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Around the Internet => Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy => Topic started by: ACyclist on November 10, 2017, 02:03:50 PM

Title: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 10, 2017, 02:03:50 PM
almost $150 today

Went to grocery outlet.  Found some organic cheeses for a great buy.  $20 there
Went to another regional grocery called Sherms.  Stocked up a bit on some canned goods that were on sale.  We were out of vitamins, bought those (a cheaper variety than what I was getting in the past).  Stocked up on some really decent fair trade coffee (put some in the freezer for later use).  There was some good sales.  Bought a decent amount of organic dairy and veg/fruit.  $106 there
Went to Fred Meyer for some other items that were on sale.  $21 there

I think I suck compared to some of you folks.  Now granted sometimes you spend a little more to save a little more the next week.  At least this is what I am telling myself. 
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Davnasty on November 10, 2017, 02:46:10 PM
If you're looking for advice there would need to be more detail. How much of what was bought at what price/lb.

But my guess with the stores you mentioned and the number of "organics" dropped you could probably make some improvements. What is your monthly grocery spend for how many people?
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: gggggg on November 10, 2017, 03:23:27 PM
I'm not the best at groceries either, but the folks that have the lowest bills tend to say that they buy mostly non, or less processed food staples. The typical rice, dry beans, meat on special, potatoes, pasta, veg. Processed, and "trendy" foods tend to jack up people's bills. Alcohol, soda, and expensive juice are other drivers of bigger grocery bills.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Tass on November 10, 2017, 05:13:26 PM
My grocery budget is $150 a MONTH. If you want to cut yours down, here are the differences between your grocery practice and mine:


I don't even do much rice, though I probably make up for it in pasta. I don't buy anything that comes in a brand-name box. Zero soda, and almost zero juice or alcohol. I *do* plan my meals at least vaguely ahead so that I can minimize grocery trips and actually eat the majority of what I bring home.

I started out by trying to cook every vegetarian meal in this cookbook: https://cookbooks.leannebrown.com/good-and-cheap.pdf
I'm not even really a vegetarian, but minimizing meat is cheaper and better for the planet, and I find vegetarian cooking often to be more adventurous and culturally diverse. I've learned to like a lot of new staples I had no exposure to growing up. Plus, again, cheaper!
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 10, 2017, 06:37:46 PM
I bought the vitamins, because I am an athlete living with brain and spinal MS.  My level of activity is like walking a tightrope in terms of pushing the body hard, but not too hard to cause excess stress.  So, I take some supplements.  Nothing excessive, but a multi, calcium and an extra D3 pill.  My husband also likes to take glucosamine for his joints.  Not sure if it works, but he seems to think it does. 

We eat pretty healthily, but maybe the pills is insurance to get all my nutrients (vitamin D3 specifically and calcium from depleting myself so hard).  I hate to think that I take them, just to make my pee look amazing.  Mainly, I just want to stay super strong, live my athletic lifestyle and live a long time.

The grocery/food bill last month was 600 bucks for 2 people. We ate out only 4 times.  Lunch once (i forgot lunch), taqueria food 3 times and pizza after a trail work party.  Not bad, but maybe that was too much restaurant spending.  Now, our grocery spending also includes toiletries, TP, paper towels, and house cleaning products.   

We rarely toss food.  We are pretty good about that.  Our consumption is high though.  Two very hungry people burning 2000 calories on our epic ride days. 

I stuck to our list, but then bought things off of it, cause it was on sale and we had none of that item in the pantry.  Like, today coconut milk in the can was on sale...I bought 4 of them.  Also, clearly the organics are sinful in the spend category, but I get concerned about health and clean eating for my condition.  Maybe I am brainwashed to believe that OG is somehow better.   I'm not a fan of having dairy that has been fed food that has pesticides, or pumped up with hormones and antibiotics.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Tass on November 10, 2017, 07:23:55 PM
Hey, I said exceptions for medical conditions! I formally rescind all judgement of vitamin purchases.

Also yeah, it should be recognized that my $150 is for a single person. Even scaled up, though, you're spending twice what I am - but I don't count toiletries, and it sounds like I'm a lot less active than you are. It's hard to say exactly where the differences are without comparing receipts.

I still don't put much stock in organics overall, but it's frankly not something I know or care *quite* enough to preach about. I think it's a very clever marketing scheme. Not that there's no differences, just that they don't seem to be relevant ones. There are a handful of genuine peer-reviewed studies out there but the waters are certainly very muddy.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 10, 2017, 09:33:25 PM
Hey, I said exceptions for medical conditions! I formally rescind all judgement of vitamin purchases.

Also yeah, it should be recognized that my $150 is for a single person. Even scaled up, though, you're spending twice what I am - but I don't count toiletries, and it sounds like I'm a lot less active than you are. It's hard to say exactly where the differences are without comparing receipts.

I still don't put much stock in organics overall, but it's frankly not something I know or care *quite* enough to preach about. I think it's a very clever marketing scheme. Not that there's no differences, just that they don't seem to be relevant ones. There are a handful of genuine peer-reviewed studies out there but the waters are certainly very muddy.

Yeah, I probably am wasting money on organics.  I have wondered about it.  I read some article about the lies and deception.  Maybe not all of it, but there is some cheating I think.  Like fish and meat is mislabeled and the lies are rampant in the food industry.  <sigh>  It's hard to buy with a conscience and even harder to buy things that are safe.

The organics price is annoying, cause you would thing that lack of pesticides would actually cost them less.  Not sure.  Maybe there is more hands on tending.  Not sure.  I think they still are allowed to use certain safe pesticides.  No doubt it is a big racket. 

My diet is probably not nutrient deficient.  I look at the vitamins as an insurance policy.  HAHA. ..and I was not at all offended by your reply.  I appreciate all the tips and opinions.  This site is great.  Very happy to be here. 

I will get some receipt data for ya soon.  I'm kinda tired at the moment.  The ride was wet and cold today.  Totally draining.  :)
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Frankies Girl on November 10, 2017, 10:15:23 PM
Do you have Aldi stores in your area? I'm taking the fact you mentioned Sherms to mean you live in Oregon, and there appear to be a few Aldis around...

They have a pretty amazing organics product line, offer other store brands that are in general going to be better than other name brand stuff (they don't like artificial colors and flavorings in general and in some of the non-organic stuff it's still pretty decent what they do try to limit/improve).

And they are CHEAP compared to most other stores in general. And they do heavy discounts if you catch them right (I just bought organic, 100% grass fed ground beef for less than $2/pound because they marked it half off for it being a few days before the sell by date). Fresh seafood/meats, frozen stuff that is great, veggies and fruits are hit or miss but fine if you catch them unloading the new stuff... and anything you don't like, you get your money back and replace the product (they have a killer return policy).

Hell, they had fair trade coffee the last time I was in there for like $4 something a bag regular price.
 

Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Tass on November 10, 2017, 11:29:30 PM
My diet is probably not nutrient deficient.  I look at the vitamins as an insurance policy.

You could always ask your doctor whether they think it's a worthwhile investment? Imo multivitamins in particular are pretty pointless. Some people have deficiencies in iron or calcium or what have you and need to supplement something specific, but if you eat reasonably well-rounded meals you're probably getting most of what you need. Caveat that I am not a medical doctor.

I was joking about the receipts, but I'm sure you'd get genuine feedback if you posted them. :)
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: kayvent on November 11, 2017, 06:07:50 AM
almost $150 today

Went to grocery outlet.  Found some organic cheeses for a great buy.  $20 there
Went to another regional grocery called Sherms.  Stocked up a bit on some canned goods that were on sale.  We were out of vitamins, bought those (a cheaper variety than what I was getting in the past).  Stocked up on some really decent fair trade coffee (put some in the freezer for later use).  There was some good sales.  Bought a decent amount of organic dairy and veg/fruit.  $106 there
Went to Fred Meyer for some other items that were on sale.  $21 there

I think I suck compared to some of you folks.  Now granted sometimes you spend a little more to save a little more the next week.  At least this is what I am telling myself.

Why fair trade coffee? It has been ~10 years since since I looked into this but when I did, I found that premium coffee was more ethical than fair trade coffee. In the latter, the surplus price goes towards the land owners. In the former, as premium coffee beans are more labour intensive, the extra price goes disproportionately to the labourers. There were other factors on Fair Trade being the less ethical choice but that one was the kicker for me.

Also, I’d be careful about “organic” beef, poultry, or vegetables. The label itself means nothing and marketers are geniuses who will gladly trick you. If you are going to pay a premium for items, double triple check they are doing premium work.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: boarder42 on November 11, 2017, 06:40:55 AM
You bought cheap organic cheese for 20 bucks. Based on no other data that mind set right there is why you're spending so much. My wife and I got down to 400 a month including a healthy amount of booze in there. 100-150. That's our biggest expense to cut. 

Fundamentally you need to rethink how you shop. You buy what's on sale if it's a deep sale and keeps well you stock up alot.  You do not find a recipe and then go to the store to get ingredients. You look at the sale ads for the week and determine what you can make based on what's on sale. You need to find a cheap store like Aldi to make most of your purchases at and then shop the big supermarkets solely for loss leaders.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 11, 2017, 10:45:07 AM
Yes, my cheese habit.  Almost as bad as my blurred line with French/English.  Is it Pannier or saddle bags?  Derailleur or derailer?
:)
...and why are shaver so expensive?  I bought a 13 pack for $8.99.  This is a downgrade to the bic Soleil that I was buying. Us bikers have to shave, Y'know. 

...and pomegranates.  2/$4

In regards to sharing my sweet fleet of bikes, you could ride my Seek or maybe my Fuse if you play nice, but don't even look at my SWORKS. It doesn't really even exist.  It's like a mirage in the desert.  HAHA   

Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: kayvent on November 11, 2017, 10:52:08 AM
Yes, my cheese habit.  Almost as bad as my blurred line with French/English.  Is it Pannier or saddle bags?  Derailleur or derailer?
:)
...and why are shaver so expensive?  I bought a 13 pack for $8.99.  This is a downgrade to the bic Soleil that I was buying. Us bikers have to shave, Y'know. 

...and pomegranates.  2/$4

In regards to sharing my sweet fleet of bikes, you could ride my Seek or maybe my Fuse if you play nice, but don't even look at my SWORKS. It doesn't really even exist.  It's like a mirage in the desert.  HAHA

To answer your questions:

- saddle
- derailleur
- colour
- dry your blades after using them. It is rust that dulls the blades. My Gillette blades (4$/head) last a few months even with bad drying. Another option is an electric shaver if you shave regularly (keep in mind when going from one type of shaving to another, it will take at least a week for your face to properly adjust).
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Tass on November 11, 2017, 10:53:43 AM
Spending over $1 on any individual fruit/vegetable is usually a no-go in my book. I love pomegranates, but they're rare treats. (They are also extra scarce this year, so the price is probably inflated.)
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 11, 2017, 11:05:23 AM
Yes, my cheese habit.  Almost as bad as my blurred line with French/English.  Is it Pannier or saddle bags?  Derailleur or derailer?
:)
...and why are shaver so expensive?  I bought a 13 pack for $8.99.  This is a downgrade to the bic Soleil that I was buying. Us bikers have to shave, Y'know. 

...and pomegranates.  2/$4

In regards to sharing my sweet fleet of bikes, you could ride my Seek or maybe my Fuse if you play nice, but don't even look at my SWORKS. It doesn't really even exist.  It's like a mirage in the desert.  HAHA

To answer your questions:

- saddle
- derailleur
- colour
- dry your blades after using them. It is rust that dulls the blades. My Gillette blades (4$/head) last a few months even with bad drying. Another option is an electric shaver if you shave regularly (keep in mind when going from one type of shaving to another, it will take at least a week for your face to properly adjust).

Luckily, I don't have to shave my face.  My Grandmum was german, but so far no moustache on me. :)

thanks for the tip.  I toss my shavers in the cabinet or leave them in the shower.  ...another sun of mine.  OOF!
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Linea_Norway on November 11, 2017, 11:06:39 AM
Do you eat chunks of that fancy cheese as a snack in the evening? That is an expensive habbit. If so, could you find a cheaper snack alternative?

For the meat, I really look at what is cheap at that moment. I just completely akip expensive meat. If something is on sale, I buy a larger quantity and freeze it in portions.

I am also watching out to buy veggies often enough and not too many at the time. They always last longer than planned and I can delay buy the next batch.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 11, 2017, 11:34:50 AM
I cook with the cheese.  When I do use it, I want good stuff.   Any foods with strange or distasteful additives scare me.

Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Linea_Norway on November 11, 2017, 11:37:47 AM
I cook with the cheese.  When I do use it, I want good stuff.   Any foods with strange or distasteful additives scare me.

I can relate to that. I also pay for good blue cheese if I use it in cooking. Do you often use both meat and cheese? In that case you could consider eating vegetarian with only the cheese, a couple of times a week.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Bracken_Joy on November 11, 2017, 12:30:43 PM
ACyclist- I will say, a lot of the grocery budgets you see around here are from substantially less active people. My husband and I are both quite active and eat a lot apparently compared to others. I almost think a $ amount per 2k calories is useful. Ex, since husband and I eat around 5-6k calories between us each day, our budget is more comparable to a 3-4 person family eating 2k calories per day.

All that being said, we *have* gotten our grocery budget down to ~$500/month, and that is heavily organic, grass fed, etc., and mainly paleo ("paleo plus rice and potatoes" basically). We buy local beef by the 1/4 cow, local eggs but not organic, etc. If you are in fact in Oregon, do that same! Big Organic is a crock, but you have access to some INCREDIBLE local meat and produce options. There is local beef, eggs, and veg CSAs all over Oregon. We live in a food paradise here. Plan ahead, freeze things, set price points, and you're golden. Make a price book of where you shop a lot. Yeah, grocery outlet is awesome and cheap, but it's way cheaper to get the 25lb bag of rice from costco than to buy the 1lb bag at GrossOut. (Obvious care has to be taken for food waste though).

