Author Topic: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget  (Read 90322 times)

Goldielocks

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #800 on: November 01, 2018, 06:21:18 PM »
I was just going to say these same things. In fact, for most of what I buy, if I were to walk into the grocery store right now, it would be about 2-3x the price. Not because I live in some HCOL area, but because _I only buy when it's on sale_. For instance. I just bought asparagus yesterday: $.97/lb; but asparagus is normally $2.99/lb, and if you walked into Sprouts today, that's what you would pay. I didn't, because they were out when it was on sale, and I got a raincheck. When asparagus isn't on sale, I don't buy it, I buy something else that's <$1/lb. Like broccoli, or green beans, or cauliflower, or cabbage, or whatever happens to be on sale that week (or I buy nothing and we eat frozen veggies until something goes on sale, or I buy as little as possible).

I've been thinking about what you said here APowers.  I live in suburb of Washington DC which I think of as a HCOL area (although the part I live in is definitely more affordable than many- still our grocery prices seem to be higher than where my parents live, for example.

I always thought the lowest cost I could reasonably find for produce was $1.99/pound.   Yes, you can sometimes get things even cheaper if you buy a 50 pound bag of it.  But for the most part I think that is the best price for most produce around here.

I took a look at a few of my grocery stores this past week to see if ANYTHING was being sold for less than $0.99/pound (other than bananas which always are $0.49/pound.  I was surprised that I could find a few:  red onions, jalapeno peppers, Japanese pumpkin, and cactus pears.  Also, one store was running a special on a certain type of large orange that almost looked like a grapefruit -- I forget the name.  And one apple was being sold at that price.  So, it was more than I had expected.

If I move up to $1.50/pound I find a few more options; and then at 1.99/pound a lot that you would expect:  non-organic carrots, cabbage, sweet potatoes and so on.

I'm interested to keep paying attention now and to lower my price point to start looking for more meals I can make using the $0.99/pound ingredients.  It's fall now so I expect mostly we will see the squashes and root vegetables, not the greens at that price.  These aren't foods I typically cook that often.
Aldi's in Washington DC has in their flyer right now -- green grapes, pineapple, mangoes, and bagged salad (89cents) all for less than $0.99/lb. Lidl has tomatoes, kiwi, sweet potatoes for less than this too.   I think you can likely find a lot of produce that fits your criteria.   Honestly, I am surprised that carrots, cabbage and onions are so expensive for you.   

Have you tried Aldi's? Lidl?  Other Discount?

CrustyBadger

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #801 on: November 01, 2018, 07:22:44 PM »
Yes, there's an Aldi's by me.  My flyer only shows grapes at 89 cents.  The mangoes are at about $1.30 a pound.   Yes, the pineapple would be less than 99 cents per pound (but of course there's a lot of the pineapple you can't eat.)  The bagged salad is $1.18 per pound (but that's a good price for bagged salad, if it is fresh!) . One problem I have with Aldi's produce is that you typically have to eat it within a day or two.

I do most of my produce shopping at an international grocery store (not a chain) where the produce is pretty fresh.   They do have some items under $0.99/pound, but not a lot.   

A Lidl just opened up in our area but it'd be a 30 minute drive.  I don't think their prices look any better than Aldi's.  I see they have kiwi and sweet potatoes for under 0.99/pound this week.


« Last Edit: November 01, 2018, 07:26:05 PM by CrustyBadger »

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #802 on: November 01, 2018, 08:31:20 PM »
I was just going to say these same things. In fact, for most of what I buy, if I were to walk into the grocery store right now, it would be about 2-3x the price. Not because I live in some HCOL area, but because _I only buy when it's on sale_. For instance. I just bought asparagus yesterday: $.97/lb; but asparagus is normally $2.99/lb, and if you walked into Sprouts today, that's what you would pay. I didn't, because they were out when it was on sale, and I got a raincheck. When asparagus isn't on sale, I don't buy it, I buy something else that's <$1/lb. Like broccoli, or green beans, or cauliflower, or cabbage, or whatever happens to be on sale that week (or I buy nothing and we eat frozen veggies until something goes on sale, or I buy as little as possible).

I've been thinking about what you said here APowers.  I live in suburb of Washington DC which I think of as a HCOL area (although the part I live in is definitely more affordable than many- still our grocery prices seem to be higher than where my parents live, for example.

I always thought the lowest cost I could reasonably find for produce was $1.99/pound.   Yes, you can sometimes get things even cheaper if you buy a 50 pound bag of it.  But for the most part I think that is the best price for most produce around here.

