Author Topic: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space  (Read 20151 times)

DollarBill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 902
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Austin TX
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #50 on: December 15, 2014, 06:56:47 PM »
Quote
Smoothies are pretty much my husband's favorite breakfast; they're the one thing that he will eat day after day without getting bored.
Why would you cut it out if he likes it? I do try to limit a lot of fruit. I normally add ice, a banana and a yogurt...and maybe some peanut butter. Or some whey protein. By adding the protein it should fill you up longer.


I make a killer 2 egg sandwich with this thing. Add some jalapenos, onions, thick slice of tomato or/and ham slice on a English muffin. Done in 4 mins. Or make a French 2-3 egg omelet with chopped up tomatoes and mushrooms (about 1-2 cups of the mix).     

Quote
Plus, there's some debate about how much nutritional value you actually get from smoothies since you are skipping the whole step of chewing and limiting the food's exposure to the digestive enzyme amylase that is present in your saliva.
I would think you get more nutrients from smoothies because it breaks up the food more.
That's mostly for breakfast.

For lunch and dinner: I don't plan far ahead now since I'm retired but when I worked I would do most my cooking on Sunday. I would cut up lots of veggies and put in sandwich bags so they where quick to take out of the frig or ready to cook with. Also, cook up extra chicken/beef so I could use it in all kinds of ways....salad, stir fry, sandwich.

I try to use up everything in the frig before I use other things in the pantry. I use to keep a lot of food on hand but now I keep it limited and I could still easily last a month or more on the food I have.

When it comes to meat I try to keep it below a certain price range (mostly under $4-5 lb). Looking for what's on sale, I found snow crab the other day at 4.99 so I bought 10lbs). I might buy a whole chicken/turkey. Cook it and freeze the rest. I prefer thighs or leg quarters (for taste, so much more flavor) over breast. A pork butt is better than any other pork (and cheaper). For beef I go with a flat iron steak (more popular in the Midwest @ $4.99 a lb. I swear by these things).

When it comes to pasta I now julienned zucchini instead of pasta (better than spaghetti squash). I branched out lately and made a killer Pad Thai with it.

I make most of my salads now with kale (Asian kale salad) because it will last an easy two weeks.

I also love big pots of greens or beans...I guess I'm a southern/good ole boy but we just call it good eating :).

Lastly, I go to Aldi's for all the regular backup stuff...canned, boxed, some meats, some veggies.

lielec11

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 123
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #51 on: December 15, 2014, 07:32:35 PM »



I make a killer 2 egg sandwich with this thing. Add some jalapenos, onions, thick slice of tomato or/and ham slice on a English muffin. Done in 4 mins. Or make a French 2-3 egg omelet with chopped up tomatoes and mushrooms (about 1-2 cups of the mix).     


what exactly am i looking at there? is that something I could use at work with a microwave???

DollarBill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 902
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Austin TX
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #52 on: December 16, 2014, 02:43:24 AM »
Quote
what exactly am i looking at there? is that something I could use at work with a microwave???
Yup
http://www.amazon.com/Nordic-Ware-Microwave-Muffin-Breakfast/dp/B001B2MRSE
It's about $4 on amazon. I have two so I don't have to clean it each day.
http://baffybros.com/2011/02/07/nordic-ware-egg-muffin-pan/

julez916

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 36
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #53 on: December 16, 2014, 06:19:13 AM »
Quote
Smoothies are pretty much my husband's favorite breakfast; they're the one thing that he will eat day after day without getting bored.
Why would you cut it out if he likes it?

Not to be mean! We usually eat the same thing for breakfast, and I started to have trouble drinking the smoothies when I got pregnant. We were putting a whole lot of veggies in and only a little fruit (tons of spinach, an avocado, any other veggies we had that needed to be used, plus a few blueberries and strawberries, a banana, and Greek yogurt). We stopped making them for a little while because I could never finish mine, and one we saw the impact that it had on how much we were spending, we just stopped. We will probably continue to drink smoothies in the future, but probably won't ever go back to them being an every day thing.

lielec11

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 123
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #54 on: December 16, 2014, 07:22:54 AM »
Quote
Smoothies are pretty much my husband's favorite breakfast; they're the one thing that he will eat day after day without getting bored.
Why would you cut it out if he likes it?

