Author Topic: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018  (Read 24018 times)

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #450 on: April 05, 2018, 08:52:40 AM »
@Laura33 I don't have cooking advice, but I also have a DH who loves diversity of flavors and restaurants.  I've had luck with fancy frozen meals.  Some of them are $4.50 (an Indian one with a piece of naan included) a piece, so NOT thrifty.  However, my DH is also lazy...so it's way easier to heat up something in the microwave than wait for delivery (and about $30 cheaper). 

I need to get on my tracking again!  We ordered a bunch of "fancy" ramen, so my DH is in heaven.  Carbs! New flavors! And...super easy for me. 

With @kaypinkHH 's help, I executed a weekly meal plan.  However, my DH refused to eat most of the dishes, so I am still trying to get through all of the meals.  Luckily the butter chicken freezes well, so I have about half of it still in my freezer. 

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #451 on: April 05, 2018, 09:04:20 AM »
Jumping in! Family of 5 who recently switched to Aldi and even more recently quit SAMs club. Due to family visiting last week and our SAMs membership ending, we spent about $400 extra on food / alcohol.

My normal budget is now $400 but I'm going to challenge myself to $350 for April.

Welcome!

I obviously need to be going shopping with you - my family of 5 budget is $125/week.

Does your number include pet food and household items (toilet paper, etc)?

My pet food is prescription so no, and TP has historically been bought at Costco / SAMs which I just stocked up on so it is a quarterly type purchase instead of weekly/monthly. We use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning. MY biggest recommendation re: TP is to get a $50 bidet from Home Depot or Amazon... Will help stretch those $$s much further.

And $350 is going to be a challenge! I had recently gone to one of those salvage grocery stores a few times and have approx $300 worth of snack bars and sauces that I got for $40 which we are working on. My pantry is shamefully overstocked right now.
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Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #452 on: April 05, 2018, 09:17:03 AM »
Lalllura33 here are some frozen grocery store Indian foods. You can put in your zipcode to see where you can buy this stuff. https://saffronroad.com/store-locator/

Buying bulk:

https://www.foodservicedirect.com/search/indian

https://www.foodservicedirect.com/search/thai

kaypinkHH

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #453 on: April 05, 2018, 09:28:16 AM »
@4alpacas Oh no, I'm sad your husband refused to eat them, good attempt though!

I'm super happy that Mr.HH (and I) are probably the least pickiest eaters in the world. Only thing I can't eat is lobster, (which really impacts my MMM ways haha), and Mr.HH doesn't love olives/capers/pickles etc. but will eat them if served in a dish. Literally everything else is fair game.

Even with all my meal prep/planning ahead we still have a back up frozen pizza and a few "microwave" style meals to get us through days where we forget to defrost something. Definitely better than take out!

I'm planning my grocery run for tomorrow...another round of mega cooking coming this weekend! I think now that I have my takeout/coffee/restaurant spending reigned in, it is time to start optimizing food prices. We shop at No Frills (Canadian equivalent of Aldi) and the prices at the "normal" stores boggle my mind.  We do a tiny bit of shopping at Costco, and then have discovered a local meat/fruit/veg market that does weekly CRAZY SALES. Like this week broccoli is $0.47/lb. Getting ALL the broccoli. We don't eat a ton of meat, we do eat a ton of eggs and cheese. Still have not started soaking beans vs buying canned beans. Must. Start. Soaking. 

It does make me think though that we have already implemented quite a few frugal aspects and we are still spending ~$500 a month on groceries (2.9 people hehe). (Yes we have extras in our freezer). I can't even imagine that bill if we were shopping at the "normal" stores or if we were big meat eaters.

Basenji

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #454 on: April 05, 2018, 10:52:20 AM »
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 11:01:27 AM by Basenji »

kaypinkHH

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #455 on: April 05, 2018, 11:54:34 AM »
Wow those are quite a few links!! The mega threads are overwhelming!

Cross posted over on the Meal Planning thread, but here is my latest mega food meal prep plan if people are looking for ideas.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/15ky4hJH8AYYufcW1_peTPxlmMmRch_jF1kuS7so82WE/edit?usp=sharing

Grocery run tonight, we shall see what the damage is!

Edit: One of the recipe items was wild rice. I had no idea how expensive that was! Basmati rice it is!!!

