Author Topic: Rein in the grocery spend 2017  (Read 48120 times)

fruitfly

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #450 on: July 17, 2017, 02:03:32 PM »
I am such a failure at this. I spent $300 - THREE HUNDRED AMERICAN DOLLARS!! yesterday at the Grocery Outlet. There were some great deals - I got 10lbs of organic jasmine rice for $1.97 but still, THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS.

I made curry for lunches this week but for reals. UGH.

Travis

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #451 on: July 22, 2017, 10:05:47 AM »
Just finished moving in to our new house and spent $200 at the grocery stores this week. Some of the items we won't have to buy again for up to a month, but I'll be taking close notes for August.  The Sam's Club is only 15 minutes away and the Fry's is a 1 minute drive. This will be our first move not being next to a Commissary so I'm curious to see the price differences over time.
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FireHiker

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #452 on: July 24, 2017, 05:30:02 PM »
I guess we are not doing so well for July, as we've spent $1142 for the month, with our goal being $1200. We have done a LOT of entertaining this month though, much more than usual. I suppose I could have classified some of that spending as "entertainment" and not groceries...oh well. We have had people in town from out of state and out of the country, back to back weekends. In addition to a family of five staying with us for 3 nights (who will return the favor and host us next year when we visit them in The Netherlands), we had about 20 other people over at a BBQ yesterday. We've had teenagers hanging out eating and swimming. I suppose last summer we took a long road trip in July and spent a ridiculous $2446 on food (including a heinous amount of eating out). We do have a lot of leftovers from this past weekend, so maybe I can keep it close to $1200 since we don't have any social plans this weekend.

So, I'm still tracking our food spending, and we are much improved over last year. It has been a good month overall, so if we go over a bit because of all the entertaining, it was definitely worth it. I'm going to try to keep it as close to our $1200 target as possible though.


Anatidae V

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #453 on: July 25, 2017, 03:06:06 AM »
We are finally making progress. I have set up the grocery list so that I just print a copy and cross off what we have. It's made shopping way easier. Also, one adult shops and the other puts food away - that way we both know what we have to eat. On track for $700 this month and probably lower in August.

Which will hopefully reduce our takeaway spending. That one is *not* pretty.

DayLight

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #454 on: July 26, 2017, 07:04:56 AM »
Nice going, Anatidae V!

I have to confess that I didn't manage to meet my 1,000 budget in June- we came in at 1350. That includes all food, restaurants and alcohol, birthdays, etc. But still.

July is $870 so far, which is surprising. I guess we've had a really low key July, and I'm sortof dieting. Cutting down on beer, dairy and red meat really helps with the food bills. And finally getting a lot of fresh veggies from the gardens.

Though, jillinsandiego, you have a good point about improvement over last year- we are doing a lot better too!

Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #455 on: July 27, 2017, 09:44:15 AM »
I had an awesome week where we did the groceries based on a meal plan, came home and washed/prepped everything into containers in the fridge. Nothing was wasted and we came in under $100 for the week including alcohol (not including Mr Pancakes' work lunches when he had lunch out or my coffee).

Then we followed up with a rubbish week where we didn't plan anything, didn't grocery shop properly and ate a heap of takeaway.

Motivation is a struggle at the moment. I'm so tried that I kind of don't care if we spend all the money just getting through the days but I also know that when things go well like the week I described above, that gives me more energy and makes me feel much better in myself.

Yeah, this is me.  I realized I have sort of lost track this month, because I have one great planning week, and the life intervenes and the next one is crap.  This month my downfall was two consecutive grocery shops with kid(s) in tow, which turned what should have been a $60 Aldi's shop into $100, followed by a $250 Wegman's run as DD "remembered" all of these things she needed.  Then I was gone for a week, and so I am sure that DH bought a bunch of takeout; then I returned late Monday, so I had no chance to shop or prep anything, so we have been eating leftover takeout from DH and then ordered more. 

IOW, I am good as long as I can keep to my system.  But once I get thrown from my routine, I lose motivation and say fuck it a little too easily.

In any event, totals for the month to date are $475 groceries, household $138, and takeout probably some atrocious figure (I can account for about $100, no clue what DH spent).  So the groceries and household are close to my original $600 budget, but I will likely go more significantly over as I will need to shop this weekend to set up next week.
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Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #456 on: July 31, 2017, 08:36:30 AM »
I had an awesome week where we did the groceries based on a meal plan, came home and washed/prepped everything into containers in the fridge. Nothing was wasted and we came in under $100 for the week including alcohol (not including Mr Pancakes' work lunches when he had lunch out or my coffee).

Then we followed up with a rubbish week where we didn't plan anything, didn't grocery shop properly and ate a heap of takeaway.

Motivation is a struggle at the moment. I'm so tried that I kind of don't care if we spend all the money just getting through the days but I also know that when things go well like the week I described above, that gives me more energy and makes me feel much better in myself.

Yeah, this is me.  I realized I have sort of lost track this month, because I have one great planning week, and the life intervenes and the next one is crap.  This month my downfall was two consecutive grocery shops with kid(s) in tow, which turned what should have been a $60 Aldi's shop into $100, followed by a $250 Wegman's run as DD "remembered" all of these things she needed.  Then I was gone for a week, and so I am sure that DH bought a bunch of takeout; then I returned late Monday, so I had no chance to shop or prep anything, so we have been eating leftover takeout from DH and then ordered more. 

IOW, I am good as long as I can keep to my system.  But once I get thrown from my routine, I lose motivation and say fuck it a little too easily.

In any event, totals for the month to date are $475 groceries, household $138, and takeout probably some atrocious figure (I can account for about $100, no clue what DH spent).  So the groceries and household are close to my original $600 budget, but I will likely go more significantly over as I will need to shop this weekend to set up next week.

As expected, went over -- biggest blow was $42 on meats/cheeses, plus some farmer's market splurges (BBQ chicken cornbread with peaches?  Yum!).  Month ended up at $560 groceries, $138 household, and probably $200 takeout.  Grr. 