Not to be mean! We usually eat the same thing for breakfast, and I started to have trouble drinking the smoothies when I got pregnant. We were putting a whole lot of veggies in and only a little fruit (tons of spinach, an avocado, any other veggies we had that needed to be used, plus a few blueberries and strawberries, a banana, and Greek yogurt). We stopped making them for a little while because I could never finish mine, and one we saw the impact that it had on how much we were spending, we just stopped. We will probably continue to drink smoothies in the future, but probably won't ever go back to them being an every day thing.

What is so expensive about a smoothie? Even with my higher than average grocery costs noted in the OP, between my fiance and I we get about 6 smoothies each from that. Works to (roughly) $1 per smoothie. That is organic prices too. I think for a big helping of fruits/veggies without pesticides that's a good price.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6869
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #55 on: December 16, 2014, 05:09:52 PM »
Quote
Smoothies are pretty much my husband's favorite breakfast; they're the one thing that he will eat day after day without getting bored.
Why would you cut it out if he likes it?

Not to be mean! We usually eat the same thing for breakfast, and I started to have trouble drinking the smoothies when I got pregnant. We were putting a whole lot of veggies in and only a little fruit (tons of spinach, an avocado, any other veggies we had that needed to be used, plus a few blueberries and strawberries, a banana, and Greek yogurt). We stopped making them for a little while because I could never finish mine, and one we saw the impact that it had on how much we were spending, we just stopped. We will probably continue to drink smoothies in the future, but probably won't ever go back to them being an every day thing.

What is so expensive about a smoothie? Even with my higher than average grocery costs noted in the OP, between my fiance and I we get about 6 smoothies each from that. Works to (roughly) $1 per smoothie. That is organic prices too. I think for a big helping of fruits/veggies without pesticides that's a good price.

Well, you really need to just do the math on what types of foods/ meals are cheaper.

So, calculate the cost of your typical smoothie - measure out your fruit, veggies, etc., cost per unit and cost total.
Compare that to other options, like oatmeal and banana, toast and peanut butter, cereal, eggs and fruit, whatever.

If  you wanted to save money, you can simply increase the frequency of the cheaper meals.

But for me -
- I drink a smoothie for breakfast every single day (and it's not a cheap one, I'll admit it!).  I always have mine with fruit - the fruit varies by the seasons - sometimes fresh and sometimes frozen.
- I eat 2 servings (2 cups) of fruit per day, so it doesn't really matter whether I have it in a smoothie or as a snack, I'm still going to eat it.   For this reason, eating "something else" instead of smoothies would not necessarily decrease my fruit cost over the entire day.

- Now, let's say instead of berries in a smoothie, I ate an orange and an apple as snacks, that would overall be cheaper for the day because an orange is cheaper than berries.

In general, I cannot eat many "carbs" (oatmeal, cereal, toast) so that's why I stick to a smoothie for breakfast.  If I'm feeling crazy, maybe scrambled eggs.

- As it is, I think breakfast and lunch tend to be my more expensive meals.  I'm okay with that.  Some people prefer to keep their breakfasts "cheap" and eat more expensive things for dinner.

So, fresh raspberries are more expensive than bananas - so I eat bananas more often than raspberries.

lielec11

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 123
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #56 on: December 16, 2014, 06:37:24 PM »
600 sq foot apt here in Astoria.  We buy probably 70%+ of our groceries at Costco.  It can be done.  Focus on the most dense stuff with high value / weight ratios (think: meat) or the stuff that you will always, always need that doesn't go bad/is freezable.  For us, we buy:

-Flour
-Rice
-Eggs
-Butter
-Chicken
-Beef
-Sugar
-Coffee
-Bacon
-Sausage
-Frozen fruit
-Frozen veg
-Toilet paper/paper towels
-Olive oil
-Vinegar
-Vegetable oil
-Canned vegetables
-Pasta sauces
-Cheese
-Pasta
-Honey
-Nuts
-Movie Tickets
-Toothpaste/Shampoo/Conditioner/shaving cream in the bathroom

We figured out that we save something on the order of about 50% by shopping at costco for these categories, or several thousand bucks a year.  Also, having a fully stocked fridge/freezer/pantry has drastically reduced our urge to eat at restaurants.