I think price per lb is a huge one to pay attention to. We don't pay more than $2/lb for fruits or vegetables. But we eat pounds every week.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: boarder42 on November 11, 2017, 02:41:18 PM
ACyclist- I will say, a lot of the grocery budgets you see around here are from substantially less active people. My husband and I are both quite active and eat a lot apparently compared to others. I almost think a $ amount per 2k calories is useful. Ex, since husband and I eat around 5-6k calories between us each day, our budget is more comparable to a 3-4 person family eating 2k calories per day.

All that being said, we *have* gotten our grocery budget down to ~$500/month, and that is heavily organic, grass fed, etc., and mainly paleo ("paleo plus rice and potatoes" basically). We buy local beef by the 1/4 cow, local eggs but not organic, etc. If you are in fact in Oregon, do that same! Big Organic is a crock, but you have access to some INCREDIBLE local meat and produce options. There is local beef, eggs, and veg CSAs all over Oregon. We live in a food paradise here. Plan ahead, freeze things, set price points, and you're golden. Make a price book of where you shop a lot. Yeah, grocery outlet is awesome and cheap, but it's way cheaper to get the 25lb bag of rice from costco than to buy the 1lb bag at GrossOut. (Obvious care has to be taken for food waste though).

I think price per lb is a huge one to pay attention to. We don't pay more than $2/lb for fruits or vegetables. But we eat pounds every week.

Your calorie intake isn't driving that budget. The words organic and grass fed are.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: kingxiaodi on November 11, 2017, 08:15:27 PM
Luckily, I don't have to shave my face.  My Grandmum was german, but so far no moustache on me. :)

thanks for the tip.  I toss my shavers in the cabinet or leave them in the shower.  ...another sun of mine.  OOF!

May I suggest looking into a safety razor? I only use mine to shave my face, so I don't know how well it would work for other areas. (That said, I don't see why it wouldn't work).

I spent ~$40 on a safety razor and 100 blades in 2014 (razor (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003LW4L2W/), blades (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001QY8QXM/)), and I haven't spent a cent on shaving products since. After a brief learning period (1-2 shaves), I feel like I get a better shave now than I ever did with my Gilette Pro Glide nonsense. It's certainly no worse, and far cheaper. I've found that the razor blades last as long as the cartridges did. There are plenty of websites extolling the virtues of safety razors if you're interested in learning more.

You're not spending as much on cartridges as I was (I would get 13 for $42!), but it should still more than pay for itself if you continue shaving throughout your life. (Using your numbers and assuming you decide on the exact combo I bought, you'd break even around when you would have bought 4 packs at $8.99. From then on, you'd be saving ~$0.60 every time you change the cartridge [$0.10/blade instead of $0.69/blade]).

Anyway, wanted to share this tangential thought. You're not the only one who's noticed how expensive Bic and Gilette have made shaving.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: remizidae on November 11, 2017, 08:33:36 PM
One often-overlooked contributor to high grocery costs is how often you shop. Every time you go to the grocery store, you will see something you want or "need" or something on sale. Consider going less often--stock up no more than once every one or two weeks.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 12, 2017, 08:44:49 AM
Have you tried Costco?   You would probably save enough on vitamins/supplements to cover the annual fee.   They also have a pretty good selection of cheese (though not sure how much is organic).

I do most of my shopping at Fred Meyer and Costco -- Fred Meyer will send you coupons regularly for their Simple Truth line of organics if you buy any with your shopper card.  I just got a flyer yesterday with a bunch of great coupons (including salad mix, produce and meat -- nice thing about FM is that not all of their coupons are for processed foods).   If you have Asian markets near you those can be good places to get veggies cheaper than mainstream stores (e.g green onions and cilantro are regularly $.20-.30 cheaper per bunch than at FM).   Also tofu products are WAAAY cheaper at Asian markets (block of tofu .99-1.50 instead of $3-4).

Thanks for the tips.  I do try to use my FM coupons.  My problem is forgetting them like an idiot.

Costco is a 90 minute drive.  I guess I could go over the hill to ride a zone I like, and then come back with food.  Double duty.  Although I thought the membership was pretty expensive.
 
The safety razor sounds scary.  Can it cut you pretty easily.  I've made bad mistakes on my legs before and had some wicked cuts.  Like those shin ones.  WOWZA!  <insert expletive>
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: kingxiaodi on November 12, 2017, 03:10:58 PM
The safety razor sounds scary.  Can it cut you pretty easily.  I've made bad mistakes on my legs before and had some wicked cuts.  Like those shin ones.  WOWZA!  <insert expletive>

It took me a couple of shaves to be comfortable with it, but I don't think it's any scarier/more dangerous than the cartridges. I do want to reiterate that I've never used it to shave my legs, but I found multiple results when I googled something like 'using a safety razor to shave my legs.' Here (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/how-i-ditched-sexist-disposable-razors---and-learnt-to-shave-my/) are a couple examples (http://blog.soloshave.com/shaving-tips/how-women-can-shave-using-a-double-edge-safety-razor).
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Tass on November 12, 2017, 05:25:54 PM
I just came off of what I consider a pretty expensive grocery visit, spending almost $40 - I'm sure there is still room for facepunching here but I thought I'd share just for comparison, since you actually seemed interested in that prospect. I'm a single person household, but I live with roommates with whom I share basic cooking staples.

Kitchen staples (shared):
$3.99 - butter, 1 lb
$4.99 - honey, 1 lb
$3.49 - ground ginger
$2.99 - fennel seeds (organic - only option)

Fruits/Vegetables:
$1.46 - 2 yellow onions
$0.35 - 4 smallish carrots
$0.69 - 1 head garlic
$1.99 - 1 bunch kale (organic - only option)
$2.88 - 3 lbs clementines (on sale)

Misc:
$4.59 - walnuts, 10 oz (I continue to be frustrated by the price of nuts)
$2.99 - cooking wine, 1 pint
$2.99 - natural peanut butter
$1.99 - raisin bran cereal (off brand)
$1.99 - half gal milk (would have bought the gallon for $2.30 but I'm using a backpack and a bike)
$1.27 - 6 eggs (discounted for being close to expiration)

This is to enable me to make ginger cookies, banana bread (I freeze bananas when they get old), and try a new and mildly exotic stew recipe - and it's only going to get me through the week because I have staples at home (potatoes, polenta, homemade ragu, rice, tortillas and [boring] cheese, baking supplies). So this is far from what I would be spending to actually minimize my grocery bill. Despite that, I don't expect to go above $150 for the month - although granted, someone else is providing my Thanksgiving dinner!

I'm not sure if that's helpful to you, but maybe I'll learn something.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Goldielocks on November 12, 2017, 06:17:07 PM
Yes, my cheese habit.  Almost as bad as my blurred line with French/English.  Is it Pannier or saddle bags?  Derailleur or derailer?
:)
...and why are shaver so expensive?  I bought a 13 pack for $8.99.  This is a downgrade to the bic Soleil that I was buying. Us bikers have to shave, Y'know. 

...and pomegranates.  2/$4

In regards to sharing my sweet fleet of bikes, you could ride my Seek or maybe my Fuse if you play nice, but don't even look at my SWORKS. It doesn't really even exist.  It's like a mirage in the desert.  HAHA

To answer your questions:

- saddle
- derailleur
- colour
- dry your blades after using them. It is rust that dulls the blades. My Gillette blades (4$/head) last a few months even with bad drying. Another option is an electric shaver if you shave regularly (keep in mind when going from one type of shaving to another, it will take at least a week for your face to properly adjust).
Paniers... saddle bags are for horses, I have never heard the term for bikes, before.  :=)
...

OP..
I had a horrific shopping experience yesterday, too. -- there was a sale on bulk nuts ($1.48/100g or US 31cents/oz), so I went to the store and got bulk nuts (300gm), and then the eggs, milk, a roast on a super sale, choc chips and  pop for the guests we were having that night, deli meat for DS's lunches, bananas.  Cripes.  $130.  I was in a rush (re-guests for dinner that day), so I did not triple check the receipt.

Turns out that they rang up my bulk nuts as "strawberry tea"... for $25.50!!  I had to drive back to the store to get a $21 refund.

So,   did you check your receipt?
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: MgoSam on November 12, 2017, 06:48:29 PM
Spending over $1 on any individual fruit/vegetable is usually a no-go in my book. I love pomegranates, but they're rare treats. (They are also extra scarce this year, so the price is probably inflated.)

Picked up 3 for 69 cents each at my local Aldi.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: lizi on November 12, 2017, 06:59:11 PM
Ugh, being mischarged for things drives me nuts! It has happened three times in the last month and two of the times I didn't notice until it was too late. I guess now I have to be like my mother-in-law and stand there reading my receipt after finishing at checkout.

I definitely think if you can buy local it trumps organic. I think organic is slick marketing and not much more. To answer someone's earlier question about why it's more expensive, it's because yields are lower compared to conventional crops. Often more intensive labour is required as well, e.g pulling weeds by hand instead of spraying herbicide.

When I buckled down with grocery savings I cut down heavily on meat, and tried to buy fresh produce/bulk dried goods as much as possible. I also have a egg guy who sells me farm fresh eggs for $4/dozen (which is cheap for ethically produced eggs). I also find almond milk is cheaper and lasts longer than dairy milk. I bake my own sourdough bread and buy flour in bulk for that, so each loaf costs around 60c and is comparable to a fancy $10 loaf. That has probably been my biggest money saver to date, as it seems like such a luxury. My next goal is to learn how to make my own nut butter, as my SO goes crazy for it, but it costs like $10 a jar. Big savings to be had there!
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 12, 2017, 07:49:57 PM
I just came off of what I consider a pretty expensive grocery visit, spending almost $40 - I'm sure there is still room for facepunching here but I thought I'd share just for comparison, since you actually seemed interested in that prospect. I'm a single person household, but I live with roommates with whom I share basic cooking staples.

Kitchen staples (shared):
$3.99 - butter, 1 lb
$4.99 - honey, 1 lb
$3.49 - ground ginger
$2.99 - fennel seeds (organic - only option)

Fruits/Vegetables:
$1.46 - 2 yellow onions
$0.35 - 4 smallish carrots
$0.69 - 1 head garlic
$1.99 - 1 bunch kale (organic - only option)
$2.88 - 3 lbs clementines (on sale)

Misc:
$4.59 - walnuts, 10 oz (I continue to be frustrated by the price of nuts)
$2.99 - cooking wine, 1 pint
$2.99 - natural peanut butter
$1.99 - raisin bran cereal (off brand)
$1.99 - half gal milk (would have bought the gallon for $2.30 but I'm using a backpack and a bike)
$1.27 - 6 eggs (discounted for being close to expiration)

This is to enable me to make ginger cookies, banana bread (I freeze bananas when they get old), and try a new and mildly exotic stew recipe - and it's only going to get me through the week because I have staples at home (potatoes, polenta, homemade ragu, rice, tortillas and [boring] cheese, baking supplies). So this is far from what I would be spending to actually minimize my grocery bill. Despite that, I don't expect to go above $150 for the month - although granted, someone else is providing my Thanksgiving dinner!

I'm not sure if that's helpful to you, but maybe I'll learn something.

You must have had some ingredients already at home.  We had ran out of many things and I did stock up a bit.  Although, every week it's the same deal ... about 80-100 usually for 2 people.  Last month was $600 for the month.  I did have Halloween to attend to.  Party invite required two bags of candy and a dish.  I made ... salad.  I like salad.

My weeks planned meals:

Friday - Homemade pizza
Saturday - Cheat day - went out to Mexican.  I was all bonked out after my ride.  I was desperate and had nothing left in me to cook.
Tonight, we had pad thai and steamed broccoli.
Tomorrow - cheesy potatoes and salad with toasted almonds.  Homemade dressing
Tuesday - Low rent burritos - beans/and veggies.
Wednesday - Chicken breast with salad with pecans and pomegranate.
Thursday - Polenta with parmesean and ... yet more salad.
Friday - Quiche with spinach and mushrooms
Saturday - NY strip Steak and ... yet more salad.

Lunches are hummus, crackers, nuts, fruit. and you guessed it...more salad.  Breakfast is either eggs, oatmeal with nuts or a crappy bagel.  Addicted to these bagels.  BAH!

We do eat a lot of food.  It is surprising how much we need to eat around here.  I wonder what my calorie burn is costing us.  Probably a lot.  When I am really on, it's a 2000 calorie day according to my watch.  I should sit more.  It would save more $.  HA!  I jest...I jest
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: gerardc on November 12, 2017, 07:54:28 PM
almost $150 today

Went to grocery outlet.  Found some organic cheeses for a great buy.  $20 there
Went to another regional grocery called Sherms.  Stocked up a bit on some canned goods that were on sale.  We were out of vitamins, bought those (a cheaper variety than what I was getting in the past).  Stocked up on some really decent fair trade coffee (put some in the freezer for later use).  There was some good sales.  Bought a decent amount of organic dairy and veg/fruit.  $106 there
Went to Fred Meyer for some other items that were on sale.  $21 there

I think I suck compared to some of you folks.  Now granted sometimes you spend a little more to save a little more the next week.  At least this is what I am telling myself.

Stop focusing on discounts/sales and focus on the absolute dollar amount. $20 worth of cheese is really a lot; it might be admissible as a one-off indulgence, but not together with $106 worth of dairy and fruit! (unless you're feeding 6+ people... all depends)
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Tass on November 12, 2017, 09:12:00 PM
To be honest my mind is boggled by how you can spend $300 per month per person on a menu like that. Excepting the dining out and the strip steak - and I guess the pomegranate - where is all that money going? Where's the fancy cheese?

You must have had some ingredients already at home.

Yeah, like I said:

potatoes, polenta, homemade ragu, rice, tortillas and [boring] cheese, baking supplies

All staples easy to buy in bulk and keep a long time.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 12, 2017, 10:08:39 PM
To be honest my mind is boggled by how you can spend $300 per month per person on a menu like that. Excepting the dining out and the strip steak - and I guess the pomegranate - where is all that money going? Where's the fancy cheese?

