Author Topic: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018  (Read 59941 times)

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #350 on: March 05, 2018, 09:23:50 AM »
I have to learn to resist the urge to stock up on meat.  We didn't need much meat this week because there is so much in the freezer, but I bought more because chili meat was on sale. 

Even so (and despite, we were $5 under my weekly budget!  My tween daughter was in awe that our bill was $75 lower than our old normal.  I explained about the costs of convenience and junk foods vs healthy foods and pointed out that even eating healthy, I bought a cake and pretzel chips...and still came under budget.

Hopefully I can correct the prior bad example we had set.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #351 on: March 05, 2018, 10:09:02 AM »
Laura33, well that would make me MAD as HELL if I went to the effort to prepare food and Hub and DD ate out! Kids are one thing and don't 'get it' when it comes to time and effort put into food prep. BUT the Hub knows better. Time to sit him down and have a talk! Maybe make a compromise of ONE dinner out and the rest at home if you went to the effort of preparing it. Won't they eat bagels at home if you buy them?

GRRRRRR, to that!

I travel a lot for work, and it's taken some time (& trial & error) to get the right balance for my husband & the kids on food prep options. He's a great cook, but is only comfortable making a few things. He's not a fan of casseroles or soups, so will studiously ignore those in the fridge, should they be there. So, I make sure he has all of the standard things (breakfast & lunch are pretty routine), salad ingredients for every night, and then a few easy meal options. In our world, that's spaghetti & meatballs, Costco pizza (frozen), lasagna (frozen), & then also give him a gift card to an easy dining option that I bought on sale. Between those few options, they survive for the week. I used to try & make food for every day, and it was a disaster, and I come home to a full fridge of spoiled food & be super p*ssed.

AmandaPanda

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #352 on: March 05, 2018, 02:33:24 PM »
4alpacas just wanted you to know I am saving receipts for this month.  I wanted to do a $15 shop this week, but of course I forgot the kids were out of yogurt, they like to eat dried beans during the week, etc.  The receipts will help me have a more realistic picture of what I need to purchase when, and if we think those purchase are worth it (some definitely are not).

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #353 on: March 05, 2018, 04:01:40 PM »
4alpacas just wanted you to know I am saving receipts for this month.  I wanted to do a $15 shop this week, but of course I forgot the kids were out of yogurt, they like to eat dried beans during the week, etc.  The receipts will help me have a more realistic picture of what I need to purchase when, and if we think those purchase are worth it (some definitely are not).
Good luck!  It's tedious, but it really helped me with food waste and my stockpiling problem.

I've spent $30/$200. 
$11 - on sparkling water (an impulse purchase)
$19 - trash bags (bought in bulk - Costco)

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #354 on: March 05, 2018, 05:44:23 PM »
Laura33, well that would make me MAD as HELL if I went to the effort to prepare food and Hub and DD ate out! Kids are one thing and don't 'get it' when it comes to time and effort put into food prep. BUT the Hub knows better. Time to sit him down and have a talk! Maybe make a compromise of ONE dinner out and the rest at home if you went to the effort of preparing it. Won't they eat bagels at home if you buy them?

GRRRRRR, to that!

I travel a lot for work, and it's taken some time (& trial & error) to get the right balance for my husband & the kids on food prep options. He's a great cook, but is only comfortable making a few things. He's not a fan of casseroles or soups, so will studiously ignore those in the fridge, should they be there. So, I make sure he has all of the standard things (breakfast & lunch are pretty routine), salad ingredients for every night, and then a few easy meal options. In our world, that's spaghetti & meatballs, Costco pizza (frozen), lasagna (frozen), & then also give him a gift card to an easy dining option that I bought on sale. Between those few options, they survive for the week. I used to try & make food for every day, and it was a disaster, and I come home to a full fridge of spoiled food & be super p*ssed.

Yep! After almost 22 years, I have basically given up.  Generally I keep hot dogs/brats on hand and some deli, but otherwise I dont bother.  Its just not worth getting all worked up over.  This time I tried to bribe perpetually-broke DD by offering to pay her to make dinner, but that maxed out at only one night.  Oh well.

Really, its not a big deal - we are FI and both still working, we can afford it, and he loves eating out as entertainment.  It just bugs me because its wasteful and unhealthy.  But serenity prayer and all that.

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #355 on: March 08, 2018, 12:59:32 PM »
I'm still at $30/$200. 

