Author Topic: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018  (Read 38699 times)

frooglepoodle

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #50 on: January 25, 2018, 09:20:56 AM »
I am out of onions and had planned to make bolognese sauce for dinner tonight. One of my big weaknesses is going in for one or two things, then getting distracted and ending up with a cart full. The other is the trifecta of shopping while pregnant, hungry, and with a toddler. X.x

I'm way over my proposed budget for the month, but under my goal number for the year. I meal planned out to the rest of the month and made my list of what I'll need today in order to hold myself accountable.

My list for today:
Onions
Mushrooms
Apples
Clementines (toddler's favorite snack)
Eggs

I'm happy to report that I got in and out with only the items on my list today, for a grand total of $15.18. We're in a smallish town in a semi-rural area and I imagine there isn't much demand for online ordering or services like PeaPod (I checked and they don't serve our area). I'm a stay-at-home parent so I'd have a hard time justifying those extra costs over having a snack before we go so we aren't shopping hungry. I do usually have my husband pick up one-off items on his way home from work, as he's less likely to get distracted than I am (but more likely to buy candy at checkout).
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Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #51 on: January 25, 2018, 11:37:00 AM »
-Meatballs (I don't make them myself. I know. Insert facepunches here. It's on my list of items to try in 2018)

Oh, this is SO easy!!!  One tip:  I have always been a fan of the meatballs you get in Italy, which are sort of soft and tender, not hard little nuggets.  Turns out the real secret is more filler!  If you are interested, here is how I make meatballs:  put some bread crumbs (or stale bread that you whiz up until it's crumbly) in a bowl with about the same amount of parmesan.  Add an egg and some milk and mix it up.  Let it sit until the bread crumbs absorb the liquid, then mix that in with the chosen meat, herbs, and spices -- you can check any cookbook for herb/spice combinations that will go with different flavor profiles.  Then cook one up in a pan to test the flavors before cooking the whole batch (I tend to find that I need to add more herbs/spice/salt, because I'm always afraid to add too much at first).  These also tend to be more delicious if you saute them in a frying pan to get that little crust.

I also do turkey-veggie meatballs to try to sneak veg into my non-veg kiddos.  For these, I whiz up bunches of veggies (garlic, onions, carrots, spinach, peppers, mushrooms, whatever you want), and then I cook them down in a large pan until the liquid is gone and it's looking kind of like a large veggie patty (this will take 45 mins or so, depending on quantities).  Then I mix that in with ground turkey and the egg/milk/bread*/parmesan mix and the herbs (I find fresh sage goes very, very well in this, along with thyme); if you want to cook up a little pancetta or add some demi-glace or similar, that can pump up the deep umami-ness that tends to be missing in turkey meatballs.  These are very tender, so I tend to use an ice-cream scoop and just form them very gently with wet hands before putting them in a roasting pan in the oven to bake (or plop into simmering sauce).  This version is definitely a production, but I make 2-3 lbs of meat at a time and then freeze whole masses of them.

*If I am making these super-healthy, I will use something like oat bran instead of the bread crumbs.
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MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #52 on: January 25, 2018, 11:49:27 AM »
-Meatballs (I don't make them myself. I know. Insert facepunches here. It's on my list of items to try in 2018)

Oh, this is SO easy!!!  One tip:  I have always been a fan of the meatballs you get in Italy, which are sort of soft and tender, not hard little nuggets.  Turns out the real secret is more filler!  If you are interested, here is how I make meatballs:  put some bread crumbs (or stale bread that you whiz up until it's crumbly) in a bowl with about the same amount of parmesan.  Add an egg and some milk and mix it up.  Let it sit until the bread crumbs absorb the liquid, then mix that in with the chosen meat, herbs, and spices -- you can check any cookbook for herb/spice combinations that will go with different flavor profiles.  Then cook one up in a pan to test the flavors before cooking the whole batch (I tend to find that I need to add more herbs/spice/salt, because I'm always afraid to add too much at first).  These also tend to be more delicious if you saute them in a frying pan to get that little crust.

I also do turkey-veggie meatballs to try to sneak veg into my non-veg kiddos.  For these, I whiz up bunches of veggies (garlic, onions, carrots, spinach, peppers, mushrooms, whatever you want), and then I cook them down in a large pan until the liquid is gone and it's looking kind of like a large veggie patty (this will take 45 mins or so, depending on quantities).  Then I mix that in with ground turkey and the egg/milk/bread*/parmesan mix and the herbs (I find fresh sage goes very, very well in this, along with thyme); if you want to cook up a little pancetta or add some demi-glace or similar, that can pump up the deep umami-ness that tends to be missing in turkey meatballs.  These are very tender, so I tend to use an ice-cream scoop and just form them very gently with wet hands before putting them in a roasting pan in the oven to bake (or plop into simmering sauce).  This version is definitely a production, but I make 2-3 lbs of meat at a time and then freeze whole masses of them.