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #456 on: April 05, 2018, 01:39:20 PM »
Jumping in! Family of 5 who recently switched to Aldi and even more recently quit SAMs club. Due to family visiting last week and our SAMs membership ending, we spent about $400 extra on food / alcohol.

My normal budget is now $400 but I'm going to challenge myself to $350 for April.

Welcome!

I obviously need to be going shopping with you - my family of 5 budget is $125/week.

Does your number include pet food and household items (toilet paper, etc)?

My pet food is prescription so no, and TP has historically been bought at Costco / SAMs which I just stocked up on so it is a quarterly type purchase instead of weekly/monthly. We use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning. MY biggest recommendation re: TP is to get a $50 bidet from Home Depot or Amazon... Will help stretch those $$s much further.

And $350 is going to be a challenge! I had recently gone to one of those salvage grocery stores a few times and have approx $300 worth of snack bars and sauces that I got for $40 which we are working on. My pantry is shamefully overstocked right now.

That makes me feel better :)  I include the household items and food for the aging pug from Costco in my grocery budget too.

If there was room for a bidet in the kids' bathroom I would totally get one.  That would solve several problems.
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Basenji

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #457 on: April 06, 2018, 07:19:17 AM »
@Laura33 I'm moving the home-cooked Indian experiment over to my new journal. Don't want to derail this thread. Working on some recipes this weekend.

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #458 on: April 06, 2018, 08:20:13 AM »
You guys are awesome - thanks!
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SachaFiscal

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #459 on: April 06, 2018, 10:39:55 AM »
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.


February - $350
March - $430

Total for this month is significantly above last month but it makes sense because I bought some groceries for my mom when I was visiting her (about $80 worth).  I didn't really pay much attention to my grocery spend this month, just bought only what I needed and only bought fresh stuff (veggies and fruits) a few days in advance of using it. I find that we don't end up eating everything right on schedule so the fresh stuff ends up lasting a couple days more than I expect it to.  Also I'm pretty much cooking the same dishes more or less as last month. I'm pretty happy with this spending level for groceries.

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #460 on: April 06, 2018, 11:24:40 AM »
Hi everyone,

I hadn't seen this thread so haven't posted before but grocery's are my largest monthly spend so I wanted to take on the challenge to reduce them in 2018. I'm single so am in full control of what I eat. I've never had much food wastage and cook every night. I count eating out as entertainment rather than general food/grocery shopping. My numbers include cleaning products and the like, not just edibles. Apologies I'm in the UK so I deal in pounds and pence.

Last year my average monthly spend was 225.69
My target average monthly spend for 2018 is 179.99 (20% reduction)
My current actual average monthly spend for 2018 is 170.00

I am achieving this through a couple of main strategies:

1. Reducing my consumption of pre-prepared food. A good example of this is that instead of buying pre-cooked chicken slices for salads and things I now buy a whole chicken (with legs and everything) and roast it weekly. This gives me two meals and enough for taking salads to work every day. I also buy things like cabbage rather than bags of salad leaves.

2. My second strategy is to give myself time to perform the weekly shop properly. I used to be head down bomb around in as quick a time a possible. Although that was beneficial as it prevented impulse purchases (I only had time to get the items on my list) I wasn't able to spot offers on non-perishable items. So I am able to save money by looking for washing tablets for example, every time I go shopping regardless of whether I need them or not, so I can benefit from any discounts. I do this for all expensive items now and buy in bulk when a sale is on. Another example is that I have also found different flavour yogurts on sale some weeks. Historically I would have just grabbed the brand/flavour I aways get. Now having a bit more time to take a look provides the opportunity to see that often other brands/flavours are discounted e.g. 8 for the price of 4 etc. This approach is great across a wide range of products.

I was never particularly wasteful but have found it remarkable that I could reduce my bill by so much just through applying a bit of common sense really. There is nothing particularly clever in what I am doing. As with many of our expenses its putting some effort in rather than just floating along in life thinking what we are doing is normal and fine. My only regret is the money wasted over the years through not optimising things like this earlier.

CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #461 on: April 06, 2018, 05:35:15 PM »
MY biggest recommendation re: TP is to get a $50 bidet from Home Depot or Amazon... Will help stretch those $$s much further.

But... your water bill probably increases, right?