What's really been disappointing is that I let myself splurge on some fancier beers over the last two months (since I finally found a particular type I actually love and figured it's still cheaper to drink them at home), and I have been disappointed in them -- guess I just like them on tap.  Last night really sucked, as I added up the monthly totals AND poured $5 worth of beer down the sink.
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kaypinkHH

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #457 on: July 31, 2017, 11:19:48 AM »
Although i'm officially starting the challenge in August, I did a "trial run" last week to see if we could cut back. We ended up spending $180 (groceries only), but we are still eating food from last week. We hosted a potluck BBQ last weekend, so spending was a bit higher, since we purchased the supplies and a lot of meat, but in general, our spending is about 1/3 of our weekly spending from before (which is super embaressing). I'll be interested to see how we do in August!

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TabbyCat

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #458 on: July 31, 2017, 12:57:05 PM »
Joining for August! We are spending WAY too much (I'm not sure I even want to admit the numbers) for two adults and a toddler, but I'm slowly working out the good places to shop around Seattle and getting better about meal planning and reduced waste. Husband is also very big on snack foods and I've got him onboard for a trial run of drastically reduced snacks if I pack meals for work for him.

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #459 on: August 01, 2017, 09:45:58 AM »
Failed this month, $422 with a budget of $250.  Our new roommate moved in so there has been a bit of an adjustment on how many groceries/what type of groceries get bought.  I also seem to have developed a (expensive) taste for smoked salmon.  Yum.
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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #460 on: August 02, 2017, 10:12:54 AM »
Having the flu has its advantages...we came in under for July in the end, $1193. Even with all the entertaining we did earlier in the month. I'm elated!! I know we have a much higher target than many people here, but this is half what we spent for the same month last year. I think we're really starting to get a handle on it. Once we can consistently stay under $1200/mo I want to start lowering the monthly target and progress towards getting under $1000/mo. With as many teenagers as we regularly feed, and the social stuff we end up hosting for my husband's family, it isn't as outrageous as just feeding a family of 5. But, I would rather know where the teenagers are, and be able to have the family getting together (we are the ones with the "best" house for it, and even if everyone brings food, it still falls unevenly on us).

It's amazing how much of a difference it makes just to be aware.

Travis

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #461 on: August 02, 2017, 12:08:48 PM »
July came in at $510 which includes non-grocery items. I'm hoping about $100 of that was start-up costs and bulk buying that won't be repeated this month.
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fruitfly

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #462 on: August 02, 2017, 03:28:39 PM »
I super failed at this - $1500 for July. We're about to go to one income so it is super necessary that I get this way down.

I can't really figure out where I go wrong. Probably less meat? We've been BBQing lately so I have been buying these $8 racks of ribs. Usually each week I buy those, lunch meat ($4), a pack of burgers ($5) and a 12 pack of chicken thighs ($5). I need better meal planning - we usually rotate through about 3-4 dishes each week but it does get boring.

How do you guys handle produce? I find that fruit is my biggest indulgence - and it's even in season?!

kaypinkHH

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #463 on: August 04, 2017, 07:09:52 AM »
@tikimama I recommend less meat! DH and I used to buy big meat packs costco, portion them and freeze them. We thought that was a pretty good deal (and it was), but now we are almost vegetarian and the savings are crazy! For example, 2 weeks ago we hosted a bbq and bought the burgers and sausages (on sale, cheap, not amazing quality)- groceries that week were ~$150. I think, for comparison sake, this amount of meat would be equal if we had used the meat for ourselves over the week instead of the BBQ. This past week, with no meat on the menu, we were at $66. This cuts our grocery bill by ~$375 per month.

Second recommendation, where are you shopping? Do you have a "no-name" grocery store? We shop at No Frills and the quality of the products are exactly the same as a higher end grocery store.

For produce, have you looked into a produce delivery bag? That allows you to get delicious local produce delivered, and we have found it to be cheaper than the grocery store, especially in the summer. Other option (if available) is u-pick from local farms, you could make it a family outing! Other than that, I recommend shopping the flyers, and being flexible with what kind of fruit you get (ie get strawberries if they are on sale, but you really wanted raspberries). Final recommendation, if you are using the fruit for smoothies, stick with the frozen produce, look for sales and stock up.

DarkandStormy

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #464 on: August 04, 2017, 07:27:31 AM »
Final tally and for two of us...got it down to $372 for July.  Some of this includes Costco, which had some household items so it was probably ~$350 for groceries.  Stopped at Aldi for the first time - none nearby us so it will be difficult to make that a regular trip.

Onward to August and trying to beat $350!
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Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #465 on: August 04, 2017, 08:56:57 AM »
I super failed at this - $1500 for July. We're about to go to one income so it is super necessary that I get this way down.

I can't really figure out where I go wrong. Probably less meat? We've been BBQing lately so I have been buying these $8 racks of ribs. Usually each week I buy those, lunch meat ($4), a pack of burgers ($5) and a 12 pack of chicken thighs ($5). I need better meal planning - we usually rotate through about 3-4 dishes each week but it does get boring.

How do you guys handle produce? I find that fruit is my biggest indulgence - and it's even in season?!

So I don't think $25 of meat is your problem -- that's $100/mo out of your $1500.  I suspect you are like me, and it's planning and overbuying.  How much food goes in the trash after a week or two in the fridge?  How many bottles of ketchup are in the pantry because you saw it and couldn't remember if you needed more? (not that I've, umm, ever, uh, had that issue -- just don't look over there at the balsamic vinegars . . . .)

Also, what does that $1500 cover -- just groceries?  Or groceries + takeout + eating out + office lunches + household products?  I think the recommendations change based on the answer -- e.g., if the problem is takeout (like mine), then maybe the answer is to actually buy *more* of the frozen/convenience food things, so you at least have something quick in the freezer.  OTOH, if that is all groceries, then you're buying too much packaged/convenience foods and shopping at expensive stores, so that's a different fix.

As you can see from my posts, I am struggling to get this all right.  But the things that work when I get all the ducks in a row are:

1.  I start menu planning in my fridge, freezer, and pantry.  I cannot believe the amount of crap I have piled up there!  So for ex., I have some cauliflower and broccoli and salad greens left over from the giant farmer's market haul, so next week's menu is going to include those -- so there's half my veggies already taken care of.  I also have some not-well-labeled frozen leftovers, so maybe I'll have a "kitchen surprise" night and just defrost some miscellaneous things. 

