Author Topic: Dagnab this Grocery Bill  (Read 22554 times)

oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3184
Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« on: July 17, 2013, 09:00:02 PM »
We have not gotten our grocery bill (two adults, 1 kid) under $425 yet. Overall, we've had less waste (yay) and eaten home more without the bill increasing (yay!). Now, I am just stuck.

We buy some organic but not all. We mostly shop at Trader Joe's because the prices for items we buy most often are the least expensive there.

We do not buy many processed foods. We get potato chips once a month (if that).

For breakfast, we eat oatmeal or eggs.

For dinners, we have tacos, summer eggrolls, etc. Tonight, I ate a strange dinner--a grilled cheese on homemade challah bread with a fruit smoothie.

I am GF but I do not spend a lot on special GF foods. I tend to eat naturally GF foods like fruits and veggies.

Am I nuts to think we can lower our bill beyond this?

Do we need to eat more lentils?

What could I be missing?


workathomedad

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 189
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2013, 09:41:56 PM »
I have the same situation. Gluten-free and some organic. Can't get below $100/week with 2 adults and 1 kid.

The only option possibly seems like keeping meat to a minimum.

oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3184
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2013, 09:49:13 PM »
Hm. I hate to say I can't do something, but I sure do not know how to get it lower. I cut wine down to once per week too.

Maybe it's my fast metabolism, and maybe I eat more than I think I do.

rollie

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 44
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2013, 10:19:37 PM »
Hey, lentils can't hurt. Even organic, they're incredibly cheap, healthy, and tasty (with the right seasoning). You can make a pot of lentils in under 30 minutes.

Try other beans as well, kidney beans, chick peas. These can be bought in bulk dehydrated (super cheap!) and then soaked overnight before cooking, or you can buy them canned (still cheap) and ready to cook real quick. The canned variety is softer unless you use a pressure cooker on soaked beans. Onions make everything taste great.

Moving to more lentils and beans in your diet will definitely cut your grocery bill. It also happens to be how most of the world eats and stays alive. The key here is in looking up a few recipes on the internet on how to make them tasty the way you like it. I personally think that they are best either Indian style or Mexican style, but you may find other ways!

Also, brown rice is your friend. No gluten, and healthy. Available precooked and ready to microwave in 3 minutes if you're in a hurry, or boil for 40-50 minutes on the stove and freeze it yourself.

Adding each of these into your weekly diet will save money on more expensive items. Also, make sure to grow some items at home. The easiest is tomatoes. Organic tomatoes are very expensive, but you can grow them in your yard or in a pot all the way through early/mid fall, and have them for free.  Buy a plant that's already mostly grown at a farmers market. Whatever else you can grow, grow it! That's one less organic veggie on your shopping list. 




rocklebock

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 245
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2013, 10:35:55 PM »
I'm kind of in the same boat. I feel like my grocery shopping is pretty tight at this point, but I still can't get below $175/month for one person. That's with some (but not all) organic produce and dairy, very little animal protein other than eggs, almost no processed foods or alcohol. No Whole Foods or other fancy groceries. I cook from scratch using a lot of Asian-style "stuff on rice" recipes. Rather than cutting any more of the things that are a little pricey but I really enjoy (Greek yogurt, organic chicken a couple times a month) I'm thinking it's going to be gardening, and maybe trying out Costco.

One thing I did notice is that I'll overspend on stuff to bring to potluck/cookout gatherings. Like all of a sudden I'll decide I've just got to buy tons of meat AND a bottle of wine to bring. It's bbq season, so I think all that social cooking is going to account for about $40 of my grocery bill this month.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 10:39:32 PM by rocklebock »

onehappypanda

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 238
  • Location: Columbus, Ohio
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2013, 10:41:47 PM »
Adding grains and legumes to your diet may help, if you currently rely more on meat and fresh produce. You can also look for cheaper produce: things that are in season, on sale, and standard cheapies like apples, bananas, potatoes (sweet or white), etc. What's cheap may depend on your area, but it's worth keeping an eye out for.

You could eat more simply, relying on a few cheap staples, and I've saved money a few times doing that. Lots of pasta, grains, beans, and cheaper produce. But I'll admit that I don't think I could stick with that long term, personally.

If you love food, growing a few things in an outdoor space may help curb costs, plus you can control what goes on those plants to make them as natural as you'd like. We sort of suck at gardening, but we've grown lettuce, kale, tomatoes, and squash in our garden this year. It by no means provides all our produce, but it helps and it's kinda fun. You can also get some bang for your buck if you grow fresh herbs to use in recipes, I've gotten good use out of our summer basil, mint, and oregano. Put them in pots and you can bring them inside when it gets too cool. Plus, you can trade what you grow with other people who may have too much of something you didn't plant, which is fun.