The easiest thing to start with things that definitely will not go bad: freezable stuff or non-perishables.  Then phase in stuff that is perishable but you will go through quickly enough for it not to spoil.  Buy all the other stuff (where you need small amounts, or fresh ingredients) at Stop & Shop or whatever.

Doing our system has seriously saved us probably $2,000 or so over NYC grocery prices (we have stopped keeping track, but $2,000 would be the minimum we save).  As far as storage, get lots of nice re-usable containers/bottles for stuff you use often.  Refill them from your huge ass costco supplies periodically.  Keep your huge ass costco stuff in the least accessible parts of your apartment and only use them when replenishing your daily use containers. 

Trying to grind coffee from a bag this big will make you feel like an asshole, and you will hate costco every time you use their stuff.  Grinding coffee from a jar like this makes you feel civilized.  Use re-fillable jars/bottles like this for all the basics: sugar, flour, rice, coffee, olive oil, vinegar, etc.

Meat is by far (for us in NYC) the biggest savings.  Go completely apeshit in the meat department at Costco.  Invite your friends, have a party, take selfies and put them on instagram.  Clear out your freezer and tetris the hell out of it with all the stuff you get at Costco.  Whenever you come home from Costco, just divide up the huge amounts of costco crap into ziplocs with enough for a recipe, wrap them nicely, and freeze them.  We wrap a 6 pack of steaks individually, divide ground beef into 2 pound "pucks", etc.  Only takes about 10 minutes when we get home from Costco, and then just take a single serving of whatever you want to cook and put it in the fridge one day prior to cooking.

Hope this helps.

EDIT:  We are a 2 person couple as well, just the two of us.  Seriously.  You will save crazy fucking Oprah money in NYC.  Get on board with this!

I'm not sure how I missed this post the first go round but I'm glad I read it today. This post speaks directly to me and it made me smile, thanks for your input!

netskyblue

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 630
  • Location: Midwest USA
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #57 on: December 16, 2014, 08:35:35 PM »
    How much of these things are you EATING?

  • Frozen organic berries for juicingsmoothies - $3.5/bag 2 bags...$7
  • Bananas - $.6-.99/lb. 3 pounds...$2.97  ($9.97)
  • Organic milk - $3.5/half gallon 4 half gallons...$14 ($23.97)
  • Organic eggs - $4.99/18 eggs 1 carton...$4.99 ($28.96)
  • iced tea - $2.50/gallon 2 gallons...$5  ($33.96)
  • cheese sticks - $3.00/bag 2 bags...$6 ($39.96)
  • rice cakes - $2.00/bag 2 bags...$4  ($43.96)
  • bread - $3.00/loaf 2 loaves...$6  ($49.96)
  • frozen purdue chicken strips - $7.00-$9.00/bag depending on the week  1 bag...$9  ($58.96)
  • turkey for sandwiches - $3.00-$4.00 depending on the week 2 packages...$8  ($66.96)
  • cheese for sandwiches - $3.99/lb. 1 pound...$3.99 ($70.95)
  • pita chips - $2.50/bag  2 bags... $5  ($75.95)
  • hummus - $3.5/container  2 containers...$7  ($82.95)
  • snack bars (natures valley) - 2 boxes @ $3.00/box  2 boxes...$6  ($88.95)
  • bottled water - #3.00-$4.00/24 pack 2 packs...$8  ($96.95)
  • organic popcorn - $2.5/bag 2 bags...$5   ($101.95)
  • peanut butter (smart balance) - $3.5/container  1 container...$3.5  ($105.45)
  • organic jelly - $3.00/container 1 jar...$3  ($108.45)
  • soup - $1.00-2.00/can 5 cans...$10  ($118.45)
  • spinach for juicingsmoothies - $3.00-$4.00/container  2 containers...$8  ($126.45)
  • frozen veggies - $1.00-$1.50/bag 3 bags...$4.5  ($130.95)
  • kale for juicingsmoothies - $3.00-$4.00/container 2 containers...$8  ($138.95)
  • yogurt - 5 @ $1.00/container 5 containers...$1  ($139.95)
  • lettuce for salads - $3.00/container  2 containers...$6  ($155.95)
  • ground beef for tacos - $5.00-$6.00/lb.  5 pounds...$30  ($185.95)
  • taco kit - $2.00  2 kits...$4  ($189.95)
  • chicken - $6.00-$8.00/lb. 5 pounds...$40  ($225.95)
  • chicken sausage (aidels brand) - $5.00-$6.00/package 1 package...$6  ($231.95)
  • cous cous - $1.00/box 2 boxes...$2  ($233.95)
[/list]