2.  I look for meals in which I can re-use components.  My go-to is to grill up a bunch of chicken and a London Broil and onions and peppers for fajitas for Sunday dinner, and then have the chicken and peppers for breakfast (omelets) and/or lunches, and serve quesadillas for another dinner, and then use the beef and onions to make cheesesteaks. 

3.  I am working very hard on being realistic about how much food I need and how many nights I am really going to cook a whole meal.  Before I started this, I would frequently find myself at the end of the week never having cooked two of the meals I had planned, so they would roll over to the next week, and then I'd add 3-4 more, and repeat the cycle.  Now I look at the calendar:  if one of the kids has a 7PM practice, or I have a late meeting at work, well, I just know I'm not going to cook then, so I make sure to have hot dogs or frozen mac and cheese or leftovers or whatever on-hand for something quick.  And I also look at the amount of food I cook:  my family doesn't like leftovers, so when I cook up a four-pack of lamb sausage for me and DH, I need to assume that I am going to have two left that need to be used up somehow (usually for my lunches).  This is *hard* -- DH and I both grew up in houses where food = love, and you'd always make too much at risk of having too little.  But I have started realizing that when I make 4 chicken breasts for 4 people, we really only eat 2-3, and so I am freezing the chicken breasts in much smaller packages now and just cooking less.

4.  Shop at Aldi's or equivalent for baseline things.  I admit, I can't do that all the time, because they don't have everything I need.  But, man, I think I topped $100 at Aldi's once, and every Wegman's shop is $200-300 (and that's even with a lot of house-brand stuff!).  Part of it is that Aldi's prices are cheaper for comparable stuff.  But an even bigger part is that Aldi's doesn't have all of the tempting treats, like the giant deli counter.  It's easier not to get lured off-course at Aldi's specifically because it kind of sucks.  :-)

Honestly, most of it is just paying attention so you can spot your own weaknesses.  When I started this in February, I thought this was going to be easy-peasy.  Hah!  It's really made me recognize how unconscious I have been about this stuff and all of the underlying habits/beliefs that have helped me fall into bad habits.  Good luck!!
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fruitfly

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #466 on: August 04, 2017, 12:17:52 PM »
Thanks Laura33 and kaypinkhardhat ! I am strictly a Grocery Outlet shopper - if Gross Out doesn't have it, basically I don't get it.

I am guilty of buying too much or aspirational buying so too much goes to waste. Leftovers are so hard, I don't like them but I do force myself to take the for lunch. I need to menu plan way better, the lure of the cheapo mexican place near us is hard to resist ("It's only $25 for everyone!").

I need to expand my menus, too. My husband and I did great for years because we both love to cook and eat. Then he had to stop eating wheat and dairy and we had one kid who eats like a 1978 Weight Watcher (his favorite meal: plain grilled chicken and steamed broccoli).
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 12:20:16 PM by tikimama »

DarkandStormy

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #467 on: August 04, 2017, 12:22:04 PM »
Leftovers are so hard, I don't like them

LOL I've heard this before from other people.  It makes no sense.  People are weird.
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Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #468 on: August 04, 2017, 12:25:19 PM »
Thanks Laura33 and kaypinkhardhat ! I am strictly a Grocery Outlet shopper - if Gross Out doesn't have it, basically I don't get it.

I am guilty of buying too much or aspirational buying so too much goes to waste. Leftovers are so hard, I don't like them but I do force myself to take the for lunch. I need to menu plan way better, the lure of the cheapo mexican place near us is hard to resist ("It's only $25 for everyone!").

I need to expand my menus, too. My husband and I did great for years because we both love to cook and eat. Then he had to stop eating wheat and dairy and we had one kid who eats like a 1978 Weight Watcher (his favorite meal: plain grilled chicken and steamed broccoli).

One specific thing that helped me readjust the quantities and come up with related meal plans was www.cooksmarts.com -- it's like $4/month, but they send you a meal plan every week, with four balanced meals that can be adjusted for vegetarian or paleo; you can choose anywhere from none to all, and then it will make you a grocery list that tells you exactly what you need and exactly how much (you can also check off what you alread have).  I started that last fall and was stunned at how much more I had been buying than I really needed (easily 2x) and how much stuff I naturally gravitated to that was off the list ("ooooh, look, that pineapple looks yummy").  The foods tend to be very basic and so are probably better for people who don't already know how to cook (I have recommended them many times to people who are intimidated by cooking, because they have very detailed directions and technique videos if you don't know how to do something), but my picky family actually thought many of them were delicious (we just use about 2x the sauce/don't dilute with water, or it's too bland), and they tend to be very easy to cook, which makes them perfect for brain-dead weeknight dinners.
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kaypinkHH

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #469 on: August 04, 2017, 12:53:28 PM »
@darkandstormy, I totally agree, I'm not sure what the hate is for leftovers? Fair enough if you are eating the same thing for the whole week it may get blah, but having the same delicious food I just had for supper again for lunch the next day? Not sure why this is such an issue?

Suggestions for leftover haters (some may be repeating advice/some may be stolen from another similar thread):
1. Reheat on the stove/oven/bbq vs microwave if possible. Makes it taste better
2. Make 2 Meals and alternate between them so you aren't eating the same thing back to back <- I was doing mega meal prep on the weekends and I would do a few wraps for on the go meals, a rice or pasta dish, a "meat and potato with veg" option and then another meal. Whole point was to make 20 servings (2 meals a day, 2 people, 5 days a week) to rotate throughout the week.
3. Make basics that can mix and match: Big ole batch of quinoa can be used as a side dish, in a casserole, as a breakfast, in a buddha bowl, etc. etc. (replace quinao for rice if you prefer). Someone else suggested chicken that can be used in 3 different meals with different flavours.

Just some thoughts from a leftover lover :D

fruitfly

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #470 on: August 04, 2017, 01:30:03 PM »
My disdain for leftovers is totally illogical! I just need to plan better and be real about which foods I like to eat again.