*If I am making these super-healthy, I will use something like oat bran instead of the bread crumbs.

Fabulous - thanks. It's been one of our last "crutch" prepared food options. The time/money investment has made me reluctant to come up with a better solution. But, will definitely give them a try.

Parizade

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #53 on: January 25, 2018, 12:26:33 PM »
I would like to join, my grocery bill has been facepunch-worthy lately. I'm going to see how low I can go in February.
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haypug16

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #54 on: January 25, 2018, 12:28:11 PM »
Forgot to bring in lunch today! Oh No!!! Around 11:30 the CEO asks me if I brought in lunch I say "nope" he says "OK let's all go out for a nice lunch" That worked out nicely for me :) Still holding strong at $197.27 (goal of $200) with 1 week left in the month.

CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #55 on: January 25, 2018, 02:43:32 PM »
Hi, I'm pretty new to the forum, and looking for a place to hang out.

Grocery spend seems to be where I am focusing right now!  As in, reducing it.

I really don't know what I usually spend on groceries (plus meals out) a month for my family of 4 (including two hungry teens) but I know it is a lot.  I set a Uber Frugal January goal of $400 for groceries for the entire month -- seemed reasonable, we had a lot of food in the pantry -- HA!  That was unrealistic!  I am now thinking $650 and will probably go over even that THIS MONTH.  But there will be a next month... and I plan to keep scrutinizing and reducing this expenditure.

So I'm glad to join in! 

I'm currently tracking every single item I buy at the grocery store to see exactly what I am buying most often.  I want to locate the cheapest sources of things I buy a lot.  I'm wondering how I can make better use of my Costco Membership, or if I should let it expire and shop elsewhere.  I"d love to be buying more Costco meat and fish, but I have a habit of not repackaging it, and then wasting half of what I bought due to freezer burn or whatever.

In fact, I'd say a large part of my budget problem is food waste and not eating up leftovers.  If I can get a handle on that, we'll be doing great.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #56 on: January 25, 2018, 03:46:22 PM »
Hi, I'm pretty new to the forum, and looking for a place to hang out.

Grocery spend seems to be where I am focusing right now!  As in, reducing it.

I really don't know what I usually spend on groceries (plus meals out) a month for my family of 4 (including two hungry teens) but I know it is a lot.  I set a Uber Frugal January goal of $400 for groceries for the entire month -- seemed reasonable, we had a lot of food in the pantry -- HA!  That was unrealistic!  I am now thinking $650 and will probably go over even that THIS MONTH.  But there will be a next month... and I plan to keep scrutinizing and reducing this expenditure.

So I'm glad to join in! 

I'm currently tracking every single item I buy at the grocery store to see exactly what I am buying most often.  I want to locate the cheapest sources of things I buy a lot.  I'm wondering how I can make better use of my Costco Membership, or if I should let it expire and shop elsewhere.  I"d love to be buying more Costco meat and fish, but I have a habit of not repackaging it, and then wasting half of what I bought due to freezer burn or whatever.

In fact, I'd say a large part of my budget problem is food waste and not eating up leftovers.  If I can get a handle on that, we'll be doing great.

Welcome, CrustyBadger. I tracked my grocery spending (at the item level) for all of 2016, and it was pretty eye opening. Menu planning & ensuring leftovers don't go to waste our critical for our budget. We also shop primarily at Costco, and have done most price per unit comparisons to figure out what makes the most sense. As soon as we get back from Costco, we bundle things up & freeze the meat. But, if it's not saving money to buy in bulk, I'd recommend perhaps evaluating buying in smaller portions for some period of time.

CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #57 on: January 25, 2018, 05:10:19 PM »
Welcome, CrustyBadger. I tracked my grocery spending (at the item level) for all of 2016, and it was pretty eye opening. Menu planning & ensuring leftovers don't go to waste our critical for our budget. We also shop primarily at Costco, and have done most price per unit comparisons to figure out what makes the most sense. As soon as we get back from Costco, we bundle things up & freeze the meat. But, if it's not saving money to buy in bulk, I'd recommend perhaps evaluating buying in smaller portions for some period of time.

Thanks, MaybeBabyMustache!

It took me a while to put together a spreadsheet, but now that it is done, it doesn't take long to update it.  I'm not sure I've created the most useful categories, but once I have maybe two months of records, I'd like to post it here, and get people's feedback on where I could do better.

