Author Topic: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018  (Read 59368 times)

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #200 on: February 07, 2018, 07:31:02 AM »
So far, we've spent $24.56 on groceries (remainder on Costco gift card). I run all of our errands on Saturday (Costco, produce stand, etc) & can't go after work due to scheduling. It prevents last minute stop ins.

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #201 on: February 07, 2018, 09:28:04 AM »
@CrustyBadger WOW!  I also drive by grocery stores, but I hate going into them.  We actually get our groceries delivered once/week, so we just use what we have in the house. Both of us have become much more flexible with our eating.  For example, I love avocado toast, but we ran out of avocados.  For breakfast, I had a toasted piece of Ezekiel bread with two eggs. 

All of you make me feel so lazy!  I'm so impressed at the lavish meals you make for your families.  No leftovers...ohmy!

Two nights ago, we pulled together a cheese plate for dinner.  Last night, my DH was out for a work dinner; so I had blueberries, plain yogurt, and homemade granola. 

Serendip

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #202 on: February 07, 2018, 09:39:10 AM »
Crusty Badger, I feel your pain :) we have a similar issue--regular size fridge but very, very little pantry space and only a small amount of freezer space.

My SO does not like stockpiling (he equates it with hoarding)--he was a bachelor for a long time and got used to eating out or buying groceries for each dinner, he like to daily shop (buy a fresh baguette, etc) We would have a similar amount of trips to the store as you (which is just by the house, another reason we use it as our extra storage space but of course buy more than necessay as well)
 
Slowly we have been buying extras but it's difficult when storage is lacking
 (because then it DOES feel like hoarding if raisins and quinoa are just stored in the corner of the kitchen!)

I've been trying to streamline things a bit (being more efficient with space we have, freezing soups in jars, etc..) but it is a  conundrum--

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #203 on: February 07, 2018, 09:45:25 AM »
@CrustyBadger WOW!  I also drive by grocery stores, but I hate going into them.  We actually get our groceries delivered once/week, so we just use what we have in the house. Both of us have become much more flexible with our eating.  For example, I love avocado toast, but we ran out of avocados.  For breakfast, I had a toasted piece of Ezekiel bread with two eggs. 

All of you make me feel so lazy!  I'm so impressed at the lavish meals you make for your families.  No leftovers...ohmy!

Two nights ago, we pulled together a cheese plate for dinner.  Last night, my DH was out for a work dinner; so I had blueberries, plain yogurt, and homemade granola.

We don't make elaborate meals, but are also feeding four, so it's harder to have "on the fly" meal options. I also only cook on weekends (Friday I work from home, Saturday, & Sunday). We eat leftovers the next three days, and as needed, eat a freezer option on Thursday. We have a rotation of about 10-15 meals. I do have one picky eater, but if he doesn't like what we are having, he has to sort something out from the fridge.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #204 on: February 07, 2018, 11:14:34 AM »
Hub and I made a BIG batch of chili with meat, peppers, onions, kidney beans and tomato sauce. We had two dinners on it and Hub had another bowl for lunch. I still have a crapload of it and now will freeze it. I am thinking of having a baked potato loaded with chili and cheese with sour cream. So, maybe some of you can make a big batch and be able to eat it a few times in a week. You could also make egg noodles or rice to put the chili over to stretch it.

Funny, I would think having a stockpile, not necessarily huge, would be such a convenience to those on a tight schedule. I guess I am a bit of a food hoarder and like to be able to have a lot of variety. Sometimes I want to make some recipe and it is so nice not have to shop for the ingredients, I already have them!

CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #205 on: February 07, 2018, 02:25:38 PM »
Crusty Badger, I feel your pain :) we have a similar issue--regular size fridge but very, very little pantry space and only a small amount of freezer space.

My SO does not like stockpiling (he equates it with hoarding)--he was a bachelor for a long time and got used to eating out or buying groceries for each dinner, he like to daily shop (buy a fresh baguette, etc) We would have a similar amount of trips to the store as you (which is just by the house, another reason we use it as our extra storage space but of course buy more than necessay as well)
 

I was a Stay at home mom for 10 years, and I did the stockpiling food in the basement thing; we had an old fridge in the basement for extra meat etc.  Once I returned to work, I joined Costco and I think I kind of overdid it buying in bulk and storing things in the basement "pantry" that we then just never used.  Costco's large sizes don't fit in my kitchen mostly.

At some point I just gave it up and decided that the key to living in a 50s style house was to buy things in 50s style quantities.  (So, I no longer buy the bulk sized ketchup, even if it is a best buy... I just get the regular kind that fits in my fridge easily.)

But, at the same time, I started buying a lot of convenience foods and also we did take out a ton.   So now of course, I am trying to go back to cooking from scratch.  That means suddenly I'm running out of staples a lot more frequently -- it will take me some time to readjust.  I'm keeping track of what foods I actually do buy over and over again so I can confidently stock up (last month it was things like bread, milk, potatoes, onions and cheddar cheese and butter.)

I'm also guilty of buying a few small fancy things here or there, hoping the family will like it, and that takes up room in my tiny kitchen.   I could (should) also free up some more space in my minimal cabinets by getting rid of some items of cookware.