Good thoughts all!!

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #471 on: August 04, 2017, 10:03:38 PM »
I'm in for August - we haven't done a food shop yet this month so it's a good time to start tracking. Goal is $300/month for two people, including household items and alcohol consumed at home.

Hurdles so far we've encountered in keeping our food spending down:

- We don't have a car so all shopping must be done on foot or on the bus/train, with our rolly cart. Since we moved, we're fortunate that we have an Aldi within walking distance. Unfortunately, even closer is the Whole Foods. :/ We are guilty of going to Whole Foods, when we're exhausted, for the stuff Aldi doesn't carry, rather than making the longer trip to the Jewel.

- Boyfriend and I eat very differently; I am vegetarian and he's not, and there aren't a lot of foods/meals that we both like. So meal planning involves meals for me, meals for him, and meals that we'll both eat (there are very few of the latter, and they are really carb-y which we're trying to avoid, with admittedly little success.) And, well....

- I hate meal planning. Hate hate hate. Sitting down and figuring out what I want to eat for the coming week, for lunches and dinners, that's healthy and not loaded with carbs and cheese, is just a miserable experience for me. And for Boyfriend too. (Mainly because we really want the stuff with carbs and cheese, and give in more often than we'd like.) Sometimes I have a hard time convincing myself to make what I planned because it just doesn't sound good any more. Why is this so hard for me?

- It's summer, which means I'm gardening and buying shitloads of cheap produce for canning. I enjoy both, but they're a huge time suck. My garden does OK but I don't have enough space to provide for all of our produce needs. And I totally do the thing where I spend hours canning (tonight it was cherry barbecue sauce with 98 cents/lb sweet cherries, YUM), and then it's too late and I'm too tired to cook dinner from scratch (so tonight we ordered in and I had some veggie sushi, facepunch!). This is a seasonal problem, though, and I'm buying produce in season when it's cheap, and preserving it so I won't be buying it overpriced and out of season in January.

- Lately, I've been having problems eating beans. VERY unpleasant consequences. As both a vegetarian and a frugal person, this is a real problem! :( I like beans but they no longer like me, apparently.

- I'd say 1/3 of the meals I make don't turn out well and then I'm stuck choking it down for days, as I like to make big portions all at once for efficiency. Then I end up throwing it out, when I can't choke any more of it down, and making an extra unplanned and unbudgeted-for grocery run.

I'm not sure of solutions to any of those things other than "suck it up," "eat it even if it doesn't taste good," and "ignore how tired you are and do it anyway."

Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #472 on: August 06, 2017, 09:12:03 AM »
I'm in for August - we haven't done a food shop yet this month so it's a good time to start tracking. Goal is $300/month for two people, including household items and alcohol consumed at home.

Hurdles so far we've encountered in keeping our food spending down:

- We don't have a car so all shopping must be done on foot or on the bus/train, with our rolly cart. Since we moved, we're fortunate that we have an Aldi within walking distance. Unfortunately, even closer is the Whole Foods. :/ We are guilty of going to Whole Foods, when we're exhausted, for the stuff Aldi doesn't carry, rather than making the longer trip to the Jewel.

- Boyfriend and I eat very differently; I am vegetarian and he's not, and there aren't a lot of foods/meals that we both like. So meal planning involves meals for me, meals for him, and meals that we'll both eat (there are very few of the latter, and they are really carb-y which we're trying to avoid, with admittedly little success.) And, well....

- I hate meal planning. Hate hate hate. Sitting down and figuring out what I want to eat for the coming week, for lunches and dinners, that's healthy and not loaded with carbs and cheese, is just a miserable experience for me. And for Boyfriend too. (Mainly because we really want the stuff with carbs and cheese, and give in more often than we'd like.) Sometimes I have a hard time convincing myself to make what I planned because it just doesn't sound good any more. Why is this so hard for me?

- It's summer, which means I'm gardening and buying shitloads of cheap produce for canning. I enjoy both, but they're a huge time suck. My garden does OK but I don't have enough space to provide for all of our produce needs. And I totally do the thing where I spend hours canning (tonight it was cherry barbecue sauce with 98 cents/lb sweet cherries, YUM), and then it's too late and I'm too tired to cook dinner from scratch (so tonight we ordered in and I had some veggie sushi, facepunch!). This is a seasonal problem, though, and I'm buying produce in season when it's cheap, and preserving it so I won't be buying it overpriced and out of season in January.

- Lately, I've been having problems eating beans. VERY unpleasant consequences. As both a vegetarian and a frugal person, this is a real problem! :( I like beans but they no longer like me, apparently.

- I'd say 1/3 of the meals I make don't turn out well and then I'm stuck choking it down for days, as I like to make big portions all at once for efficiency. Then I end up throwing it out, when I can't choke any more of it down, and making an extra unplanned and unbudgeted-for grocery run.

I'm not sure of solutions to any of those things other than "suck it up," "eat it even if it doesn't taste good," and "ignore how tired you are and do it anyway."

I struggle with some of these things too, but I think you have taken the wrong lessons.  Sure, some of it is "suck it up," but the bigger part is plan for failure.

E.g., of course you're not going to want to cook after canning all day.  So what about spending $6-7 on two acceptable frozen dinners instead of caving at the last minute and spending $30-40 on takeout sushi?

E.g., who wants to eat bad food 4-5 days in a row?  What about making a smaller batch the first tIme you try something?  Or eat it for as long as you can, then put the rest in the freezer, and make every Thursday a "pull something out of the freezer" night?  It may still be bad, but at least it won't be the same bad.  😉  Or invest in a cooking class, because life is too short to eat bad food, especially for someone who is putting so much effort into canning and preserving to have such awesome ingredients to work with.

Also, take a hard look at the cost-effectiveness of your canning efforts -- I.e., don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish.  How much do you pay for ingredients, supplies, etc., as compared to the cost of buying things commercially?  And more important:  how does that number change if you add in the cost of takeout every night you spend the day canning?  Not saying don't do the canning, but either plan to manage those ancillary costs, or treat it as a hobby that you do because it's fun and you appreciate the quality of the ingredients, not because it is saving you money.