Both DH and I are at home...and sick. 

I threw two frozen chicken breasts, a few spices, and a can of diced tomatoes and green chilies in the Instant Pot.  We have some brown rice already made. I rinsed a can of black beans.  Lunch with about 5 minutes of time out of my bed.  I don't feel like eating, but I also want to avoid DH ordering pizza. 

After napping, I going to make a version of this recipe with whole wheat pasta.  It's filling, simple, and comforting.

I need to get my grocery order in for delivery this weekend.  Anyone have any easy recipes to recommend? I have time to dedicate to food prep on Sunday afternoon, but I really don't want to spend more than 2 hours in the kitchen (less than an hour is preferable).

Novik

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #356 on: March 08, 2018, 01:06:09 PM »
Anyone have any easy recipes to recommend? I have time to dedicate to food prep on Sunday afternoon, but I really don't want to spend more than 2 hours in the kitchen (less than an hour is preferable).

Baked tofu/rice/veggies.

Preheat oven to 350F.
While oven is heating, combine all ingredients in a medium-sized casserole dish. Stir thoroughly to combine.
Place on middle rack in oven, and cook uncovered for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until rice is cooked and all water is absorbed.
Ideally stir once or twice during cooking.

Ingredients:
2 cups rice (not instant!)
3 1⁄3 cups water
1.25 package onion soup mix or similar spices (watch the salt!)
3 1⁄2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons oil

firm tofu (1/2 to 1 package)
1 head of brocoli, chopped
~2 carrots, chopped
frozen corn and peas (total < 1 cup)
3-4 small mushrooms, chopped

Adjust ingredients as desired, to taste or to minimize prep. We tend to double the recipe and cook two batches, but if you had two casserole dishes that could make a lot of easy, warm, comforting food at once.

LMBB

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #357 on: March 08, 2018, 07:08:34 PM »
Joining this challenge a little late, but grocery spending can get to be a big problem for us if I don't keep an eye on it. We're a family of 5 (3 adults, 2 kids aged 6 and 9) and at the highest my grocery spend would approach (or exceed... ugh) $1,000/month. This figure doesn't include eating out, which we rarely do anymore.

Now I'm aiming for $300-$400/month. Full disclosure, this low target is meant to encourage me to take advantage of my already bursting pantry and freezer stocks.

I just recently started keeping a price book for groceries so I can tell the per unit cost of things I buy most frequently and compare from store to store. I'm also not going to the store when I'm missing one or two ingredients from a recipe because I'll come out with $100 worth of groceries instead of just the one or two things I needed. Instead, I omit, substitute, make my own (if possible - like self-rising flour, mayonnaise, etc), or find another recipe with the items I do have.

I do meal planning and prep, but have to force myself each week. It's not my favorite way to spend the weekend but it really pays off financially. I just ordered an instant pot which should arrive today and I'm sure will magically solve all of my cooking woes (ha). I've also been cooking extensively from the Budgetbytes website and Leanne Brown's book "Good and Cheap". Here's to a frugal 2018!

So far this month I'm at $73.21, mostly for produce.

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #358 on: March 08, 2018, 10:05:52 PM »
Thanks, @Novik

Lots of food prepped in our fridge, so we should be set for a few days.

LMBB

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #359 on: March 09, 2018, 11:33:22 PM »
Did my weekly shopping today at Winco.

Spent $34.76 which brings me to a total of $110.17 of $300.00 for this month. So far so good.

imadandylion

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #360 on: March 10, 2018, 07:17:00 PM »
Pretty much blew the $100/per month goal already!  Spent about 70-80 bucks in the first week of March and today, I spent $188.  I was looking for some special ingredients for certain dishes that are a little hard to find and trying to stick to nearby grocery stores. Ended up stocking up on a lot of pantry-type items like a 50-lb bag of rice ($40!), a ton of sweet potatoes, noodles of various types, pasta, my favorite san marzano whole canned tomatoes, barista-style almond milk (refrigerate after opening!), etc. so they'll be useful for many weeks to come.

...and I still want to hit up the farmer's market tomorrow and get some more goodies that are generally really inexpensive, like oranges, because they're still technically in-season.  Sticking to a smaller weekly budget is much more do-able with a well-stocked pantry, but when it comes to seeing a bill that high for one month makes me feel like I can't budget properly or something, but I also don't like to only eat rice and beans... and have a hopeless addiction to mushrooms (the legal, produce kind!).