I also have teens who exercise and eat a ton and the do legitimately eat more food than they did when they were 2 and 4.

AmandaPanda

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #206 on: February 07, 2018, 02:30:51 PM »
I do like having a stockpile.  I've just realized that a lot of the things left in my stockpile aren't necessarily what I want, so I won't overbuy them in the future.

I also love a huge batch of chili! But we don't mind taking the same thing for lunch every day, so if I make it on Sunday, we eat it everyday for lunch until it's gone (within the week, of course).  I have to intentionally freeze leftovers or we just eat them, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #207 on: February 07, 2018, 02:53:26 PM »
Yes, it is easy to over stockpile. However, if you buy stuff you don't like or know the expiration date is coming soon, donate canned/non perishables to a food bank. There is always the Post Office food drive usually in the spring. They take canned and non perishable stuff, no glass jars. I just cleaned out the upstairs freezer and found food that was freezer burned and had to toss. IRKS me but that is what hoarder me gets! Still working on hoeing out the freezers. Pulled out a oven roaster and will cook tomorrow, pulled out a few meatballs for another dinner.


CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #208 on: February 07, 2018, 05:36:44 PM »
Super successful home cooked meal today. I tried to replicate our favorite Mexican taqueria take out meal:  chorizo tacos.  Apparently I did a great job, many raves from the family.   And only about a $8 meal total for the three (hearty eating) carnivores among us (the vegetarian tween had leftovers); with about half a pack of corn tortillas and some cilantro and lime left over for tomorrow's supper.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #209 on: February 08, 2018, 02:40:53 PM »
I'm kind of enjoying learning to cook more from scratch. 

My goal this year is about $125/week for groceries, household goods, and dog food.  There are 5 of us and 1 dog.

We spent $123 last weekend, and that included supplies to cook 2 dinners for a friend who has health issues.  For the last two nights I've been busy and got lazy.  Husband ate salad, kids had grilled cheese, I ate the yuumiest meal - roasted cauliflower, topped with sauteed bell pepper, onion, and mushroom, with a few spoonful of salsa on top.  This might well be my newest go-to lunch.

I'm trying to get out of the habit of stockpiling so much.  We had too much waste.  Our Costco trips are now strictly regulated.

RayO

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #210 on: February 09, 2018, 07:00:37 AM »
This weeks shopping total is $45.78.

Aldi                                          Berkeley.                             Walmart.                          Jewel
3 pk bell ppr $1.69.                 3 pk romaine $1.48.             24 pk tp $12.52.          Mangos 3/$0.99
Avocados $0.49 x 4.                5lb red potatoes $1.98.         Toothpaste $5.24.        =$1.01
Cucumbers $0.29 x 5.             1lb Roma tomatoes $0.49.      Bbq sc $0.98
Bag gala apples $3.29.             8lb russet potatoes $1.48.      =20.18
Gallon 1% milk $0.95.              Bananas $1.88
Dozen eggs $0.47.                   =$7.44
Celery $0.95
38oz ketchup $1.49
3lb mandarins $2.69
3 dozen tortillas $1.09
Hamburger buns $0.83
= $17.15

There werenít too many things on sale this week in the circulars, so I stopped at Aldi and Berkeley again on Tuesday before the prior weeks sales were over. I had a really hard time purchasing that expensive toothpaste. I actually put it to the side while checking out 🤣, but our teeth have become sensitive to cold after using harsh whitening toothpastes. Next time Iíll try and use a coupon for it.

Our leftovers of chickpea loaf w/roasted veggies and the fajitas meal actually lasted all week, so the black bean meals will be this week (and the mangos arenít ripe yet, so that all worked out well 😁)

Fri (vacation day) - Eggs (with onion and bell peppers), oven hash browns, topped with avocado and
                            tomatoes
                            Dal with brown rice and side salad
                            Crockpot navy bean soup - make in evening to cook overnight

Sat - Cornbread to go with the soup
         Chickpea ďmeatballsĒ to put in freezer
         Veggie burgers with oven fries

Sun - Naan bread and freeze
         Lentil sloppy joes with oven fries

Mon (holiday) - Black beans with brown rice and mango salsa
                        Black bean brownies
                        Black bean lime dip

Tues - Leftovers

Weds - Leftovers (Thaw chickpea meatballs)

Thurs - Pasta with chickpea meatballs and side salad

Fri - Leftovers
       

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #211 on: February 09, 2018, 07:58:48 AM »
So, we stuck to our menu plan this week (I cook Friday/Saturday/Sunday & then we eat leftovers during the work week), although the kids are eating more now that soccer is back on. Here's what we're doing:

Friday - In & Out (came home from international flight, no power). This is a rarity, but also left us with fewer options
Saturday - My husband grilled beef kebabs, made rice & a yogurt sauce
Sunday - I made tacos & guacamole + taquitos for the super bowl
Monday - Leftover kebabs & rice
Tuesday - Leftover tacos
Wednesday - Had 1/2 of each, so adults had leftover kebabs & rice, & kids had leftover tacos
Thursday - Turned the few kebabs, some lingering spaghetti sauce, grated cheese, and a few odds & ends in the fridge/freezer into individual naan pizzas. Made 8 & we have 1/2 of one left. Fridge is pretty much cleared out as we enter a new week (just the way I like it), save for a few tiny things.
Friday - going out to dinner for my birthday

AmandaPanda

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #212 on: February 09, 2018, 08:55:04 AM »
Somehow our week has devolved into there not being any leftovers by Thursday, so I am having to cook Thursdays and Fridays.  Last week I made instant pot mac and cheese, last night was a pf changs type frozen entree, and I had lo mein and broccoli in the freezer to serve with it.  I feel like Thursdays need to be something I can make in 30 minutes total, including chopping time.  I'll take ideas for super quick dinners that aren't spaghetti! (Because we already have that on a regular basis.)