I took a look at a few of my grocery stores this past week to see if ANYTHING was being sold for less than $0.99/pound (other than bananas which always are $0.49/pound.  I was surprised that I could find a few:  red onions, jalapeno peppers, Japanese pumpkin, and cactus pears.  Also, one store was running a special on a certain type of large orange that almost looked like a grapefruit -- I forget the name.  And one apple was being sold at that price.  So, it was more than I had expected.

If I move up to $1.50/pound I find a few more options; and then at 1.99/pound a lot that you would expect:  non-organic carrots, cabbage, sweet potatoes and so on.

I'm interested to keep paying attention now and to lower my price point to start looking for more meals I can make using the $0.99/pound ingredients.  It's fall now so I expect mostly we will see the squashes and root vegetables, not the greens at that price.  These aren't foods I typically cook that often.
Aldi's in Washington DC has in their flyer right now -- green grapes, pineapple, mangoes, and bagged salad (89cents) all for less than $0.99/lb. Lidl has tomatoes, kiwi, sweet potatoes for less than this too.   I think you can likely find a lot of produce that fits your criteria.   Honestly, I am surprised that carrots, cabbage and onions are so expensive for you.   

Have you tried Aldi's? Lidl?  Other Discount?
Yes, there's an Aldi's by me.  My flyer only shows grapes at 89 cents.  The mangoes are at about $1.30 a pound.   Yes, the pineapple would be less than 99 cents per pound (but of course there's a lot of the pineapple you can't eat.)  The bagged salad is $1.18 per pound (but that's a good price for bagged salad, if it is fresh!) . One problem I have with Aldi's produce is that you typically have to eat it within a day or two.

I do most of my produce shopping at an international grocery store (not a chain) where the produce is pretty fresh.   They do have some items under $0.99/pound, but not a lot.   

A Lidl just opened up in our area but it'd be a 30 minute drive.  I don't think their prices look any better than Aldi's.  I see they have kiwi and sweet potatoes for under 0.99/pound this week.

I'm not local, so I'm not hip to what the really best deals are, but....based on a D.C. store selection, I can find

Aldi:
-Grapes: $.88
-Apples: $1.10
-Bagged salad: $1.16/lb (I *assume* you can therefore find heads of lettuce for $1.29 or less)

Harris Teeter:
-Onions: $.43/lb
-Carrots: $.50/lb
-Potatoes: $.35/lb
-Iceberg lettuce: $.99/head
-Kiwi: 4/$1 (not sure what the individual weights are, but seems pretty close to $1/lb)

Giant Foods:
-Apples: $.99/lb
-Sweet potatoes: $.99/lb

Shoppers:
-Grapes: $.88/lb
-Avocados: 2/$1

Safeway:
-Celery: $1.69/bunch (in my experience, this should be ~$.80-.99/lb)
-Carrots: $.59/lb
-Onions: $.67/lb
-Potatoes: $.67

This is what I could find in 30 min of browsing flyers online. Which means I've only looked at the large national chains that come up in a search for "grocery stores" in D.C., so it doesn't even account for any of the small international grocers who don't have online flyers or aren't big enough to pop up on a wide-area Google Maps search. If you're closer to Ellicott City, there is a Sprouts there, which has some pretty great prices (pineapple for $.99/each or tomatoes for $.98/lb, anyone?). As a matter of fact, the prices I saw in the flyers I looked at looked _very_ similar to the flyers in my area.

CrustyBadger

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #803 on: November 01, 2018, 09:21:36 PM »
Sure -- But take away the stew vegetables (celery, onions, carrots, potatoes) that are pretty low at each store, and what is left at under $1 a pound?  A few loss leader fruits and some iceberg lettuce.

But I'm not seeing leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, green beans for $1 a pound.  Even on sale they are usually closer to $2. 

Like I said, it is November and not surprising that the root vegetables are the ones at the lowest prices. 



APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #804 on: November 02, 2018, 06:42:29 AM »
The final grocery errand for October-- Costco:



Chips: $3.89
Bananas: $1.39
Candy: $15.99

Total receipt = $21.27. We got all of two trick-or-treaters, so now there's a giant bag of candy for....dessert, I guess? Maybe I'll use it as bribery for the kids to do some extra cleaning this weekend.

Trifele

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #805 on: November 02, 2018, 06:42:44 AM »
Sure -- But take away the stew vegetables (celery, onions, carrots, potatoes) that are pretty low at each store, and what is left at under $1 a pound?  A few loss leader fruits and some iceberg lettuce.