I think I'll get the most bang for the buck by looking at items I buy frequently.  Right now that seems to be milk, butter and cheese, OJ, cereals, breads, snacks, and of course fruits and vegetables.  I don't particularly shop the sales yet, but now that I'm aware of how frequently I am buying these things each month, I"ll have a better sense of when it makes sense to buy in bulk quantities.

jambongris

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #58 on: January 25, 2018, 05:36:12 PM »
Welcome, CrustyBadger. I tracked my grocery spending (at the item level) for all of 2016, and it was pretty eye opening. Menu planning & ensuring leftovers don't go to waste our critical for our budget. We also shop primarily at Costco, and have done most price per unit comparisons to figure out what makes the most sense. As soon as we get back from Costco, we bundle things up & freeze the meat. But, if it's not saving money to buy in bulk, I'd recommend perhaps evaluating buying in smaller portions for some period of time.

Thanks, MaybeBabyMustache!

It took me a while to put together a spreadsheet, but now that it is done, it doesn't take long to update it.  I'm not sure I've created the most useful categories, but once I have maybe two months of records, I'd like to post it here, and get people's feedback on where I could do better.

I think I'll get the most bang for the buck by looking at items I buy frequently.  Right now that seems to be milk, butter and cheese, OJ, cereals, breads, snacks, and of course fruits and vegetables.  I don't particularly shop the sales yet, but now that I'm aware of how frequently I am buying these things each month, I"ll have a better sense of when it makes sense to buy in bulk quantities.

The best grocery option seems to vary from city to to city and from person to person so you’ll need to crunch your numbers to figure out which is best for your needs/habits.

We generally use the superstore near us because it’s close, they have decent prices and the cashiers are really good at handling price matching requests for when something is priced lower elsewhere.

CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #59 on: January 25, 2018, 05:58:08 PM »
My most convenient grocery store is Aldi, but I hadn't shopped there much. The one by us has very poor service, and I'm concerned about their food safety to be honest (I see perishable items left around and then being placed back on the shelves, and food is moldy).   And lines are long and slow... but the prices are so good!   

FireHiker

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #60 on: January 25, 2018, 06:23:09 PM »
Monthly total so far is $961.79. I really hope we can cut back the rest of the month and make it under $1100, even with the crazy spend on our Disney day. Trying to eat as much from the pantry and freezer as possible. We need a Costco run soon-ish though.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #61 on: January 26, 2018, 01:05:29 AM »
New (small) challenge, not a problem. DH is home with has sick leave for the moment. Sometimes when he visits a place, he also shops groceries and sticks mostly to the shopping list. Recently he came home with some really good and tender meat (very expensive, we ate it at Christmas). He is generally a more frugal person than I used to be and we also need to enjoy ourselves a bit. But I think the groceries will be costing a bit more this year. DH does not have a cash back card and does not want one either. He doesn't want to track his finances in detail ("I don't want them to know everything about me!"). So I can only track what I shop and use my cash back cards.

CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #62 on: January 26, 2018, 05:17:17 AM »
Linda, can you ask him to save the receipt when he goes grocery shopping, and just give it to you?   Then you can track what he's been spending on food, but "they" don't need to know any more than they already knew (in providing him the receipt).

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #63 on: January 26, 2018, 07:04:35 AM »
I know some people swear by Aldi but I can't get into that store at all. The produce is minimal and looks pretty crappy. I bought this meat that looked like filet mignon wrapped in bacon and it was TERRIBLE! The meat was tough as shoe leather. They don't have a dedicated butcher there and all of it is prepackaged and in a refrigerated case. I did buy refrigerated pizza there a couple of times and it was cheap and good. That is the only thing that I liked there. However, I am a pizza nut so most pizza is good pizza in my book. When my Mom was still alive we went there when it first opened and she was appalled that we had to pay 25 cents for a cart. Even though we got the quarter back, she despised it and the store after that! LOL! We didn't even buy anything. Packing your own groceries is a bit of a turn off too.

AmandaPanda

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #64 on: January 26, 2018, 09:02:12 AM »
I'm one of those Aldi fans! I don't mind the quarter for the cart, and I actually like packing my own groceries.  I hate getting plastic bags, and it seems like when I go to a "regular" grocery store, they don't understand how to bag anyway.

I will say, our Aldi has always been really clean, the employees are long-time employees who are super-helpful, and while in the past I had just a couple of issues with produce going bad too fast, I haven't experienced that in at least two years. 

There are at least 5 Aldis in my area that I've visited, and none are subpar.  I have heard that to be the case in other areas, though.  All of ours have been remodeled, so I would encourage anyone to give it a second chance if it's been remodeled.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #65 on: January 26, 2018, 09:12:52 AM »
Please tell us what you buy there. I just meander thru the aisles never seeing much of interest. Please enlighten me!

AmandaPanda

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #66 on: January 26, 2018, 11:41:45 AM »
Please tell us what you buy there. I just meander thru the aisles never seeing much of interest. Please enlighten me!