I'm going over the $120 this month.  Turns out the stockpile isn't enough for everything: I'm totally out of all starches, only a few cans of beans left, etc. But I'm like Arby's in that i have ALL THE MEATS.

AmandaPanda

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #213 on: February 09, 2018, 08:56:12 AM »
So, we stuck to our menu plan this week (I cook Friday/Saturday/Sunday & then we eat leftovers during the work week), although the kids are eating more now that soccer is back on. Here's what we're doing:

Friday - In & Out (came home from international flight, no power). This is a rarity, but also left us with fewer options
Saturday - My husband grilled beef kebabs, made rice & a yogurt sauce
Sunday - I made tacos & guacamole + taquitos for the super bowl
Monday - Leftover kebabs & rice
Tuesday - Leftover tacos
Wednesday - Had 1/2 of each, so adults had leftover kebabs & rice, & kids had leftover tacos
Thursday - Turned the few kebabs, some lingering spaghetti sauce, grated cheese, and a few odds & ends in the fridge/freezer into individual naan pizzas. Made 8 & we have 1/2 of one left. Fridge is pretty much cleared out as we enter a new week (just the way I like it), save for a few tiny things.
Friday - going out to dinner for my birthday

Loved reading this and hope you continue posting the weeklies, since we both rely on leftovers to get us through the week.

RayO

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #214 on: February 09, 2018, 09:24:51 AM »
Somehow our week has devolved into there not being any leftovers by Thursday, so I am having to cook Thursdays and Fridays.  Last week I made instant pot mac and cheese, last night was a pf changs type frozen entree, and I had lo mein and broccoli in the freezer to serve with it.  I feel like Thursdays need to be something I can make in 30 minutes total, including chopping time.  I'll take ideas for super quick dinners that aren't spaghetti! (Because we already have that on a regular basis.)

I'm going over the $120 this month.  Turns out the stockpile isn't enough for everything: I'm totally out of all starches, only a few cans of beans left, etc. But I'm like Arby's in that i have ALL THE MEATS.

I like to make instant pot taco lentil ďmeatĒ. It take 15 minutes. While that is cooking I chop up any toppings (lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, maybe some Greek yogurt for sour cream and fresh lime to squeeze over everything) and cook tortillas 3 at a time in an iron skillet. You could just buy crunchy taco shells and you donít have to cook tortillas.

https://pin.it/6ms46ifkqa3mpi

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #215 on: February 09, 2018, 10:12:06 AM »
Making Instant Pot yogurt for the first time right now...Hope it comes out good!

AmandaPanda

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #216 on: February 09, 2018, 11:04:09 AM »
RayO, that is so funny! Saturday night's menu is lentil tacos! As long as everyone likes it, I can see it becoming a frequent meal, because we all like Mexican food.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #217 on: February 09, 2018, 03:41:26 PM »
So, we stuck to our menu plan this week (I cook Friday/Saturday/Sunday & then we eat leftovers during the work week), although the kids are eating more now that soccer is back on. Here's what we're doing:

Friday - In & Out (came home from international flight, no power). This is a rarity, but also left us with fewer options
Saturday - My husband grilled beef kebabs, made rice & a yogurt sauce
Sunday - I made tacos & guacamole + taquitos for the super bowl
Monday - Leftover kebabs & rice
Tuesday - Leftover tacos
Wednesday - Had 1/2 of each, so adults had leftover kebabs & rice, & kids had leftover tacos
Thursday - Turned the few kebabs, some lingering spaghetti sauce, grated cheese, and a few odds & ends in the fridge/freezer into individual naan pizzas. Made 8 & we have 1/2 of one left. Fridge is pretty much cleared out as we enter a new week (just the way I like it), save for a few tiny things.
Friday - going out to dinner for my birthday

Loved reading this and hope you continue posting the weeklies, since we both rely on leftovers to get us through the week.

Will do! And, Thursdays are our most flexible dinner options. We either have leftovers (if they've survived the week & my voracious 12 year old), or we have a quick dinner option. I take lazier routes & stock frozen stuff. Options we currently have: cheese tortellini (would serve with grilled chicken from freezer), pesto (freezer) that I'd serve with pasta (pantry) & grilled chicken. I also have a few soups in the freezer, shelled edamame, and maybe a few homemade dinners that I could whip out in a hurry. I always have pre-prepped meat: the grilled chicken, taco meat, chicken strips, etc. In an absolute pinch, we'll do chicken strips & parmesan pasta.