I estimated what my family of 2 would use of those things in a month, if they were things we bought (not all are).  $233.95 total.  So there's a LOT of money being spent on other things.

Now I'm sorry to question your diet, but why do you HAVE to have a smoothie every morning and a snack bar every day?  When berries & greens are on sale, buy those and juice them.  When they're not, why not buy and eat a couple of apples, or oranges, or whatever IS on sale right then? 

Why not make soup in a big pot once a week, eat half for a few lunches, freeze half individually for future lunches, until you have an assortment of different soups in your freezer to choose from?

There are a LOT of prepackaged foods in your list.  And a lot of "snacky" things.  Why not eliminate the packaged snacks and eat a piece of fruit, or some sliced cheese?  (Cheese, that YOU'VE sliced, from a block of cheese, preferably one purchased on sale).

We do have a breadmaker, and unlike a previous poster suggested, it doesn't live on our counter.  We make bread once, or occasionally twice a month.  Without it, we wouldn't make bread.  It's so easy to dump the ingredients into one container, set the timer, and bingo...bread in 1h 55 minutes.  No mess, as it's a non-stick container.  We rinse/sponge it out and wipe it dry.  Then the breadmaker goes back in the closet.

And actually, homemade bread is our "go to" bringalong to potluck/family dinners.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2014, 08:40:16 PM by netskyblue »

Scandium

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2223
  • Location: EastCoast
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #58 on: December 17, 2014, 08:13:40 AM »
Quote
Smoothies are pretty much my husband's favorite breakfast; they're the one thing that he will eat day after day without getting bored.
Why would you cut it out if he likes it?

Not to be mean! We usually eat the same thing for breakfast, and I started to have trouble drinking the smoothies when I got pregnant. We were putting a whole lot of veggies in and only a little fruit (tons of spinach, an avocado, any other veggies we had that needed to be used, plus a few blueberries and strawberries, a banana, and Greek yogurt). We stopped making them for a little while because I could never finish mine, and one we saw the impact that it had on how much we were spending, we just stopped. We will probably continue to drink smoothies in the future, but probably won't ever go back to them being an every day thing.

What is so expensive about a smoothie? Even with my higher than average grocery costs noted in the OP, between my fiance and I we get about 6 smoothies each from that. Works to (roughly) $1 per smoothie. That is organic prices too. I think for a big helping of fruits/veggies without pesticides that's a good price.
Sigh. Not to go over this again, but there are pesticides in organic fruits. Usually more since they have to use more (less effective pesticides). Organic is a marketing/philosophical label, has nothing to do with "healthiness".

We like smoothies too. They are expensive, because fruit and veggies are expensive. There are ways to lower the cost,  for example by not going with the organic marketing nonsense. But it will still cost a little more to be healthy, and we're mostly fine with that.

ps: hormones in chickens were banned in the US in the 50s. For all chickens. Don't fall for marketing!
http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/2812/chickens-do-not-receive-growth-hormones-so-why-all-the-confusion

Bob W

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2947
  • Age: 60
  • Location: Missouri
  • Live on minimum wage, earn on maximum
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #59 on: December 17, 2014, 08:43:32 AM »
The two cheapest items you could buy on a cost per calorie basis are oil and flour.   I would never suggest so called vegetable oil (highly chemically processed soy bean oil) or canola oil (again highly processed from rape seed a poisonous plant used to make mustard gas).  Go with olive --Costco or walmart virgin is fine.  Go with coconut oil or grape seed. 

Add oil to everything --- your body needs it, loves it will love you and will satiate your hunger.