Also, check out alternative ways of sourcing quality food if that's your thing. If you happen to be near a rural area, wait until produce is in season and start hitting up orchards, road side stands, smaller farmer's markets - I'm always amazed at how much cheaper food gets once I get myself out of the city and start hitting up farmers directly. If you want to go big, you can buy in bulk and preserve your own fresh produce by freezing it. It does take some time and planning though, not to mention the investment of the produce over the summer to feed you the rest of the year.

MissStache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 710
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2013, 08:31:35 AM »
I would just echo some of the others and see if you can work in beans once a week.  We generally make a big pot of black beans in the crock pot (or on a weekend) and have beans and rice a few times a week.  A bag of beans costs about $1 and can provide several meals when put over rice or into tacos.  Super healthy, easy, and delicious!

Do you do any preserving?  This is a good time to buy a bunch of tomatoes, corn, green beans and canning or freezing.  Won't help your costs much immediately but it will pay off in the long run.

onehappypanda

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 238
  • Location: Columbus, Ohio
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2013, 08:37:34 AM »
I would just echo some of the others and see if you can work in beans once a week.  We generally make a big pot of black beans in the crock pot (or on a weekend) and have beans and rice a few times a week.  A bag of beans costs about $1 and can provide several meals when put over rice or into tacos.  Super healthy, easy, and delicious!

I realize it sounds like it should be simple, but how do you all make beans in the crockpot?

I've tried this so many times, because I eat a lot of beans and it would be more economical that way (vs. canned, which we eat now). But whenever I try to make them in the crockpot, they come out crunchy or mushy or just really bland.

I can make pretty good beans on the stove, but ain't nobody got time for that.

Rebecca Stapler

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 907
    • Stapler Confessions
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2013, 09:16:00 AM »
Your diet sounds a little like mine in that we don't buy a lot of processed foods (although we do buy beans in a can and pre-made taco shells). We haven't been able to break through the $100-$125/week barrier, even with shopping sales and coupons. I don't shop at TJ's because I can get better deals at my local grocery store, so maybe TJ's varies prices by region? Not sure. 

Anyway ... you might be able to save a few bucks without changing your diet and still shopping at TJ's if you already eat products that aren't TJ's brand. If you do, look to see what coupons might be available for them. I use www.thecouponclippers.com to order my coupons in bulk. For example, I know TJ's carries Almond Breeze, and there are frequently coupons for them published in the newspaper inserts (therefore available via the coupon clipping service I posted) or in blinkie coupon machines in the aisle of mainstream grocery stores. Do they sell Stonyfield Farms for close to the same price as the TJ's brand? SF has coupons on their site that you can print once a month.

There are also coupons floating out there for $1 off of pork, etc., regardless of brand. I've seen this for pork, eggs, and different veggies.

Does TJ's have sales and specials? You could also time your purchases with those sales so you stock up during a sale and don't buy it if it's not on sale.

MissStache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 710
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2013, 09:20:59 AM »
How I make crockpot beans:

The night before, I chop the onions, garlic, and carrots (and any other veggies) and add spices (bay leaves, black pepper, cumin, dried celery, salt) and put them in the crock in the fridge.   You could definitely do this in the morning, but I'm usually in a hurry in the AM.

I cover the beans with a lot of water (about 2 inches of water on top) and leave the out on the counter overnight. 

In the morning, I drain and rinse the beans, pour them into the crock, and cover with water and/or homemade stock if I have any.  I usually put in twich as much liquid as what is in there already, so if I have 2 cups of beans and veggies, I put in 4 cups of liquid, but that isn't precise.  I mostly eyeball it.  If I don't have any stock, I will put in a few tablespoons of Better than Bullion or bullion cubes for flavor.

I turn it on low and leave it until I get home about 9 hours later.  They are WELL cooked by then.  If you have a fancy crockpot with a timer, it would probably need to be 4-5 hours on high or 7-8 on low, but it is probably best to make your first batch on the weekend so you can keep an eye on it to determine how you would like them cooked. 

So yummy...I wish I had made some this morning...

By the way, I do this with red beans too and make red beans and rice.  When I get home I brown the kielbasa, deglaze the pan, and put that all in the crockpot with the beans and let it mingle for about 20 minutes while I make the rice.  So easy.

Katnina

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 163
  • Age: 40
  • Location: NYC
  • 33 & happily retired!
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2013, 09:24:23 AM »
I can make pretty good beans on the stove, but ain't nobody got time for that.

soak them overnight in the fridge, then when you are in the kitchen anyways making dinner, baking, whatever, cook a huge pot of beans on the stovetop to your desired doneness.  Allow to cool and then freeze portions in Ziplock freezer bags (multiply rewashed & reused ones, of course!) or in tupperware. Thaw them by placing the frozen beans in the fridge a few days before you want to use them.  If you cook one type a week (black beans, navy beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans.....) then you'll always have a variety in your freezer.