If you don't like planning:  well, this is the "suck it up, buttercup" part.  😉 Or try www.cooksmarts.com -- see my post above.  Not creative cooking, but it covers the planning and grocery list for you.  So use that for 2-3 days a week, and then reserve your creativity for once or twice a week.
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Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #473 on: August 06, 2017, 09:25:05 AM »
Personally, I spent a lot of $ this week, but I strangely feel like I did decently.  Groceries/dairy $185 at Wegman's + $30 dairy$221, along with $15$43 household and $12 takeout.  But the Wegman's was both a stock-up on basics and an intended splurge for DH's birthday (fruit tart because it goes with his favorite wine, lamb, fresh mozzarella, deli he wanted, etc.); the dairy is all we will need for the next 3 weeks; and I was able to cancel the Amazon monthly delivery because we had enough household stuff.  So next couple of weeks should just be Aldi's and/or farmers' market -- maybe Aldi's, because the farmers' market has too many non-farmer temptations (bagel sandwiches for $10, awesome BBQ peach cornbread for $10, etc.).

ETA $ from a shop DH did, unbeknownst to me.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 08:53:37 AM by Laura33 »
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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #474 on: August 06, 2017, 10:25:03 AM »
Did a grocery shop yesterday at Aldi - $46.38 and I think I'll be good for the week. Boyfriend still needs to go somewhere to get meat; he has tried the Aldi meat and hated it every time. I'm veg so I can't speak to whether it's really that bad - I think all meat looks and smells gross, haha -  but I do not want him to have to choke down bad meat.


E.g., of course you're not going to want to cook after canning all day.  So what about spending $6-7 on two acceptable frozen dinners instead of caving at the last minute and spending $30-40 on takeout sushi?

We do this sometimes. Usually it's a frozen pizza that we top with vegetables ourselves. But sometimes we've already eaten our "emergency" don't-feel-like-cooking frozen whatever earlier in the week, like when we've both worked overtime and are exhausted. I usually don't schedule my canning; it's more like, "hey, I'm home from work, I don't feel like I'm literally going to fall asleep on my feet, it's not hot out - I think I'll deal with this huge bag of ___ that's in the freezer!"

Boyfriend is also a huge enabler. We eat completely different meals and he usually will not try anything I am eating. So, if I've got leftovers or whatever to eat, but he does not, he'll say, "Hey, let's order in ____, I'm buying" and, well, I have a hard time resisting.


E.g., who wants to eat bad food 4-5 days in a row?  What about making a smaller batch the first tIme you try something?  Or eat it for as long as you can, then put the rest in the freezer, and make every Thursday a "pull something out of the freezer" night?  It may still be bad, but at least it won't be the same bad.  😉  Or invest in a cooking class, because life is too short to eat bad food, especially for someone who is putting so much effort into canning and preserving to have such awesome ingredients to work with.

I could definitely try making a smaller batch. That kind of goes against my usual philosophy of cook as much as possible at once, because I HATE cooking and large quantities = I have to do it less frequently. But, well, if the result is gross, then that's not helpful. I've about abandoned my crockpot because I have found there's a way higher likelihood of meals turning out terrible when I use it. I'm not really sure why that is; I follow recipes as written but they always come out dry and bland.

I'll admit a big part of the problem is also that I'm trying to train myself to eat less of the things I love, because after being able to eat whatever I want most of my adult life - and in fact being pretty underweight - my age is catching up to me this year and my clothes are getting tight. So it's been a lot of trial and error with healthier recipes that aren't full of carbs and cheese. Mostly error, I'm afraid. Hopefully at some point I'll hit on some things I like. Having to mostly cut out beans is certainly not helping, either.

Also, take a hard look at the cost-effectiveness of your canning efforts -- I.e., don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish.  How much do you pay for ingredients, supplies, etc., as compared to the cost of buying things commercially? 

I'm at the point that the only thing I need to buy is jar lids, as you can only use them once or else they won't seal. I'm fortunate to have a really cheap produce market in my city - it is a haul on public transport, but their prices are crazy; I recently got an entire case of strawberries (8 containers) for 98 cents. I do splurge sometimes, like on the Michigan tart cherries at the farmer's market (OMG, were those good!), but that's rare; I wait for stuff to be in season and at rock-bottom prices and then stock up. And the tomatoes come out of my own garden.


If you don't like planning:  well, this is the "suck it up, buttercup" part.  😉 Or try www.cooksmarts.com -- see my post above.  Not creative cooking, but it covers the planning and grocery list for you.  So use that for 2-3 days a week, and then reserve your creativity for once or twice a week.

Thanks, I'll check that out. I don't need it to be creative, but I do need to try some new things that I am not sick to death of eating.

So next couple of weeks should just be Aldi's and/or farmers' market -- maybe Aldi's, because the farmers' market has too many non-farmer temptations (bagel sandwiches for $10, awesome BBQ peach cornbread for $10, etc.).

Ha, you're not kidding. The big farmer's market here is full of temptations like that - the crepe vendor with amazing $10 savory crepes, the $12 grilled cheese vendor, the $8 fruit smoothie guy.... yum.


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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #475 on: August 06, 2017, 02:22:07 PM »
I don't understand what the deal with Aldi is? I found one near where I work but I was not impress with their selection.

Tris Prior

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #476 on: August 06, 2017, 04:49:58 PM »
Aldis vary a LOT in quality and selection based on their location, I've found. We're in a pretty good part of the city now and the Aldi's much better than when we lived in a not-so-good neighborhood - that Aldi was always out of stuff and was, frankly, kind of dirty. Here, some Aldis have booze and some don't, because Chicago's liquor laws are weird.

It's great for many things - basic staples, canned goods, cheese both "normal" and unusual, chocolate (they are a German-based company), gluten-free items if you're into that (I'm not gluten free but we like their brown rice pasta which is several dollars cheaper than at "regular" grocery stores). Their produce is sometimes good, sometimes awful; you have to look at it carefully. As I mentioned above, Boyfriend says their meat's terrible.