I'm paleo like so I flip back and forth on wheat.  But if the goal is cheap calories wheat is the ticket.  Dumplings, noodles, pancakes, biscuits and gravy,  mmm homemade gravy is easy.   Thicken soups with it.  Make lots of sugar cookies. 

ioseftavi

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 401
  • Location: NYC
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #60 on: December 17, 2014, 09:21:42 AM »
I'm not sure how I missed this post the first go round but I'm glad I read it today. This post speaks directly to me and it made me smile, thanks for your input!

No problem.  Costco can certainly be done in small apartments for small households, you just have to go about it systematically - you don't have a garage, chest freezer, or walk-in pantry where you can just put stuff.  Create space to store the bulk stuff in out of the way places (top of our coat closet contains TP stash, hard to access cabinets above fridge have 10 lb bags of flour, sugar, rice, boxes of pasta, etc).  Break huge sized purchases (6 pounds of ground beef, tray of 4 steaks, 5 pounds of shredded mozzerella) into meal-sized ones.  Make a list every time you go to Costco, because if you don't, you will end up buying crap you can't store, don't save money on, or both.

PM me if you would like a spreadsheet detailing where we saved the most money (FYI, frozen fruit for smoothies was a big one - 55-60% cheaper buying bulk frozen strawberries and mixed berries at costco vs our local grocery).  We did this religiously for our first three trips and it quickly became insanely obvious that we saved a shit-ton by buying our "key ingredients" and meal building blocks at Costco.

We might actually do an instructable-type post on our journal about how we "do Costco" in NYC.  The savings are insane, but without a doubt, you need a system.  Otherwise, you end up with a shitton of inconvenient stuff in your apartment and no savings to show for it.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6869
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #61 on: December 17, 2014, 11:02:11 AM »
Quote
by not going with the organic marketing nonsense

What?  So how do you explain the "dirty dozen" list, where they actually measure pesticide levels in organic and conventional produce?

lielec11

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 123
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #62 on: December 17, 2014, 01:14:54 PM »
Sigh. Not to go over this again, but there are pesticides in organic fruits. Usually more since they have to use more (less effective pesticides). Organic is a marketing/philosophical label, has nothing to do with "healthiness".

We like smoothies too. They are expensive, because fruit and veggies are expensive. There are ways to lower the cost,  for example by not going with the organic marketing nonsense. But it will still cost a little more to be healthy, and we're mostly fine with that.

ps: hormones in chickens were banned in the US in the 50s. For all chickens. Don't fall for marketing!
http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/2812/chickens-do-not-receive-growth-hormones-so-why-all-the-confusion

Scandium, thanks for the info I'll the chickens I'll check it out. Also I'll do some research on the pesticides comment you made, although I'm leaning towards mm1970's comment regarding the "dirty dozen" as well..

Scandium

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2223
  • Location: EastCoast
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #63 on: December 17, 2014, 02:22:35 PM »
Quote
by not going with the organic marketing nonsense

What?  So how do you explain the "dirty dozen" list, where they actually measure pesticide levels in organic and conventional produce?
It's "explained" by the EWG being a shill marketing effort for the organic industry that take advantage of people's lack of knowledge of chemistry and human physiology.
I also seem to remember that they didn't wash the fruits before they measured this? Which would pretty much negate the whole thing.

How about a peer-reviewed journal:
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/uc-davis-study-raises-doubts-about-dirty-dozen-list-126533398.html
"Results from this study strongly suggest that consumer exposures to the ten most common pesticides found on the 'Dirty Dozen' commodities are several orders of magnitude below levels required to cause any biological effect."