NCoffey

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2013, 09:25:49 AM »
One of the bean recipes I like in a crock pot is a couple big jars of great northern white beans (I use Randall 48oz jars). I bake a small chicken (whole). Shred the chicken and add that to the beans with some pimentos and jalapenos depending on how spicy you want it. Salt to taste. Goes a very long way as it makes a lot and is really filling. I prefer this to the old school ham hock beans.

Rebecca Stapler

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 907
    • Stapler Confessions
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2013, 09:28:28 AM »
I can make pretty good beans on the stove, but ain't nobody got time for that.

soak them overnight in the fridge, then when you are in the kitchen anyways making dinner, baking, whatever, cook a huge pot of beans on the stovetop to your desired doneness.  Allow to cool and then freeze portions in Ziplock freezer bags (multiply rewashed & reused ones, of course!) or in tupperware. Thaw them by placing the frozen beans in the fridge a few days before you want to use them.  If you cook one type a week (black beans, navy beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans.....) then you'll always have a variety in your freezer.

When you freeze them, if you spread the beans out on a cookie sheet and freeze that way, you can freeze them all in 1 ziploc because they'll freeze individually, and you can just pour them out according to the portion you want. (this is assuming that you're not making a saucy bean recipe, but just reconstituting dried beans)

oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3184
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2013, 10:15:02 AM »
Great ideas! I am interested in preserving and have not done it yet.

I do garden. We enjoyed a lot of organic lettuce before it got too hot, and there are cantaloupe ripening on their vines as I write this. I also grew cherry tomatoes (squirrels take the big ones), blackberries, figs, rosemary, basil, and chard and beets. I love gardening. I do have to point out that it's not *the* most efficient at times. For instance, I grew broccoli and it got killed eventually by aphids despite my attempts to protect it.

We do eat beans. I like to make lentils about once per week. After reading this thread, I think I could save $$ by buying dried beans more often. I love chickpeas but they are so big so I usually buy them canned to save time on the soaking. If I get a pressure cooker, that could help reduce the amount of time it takes to soak/cook larger beans. Lentils are so thin that they are easy to cook straight from the bag.




Samsam

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 273
  • Location: Charlotte
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2013, 10:46:47 AM »
I grew broccoli and it got killed eventually by aphids despite my attempts to protect it.

This was happening to the herbs in my garden.  I spray them once or twice a week with Neem oil and all those bugs disappeared!  I've also read that you can just add some type of dishwasher soap to water and spray that too (caution spraying it when the plants will be in full sunlight).

oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3184
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2013, 11:12:52 AM »
I grew broccoli and it got killed eventually by aphids despite my attempts to protect it.

This was happening to the herbs in my garden.  I spray them once or twice a week with Neem oil and all those bugs disappeared!  I've also read that you can just add some type of dishwasher soap to water and spray that too (caution spraying it when the plants will be in full sunlight).

Thanks! I will give it a shot! I use dried blood to keep squirrels away.


kkbmustang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1286
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2013, 01:57:11 PM »
I'm in a similar boat. GF/organic, 2 adults, 2 kids (who eat more than I do) and a $200/WEEK grocery bill. I've GOT to get it down to $125. Hoping this weekend is successful. I'm breaking down and going to a different store (had been going to Whole Foods). I'm hoping this change will help. Although, admittedly, I'm a grass fed beef/free range chicken snob. But holy goodness, $200?

Rebecca Stapler

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 907
    • Stapler Confessions
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2013, 02:13:45 PM »
I'm in a similar boat. GF/organic, 2 adults, 2 kids (who eat more than I do) and a $200/WEEK grocery bill. I've GOT to get it down to $125. Hoping this weekend is successful. I'm breaking down and going to a different store (had been going to Whole Foods). I'm hoping this change will help. Although, admittedly, I'm a grass fed beef/free range chicken snob. But holy goodness, $200?

You can find coupon and sales match ups for Whole Foods at http://www.livingrichwithcoupons.com/stores/whole-foods

workathomedad

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 189
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2013, 02:25:09 PM »
We don't have Whole Foods, but cut out the "Health Food" store completely just to get to $100/week. I'm already taking advantage of many of the tips (lots of beans, lots of rice). Almost the entire budget is consumed by fresh fruits, vegetables and meat. There's usually a little left over for 1 gallon of milk and some peanut butter.