But I'm not seeing leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, green beans for $1 a pound.  Even on sale they are usually closer to $2. 

Like I said, it is November and not surprising that the root vegetables are the ones at the lowest prices.

This is true -- there are seasonal changes to food prices based on what's in season.  Buying (1) out of season, (2) food grown far away, or both (sort of buying 'against the grain') usually raises the price you pay.  Example -- I'm a gardener, and if I tried to grow spinach in the middle of winter I can guarantee you that the inputs required for that would result in spinach leaves that cost way more than $1 a pound. (Greenhouse, electricity, etc.)  My other choice to get fresh spinach in the winter would be to buy it from someone who lives in a climate where they can grow it outside.  This also results in expensive prices to me, because I have to pay for the leaves to be transported to me, either by truck or by plane. 

I don't recall if @APowers has commented on this (he probably has), but one way to keep grocery costs down is to simply eat what's in season near you as much as possible.  It's why we eat lots of root vegetables and make lots of soup/stew in the fall and winter.   

If you haven't checked out farmers' markets near you, including winter markets, I highly recommend it.  It will help you get a sense of what grows near you, and the timing of the harvests. 

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #806 on: November 02, 2018, 06:57:55 AM »
Sure -- But take away the stew vegetables (celery, onions, carrots, potatoes) that are pretty low at each store, and what is left at under $1 a pound?  A few loss leader fruits and some iceberg lettuce.

But I'm not seeing leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, green beans for $1 a pound.  Even on sale they are usually closer to $2. 

Like I said, it is November and not surprising that the root vegetables are the ones at the lowest prices.

Given the prices I was seeing in the flyers, I'd be *very* surprised if you couldn't find non-iceberg lettuce somewhere for ~$1/head, cabbage for ~$.60-.99/lb or less, and, depending on the week, asparagus/cauliflower/broccoli/green beans/spinach for ~$1.50/lb (I wouldn't expect ALL of them to be that price, but I'd expect one of them to be in that rotation). Or, you may find that it's cheaper this week to buy frozen veggies-- I closed all my ad flyer tabs, but I thought I remembered seeing frozen vegetables for <$1.50/lb.

OtherJen

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #807 on: November 02, 2018, 07:51:24 AM »
Sure -- But take away the stew vegetables (celery, onions, carrots, potatoes) that are pretty low at each store, and what is left at under $1 a pound?  A few loss leader fruits and some iceberg lettuce.

But I'm not seeing leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, green beans for $1 a pound.  Even on sale they are usually closer to $2. 

Like I said, it is November and not surprising that the root vegetables are the ones at the lowest prices.

Given the prices I was seeing in the flyers, I'd be *very* surprised if you couldn't find non-iceberg lettuce somewhere for ~$1/head, cabbage for ~$.60-.99/lb or less, and, depending on the week, asparagus/cauliflower/broccoli/green beans/spinach for ~$1.50/lb (I wouldn't expect ALL of them to be that price, but I'd expect one of them to be in that rotation). Or, you may find that it's cheaper this week to buy frozen veggies-- I closed all my ad flyer tabs, but I thought I remembered seeing frozen vegetables for <$1.50/lb.

Seconding frozen veggies. The store brands always seem to be <$1.50/lb. This weekend, one of the big local grocery chains put them on sale for $1/lb. Obviously, Im going there today to buy as many bags of broccoli cuts, mixed soup veggies, and green beans as will fit in my freezer because we use these so often in winter (we really need a chest freezer).

Goldielocks

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #808 on: November 02, 2018, 11:28:27 AM »
Sure -- But take away the stew vegetables (celery, onions, carrots, potatoes) that are pretty low at each store, and what is left at under $1 a pound?  A few loss leader fruits and some iceberg lettuce.

But I'm not seeing leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, green beans for $1 a pound.  Even on sale they are usually closer to $2. 

Like I said, it is November and not surprising that the root vegetables are the ones at the lowest prices.

Hey crusty -- I agree that produce is expensive. When I lived in Alberta, it was expensive AND poor quality because of the transportation costs / distances.   When I saw how much it was of my grocery bill, (over 35%) I made a list.  A list of produce "staples" and produce "treats".  This list varies by season.