I usually cannot complete all my shopping there, which is a pain in the ass especially with no car, but we save enough money on the things that we CAN get there, that we keep going. I mean, there's no reason to pay 4 bucks and change at the Jewel for the same big container of oatmeal that I can get at Aldi for $1.99, right?

JanF

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #477 on: August 06, 2017, 05:13:08 PM »
Interesting....I guess I'm just spoiled. I have about 7 different brands of grocery stores within a mile radius loll

Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #478 on: August 07, 2017, 07:26:07 AM »
I don't understand what the deal with Aldi is? I found one near where I work but I was not impress with their selection.

1.  Cheap as dirt.  Standard shop = $70 at Aldi's, $200 at Wegman's (which itself is cheaper than Safeway).
2.  Part of that is their stupid-cheap store brands and in-season produce
3.  Part of that is their limited selection = less temptation to go off-list.  IOW, limited selection is a feature, not a bug.

But ITA about the meats -- I have stopped buying there, last couple of times I bought beef,I had so much fat to cut off that I'd have been better off paying regular prices at Wegman's.  And Wegman's frequently has loss-leader chicken breasts for $1.88, which is cheaper than I've seen at Aldi's anyway.
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JanetJackson

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #479 on: August 07, 2017, 01:35:15 PM »
Has anyone looking much into Brandless.com?
I literally just heard about it in passing today and it sounded like a pretty decent idea, provided shipping isn't $300 for a bunch of $3 items.

I am an Aldi only shopper (with the very very occasional Kroger outing), but if there's one thing I hate... it's grocery shopping.  I'd pay just a little (not a lot) extra to have an online order.  I've done the freebie referrals through a local grocery service here in my town and LOVED IT... but once the freebie ran out, naturally, I never paid for it.  I've also occasionally done a Pick Up order for friends at a local grocery where you pay $4 and order online and go pick it up... but not having to go AT ALL would be ideal.

Anyone heard of that Brandless site and have a review/opinion?

Thanks!

FireHiker

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #480 on: August 07, 2017, 03:41:44 PM »
We're well on track for August; did some stocking up late last week for a get-together that didn't happen, so now we're eating our way through good produce and won't need to buy alcohol for a LONG time.

I am still sick, coming up on two weeks tomorrow. It keeps getting worse and I can't taste anything at all, so I'm only eating enough for basic nutrition and no treats or extras. No eating out (what's the point?). On the upside, I'm down 5 pounds...

I will add, our $1200/month budget includes every food item: groceries, take-out, sit-down restaurant, treats, alcohol, food for when we have people over (which I could classify as "entertainment" but don't). Household things like toothpaste, tp, etc I don't include in the $1200 goal.

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #481 on: August 08, 2017, 12:35:30 AM »
Has anyone looking much into Brandless.com?
I literally just heard about it in passing today and it sounded like a pretty decent idea, provided shipping isn't $300 for a bunch of $3 items.
I saw this on the Facebook and first reaction is that it is overpriced. I mean $3 might seem like a good price, but where I live, that's a lot to pay for private label ☓. I mean I can get the organic/natural PB for significantly less, etc. Or if you hate shopping, I think most local stores now offer some type of curbside service. 

DarkandStormy

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #482 on: August 08, 2017, 07:31:17 AM »

I will add, our $1200/month budget includes every food item

How big is your family?
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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #483 on: August 09, 2017, 06:10:55 AM »
I don't understand what the deal with Aldi is? I found one near where I work but I was not impress with their selection.

if you cant walk thru an aldi and get everything you need to make meals you're doing something wrong. 

Making menu's etc. prior to going to a grocery store to see what they have and whats on sale leads to overspending.  You should look at ads figure out whats on sale and build menus around that then everything else just falls into place as you walk thru a grocery store. 

I think the single biggest mistake people make with their grocery budgets are shopping to cook X or Y with out reviewing ads or having an ability to improvise what you were thinking based on what is available or on sale. 

the second biggest mistake is not stocking up on meats when they are on sale.  <- this makes making meals easier b/c now depending on how you eat you're just going to get fresh produce each week at the store plus whatever the stock up meat sale may be. 

the third biggest mistake is buying packaged pre made goods that arent on a big sale ...

and the fourth biggest mistake i see is people not stocking up on canned goods when on sale. 

we eat like kings and 90% of our food comes from aldi with the rest coming from loss leaders at the local grocery store.
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kaypinkHH

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #484 on: August 09, 2017, 12:19:56 PM »
So far we are tracking at about ~$200 for food for the first 11 days of August. In the same time period for the past 6 months we were averaging $458 for 11 days. CUT IN HALF :D. We also have a ton of food leftover/going in the freezer. But..we have two road trips coming up. Hopefully we can stay on track!

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #485 on: August 09, 2017, 12:26:10 PM »

I will add, our $1200/month budget includes every food item

How big is your family?

Family of 5: myself and my husband, 16 year old son (athlete, ugh, he eats more than the rest of us combined), 7 year old son, 5 year old daughter. The $1200 includes other people over frequently (neighbors, family, teenagers, oh the teenagers...but I'm happy to feed them to know what they're up to!). It's still a huge number, but much, much lower than last year. Definitely a work in progress!

Done by Forty

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #486 on: August 10, 2017, 09:22:02 PM »
Our bills have been creeping up for the past couple years. Hoping to keep it under $350 (for just 2 people) this month. My birthday this weekend will make it tricky (beer, snacks, food for the house party) but I'm convinced it can be done.

Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #487 on: August 14, 2017, 01:09:44 PM »
OK, time to 'fess up to an unsatisfying week.  $127 for groceries, $10 household stuff, bringing MTD to $348 groceries and $53 household.  On the plus side, we had no weeknight takeout, despite nightly pleas from the kiddos.

My lessons: 

1.  I need to manage kid stuff better.  E.g., DD has a job with a microwave at work, so she is wanting to buy frozen dinners and the like and whines far too much about having to take a sandwich.  I will ignore her and get sandwich stuff one week, and then let her come with me and buy 5 things the next.  I need to come up with a plan to help her learn that this is a waste of money; I think next summer I will cover the cost of what I usually spend on sandwich fixings, and let her know that anything else is on her.  But this is what happens when I don't have a plan in advance.