SachaFiscal

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #218 on: February 09, 2018, 05:18:08 PM »
I'm starting to focus on reducing my grocery spending this month.  I've been tracking our spending on groceries for the past 8 months and our average is about $750 per month with the highest month being $940 and the lowest month $615.  I don't have a particular goal in mind but I'd like to see how much I can reduce it by just being mindful of what I'm buying and not wasting any food.  We are mostly vegan so our staples (e.g. rice and beans) are fairly cheap but we like to eat organic when possible so that increases our spending on produce a bit.

Here are the things I have done so far to reduce my spending:
1. Track grocery spending.
2. Eat pretty much the same things every week. So I can buy some stuff in bulk.
3. Don't waste any food. Everything I buy we eat.
3. Don't overeat (also helps with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight). I portion out the food so that we eat a sufficient amount without going overboard.
4. Switching from canned beans to dry beans.  I've started using my instant pot to cook dry beans which saves quite a bit and may be more nutritious and less caloric.
5. Cook from scratch as much as possible.
6. Stop/reduce drinking alcohol. We don't buy alcohol to drink at home anymore. I only drink about once or twice a month if I go out with friends or on special occasions.

My plan next week is to start looking at where I can buy things the cheapest. Going to a few different stores and checking out their prices on the things I normally buy.

So far this month I've already spent $125 but I had to buy some bulk items.  I expect future weeks to be much less.

CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #219 on: February 10, 2018, 11:46:32 AM »
Well!   I have a new menu option that may be a game changer in feeding my ravenous teen boy (who never has time for breakfast).

Someone shared with me an Instant Pot recipe for some copycat version of the Starbucks sous vide egg bites.  I never had these, but I guess they are  basically a crust free quiche and people find them very yummy.  I read that if you make these in glass mason jars with lids on, they will keep quite a while in the fridge for reheating...

So I made some this morning to try, and my son ate about 5 of them!   Eggs, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, and whatever add ins you want to add.  They'd be very easy to make ahead of time, and heat up as many as he wants in the morning.  I'm always looking for cheap, high calorie and protein, easy to eat foods for him to eat.  This was super easy to make in the Instant Pot.

https://mycrazygoodlife.com/copycat-starbucks-egg-bites-recipe/




Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #220 on: February 10, 2018, 12:05:04 PM »
Crustybadger, I made yogurt in my Instant Pot yesterday and it came out fantastic! I ended up with 5 mason jars full. I was a bit doubtful on what I would end up with but just had it a few minutes ago and Hub liked it and me too! I found a good tutorial on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtXnaP17D4Q

I watched it and took notes and followed it exactly except the water cool down method. I let the yogurt cool naturally because I was afraid cold water on the hot jars might crack them.

I hate the cost of yogurt and this will be a cost saver after the first batch. You are supposed to be able to use the new yogurt as a starter. However, I might just spring for a new little tub of yogurt to start a new batch.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #221 on: February 10, 2018, 01:05:33 PM »
I am not buying foid for this weekend. I have eaten from the fridge and the freezer.

SquashingDebt

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #222 on: February 10, 2018, 04:11:34 PM »
Crustybadger, I made yogurt in my Instant Pot yesterday and it came out fantastic! I ended up with 5 mason jars full. I was a bit doubtful on what I would end up with but just had it a few minutes ago and Hub liked it and me too! I found a good tutorial on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtXnaP17D4Q

I watched it and took notes and followed it exactly except the water cool down method. I let the yogurt cool naturally because I was afraid cold water on the hot jars might crack them.

I hate the cost of yogurt and this will be a cost saver after the first batch. You are supposed to be able to use the new yogurt as a starter. However, I might just spring for a new little tub of yogurt to start a new batch.

I usually use the last bit as a starter for the next batch for 3 or 4 times, then start fresh with a little tub.  It works just fine.  You can also freeze yogurt in an ice cube tray and then thaw it to use it as the starter.

AmandaPanda

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #223 on: February 10, 2018, 05:49:33 PM »
Are you guys making plain yogurt?  Iíd love to make some, but we are a vanilla yogurt fam.

Made the lentil tacos and everyone loved them! Itís going in the rotation.

CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #224 on: February 10, 2018, 06:39:12 PM »
Vanilla yogurt is just plain yogurt with a little vanilla (and maybe some sugar) added, right?

AmandaPanda

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #225 on: February 10, 2018, 07:04:11 PM »
I guess, but how much vanilla, sugar, etc. I buy stevia sweetened vanilla right now...

CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #226 on: February 10, 2018, 07:49:17 PM »
I guess, but how much vanilla, sugar, etc. I buy stevia sweetened vanilla right now...

I don't make yogurt myself, but this recipe says 4 C milk to 1 T vanilla and 4 T sugar (not sure if you would add the same amount of stevia but I imagine you could add a little and adjust to taste.)

http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/vanilla-yogurt-homemade-58661

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #227 on: February 11, 2018, 08:41:04 AM »
Okay, so again, a non-standard week for us, as we normally cook on Friday/Saturday/Sunday & eat leftovers for the rest of the week. The good news is that the freezer is stocked, so this will give us a chance to eat down the inventory.  Here's the plan. My husband did the grocery shopping yesterday, and forgot to use our gift card. :-( Anyway, we'll just save that for another week. Total spent was $97.03, and he didn't exactly stick to the list. He bought another giant bag of limes, and we have one unopened in the fridge. Going to have to figure that out! I also need to run to the produce stand & pick up mini cucumber. Otherwise, we're done shopping.