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #462 on: April 09, 2018, 07:41:21 AM »
First week:  groceries $88 (better), HH $23 (monthly Amazon).  Bad news was takeout was around $50 again (damn you, new Krispy Kreme!).

On the plus side, I managed to cook for a party just out of my fridge and pantry without hitting the grocery store*, and even got rid of a bunch of beers that had been hanging around.  And it was all delicious. :-)   

*Ok, I needed one pepper.  But all of the other things I thought of making required a full shop, so I was happy to come up with chili. 
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formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #463 on: April 09, 2018, 08:19:16 AM »
I blew my April budget over the weekend.  I spent about 90% of the month's grocery budget in three hours (yay, Costco!).

I have several who are facing family crises at the moment, so I spent all day Saturday prepping casseroles to bring to them so they don't have to worry about meals for a while.  Each family got enough to feed them for 1 or 2 weeks.  Plus I now have 10 days' worth of food in my freezer.

The purpose fits my values, so I'm okay with spending the money.

However, because I do want to try to save still, today's lunch is going to be all the leftover veggies in the fridge.
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KBurns

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #464 on: April 11, 2018, 05:10:32 PM »
I am in for this as well. I never seem to leave the grocery store for less that $125 and that's weekly.
The sad part: My husband only eats home 4 days a week. How do I spend this much on mostly me?

The plan: Take stock of what I bought, what I ate and what got tossed.

fuzzy math

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #465 on: April 11, 2018, 07:45:16 PM »
MY biggest recommendation re: TP is to get a $50 bidet from Home Depot or Amazon... Will help stretch those $$s much further.

But... your water bill probably increases, right?

Only if you make bidet using an Olympic endurance event. I believe my water is billed in increments of 748 gallons, so my goal is obviously to use less than that.
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fuzzy math

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #466 on: April 11, 2018, 07:47:48 PM »
April running total:

21 previously posted about
79 - roughly a  weeks worth of basics - packaged goods, produce, lunch fixings from Aldi last Thurs
--------
100 so far

Anticipating another smaller trip in the next 3 days or so
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mountain mustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #467 on: April 11, 2018, 07:52:46 PM »
I'm at $125 for the month so far. That's including a large "stock up" at Natural Grocers at the 1st of the month.

Going to Costco and Sprouts this weekend, so I'm sure that will be another $150.00. I only get to go to "real" stores every couple of months, so I tend to stock up while I'm there since all I have normally is Safeway.

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #468 on: April 12, 2018, 09:32:44 AM »
I am in for this as well. I never seem to leave the grocery store for less that $125 and that's weekly.
The sad part: My husband only eats home 4 days a week. How do I spend this much on mostly me?

The plan: Take stock of what I bought, what I ate and what got tossed.
When I was trying to tune our food waste, I kept the grocery receipts on the fridge and crossed stuff off when I finished them.  It was insane how much food waste decreased (we were super wasteful) when their was a visual in front of me.

I haven't been tracking this month.  I'm going to take a break from cutting our grocery bill and focus on cutting back on take-out.  My husband has been ordering take-out or delivery pizzas about twice/week the last two months (we used to get these things 2-3 times/year).  I would estimate the take-out is costing about $300/month, so I'm happy to increase my grocery budget by $100/month to cut out the delivery.  I'm also concerned about the health consequence/over eating of this food, but my DH responds better to time savings.  So...I need to make it easier to eat at home with a ton of variety. 

fuzzy math

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #469 on: April 12, 2018, 11:58:44 AM »

When I was trying to tune our food waste, I kept the grocery receipts on the fridge and crossed stuff off when I finished them.  It was insane how much food waste decreased (we were super wasteful) when their was a visual in front of me.


I haven't been tracking this month.  I'm going to take a break from cutting our grocery bill and focus on cutting back on take-out.  My husband has been ordering take-out or delivery pizzas about twice/week the last two months (we used to get these things 2-3 times/year).  I would estimate the take-out is costing about $300/month, so I'm happy to increase my grocery budget by $100/month to cut out the delivery.  I'm also concerned about the health consequence/over eating of this food, but my DH responds better to time savings.  So...I need to make it easier to eat at home with a ton of variety.