You must have had some ingredients already at home.

Yeah, like I said:

potatoes, polenta, homemade ragu, rice, tortillas and [boring] cheese, baking supplies

All staples easy to buy in bulk and keep a long time.

My mind is boggled too.  I am amazed at how little you spend. Maybe I should scan my weekly receipts.  Y'all might laugh.  MY posts probably do below in the shame and comedy section.  :)

The cheese.  I bought a baby loaf of organic cheese.  Those are big.  It will last me a month. I bought cream cheese for my bagel habit.  I bought motz, and parm too.   The parm will last about a month.  Parm is expensive as heck.

$20 worth of vitamins. 9 bucks in shavers. Gallon of organic milk $5.99.  I go through a gallon of milk a week. half and half for our coffee, organic.   $6 bucks worth of apples.  almost 12 bucks in coffee @ 5.88 a bag.  It all adds up.  I expect next week to be less.  I did stock up a little.  We brought home a lot of food. 

Maybe there is something to the Costco thing. 
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Anon in Alaska on November 13, 2017, 01:16:17 AM
almost $150 today

Went to grocery outlet.  $20 there
Went to another regional grocery $106 there
Went to Fred Meyer for some other items that were on sale.  $21 there

Have you considered trying to go to only one store a week? Oh sure you may "save" by buying something on sale, but if you don't walk in the door you'll save even more.

I go to my local grocery two weeks a month, WalMart one week a month, and Costco one week a month.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: runbikerun on November 13, 2017, 01:35:41 AM
Your calorie intake is not what's driving the cost. You're buying vitamins and organic produce based on a suspicion that the normal stuff isn't as good for you: that's what's driving the cost.

I'm a 95 kilo runner and cyclist, and although I don't train as much as my coach would like, I do train enough for my calorie intake to be 3,000 a day on average. I don't spend anything near what you do on groceries.

Try an experiment: take the week's menu you listed above, and replicate it for a week. Except this time, no organic, no free-range, and you find the cheapest version possible. See how it tastes and what it costs.

If you've not already done it, read up on whether your medical condition is actually associated with any nutrient deficiencies, or whether any common food additives are proven to impact negatively on it. At the moment, you're paying a lot of money for something whose actual impact is completely unknown.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Linea_Norway on November 13, 2017, 01:50:45 AM

My mind is boggled too.  I am amazed at how little you spend. Maybe I should scan my weekly receipts.  Y'all might laugh.  MY posts probably do below in the shame and comedy section.  :)

The cheese.  I bought a baby loaf of organic cheese.  Those are big.  It will last me a month. I bought cream cheese for my bagel habit.  I bought motz, and parm too.   The parm will last about a month.  Parm is expensive as heck.

$20 worth of vitamins. 9 bucks in shavers. Gallon of organic milk $5.99.  I go through a gallon of milk a week. half and half for our coffee, organic.   $6 bucks worth of apples.  almost 12 bucks in coffee @ 5.88 a bag.  It all adds up.  I expect next week to be less.  I did stock up a little.  We brought home a lot of food. 

Maybe there is something to the Costco thing.

I love Parma ham as well. But I never buy it because of the price. Sometimes I buy another good tasting ham (Spanish) that costs 50% of the Parma ham, and that is sometimes on sale for less. I buy it mostly when it is on sale, as a treat.

Aren't bagels more expensive than bread? Why not eat bread instead of bagels and eat a bagel only on Sunday as a treat?

I think you can lower your grocery bill if you would stop eating the finest ingredients on a daily basis and swap them out for daily food from more basic ingredients.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 13, 2017, 08:10:30 AM
Your calorie intake is not what's driving the cost. You're buying vitamins and organic produce based on a suspicion that the normal stuff isn't as good for you: that's what's driving the cost.

I'm a 95 kilo runner and cyclist, and although I don't train as much as my coach would like, I do train enough for my calorie intake to be 3,000 a day on average. I don't spend anything near what you do on groceries.

Try an experiment: take the week's menu you listed above, and replicate it for a week. Except this time, no organic, no free-range, and you find the cheapest version possible. See how it tastes and what it costs.

If you've not already done it, read up on whether your medical condition is actually associated with any nutrient deficiencies, or whether any common food additives are proven to impact negatively on it. At the moment, you're paying a lot of money for something whose actual impact is completely unknown.

MSers are known to be deficient in vitamin D.  So, I try to take that daily. I wouldn't say that I take a multi every day.  It's about every other day or on days I feel puny or have not eaten they way I should.

The thing with MS that is scary, they don't know what causes it.  Studies are sometimes an inaccurate assessment of different people.  I don't eat the organic veg because I believe the veg is somehow different.  What I hope is that it isn't hosed down with pesticides.  Those are a known cancer causing agent and don't belong in the body, IMHO.  My meds can suppress my immune system, so getting sick with cancer is a concern as well.  Techfidera can lower my white blood cell count.  I test my blood counts regularly, but still. 

Reading about my condition can lead down so many avenues of theories and "cures."  I try to keep a level head about it.  It's tough when you get an incurable disease. 

I like Linda's idea of cutting back on the bagels.  Probably a good idea.  I could get a sleeve and eat one a week, and keep the rest in the freezer. 

almost $150 today

Went to grocery outlet.  $20 there
Went to another regional grocery $106 there
Went to Fred Meyer for some other items that were on sale.  $21 there

Have you considered trying to go to only one store a week? Oh sure you may "save" by buying something on sale, but if you don't walk in the door you'll save even more.

I go to my local grocery two weeks a month, WalMart one week a month, and Costco one week a month.

Gross out was a rare thing.  I went there to look for cheese.  HAHA

The cheaper grocery store doesn't always have the best produce, and I get frustrated with B grade produce.  I went to FM mainly for apples, and to buy some things with my FM coupons.   They are all within about a mile of each other, so I wasn't driving around a bunch.  You are right, we did spend more going to three stores.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Bracken_Joy on November 13, 2017, 08:21:08 AM
Here I present to you, my useful links on grocery budget. We went from (drumroll, please) $1200/month for 2 people, to less than $500/month for 2 people, and we're very veggie and meat heavy, and both eat tons. Obviously not nearly as low as some on this board, but among other things having grown up raising my own foods and animals makes me a- really appreciate ethical practices, b- really want to support local farming, and c- spoiled me for flavors and textures. We waste virtually no food, and I anticipate this bill going even lower since I'm about to work a lot less again. (Always goes up when I go back to full time, goes down when I go to part time... speaks to the importance of PLANNING!)

Anyway, on to the links:
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/i-need-help-from-fellow-frugal-healthy-eaters-groceries-are-killing-us!/
 (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/i-need-help-from-fellow-frugal-healthy-eaters-groceries-are-killing-us!/)http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/the-ultimate-mustachian-food-guide/ (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/the-ultimate-mustachian-food-guide/)
http://www.budgetbytes.com/  (http://www.budgetbytes.com/)
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/29/killing-your-1000-grocery-bill/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/29/killing-your-1000-grocery-bill/)
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/08/23/grocery-shopping-with-your-middle-finger/
 (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/08/23/grocery-shopping-with-your-middle-finger/)http://www.frugalwoods.com/2014/04/26/frugalize-your-groceries/ (http://www.frugalwoods.com/2014/04/26/frugalize-your-groceries/)
http://www.frugalwoods.com/2015/07/20/six-things-we-never-buy-at-the-grocery-store/ (http://www.frugalwoods.com/2015/07/20/six-things-we-never-buy-at-the-grocery-store/)
http://www.frugalwoods.com/2017/01/18/our-complete-guide-to-frugal-healthy-eating/ (http://www.frugalwoods.com/2017/01/18/our-complete-guide-to-frugal-healthy-eating/)
Cooking restaurant quality food: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/restaurant-quality-meals/ (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/restaurant-quality-meals/)
And sharpen your knives!

The first link in particular should be of a lot of help to you, given how you want to eat.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Laura33 on November 13, 2017, 08:42:39 AM
IMO, grocery shopping is a version of the engineer's triangle ("good, fast, cheap -- pick two").  Except to me it's more like a square:  Cost, principles, quality/"gourmet," effort. 

Cost is self-explanatory.
By "principles" I mean things like organic foods and free-trade coffee, or paleo, or GF, or other choices driven by personal priorities/health concerns.
Quality/"gourmet" is things like fancy cheese, prosciutto, pineapples/pomegranates -- all the things that are "treats" but cost more because they are not local/seasonal or have a lot of effort put into them.
And then effort reflects your willingness to do things from scratch (e.g., even canned beans tend to be expensive when compared to dried).

The fundamental problem you have here is the same one I have:  we have certain principles and gourmet things that we like that drive the costs up.  And those things are always going to cost more than the available cheap sources of protein/carbohydrates/vitamins.  And personally, I am also not willing to devote the time to soaking my beans and baking my own bread (might do it when I retire, but not while we have two jobs and two kids to manage). 

Note that none of these choices are "bad."  But they are all inconsistent with "cheap."  It is entirely possible to eat a healthy, balanced diet for a fraction of what you and I spend every month -- it would just depend on a lot of pasta, potatoes, frozen veg, and whatever protein and produce was on sale that week. 

So what I have been doing is not so much focusing on the specific dollar thresholds, but testing each of those quadrants to see how much I can cut back on those extras and still meet my real priorities and keep everyone happy.  For ex., when I shopped at Wegman's all the time, every week involved some version of deli and cheese -- the cheap weeks were probably $20, the bad ones were probably $60.  Honestly, it was lazy and excessive and unhealthy -- it started out as "OMG, I can't believe they have all this delicious stuff!" and quickly became a weekly treat and a bad habit.  Then I shifted to ALDI, and hey, they don't have prosciutto di san daniele, or taleggio, or any of those delicious temptations -- and that makes it very easy to avoid that temptation.  Huzzah, victory, right?  Except then after about a month, DH was getting really, really cranky, because he wants his damn genoa and prosciutto, and he makes plenty of money, and he doesn't understand why I'm being so pissy about the grocery budget and why won't I just buy some damn deli?  So I am finding the compromise level that will work for all of us longer-term:  now I am buying cheaper options at ALDI when I can find something DH will be happy with, and splurging on the real thing at Wegman's or the local Italian deli maybe once a month. 

Same result with frozen veg -- boy, they're cheap, but none of us really like veggies that much to start with, and I couldn't figure out how to cook them to make them not disgusting.  So now I just buy whatever fresh stuff is reasonably priced that we will eat. 

I am spending more time now on the shopping and cooking, but for the most part I am devoting that time to menu planning vs. bread-baking, because limiting the amount of food that I buy and minimizing food waste seems to offer the best $/hr return.  Plus, you know, we're lower-carb, so there's not a lot of bread involved anyway. :-)

Etc.  YMMV of course.  The point is I've given up on perfect and am focusing on what is reasonable for us, for where we are right now.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: boarder42 on November 13, 2017, 09:15:17 AM
There is alot of hiding behind certain terms and words and diets here.

I eat well over a 2000 calorie diet and follow a diet similar to paleo called 4 hour body. --

to maintain a sub 400 dollar budget for 2 people is really easy

1. shop at aldi
2. - you dont have to make your own beans from dry - canned beans are always 59c and this isnt blowing your budget - i stock up on canned goods when they hit 39c at the local grocer - or an instant pot can make them for you in 1 hour.
3. own a deep freeze and bulk buy the meats when they hit deep discounts.
4. you can eat aldi produce regardless of if its on sale or not and its still extremely cheap . 

They title of this thread is "I'm trying"

Well take some of the suggestions and start putting them to work b/c 600 bucks for 2 humans is insane if you really care about reducing it.

You need to stop making excuses for your expensive tastes if you really want to reduce your budget or you need to accept you've taken it as far as you can and you're good with where you're at.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 13, 2017, 11:37:51 AM
There is alot of hiding behind certain terms and words and diets here.

I eat well over a 2000 calorie diet and follow a diet similar to paleo called 4 hour body. --

to maintain a sub 400 dollar budget for 2 people is really easy

1. shop at aldi
2. - you dont have to make your own beans from dry - canned beans are always 59c and this isnt blowing your budget - i stock up on canned goods when they hit 39c at the local grocer - or an instant pot can make them for you in 1 hour.
3. own a deep freeze and bulk buy the meats when they hit deep discounts.
4. you can eat aldi produce regardless of if its on sale or not and its still extremely cheap . 

They title of this thread is "I'm trying"

Well take some of the suggestions and start putting them to work b/c 600 bucks for 2 humans is insane if you really care about reducing it.

You need to stop making excuses for your expensive tastes if you really want to reduce your budget or you need to accept you've taken it as far as you can and you're good with where you're at.

Wow. Tough love.

Sorry if I somehow hit a nerve or said the wrong thing. 

First of all, we don't have a ton of options for cheap produce here.  There is no Aldis.  There is no Costco within 70 miles.  We do try to buy meat when it is on sale here.  I put that stuff in the freezer.  We don't eat too much of it.  We've thought about a chest freezer, but for a family of two it seems somewhat silly.  Even if you get one cheap, you have to pay to run the thing.  Frequent power outages in our area makes this troublesome.  Lose power, and we just lost a whole bunch of food. 

Everyone is different.  Maybe I should delete this thread.  Maybe I don't have the willingness to cut things down to what you consider not insane. 

Reading the MMM blog on cutting down the $1000 food budget was a good article.  I felt that we were doing pretty well considering our personal conditions.  We do save at least 50% of our income, so we aren't completely bad.  :)
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: WootWoot on November 13, 2017, 12:08:39 PM
I feel your pain. I went through this last year. "OMG we're spending too much on food what can we do" etc. etc. and believe me, we're not eating like the Royal Family.