Katnina

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 163
  • Age: 40
  • Location: NYC
  • 33 & happily retired!
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2013, 02:36:26 PM »
another tip is to try to buy all your staples in major bulk online- I've been able to get organic stone ground wheat flour for 30% less by buying it online...and shipping is often free!
also, if you are baking your own bread, instead of doing yeast rises every time, try learning how to make sourdough.  once your starter gets going, you can cut yeast out of your budget!

edited to add: and if you're not baking your own bread, start! it's easy if you do sourdough because your timing doesn't have to be perfect.   and 1lb of organic whole wheat flour @ $1/pound vs 1 pound loaf of whole wheat bread at $3.99-$5 adds up (not to mention that fact that part of the weight of the store-bought kind is water and dough conditioners).  GF flour is likely more expensive than wheat, but probably still cheaper to bake it yourself vs. buying it.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 02:39:46 PM by Katnina »

oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3184
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2013, 02:39:52 PM »
I'm in a similar boat. GF/organic, 2 adults, 2 kids (who eat more than I do) and a $200/WEEK grocery bill. I've GOT to get it down to $125. Hoping this weekend is successful. I'm breaking down and going to a different store (had been going to Whole Foods). I'm hoping this change will help. Although, admittedly, I'm a grass fed beef/free range chicken snob. But holy goodness, $200?

You bring up something that got me thinking. Maybe I should break this down to a weekly goal. That way, I could really see where we're falling short. If I could get to $106 per week, that would get me to my goal.




oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3184
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2013, 02:42:34 PM »
another tip is to try to buy all your staples in major bulk online- I've been able to get organic stone ground wheat flour for 30% less by buying it online...and shipping is often free!
also, if you are baking your own bread, instead of doing yeast rises every time, try learning how to make sourdough.  once your starter gets going, you can cut yeast out of your budget!

edited to add: and if you're not baking your own bread, start! it's easy if you do sourdough because your timing doesn't have to be perfect.   and 1lb of organic whole wheat flour @ $1/pound vs 1 pound loaf of whole wheat bread at $3.99-$5 adds up (not to mention that fact that part of the weight of the store-bought kind is water and dough conditioners).  GF flour is likely more expensive than wheat, but probably still cheaper to bake it yourself vs. buying it.

Where do you buy online? Any recommendations?

I do bake GF bread once per week. Buying a GF loaf is really expensive. About $5 per loaf at Trader Joe's. I buy it 1-2 x per month, which I realize is $10 right there. I've starting not to buy it, but SO forgets and gets it for me from time to time out of habit. And then I eat it...

footenote

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 801
  • MMMing in MN
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2013, 03:40:59 PM »
Check out http://www.kingarthurflour.com/
They carry lots of gluten-free products.

We buy the 00 Italian flour for weekly home made thincrust pizza in large quantities to minimize shipping cost. (We haven't been able to find 00 flour in local stores.)

backyardfeast

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 867
  • Location: Vancouver Island, BC
    • My journal
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2013, 04:37:25 PM »
First time posting--hi everybody! 

This is a problem for us too.  We have a huge garden, and produce almost all of our own veggies, fruit, eggs, potatoes, and even some meat.  We cook almost everything from scratch, eat lots of vegetarian meals, have a Costco membership, buy a 1/2 pig once a year and stock up on other seasonal foods to freeze, along with preserving our own produce.  So in theory, our grocery bill should be next to nothing, right?!  NOT.  Somehow we still manage to spend $400/mo + for two adults!! (We do live in a high cost part of Canada, but still!)

We've done all the obvious stuff, so I'm taking things to the next level.  First, I've realized that our foods fall into some basic categories: produce, starches/grains, dairy, protein, and snacks.  The produce is mostly "free" (apart from infrastructure costs, which are elsewhere in the budget :) ).  In the protein category, we have some very cheap stuff (our eggs, the meat in the freezer), and some more expensive items like nuts.  In starches/grains, we buy a fair bit of pasta, bread, as well as rice and our own potatoes.  In dairy, we eat a lot of cheese, some yogurt and some soymilk.  Snacks are nuts, granola bars, yogurt (bulk Greek-style), some fruit.  So we're basically buying grains, dairy, nuts, and a few other things like juice, etc.,

Then I've done a rough outline of what typical meals and snacks would be and what the *cost per serving* looks like.  This was eye-opening!  We have lots of options for practically free meals from our homestead.  But we've used the "too busy" excuse to be buying good local bread, which DH eats for breakfast each morning.  When I do the math, his toast and pb costs more than $1, while my oatmeal with milk and fruit costs less than $.50!

While dinners come in between $.75 and $1.50/serving, our snacks average to another $1-$1.50/day; that doesn't seem like good value either.

So, pulling this all together, I'm going to do a few things: where possible, eat more of the cheaper items from each category more often than the expensive ones.  Where that's not possible (DH won't switch to oatmeal, for instance), figure out if there's a way to get the cost down--we'll be getting back to baking our own bread, maybe our own yogurt.  And get those snack costs down--most likely by doing more baking from the practically free stuff in the pantry--muffins instead of purchased granola bars.  Cheaper seeds (sunflower, pumpkin) to stretch the more expensive almonds and cashews.  And then make sure we're buying those things for the least expensive $.

I also think we have a small leak in the small amount of grocery store produce that I buy occaisionally.  A couple of avocados here, a few lemons or limes there...These things are WAY cheaper at Costco than the grocery store, so we'll try to plan ahead a little better.