Very cool idea!! When I am ready to level up I am going to try this
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jim555

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #470 on: April 12, 2018, 12:15:21 PM »
Jan $192.62
Feb $186.73
Mar $217.83
Apr $67.96 so far

CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #471 on: April 12, 2018, 06:28:36 PM »
MY biggest recommendation re: TP is to get a $50 bidet from Home Depot or Amazon... Will help stretch those $$s much further.

But... your water bill probably increases, right?

Only if you make bidet using an Olympic endurance event. I believe my water is billed in increments of 748 gallons, so my goal is obviously to use less than that.

(-: OK then!  I thought I remembered reading a cost analysis about bidets (thinking of getting one for my disabled husband and was hoping it would somehow save me money) and the result was that it somehow cost a little more than the cost of TP saved.   But maybe it was the cost of the electricity (for those who need warm water on their tush...?) Anyhow, not really a topic for this grocery shopping thread.

CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #472 on: April 12, 2018, 06:36:56 PM »
When I was trying to tune our food waste, I kept the grocery receipts on the fridge and crossed stuff off when I finished them.  It was insane how much food waste decreased (we were super wasteful) when their was a visual in front of me.

That's a neat idea!  I think I will try that soon.

fuzzy math

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #473 on: April 15, 2018, 01:13:17 AM »
April running total:

21 previously posted about
79 - roughly a  weeks worth of basics - packaged goods, produce, lunch fixings from Aldi last Thurs
--------
100 so far

Anticipating another smaller trip in the next 3 days or so

+ 70 at Aldi today

ALso shamefully forgot  60 in vitamins and probiotics earlier in the month and DH spent $21 today.

------------------
Total $251
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Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #474 on: April 16, 2018, 09:02:37 AM »
Update:  decent, not great -- DD did the groceries again, so Wegman's, not ALDI, but kept it under $100 ($80), although that didn't exactly provide a huge amount of food.*  With our dairy delivery, I am at $182 MTD for groceries.

Household $$$ continues to suck, especially with two teens/preteens who are always running out of shampoo and deodorant and laundry detergent -- but given that that is so much better than the alternative, I will continue to purchase vast quantities of de-stinkifying agents.  MTD HH is $70. 

Takeout was a little better at $50 for only one cave so far this month.

*I blame Basenji, because the absolutely delicious vindaloo recipe required like $25 of lamb and other ingredients.  ;-)  Still cheaper -- and better! -- than Indian takeout, though.
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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #475 on: April 23, 2018, 02:24:18 PM »
Hi, everyone.  I'm in!

Ok, so not trying that hard to reduce.  More just - actually tracking all grocery spend in a spreadsheet, and looking to build more frugal habits by noticing the detailed data.  In prior years, had spent $300-$450/mo for one person buying lots of organic stuff, fresh deli meat, some packaged products, expensive junk food, packaged cereals. In recent years, paid more attention to price, was down around $220/mo.  Last year (or so), replaced packaged cereal with beans & rice, paid more attention to sale items, ended up around $170/mo.  Data are from year-end card summaries.

This year, am tracking grocery costs purchase by purchase.  Planned to cook more; mostly just added a new cheap meal to the rotation - bean tacos, yum!  Also bought cheaper meat using sales (not a big meat eater anyway); replaced some grocery junk food with home cooked pancakes; researched a little, started buying my broccoli and frozen vegetables non-organic; ate a few pizza leftovers due to voluntary donation by roommate; hosted a number of guest meals (new girlfriend!) blissfully unworried about cost...I'm cooking in batches, sharing is cheap; received some gifts of food via girlfriend, roughly a wash with the guest meals. 

Results year to date:  about $140/mo groceries.
Jan $179.79
Feb $149.68
Mar $125.47
Apr  $ 88.57 month date, about $120 projected
 
« Last Edit: April 23, 2018, 02:29:39 PM by Bicycle_B »

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #476 on: April 23, 2018, 03:07:52 PM »
Update:  decent, not great -- DD did the groceries again, so Wegman's, not ALDI, but kept it under $100 ($80), although that didn't exactly provide a huge amount of food.*  With our dairy delivery, I am at $182 MTD for groceries.

Household $$$ continues to suck, especially with two teens/preteens who are always running out of shampoo and deodorant and laundry detergent -- but given that that is so much better than the alternative, I will continue to purchase vast quantities of de-stinkifying agents.  MTD HH is $70. 

Takeout was a little better at $50 for only one cave so far this month.