Organic growers use 7 times more pesticides, shouldn't that lead to more residue? I've always been confused by this. But because it's "natural" it's fine to eat? Cyanide is natural, so is arsenic..
http://www.latimes.com/food/la-fo-calcook29-2009jul29-story.html#page=1

Another nice succinct explanation:
http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4166
"Everyone has traces of these compounds in their body, no matter what they eat, at ridiculously low parts per billion or even parts per trillion. People who eat conventional produce will usually have safe but detectable levels of conventional pesticides in their body. Organic proponents love to point this out, but somehow they always forget to mention that people who eat only organic produce also end up with safe but detectable levels of organic pesticides in their bodies. If you eat it, it's going to end up in your body, so I'm not sure why this should surprise anyone. Just existing on the planet means that we all naturally have safe but detectable levels of practically every toxic substance imaginable, somewhere in our system."
« Last Edit: December 17, 2014, 02:24:28 PM by Scandium »

Kwill

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1441
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #64 on: December 17, 2014, 03:36:41 PM »
I would never suggest so called vegetable oil (highly chemically processed soy bean oil) or canola oil (again highly processed from rape seed a poisonous plant used to make mustard gas).  Go with olive --Costco or walmart virgin is fine.  Go with coconut oil or grape seed.

Aww... How could you say such a thing about poor little rapeseed? It can't help having a terrible name in English. The name in Japanese is nanohana (vegetable flowers). The greens are edible and can be used in stir fry. The fields full of bright yellow flowers are lovely, and the bees apparently like them, too.

historienne

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 355
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #65 on: December 18, 2014, 09:22:08 AM »
If you care about organic, focus first on organic (research the brand too; "organic" on a label means very little here, and they know it's a great way to separate you from your money) meats, eggs, and dairy (yogurt too) before produce or processed food. 

I won't comment on the meat, because I don't eat it.  But produce has much greater amounts of pesticide residue than either eggs or dairy.  It depends on why you want to buy organic, but if it's to avoid eating pesticides, then produce should be your priority. 

To the poster above: the EWG lists are based on food that has been washed.  If the food is typically consumed peeled, then the food is peeled for testing as well.

If you are worried about the pesticides certified for use on organic produce, then you might want to focus on greenmarkets, etc, where you can often buy food that is pesticide free.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2014, 09:27:00 AM by historienne »

Scandium

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2223
  • Location: EastCoast
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #66 on: December 18, 2014, 01:31:05 PM »
If you care about organic, focus first on organic (research the brand too; "organic" on a label means very little here, and they know it's a great way to separate you from your money) meats, eggs, and dairy (yogurt too) before produce or processed food. 

I won't comment on the meat, because I don't eat it.  But produce has much greater amounts of pesticide residue than either eggs or dairy.  It depends on why you want to buy organic, but if it's to avoid eating pesticides, then produce should be your priority. 

To the poster above: the EWG lists are based on food that has been washed.  If the food is typically consumed peeled, then the food is peeled for testing as well.

If you are worried about the pesticides certified for use on organic produce, then you might want to focus on greenmarkets, etc, where you can often buy food that is pesticide free.

What kind of pesticides do organic growers use? How much do they use compared to traditional growers?

Please show me someone who's growing food consistently using zero pesticides.

ketchup

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4018
  • Age: 28
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #67 on: December 18, 2014, 03:56:22 PM »
If you care about organic, focus first on organic (research the brand too; "organic" on a label means very little here, and they know it's a great way to separate you from your money) meats, eggs, and dairy (yogurt too) before produce or processed food. 

I won't comment on the meat, because I don't eat it.  But produce has much greater amounts of pesticide residue than either eggs or dairy.  It depends on why you want to buy organic, but if it's to avoid eating pesticides, then produce should be your priority. 

To the poster above: the EWG lists are based on food that has been washed.  If the food is typically consumed peeled, then the food is peeled for testing as well.

If you are worried about the pesticides certified for use on organic produce, then you might want to focus on greenmarkets, etc, where you can often buy food that is pesticide free.
I'm mostly referring to nutritional value of CAFO meat vs. pasture-raised meat/eggs/dairy compared to "conventional" produce vs "organic" produce.  There's a significant nutritional disparity in the meat/eggs/dairy and arguably no disparity at all for the produce depending on which studies you read (Others claim 10-15% more nutrients in organics if I remember correctly).

Ethics are a separate issue, and another reason I shy away from most grocery store animal products.

The only truly pesticide-free produce I've seen/eaten was from a small local farm.  No herbicides or pesticides of any kind.  The guy was out there every day weeding between his crops.  I can't imagine many other people are willing to put in the work.  He was undercharging for his stuff, too.  Tasted way better than grocery store produce, but that was primarily because it came out of the ground minutes before I brought it home.