I'm also going to itemize the grocery purchases for a month to check my assumptions and see just what we're spending in each category.

My goal is to get us below $350, but with a little work, we might be able to do better than that!

Sorry for the long first post--hope it's helpful!


Hadilly

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 366
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2013, 05:24:33 PM »
A couple of things I like to do is always have a big batch of slaw, batch of hummus, pot of soup and some beans around. For the slaw I shred a green cabbage,5-6 carrots and some parsley, make a lemon juice vinaigrette. Keeps all week and is a great side dish, especially if you eschew grains/carbs.

Soup, I have an awesome paleo friendly veggie soup recipe that I basically cook once a week. PM me if you want the recipe.  Ditto for hummus.

Beans: Anna Thomas' recipe for pintos:
1 lb dry pintos
Cover with water, add a pinch of soda, boil for five minutes, let sit for at least an hour. Add a quartered peeled onions, 5-6 cloves garlic, handful of cilantro and a tablespoon of kosher salt. Boil and then simmer until soft. Add water as necessary.

The cooked dishes freeze well too.

oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3184
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #25 on: July 19, 2013, 06:54:09 AM »
Check out http://www.kingarthurflour.com/
They carry lots of gluten-free products.

We buy the 00 Italian flour for weekly home made thincrust pizza in large quantities to minimize shipping cost. (We haven't been able to find 00 flour in local stores.)

Thanks! I looked at their GF flour mix. It's 2 cents more expensive per oz (and that's without shipping) than Trader Joe's in my area. I wonder if I could cut the cost by making my own mix. Each of the individual flours is so expensive though!


oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3184
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #26 on: July 19, 2013, 06:56:52 AM »

Then I've done a rough outline of what typical meals and snacks would be and what the *cost per serving* looks like.  This was eye-opening!  We have lots of options for practically free meals from our homestead.  But we've used the "too busy" excuse to be buying good local bread, which DH eats for breakfast each morning.  When I do the math, his toast and pb costs more than $1, while my oatmeal with milk and fruit costs less than $.50!

While dinners come in between $.75 and $1.50/serving, our snacks average to another $1-$1.50/day; that doesn't seem like good value either.


Welcome to the forum!

Figuring out that the snacks are what's expensive is pretty clever. I made my own Lara bars until I could no longer find figs in the store. When figs are available again, I'm going to stock up so I can make Lara bars year round. Bars like that were once my go-to snacks, and they do cost about $1 or more per bar. The recipe is pretty easy--figs, cocoa powder, some nuts.


Rebecca Stapler

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 907
    • Stapler Confessions
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #27 on: July 19, 2013, 07:56:51 AM »

Then I've done a rough outline of what typical meals and snacks would be and what the *cost per serving* looks like.  This was eye-opening!  We have lots of options for practically free meals from our homestead.  But we've used the "too busy" excuse to be buying good local bread, which DH eats for breakfast each morning.  When I do the math, his toast and pb costs more than $1, while my oatmeal with milk and fruit costs less than $.50!

While dinners come in between $.75 and $1.50/serving, our snacks average to another $1-$1.50/day; that doesn't seem like good value either.


Welcome to the forum!

Figuring out that the snacks are what's expensive is pretty clever. I made my own Lara bars until I could no longer find figs in the store. When figs are available again, I'm going to stock up so I can make Lara bars year round. Bars like that were once my go-to snacks, and they do cost about $1 or more per bar. The recipe is pretty easy--figs, cocoa powder, some nuts.

I have definitely seen coupons for those ;)

Zoe

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 253
  • Location: Upstate SC
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #28 on: July 19, 2013, 10:03:00 AM »
Groceries are our one unmustachian item. We spend between $600-$800/month on groceries (and household stuff. Cat food & litter, tp, etc) and we are a 2 adult, 1 toddler household! We do buy organic produce, dairy, meat, etc. It gets ridiculously expensive. We do still have some waste and we're working on that. I need to be better about meal planning. I go to the store with a plan but then something happens during the week and the plan gets changed, things go bad and get thrown out. We eat primal, so no wheat, legumes, etc. We eat rice every once in a while.

I don't have any real advice, just sympathy!

oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3184
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #29 on: July 19, 2013, 10:37:13 AM »

Then I've done a rough outline of what typical meals and snacks would be and what the *cost per serving* looks like.  This was eye-opening!  We have lots of options for practically free meals from our homestead.  But we've used the "too busy" excuse to be buying good local bread, which DH eats for breakfast each morning.  When I do the math, his toast and pb costs more than $1, while my oatmeal with milk and fruit costs less than $.50!

While dinners come in between $.75 and $1.50/serving, our snacks average to another $1-$1.50/day; that doesn't seem like good value either.


Welcome to the forum!