*I blame Basenji, because the absolutely delicious vindaloo recipe required like $25 of lamb and other ingredients.  ;-)  Still cheaper -- and better! -- than Indian takeout, though.

Laura33 Can you give your kids a reasonable allowance each month and tell them they can spend it as they want on products but that is it till the next month. Maybe they will understand when the jar or envelope runs out of money that is it till next month. It might wake them up. They might not use half a cup of shampoo each time they shampoo.

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #477 on: April 24, 2018, 10:00:38 AM »
I've taken a break from tracking my grocery spending because I'm trying to dial back our delivery/eating out mindlessly.  So far, prepackaged meals have kept DH from ordering food.  However, he ordered delivery (2 meals) while I had to go pick up a friend who was in the hospital (gone about 4 hours).  Our grocery order on Sunday filled the freezer with every ethnicity and type of frozen meal, so I hope this will keep his ordering out in check. 

I also have a lot of work travel coming up, so I hope to get my DH used to reaching in the freezer rather than ordering in.  Any advice? 

I should mention that I'm not a great cook.  I'm working on improving, but I work a lot and prefer to be outside rather than cooking.  The thought of taking an entire day to cook on the weekend isn't going to fly (I won't be able to hike that day!), so I'm working on bulk cooking hands-off recipes during the week.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #478 on: April 24, 2018, 10:23:33 AM »
What kind of food does your Hub tend to order for take out?

One thing we do is cook up 8 hamburgers at a time. The hub adds cheese and melts it. We let them cool and I put them in individual baggies then freeze. We have an air fryer and cook up French fries and rewarm the burgers in the microwave. Only takes a minute or so. I have frozen hamburger buns wrapped individually too.

You could buy some chicken breasts, cook them up and put some chicken gravy in a ziplock with the chicken and freeze. When ready to eat, just pull them out and put them in a skillet to warm up. Microwave some frozen veggies. You can also make instant mashed potatoes and freeze them too. Rice freezes good and so does spaghetti. Another thing you could do is cook up a huge meatloaf. Once it is cooked and refrigerated, cut it into serving slices. Freeze each slice in a zip lock baggie. Pull out of freezer and warm in gravy or without. You can also use these slices and crumble them into spaghetti sauce. Makes a great meat sauce!

 Look up 10 easy recipes and master them. I recently made a chicken teriyaki which cooked in the crockpot. It was easy and we had many meals out of it. First over rice, then on buns and little more for snacking.

Another easy thing to make is inside out stuffed peppers. Cooked rice, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, onion, cooked hamburger and green and red pepper slices. Mix it all together and put in crock pot. You can make a boat load and freeze the extras.

You don't have to be a great cook, just a smart cook!

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #479 on: April 24, 2018, 11:22:42 AM »
@Roadrunner53 - Papa John's pizza, Indian (usually biryani and chicken tikka masala), chicken and rice (it's not even good) from a Mediterranean-ish restaurant.

The major issue is that my DH will not defrost anything that I've cooked.  If I'm home and do it, then he'll eat it.  However, he has never pulled anything from the freezer.  We are ordering microwave safe bento boxes to try to freeze meals, so we will see how that goes.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #480 on: April 24, 2018, 11:37:57 AM »
Well, as far as Indian food, that would be off my radar screen. No idea how to cook any of that or Chinese food.

I have heard of Bento boxes for lunch boxes but what is freezing meals about? Never heard of it.

So your hub is not in tune with cooking from a frozen status. Now that is a problem. Is it from boxed foods or from stuff you have put in the freezer like leftovers?

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #481 on: April 24, 2018, 11:41:37 AM »

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #482 on: April 24, 2018, 02:32:25 PM »
4alpacas is this the Bento boxes you are talking about: https://www.amazon.com/Compartment-Containers-Portion-Control-Bento/dp/B01D0JDZFO/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1524591516&sr=8-3&keywords=frozen+bento+box

They look like a great idea!
Yeah, that's the idea.  Maybe a little protein, rice, and something else...make a bunch and freeze (or refrigerate). 

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #483 on: April 24, 2018, 02:55:52 PM »
I like them a LOT! I wonder if ice build up will occur in them? I have a vac sealer. I might consider putting the Bento boxes inside a vac pouch and seal lightly as to not squish the Bento box. Please let us know how you like the boxes after you use them!