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4842
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #68 on: December 18, 2014, 04:50:48 PM »
If you care about organic, focus first on organic (research the brand too; "organic" on a label means very little here, and they know it's a great way to separate you from your money) meats, eggs, and dairy (yogurt too) before produce or processed food. 

I won't comment on the meat, because I don't eat it.  But produce has much greater amounts of pesticide residue than either eggs or dairy.  It depends on why you want to buy organic, but if it's to avoid eating pesticides, then produce should be your priority. 

To the poster above: the EWG lists are based on food that has been washed.  If the food is typically consumed peeled, then the food is peeled for testing as well.

If you are worried about the pesticides certified for use on organic produce, then you might want to focus on greenmarkets, etc, where you can often buy food that is pesticide free.

What kind of pesticides do organic growers use? How much do they use compared to traditional growers?

Please show me someone who's growing food consistently using zero pesticides.


Mememe! But we eat all of ours, and we lose some to bugs, plus cut some bugs out. Less than you'd think, though. Marigolds and garlic run off a lot of bugs, and squishing tomato hornworms is remarkably effective.


Wait, does stale beer in a dish for slugs count as a pesticide if it doesn't touch the crop? :-)

fireferrets

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 98
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #69 on: December 19, 2014, 09:29:00 AM »
Fantastic thread.
I'd like to add that it may be cheaper for you to buy PB and jam in-bulk online on Amazon or another retailer. This is especially useful if you are not opting for the Wholesale store route and tend to buy the same brand and type every time.

drachma

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 69
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #70 on: December 19, 2014, 02:05:26 PM »
I really don't believe that you need to pay for a costco membership yet. Your grocery list is not very refined and so paying for costco will likely just let you buy massive quantities of stuff which is monetarily inefficient to begin with - so you're just wasting money faster. You are in the trap of wanting to spend $$$ on yourself for no good reason except to FEEL like you're making steps in the right direction.

I had a membership for a year, buy everything in bulk and eat very simply but the costco membership just cost more. I reverted to shopping at a normal store.

Master the regular grocery store first.

At a regular grocery store you can find cheap 10lb bags of rice, frozen veg was actually cheaper per lb at a regular store.

Unless you can walk into costco, find things you ALREADY BUY, and look at the cost per lb and say "I buy X lbs of this per year, it is 0.23/lb cheaper here at costco and thus costco will save me $Y per year" and that the sum of all "$Y" is greater than the cost of membership - you are not ready for costco.

mginwa

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #71 on: December 19, 2014, 03:44:36 PM »
I live in DC, so similarly high-cost East Coast area with absolutely no space for anything extra. My kitchen was designed for reheating takeout food--I don't have a pantry so I have to store flour and stuff in the fridge, pots and pans on a shelf in the hallway, and my prep counter space is 18" wide. I don't have a second bedroom OR a linen closet, so storing extras in those kind of places is not an option. So I get it. Bulk is only an option for people with space.

But I get a lot of similar stuff at Whole Foods for cheaper than what you're paying at the Stop & Shop. Trader Joe's is sometimes cheaper than WF, sometimes not. (TJs organic peanut butter is the bomb, and they have good organic jam, both cheaper.) I do go for less-processed options. Whole Foods has specials every week, and one-day special items on Fridays. The Purdue chicken you're buying is an ecological and ethical nightmare. Raw bone-in WF chicken thighs are $2.50/lb on special, breasts $3.50/lb. WF sirloin steak is $7.99 or $8.99/lb on special. I get a bunch, wrap each piece in parchment paper, put it in freezer bags, and keep it in the freezer. It's very little work and I can just grab one or two out at a time. Sounds your milk and eggs prices are similar to mine at WFs & TJs, but why not buy it by the gallon for $6 instead of $7/gal by the half? (Unless you don't get through it before it goes bad.) Organic berries are less at TJs, and you can put frozen organic kale in your smoothies instead of the more-expensive fresh stuff. Ethnic markets are also great places to shop for interesting veggies and spices, among other things. Penzey's has great prices on spices, btw, just get them shipped.

