cut sandwiches every Sunday night, then freeze the sandwiches.  They last at least a month if you freeze them very airtight.   Thaw overnight and put the condiments on in the morning for school lunches, or remove from the freezer in the morning and put in an insulated bag and add the condiments if desired at work or school.   It has really helped us avoid cold cuts and cheese going bad.

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #593 on: July 18, 2018, 01:19:37 PM »
So lunch meat can be frozen and defrosted? Why have I never figured this out in all my years?? Lol. I am the only one that likes sandwiches with turkey meat in my family.

I buy lunch meat and have the kids make up cold cut sandwiches every Sunday night, then freeze the sandwiches.  They last at least a month if you freeze them very airtight.   Thaw overnight and put the condiments on in the morning for school lunches, or remove from the freezer in the morning and put in an insulated bag and add the condiments if desired at work or school.   It has really helped us avoid cold cuts and cheese going bad.

This is a really good idea and would solve two problems. We are just two people in our house and a loaf of bread almost never gets used up before it is stale. Plus, at times we throw out lunch meat because it has been in the fridge too long. I LIKE this idea!

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #594 on: July 19, 2018, 07:29:42 AM »
Tuesday dinner was pasta with some leftover chicken and vegetables.

Yesterday's dinner was the last of the chicken with rice and the last of the leftover salad from sunday. I put salsa and sour cream on my chicken/rice.

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #595 on: July 19, 2018, 01:01:59 PM »
I'm not any more creative with my fried rice but changing up the veggies and indeed some egg/tofu. I'm also a fish sauce lover so it's a variety of fish sauce, spicy sauce and/or soy sauce. Cashews are also a good add! And some lime. And now I want to go back to Asia and eat it all :p

Yeah the fish sauce was spendy but it definitly has to have the spice. I can't ever seem to make it near as hot as this local thai place (they have some sort of nuclear government lab thai chili going on). This weekend I might take another crack at it; or at the very least try some new fried rice.

Getting enough protein in that tastes good is another sort of tricky requirement. I eat a ton of chicken, eggs, etc a week and cooking flavorful/not dry chicken in bulk is always a bit of a challenge!

Bake it at high temp in a 9x13 dish! I used to make dry chicken until I found out that every recipe that has you cook it at <400F and or longer than like half an hour is WRONG. As an example: http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/easy-garlic-chicken-5478?ftab=reviews&photo=384779 The glaze is delicious (I think added more oil though), but if you just do olive oil+salt+pepper or olive oil+chicken seasoning the baking instructions still work.

Poaching also works for tender chicken. I had luck with this: https://www.inspiredtaste.net/27293/tender-shredded-chicken-recipe/

Chicken thighs are fattier and easier to make tender, also frequently cheaper, but still plenty nutritious! Brining, as APowers mentioned above, also helps keep poultry tender :)

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #596 on: July 19, 2018, 05:18:05 PM »
I'm not any more creative with my fried rice but changing up the veggies and indeed some egg/tofu. I'm also a fish sauce lover so it's a variety of fish sauce, spicy sauce and/or soy sauce. Cashews are also a good add! And some lime. And now I want to go back to Asia and eat it all :p

Yeah the fish sauce was spendy but it definitly has to have the spice. I can't ever seem to make it near as hot as this local thai place (they have some sort of nuclear government lab thai chili going on). This weekend I might take another crack at it; or at the very least try some new fried rice.

Getting enough protein in that tastes good is another sort of tricky requirement. I eat a ton of chicken, eggs, etc a week and cooking flavorful/not dry chicken in bulk is always a bit of a challenge!

Bake it at high temp in a 9x13 dish! I used to make dry chicken until I found out that every recipe that has you cook it at <400F and or longer than like half an hour is WRONG. As an example: http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/easy-garlic-chicken-5478?ftab=reviews&photo=384779 The glaze is delicious (I think added more oil though), but if you just do olive oil+salt+pepper or olive oil+chicken seasoning the baking instructions still work.

Poaching also works for tender chicken. I had luck with this: https://www.inspiredtaste.net/27293/tender-shredded-chicken-recipe/

Chicken thighs are fattier and easier to make tender, also frequently cheaper, but still plenty nutritious! Brining, as APowers mentioned above, also helps keep poultry tender :)

Agreed. I bake my chicken at 400F. The breasts are pretty thick, so they take ~1hr to arrive at "done" (155), but they come out with nice crispy skin and are as juicy and tender as I think is reasonable to expect from white meat.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #597 on: July 20, 2018, 06:58:35 AM »
I got home from work, and SO was making curry something something that she let me taste a potato chunk out of-- it was AMAZING. Then she asked if I wanted to eat dinner at Costco, as the curry wouldn't be ready for at least another hour. So that's what we did.



Total cost: $12.39. One whole pizza plus a hot dog for kiddo (who also had some potato pieces prior to coming to Costco).

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

Also, a friend gave me a dozen eggs from his chickens-- fresh eggs are fantastic.


APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #598 on: July 20, 2018, 10:08:02 PM »
Did SO's curry potato stew for dinner tonight. Chicken broth, potatoes, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, curry spices, all simmered together. It was delish. NOM. The bacon on the side was also good, but -- I don't especially like potatoes, and this curry dish was GOOD.


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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #599 on: Today at 04:24:29 AM »
I live on the east coast and can't seem to find any deals on butter for a while. Every once in a while they have butter on sale for $1.99 a lb. but when it is not on sale it is creeping towards $5.00 a lb.! Anyone on the east coast finding butter anywhere on sale? How about Aldi's?