For reference, we are a family of four.  I buy on a regular basis there: vanilla wafers, pretzels, milk, eggs, salad dressing, lettuce, bell peppers, radishes, cucumbers, carrots, berries, apples, bananas, clementines, avocados, cilantro, saltines, fake ritz crackers, croutons, canned green beans, canned corn, canned tomatoes and sauce, canned beans, dried beans, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, rice, quinoa, chia seeds, yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream, crescent rolls, goat cheese, boneless skinless chicken thighs, their brand of rotel, soft tortilla shells, pasta, pasta sauce, granola bars, oats, bread, spices, baking supplies, and seasonal products.  I have occasionally bought almost everything they sell if it's something we eat of another brand (like mayo and ketchup).

Things I don't buy there (because I can get better deals elsewhere): chicken breast, ground beef, shredded cheese, bagels, name brand cheerios.

Things I don't buy there bc they aren't available: diet dr. pepper, california pizza kitchen bbq chicken pizza, jack's salsa, tostitos cantina chips, some types of dried beans.

Basically, if they sell it, and it's not a significantly better deal somewhere else, I buy it there.  We average two stores per week.  Aldi, and then one other trip, usually for 2-3 items based on what I need. 

Our Aldi is significantly cheaper than Walmart, Publix, and Harris Teeter, so I only get loss leaders at the other two, and I only stop at Walmart if I'm in a pinch.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #67 on: January 26, 2018, 12:06:17 PM »
AmandaPanda, thanks for such a great report on what you buy at Aldi. We have stores in the North East called Big Y. They have some great sales and lots of buy one get one or get two free. That store has gotten me into trouble because I keep buying and buying all these good deals! OMG! Now that I have filled up one upright freezer and two refrigerator freezers and two refrigerators, not to mention three giant cabinets down in the basement, I have to STOP! On top of that I found this place on line where I can buy stuffed fillet of sole with crabmeat and scallops and coconut shrimp. Each is on order and 10 lbs each! That is IT for me for a while. I have gone bananas! Somehow I have to just buy dairy and salad stuff for the next couple of months and whittle it all down. Previously, I bought the coconut shrimp, eggplant slices and fish fillets and each of those were 10 lbs each. Hub is starting to freak out on where we will store more stuff! LOL, maybe I will have to buy another freezer...no, LOL, just kidding! The dumb thing is that it is just the two of us and two dogs on special dog food from the vet!

I don't even want to look at the grocery store sale flyers...too many good deals! How many times I went to the store for just 5 things...Temptation is everywhere!


CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #68 on: January 26, 2018, 12:21:15 PM »
The Aldi's where my parents live (upscale suburban neighborhood) is quite clean and everything looks fresh; great service.   Where I live (much less upscale and more urban neighborhood) it is a different story.

That said, it is our closest grocery store, and I can do very well there in prices, so I keep trying.  The pantry and baking basics are fine, as are the generic cereals and snacks.   Produce that doesn't need refrigerations is generally OK, but perishables are hit or miss.  (They are fine if they look OK and you plan to eat them that day or the next.)  I've been burned a few times on the berries.

A few things we particularly like there are the peanut butter filled pretzels, the "Oat So Healthy" sandwich bread, and the Chicken Tikka Masala simmer sauce.  The Oat so Healthy bread is a lot more expensive than basic white bread, but it is very hearty and filling, and the kids just like to eat it as a snack.  Oh, we also often get a pack of refrigerator Buttermilk Biscuits for 99 cents.  They aren't as good or cheap as homemade, but everyone likes them and they make a stew meal a little more interesting with very very little effort.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 12:25:32 PM by CrustyBadger »

FireHiker

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #69 on: January 26, 2018, 12:22:08 PM »
We don't have an Aldi near us; the closest one is about 20 minutes away and just opened in the past year or two; I haven't been up there yet. The closest Walmart is also 20 minutes away. We shop a mix of Sprouts, Jimbo's (local chain, expensive like whole food but surprisingly reasonable for some items with awesome local produce in season), Target, Trader Joes, Costco. We have Sprouts, Jimbo's, and Target within 3 minutes of our house, Trader Joes and Costco are 10 minutes away. We live 2 miles from work and don't leave a 3 mile radius from home most days. If we have to go over to the shopping center where Costco and Trader Joes are for another reason we'll stack errands accordingly and stock up on the items we buy there. Every once in a rare while we'll go to an ethnic store (H-Mart or Northgate) for specific items that are drastically cheaper than anywhere else.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #70 on: January 26, 2018, 01:38:50 PM »
Love reading other shopping lists/staples from others. Thought I'd chime in with an average weekly shopping list for us:

Costco:
-Milk
-Eggs (one area where we focus on organic)
-Bagels (every other week)
-Apples
-Pears
-Bananas (x2)
-Mandarins
-Kiwi
-Pineapple
-Melon
-Grapes
-Lettuce
-Tomatoes (mostly every other week)
-English cucumber (x2 packs)
-Broccoli
-Cauliflower
-Meat (maybe monthly either chicken or ground beef)
-Cheddar cheese (every 3-4 weeks)
-Romano cheese (every 3-4 weeks)
-A prepared meat (e.g. baked chicken, meatballs, breaded tilapia, etc). We don't buy these every week
-Pantry staples we might be out of (flour, sugar, etc)

Local produce stand:
-Mini cucumbers (yes, we eat A LOT of cucumbers)
-Wheat lavosh bread
-2 bunches of radishes

We rarely go to a more traditional grocery store, but if we do, it will be for pasta (typically cheaper than Costco when on sale) or a random recipe ingredient

CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #71 on: January 26, 2018, 01:55:32 PM »
MaybeBabyMustache -- what do you do with all that produce?  Do people just eat it as a snack or with meals, or do you cook with it/incorporate it into a meal?

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #72 on: January 26, 2018, 03:31:15 PM »
I'm joining here to try and encourage myself to do better. Family of four - two adults, two school aged kids. Last year I was spending upwards of $1,500 for groceries/household. I got it down to $1,000, but I still feel like that is too much. My SO is currently a SAHD so he cooks everything (it's wonderful, before we split the cooking). But one income means I'm trying to save money!

I think initial goal will be $750 a month. I've spent $902 this month so far.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #73 on: January 26, 2018, 03:46:46 PM »
MaybeBabyMustache -- what do you do with all that produce?  Do people just eat it as a snack or with meals, or do you cook with it/incorporate it into a meal?

We use most of the vegetables in a salad we eat every night. The kids eat fruit with breakfast, and have fruit as "dessert" in the evenings. I sometimes also have fruit in the evenings. My husband has fruit with yogurt for his breakfast in the morning. We rarely waste produce, so yep, going through it all week. Two adults + two boys ages 11 & 12

SquashingDebt

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #74 on: January 26, 2018, 04:06:47 PM »
Aldi also has high-quality, cheap specialty cheeses (I loved their sharp white cheddar) and hummus.  When I lived near an Aldi, that's what I would go there to stock up on.

CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #75 on: January 26, 2018, 04:15:13 PM »
MaybeBabyMustache -- what do you do with all that produce?  Do people just eat it as a snack or with meals, or do you cook with it/incorporate it into a meal?

We use most of the vegetables in a salad we eat every night. The kids eat fruit with breakfast, and have fruit as "dessert" in the evenings. I sometimes also have fruit in the evenings. My husband has fruit with yogurt for his breakfast in the morning. We rarely waste produce, so yep, going through it all week. Two adults + two boys ages 11 & 12

I meant to ask -- "with all that fruit"!   We eat vegetables every night, but fruit tends to not get eaten. Your list seemed like a lot of fruit -- bananas, apples, pears, kiwi, oranges, pineapple....   Just wondered if that was a weekly shop or if you rotated the fruit.   If you are eating them as dessert that would use up a lot of it, though.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #76 on: January 26, 2018, 05:51:08 PM »
MaybeBabyMustache -- what do you do with all that produce?  Do people just eat it as a snack or with meals, or do you cook with it/incorporate it into a meal?

We use most of the vegetables in a salad we eat every night. The kids eat fruit with breakfast, and have fruit as "dessert" in the evenings. I sometimes also have fruit in the evenings. My husband has fruit with yogurt for his breakfast in the morning. We rarely waste produce, so yep, going through it all week. Two adults + two boys ages 11 & 12

I meant to ask -- "with all that fruit"!   We eat vegetables every night, but fruit tends to not get eaten. Your list seemed like a lot of fruit -- bananas, apples, pears, kiwi, oranges, pineapple....   Just wondered if that was a weekly shop or if you rotated the fruit.   If you are eating them as dessert that would use up a lot of it, though.

No rotation, that's the weekly list for fall/winter. We actually buy more in spring/summer with additional berry options, etc. The kids take some for lunch as well. Forgot to add that.

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #77 on: January 27, 2018, 07:38:01 AM »
My ALDI experience is that they are hit-or-miss based on the area.  The first one I found was in the less-affluent area near me.  Itís bad.  Dirty, narrow aisles, small - just unpleasant.  I sucked it up because, damn, the prices. 

Then I found a new one in the more affluent area in the other direction.  OMG.  Huge, light, bright, clean, well-stocked.  Totally different experience.

I will say, though, that it depends on time of day.  I tried the new one late on Sunday a few weeks ago, and thereís was basically no produce left - I literally got the last two bananas.  So if that had been my first trip there, Iíd probably have written it off.

I am transitioning most of my shopping there, as most of their alternatives are as good as what I got at the regular stores.  Some exceptions are chicken stock and cat litter; I also havenít reliably found juice boxes that I like there. And they donít carry DHís Diet Pepsi, sausage, or OJ brand, or my Powerade Zero, so we still hit Wegmanís every second or third week.