Figuring out that the snacks are what's expensive is pretty clever. I made my own Lara bars until I could no longer find figs in the store. When figs are available again, I'm going to stock up so I can make Lara bars year round. Bars like that were once my go-to snacks, and they do cost about $1 or more per bar. The recipe is pretty easy--figs, cocoa powder, some nuts.

I have definitely seen coupons for those ;)

=-) Thanks. Your post in the Target shopping thread got me thinking about visiting Aldi for toothpaste. I need to check out Aldi more often for toiletries and maybe food.


velocistar237

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1424
  • Location: Metro Boston
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #30 on: July 19, 2013, 10:54:21 AM »
I'll second the pressure cooker. Using a pressure cooker reduces food cost, cook time, fuel use, and how much heat gets added to your house. No wonder ERE Jacob used one.

Katnina

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 163
  • Age: 40
  • Location: NYC
  • 33 & happily retired!
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #31 on: July 19, 2013, 11:06:18 AM »
I buy lots of staples on amazon, have found prices on some things to be way cheaper than my grocery store, but not on everything.
Another way to cut grocery costs is to replace ground beef with TVP.  I'm vegan so I use it to make tacos, lasagna, chili, veggie burgers, spaghetti with 'meat' sauce, etc.  My husband is not vegetarian and he likes it too!  Or you could do 1/2 TVP and 1/2 meat if that is more to your liking!  Rehydrated, TVP comes to around $0.30-0.40/lb.  it takes on the flavor of whatever you rehydrate it with-I usually use a mix of water and Nama shoyu (raw soy sauce).

oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3184
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #32 on: July 20, 2013, 10:21:15 PM »
Katnina--I read your blog and did not realize at first you blog with your sister. So, I thought you were saying you were having a baby in December. Boy, was I confused! It was funny. I then went to look for an about page and found the description of you guys and saw it's your sister having the baby. Congrats on your new nephew or niece!


Katnina

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 163
  • Age: 40
  • Location: NYC
  • 33 & happily retired!
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #33 on: July 20, 2013, 11:03:50 PM »
Thanks, oldtoyota!  I'm the worst at remembering to put my signature on my blog posts, sorry for the confusion!  I'm super excited for my new niece or nephew (they haven't found out the gender-going to be a surprise!).  I volunteered to be their baby nurse so I may be spending a bunch of time in California over the winter if they take me up on the offer :).  I love babies, just don't want my own. 
Since you have a kid, what did you most need/want when your baby arrived?  I don't want to buy them a bunch of crap they don't need, which is why I have volunteered my time.  I figured I'll make them a ton of freezer casseroles before the baby arrives, but what else would be good?

rocklebock

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 245
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #34 on: July 22, 2013, 08:48:25 PM »
Well, I don't know if this will help anyone else, but after posting on this thread I saw that part of my problem was that I was not doing enough cooking from my pantry and freezer. I was buying enough food for the week, eating it all, and then repeating the next week. I'm moving in a few days, so last week I decided to challenge myself to cook and eat as much as possible from my pantry and freezer (less food to move). Last week I made huge batch of palak saag (spinach with tofu, Indian style), using up a bunch of frozen spinach. I very happily ate it for two meals a day, over rice, until I ran out of rice. Tonight I thawed and roasted four organic chicken breasts with every remaining vegetable I could find in the fridge and freezer (onions, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes). Then used the pan drippings as the base for a sauce, using up a can of tomatoes and a can of Great Northern beans. I'll be eating this over a huge batch of polenta that I made over the weekend. The funny part is that I now have so much food prepared that I'll end up putting it back in the freezer, which kind of defeats the purpose of my whole challenge. But at least I won't have to cook for the rest of the week and then a few days after my move.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2013, 08:56:35 PM by rocklebock »

oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3184
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #35 on: July 23, 2013, 08:38:12 PM »
Thanks, oldtoyota!  I'm the worst at remembering to put my signature on my blog posts, sorry for the confusion!  I'm super excited for my new niece or nephew (they haven't found out the gender-going to be a surprise!).  I volunteered to be their baby nurse so I may be spending a bunch of time in California over the winter if they take me up on the offer :).  I love babies, just don't want my own. 
Since you have a kid, what did you most need/want when your baby arrived?  I don't want to buy them a bunch of crap they don't need, which is why I have volunteered my time.  I figured I'll make them a ton of freezer casseroles before the baby arrives, but what else would be good?

--Food that can be eaten with one hand.
--Little towels (to clean up spit up, etc).
--If she's cloth diapering, then diaper covers and/or Chinese prefolds or diaper service.