The staple items (starting now) :
Cabbage
Onions
Rutabaga (lower carb than potatoes!)
Potatoes
Carrots
Asian leafy greens (Sui Choy, Bok Choi) because these are cheap here, and grown locally
Bananas
Apples / Pears / Oranges -- depends on the seasonal price
Lettuce when it is less than $1.50 per large head of green leafy lettuce
Cauliflower (on sale right now and until mid winter)

 -- and I watch out for prices on these.   Celery dropped off my staples list 2 years ago because the drought spiked the costs.
- I will buy on super sale other items (sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc).  More items are on super sale in the summer, nearly nothing in the winter.. 
-- then I add maybe 1 "other" item or "produce treat" every other week.
-- I eat frozen veg, frozen spinach in the winter (I will prep my own carrots and beets in the fall, or buy other frozen items on sale, because they actually taste better than "fresh" winter produce), and lots of canned tomatoes.

Honestly, until I tried eating this way I did not realize how much produce variety there is in the list above, how tasty it can be.

Thinking that a list of "stew vegetables" is inadequate fresh produce variety is, IDK, arrogant?

CrustyBadger

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #809 on: November 02, 2018, 11:38:18 AM »
Thinking that a list of "stew vegetables" is inadequate fresh produce variety is, IDK, arrogant?

Oh, gosh, arrogant?  I'm sure I didn't mean to be!

I do personally think of carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and squash as more a starch part of the meal than the "green vegetable" I am aiming for in my personal dinner plate.  So when I was looking around my grocery stores, the ones I usually shop at, curious to see what vegetables I could find that were less than $1.00 a pound, to be honest I wasn't thinking of carrots and potatoes and pumpkin.  When I think of "vegetable" what I am looking for are the leafy greens, the brussels and crucifers.   I may be using the term vegetable completely inappropriately here, or it might not how other people are thinking of it.     I am myself on a low carb diet, so that may have something to do with my bias or perception.

I feel like I'm in some kind of argument that I didn't intend to start or create, right now.  I was sharing my personal shopping strategy by saying that usually I think I'm doing great to buy vegetables (by which I inappropriately mean, I realize now, leafy green vegetables, not the starchy ones) at $1.99 a pound, and wondered if it would be possible to find them for half that, especially in the winter. 

I thank you all sincerely for showing me that yes, it is possible, even here in DC; or if it isn't possible to find them fresh, that you can find them frozen; and that at any rate, the root vegetables are available.  I realize now how mistaken I was -- of course you can find vegetables at 99cents a pound!   I don't even have to drive very far -- my local Giant and Safeway has plenty of them!

Thanks for your help!

OtherJen

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #810 on: November 02, 2018, 12:25:37 PM »
Thinking that a list of "stew vegetables" is inadequate fresh produce variety is, IDK, arrogant?

Oh, gosh, arrogant?  I'm sure I didn't mean to be!

I do personally think of carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and squash as more a starch part of the meal than the "green vegetable" I am aiming for in my personal dinner plate.  So when I was looking around my grocery stores, the ones I usually shop at, curious to see what vegetables I could find that were less than $1.00 a pound, to be honest I wasn't thinking of carrots and potatoes and pumpkin.  When I think of "vegetable" what I am looking for are the leafy greens, the brussels and crucifers.   I may be using the term vegetable completely inappropriately here, or it might not how other people are thinking of it.     I am myself on a low carb diet, so that may have something to do with my bias or perception.

I feel like I'm in some kind of argument that I didn't intend to start or create, right now.  I was sharing my personal shopping strategy by saying that usually I think I'm doing great to buy vegetables (by which I inappropriately mean, I realize now, leafy green vegetables, not the starchy ones) at $1.99 a pound, and wondered if it would be possible to find them for half that, especially in the winter. 

I thank you all sincerely for showing me that yes, it is possible, even here in DC; or if it isn't possible to find them fresh, that you can find them frozen; and that at any rate, the root vegetables are available.  I realize now how mistaken I was -- of course you can find vegetables at 99cents a pound!   I don't even have to drive very far -- my local Giant and Safeway has plenty of them!

Thanks for your help!

I did find fresh brussels sprouts (seasonal fall veg) for $0.99/lb at a local produce market this morning, and green cabbage for $0.39/lb. I didn't buy spaghetti squash (low-carb veg) this week, but I've been seeing it for <$1/lb for weeks.

Goldielocks

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #811 on: November 02, 2018, 12:36:01 PM »
Thinking that a list of "stew vegetables" is inadequate fresh produce variety is, IDK, arrogant?

Oh, gosh, arrogant?  I'm sure I didn't mean to be!