Oh, and those ďfiletsĒ?  I almost fell for that when I was looking for a special New Yearís Eve dinner:  they are ďmockĒ filets, a/k/a chuck roast cut to be shaped like filets.
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Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #78 on: January 27, 2018, 08:13:07 AM »
I mentioned that packing your groceries at Aldi is a turn off but I had to rethink that because at my local grocery stores, sometimes they do a lousy job and when I get to my car, I am repacking anyway. I do NOT understand how these people do this for 8 hours a day and can't pack like things together. I will find meat and cold things in 3 or 4 different bags. I even put the LIKE items on the belt together to make it easier for them to pack but NOPE never fails, I have a jumbled up mess. It just makes putting groceries away a giant headache. Then I will buy onions, potatoes, oranges and they will pack all of them in one tiny bag and weights 15 lbs. Or I might stock up on canned veggies, jarred sauces and YEP, never fails, 60 lbs all in one bag. Or a loaf of bread jammed in a bag with a gallon of milk! WHY??? What is so difficult?

Linda_Norway

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #79 on: January 27, 2018, 09:34:15 AM »
I mentioned that packing your groceries at Aldi is a turn off but I had to rethink that because at my local grocery stores, sometimes they do a lousy job and when I get to my car, I am repacking anyway. I do NOT understand how these people do this for 8 hours a day and can't pack like things together. I will find meat and cold things in 3 or 4 different bags. I even put the LIKE items on the belt together to make it easier for them to pack but NOPE never fails, I have a jumbled up mess. It just makes putting groceries away a giant headache. Then I will buy onions, potatoes, oranges and they will pack all of them in one tiny bag and weights 15 lbs. Or I might stock up on canned veggies, jarred sauces and YEP, never fails, 60 lbs all in one bag. Or a loaf of bread jammed in a bag with a gallon of milk! WHY??? What is so difficult?

Your country has people packing your groceries for you... i have experienced that once or twice on a busy shopping day just before a holiday, when the shop har hired a packer for the occasion. This packing is not common in the countries where I lived in. I am usually stressed, trying to pack fast, while the next customer is close, i need to take a packing break to pay, amd then the next customer is there and my good are still not packed... i kike shopping with my DH, so I have a personal packer. But that is not so often.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #80 on: January 27, 2018, 12:18:55 PM »
Bought a week's worth of groceries. Note that I'll be out of town for work, so I picked up more convenience foods than usual. And, feel guilty I didn't make my own meatballs from Laura's recipe, but shaving a day off of my weekend for travel means rushing a bit.

Costco - $86.06
2 packages bananas
Kiwi
Tomatoes
Milk
5 dozen eggs
Bag of onions
Pineapple
Pears
Meatballs (sorry, Laura! ;-))
Romaine
Cucumbers
Pizzas
Apples

Produce stand: $8.06
3 lbs Persian cucumbers
2 bunches of radishes
1 organic yellow pepper

Grocery store: $1.71 (on gift card earned)
French bread (freebie)
2 pkgs of pasta

Obviously, we have lots of stuff in the freezer. Meals for the week will likely be:
-Spaghetti with meatballs
-Pizza
-Tortellini w/grilled chicken (freezer)
-Leftovers

All dinners served with salad, & fruit for dessert


Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #81 on: January 27, 2018, 02:00:30 PM »
@MBM: I forgive you.  ;-)  I only make meatballs on lazy weekends myself.
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Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #82 on: January 27, 2018, 02:14:19 PM »
What kind of meatballs do you buy at the grocery store? What brands?

My Hub usually makes meatballs and they are so good. He uses hamburger and meatloaf mix (hamburger, veal, pork), dehydrated onion soup, chopped onion, breadcrumbs, egg and Italian spices. Bakes them in the oven and woo hoo, to die for! But sometimes we run out and it would be nice to have a back up. I kind of 'fear' frozen meatballs for blah flavor and the worst is finding a small bone fragment when you are chewing. GAG ME! Years ago, it was more common to find the little tiny bone fragments in ground beef. I would gag and that was the end of the hamburger or whatever. I would almost lose my lunch!

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #83 on: January 27, 2018, 02:46:54 PM »
@MBM: I forgive you.  ;-)  I only make meatballs on lazy weekends myself.

Still plan to try your recipe.

@Roadrunner53 - we buy the Costco Italian kind. And yes, total gag on the bone in ground meat. Never had an issue with the Costco kind. The kids eat them as a staple. I have one incredibly picky eater, and it's one of his preferred proteins. It's not terrible, but I'd prefer to make them myself, time permitting.

CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #84 on: January 27, 2018, 04:23:31 PM »
Making walnut lentil chili for supper tonight.  I need to find ways to use up this bag of bulk walnuts from Costco that I rebagged and stored in the freezer.  My family just doesn't eat walnuts much for breakfast, but they were such a good buy and so nutritious!