Newborns really don't need much besides breasts and some clothes, so I don't have much more to add than that! I'd focus on the mom and making sure she has time to take a shower and to eat. =-)



oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3184
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #36 on: July 23, 2013, 08:39:01 PM »
Well, I don't know if this will help anyone else, but after posting on this thread I saw that part of my problem was that I was not doing enough cooking from my pantry and freezer. I was buying enough food for the week, eating it all, and then repeating the next week. I'm moving in a few days, so last week I decided to challenge myself to cook and eat as much as possible from my pantry and freezer (less food to move). Last week I made huge batch of palak saag (spinach with tofu, Indian style), using up a bunch of frozen spinach. I very happily ate it for two meals a day, over rice, until I ran out of rice. Tonight I thawed and roasted four organic chicken breasts with every remaining vegetable I could find in the fridge and freezer (onions, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes). Then used the pan drippings as the base for a sauce, using up a can of tomatoes and a can of Great Northern beans. I'll be eating this over a huge batch of polenta that I made over the weekend. The funny part is that I now have so much food prepared that I'll end up putting it back in the freezer, which kind of defeats the purpose of my whole challenge. But at least I won't have to cook for the rest of the week and then a few days after my move.

I think you are my hero.

Rebecca Stapler

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 907
    • Stapler Confessions
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #37 on: July 24, 2013, 08:08:50 AM »

Since you have a kid, what did you most need/want when your baby arrived?  I don't want to buy them a bunch of crap they don't need, which is why I have volunteered my time.  I figured I'll make them a ton of freezer casseroles before the baby arrives, but what else would be good?

--Food that can be eaten with one hand.
--Little towels (to clean up spit up, etc).
--If she's cloth diapering, then diaper covers and/or Chinese prefolds or diaper service.

Newborns really don't need much besides breasts and some clothes, so I don't have much more to add than that! I'd focus on the mom and making sure she has time to take a shower and to eat. =-)

oldtoyota's got great tips. I will add that it's best to freeze the casseroles in 2-portion sizes so they don't have to thaw a huge casserole for just the 2 of them. Bring over tons of healthy snacks and you will be their hero ;)

Something random that was super useful when I was nursing was a camelbak -- I hung it on the back of the glider and chugged water while my son nursed. It's a great hands-free way to stay hydrated (and at first, I needed both hands to nurse). If you have one of those, she might really appreciate the loaner.

Iron Mike Sharpe

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 397
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #38 on: July 24, 2013, 09:00:51 AM »
I'm a single male.  I have a grocery budget of $125 a month, and $75 a month for eating out. 

I do 95% of my grocery shopping at Aldi.  The savings over regular grocery stores is amazing.

Also I cook in bulk and freeze food.  A site I use is:

http://www.budgetbytes.com/


TrulyStashin

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1025
  • Location: Mid-Sized Southern City
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #39 on: July 24, 2013, 09:30:07 AM »
I often buy groceries at Big Lots.   They're a closeout store for household products but usually also carry a wide variety of groceries, some of them gourmet items for way cheap.  They also have what my dad calls "used bread" -- at or near its expiration date, which means it is just fine for another week or so.

http://www.biglots.com/

And here's my favorite bean recipe -- I use black beans instead of pinto and add different spices (cumin, garlic, more jalapeno) but it is great either as a soup or cooked down further and mashed.  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/refried-beans-without-the-refry/detail.aspx

rocklebock

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 245
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #40 on: July 24, 2013, 03:10:34 PM »
I think you are my hero.

Aw, shucks. I just don't know why I was so slow on the uptake. My grocery bill this week was $2.99 for some milk.

SunshineGirl

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 761
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #41 on: July 24, 2013, 05:03:25 PM »
I like the idea of figuring out the per-meal cost of some of the meals we eat most frequently. It would be relatively easy and painless to eat XX an extra time or two per month vs. YY, to keep costs down.

Our family of four (two teens) is spending close to $27/day on groceries.

oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3184
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #42 on: July 24, 2013, 06:53:52 PM »
I think you are my hero.

Aw, shucks. I just don't know why I was so slow on the uptake. My grocery bill this week was $2.99 for some milk.

Reading your post helped me realized where we went wrong. We're in a habit of going to the grocery every week. We have enough in the pantry and could, at this pt, supplement just with fresh veggies and fruits.


LightTripper

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1443
  • Location: London, UK
  • Rural Londoner. Lazy workaholic. Confused.
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #43 on: July 25, 2013, 07:54:41 AM »
Thanks, oldtoyota!  I'm the worst at remembering to put my signature on my blog posts, sorry for the confusion!  I'm super excited for my new niece or nephew (they haven't found out the gender-going to be a surprise!).  I volunteered to be their baby nurse so I may be spending a bunch of time in California over the winter if they take me up on the offer :).  I love babies, just don't want my own. 
Since you have a kid, what did you most need/want when your baby arrived?  I don't want to buy them a bunch of crap they don't need, which is why I have volunteered my time.  I figured I'll make them a ton of freezer casseroles before the baby arrives, but what else would be good?

--Food that can be eaten with one hand.
--Little towels (to clean up spit up, etc).
--If she's cloth diapering, then diaper covers and/or Chinese prefolds or diaper service.