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #361 on: March 12, 2018, 09:13:37 AM »
$175/$200

I doubt we will be able to stay below our goal, but I'll give it my best shot! We bought a lot of frozen, packaged food ($35), which I hope will save us from ordering delivery. 

Novik

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #362 on: March 12, 2018, 09:55:37 AM »
Spent 143$ on Friday night in advance of a ski trip, but ate way less of that food than expected over the weekend, so it should cover this week's meals and through next weekend. That's good since the bill was much higher than the ~75$/week goal, although averaging with last week is only 85$/week. Still disappointing, but I impressed my partner by predicting within 5$ our bill when looking at the full cart.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #363 on: March 12, 2018, 01:16:12 PM »
I found out that the double so big packs of milk have a 0,5 USD lower unit price than the normal size milk packs. So I bought the big pack. I guess I haven't paid enough attention to the big packs, as we are only 2 people at home and DH does not drink much milk.
Nice to know that there is a new thing I can save on.

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #364 on: March 14, 2018, 06:15:56 AM »
Total splurge week here -- we were in NYC for a long weekend and came home with tons of fresh pasta, homemade sausage, cheeses, and jars of luxury stuff.  Oh, and a truffle.  Yeah.  Our "real" groceries were $35, but the NY groceries were almost $200, so we are currently at $247 groceries for the month + $134 household. 

The even worse news is that the pasta is being devoured and not leaving me with leftovers, and I didn't prep/cook anything else Sunday because we were out of town, so I am now out of lunch foods -- and I forgot to bring in my new jar of peanut butter and so am going to have to buy my lunch today.

On the plus side, it was worth every damn penny.  :-)

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #365 on: March 14, 2018, 06:48:09 AM »
Laura33, you CRACK ME UP! Glad you enjoyed your weekend and lived it up! Life is too short to dwell on every single dollar! Hahaha, hoard those leftovers and put them in a container marked pickled pigs feet!

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #366 on: March 14, 2018, 09:15:56 AM »
@Laura33 That sounds pretty darn amazing!  Plus, it's probably only a few takeout meals. 

Even though we spent a bunch of money on prepared food (and had cooked food in the fridge), we ordered Indian last night.  $35.  It will be dinner tonight too.  We did make rice in the Instant Pot, which saved about $5.  So...not great, but it could be worse. 

In better news, I've been eating down a lot of produce that a friend gave me.  I haven't let anything go bad, and I have been truly enjoying all of the fresh vegetables.  I made hummus last night, which I will eat with the remaining carrots and sliced cucumber.  Still working on what to do with the mushrooms...

I also used up the 3 half-used bags of frozen fruit.  I made 4 smoothies, and I packed one for an afternoon snack today. 

Novik

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #367 on: March 14, 2018, 10:38:42 AM »
Speaking of leftovers, we were treated for a birthday dinner last night, and my sister wasn't going to box up the rest of her meal as she didn't enjoy it much. We swooped in to ask for it to please be boxed up, and that's an extra delicious lunch for my partner today. Win all around!

zeli2033

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #368 on: March 15, 2018, 08:06:35 AM »
Food spending is at $445 this month so far. It's been a disaster as compared to recent months. Eating out has been $150 so far, a far cry from $30 I was able to hit over the last couple of months. Oh well, we're hoping to shore some things up for the rest of the month and hopefully keep things within the monthly budget of $800. Shameful but still much better than last year.

LMBB

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #369 on: March 15, 2018, 10:32:07 PM »
Midway through the month and spending is at $127/$300.

We did eat out tonight because I was feeling lazy.

meatgrinder

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #370 on: March 15, 2018, 11:06:07 PM »
I will join again. My goal: keeping the same average spend this year as last year. I really hope that my credit card will give 3% cash back on grocery again from next month. Otherwise I'll have to earn in those 3% in some other way.

AMEX blue cash preferred gives 6 percent on groceries.

imadandylion

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #371 on: March 18, 2018, 04:24:27 PM »
Just totaled my grocery bill for the month so far and it's $439.73. :/  This total doesn't even include what my partner spent.

Does anyone else have a hard time getting a plan to stick with their partner?  Not trying to blame my partner but he can definitely be resistant to the idea of meal planning for some reason.  I wonder if this is a problem with "Mustachian" people in general with partners not agreeing on finances.