3/4 of the family liked the walnut lentil chili last time I made them.  the other 1/4 liked the taste but not the texture. So I am chopping the walnuts a little bit finer and cooking 1 minute more in the pressure cooker.

Tracy in Pdx

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #85 on: January 27, 2018, 04:41:16 PM »
I'm in!  Trying to reduce grocery budget in 2018 -- all groceries and HH supplies (but not eating out, which comes out of entertainment/personal spending, and which we don't do often, maybe 1 x/week at Thai or Mexican type place) for $500 to feed 3.7 adults (me,hubs, 26 year old DD and 14 year old DSD (dear step daughter) who is with her mom .3 of the time.   So far I'm on track for January as long as I don't buy any more groceries before next Thurs.

frooglepoodle

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #86 on: January 27, 2018, 05:24:21 PM »
@CrustyBadger, can you share that walnut and lentil chili recipe? It sounds delicious and I also have some Costco walnut to use up!
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CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #87 on: January 27, 2018, 06:01:44 PM »
@CrustyBadger, can you share that walnut and lentil chili recipe? It sounds delicious and I also have some Costco walnut to use up!

Sure can!  I used up the last of my bag of orange lentils (recipe calls for brown I think but not sure it makes much difference).   And last time instead of all the spices, I just used some taco seasoning that I had.   This time I really followed the recipe, and it was very flavorful, but too spice for my husband, unfortunately.

https://www.delishknowledge.com/instant-pot-walnut-lentil-tacos/

(Side note -- this is the first time in my life I have used the phrase "all out of lentils"!   I'm eating through my pantry!!   Need to buy more lentils!)


pancakes

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #88 on: January 27, 2018, 06:12:04 PM »
Our local supermarket is ALDI and if they have any fruit and veg even on the shelves it is almost all inside excessive plastic packaging.  We got a CSA box last week instead of grocery shopping for fruit and veg but it is going to be a steep learning curve to cook from a box again. We did it for years previously but the things in it I never buy - potatoes, sprouts, white onions, apples (I remember why I was always baking apple tea cake now haha). Also lots of bananas which are literally the only food my baby refuses to eat.

Then when we were at the supermarket I still bought figs, grapes, sweet potato, tomatoes, rocket...

I feel like I need to put a proper effort in before I start changing things but maybe we need to swap to a veg only box or do a week on, week off.


We donít eat much meat but to me potato is a side to a meat dish. Please recommend me your favourite vegetarian potato dishes.

CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #89 on: January 27, 2018, 06:17:10 PM »

We donít eat much meat but to me potato is a side to a meat dish. Please recommend me your favourite vegetarian potato dishes.

Can you eat eggs?

I love latkes and applesauce!   (Would use up your potatoes AND apples).  Though some members of the family don't consider that meal to be a full meal.

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/killer-potato-latkes

frooglepoodle

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #90 on: January 27, 2018, 06:35:34 PM »
@CrustyBadger, can you share that walnut and lentil chili recipe? It sounds delicious and I also have some Costco walnut to use up!

Sure can!  I used up the last of my bag of orange lentils (recipe calls for brown I think but not sure it makes much difference).   And last time instead of all the spices, I just used some taco seasoning that I had.   This time I really followed the recipe, and it was very flavorful, but too spice for my husband, unfortunately.

https://www.delishknowledge.com/instant-pot-walnut-lentil-tacos/

(Side note -- this is the first time in my life I have used the phrase "all out of lentils"!   I'm eating through my pantry!!   Need to buy more lentils!)

Thank you! I canít wait to make this. We like spicy food in our house. :-)

Congratulations on being out of lentils! (As weird as that sounds, lol)
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pancakes

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #91 on: January 27, 2018, 06:41:56 PM »

We donít eat much meat but to me potato is a side to a meat dish. Please recommend me your favourite vegetarian potato dishes.

Can you eat eggs?

I love latkes and applesauce!   (Would use up your potatoes AND apples).  Though some members of the family don't consider that meal to be a full meal.

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/killer-potato-latkes

Oh yes! I love latkes. We donít have a frypan at the moment, hopefully I can not mess them up too much in a wok.

Eggs are fine. Meat is fine too but so expensive here and we are trying to not eat too much for environmental reasons too.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #92 on: January 27, 2018, 06:44:53 PM »

We donít eat much meat but to me potato is a side to a meat dish. Please recommend me your favourite vegetarian potato dishes.

Can you eat eggs?

I love latkes and applesauce!   (Would use up your potatoes AND apples).  Though some members of the family don't consider that meal to be a full meal.

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/killer-potato-latkes

Oh yes! I love latkes. We donít have a frypan at the moment, hopefully I can not mess them up too much in a wok.