I finally decided to stop driving myself crazy over it. There are so many other things we do without (smartphones, cable TV, drive a '99 car, restaurant meals unless there's a half off coupon, and that's every few months). Can only do so much.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: marielle on November 13, 2017, 12:22:52 PM
It does take practice. I set limits on each individual item based on price. For example, if avocados are more than $1 I don't buy them, no exceptions. When I do buy them, I still see it as a luxury since at $1/ea it's fairly expensive for the amount of food I get. If fruit is more than $2/lb I won't buy it (can vary depending on the fruit). And so on. I offset the more expensive fruit and such with cheaper staples of beans and rice. I usually decide on a recipe before going to the store which does limit me a little with shopping sales, since I'm picky and don't like eating the same thing every week. BUT! I still substitute things if necessary. If zucchini is crazy expensive for some reason and I need it for my recipe, I'll get squash or something else that will still work in the recipe. Shallots too expensive? Oh well, let's just use regular onions this time. I've also completely left out ingredients in recipes before, like when I couldn't find a can of artichokes for less than $4.

You have to be able to adapt your diet. If you eat cereal frequently, maybe consider substituting less sugary oatmeal. Do you drink a lot of milk, juice, etc? Maybe consider only using milk and juice as ingredients in recipes or smoothies, and not to drink by themselves. Those are just examples of course, you might be indulging in other things. I would start by looking at what the most expensive items on your grocery list are. I like to base it by calorie. If something is significantly more than $5 per 2000 calories consider if it's necessary or how you could get it cheaper. Vegetables and other healthy things will be expensive with this method of course, so try to figure out how to get these as cheap as possible.

As for vitamins, I found that they're pretty cheap on eBay actually. Search for known brands and make sure they're not expired (though I haven't seen any listed that were expired).

I spend an average of $200 a month but that includes eating out 3-4 times a month (need to cut this down). Not sure how accurate this is since my boyfriend and I split food and he doesn't track his spending, but it should be close. I don't eat cheese or meat anymore. In college when I did eat meat and cheese and I was on a stricter budget I was able to spend $125 a month for myself (did not split costs back then). Compared to college, I indulge a little bit more now in healthy vegetables, avocados, chocolate, etc which also accounts for the increase.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Bracken_Joy on November 13, 2017, 12:30:22 PM
Yeah, some very useful advice is: don't drink your calories (or "don't drink your your grocery budget", in this case). Tap water is perfectly acceptable in most places, and the occasional cup of drip coffee or basic tea made at home can be had pretty cheap to mix it up. And contrary to common thought, you do not need to drink milk to get calcium. There are lots of vegetable sources available, and many cheap meat options like sardines are an incredible source.

Keeping a couple day diet log and then sitting down with a nutrition calculator, to see how much of what nutrients you are actually getting in your diet, can be very useful.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...O
Post by: Linea_Norway on November 13, 2017, 12:45:29 PM
I found out that frozen spinach costs only a 25% of fresh spinach. And I usually put the fresh in the freezer to make sure it doesn't perish before I have to use it. Then I can jst as well buy the froozen stuff.

I hope you freezers portions of leftover food to eat it some other day? I can currently skip cooking one weekday on average by eating leftovers. I also shop only twice a week and follow my shopping list. I take care not to buy more veggies than I expect to eat in the next few days.
I am also focussing on buting cheap, but healthy bread. You can easily pay 2-3 times as much per bread if you don't look out.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: boarder42 on November 13, 2017, 01:18:13 PM
There is alot of hiding behind certain terms and words and diets here.

I eat well over a 2000 calorie diet and follow a diet similar to paleo called 4 hour body. --

to maintain a sub 400 dollar budget for 2 people is really easy

1. shop at aldi
2. - you dont have to make your own beans from dry - canned beans are always 59c and this isnt blowing your budget - i stock up on canned goods when they hit 39c at the local grocer - or an instant pot can make them for you in 1 hour.
3. own a deep freeze and bulk buy the meats when they hit deep discounts.
4. you can eat aldi produce regardless of if its on sale or not and its still extremely cheap . 

They title of this thread is "I'm trying"

Well take some of the suggestions and start putting them to work b/c 600 bucks for 2 humans is insane if you really care about reducing it.

You need to stop making excuses for your expensive tastes if you really want to reduce your budget or you need to accept you've taken it as far as you can and you're good with where you're at.

Wow. Tough love.

Sorry if I somehow hit a nerve or said the wrong thing. 

First of all, we don't have a ton of options for cheap produce here.  There is no Aldis.  There is no Costco within 70 miles.  We do try to buy meat when it is on sale here.  I put that stuff in the freezer.  We don't eat too much of it.  We've thought about a chest freezer, but for a family of two it seems somewhat silly.  Even if you get one cheap, you have to pay to run the thing.  Frequent power outages in our area makes this troublesome.  Lose power, and we just lost a whole bunch of food. 

Everyone is different.  Maybe I should delete this thread.  Maybe I don't have the willingness to cut things down to what you consider not insane. 

Reading the MMM blog on cutting down the $1000 food budget was a good article.  I felt that we were doing pretty well considering our personal conditions.  We do save at least 50% of our income, so we aren't completely bad.  :)

its not just your comments its other posters comments.

did you start the thread to get advice and take steps to change your ways or did you start the thread to get all warm and fuzzy feelings that you're doing just fine.  This isnt a website you go to for confirmation in something you're doing is the best it can be - if it was you wouldnt be asking the question.  you have the opportunity to take any of the suggestions here and set forth on a plan to lower your budget.  no aldi or costco may hurt mildly but there are other cheap chains around the country that can be shopped in.  and if not then not buying extremely expensive luxury goods would be your best bet to lowering your spend.

that is if you want to.

and it sounds like you dont.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: marielle on November 13, 2017, 01:43:53 PM
I just remembered this vitamin D3 that I bought several months ago. $35 for a year supply. Not too bad. I specifically wanted plant-based so if you don't care about cruelty-free then maybe there is something even cheaper. But I like this because it's easy to use and it's a small bottle. I only supplement D3 and B12 because most people don't get enough even if they eat meat and dairy, YMMV.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XWP4MC1
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: jane8 on November 13, 2017, 02:00:18 PM
[

MSers are known to be deficient in vitamin D.  So, I try to take that daily. I wouldn't say that I take a multi every day.  It's about every other day or on days I feel puny or have not eaten they way I should.



I have a vitamin D deficiency as verified by my blood tests. I presume you are having your blood  tested? (not my business but if you aren't, do that). A physician should be able to help guide you with a good supplement dosage. The first time my physician tested for it I think my Vit D level measured at like 9. Normal range is 20-50. After that first test result, my doctor prescribed a week of supplement with a booster (can't recall dose) and holymoly, I felt amazing! Vitamin D deficiency is no joke.  Also, I was living in AZ at the time, got plenty of sun. Some (most?) people can get adequate vitamin D from the sun but not me.

I know Costco was mentioned and that's where I buy my Vitamin D. Not sure about quality veracity but you might find a lower price on Amazon if Costco isn't viable. Last place I would purchase is from a grocery store or CVS (much more expensive).
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 13, 2017, 02:37:27 PM
There is alot of hiding behind certain terms and words and diets here.

I eat well over a 2000 calorie diet and follow a diet similar to paleo called 4 hour body. --

to maintain a sub 400 dollar budget for 2 people is really easy

1. shop at aldi
2. - you dont have to make your own beans from dry - canned beans are always 59c and this isnt blowing your budget - i stock up on canned goods when they hit 39c at the local grocer - or an instant pot can make them for you in 1 hour.
3. own a deep freeze and bulk buy the meats when they hit deep discounts.
4. you can eat aldi produce regardless of if its on sale or not and its still extremely cheap . 

They title of this thread is "I'm trying"

Well take some of the suggestions and start putting them to work b/c 600 bucks for 2 humans is insane if you really care about reducing it.

You need to stop making excuses for your expensive tastes if you really want to reduce your budget or you need to accept you've taken it as far as you can and you're good with where you're at.

Wow. Tough love.

Sorry if I somehow hit a nerve or said the wrong thing. 

First of all, we don't have a ton of options for cheap produce here.  There is no Aldis.  There is no Costco within 70 miles.  We do try to buy meat when it is on sale here.  I put that stuff in the freezer.  We don't eat too much of it.  We've thought about a chest freezer, but for a family of two it seems somewhat silly.  Even if you get one cheap, you have to pay to run the thing.  Frequent power outages in our area makes this troublesome.  Lose power, and we just lost a whole bunch of food. 

Everyone is different.  Maybe I should delete this thread.  Maybe I don't have the willingness to cut things down to what you consider not insane. 

Reading the MMM blog on cutting down the $1000 food budget was a good article.  I felt that we were doing pretty well considering our personal conditions.  We do save at least 50% of our income, so we aren't completely bad.  :)

its not just your comments its other posters comments.

did you start the thread to get advice and take steps to change your ways or did you start the thread to get all warm and fuzzy feelings that you're doing just fine.  This isnt a website you go to for confirmation in something you're doing is the best it can be - if it was you wouldnt be asking the question.  you have the opportunity to take any of the suggestions here and set forth on a plan to lower your budget.  no aldi or costco may hurt mildly but there are other cheap chains around the country that can be shopped in.  and if not then not buying extremely expensive luxury goods would be your best bet to lowering your spend.

that is if you want to.

and it sounds like you dont.

I started it because I read on the site somewhere how people were spending tiny amounts.  Just wondered how the heck they are doing that. 
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: mm1970 on November 13, 2017, 03:48:29 PM
Here's what I'm going to tell you, maybe a little tough love and maybe a little justification.

Main sources of grocery cost:
1.  What you eat
2.  How you shop
3.  Where you live

And where you come out is going to "depend" on all 3.

First, I don't think that $600 for two is terribly horrible, depending on where you live.  We spend $600 a month for 4, in So Cal (which is expensive), and it's really really hard.  I mean, I shop at multiple stores, and I've been doing this (watching my grocery budget) for a long time.  In 2009, I my yearly grocery spend (for 3) was *under* $4000 for the year.  I was badass.

What changed?
1.  Added a second kid
2.  Two growing boys can out eat us.
3.  We eat a lot of produce.  This can be a budget buster when you consider "a lot of produce" is about 7-10 pounds a day.
4.  No more empty carbs.  I was running a lot in 2009 (still am) and ate a lot of pasta, rice, homemade bread.  I can't do that anymore and maintain my weight.  Plus, my body no longer tolerates gluten.  I've gone from 6-7 "servings" of carbs a day down to 2-3.  And carbs are cheap.

This means I am eating more...meat, eggs, cheese, nuts, olive oil.  In general the quality of meat and fat has gone up AND the quantity.

I will never ever get to the uber low grocery budgets that some people manage simply because:
- rents are higher, overhead is higher, the sales prices reported here on this board do not exist in my town
- I cannot eat a lot of cheap carbs
- I prize a certain amount of quality, enjoy local produce (and can afford it)
- I have certain dietary restrictions...and so do you


Now, the tough love part of it:
1.  Shop around and buy stuff only on sale
2.  As someone else mentioned: ONE CHEESE AT A TIME maybe two. I like variety.  But the more variety, the more I eat, the more likely the food will get wasted.  If I buy a nice Gouda, it's delish, and I eat it until it's gone.  I don't need Gouda AND feta AND cheddar AND goat cheese.  I mean, I like them, but I'm much less likely to eat a lot of cheese if there's only one kind of cheese.  This goes for anything.  I recently read "Zero Waste Kitchen" and she actually mentions only having one grain and one bean too.  I'm not there.
3.  Paper towels etc are not food.  My grocery budget is just food.
4.  Calculate the cost per meal and cost per serving, and increase the frequency of the cheaper meals.  This does not mean you never get pomegranates.  It means you do the math, and realize that oranges and apples and bananas are cheaper.  It's not that you never get steak, but chili, or chicken soup, or burrito bowls are cheaper and you make those more often.  I miss bagels like nobody's business, but it's freaking $1.50 for a gluten free bagel, but less than 50 cents for a bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter and banana.  Guess how often I get bagels?  (once a month)

The goal should be to chip away at it until it is lower, go beyond where it is comfortable, and figure out where it is sustainable.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Bracken_Joy on November 13, 2017, 04:35:27 PM
So if the question is, how do people get so low, THAT I can answer... I just don't do.

-Bulk cheap staples. You can get a LOT of rice for $10 at costco. Add that to a LOT of beans for about $15, and you have the base for meals for weeks.
-Low veggies, frozen veggies, cheap veggies. Buy frozen mixed veg and frozen spinach when they're sub-$1/lb, and only eat that.
-Minimal or no cheese, meat, dairy. No nuts, ever. No processed food. No snacks.
-You work a desk job and don't have hard fitness hobbies.

For example meal plans:
http://www.frugalfarmwife.com/article/20-dollar-meal-plan/ (http://www.frugalfarmwife.com/article/20-dollar-meal-plan/)
https://www.babble.com/best-recipes/how-to-feed-you-family-for-1-week-on-just-20/ (https://www.babble.com/best-recipes/how-to-feed-you-family-for-1-week-on-just-20/)

Or during college, when I was stretching money, I would eat: plain oatmeal, winco pasta with shaker parm and margarine; cheapest bread with the cheapest peanut butter and jelly they sold; rice topped with tomato sauce. I had weeks I ate, all meals included, for $15. Was this healthy? Not really, my health worsened a lot, and I wasn't getting nearly enough fruits and veggies. But it was sure cheap.

Everyone has their own point of quality/values/cost/etc as Laura so brilliantly described above. You have to decide where you fall. Just know that very cheap IS possible, but you have to be willing to do those things. I think what sets Boarder42 off is when he perceives people are saying they *CANNOT* do something cheaper. I absolutely know I can. I'm just not willing to make the changes necessary for that.

Anyway, I hope that helps answer the question of "how is this possible". Now you have to figure out where the line between financial goals and other goals (health, ethical, so on) is, and commit to it. (That being said, you can usually reduce substantially within a given set of guidelines- that was my point with sharing how we eat, but that we still reduced our costs substantially.)
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 13, 2017, 05:04:00 PM
Here's what I'm going to tell you, maybe a little tough love and maybe a little justification.