I do personally think of carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and squash as more a starch part of the meal than the "green vegetable" I am aiming for in my personal dinner plate.  So when I was looking around my grocery stores, the ones I usually shop at, curious to see what vegetables I could find that were less than $1.00 a pound, to be honest I wasn't thinking of carrots and potatoes and pumpkin.  When I think of "vegetable" what I am looking for are the leafy greens, the brussels and crucifers.   I may be using the term vegetable completely inappropriately here, or it might not how other people are thinking of it.     I am myself on a low carb diet, so that may have something to do with my bias or perception.

I feel like I'm in some kind of argument that I didn't intend to start or create, right now.  I was sharing my personal shopping strategy by saying that usually I think I'm doing great to buy vegetables (by which I inappropriately mean, I realize now, leafy green vegetables, not the starchy ones) at $1.99 a pound, and wondered if it would be possible to find them for half that, especially in the winter. 

I thank you all sincerely for showing me that yes, it is possible, even here in DC; or if it isn't possible to find them fresh, that you can find them frozen; and that at any rate, the root vegetables are available.  I realize now how mistaken I was -- of course you can find vegetables at 99cents a pound!   I don't even have to drive very far -- my local Giant and Safeway has plenty of them!

Thanks for your help!

I did find fresh brussels sprouts (seasonal fall veg) for $0.99/lb at a local produce market this morning, and green cabbage for $0.39/lb. I didn't buy spaghetti squash (low-carb veg) this week, but I've been seeing it for <$1/lb for weeks.
Yep,  I am also eating low carb right now.   Rutabaga, winter squash, frozen spinach, tomatoes (canned), Carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, onions fit right in and are in my pantry.  I, too, have Brussels sprouts in the fridge for tonight.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #812 on: November 02, 2018, 06:03:03 PM »
I feel like I'm in some kind of argument that I didn't intend to start or create, right now.  I was sharing my personal shopping strategy by saying that usually I think I'm doing great to buy vegetables (by which I inappropriately mean, I realize now, leafy green vegetables, not the starchy ones) at $1.99 a pound, and wondered if it would be possible to find them for half that, especially in the winter. 

I thank you all sincerely for showing me that yes, it is possible, even here in DC; or if it isn't possible to find them fresh, that you can find them frozen; and that at any rate, the root vegetables are available.  I realize now how mistaken I was -- of course you can find vegetables at 99cents a pound!   I don't even have to drive very far -- my local Giant and Safeway has plenty of them!

Thanks for your help!

I feel like I responded a bit argumentatively, so apologies for that. I feel pretty passionately that what I'm doing is entirely doable for almost anyone in the mainland US, and I think I felt like you were trying to say "well, I can't do that because my neighbourhood is too HCOL!" And when I looked at the grocery flyers, they were SO similar to prices in my area, that I responded more "facepunch" than "good job for actually looking around and paying attention to prices".

Anyway, don't forget that cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable (I mean, it's just maxi-sized brussels sprouts, after all....). One thing you can do is balance your more costly veg with the lower priced ones-- e.g., 2lb of 50/lb cabbage and 1lb of $2/lb brussels sprouts is the same as paying $1/lb for each.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #813 on: November 04, 2018, 05:00:25 PM »
Here how October turned out. my average came back down under $200, so I'll consider the naysayers to be fended off for another month, lol. I think I've got a good grocery store circuit figured out-- so I'm going to shoot for doing that once a week in the future. Did a birthday celebration, so spent a few extra dollars than normal for a special dinner and dessert. Speaking of dessert, I also spent a good $16 on a giant bag of halloween candy-- and we only got TWO trick-or-treaters. I've been doling out candy for dessert since then, and between that and Texas Sheet Cake, I feel like we've been having dessert every single night, lol. Anyway, looking forward to November being a bit higher, due to good sales on baking goods, but we'll see what we can do.


$41.36 --- Safeway [5 visits]
$8.52 --- King Soopers [4 visits]
$41.30 --- Sprouts [4 visits]
$21.01 --- Discount Store [3 visits]
$21.27 --- Costco [2 visits]
$4.18 --- Save-a-Lot [1 visit]
$7.32 --- Walmart [1 visit]

$14.31 --- Costco Food Court [1 visit]
$1.00 --- Wendy's [1 visit]
______

$160.27 --- Total Food Spending for October.