Stop schlepping water around. Prep more things yourself from ingredients, but be rational about it--things like bread machines are for people with things like counters and cabinets. If you care about organic, stores that are geared toward organic products can price them better. Farmer's markets sometimes have good prices on in-season or end-of-season stuff, though sometimes they are more expensive. Hope that helps!

FSL

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 21
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #72 on: December 20, 2014, 06:04:57 PM »
ioseftavi, I would be interested in your nyc costco tutorial! I live in LIC and have wanted to become a member of costco, but how do you get the groceries home? Would be interested to know what are the best buys, vs what to avoid.

lielec11

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 123
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #73 on: December 22, 2014, 06:42:39 AM »
I really don't believe that you need to pay for a costco membership yet. Your grocery list is not very refined and so paying for costco will likely just let you buy massive quantities of stuff which is monetarily inefficient to begin with - so you're just wasting money faster. You are in the trap of wanting to spend $$$ on yourself for no good reason except to FEEL like you're making steps in the right direction.

I had a membership for a year, buy everything in bulk and eat very simply but the costco membership just cost more. I reverted to shopping at a normal store.

Master the regular grocery store first.

At a regular grocery store you can find cheap 10lb bags of rice, frozen veg was actually cheaper per lb at a regular store.

Unless you can walk into costco, find things you ALREADY BUY, and look at the cost per lb and say "I buy X lbs of this per year, it is 0.23/lb cheaper here at costco and thus costco will save me $Y per year" and that the sum of all "$Y" is greater than the cost of membership - you are not ready for costco.

Fortunately I have a family member who has a membership they'd be willing to share with me so the actual cost of the trips won't land on me.

ioseftavi

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 401
  • Location: NYC
Re: Mini Case Study: Grocery Expenses vs. Available Storage Space
« Reply #74 on: December 22, 2014, 07:23:57 AM »
ioseftavi, I would be interested in your nyc costco tutorial! I live in LIC and have wanted to become a member of costco, but how do you get the groceries home? Would be interested to know what are the best buys, vs what to avoid.

We're close to LIC as well.  We use a granny cart from costco like this.  We generally take that plus two big reusable shopping bags.  We live less than a mile away, so we walk it.  We can generally carry around $300 worth of stuff this way, and we go to costco once every 4-6 weeks.

We'll be doing a full post on our journal probably in the near future, but the biggest savings I can quickly locate, looking at one of our old spreadsheets:

all prices stated per-unit, NY LIC Costco prices listed first.  Product quality are all comparable/identical:
NY Boneless beef loin ($8/lb vs $15/lb)
Frozen strawberries ($1.44/lb vs $4/lb)
Shredded mozzerella for pizza ($2.40/lb vs $4.96/lb)
Chicken sausage ($4.48/lb vs $7.52/lb)
Movie tickets for date night ($8.50/ticket vs $14/ticket)
Almonds ($4.32/lb vs $8.96/lb)
Annie's Mac and Cheese ($1/box vs $4.29/box)
Bacon ($3.50/lb vs $7/lb)
Toothpaste ($1.72/tube vs $5.29/tube)

That's a small sample, but Costco prices pretty much generally beat the hell out of whatever your local NYC grocer charges.

The other thing that most people don't consider is the convenience of costco.  Going shopping less often (but getting more) is more convenient, not less.  Yes, it's a bigger pain in the ass when you go.  But our fridge and pantry are better stocked, for longer, with the stuff that we know we use week in, week out.  All we need to get from our local grocer is whatever fresh ingredients we need - maybe some herbs, or a specific bit of fruit or veg, or a few beers if we want to have some with dinner.  We generally go to our local grocery 1-3 times per week to just grab a couple small things that we need in addition to whatever we plan on cooking - and the majority of our meals are made from scratch, with costco ingredients.

The other thing I'd stress is the second-order effects.  Having a fridge/freezer/pantry full of good quality food (especially base ingredients like meat/flour/rice) means that we are dramatically less likely to go out to eat or order food. 

Hope this helps.  Plan on doing a 'HOW DO I EVEN COSTCO WITH 600 SQ FT'?!?!?1 post in the next few days/weeks, so keep an eye on our journal.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2014, 07:34:26 AM by ioseftavi »