Main sources of grocery cost:
1.  What you eat
2.  How you shop
3.  Where you live

And where you come out is going to "depend" on all 3.

First, I don't think that $600 for two is terribly horrible, depending on where you live.  We spend $600 a month for 4, in So Cal (which is expensive), and it's really really hard.  I mean, I shop at multiple stores, and I've been doing this (watching my grocery budget) for a long time.  In 2009, I my yearly grocery spend (for 3) was *under* $4000 for the year.  I was badass.

What changed?
1.  Added a second kid
2.  Two growing boys can out eat us.
3.  We eat a lot of produce.  This can be a budget buster when you consider "a lot of produce" is about 7-10 pounds a day.
4.  No more empty carbs.  I was running a lot in 2009 (still am) and ate a lot of pasta, rice, homemade bread.  I can't do that anymore and maintain my weight.  Plus, my body no longer tolerates gluten.  I've gone from 6-7 "servings" of carbs a day down to 2-3.  And carbs are cheap.

This means I am eating more...meat, eggs, cheese, nuts, olive oil.  In general the quality of meat and fat has gone up AND the quantity.

I will never ever get to the uber low grocery budgets that some people manage simply because:
- rents are higher, overhead is higher, the sales prices reported here on this board do not exist in my town
- I cannot eat a lot of cheap carbs
- I prize a certain amount of quality, enjoy local produce (and can afford it)
- I have certain dietary restrictions...and so do you


Now, the tough love part of it:
1.  Shop around and buy stuff only on sale
2.  As someone else mentioned: ONE CHEESE AT A TIME maybe two. I like variety.  But the more variety, the more I eat, the more likely the food will get wasted.  If I buy a nice Gouda, it's delish, and I eat it until it's gone.  I don't need Gouda AND feta AND cheddar AND goat cheese.  I mean, I like them, but I'm much less likely to eat a lot of cheese if there's only one kind of cheese.  This goes for anything.  I recently read "Zero Waste Kitchen" and she actually mentions only having one grain and one bean too.  I'm not there.
3.  Paper towels etc are not food.  My grocery budget is just food.
4.  Calculate the cost per meal and cost per serving, and increase the frequency of the cheaper meals.  This does not mean you never get pomegranates.  It means you do the math, and realize that oranges and apples and bananas are cheaper.  It's not that you never get steak, but chili, or chicken soup, or burrito bowls are cheaper and you make those more often.  I miss bagels like nobody's business, but it's freaking $1.50 for a gluten free bagel, but less than 50 cents for a bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter and banana.  Guess how often I get bagels?  (once a month)

The goal should be to chip away at it until it is lower, go beyond where it is comfortable, and figure out where it is sustainable.

Thank you.  I know you are right.  The cheese is not so necessary of an item.  It should be enjoyed more sparingly. I am going to put that to work.  It's going to need a little re-work of how I do things.  Which is fine.  It's good for my brain.

We've actually reduced the spending on food significantly.  We were closer to 800 a month for a bit.  The $600 is less than it was.  No more fancy Italian dinners, sushi bars, or the like.  I do treat myself to some fantastic local mexican food for $20 though. 

After reading some of these posts, I know I will never get to where some others are for my own personal reasons. 

Thank you for the thoughtful reply, and the tough love wasn't like a complete throat punch.  ;)

Nice point on the paper towels.  I consider grocery spending anything that I buy there.  Sometimes, it is paper towels, TP, shampoo, aspirin, laundry soap, and other items we use to run our house. 
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 13, 2017, 05:29:13 PM
So if the question is, how do people get so low, THAT I can answer... I just don't do.

-Bulk cheap staples. You can get a LOT of rice for $10 at costco. Add that to a LOT of beans for about $15, and you have the base for meals for weeks.
-Low veggies, frozen veggies, cheap veggies. Buy frozen mixed veg and frozen spinach when they're sub-$1/lb, and only eat that.
-Minimal or no cheese, meat, dairy. No nuts, ever. No processed food. No snacks.
-You work a desk job and don't have hard fitness hobbies.

For example meal plans:
http://www.frugalfarmwife.com/article/20-dollar-meal-plan/ (http://www.frugalfarmwife.com/article/20-dollar-meal-plan/)
https://www.babble.com/best-recipes/how-to-feed-you-family-for-1-week-on-just-20/ (https://www.babble.com/best-recipes/how-to-feed-you-family-for-1-week-on-just-20/)

Or during college, when I was stretching money, I would eat: plain oatmeal, winco pasta with shaker parm and margarine; cheapest bread with the cheapest peanut butter and jelly they sold; rice topped with tomato sauce. I had weeks I ate, all meals included, for $15. Was this healthy? Not really, my health worsened a lot, and I wasn't getting nearly enough fruits and veggies. But it was sure cheap.

Everyone has their own point of quality/values/cost/etc as Laura so brilliantly described above. You have to decide where you fall. Just know that very cheap IS possible, but you have to be willing to do those things. I think what sets Boarder42 off is when he perceives people are saying they *CANNOT* do something cheaper. I absolutely know I can. I'm just not willing to make the changes necessary for that.

Anyway, I hope that helps answer the question of "how is this possible". Now you have to figure out where the line between financial goals and other goals (health, ethical, so on) is, and commit to it. (That being said, you can usually reduce substantially within a given set of guidelines- that was my point with sharing how we eat, but that we still reduced our costs substantially.)

One thing that will really help, if you are willing to eat mainstream meat and eat a fair amount of it, is to learn what cuts go on sale regularly at FM.   For example, it has been a few weeks since we indulged in steak, because I have been waiting for their petite sirloin family pack deal -- which arrived in yesterday's circular.   $2.97/lb. which is a great price for steak.   I marinate it using a variation on this recipe -- roughly 6-8 minutes per side under the broiler on high, depending on thickness:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/143809/best-steak-marinade-in-existence/

Other sale prices that come up regularly at FM include:

Chicken thighs/drumsticks at $.79-.99/lb -- I'll buy a big package and either cook two chicken meals that week or cook one and freeze half

Beef chuck roasts at $2.99/lb-- I cook this up in the crockpot with salsa and shred for burrito filling

Pork loin also goes on sale frequently but my son won't eat it :(

I also splurge on things like wild caught frozen salmon and leg of lamb from Costco for variety.

Very helpful.  I have learned from reading these posts. 

I wish costco would open a store here.  They has been rumblings, but so far nothing.  I do eat a ton of nuts.  I've had someone pick me up some before, but that is rare.  I don't like inconveniencing people.   If it weren't too far, I would get a membership.  I am just not sure how often I would go over there.

and don't get me started on the cost of wild salmon.  Sometimes, I can find it on a good sale.  Those times are becoming more rare. 

The good healthy foods are very expensive. The lies and deception in food is scary and wrong.  Case in point: Olive oil.  I buy certified oil, and that costs as well.  I am sure it is anti-mustachian to buy California Olive Ranch.  ;) 
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: mm1970 on November 13, 2017, 05:50:20 PM
Ah, wild salmon and olive oil.  Though I live in California, I haven't started buying local olive oil (yet).  I did get some as a gift, and it was fantastic!

I buy wild salmon at Costco (sparingly), and we eat two small pieces for a family of 4.  Not even once a week, maybe 2x a month.  But I've thought of increasing it, because honestly the recommendations are to eat wild fish 2-3 times a week.  One thing that stops me is that kid #1 doesn't like it.  I should make it more anyway. 

Olive oil - it's pretty easy to google and realize that most olive oil is not actually olive oil. However, Kirkland Organic (not cheap!) is, and that's what we buy.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Bracken_Joy on November 13, 2017, 05:51:37 PM
Again with the cheaper options while maintaining your same standards: I know you don't have a costco, but *for example*, kirkland organic olive oil passed purity testing as well. https://lifehacker.com/the-most-and-least-fake-extra-virgin-olive-oil-brands-1460894373 (https://lifehacker.com/the-most-and-least-fake-extra-virgin-olive-oil-brands-1460894373)

Partially it depends on storage space too. I know families (including families of 2!) who drive to costco 1-2 hours every 3 or 6 months and do HUGE stock up trips. Costco membership isn't that expensive compared to grocery spending, it might be worth doing some math and seeing if that's worth it. Otherwise, stalk sale cycles, use coupons, find less expensive brands that meet the same standards, look for expensive brands at Grocery Outlet, that sort of thing. Based on the mention of 2 stores, I'm pretty sure I know what town you live in (hey hi, I have lots of family there! Sorry for being creepy and recognizing that info!), but also don't underestimate walmart's produce selection- they also carry a staggering amount of organic options. Also though, your area (assuming I'm right about where) has a staggering number of options for local grass fed beef, lamb, chicken, and free range eggs, all for cheap. Also, this website is great for local CSA options: https://www.localharvest.org (https://www.localharvest.org)

But reading through it, it sounds like the big issue for you is more WHAT rather than WHERE. Nutrient density and local economy are (IMO) justifiable arguments for choosing to eat a certain way... liking fancy imported fruit isn't. =) So at this stage, maybe take a hard look at what you THINK your values about food are, vs where the biggest costs are ACTUALLY coming from. When we were first bringing our budgets down, we broke food out into meat/eggs, veg/fruit, dairy, pantry staples, and treats. This can be a really eye opening exercise. Maybe join one of the "cut grocery spending" gauntlets if you want to take a really hard look at your spending there.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Laura33 on November 13, 2017, 08:15:13 PM
Pork loin also goes on sale frequently but my son won't eat it :(

This post reminded me that sometimes you also have to be a little creative/flexible.  E.g. I haven’t been able to find ground pork lately, and when I can find it, it’s like $4-5/lb, which is ridiculous for something you know came from scraps.  Then at Aldi this weekend I found entire pork loins on sale for $1.89/lb.  $7 and change later, I had four pounds of pork — I ground two of them in the Kitchen-aid in about 5 minutes for the recipe I am making tomorrow (which will cover 1-2 family meals + multiple lunches for me), and I still have another 2-lb roast in the freezer that I can cook as is, turn into boneless chops, grind, or whatever. 

It’s about both focusing daily food choices on less fancy ingredients and then working your recipes around whatever is on sale (or what is in your freezer that you previously found on sale).
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 13, 2017, 09:17:24 PM
Again with the cheaper options while maintaining your same standards: I know you don't have a costco, but *for example*, kirkland organic olive oil passed purity testing as well. https://lifehacker.com/the-most-and-least-fake-extra-virgin-olive-oil-brands-1460894373 (https://lifehacker.com/the-most-and-least-fake-extra-virgin-olive-oil-brands-1460894373)

Partially it depends on storage space too. I know families (including families of 2!) who drive to costco 1-2 hours every 3 or 6 months and do HUGE stock up trips. Costco membership isn't that expensive compared to grocery spending, it might be worth doing some math and seeing if that's worth it. Otherwise, stalk sale cycles, use coupons, find less expensive brands that meet the same standards, look for expensive brands at Grocery Outlet, that sort of thing. Based on the mention of 2 stores, I'm pretty sure I know what town you live in (hey hi, I have lots of family there! Sorry for being creepy and recognizing that info!), but also don't underestimate walmart's produce selection- they also carry a staggering amount of organic options. Also though, your area (assuming I'm right about where) has a staggering number of options for local grass fed beef, lamb, chicken, and free range eggs, all for cheap. Also, this website is great for local CSA options: https://www.localharvest.org (https://www.localharvest.org)

But reading through it, it sounds like the big issue for you is more WHAT rather than WHERE. Nutrient density and local economy are (IMO) justifiable arguments for choosing to eat a certain way... liking fancy imported fruit isn't. =) So at this stage, maybe take a hard look at what you THINK your values about food are, vs where the biggest costs are ACTUALLY coming from. When we were first bringing our budgets down, we broke food out into meat/eggs, veg/fruit, dairy, pantry staples, and treats. This can be a really eye opening exercise. Maybe join one of the "cut grocery spending" gauntlets if you want to take a really hard look at your spending there.

<waving hi back>

We do have some nice options for eggs and beef and lamb.  I need to learn more about what things are supposed to cost.  I've been very spoiled and I just buy what I like.  I am going to work a lot harder on the food budget.  I might be able to cut another $100, if I try harder.   

Before I posted here, I lurked for a long while.  I read about ways to expect less and save more.  We have made major changes. 

Dumped my Xfit
Stopped eating at nice places (only eat out twice a month $40 total)
I didn't buy a new bike this year.  My husband didn't buy a new bike this year.
Increased our savings to 55% a year.  I think it may be even more than that.  Joining mint was a new addition as well, so my numbers are in infancy stage. 

Thanks to everyone for being so welcoming.  I am not perfect and there is much to learn.

 
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Goldielocks on November 13, 2017, 10:17:30 PM

I started it because I read on the site somewhere how people were spending tiny amounts.  Just wondered how the heck they are doing that.

One way that has not been mentioned yet -- some people eat less food.  period.  

When I did a deep dive the four areas that were driving my costs up:
1) Location (CDN dollars, not in Ontario, dairy / produce / eggs are more, etc)
2) I eat more.    I eat nearly 1.5 times the portions that some of the other people are eating.
3) Teenagers in the house -->  essentially they don't cook for themselves so any food they eat that I did not make costs more... a boy that demolishes anything packaged in an instant .... and a daughter that feeds her boyfriend a huge deli /cheese meat sandwich about 2x per week, and he stays for dinner 1x per week, too.    I also buy some packaged food for their lunches, and cereal.   They eat cereal every day.  That alone adds $40 per month.
4) Husband grocery shopping is a problem.   I have had to take over this chore 100%.   A "milk and eggs" run for him seems to cost $75 due to impulse purchases (Grapes! Salami! fancy energy soda in single serve can! a cake!).  He loves drinking his calories as juice, etc.