Here's the menu:
Friday - we ate out for my birthday, and had enough leftover Greek food for lunch on Saturday
Saturday - we had a quick "freezer" meal. The kids had pasta from the fridge & the adults had pesto tortellini. Both served w/salad & baked chicken. Had to get out the door quickly for a soccer game
Sunday - My husband is making kebabs & rice
Monday - Empanadas (freezer) w/leftover baked chicken
Tuesday - leftover kebabs & rice
Wednesday - any remaining leftovers. Or, I'll make more pesto tortellini (finishing the last of the pkg) & pasta for the kids.
Thursday - Spaghetti & meatballs
Friday - Son's birthday at a bowling alley. Comes with pizza

Serendip

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #228 on: February 11, 2018, 08:58:57 AM »
My SO tracked groceries food/groceries for one month and decided he doesn't like to do it (and isn't one month enough? :))

So I will just continue to track my spending and try to bring that total down (it was $550 for my end last month..groceries, eating out and alcohol) and we tend to alternate purchases (although he does tend to pick up the more expensive things I wouldn't buy: ie..a variety of cheeses, small-batch granola,etc)
But since we don't totally combine our finances, that is his choice!

So far this month I've spent $109.25 so far but feel as if we have heaps of food to eat up so hopefully don't need to buy anything more for another few days/or stretch to end of the week.

Meals have been :
Thursday: Curried Veggie Ramen with Lentils
Friday: Jackfruit burgers (home-made) with avocado & pesto
Saturday: Black beans, rice, kimchi & broccoli
Sunday: probably will have the leftover jackfruit tonight
Monday: Falafel salad or some chickpea curry (batched cooked dried chickpeas)


PKate

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #229 on: February 11, 2018, 10:12:40 AM »
Reducing foods costs is something I seriously need to get better at.  I have severe dietary restrictions that make it even more challenging.  We easily spend $1000 or more a month for the 2 us not including eating out.

I already cook from scratch all of our meals.  I also do lots of canning, dehydrating, and other food preservation of out garden produce.
 
     

Goals. 
Track spending on food better.  I get food from supermarkets, online, and directly from local farms and our costs swing dramatically from month to month.     
Grow more of my own and preserve more of it for winter consumption.
Reduce the costs of growing my own food.  Seed saving, selling excess production, and bartering with other gardeners/farmers. 
Find lower cost options while still fitting into my dietary needs. 

kaypinkHH

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #230 on: February 11, 2018, 12:13:22 PM »
Decided to actually post January's numbers. Lots and lots of eating out :'(.

2 Shopping weeks into February, we are finally settling into our new house. We have gone a FULL WEEK without buying food from a restaurant/coffeeshop/takeout place etc.

Our grocery bills are looking inflated, but we have been doing some mega meal prep (freezer is now full), and it works out to about $3 a serving of food, which isn't too bad! We will see how the numbers average out month by month!

Ideally I would still like to see that total number closer to $600 a month.

CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #231 on: February 11, 2018, 04:10:33 PM »
Well, this weekend was NOT frugal grocery shopping!   I joined this meal swap club in town.  We make 8 freezer meals and then swap them.  I got nervous about what to make as it is my first time and I want it to be delicious so everyone likes me!  (-:   So I went with something tried and true -- chicken pot pie.   I could buy the chicken in bulk, and vegetables are perfectly cheap, but I couldn't find a budget purchase on premade pie crusts, and there's no way I would be able to make that many pie crusts myself, so I had to pay full price for them... so it was pretty expensive!   I am hoping that this turns out to be worth it and than I receive 8 freezer meals of deliciousness that my family will eat.  If so, it will be worth the money and effort of making 8 beautiful chicken pot pies which are now cooling on my kitchen counter.   


Linda_Norway

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #233 on: February 12, 2018, 07:11:46 AM »
Well, this weekend was NOT frugal grocery shopping!   I joined this meal swap club in town.  We make 8 freezer meals and then swap them.  I got nervous about what to make as it is my first time and I want it to be delicious so everyone likes me!  (-:   So I went with something tried and true -- chicken pot pie.   I could buy the chicken in bulk, and vegetables are perfectly cheap, but I couldn't find a budget purchase on premade pie crusts, and there's no way I would be able to make that many pie crusts myself, so I had to pay full price for them... so it was pretty expensive!   I am hoping that this turns out to be worth it and than I receive 8 freezer meals of deliciousness that my family will eat.  If so, it will be worth the money and effort of making 8 beautiful chicken pot pies which are now cooling on my kitchen counter.

I never heard of a meal swap club, but it is an interesting concept. I hope that everyone has clean standards and that you receive some good meals.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #234 on: February 12, 2018, 07:18:22 AM »
Decided to actually post January's numbers. Lots and lots of eating out :'(.

2 Shopping weeks into February, we are finally settling into our new house. We have gone a FULL WEEK without buying food from a restaurant/coffeeshop/takeout place etc.

