Author Topic: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF  (Read 15301 times)

ACyclist

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I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« 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. 

Davnasty

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #1 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?

gggggg

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #2 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.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 03:27:55 PM by dcamnc »

Tass

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #3 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:

  • Fancy cheese is now an occasional luxury. I get to keep blocks of boring cheddar and occasionally mozzarella, but other than that, one cheese at a time, rarely. Still working my way through last month's block of nice parmesan (cost maybe... $5? $8?)
  • Related: how often do you throw out spoiled food? I'm really careful about my dairy in that regard. Parmesan is nice since I can just cut off the mold and keep eating it.
  • Some allowance can be made to stock up during good sales. I have been known to spend $75 (half my budget) in one go during a visit to the bulk store; if it's stuff that won't go bad and will last you a while, that can be excused. But I spend $20-30 a week the rest of the time. Like Dabnasty said, you'll have to track your spending and take a look at a monthly number to be sure.
  • Why are you buying vitamins? What part of your diet is so inadequate that you need supplementation? For the majority of customers, buying vitamins is just paying for fortified pee - your body can't absorb those quantities of vitamins anyway. Exceptions if you have a medical condition, obviously; maybe if you're a woman taking calcium; and possibly for certain kinds of athletes.
  • I don't drink coffee. Someone else might have tips for keeping that cheap - heck, I think MMM has written about it - and I'll stick with dime a dozen teabags.
  • I don't pay extra for organic. Might consider it for meats, which I also don't buy anymore - that's probably it's own point - and I've heard that paying more for eggs can make a difference in both nutrition and taste, but overall I wouldn't bother. If it's something you're really passionate about, maybe calculate how much extra you'll have to work to support that habit and make it an informed decision.
  • Most importantly, start with a list and shop from the list. You may deviate from the list only for exceptional sales. If you didn't need x food item when you were making the list, you don't need it when you're contemplating it on the shelf.

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!

ACyclist

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #4 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.

Tass

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #5 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.

ACyclist

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #6 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.  :)

Frankies Girl

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #7 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.
 


Tass

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #8 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. :)
« Last Edit: November 11, 2017, 10:29:39 AM by Tass »

kayvent

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #9 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.

boarder42

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #10 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.

ACyclist

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #11 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   


kayvent

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #12 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).
« Last Edit: November 11, 2017, 10:56:00 AM by kayvent »

Tass

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #13 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.)

ACyclist

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #14 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!

Linea_Norway

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #15 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.

ACyclist

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #16 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.


Linea_Norway

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #17 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.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #18 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.

boarder42

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #19 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.

kingxiaodi

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #20 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, blades), 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.

remizidae

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #21 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.

ACyclist

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #22 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>

kingxiaodi

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #23 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 are a couple examples.

Tass

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #24 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.

Goldielocks

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #25 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?
« Last Edit: November 12, 2017, 06:22:45 PM by Goldielocks »

MgoSam

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #26 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.

lizi

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #27 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!

ACyclist

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #28 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

gerardc

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #29 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)

Tass

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #30 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.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2017, 09:15:03 PM by Tass »

ACyclist

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #31 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. 

Anon in Alaska

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #32 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.

runbikerun

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #33 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.

Linea_Norway

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #34 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.

ACyclist

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #35 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.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #36 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/off-topic/the-ultimate-mustachian-food-guide/
http://www.budgetbytes.com/
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.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/2017/01/18/our-complete-guide-to-frugal-healthy-eating/
Cooking restaurant quality food: 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.

Laura33

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #37 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.

boarder42

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #38 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.

ACyclist

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #39 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.  :)

WootWoot

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #40 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.

marielle

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #41 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.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #42 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.

Linea_Norway

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...O
« Reply #43 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.

boarder42

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #44 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.

marielle

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #45 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

jane8

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #46 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).

ACyclist

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #47 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. 

mm1970

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #48 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.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: I'm trying really I am, but the grocery spend...OOF
« Reply #49 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/
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.)