I can't digest beans, lentils or chickpeas very well, so we don't have full portion meals of those any more -- but this is a minor cost compared to the above.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 13, 2017, 10:45:59 PM

I started it because I read on the site somewhere how people were spending tiny amounts.  Just wondered how the heck they are doing that.

One way that has not been mentioned yet -- some people eat less food.  period.  

When I did a deep dive the four areas that were driving my costs up:
1) Location (CDN dollars, not in Ontario, dairy / produce / eggs are more, etc)
2) I eat more.    I eat nearly 1.5 times the portions that some of the other people are eating.
3) Teenagers in the house -->  essentially they don't cook for themselves so any food they eat that I did not make costs more... a boy that demolishes anything packaged in an instant .... and a daughter that feeds her boyfriend a huge deli /cheese meat sandwich about 2x per week, and he stays for dinner 1x per week, too.    I also buy some packaged food for their lunches, and cereal.   They eat cereal every day.  That alone adds $40 per month.
4) Husband grocery shopping is a problem.   I have had to take over this chore 100%.   A "milk and eggs" run for him seems to cost $75 due to impulse purchases (Grapes! Salami! fancy energy soda in single serve can! a cake!).  He loves drinking his calories as juice, etc.

I can't digest beans, lentils or chickpeas very well, so we don't have full portion meals of those any more -- but this is a minor cost compared to the above.

Sadly, I am the bad one with the grocery.  My husband is so much better than I am.  He buys less impulse things, and is much better at knowing what things cost.  He reads the ads, and plans around them.  He doesn't always pick the nicest looking produce, but his options are often less expensive.  He is a gem that way. 

We don't usually drink calories, except for some powdered sports drink, which is really needed on an intense all day ride.  The only thing we buy to drink is milk, coffee and half and half for the coffee.  The milk is a glass a day, and to cook with.  I used to love getting those Pellegrino sodas.  Then the deposit price went up to ten cents a can and I realized this was nuts.  Cut that habit out. 

I used to always buy fresh limes and fresh lemons to cook with.  It does taste best.  But, recently I cut that fresh habit to replace it with this brand that is very clean and tastes pretty decent considering it is a squeeze lemon or lime.

I look forward to seeing how much I spend at the end of this month, compared to last month's $640.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: boarder42 on November 14, 2017, 03:38:05 AM
Sounds like your husband should shop. I think we've got your true answer here.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Imma on November 14, 2017, 07:37:50 AM
I'm one of those people with a low grocery spend. First of all, a lot depends on where you live. When I see the grocery list Tass posted, I know I can get a lot of those things for much cheaper around here. Someone else might live somewhere where things are even more expensive. Second, portions vary. I have an office job, so even though I cycle to work and train with weights twice a week, I don't need a lot of calories. I used to have a roommate who was into body building and the amounts of food he ate were incredible. His diet also included lots of animal protein, which is expensive. He would easily go through a gallon of milk and two dozen eggs a week and would also consume large amounts of expensive protein powders. He ate a lot of expensive cuts of meat that are high in protein and low in fat. He chose more expensive fruits like bananas and avocado, instead of cheaper fruits like apples. Certain dietary choices really impact the food budget. Third, my partner often gets to eat at his work place, that's a perk of the job.

What makes a big difference for us, is that we choose to only use our grocery budget (in our joint checking account) for actual food. Not for snacks. When we go to the store together to get groceries, we pay from the grocery budget. When my partner buys expensive craft beers, or I buy chocolate, we pay from our own accounts. It really helps us to make that distinction between essentials and luxuries. We don't just throw snacks into our cart at the store, we consciously make the decision to go to the store to buy a snack and pay them from our personal accounts. Very often, we're not even bothered to go outside when we feel like snacking, thus avoiding that cost completely.

For breakfast, I eat basic oatmeal (€0,40/pound) with water when I'm at work, with milk when we have it, and a piece of fruit. my partner eats cheap yoghurt (€0,60/liter) with basic muesli (€2,00/kg). For lunch, I often eat two fried eggs (€0,25/each) with fruit or vegetables or leftovers from last night's dinner while my partner has another bowl of muesli (he really love that stuff) or simple bread (€1/loaf) with peanut butter which in our country is normally just ground nuts with no additives (€1,80/jar). For dinner we love simple things like potatoes / seasonal vegetables / meat stew (traditional dish from cheap cut of meat) or potatoes / seasonal vegetables / alternative for meat , vegetarian nasi goreng, vegetarian curry, chili con or sin carne or pasta dishes with a vegetable-based sauce. When we crave fast food we make homemade pizza or homemade fries. I try to can certain seasonal items as well.

As you can see, we eat little meat, we eat few snacks, we eat filling and cheap dishes. As you can see, our evening meal is normally carb-heavy but we also eat a lot of fruit and vegetables. We don't eat a lot of animal proteins, but we believe we get enough protein through other sources. We drink coffee once a day, otherwise we drink tea.

On top of that, we buy staples in bulk. The olive oil we buy costs €2,60/0,5 liter glass bottle, but the same brand is also available in 5 liter cans that cost €10,00. We buy a can, store it in the pantry and refill our 0,5 liter bottle 20 times from one can. I buy 5 kgs of apples or pears for €5 when they're in season and can them to use later when they're more expensive. I buy rice, potatoes and onions in large quantities and keep them in the pantry. We often buy meat and bread when they're marked down because they will be tossed out the next day, then freeze them. We don't waste leftovers. We don't use paper towels, but regular old fashioned dish cloths. We buy 5-kg boxes of washing powder for €10 and use half of the recommended amount, without noticing any difference. A small box of washing powder from the same brand costs €5/1 kg. I use regular cheap vinegar (€0,30/liter) as a fabric softener.

We feel happy with this way of eating, we have been eating like this since our student days, we don't do it to save on money but because we genuinely like it. I can imagine this doesn't fit your diet, but this is how we keep a low grocery budget.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Laura33 on November 14, 2017, 09:49:16 AM

I started it because I read on the site somewhere how people were spending tiny amounts.  Just wondered how the heck they are doing that.

. . . .

4) Husband grocery shopping is a problem.   I have had to take over this chore 100%.   A "milk and eggs" run for him seems to cost $75 due to impulse purchases (Grapes! Salami! fancy energy soda in single serve can! a cake!).  He loves drinking his calories as juice, etc.

IIRC, we have previously established that we married the same man.  I still remember the literal "loaf of bread and OJ" run that ended up with $64 of bratwurst, tortilla chips, and a whole variety of other stuff that was nowhere near our actual grocery list.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: boarder42 on November 14, 2017, 09:58:19 AM

I started it because I read on the site somewhere how people were spending tiny amounts.  Just wondered how the heck they are doing that.

. . . .

4) Husband grocery shopping is a problem.   I have had to take over this chore 100%.   A "milk and eggs" run for him seems to cost $75 due to impulse purchases (Grapes! Salami! fancy energy soda in single serve can! a cake!).  He loves drinking his calories as juice, etc.

IIRC, we have previously established that we married the same man.  I still remember the literal "loaf of bread and OJ" run that ended up with $64 of bratwurst, tortilla chips, and a whole variety of other stuff that was nowhere near our actual grocery list.

sounds like OP is in the inverse situation like i have... my wife does what your husbands do ... thats why i shop.  OP should forfeit shopping rights and let the husband do it for a month or 2 and see if there is any real difference.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Hirondelle on November 14, 2017, 10:29:24 AM
What makes a big difference for us, is that we choose to only use our grocery budget (in our joint checking account) for actual food. Not for snacks. When we go to the store together to get groceries, we pay from the grocery budget. When my partner buys expensive craft beers, or I buy chocolate, we pay from our own accounts. It really helps us to make that distinction between essentials and luxuries. We don't just throw snacks into our cart at the store, we consciously make the decision to go to the store to buy a snack and pay them from our personal accounts. Very often, we're not even bothered to go outside when we feel like snacking, thus avoiding that cost completely.
This is such an amazing idea! I don't have a partner and therefore only my own bank account in the first place, but I think I could do a similar thing just NOT buying any snacks during my regular supermarket visit and forcing myself to go another time if I want something else.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 14, 2017, 11:12:41 AM

I started it because I read on the site somewhere how people were spending tiny amounts.  Just wondered how the heck they are doing that.

. . . .

4) Husband grocery shopping is a problem.   I have had to take over this chore 100%.   A "milk and eggs" run for him seems to cost $75 due to impulse purchases (Grapes! Salami! fancy energy soda in single serve can! a cake!).  He loves drinking his calories as juice, etc.

IIRC, we have previously established that we married the same man.  I still remember the literal "loaf of bread and OJ" run that ended up with $64 of bratwurst, tortilla chips, and a whole variety of other stuff that was nowhere near our actual grocery list.

sounds like OP is in the inverse situation like i have... my wife does what your husbands do ... thats why i shop.  OP should forfeit shopping rights and let the husband do it for a month or 2 and see if there is any real difference.

Hey now, let's not get all crazy.   :)

Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Goldielocks on November 14, 2017, 11:23:28 AM
What makes a big difference for us, is that we choose to only use our grocery budget (in our joint checking account) for actual food. Not for snacks. When we go to the store together to get groceries, we pay from the grocery budget. When my partner buys expensive craft beers, or I buy chocolate, we pay from our own accounts. It really helps us to make that distinction between essentials and luxuries. We don't just throw snacks into our cart at the store, we consciously make the decision to go to the store to buy a snack and pay them from our personal accounts. Very often, we're not even bothered to go outside when we feel like snacking, thus avoiding that cost completely.
This is such an amazing idea! I don't have a partner and therefore only my own bank account in the first place, but I think I could do a similar thing just NOT buying any snacks during my regular supermarket visit and forcing myself to go another time if I want something else.

When I was working hard to reduce grocery spend habits, and with kids in the house, I did something similar but different from the above, because kids can't go buy their own snacks...

I would process the groceries in two orders.  The first section was the "food" as described above.  The second section was the "snacks" or branded foods or semi-optional splurge items like expensive grapes, vanilla for baking... all items we did not have to buy THAT DAY.  ($6 of grapes can be eaten by us in one sitting).   I used cash only for the second order, and when the cash was gone in the month, no more snacks until it replenished.

Separating out the "wants" from the "needs" on the grocery line up worked very well to reduce costs.   I should start that again.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Tass on November 14, 2017, 02:07:41 PM
Gallon of organic milk $5.99.  I go through a gallon of milk a week.

I go through at least that much milk by myself, but like I said: I buy the cheap kind at $2.30 a gallon. (Skim is usually the cheapest, but a little fat in your milk is probably an allowable luxury if you so choose.) Lots of people have been suggesting cutting down on milk, which is probably a good idea that would reduce my own grocery budget, but it's where I draw the line, personally and currently. I love milk.

Try an experiment: take the week's menu you listed above, and replicate it for a week. Except this time, no organic, no free-range, and you find the cheapest version possible. See how it tastes and what it costs.

Worthwhile experiment. I always assumed free-range eggs is more about the chicken's welfare than about the egg quality; is that not the case? I suppose the two can reasonably be expected to be interrelated.

(Incidentally, exclusively grain-fed chickens and their eggs are not worth paying extra for. Chickens are omnivores. Forcing them to be vegetarians is not in their best interest.)

I don't eat the organic veg because I believe the veg is somehow different.  What I hope is that it isn't hosed down with pesticides.

Unfortunately organic produce has rules about WHICH pesticides they use, but they don't necessarily use LESS. They often have to use more, because the more efficient products are against their rules. And those rules aren't necessarily... logical.

E.g. Bt soy is your absolute best bet for minimizing pesticides in your soy, because the plant produces a popular organic pesticide in its own leaves - no spraying necessary, minimizes off-target effects, doesn't need to be reapplied after every rainfall - but it's GMO. And that's the opposite of organic, right?? My point is mostly that there isn't really an easy label for which foods are most natural, most ethical, cleanest. Organic wants to be that label, but standards vary from item to item. If you have a specific reason for buying a certain more expensive item - e.g. free range is a more humane way to keep chickens - then that's a decision you can make logically and decide how much money it's worth to you. But if it's just because organic feels safer, it might be a good time to reexamine your assumptions and the ways your beliefs are influenced by marketing.

MMM is also about applying ruthless logic to things other people don't bother thinking about. :)



For the record, my $150 1-person budget is also in expensive SoCal. I don't have a Costco membership. I still eat a lot of dairy. I like to cook new stuff that is pricier than rice and beans.

You can choose to follow some but not all of the cheapness rules and still make a LOT of progress. You just need to really commit to the rules that WILL work for you.

Sounds like your husband should shop. I think we've got your true answer here.

+1!
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: boarder42 on November 14, 2017, 02:31:41 PM
for as concerned as you are about eating organic.  drinking another animals milk by the gallon a week ... a substance that is meant to nurture a baby animal that is supposed to grow into a 300lb beast really doesnt add up for me organic or not.  I mean just mull that over for a minute.  what other species drinks the milk of another thats intended to feed their youth.  none ...
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Beard N Bones on November 14, 2017, 02:54:27 PM
My diet is probably not nutrient deficient.  I look at the vitamins as an insurance policy.

You could always ask your doctor whether they think it's a worthwhile investment? Imo multivitamins in particular are pretty pointless. Some people have deficiencies in iron or calcium or what have you and need to supplement something specific, but if you eat reasonably well-rounded meals you're probably getting most of what you need. Caveat that I am not a medical doctor.

I was joking about the receipts, but I'm sure you'd get genuine feedback if you posted them. :)

I wouldn't ask a Doctor (MD).  They get next to no training in nutrition.  (I work in the health care field.  And my brother is a Family Physician MD).
You'd be better off asking a Registered Dietitian (preferred) or Nutrionist. 
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Tass on November 14, 2017, 03:05:15 PM
My diet is probably not nutrient deficient.  I look at the vitamins as an insurance policy.

You could always ask your doctor whether they think it's a worthwhile investment? Imo multivitamins in particular are pretty pointless. Some people have deficiencies in iron or calcium or what have you and need to supplement something specific, but if you eat reasonably well-rounded meals you're probably getting most of what you need. Caveat that I am not a medical doctor.