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #372 on: March 18, 2018, 05:41:32 PM »
Does anyone else have a hard time getting a plan to stick with their partner?  Not trying to blame my partner but he can definitely be resistant to the idea of meal planning for some reason.  I wonder if this is a problem with "Mustachian" people in general with partners not agreeing on finances.
My spouse is not up for meal planning, but he will usually eat food if it's prepared.  So I meal prep, so there is food around.  Slowly he's stopped ordering pizza and getting take-out. However, I have to do the work because saving the money matters to me (and the health benefits are only my concern too).

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #373 on: March 18, 2018, 08:57:47 PM »
We're getting close to our March limit, but I'm feeling good about hitting both groceries & eating out. (We'll be $5 over our eating out, but let it slide ;-)). My husband normally does the shopping, and is out of town for two weekends, so I feel good that we can stay on track.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #374 on: March 19, 2018, 08:09:00 AM »
Does anyone else have a hard time getting a plan to stick with their partner?  Not trying to blame my partner but he can definitely be resistant to the idea of meal planning for some reason.  I wonder if this is a problem with "Mustachian" people in general with partners not agreeing on finances.
My spouse is not up for meal planning, but he will usually eat food if it's prepared.  So I meal prep, so there is food around.  Slowly he's stopped ordering pizza and getting take-out. However, I have to do the work because saving the money matters to me (and the health benefits are only my concern too).

I also have this issue.  My husband buys junk whenever he goes to the store.  Grocery shopping and cooking are my chores for this semester (we renegotiate chores every 4-6 months).

I'm trying to a) not forget anything so I don't have to ask him to pick up one or two items for me - he comes home with those plus a cartful of junk and b) keep consistently under my weekly budget so that when he does splurge on junk food there's room, plus c) post a list of the week's planned meals on the fridge.  If he gets home early and is hungry, he can get started on the meal I've already planned and prepped.

FireHiker

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #375 on: March 19, 2018, 10:18:01 AM »
March has been abysmal for grocery spending for us. I started getting up to run before work a month ago and it is a hugely different habit for me which is sucking all of my mental capacity out of me. It's getting better, and I'll get back on track with grocery spending soon. I AM still tracking every penny in and out, but I haven't recorded everything yet for March. I know we are well over where I wanted to be; I'll get my spreadsheet updated in the next couple days to see just how bad it is. But, I ran 4 miles this morning for the first time ever. Trying to balance financial and non-financial goals...it will get better.

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #376 on: March 19, 2018, 11:14:55 AM »
Well, not surprisingly, the lingering impacts of my NYC free-for-all have left me over budget.  Ended up doing takeout and work lunches a couple of times because of the lack of leftovers + a school fundraiser at the pizza place for the club my daughter founded ($66), and then of course I had no actual food in the house and did a big shop this week to stock back up (how I topped $150 at ALDI I don't know!  Although they did have the maple sausage my family loves on sale, so that's $20 right there, plus $10 in ribs for DD's braces-off celebration).  Put that together with bi-weekly dairy and a short Wegmans stop, and our monthly totals are now $493 food + $160 HH + $123 takeout. 

Yeah, I suck.  I do at least have meals planned and prepped for this whole week, so back on the horse.

Novik

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #377 on: March 19, 2018, 01:18:17 PM »
@4alpacas

Riffing off the chicken/carb theme, we made this pretty easy one dish meal last week - roasted chicken with potatoes and asparagus. Not sure if it works for you, but we did it with a couple chicken breasts and no lemon and it turned out fine and reheated well. I'd probably recommend covering it for the last cooking to help keep the asparagus moist though.

In terms of pantry to slow cooker, maybe a chili? Cans of tomatoes, black and/or kidney beans, with some fresh veg like peppers and yam. Could also get some naan or other bread to eat it with. I have a recipe that also involves ground meat but that makes it less easy.

(Please let me know if this is too much... I just strive to find easy meals for my family and hope they can be helpful to others.)


4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #379 on: March 19, 2018, 02:01:34 PM »
Thank you, @Novik
We don't have any asparagus in the house, but we do have everything else.  I could probably do something with frozen broccoli.  Thanks!

For the chicken breasts, how long did you have to bake them?

@Roadrunner53 I don't have any pop-fresh bread things, but I could make some pizza dough tonight for dinner tomorrow.  Thanks!