2.  I am realizing that my decision to avoid "regular" grocery stores is triggering a hoarding/scarcity mindset that I have fought my whole life.  This is the same mindset that makes me keep something like a can of pate that my mom gives me for Christmas so long that it goes bad -- because I know if I eat it, I don't have it any more.  I am basically alternating Wegman's and Aldi's, because there are certain things we like that Aldi's doesn't have -- but that means every week, I know I won't be back for 2-3 more weeks.  So I find on Aldi's weeks, I hoard things like juice and fruit and maple breakfast sausages and granola bars, because their prices are so great.  And then on Wegman's weeks, I hoard things like PowerAde Zero (me) and Diet Pepsi (DH) and OJ (DH).  So every week, my bill is higher than I expect it to be, because I am "stocking up" on things that my mind tells me I won't have access to for several weeks (I bought 2 8-packs of PowerAde yesterday; yes, I am doing Crossfit 5x/week now, but I don't need 16 bottles for 2 weeks, and I'm gone next week anyway!). 

This week we went to my mom's for dinner last night and are leaving on vacation Sat., so 5 nights to worry about -- and we already had most of the meat, all the cheese, and half the veggies I needed, so I honestly expected to spend maybe $50 ($60 after DH mentioned he needed Diet Pepsi).  It was supposed to be an Aldi's week, so I did the Aldi's stockup on juice, detergent, and cat litter; then we went to Safeway for DH's Diet Pepsi and OJ, and I let DD get her lunches (@$25); then Diet Pepsi was on sale ($12); then, hey, I'm here, let's stock up on the PowerAde ($7); then I let DD get fish, because she doesn't eat the chili or chili dogs that are on the menu ($14?); etc.  Each individual decision isn't horrible in and of itself, but they add up to a grocery bill that is double what I expected.
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DarkandStormy

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #488 on: August 14, 2017, 01:16:22 PM »
PowerAde Zero (me) and Diet Pepsi (DH) and OJ (DH)

Water is nearly free and better for you, comparatively, than those three drinks.  Would it be possible to cut out all flavored drinks?
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Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #489 on: August 14, 2017, 02:36:12 PM »
PowerAde Zero (me) and Diet Pepsi (DH) and OJ (DH)

Water is nearly free and better for you, comparatively, than those three drinks.  Would it be possible to cut out all flavored drinks?

Thanks for the thought.  And of course everything is possible; I just don't want to cut these particular things.  The PowerAde is the only "flavored" thing I drink (unless you count things like tea and wine), and I have 4-5/week (I work out early and can't eat first, and it seems to fool my body into thinking it has sugar in it).  It is absolutely not a necessity, but I just flat-out like it, and for $2-2.50/week, it's worth it.  I have very few things that I buy just for me, and this is one.

The rest of it is a battle I'm not willing to fight.  There's no way on God's green earth DH will give up his DP or OJ (or sausage -- forgot to mention the $14 of frozen sausage I stocked up on).  I have actually tried to buy more DP at the grocery store so he could take them to work instead of buying 1-2 from the vending machine every day (for $1.50/pop), and he won't even do that. 

He is really barely tolerating the Aldi's thing -- he does not like many of their options, and after a few months he can hardly hide the eye-roll when I shop there; as far as he's concerned, we make enough money, and I'm being silly for worrying about things like cutting a few hundred bucks a month from the grocery bill.  So if I tell him we need to cut back on "his" things, he will either get pissed off or laugh hysterically -- and then he'll just go to the closest store and buy it himself (along with a bunch of other stuff we don't need that looked good as he walked by).

That's part of the reason our grocery budget is pretty ridiculously high by the standards of this forum ($600).  And I accept that; my goal here is not to minimize that as much as possible, because that will just annoy DH.  My goal is to find that balance between grocery budget and keeping my family happy, and to stop throwing money at things just because of laziness -- so my focus is on things like better menu planning, decreasing takeout, cutting food waste, and identifying/learning how to fight those emotional reactions that cause me to buy more than I need.
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FireHiker

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #490 on: August 14, 2017, 04:29:14 PM »
Changed my name here after someone showed me how they could track down my actual last name and all kinds of info just from having my name and location in my username. It doesn't remove it where anyone has quoted me, but there aren't that many instances so I'm not that concerned.

Still sick, going to the doctor tomorrow since it's been 3 weeks now. Food spending is well on track this month since I still can't taste anything (8 days and counting...).

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #491 on: August 14, 2017, 06:55:59 PM »
Delayed response, but for those who say they hate leftovers, most dinner type meals freeze well so you can rotate your leftovers instead of having 2-3 nights of the same thing. It's also super handy to have frozen "made" meals to defrost on a lazy night.

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #492 on: August 15, 2017, 12:09:12 AM »
1.  I need to manage kid stuff better.  E.g., DD has a job with a microwave at work, so she is wanting to buy frozen dinners and the like and whines far too much about having to take a sandwich.  I will ignore her and get sandwich stuff one week, and then let her come with me and buy 5 things the next.  I need to come up with a plan to help her learn that this is a waste of money; I think next summer I will cover the cost of what I usually spend on sandwich fixings, and let her know that anything else is on her.  But this is what happens when I don't have a plan in advance.

I understand letting her learn, but if she wants meals to reheat couldn't she (or whoever cooks dinner) make extra for her to take to work? Spaghetti bolognese, curry, all the things you find in frozen meals that can be prepared at home for a fraction of the price.

2.  I am realizing that my decision to avoid "regular" grocery stores is triggering a hoarding/scarcity mindset that I have fought my whole life.  This is the same mindset that makes me keep something like a can of pate that my mom gives me for Christmas so long that it goes bad -- because I know if I eat it, I don't have it any more.

Ohhh this is me with strawberries.

Brain: Strawberries are expensive, I better not waste them. (Waste them. By eating them. I never said it made sense.)

Then I'm so intent on saving them (saving them for what, a special occasion???) that they go mouldy.