I was joking about the receipts, but I'm sure you'd get genuine feedback if you posted them. :)

I wouldn't ask a Doctor (MD).  They get next to no training in nutrition.  (I work in the health care field.  And my brother is a Family Physician MD).
You'd be better off asking a Registered Dietitian (preferred) or Nutrionist.

If OP sees a specialist about their chronic illness, the doctor might still be the most knowledgeable resource. An opinion from each probably wouldn't hurt, though.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Goldielocks on November 14, 2017, 03:10:07 PM
Re: Chicken eggs.

The quality of eggs is highly dependent on what the chicken eats, and maybe the breed of chicken.   
 
Because of Free Range habitat for the farm raised / outdoor ones, they get a tremendous variety including insects and such.   Many are different breeds than the battery cage / indoor hens.   Many commercial free range advertised egg farmers provide a better feed as well (but not all do).   Some free range is still kept indoors, tightly packed, with similar feed quality to the standard cheap egg.

It is possible to get a better quality / tasting egg from a caged hen, with limited movements, because of the feed used, but it won't be the same taste quality as the small-farm ones.

If you are looking for improved egg quality rather than hen welfare, experiment with some of the different brands to see which you like the taste of.   Currently, I am a proponent of buying Omega-3 marketed eggs for eating and use cheap eggs for baking, because of taste.   I will pay 10% more for caged hens that have perches and more room.  I jump in purchasing practice to paying a local farmer a few times a year for their extra special eggs, which taste wonderful and cost $5 per dozen (cheap because he sells them illegally to friends only).   

Note - I am definitely not compassionate when it comes to hens; IMO the battery-raised white ones are barely above "fish" on the intelligence scale... very unlike a typical backyard hen.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Beard N Bones on November 14, 2017, 03:35:02 PM
for as concerned as you are about eating organic.  drinking another animals milk by the gallon a week ... a substance that is meant to nurture a baby animal that is supposed to grow into a 300lb beast really doesnt add up for me organic or not.  I mean just mull that over for a minute.  what other species drinks the milk of another thats intended to feed their youth.  none ...

You've proposed an interesting thought experiment boarder42.  It doesn't make good logic though. 
Should we eat our own vomit because that is what dogs do?
How about eating dung because that is what dung beetles do?
No other mammal cooks with fire - does that mean all foods baked or cooked are not intended for our use?
I could use many more examples similar to what you and I have given thus far.  Do we need to mull this over for a few more minutes yet?

(Now, if you are going make the case that milk is bad because our bodies, when fully developed, cannot process it in a healthy way - that's a whole different conversation.)
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 14, 2017, 04:47:30 PM
for as concerned as you are about eating organic.  drinking another animals milk by the gallon a week ... a substance that is meant to nurture a baby animal that is supposed to grow into a 300lb beast really doesnt add up for me organic or not.  I mean just mull that over for a minute.  what other species drinks the milk of another thats intended to feed their youth.  none ...

Boarder42, the thread was about asking how people spend so little.  That has little to do with what I do or do not choose to eat or drink.

I tolerate milk well.  I enjoy one glass of milk a day.   I don't drink the entire gallon myself. 

My doctor has said that I am one of his best patients.  My weight is perfect.  My cholesterol is always really low.  He said whatever I am doing to keep doing it.  Not quite sure why you want to give me a bad time about my dietary habits.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: boarder42 on November 14, 2017, 05:57:37 PM
Milk is expensive. Organic milk more so
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Tass on November 14, 2017, 06:58:54 PM
I don't drink the entire gallon myself. 

I do!

I think boarder42's point was to point out logical inconsistencies rather than to specifically give you a hard time. But idk maybe he does have a secret grudge against milk. ;)
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: penguintroopers on November 14, 2017, 07:30:06 PM

I started it because I read on the site somewhere how people were spending tiny amounts.  Just wondered how the heck they are doing that.

As Laura mentioned, the engineers "square" of food. We pick cost as our top priority and then something else as our second.

We go with $200/mo grocery (including toiletries and household things) and $100/restaurants for two adults. Lots of what we eat is what was on sale that week, sandwiches and salads for lunch, pasta, chicken (and chicken, and chicken...), fish, rice, beans, pasta, etc.

We have no dietary restrictions, have low caloric needs, and don't get into the ethical/GMO/organic movement at all. We manage our budget despite living in a HCOL due to a balance between planning, shopping at Aldi, and shopping at Sam's or the local store with coupons as to what we need the most at the best price.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 14, 2017, 08:30:06 PM
Milk is expensive. Organic milk more so

Not budging on this one.  Although, I will skip the re-up on the good balsamic. 
I don't drink the entire gallon myself. 

I do!

I think boarder42's point was to point out logical inconsistencies rather than to specifically give you a hard time. But idk maybe he does have a secret grudge against milk. ;)

Yes, There are many messed up things about the cow industry too. I see the point.  <blush>
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 14, 2017, 08:34:49 PM
Far less purchases of 100% grape must balsamic.  This tiny bottle was quite the splurge. 

Best damn balsamic I have ever had. 
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: APowers on November 14, 2017, 10:56:09 PM
Far less purchases of 100% grape must balsamic.  This tiny bottle was quite the splurge. 

Best damn balsamic I have ever had.

Early this year, I found an unopened bottle of real Italian certified balsamic vinegar in a house I was remodelling. Nobody else wanted it, it was "out of date", but I figured hey, it's vinegar-- grape juice already gone bad twice, what more can happen to it-- the seal's still good, it's fine. My wife was VERY happy about that find.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Imma on November 15, 2017, 02:48:36 AM
What makes a big difference for us, is that we choose to only use our grocery budget (in our joint checking account) for actual food. Not for snacks. When we go to the store together to get groceries, we pay from the grocery budget. When my partner buys expensive craft beers, or I buy chocolate, we pay from our own accounts. It really helps us to make that distinction between essentials and luxuries. We don't just throw snacks into our cart at the store, we consciously make the decision to go to the store to buy a snack and pay them from our personal accounts. Very often, we're not even bothered to go outside when we feel like snacking, thus avoiding that cost completely.
This is such an amazing idea! I don't have a partner and therefore only my own bank account in the first place, but I think I could do a similar thing just NOT buying any snacks during my regular supermarket visit and forcing myself to go another time if I want something else.

When I was working hard to reduce grocery spend habits, and with kids in the house, I did something similar but different from the above, because kids can't go buy their own snacks...

I would process the groceries in two orders.  The first section was the "food" as described above.  The second section was the "snacks" or branded foods or semi-optional splurge items like expensive grapes, vanilla for baking... all items we did not have to buy THAT DAY.  ($6 of grapes can be eaten by us in one sitting).   I used cash only for the second order, and when the cash was gone in the month, no more snacks until it replenished.

Separating out the "wants" from the "needs" on the grocery line up worked very well to reduce costs.   I should start that again.

You know you're a Mustachian when ... you read this and think 'hey, I do this too' or 'hey, I should try this' instead of 'this lady must be insane'.

I have told very few people about this IRL, and they were all good friends and pretty frugal themselves, and they still think we're out of our minds to put ourselves through this torture.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 15, 2017, 08:06:43 AM
Far less purchases of 100% grape must balsamic.  This tiny bottle was quite the splurge. 

Best damn balsamic I have ever had.

Early this year, I found an unopened bottle of real Italian certified balsamic vinegar in a house I was remodelling. Nobody else wanted it, it was "out of date", but I figured hey, it's vinegar-- grape juice already gone bad twice, what more can happen to it-- the seal's still good, it's fine. My wife was VERY happy about that find.
Oh heck yeah!  That doesn't go bad.

I made my dinner last night and looked in my pantry and fridge.  Yes, lots of higher quality ingredients.  Kerry gold butter.  Muir glen tomatoes in a can, and artisana tahini.  Although, I did get the tahini at Gross out, so it was a deep discount. 

Last month we spent 640, but it looks that we are on track to spend about $100 less this month.  Baby steps.  HAHA
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: TheGrimSqueaker on November 15, 2017, 08:53:13 AM
(Incidentally, exclusively grain-fed chickens and their eggs are not worth paying extra for. Chickens are omnivores. Forcing them to be vegetarians is not in their best interest.)

I keep a chicken pen with spoiled-rotten pets that produce garden fertilizer and eggs. I guarantee you that any chicken that has access to the outdoors is *not* vegetarian.

The finances for chickens are rough; you have to DIY a lot and balance the number of birds you have with the availability of garden scraps and other things to feed them. It can't be made to work with just two or three birds. I generally try to have about half a dozen at a time so that I can sell my surplus eggs. Because I did that for a few years, it gradually paid for what I'd spent on the secondhand coop, the Chicken Fort Knox run I had to build after the chupacabra incident, and the cost of the birds themselves and the kibble they eat when there aren't enough chicken scraps or weeds from the yard. I briefly crossed the threshold into "free eggs" then and was actually making a few bucks. It took me about five years to reach that point, though. Presently, I'm down to five birds, one of whom is special needs. A bag of kibble costs me about $15 and lasts two to three months. The fingerbiters (as I affectionately call them) are closer to retirement age and they average one and a half dozen eggs per week with seasonal fluctuations. I can't buy eggs that cheaply, especially in a bunch of bizarre colors like blue, green, or chocolate brown.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: TheGrimSqueaker on November 15, 2017, 09:02:30 AM
Note - I am definitely not compassionate when it comes to hens; IMO the battery-raised white ones are barely above "fish" on the intelligence scale... very unlike a typical backyard hen.

The breed used for battery hens (generally leghorns or production reds) is just as intelligent as any Ameraucana or Rhode Island Red if you raise them the same way. They make decent backyard pets although I don't favor white birds because they attract too much attention from predators.

Now if you want a truly idiotic bird-shaped object, the Cornish Rock (meat production bird) is the stupidest thing on the planet that actually has feathers. The breed has deteriorated since my grandmother and aunts and uncles raised them on the farm in what would now be called a pastured, relatively free-range fashion. I raised a few of these "freezer bait" objects for a few weeks and they do nothing but eat and poop. They have been selectively bred to eat, gain weight, and do nothing else. Compared to the normal chickens their age they are dumber than a bag of hammers. They are not curious, they don't interact with each other, they don't really experience pain or discomfort, and all they think about is food. One of them even got caught in its own food dispenser at the age of six weeks. After raising some once, I'm overcome with revulsion and have a strong desire to just kill every Cornish Rock bird I see. Seriously: eradicating the subspecies would probably improve the planet. I've got no guilt about eating factory-farmed Cornish Rock because those aren't animals. If you were growing chicken breast in a jar in a lab somehow, it would probably have more intelligence, perception, and self-awareness.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Bracken_Joy on November 15, 2017, 09:16:27 AM
Note - I am definitely not compassionate when it comes to hens; IMO the battery-raised white ones are barely above "fish" on the intelligence scale... very unlike a typical backyard hen.

The breed used for battery hens (generally leghorns or production reds) is just as intelligent as any Ameraucana or Rhode Island Red if you raise them the same way. They make decent backyard pets although I don't favor white birds because they attract too much attention from predators.

Now if you want a truly idiotic bird-shaped object, the Cornish Rock (meat production bird) is the stupidest thing on the planet that actually has feathers. The breed has deteriorated since my grandmother and aunts and uncles raised them on the farm in what would now be called a pastured, relatively free-range fashion. I raised a few of these "freezer bait" objects for a few weeks and they do nothing but eat and poop. They have been selectively bred to eat, gain weight, and do nothing else. Compared to the normal chickens their age they are dumber than a bag of hammers. They are not curious, they don't interact with each other, they don't really experience pain or discomfort, and all they think about is food. One of them even got caught in its own food dispenser at the age of six weeks. After raising some once, I'm overcome with revulsion and have a strong desire to just kill every Cornish Rock bird I see. Seriously: eradicating the subspecies would probably improve the planet. I've got no guilt about eating factory-farmed Cornish Rock because those aren't animals. If you were growing chicken breast in a jar in a lab somehow, it would probably have more intelligence, perception, and self-awareness.

100% there with you on Leghorns vs Cornish. The only thing dumber I've raised than the Cornish are production turkeys. People aren't exaggerating when they talk about them drowning in 1/2" deep water dishes because they just... don't take their faces out. (Never saw the 'looking up drowining in the rain' thing though). But yeah, one year my brother left his Cornish too long before we killed them- "green muscle disease" and all (ie, they grow so big so fast they can't supply their muscle with enough hemoglobin, causing discoloration. Their legs bow and start not supporting them too. When the legs started bowing is when Husband and I told my brother to let us help him process them that weekend, otherwise we were going to do a mass mercy killing without his help and keep the meat ourselves. One way or another, it was cruel to keep them alive any longer). Since then, I've also had a deep combination of pity and revulsion for those poor freaks of the bird world.

Adore backyard chickens though. I'd say the Leghorns are usually more skittish than the other varieties, but they have sense enough to keep themselves alive fairly well, find food, participate in the social structure, that sort of thing.
...man, now I really want chickens again. Friggin neighborhood rules. Increasingly tempted to ignore them and see who complains...
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on November 15, 2017, 10:35:35 AM
For snacks, we've started a thought experiment.  I pointed out to my daughter a few weeks ago that for the same price we spent on utterly scrumptious cake pops at a new bakery, we could have bought an entire bag of Oreos.  She's still talking about how good and pretty the cake pops are.  The Oreos would have been forgotten as soon as they'd been swallowed.

Now, when we grocery shop, we think about whether we're really getting our money's worth out of those snacks.  The cake pops are the standard - if it's not as much enjoyment as those, we probably don't want to waste our money today.  The kids are mostly on board with this.