$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)
$266.13 = July ($253.74 if you don't count eating out)
$264.58 = August ($255.93 if you don't count eating out)
$273.95 = September ($224.38 if you don't count eating out)
$160.27 = October ($144.96 if you don't count eating out)

YTD Averages:

$231.42 = Monthly average (including eating out)
$195.85 =  Monthly average (not counting eating out)
« Last Edit: November 04, 2018, 05:16:00 PM by APowers »

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #814 on: November 04, 2018, 05:37:07 PM »
Also, first grocery errand for November. I've been out, like literally OUT, of pasta for a few weeks now. Lo and behold, King Soopers has a ginormous sale of basically all the things I need. Hooray!



Pasta: $15.17
Gluten free pasta: $5.46
Cereal: $4.95
Brownie mix: $2.37
Yoghurt: $0 (freebie)

Total receipt = $27.95. Yay, pasta! Also, GF pasta was both on sale AND I had an e-coupon, so double yay!

Goldielocks

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #815 on: November 07, 2018, 09:59:06 AM »
I mentioned "Potato Pie" previously as a food that I have made, liked, and had very economical.  I did not post the recipe because it had a gluten / flour crust.

Today I cam across "Rappie Pie" which is crustless/ flourless.    The usual recipe does not have bacon on top, and is double the size of this one (20lb of potateos).  But!  I think it would fill the gap of something different that everyone can eat.   A bit of work to make if you don't have a juicer / processor.   Also, be warned that depending on your chosen potatoes, grated potatoes can turn grey when exposed to air before cooking (as anyone who has made potato pancakes knows).

https://www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/chicken/rappie-pie.html

Just google "Rappie Pie" for alternate recipes.

1 chicken, 10 lbs of potatoes, onions and veg, serves 6.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #816 on: November 09, 2018, 09:14:51 PM »
I mentioned "Potato Pie" previously as a food that I have made, liked, and had very economical.  I did not post the recipe because it had a gluten / flour crust.

Today I cam across "Rappie Pie" which is crustless/ flourless.    The usual recipe does not have bacon on top, and is double the size of this one (20lb of potateos).  But!  I think it would fill the gap of something different that everyone can eat.   A bit of work to make if you don't have a juicer / processor.   Also, be warned that depending on your chosen potatoes, grated potatoes can turn grey when exposed to air before cooking (as anyone who has made potato pancakes knows).

https://www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/chicken/rappie-pie.html

Just google "Rappie Pie" for alternate recipes.

1 chicken, 10 lbs of potatoes, onions and veg, serves 6.

Looks like mashed potato pie/casserole. The part about this sort of recipe that I hate is the "squeeze the water out of the potatoes" bit. It just seems like too much work, lol! I may give it a try at some point, though. It seems like potato prices have been terribly high lately-- I don't think I've seen them for less than $2.99/10lb for months; I used to be able to get them for 99/10lb fairly regularly.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #817 on: November 09, 2018, 10:33:22 PM »
Grocery errands!

Costco:


Bananas: $1.39
Tortillas: $3.95

Total receipt = $5.34

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

Safeway:


Lasagna: $3.96
Eggs: $1.98
Milk: $1.88
Martinelli's: $1.99

Total receipt = $9.97

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

Discount store:



Bread: $.99
Lunch meat: $2.67

Total receipt = $3.66

mizzourah2006

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #818 on: November 12, 2018, 07:21:04 AM »
Impressive. I think we are at $300/month for a family of 4 if you don't count non-edible purchases from the store. Our grocery expenses through 10 months this year average $354/month, so probably right at the $300/month mark for just food.

Our problem is always the protein. We have some form of chicken or beef for every meal, so we are looking at about 2lbs of meat per day, sometimes more on the weekends, which is when we tend to splurge for steaks or brats. Just looking at our grocery expenses it's clear that they are much higher in the summer when we are grilling out a lot more and lower in the winter when we are not. Definitely going to read through and follow for ideas though.

SheWhoWalksAtLunch

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #819 on: November 12, 2018, 08:47:45 AM »

Our problem is always the protein. We have some form of chicken or beef for every meal, so we are looking at about 2lbs of meat per day, sometimes more on the weekends,

May I recommend VB6? It stands for Vegan before 6pm and is an easy way to gently cut back on eating protein in the form of meat.  Don't let the word vegan freak you out. You may be surprised by how many meatless options you already enjoy. Eating vegetarian meals is also fantastic substitute in this program, and in my experience almost any meatless meal is a cost savings over most meat based dishes.

The basic idea is pick one meal of the day and find dishes you enjoy that don't include meat.  Breakfast was the easiest place for me to start my family.  Oatmeal or cereal with soy milk is a quick and easy vegan option.  Eggs and toast with butter or bagels with cream cheese are good vegetarian choices. 