Eggs are fine. Meat is fine too but so expensive here and we are trying to not eat too much for environmental reasons too.

Loaded baked potatoes?

Scalloped potatoes? (So unhealthy, so delicious).

Homemade oven baked wedges?

frooglepoodle

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #93 on: January 27, 2018, 07:24:38 PM »
@pancakes I make a potato salad with cooked diced potatoes, peas, feta cheese, and fresh herbs or just chopped green onions if thatís all I have. Dressed with just olive oil and some lemon juice. You can also serve it over lettuce for some more leafy green goodness.

Leftovers are delicious baked into a frittata!
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MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #94 on: January 27, 2018, 07:26:02 PM »
@pancakes I make a potato salad with cooked diced potatoes, peas, feta cheese, and fresh herbs or just chopped green onions if thatís all I have. Dressed with just olive oil and some lemon juice. You can also serve it over lettuce for some more leafy green goodness.

Leftovers are delicious baked into a frittata!

This sounds amazing!

Malkynn

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #95 on: January 28, 2018, 06:24:49 AM »

We donít eat much meat but to me potato is a side to a meat dish. Please recommend me your favourite vegetarian potato dishes.

Can you eat eggs?

I love latkes and applesauce!   (Would use up your potatoes AND apples).  Though some members of the family don't consider that meal to be a full meal.

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/killer-potato-latkes

Oh yes! I love latkes. We donít have a frypan at the moment, hopefully I can not mess them up too much in a wok.

Eggs are fine. Meat is fine too but so expensive here and we are trying to not eat too much for environmental reasons too.

This the *best* potato recipe ever.
Itís what I make when I want to impress people.

Malkynn

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #96 on: January 28, 2018, 06:36:04 AM »
In 2017 we essentially stopped buying meat and started cooking almost entirely vegetarian. Itís been great and an enormous savings.

In 2018 I wanted to push further, and especially reduce waste

-Started buying bulk dried legumes and grains instead of canned or boxed, we go through A LOT of legumes and this cuts the price of beans and chick peas in half. My boss gave me a pressure cooker, so that made the switch so easy.

-Started making yogurt. We also go through A LOT of yogurt, about 4-6 tubs per week at ~$3 per tub at the cheapest. I made $10.50 worth of yogurt yesterday for about $5.

-Prioritizing recipes with cheaper ingredients, like cabbage/lentil stew. Budget Bytes is amazing for this.

-Buying spices at the bulk store

-I donít count it as groceries, but we started making our own wine because wine in Canada is so expensive (~$13 for a crap bottle)

NinetyFour

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #97 on: January 28, 2018, 08:23:17 AM »
I totally need to do this.

Last year, my average monthly grocery spending was $237.31.  That's just on food, for just me.  Ugh.  WAY higher than necessary.

This month, I brought it down to $149.85.  YAY!!!!  It helps that I have gone caffeine free, so I have not needed to buy coffee or tea.  It also helps that I have put myself on a strict diet of only fruits, veggies, tofu, tempeh, and beans.  They are cheap!!

In February, I may have to purchase more olive oil and more Bragg's Liquid Aminos.  But, I will still try to keep the total amount to under $160, with a stretch goal of $150.

AmandaPanda

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #98 on: January 28, 2018, 09:05:59 AM »
We still buy meat, but I try to use it as an ingredient rather than an entree. Iíll make a pound of ground beef bulk up 3 jars of spaghetti sauce and add mushroom to it to fill it out. Things like that. Iím definitely into hearing othersí soup and bean/lentil recipes. Iím trying to make soup a weekly thing right now while itís cold because itís easy and cheap.

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #99 on: January 28, 2018, 09:47:18 AM »
Not quite so great this week ó needed to do the periodic Wegmanís run, so itís a ďbiggerĒ week, plus ALDI had a huge selection of massively cheap produce (e.g. pineapples for $1.49), so I went off-script a little.  That I donít feel bad about, because I am making a serious effort to eat healthier this year, so anything that gets me to eat more produce is a good thing in my book.  And still under $200 total (DD again came in under budget, huzzah, even with a visit to the Wegmanís deli), for a month-to-date of
total for groceries + household of about $450.  Weíre pretty well stocked now, so I should be able to hit the $600 figure, if I pay attention.  And no additional takeout, at least.

Well, hardly needed food this week, but still dropped $115 at Wegmanís on stock-up stuff DD didnít find last week.  But I should have plenty to make it through Wed. (one night at my momís, went out one night*, and had leftovers from going out another night, so I still have an entire flank steak and lots of leftovers from last week), so hoping to end up at @$565 groceries +HH for the month.

*I count eating out as a separate category, because it is part of my ďIíd like to remain marriedĒ plan, so those numbers arenít included here.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 07:35:43 AM by Laura33 »
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