I'm still working on whittling our grocery budget down, but avoiding snack foods is helping.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Tass on November 15, 2017, 10:41:11 AM
(Incidentally, exclusively grain-fed chickens and their eggs are not worth paying extra for. Chickens are omnivores. Forcing them to be vegetarians is not in their best interest.)
I keep a chicken pen with spoiled-rotten pets that produce garden fertilizer and eggs. I guarantee you that any chicken that has access to the outdoors is *not* vegetarian.

That was part of my point. :)
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 15, 2017, 12:11:37 PM
For snacks, we've started a thought experiment.  I pointed out to my daughter a few weeks ago that for the same price we spent on utterly scrumptious cake pops at a new bakery, we could have bought an entire bag of Oreos.  She's still talking about how good and pretty the cake pops are.  The Oreos would have been forgotten as soon as they'd been swallowed.

Now, when we grocery shop, we think about whether we're really getting our money's worth out of those snacks.  The cake pops are the standard - if it's not as much enjoyment as those, we probably don't want to waste our money today.  The kids are mostly on board with this.

I'm still working on whittling our grocery budget down, but avoiding snack foods is helping.

We don't buy any snack foods much at all, besides the cheese bagels...which should be eliminated from my diet.  It's my cheat. 

The only snack really is our habit of buying an exercise bar that I buy from my friend's bakery.  They are high quality, but they are $3 a piece.  Yes, anti-mustachian for sure.

I do buy nuts and eat them regularly.  They are expensive.  Don't want to cut them out, because they are so nutritious and I need the protein, if I don't eat meat on certain days.  Beans are good, but I can't eat them every day. 

My menu today tells the tale of my bad grocery habits:

oatmeal for breakfast with milk poured over it, and currants for added nicety
pecans
raw carrots
pomegranate arils (one pom will be three servings of snacks)
one avocado with lime juice squeezed over it
green salad
scalloped potatoes
chicken breast (bought an organic chicken on markdown.  It was as cheap as the foster farms.  Cut most of the meat off the bones.  Made the meat into different dishes.  Cooked the bones for soup.  We had the soup for lunches last week)
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Tass on November 15, 2017, 01:42:00 PM
How much of your nut intake can you switch to peanuts? Around here they're half the price of almost anything else, so I've been learning to really appreciate them. (They don't work in banana bread, though.)
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: marielle on November 15, 2017, 01:48:00 PM
I don't think the nuts are the problem unless they're really expensive there. Usually when I do the math they're $5 or cheaper for 2000 calories, meaning nuts themselves won't throw your budget out of whack and are actually pretty cheap when you look at it. Pomegranates and avocados might be a problem though. If avocados are $1.50-$2.00 and you're having one a day, that's more than what one entire meal could cost. Salad may be expensive too if you're buying pre-cut/pre-washed fancy artisan organic lettuce. That could easily be $2 worth of lettuce just for one meal. Cut romaine or cheap iceberg lettuce yourself. And so on.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: katscratch on November 15, 2017, 03:03:41 PM
Bracken_Joy your linky post upthread is a keeper! Tons of good ideas in those!

There are a lot of great posts here!


I'm chronically fighting grocery spend creep. I think my tastes are similar to yours, ACyclist. I average about double the calories of my peers in my age and height range. I have endocrine issues that prefer very little carbs, so no delicious bagels for me ;) Cheese - from a cheese shop or counter in the co-op or directly from a farm - was and is my soft spot. I had a cheese-only CSA share from a sheep farm for a while. Bread from the bakery first thing in the morning also used to be a weekly thing (my body took care of this habit, ha).

Things I've done in the past year:
* Limited my fancy cheese to one item per month. Something that was a habit is now a ridiculously luxurious treat that I look forward to with great pleasure!
* Started meal planning and batch cooking for the week - and it took me a good six months to get this truly figured out. I still struggle if anything happens to throw me off my routine.
* Put breakfast on auto pilot! I eat 3 eggs, yogurt, and steel cut oats with bulk purchase pecans for breakfast.
* Love leftovers - I now cook bigger portions of a dish and divvy it up for my lunches all week. Same for dinner most weeks. This time of year it's usually a casserole-type of dish or chicken/rice or squash/veggies.
* Scale down salads - I eat salad every day but instead of local greens and imported fruit and really really really damn good balsamic, I buy bags of spinach and mixed greens and skip the arugula (sob), use bulk pecans, feta cheese, dried fruit, balsamic-style vinegar with a bit of oil, a bunch of spices to suit my mood for the day instead of fresh herbs, and either squash or potato tossed in the mix (can do beans only rarely).
* no snacks - which you already do
* jar of nut butter stashed at work just in case I have an adrenal episode; same in my bike bag du jour on longer rides w/packages of honey - no bar pr gel purchases ever, but then I'm a randonneuse rather than racer so slow and steady is my jam and is easy to do with food I make myself
* I eat on repeat for several weeks, then change up my recipes. This helps me use up food when I'm still adapting to batch cooking. And I get bored, except for breakfast. But not so bored that I have to make dinner from scratch every night ;)
* I am a total snob and have flash frozen fresh caught salmon from a friend in my deep freeze. Otherwise I just do canned salmon and make spicy fish cakes.
* I stick to localish and seasonal produce over organic, partly for my personal ethics and partly for price. I prefer to buy produce that hasn't been sprayed and the farms here that don't spray are not certified organic, because that would be detrimental to animal husbandry. All the certified organic farms I've visited use just as much pesticide as the non-organic farms, it's just an approved pesticide (as was mentioned upthread). I don't buy bananas or avocadoes anymore, or pomegranate etc. I can get the same nutrition from squash and berries at a fraction of the price and I stay true to my personal values relating to industrial agriculture.

Basically I simplified my diet to the basic ingredients - I get the same nutritive value but dumbed down my flavor profile. The funny part is that now, a year in, I look forward to my simple butternut soup and salad just as much as I previously did my elaborate meals with garnishes and embellishments. I truly savor the taste of the actual food I am preparing rather than relying on the interplay of different flavors.

I've used Eat This Much and Cronometer (this was my fave) to track micronutrients, especially when I first had to drastically change my diet. I can see that eating on repeat with biweekly changeups is getting me adequate nutrition over a month.

I do need to go back to tracking grocery spending separate from household spending, though! I wonder how much of my upward shift lately is buying toilet paper for three women instead of just me :)
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 15, 2017, 03:36:38 PM
How much of your nut intake can you switch to peanuts? Around here they're half the price of almost anything else, so I've been learning to really appreciate them. (They don't work in banana bread, though.)

I do eat peanuts, but not too much of them.  Last night, I was eating Adams peanut butter off the spoon.  HAHA

Peanuts are in my diet, but just not the only nuts in my diet.  My favorite is almonds.

Cashews are in there too, but I am out.  :(

I don't think the nuts are the problem unless they're really expensive there. Usually when I do the math they're $5 or cheaper for 2000 calories, meaning nuts themselves won't throw your budget out of whack and are actually pretty cheap when you look at it. Pomegranates and avocados might be a problem though. If avocados are $1.50-$2.00 and you're having one a day, that's more than what one entire meal could cost. Salad may be expensive too if you're buying pre-cut/pre-washed fancy artisan organic lettuce. That could easily be $2 worth of lettuce just for one meal. Cut romaine or cheap iceberg lettuce yourself. And so on.

I buy head lettuce, and process it myself.  It is organic tho  <blush> .  Red leaf lettuce is my thing.  :)  Nothing in my cart is ever pre-washed, pre-grated, sliced, etc.  Raw and whole only.

The avocado is about 2-3 a week.  Last time I got them for .88 each.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: ACyclist on November 15, 2017, 03:42:00 PM
Bracken_Joy your linky post upthread is a keeper! Tons of good ideas in those!

There are a lot of great posts here!


I'm chronically fighting grocery spend creep. I think my tastes are similar to yours, ACyclist. I average about double the calories of my peers in my age and height range. I have endocrine issues that prefer very little carbs, so no delicious bagels for me ;) Cheese - from a cheese shop or counter in the co-op or directly from a farm - was and is my soft spot. I had a cheese-only CSA share from a sheep farm for a while. Bread from the bakery first thing in the morning also used to be a weekly thing (my body took care of this habit, ha).

Things I've done in the past year:
* Limited my fancy cheese to one item per month. Something that was a habit is now a ridiculously luxurious treat that I look forward to with great pleasure!
* Started meal planning and batch cooking for the week - and it took me a good six months to get this truly figured out. I still struggle if anything happens to throw me off my routine.
* Put breakfast on auto pilot! I eat 3 eggs, yogurt, and steel cut oats with bulk purchase pecans for breakfast.
* Love leftovers - I now cook bigger portions of a dish and divvy it up for my lunches all week. Same for dinner most weeks. This time of year it's usually a casserole-type of dish or chicken/rice or squash/veggies.
* Scale down salads - I eat salad every day but instead of local greens and imported fruit and really really really damn good balsamic, I buy bags of spinach and mixed greens and skip the arugula (sob), use bulk pecans, feta cheese, dried fruit, balsamic-style vinegar with a bit of oil, a bunch of spices to suit my mood for the day instead of fresh herbs, and either squash or potato tossed in the mix (can do beans only rarely).
* no snacks - which you already do
* jar of nut butter stashed at work just in case I have an adrenal episode; same in my bike bag du jour on longer rides w/packages of honey - no bar pr gel purchases ever, but then I'm a randonneuse rather than racer so slow and steady is my jam and is easy to do with food I make myself
* I eat on repeat for several weeks, then change up my recipes. This helps me use up food when I'm still adapting to batch cooking. And I get bored, except for breakfast. But not so bored that I have to make dinner from scratch every night ;)
* I am a total snob and have flash frozen fresh caught salmon from a friend in my deep freeze. Otherwise I just do canned salmon and make spicy fish cakes.
* I stick to localish and seasonal produce over organic, partly for my personal ethics and partly for price. I prefer to buy produce that hasn't been sprayed and the farms here that don't spray are not certified organic, because that would be detrimental to animal husbandry. All the certified organic farms I've visited use just as much pesticide as the non-organic farms, it's just an approved pesticide (as was mentioned upthread). I don't buy bananas or avocadoes anymore, or pomegranate etc. I can get the same nutrition from squash and berries at a fraction of the price and I stay true to my personal values relating to industrial agriculture.

Basically I simplified my diet to the basic ingredients - I get the same nutritive value but dumbed down my flavor profile. The funny part is that now, a year in, I look forward to my simple butternut soup and salad just as much as I previously did my elaborate meals with garnishes and embellishments. I truly savor the taste of the actual food I am preparing rather than relying on the interplay of different flavors.

I've used Eat This Much and Cronometer (this was my fave) to track micronutrients, especially when I first had to drastically change my diet. I can see that eating on repeat with biweekly changeups is getting me adequate nutrition over a month.

I do need to go back to tracking grocery spending separate from household spending, though! I wonder how much of my upward shift lately is buying toilet paper for three women instead of just me :)

You are awesome.  Very inspiring.

I admit to being very spoiled in regards to fee. The MS thing made me "throw down the gauntlet."  Although, I became sort of a food snob in the process.  My grocery spending reflects that.  Like, the ridiculous pure Modena balsamic. 

We don't drink alcohol at all, so I had always justified fine olive oil and balsamic to my fine wine.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: katscratch on November 15, 2017, 03:49:17 PM
That balsamic is so, so good.....I used to make a strawberry rhubarb balsamic vanilla sauce for canning with it. Yum.

Well then I won't admit I had a coffee subscription last year for fresh-roasted and delivered-by-bike beans that was $18 for half a pound :D

....I have since come back to my money-saving senses on that one; the AeroPress tends to make subpar roasts taste better than they are, and I've come to like Bustelo pre-ground coffee just fine :)
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Goldielocks on November 15, 2017, 09:13:20 PM
Note - I am definitely not compassionate when it comes to hens; IMO the battery-raised white ones are barely above "fish" on the intelligence scale... very unlike a typical backyard hen.

The breed used for battery hens (generally leghorns or production reds) is just as intelligent as any Ameraucana or Rhode Island Red if you raise them the same way. They make decent backyard pets although I don't favor white birds because they attract too much attention from predators.

Now if you want a truly idiotic bird-shaped object, the Cornish Rock (meat production bird) is the stupidest thing on the planet that actually has feathers. The breed has deteriorated since my grandmother and aunts and uncles raised them on the farm in what would now be called a pastured, relatively free-range fashion. I raised a few of these "freezer bait" objects for a few weeks and they do nothing but eat and poop. They have been selectively bred to eat, gain weight, and do nothing else. Compared to the normal chickens their age they are dumber than a bag of hammers. They are not curious, they don't interact with each other, they don't really experience pain or discomfort, and all they think about is food. One of them even got caught in its own food dispenser at the age of six weeks. After raising some once, I'm overcome with revulsion and have a strong desire to just kill every Cornish Rock bird I see. Seriously: eradicating the subspecies would probably improve the planet. I've got no guilt about eating factory-farmed Cornish Rock because those aren't animals. If you were growing chicken breast in a jar in a lab somehow, it would probably have more intelligence, perception, and self-awareness.

That's it!  those are the chickens I saw.   !   I take back what I said about the egg layers, then... obviously white chicken =/= white hen.
Title: Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
Post by: Imma on November 16, 2017, 02:27:14 AM


My menu today tells the tale of my bad grocery habits:

oatmeal for breakfast with milk poured over it, and currants for added nicety
pecans
raw carrots

pomegranate arils (one pom will be three servings of snacks)
one avocado with lime juice squeezed over it
green salad

scalloped potatoes

chicken breast (bought an organic chicken on markdown.  It was as cheap as the foster farms.  Cut most of the meat off the bones.  Made the meat into different dishes.  Cooked the bones for soup.  We had the soup for lunches last week)

Actually you're doing pretty well already! Unless grocery prices are extremely different over there, everything I've made bold is super cheap. A head of lettuce is cheap, salad is only expensive if you buy the pre-bagged variety. Potatoes, carrots and oatmeal are dirt cheap. Of course, pomegranates, avocados and organic chicken are expensive, but it there are quite a few cheap staples in your diet already.