JanF

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #493 on: August 15, 2017, 12:40:59 AM »
Quote
I need to manage kid stuff better.  E.g., DD has a job with a microwave at work, so she is wanting to buy frozen dinners and the like and whines far too much about having to take a sandwich.  I will ignore her and get sandwich stuff one week, and then let her come with me and buy 5 things the next.  I need to come up with a plan to help her learn that this is a waste of money; I think next summer I will cover the cost of what I usually spend on sandwich fixings, and let her know that anything else is on her.  But this is what happens when I don't have a plan in advance.

I hate bringing sandwiches and bread for lunch because it gets gross and soggy by the time I eat it (cold or microwave). Maybe it's the same issue with her? For me I make extra dinner for lunch or make bulk pasta that I can freeze and take to work.

As for my update, I'm giving up on setting a budget that I have to stay under every month. I buy bulk a lot so my bills fluctuate...one month I'll spend $500 because I bought a bunch of meat, another I'll spend $250 buying veggies or snacks. Instead, I'm tracking my average spending which went down so success!

Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #494 on: August 15, 2017, 07:16:31 AM »
@mustachepunchgoeshere and JanF:  Yes, you have identified the entirely logical solution here.  Which of course means that my headstrong 16-yr-old has rejected it out of hand.  :-)  She cannot abide a leftover -- to the point that if I make chili on Sunday to serve Monday night, she complains that it is a "leftover" even though we never ate it!  I have learned that she is one of those kids who insists on learning everything the hard way.  So I do a lot of the engineer's triangle life lessons with her ("Time, money, stuff:  pick two"), and I do implement a forced savings plan, but then I let her spend the rest of her money on whatever she wants, basically so she can learn that it sucks to be broke. 

My problem this year is that I got into the habit of giving in to her requests for the microwave meals, because I did not have a plan going in.  This was our first year she needed a lunch (camp provides lunch for the campers, but not counselors), and I assumed she'd have sandwiches and such, but then when she told me there was a microwave and she really wanted some of those premade things, I said ok -- basically, I was treating her lunch choices as an entitlement, not an extra.  Now that I see my error, I will fix that by giving her a "lunch allowance" that would cover the basics of a reasonable lunch (e.g., sandwich, fruit, drink; or I can just give her what I pay the camp for her brother's lunches).  And then she can decide what to spend that on and whether she wants to spend her own money to "upgrade" beyond that.

The one good bit is that she has learned that those pre-made meals look infinitely better than they taste -- I don't think she's found a single one that she actually liked.  So maybe buying them was a good idea after all.  :-)
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Travis

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #495 on: August 15, 2017, 10:51:49 AM »
Need some advice.  We usually buy Sara Lee whole wheat bread for sandwiches. I can get them from Sam's for $2/loaf.  The Kroger brand wheat bread is $1/loaf.  The biggest difference I can see is the Kroger brand has 1 more gram of sugar and 10g more carbs per slice than the Sara Lee. My 7 year old is the main consumer of the bread.  We go through about a loaf every 10 days.  I find it odd that there is high fructose corn syrup in their bread (which I assume is where the extra sugar/carbs come from), but is it necessarily a bad thing?  Is it the health difference worth spending an extra $4 a month for the Sara Lee?
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DarkandStormy

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #496 on: August 15, 2017, 11:22:24 AM »
^You could buy Private Selection and cut/tear the pieces in half since they're so much bigger.

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DarkandStormy

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #497 on: August 15, 2017, 01:27:08 PM »
Was just looking over July grocery spending to August grocery spending.  This is for two of us.

July - $372, although I imagine that's probably closer to $350 if you take out a few "household" items from Costco.

August - $163 through half the month.  So we're on track to do a bit better this month and I can't remember, but the $163 may include a "household" item from Costco - we might have stocked up on garbage bags? I forget.  Will be interesting to follow - I imagine if we really pushed we could get it down to $300.  $350 is perhaps a bit more reasonable over the long haul as we tend to buy a lot of fresh produce and prices can fluctuate - we try to follow items that are lower in price.  We will splurge for avocados but only if they're $1 or less.
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mustachepungoeshere

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #498 on: August 15, 2017, 07:29:48 PM »
The one good bit is that she has learned that those pre-made meals look infinitely better than they taste -- I don't think she's found a single one that she actually liked.  So maybe buying them was a good idea after all.  :-)

Love it. :D

Linda_Norway

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #499 on: August 17, 2017, 01:25:10 AM »
The one good bit is that she has learned that those pre-made meals look infinitely better than they taste -- I don't think she's found a single one that she actually liked.  So maybe buying them was a good idea after all.  :-)

Love it. :D

July with our 3 week summer vacation was a disaster in matters of grocery spending. I included the grocery bills that DH had paid in my spending overview. We spent 30% more than usual. The reason is that you buy another kind of food when you need to cook on a camping stove and don't have a refrigerator. And we were staying a lot out in the country and shopped in the local small shops. A good thing to do to keep those shops alive, but they are not cheap.

Last week has been better, I shopped very little, just some veggies. But this morning I did a terrible thing. We are going away for a long weekend and I had half a crop of iceberg lettuce in the fridge. I threw it away, because I don't think it will last until Monday evening. I threw it in the composting bin though, so it will be recycled in our garden. When I bought it, I had calculated to eat it on 2 executive days. But somehow we had to improvise som easy and fast food yesterday evening and the lettuce somehow didn't fit in there, because of the other ingredients. There was also a tomato left, but we'll take it with us. That will probably stay alive a whole day in the car until we arrive late in the evening.

Apart from this, I haven't actually spent much this month at all on anything. Finally we have a month without any large bills so far. Let's hope it stays like this. Next weekend I will be on a 2 day free of charge mushroom course in the city. Funny thing is that we are requested by the course leader to bring our own sandwiches for lunch. So I hope to spend nothing more than fuel and road toll money. And for dinner I will eat left-overs from the freezer at home, as I will be home alone that weekend. DH goes to London for a job conference and will probably spend some money in pubs.

In September we will be on a vacation in Crete. There we always eat out in the evenings, one of the positive experiences about visiting that place. But we'll keep it reasonably cheap by only having a main course and buying our lunch in the local grocery store.