Thank you for the input.  I'm NOT creative in the kitchen, and I'm also not a very good cook.  I'm working on improving my skills, but weeknight cooking is a struggle for me.

Novik

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #380 on: March 19, 2018, 02:04:36 PM »
For the chicken breasts, how long did you have to bake them?

Since the recipe calls for a chicken cut into pieces, we didn't find the baking time much different with chicken breasts only. Maybe only 15 min vs. 20? I don't entirely recall.

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #381 on: March 19, 2018, 02:13:05 PM »
For the chicken breasts, how long did you have to bake them?

Since the recipe calls for a chicken cut into pieces, we didn't find the baking time much different with chicken breasts only. Maybe only 15 min vs. 20? I don't entirely recall.
Awesome!  I'll move the chicken breasts from the freezer to fridge tonight, and I think that will be dinner tomorrow. 

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #382 on: March 19, 2018, 02:38:55 PM »
4alpacas, look into freezer cooking. I bought some books and I think they are called Dinner is ready. It shows you have to prepare up to 30 meals in one day and get them ready for the freezer. I haven't done it in a while but as I recall you choose so many chicken recipes, beef recipes and then you are guided on how to prep/freeze. I believe there are shopping lists too. I think mine came with a CD so you could print out the grocery lists. They show you how to prepare the meals in various ways, using the oven, crockpot and stove top meals.

https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/097877650X

You need to make time to do this on a weekend. You need to shop for all the ingredients, then prep some of the stuff the day before so the big day of assembly will be smooth. It just takes organization and the book will tell you how to set up stuff.

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #383 on: March 19, 2018, 06:29:59 PM »
@4alpacas - <mwah>

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #384 on: March 20, 2018, 05:01:34 AM »

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #385 on: March 20, 2018, 06:36:24 AM »
@4alpacas - one thing we do is bulk grill chicken breasts. (My husband marinates them all day in some sort of secret sauce that involves pureed onions, garlic, & spices). He grills them, and then after they are cool, we bag them into meal size portions & freeze them. Because the protein is already cooked, dinner comes together really quickly. Here are a few things we do with the chicken:
-Chicken soft tacos
-Grilled chicken on salad
-Grilled chicken w/pasta. Great w/pesto & tortellini

I take pretty much any recipe that includes cooking chicken, & just sub our chicken in. I make homemade chicken taquitos, baked chicken pasta dishes, chicken risotto, etc.

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #386 on: March 20, 2018, 08:57:01 AM »
4alpacas, I have not personally used these recipes but some look really good and easy!

Sheet pan recipes: https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/sheet-pan-supper-recipes/view-all/

Foil packet dinners: https://www.southernliving.com/dinner/foil-packet-dinners-for-fall#sausage-potato-green-bean-foil-packet-dinners-for-fall

Crock pot dinners: http://www.easybreezyrecipes.com/Crockpot.html
I love the idea of the sheet pan recipes!  Easy, and great to have the oven on to heat the house a little :) 

@MaybeBabyMustache That's a great idea.  I could freeze some of the shredded chicken we make.  Usually, I just freeze uncooked chicken or complete meals. 

kaypinkHH

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #387 on: March 20, 2018, 11:53:27 AM »
@4alpacas I love making meal plans! Shoot me a PM with your allergies/DH's pickiness/constraints and I can shoot you some ideas!! I try to balance frugalness, with healthy choices as well as easy to cook meals.

Not sure if you are on the meal planning thread, but that has a lot of ideas too! https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/meal-planning-2018/

I typically do some bulk freezer cooking on the weekends for days where we just don't want to cook, but then mix it up with some more "fresh" easy weeknight meals.

Food spend wise so far this month- Groceries are out of control, BUT: We have been stocking our freezer, technically we could probably get through a month with minimal grocery spend (which is the plan for May when baby HH arrives)...but in good news so far: 0 in fast food, 0 at coffee shops, and only $45 at restaurants!!! WHAT!!!! I'll update ya'll with final numbers in 11 days!


LessIsLess

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #388 on: March 20, 2018, 02:20:13 PM »
Before you eat, do 20 push ups, every single time.  Your grocery budget would drop like a rock, and you'll have some muscles to show for all that eating.  Can't do the push ups?  Sorry, no food for you!

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #389 on: March 20, 2018, 03:00:32 PM »
@kaypinkHH PM sent!  You're so thoughtful!  I'll check out the meal planning thread.