After a few months, when everyone is comfortable with the meatless meals for breakfast, you can start phasing out meat at lunch.  PB & J is vegan and packed with protein.  I make a lot of vegetarian bean and cheese dishes, vegetarian chili, vegetarian lasagna (substitute mashed navy beans for the meat), soups and stews that stand up well in packed lunches. 

The evening meal (after 6pm)  is when you feed the carnivore members of your family meat dishes.  I raised two healthy step kids this way and i'm not even sure they were aware they were eating VB6 for the most part.  They knew I was eating the vegetarian side dishes at dinner and not sharing in the roast beast du jour, but they had the option of meat every night and could have as much or as little of my protein packed side dishes as they wanted.  Everyone was happy, the growing kids were healthy, and our food budget stayed manageable.

YMMV but its worth thinking about.

mizzourah2006

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #820 on: November 12, 2018, 11:54:11 AM »

Our problem is always the protein. We have some form of chicken or beef for every meal, so we are looking at about 2lbs of meat per day, sometimes more on the weekends,

May I recommend VB6? It stands for Vegan before 6pm and is an easy way to gently cut back on eating protein in the form of meat.  Don't let the word vegan freak you out. You may be surprised by how many meatless options you already enjoy. Eating vegetarian meals is also fantastic substitute in this program, and in my experience almost any meatless meal is a cost savings over most meat based dishes.

The basic idea is pick one meal of the day and find dishes you enjoy that don't include meat.  Breakfast was the easiest place for me to start my family.  Oatmeal or cereal with soy milk is a quick and easy vegan option.  Eggs and toast with butter or bagels with cream cheese are good vegetarian choices. 

After a few months, when everyone is comfortable with the meatless meals for breakfast, you can start phasing out meat at lunch.  PB & J is vegan and packed with protein.  I make a lot of vegetarian bean and cheese dishes, vegetarian chili, vegetarian lasagna (substitute mashed navy beans for the meat), soups and stews that stand up well in packed lunches. 

The evening meal (after 6pm)  is when you feed the carnivore members of your family meat dishes.  I raised two healthy step kids this way and i'm not even sure they were aware they were eating VB6 for the most part.  They knew I was eating the vegetarian side dishes at dinner and not sharing in the roast beast du jour, but they had the option of meat every night and could have as much or as little of my protein packed side dishes as they wanted.  Everyone was happy, the growing kids were healthy, and our food budget stayed manageable.

YMMV but its worth thinking about.

I'd say aside from the 6oz of chicken breast I have for lunch I am largely VB6. I do intermittent fasting, so I skip breakfast, then I have 6oz of chicken breast, 1.5 servings of chips or another form of carb, and a piece of fruit for lunch. A protein shake, and peanut butter and honey bread, or something similar for afternoon snack, and then dinner. Given chicken breast is $1.99/lb if you throw in the 4oz my wife usually eats for lunch we are talking about $1.25/day in meat costs before dinner.

But thank you very much for the suggestion.

herbgeek

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #821 on: November 12, 2018, 02:55:55 PM »
I find that for some recipes, chickpeas stand in nicely for chicken.  I was craving a curried chicken salad sandwich last week, and used chickpeas instead (I used dried ones I cook overnight in a crockpot, but canned works fine too).  I added chopped celery, shallots (onion works fine), dried cranberries, walnuts, curry powder and some mayo.  I mushed some of the chickpeas first, and between that and the mayo, it held together fine.  I also do salads with chickpeas sauteed with Frank's Red Hot as a sort of buffalo chicken salad.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2018, 02:58:14 PM by herbgeek »

Roadrunner53

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #822 on: November 12, 2018, 03:08:05 PM »
Yum! That sandwich sounds delicious and I am not a vegetarian!

getaway driver

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #823 on: November 12, 2018, 04:59:39 PM »
Great advice! Looking at some of the other comments, I need to lower my grocery bill big time. Currently spending about $600 a month and it's just me and my 16 year old son.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #824 on: November 13, 2018, 07:32:17 AM »
Grocery errands update:

King Soopers:


Peanut butter: $0 (freebie)
Instant mashed potatoes: $0 (freebie)
Cheese: $3.25

Total receipt = $3.25. I expected it to be more, as the cheese was on e-coupon for 99 each; but apparently, they stacked some of my other cheese e-coupons. I was like "sweet!". I basically just load any and all coupons onto my card that might be something I'd buy; then sometimes this happens. Yay!