Our grocery bills are looking inflated, but we have been doing some mega meal prep (freezer is now full), and it works out to about $3 a serving of food, which isn't too bad! We will see how the numbers average out month by month!

Ideally I would still like to see that total number closer to $600 a month.

Just curious why you divide the eating out into buckets? Isn't it all the same, from a budget perspective? I'd finding the tracking annoying, but also would likely spend more if I had multiple buckets.

CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #235 on: February 12, 2018, 07:27:25 AM »
Well, this weekend was NOT frugal grocery shopping!   I joined this meal swap club in town.  We make 8 freezer meals and then swap them.  I got nervous about what to make as it is my first time and I want it to be delicious so everyone likes me!  (-:   So I went with something tried and true -- chicken pot pie.   I could buy the chicken in bulk, and vegetables are perfectly cheap, but I couldn't find a budget purchase on premade pie crusts, and there's no way I would be able to make that many pie crusts myself, so I had to pay full price for them... so it was pretty expensive!   I am hoping that this turns out to be worth it and than I receive 8 freezer meals of deliciousness that my family will eat.  If so, it will be worth the money and effort of making 8 beautiful chicken pot pies which are now cooling on my kitchen counter.

I never heard of a meal swap club, but it is an interesting concept. I hope that everyone has clean standards and that you receive some good meals.

Me too! Itís all moms I know. Our town has a long standing tradition of doing meals for new babies or illnesses. So Iím not concerned about cleanliness but I do hope the meals are yummy!

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #236 on: February 12, 2018, 07:54:12 AM »
Ah, I love it when laziness works in my favor -- didn't shop last week, ate out of fridge/freezer, and still had tons of food left (just no fruit/veg), so I have my leftovers for this week's lunches already.

Did shop this week, so totals so far are $135 (Safeway + dairy delivery) and $40 household (monthly Amazon), for about $175 total.  Groceries could have been lower, but DH had car trouble and needed my car when I planned to do the grocery run, so we ended up hitting Safeway late Sunday instead of my normal early ALDI's run.*  Also had probably $50 in weekday takeout, but half of that was deciding to take the kids out to lunch on a snow day, so not quite as lazy as it sounds. 

*Yeah, ok, in complete honesty, by the time he got back, I was having waaayyyy too much fun watching all the overnight Olympics I had taped to want to go shop, and it was raining like hell and I didn't want to leave my comfy nest.  Tried to get DD to go shop for me, but she turned down my bribe (rather go study for her physics test, damn kid!). :-)  So basically I procrastinated until it was too late for ALDI.

Novik

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #237 on: February 12, 2018, 08:16:37 AM »
Ah, I love it when laziness works in my favor -- didn't shop last week, ate out of fridge/freezer, and still had tons of food left (just no fruit/veg), so I have my leftovers for this week's lunches already.

I'm doing the same laziness thing this week! We haven't shopped this week yet, and are planning to do leftover vindaloo and honey chicken stir fry from last week + defrosting frozen chili and pot pie from January + scrounging if needed. The main reason is to give my partner a break from cooking so he can focus on applying to jobs, but the grocery costs benefit is certainly a bonus!

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #238 on: February 12, 2018, 08:21:59 AM »
Decided to actually post January's numbers. Lots and lots of eating out :'(.

2 Shopping weeks into February, we are finally settling into our new house. We have gone a FULL WEEK without buying food from a restaurant/coffeeshop/takeout place etc.

Our grocery bills are looking inflated, but we have been doing some mega meal prep (freezer is now full), and it works out to about $3 a serving of food, which isn't too bad! We will see how the numbers average out month by month!

Ideally I would still like to see that total number closer to $600 a month.

Just curious why you divide the eating out into buckets? Isn't it all the same, from a budget perspective? I'd finding the tracking annoying, but also would likely spend more if I had multiple buckets.

Not to speak for kay, but I started dividing my eating-out-budget into even more buckets than that. 

I have buckets for:
Work lunches - Husband
Work lunches - me
Vending machine / coffee shop - husband
Date Night
Family Dinners
Social Restaurant meals (out with friends)
One parent w/kids (we're a blended family; sometimes we have dates with our own bio kids)
Desserts

It was eye-opening for us to see where the problems really were.

My husband spent way more money than we realized on work lunches and vending machines/coffee shops.
I spent way more money than I realized treating the kids to desserts or having one-on-one dates with the kids.

Each category does have a monthly budget now, and we're finally making progress at cutting down that spending.

zeli2033

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #239 on: February 12, 2018, 09:34:17 AM »
Tallied up this weekend's grocery spending. DH decided to go shopping for things without telling me as a really sweet and nice gesture but without a list per the meal plan. So he stocked up on things that we didn't need. And we somehow ended up collectively going out on shopping trips 3 separate times in the span of two days. No wonder we spent so much more than we needed to this weekend.

Total so far: $411/$850


Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #240 on: February 12, 2018, 09:54:51 AM »
. . . snip . . .

+1.  I divvy up primarily so I can focus on what is in my control, and to separate lazy spending from those "quality of life" things that will lead to divorce if I push too hard. 

So for ex., we have categories for groceries, lunches, takeout, and eating out.  I carved out "lunches" specifically because DH insists on eating out every day; I am not going to nag him on a battle that was lost 20 years ago, but I am also not going to hold myself responsible for something that not my choice and completely out of my control.  A/k/a not my circus, not my monkeys.