Newborns really don't need much besides breasts and some clothes, so I don't have much more to add than that! I'd focus on the mom and making sure she has time to take a shower and to eat. =-)

A friend of mine wrote a cook book which is designed for breast feeding mums - the idea is it includes loads of stuff that you can freeze before the birth and then defrosts well (it also all contains lactogenic foods - apparently there are some foods that can help with milk production).  I tested several of the recipes (tough job but somebody's got to do it) and they are yummy.  Not sure if you will be able to get it in a US library, but could be worth a try.  Otherwise there are a couple of recipes here:  http://contentedcalf.com/recipes/




Kaytee

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 72
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Vermont
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #44 on: July 25, 2013, 09:19:55 AM »
Highly recommend trying different beans before you get your heart sent on lentils. Lentils are often cross-contaminated with gluten; no good if you are GF.

Tony_SS

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 59
  • Location: MO
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #45 on: July 25, 2013, 10:18:41 AM »
I'm GF and some organic too. Don't worry too much about your grocery bills, because your saving money by not going to the doctor.

We started eating healthy after my wife got breast cancer. She is a survivor but I am out of pocket 10+ grand because of it. I'm just happy she survived. But my point is, if you think eating healthy is expensive, trying pricing out the cost of cancer.

Spend the money on organic and GF foods. Go paleo and look into the ancestor diet. (Weston Price Foundation). Also, start a garden, maybe even get a few hens since you eat eggs alot.

oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3184
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #46 on: July 25, 2013, 10:38:13 AM »
I'm GF and some organic too. Don't worry too much about your grocery bills, because your saving money by not going to the doctor.

We started eating healthy after my wife got breast cancer. She is a survivor but I am out of pocket 10+ grand because of it. I'm just happy she survived. But my point is, if you think eating healthy is expensive, trying pricing out the cost of cancer.

Spend the money on organic and GF foods. Go paleo and look into the ancestor diet. (Weston Price Foundation). Also, start a garden, maybe even get a few hens since you eat eggs alot.

I am sorry about your wife and glad she is alive. I was just talking with a colleague about how expensive health care is even *with* insurance. My colleague spent over $20K last year for her health issue.


Tony_SS

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 59
  • Location: MO
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #47 on: July 25, 2013, 10:45:43 AM »
I'm GF and some organic too. Don't worry too much about your grocery bills, because your saving money by not going to the doctor.

We started eating healthy after my wife got breast cancer. She is a survivor but I am out of pocket 10+ grand because of it. I'm just happy she survived. But my point is, if you think eating healthy is expensive, trying pricing out the cost of cancer.

Spend the money on organic and GF foods. Go paleo and look into the ancestor diet. (Weston Price Foundation). Also, start a garden, maybe even get a few hens since you eat eggs alot.

I am sorry about your wife and glad she is alive. I was just talking with a colleague about how expensive health care is even *with* insurance. My colleague spent over $20K last year for her health issue.

Well thank you. They raised our rates about $100 more per month for our insurance. I'm self employed so I have a private plan and pay out of pocket. Right now I pay $8500 a year for a family of 4. We each have a $2500 deductible. Not too terrible all things considered.

For that reason, food is one area I don't cheap out on. I try to be cost efficient by all means, but I don't feel bad paying for more organic, etc. It's always the cheapest foods like wheats/corns/grains/sugars that are the worst for you.

bonjourliz

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 93
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #48 on: July 25, 2013, 07:14:31 PM »
we pay a lot of attention to our diet, too, b/c of health concerns.   

you can make some of the GF flours yourself - I have friends who grind their own.  We don't use them very often so I haven't tried it myself.  But I think they use a coffee grinder. 

Costco has great prices on things like vanilla extract, spices, etc.  I got a great deal on yeast (for homemade bread) at amazon.  We also make use of "alternative" grocery stores... they call themselves farmers' markets, but really they are just grocery stores that cater to int'l populations.  Great deals on rice in bulk and (non-organic) produce. 

You can also make friends with the folks at your local grocery store.  See if you can find out when they mark down produce, so you can shop just after.  I have heard that some store... maybe Kroger... discounts their rotisserie chickens by like 50% after 7pm.

worms

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 382
Re: Dagnab this Grocery Bill
« Reply #49 on: July 25, 2013, 10:23:48 PM »
  I got a great deal on yeast (for homemade bread) at amazon.
While yeast is pretty cheap, for us it is such a rare purchase.  I simply take a handful of today's dough  after its first rise and put it in a bag in the fridge to use as the starter for the next batch. It's still good a couple of weeks later, so even if I've been away from home for a while I still don't need to resort to adding additional yeast.  It's perhaps slower to fully rise, but I either make up the dough last thing at night and bake in the morning or make it up before I go to work and bake in the evening, so it all works in well with the daily routine.