@LessIsLess Before every bite or before every meal?  If it's just before every meal, I'm set ;)

ohsnap

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #390 on: March 21, 2018, 12:07:03 PM »
In looking at YTD grocery spend, I might be on to something:
(this is for 2 people, sometimes 3 as one of our adult kids usually spends weekends here)
1. January $270 (this included one Costco trip for $120)
2. February $402 (this included two Costco trips for $197)
3. March 1-21 $72 (no trips to Costco yet).

Hmmm.  I really feel like the stuff I buy at Costco is at best per-unit prices.  But is it actually reducing my overall grocery bill, or increasing it?  I do purchase "impulse buys" like the stupid box of pre-cooked beets I found in the produce department in Feb.  I just opened the first pack of those yesterday and realized dh and I will need to eat beets every day for 3 days to finish it before it goes bad.  Oh, and the frozen curry dish that I bought "because it would be cheaper than going out" but it's languishing in the freezer after several months.  Maybe I'll challenge myself to ONLY buy what's on my list and see how that affects my grocery bill.  Right now we're about out of cashews, cheddar cheese, and canned tomatoes, and I know I can't find those cheaper elsewhere.  Let's see if I can stick to it.  (or maybe don't buy cashews...if we don't have those on hand, we use much cheaper peanuts)

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #391 on: March 21, 2018, 12:23:18 PM »
Costco makes a lot more sense for us after I started sticking to the list.  I also try not to go more than once a month ... about the time we run out of cheese, chicken, and cereal.

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #392 on: March 22, 2018, 08:32:43 AM »
In looking at YTD grocery spend, I might be on to something:
(this is for 2 people, sometimes 3 as one of our adult kids usually spends weekends here)
1. January $270 (this included one Costco trip for $120)
2. February $402 (this included two Costco trips for $197)
3. March 1-21 $72 (no trips to Costco yet).

Hmmm.  I really feel like the stuff I buy at Costco is at best per-unit prices.  But is it actually reducing my overall grocery bill, or increasing it?  I do purchase "impulse buys" like the stupid box of pre-cooked beets I found in the produce department in Feb.  I just opened the first pack of those yesterday and realized dh and I will need to eat beets every day for 3 days to finish it before it goes bad.  Oh, and the frozen curry dish that I bought "because it would be cheaper than going out" but it's languishing in the freezer after several months.  Maybe I'll challenge myself to ONLY buy what's on my list and see how that affects my grocery bill.  Right now we're about out of cashews, cheddar cheese, and canned tomatoes, and I know I can't find those cheaper elsewhere.  Let's see if I can stick to it.  (or maybe don't buy cashews...if we don't have those on hand, we use much cheaper peanuts)

FWIW, I had the same realization myself and ended up dropping Costco.  A lot of it was my own self-control (or lack thereof).  When I go to the regular grocery store, I can do my list (the app lists them aisle by aisle), pick up what I need, and go.  But at Costco, their offerings are always changing -- so I'd make my list, but then see all these other things that weren't there last time that seemed like an awesome deal and throw that in, too.  And then half the time they wouldn't have everything on my list (or offered it in such quantities that I knew we'd never eat it all), so I'd end up going to the regular store, too.  And instead of spending $200 at the regular (expensive) grocery store, I'd spend $200 at Costco and $100 at the regular store.  So for me, the better dollar-per-unit price was more than offset by my inability to control my impulsiveness when presented with a deal. 

I wasn't exactly happy to discovery that about myself.  :-)  But no one is perfect, and as the poster at my gym says, success is the result of controlling failure.  So I stick to regular stores now because they pose fewer temptations (or even better, ALDI, where there are many "what a deal!" temptations, but they actually are ridiculously cheap, so I can buy some treats and still pay less than $100 total).

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #393 on: March 22, 2018, 08:46:35 AM »
Laura33, have you tried shopping Costco on line? You can place an order and control your impulses. My Costco has same day delivery (Instacart) and 2 day delivery that they ship to you. I just got an order yesterday delivered by UPS. I have not tried Instacart yet. If you reach certain minimums they will ship or deliver for free. I need to go to Costco soon to cash my Visa Rewards check. But during the year I order stuff. Costco is about 15 miles from me and not a million miles away but I hate driving and fighting the traffic. When I do go it will be a haul and my car will be filled to the brim!