Similarly, I am not focusing on eating out or weekend takeout, because DH likes going out and is extremely grumpy if I make him eat at home all the time.  So I work on it from the standpoint of "why don't we just go get a burger/order pizza instead of Fancy Gourmet Place," but that's it. 

OTOH, groceries are weeknight takeout are on me.  It's my job to plan, shop, and prepare, so poor results in those categories usually mean that I got lazy.  Those are therefore both areas in which I can and should focus my efforts to improve.  In addition, the trends in the individual categories also matter -- I could drop my groceries way down if I just ordered a buttload of takeout, but that isn't desirable; and on the flip side, cutting back from our takeout habit definitely required more consistent grocery shopping.  So tracking the categories individually helps me figure out not just if I am getting lazy, but where. 

@Novik:  Can you please come deliver some of those leftovers to my house?  I'm still eating leftover Superbowl BBQ and an awful chicken/brown/broccoli rice dish that I couldn't inflict on anyone else.  :-(  I will happily trade you some really delicious green chile stew that turned out to be just a little too spicy and so will take about 2 weeks to work through. . . .

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #241 on: February 12, 2018, 09:56:13 AM »
Decided to actually post January's numbers. Lots and lots of eating out :'(.

2 Shopping weeks into February, we are finally settling into our new house. We have gone a FULL WEEK without buying food from a restaurant/coffeeshop/takeout place etc.

Our grocery bills are looking inflated, but we have been doing some mega meal prep (freezer is now full), and it works out to about $3 a serving of food, which isn't too bad! We will see how the numbers average out month by month!

Ideally I would still like to see that total number closer to $600 a month.

Just curious why you divide the eating out into buckets? Isn't it all the same, from a budget perspective? I'd finding the tracking annoying, but also would likely spend more if I had multiple buckets.

Not to speak for kay, but I started dividing my eating-out-budget into even more buckets than that. 

I have buckets for:
Work lunches - Husband
Work lunches - me
Vending machine / coffee shop - husband
Date Night
Family Dinners
Social Restaurant meals (out with friends)
One parent w/kids (we're a blended family; sometimes we have dates with our own bio kids)
Desserts

It was eye-opening for us to see where the problems really were.

My husband spent way more money than we realized on work lunches and vending machines/coffee shops.
I spent way more money than I realized treating the kids to desserts or having one-on-one dates with the kids.

Each category does have a monthly budget now, and we're finally making progress at cutting down that spending.

Interesting. Thanks for sharing! I think, for us, we have few of these categories, and spend the eating out money in primarily two ways (as a family, or on a date night). And, when we spend more on date nights, for example, we don't spend any/much on  eating out as a family. But, the way you explained it is helpful - to pinpoint where the overage is really coming from. Makes sense!

DapperD123

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #242 on: February 12, 2018, 11:30:42 AM »
I hope you don't mind if I play along too.... I know I'm late to the start.
Coming out of last year we averaged $1050 a month for food/gas. That's foe my DW, a newborn, and I.

My 2018 goal is to reduce that by at least 25%.

I've got a few items already in place:
- We used to buy individual servicing sized cups of rice or pouches. That's long gone.... buy in bulk now and cook when it's needed.
Or I'll cook enough for the week on Sunday for my lunch meal prep.

- Oatmeal... so long small boxes of oatmeal packs or 3 for 5 individual service cups....
It's now large containers of oats or I'll buy the Sams club sized oatmeal packs.

- Potatoes.... so long premade mashed potatoes or pre sliced and seasoned potatoes...

etc etc

I don't mind spending a little time doing meal prep because the savings are happening very quickly.

Novik

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #243 on: February 12, 2018, 11:44:14 AM »
Novik:  Can you please come deliver some of those leftovers to my house?  I'm still eating leftover Superbowl BBQ and an awful chicken/brown/broccoli rice dish that I couldn't inflict on anyone else.  :-(  I will happily trade you some really delicious green chile stew that turned out to be just a little too spicy and so will take about 2 weeks to work through. . . .

Maybe what we need is an MMM cooking swap!  Alas, I must turn down your generous chile stew offer, since spice and I are not friends. The chicken/broccoli/brown rice actually sounds like it could be really good though - sorry to hear it didn't turn out!

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #244 on: February 12, 2018, 01:58:47 PM »
Today my friend and I got together and made a couple of gallons of chilli.  It was made with ground beef, ground pork, ground venison, and pureed beef liver.  These were all in our freezers along with peppers I froze from this past summer along with home canned tomatoes, home canned salsa verde, and dried herbs from my garden.  The meat came from buying whole animals directly from a farmer except for the venison.  My friend's DH is a hunter.  I add a small amount of liver because I get it when I buy half a cow.  Hiding it in chili is the best way for me to eat and not notice. The rest of the ingredients except for some spices came from our gardens.  We periodically get together to  can or batch cook.  It reduces the work,  we get to catch up, and both of us have food ready to eat in the freezer.  We plan these events based on what we need to use up or what the garden is over producing.  We have made jams, tomato sauce, relish, stews, chicken soup, chili, plus pressure canning meats and stock.   