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

Sprouts:


Brussels sprouts (2.8lb): $2.70
Celery: $.99
Cucumbers: $1.50
Apples: $4.02
Avocados: $1.00
Lettuce: $2.28

Total = $12.49

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

Costco:


Roast chicken: $5.40

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #825 on: November 13, 2018, 07:35:22 AM »
Also, got my sauerkraut and kimchi jarred up and in the fridge. It turned out pretty fantastic. The kraut has almost a sweetness to it, and the spice level on the kimchi is basically perfect (yes, I know it's not real kimchi, but I don't really care).

So out of that 8+ pounds of cabbage plus an onion and four carrots, I ended up with about four+ pints of kimchi (I gave a jar to a co-worker already), and three pints of kraut. Now, just have to do more meals that this will go with, lol!

« Last Edit: November 13, 2018, 07:38:39 AM by APowers »

Roadrunner53

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #826 on: November 13, 2018, 07:56:29 AM »
Costco roast chicken $5.40? It has always been $4.99! When did the price go up?

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #827 on: November 13, 2018, 03:44:01 PM »
Costco roast chicken $5.40? It has always been $4.99! When did the price go up?

It's $4.99....plus sales tax, because it's prepared food (same tax category as takeout/restaurant food) and not "groceries".

Roadrunner53

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #828 on: November 13, 2018, 09:29:24 PM »
I live in CT so not sure if that tax applies here. Never noticed but will have to look next time.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #829 on: November 14, 2018, 09:36:17 PM »
Another Airbnb guest has given us some goodies when they checked out. Well, we raided the fridge/freezer after they left, lol!



Shredded parmesan
Chicken breast
Boneless pork chop
Chicken sausage
Enchiladas
Some kind of roll? Beef wellingtons?

[Also not pictured]
Some frozen eggrolls
Partial jar of pasta sauce

Dabnasty

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #830 on: November 15, 2018, 11:57:52 AM »
Geez, how long were they staying that they stocked up on 3 different kinds of frozen meat?

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #831 on: November 15, 2018, 07:00:37 PM »
Geez, how long were they staying that they stocked up on 3 different kinds of frozen meat?

Haha! They were actually here for about 3 weeks, so kinda long. Also, some of the packages are labelled "HelloFresh"---and I thought that was a mail-order service. But they clearly weren't getting mail, unless they were getting it in a P.O. box? Or maybe he was visiting a girlfriend/family, and took some from someone else's house?

Lews Therin

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #832 on: November 16, 2018, 12:08:02 PM »
Hello Fresh drops the package off at your location (food delivery service)

Teachstache

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #833 on: November 18, 2018, 04:31:48 AM »
Living in urban Nebraska, I've gotten used to cheap food prices: Pork roast for less than $1 per pound, steak for less than $3 per pound, ground beef for $1.50-$2 per pound, chicken breasts for $1 per pound, veggies & fruit are typically less than $1 per pound on sale. I'm always shocked at food prices when we travel to other Northern/Mountain West locales (Rapid City SD, mountain towns in Colorado, even small western Nebraska towns).

We have a Costco, Sam's, Aldi & one other local discount grocer, Super Saver. We have typically higher priced grocery chains, such as Hy-Vee & Russ's Market. We also have a discount bakery & lots of farmers markets in the spring, summer & most of the fall (depending on weather & snow). We have lots of public hunting land less than 25 miles outside of the city available with a permit during deer season & several stocked lakes (mostly bass) in the same location for anglers. There's a dairy within 25 miles of my home & lots of private hobby farmers posted on Craigslist. Plus, even smack dab in the middle of the city, you can grow a decent kitchen garden with veggies to preserve & it's easy to get some fruit trees & a small berry patch planted. (I have the established veggie garden & this spring I plan on getting an apple tree & possibly a pear tree for my front yard & we have several raspberry bushes that will come back next year).

Based on those factors, it would absolutely be doable to feed a family on $200 or less here.

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #834 on: Today at 08:56:07 AM »
@APowers, Haven't seen any mention of turkey or sweet potatoes yet. Do you have the super sales on these items prior to thanksgiving in your area?

I usually buy one turkey every year to cook, make a few dishes, then freeze the rest of the meat. If I had a chest freezer I would probably try to get 2-3 of them. Most places are <$0.50/lb.

I've never stocked up on sweet potatoes but plan to this year. At $0.29/lb I couldn't get them that cheap if I was buying direct from the grower. The plan is to wrap them individually in newspaper and store them in a dark place, hopefully they keep for a few months.