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #394 on: March 22, 2018, 09:18:24 AM »
Laura33, have you tried shopping Costco on line? You can place an order and control your impulses. My Costco has same day delivery (Instacart) and 2 day delivery that they ship to you. I just got an order yesterday delivered by UPS. I have not tried Instacart yet. If you reach certain minimums they will ship or deliver for free. I need to go to Costco soon to cash my Visa Rewards check. But during the year I order stuff. Costco is about 15 miles from me and not a million miles away but I hate driving and fighting the traffic. When I do go it will be a haul and my car will be filled to the brim!
My DH and I are also horrible impulse shoppers.  However, Costco is a winner for us with dog food alone (then you add in dog treats, and we're golden).  We use Google Express, which provides free delivery for non-perishables for orders over $35 (which is a single bag of dog food).  We also occasionally get 20-25% off coupons, which I use to stock up on dog treats and buy an extra bag of dog food.  I haven't set foot inside a Costco store in several years.  We also pay to have a groceries delivered because we can't be trusted in regular grocery stores.  The grocery delivery fees are face punch-worthy, but we have zero impulse control when it comes to "exciting" new products and stuff that we think we need.

I'm going to go over my planned spending for March because @kaypinkHH gave me an amazing meal plan!!!  I'm going to give it a go and do a bulk cook on Saturday. 

Thank you, @kaypinkHH

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #395 on: March 22, 2018, 09:26:21 AM »
If you meet certain minimums, they ship for free! I will kill myself to get free shipping. There is always something we can use! Even Walmart will give free shipping. I have been known to be a dollar short to get free shipping but by damn, I will find something for a dollar or two to get free shipping! LOL! Chapstick, a box of tissues, a bar of soap! LOL!

The only downside of getting deliveries is the cardboard boxes. Hub is always breaking them down for recycling! Maybe if you have a fireplace you can burn them!

kaypinkHH

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #396 on: March 22, 2018, 09:27:47 AM »
Haha @4alpacas, yes, this will bust the budget most likely!!! (Sorry haha).

That is one bad thing about mega cooking/bulk meal prep, it can be hard to keep a monthly grocery shopping on track...however, mathing it out most of the meals I make are ~$3/serving, especially if I buy meat on sale ahead of time and chuck it in the freezer for later use. Trick is to have a running inventory of what is there so nothing goes to waste.

I modified the meal plan I sent 4 alpacas slightly to be more generic and now you can all see the link :).
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DGOPmLigiCBMZxmbWq6yFATp6TyFakbcsGT180yp0h4/edit?usp=sharing

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #397 on: March 22, 2018, 10:16:44 AM »
Haha @4alpacas, yes, this will bust the budget most likely!!! (Sorry haha).

That is one bad thing about mega cooking/bulk meal prep, it can be hard to keep a monthly grocery shopping on track...however, mathing it out most of the meals I make are ~$3/serving, especially if I buy meat on sale ahead of time and chuck it in the freezer for later use. Trick is to have a running inventory of what is there so nothing goes to waste.

I modified the meal plan I sent 4 alpacas slightly to be more generic and now you can all see the link :).
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DGOPmLigiCBMZxmbWq6yFATp6TyFakbcsGT180yp0h4/edit?usp=sharing
I'll probably spend about $100 (including all of my extras), so it would fit into a normal month budget.  However, we bought a bunch of packaged foods earlier in the month. 

Even so, if I can increase my grocery bill and decrease eating out, then I'm in for it!

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #398 on: March 22, 2018, 08:01:18 PM »
@RoadRunner/4alpacas:  Coincidentally, I did check out Costco online just last month.  Since my prior Costco efforts, I have discovered Amazon Subscribe & Save for most household products and OTC medicines.  So I compared the prices from both sites on the things I usually buy, and it was basically a wash - some were a little higher or lower, but it balanced out to a degree that surprised me.  So between that and ALDI for truly low-priced groceries (not in massive quantities, either), I feel like Im at the good enough for now point.

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #399 on: March 23, 2018, 05:01:21 PM »
$314/$200

We really destroyed the budget this month.

I received our grocery delivery this evening, so I decided to get a jump start on cooking all of the recipes that @kaypinkHH outlined.  I made the egg roll caserole and the brown rice.  I'm working on the pesto with peas recipe right now. 

Tomorrow I'll tackle the rest of the list!