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #245 on: February 12, 2018, 03:05:05 PM »
The chicken/broccoli/brown rice actually sounds like it could be really good though - sorry to hear it didn't turn out!

Well, the fact that I don't really like broccoli and just kinda tolerate brown rice didn't help.  :-)  The pain of trying to be healthy . . . . 

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #246 on: February 12, 2018, 03:12:29 PM »
Laura33, what kind of broccoli do you cook? I LOVE broccoli and actually prefer the frozen broccoli florets over fresh. Got to be careful not to buy the broccoli 'cuts'. They are CRAP stalks/stems and some florets. I sometimes buy this huge 3 lb bag of frozen broccoli florets at the store and break it down into more manageable portions. It is so good with just butter after a light cook. I steam in the microwave and it comes out perfect. I am sure brown rice can be jazzed up to taste good but I am a white rice person. Maybe someone could help out on add ins to flavor the brown rice. Garlic, onions, peppers, tomato sauce?

kaypinkHH

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #247 on: February 12, 2018, 03:51:44 PM »
@MaybeBabyMustache, totally what others have said (also Mint automatically breaks it out that way for me, I actually lump fast food and coffee shops together).

For us, fastfoood/coffeeshops are my MOST EVIL PURCHASES. I want those to go to 0. Normally fast food and or coffee shops means sh!t convenience food that I bought on the run, and for us it is laziness. January did include some big purchases (like a take 12 coffee pack) and timbits and pizza for moving help (Feb will have the same).

Restaurants though are normally with friends, or food styles we haven't mastered at home yet, so I don't feel as bad about it.

galliver

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #248 on: February 12, 2018, 03:55:28 PM »
One more trip and 2 more stores for us this weekend, under atypical circumstances. We went out of town for a wedding and stayed at my parents. They don't mind feeding us, but this time they were headed out of town themselves so their fridge was low. Picked up $30 of breakfast and lunch for 4 days. (I also stopped in grocery stores 2 other times, but it was entirely for gift-giving purposes--candy and cards--so not groceries.) We're at $110 for the month so far with a pretty full fridge (pretty low for this time in the month and usually $500+ total!)

The chicken/broccoli/brown rice actually sounds like it could be really good though - sorry to hear it didn't turn out!

Well, the fact that I don't really like broccoli and just kinda tolerate brown rice didn't help.  :-)  The pain of trying to be healthy . . . . 

You could try red rice if you have an ethnic grocery that stocks it. I find it a lot less...cardboardy, and maybe sweeter? We got a 3?lb bag from 99 Ranch fairly inexpensively, but I don't know what's available on your coast. Keep an eye out?

I also find that heartier grains (brown/red/black/wild rice, barley, farro, etc) work better with richer, heartier, saucier additions/toppings...like chicken marsala, mushrooms, sweet potatoes/root veg, etc. I would never substitute them in something like sushi. Kind of like how I wouldn't bake delicate pastries with whole wheat flour, but oatmeal cookies or bran muffins would work fine. Enjoyed a variation on this dish with red+brown+wild rice: https://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/wild-rice-pilaf-with-dried-cranberries-and-pecans.html

There werenít too many things on sale this week in the circulars, so I stopped at Aldi and Berkeley again on Tuesday before the prior weeks sales were over. I had a really hard time purchasing that expensive toothpaste. I actually put it to the side while checking out 🤣, but our teeth have become sensitive to cold after using harsh whitening toothpastes. Next time Iíll try and use a coupon for it.

My teeth became crazy sensitive around the time I got my wisdom teeth out (though dentists tell me it's unrelated?); I've been on non-whitening, anti-sensitivity toothpaste several years. I've had very good luck with the Colgate anti-sensitivity toothpastes (possibly better than Sensodyne); from what I've seen the Colgate ones tend to be cheaper ($3.50-4 vs $5+?); especially if it's not from a newer "line" of pastes and in a big tube. (Just make sure it has potassium nitrate.)

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #249 on: February 12, 2018, 04:31:41 PM »
So far I've only spent $11.05 on groceries this month (milk, eggs, and half and half), in my monthlong challenge to eat down the pantry at home. Still got plenty of rice, beans, canned tomatoes, various condiments, and grocery staples. Low on fresh veggies- out of potatoes and onions, almost out of garlic, peanut butter (!!) and cheese. On the plus side, I reorganized the various pantry cabinets and was able to consolidate a lot, found some more chocolate chips (yay!), and picked some fresh broccoli raab from the garden for dinner tonight.

I'm 90% sure I'm going to do an Imperfect Produce order this week (side bar - not a huge meal delivery kit person, but IP keeps perfectly good, if weirdly sized produce out of the landfill and this month, keeps me out of the grocery store, AKA temptation) because the only veg we have in the house is broccoli raab, half a cabbage, and half a head of celery to get us through the month. Not enough fresh veg for our tastes!

I also may need to pick up more flour, because I'm down to my last few cups in the 20-pound bag and I make all our bread at home. Bad timing to run out in no-spend grocery month - I think I opened that bag in December.

But even with those purchase in mind, I'm pretty sure I'll be under $100 for the month and will have a much more streamlined pantry!