Author Topic: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!  (Read 7336 times)

rocksinmyhead

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Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« on: April 02, 2014, 12:37:53 PM »
thanks again Zikoris for the "track your grocery spending in March" thread. I had already started a price book the week before since our grocery bill seems nuts compared to what I see many of you posting here, but the data set I have now is great (and I plan to keep tracking).

...and by great, I guess I mean thorough, but it's actually appalling. this is for two adults:

CategoryTotalPercent
Baking$5.781%
Beans$2.380%
Beverages$79.7915%
Bread$20.494%
Canned vegetables$5.091%
Condiments$14.973%
Cooking oil$2.991%
Dairy$46.739%
Floral$13.963%
Frozen$23.984%
Meat$105.7620%
Non-Foods$65.9212%
Nuts$3.491%
Produce$94.8118%
Rice/pasta$17.423%
Snacks$21.504%
Spices$4.881%
Misc Pantry$4.551%
Dog Stuff$3.001%
Prepared Foods$2.500%
Grand Total$539.99100%

since the Beverages, Dairy, Meat, Non-Foods, and Produce categories were so high I looked at those further... picture is attached.

some notes and things I have thought of so far:
  • we only have a Keurig because bf's parents bought it for us for Christmas. it is actually kind of nice because I don't usually drink coffee anymore and he does, so he can just make one cup in the morning. usually he just uses the reusable cup/insert, but I saw a kind of coffee he likes in the K-Cup version on mega-sale ($3.50 per box of 12) so I bought four boxes... long story short, this isn't a usual expense and these four boxes will last quite a while.
  • Red Bull, holy shit balls. I am probably the worst culprit on this one, although my boyfriend drinks it too. I will have to compare prices with Sams Club (a couple months we got a case there but I failed to note the cost) but also just stop drinking so much because it's terrible for me. will try going for a mug of black tea instead.
  • Pedialyte--this is going to make us sound like major alcoholics, but this was for an out-of-town weekend with a large group of friends. we knew we would all be hungover so we brought some to share. that shit is better than Gatorade! (but yes, most of the Gatorade we bought was also for this)
  • I am sad that cheese is so expensive. I even buy it in block form but apparently that doesn't help. I will try to be conscious of my cheese usage and perhaps go a bit more sparingly than usual. Anyone have tips on where to find deals on cheese?
  • Milk--I only highlighted this one because doing this exercise made me realize that the price per volume on milk is CRAZY different depending on whether you buy a half gallon or a small container. we don't really drink milk, just use it for cooking and baking, so I usually buy the smallest container or it'll go bad before we use it... but now I am rethinking that. I did a little googling re. freezing milk and reviews are very mixed, but I am going to give it a shot this month!
  • Yogurt--this adds up because my boyfriend eats one almost every weekday as a snack at work. something I would like to try in the near future is making our own yogurt a la the Frugal Girl blog, and he was on board with this foodsperiment too. anyone had luck with this?
  • Morningstar fake sausage patties--another "holy shit balls" moment! We both probably eat these a couple times per week on a breakfast sandwich, I eat them more. our closest grocery store only sells them in 6-packs as opposed to the 12-patty "value pack" that is available at some of our other stores, so that is annoying as hell (and this exercise confirmed that there is indeed a cost savings of 14 cents a patty, haha). but either way, these are expensive. I did find this recipe, which I would like to try: http://hellyeahitsvegan.com/vegan-sausage-patties/... maybe this weekend?
  • Chicken--this looks like a big number, but I stocked up on sale ($1.88/lb) so we still have a bunch in the fridge. I've definitely got better at shopping the sales (and just the better-priced stores) on this one, which is good because we eat a lot.
  • Steak--this is a semi-regular date night meal for us, steak from the local butcher (which we like to support). we always pat ourselves on the back for having a killer meal at home that is WAAAAAY cheaper than a steakhouse, but I'm thinking maybe we should find some cheaper-but-still-fancy-seeming date night alternatives and save the steak for a few times a year!
  • Laundry detergent--bought the fancy stuff (Mrs. Meyers). meh.
  • Bell peppers--I think this is a place for a lot of potential savings because we eat a SHIT TON of these guys and the price is SOOOOO variable. I don't really want to stop eating them, either. Last time I went to the grocery store I was able to find frozen chopped green peppers, which will work for most of our uses. I'm thinking next time red/yellow peppers are on sale, I will buy a bunch and chop and freeze them myself.
  • Fruit--I think I need to do a fruit/veggie breakdown, because it seems like fruit is the more expensive of our produce spending. Hoping to do a combination of checking out prices at Sprouts, which may be better than our default/closest grocery store, and focusing on the cheaper fruits and saving the expensive ones (grapes, holy shit!) for once every couple of months.

whew, that was a long one! sorry for the novel... but when you spend $220/person/month I guess there's a lot to talk about ;) please feel free to offer suggestions and/or facepunches!!

payitoff

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2014, 01:10:46 PM »
yes beverages is high, lots of Red Bull lol

did u buy a big Maple Syrup? if that is then it will last you a long time,

i think its good to have a little splurge on dinner sometimes, Steak looks ok, i mean if you went out, that $21 you spent will only feed 1 person without a drink.

nereo

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2014, 01:17:08 PM »
Just a suggestion - I think you might be looking at this backwards.  Instead of identifying what you paid for each ingredient, you might want start by looking at the cost of your meals and then buying accordingly.
Personally, I try to find meals that will make at least 4 (preferably 6) servings for under $10.  Sometimes I cut the recipe in half and sometimes they serve as dinner plus lunch the following day for two people.

There's a long thread where people give ideas here:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/ask-a-mustachian/how-do-you-people-spend-so-little-on-groceries/msg241051/#msg241051

Also, there are lots of other sites for really cheap but tasty meals.  Here's one:
http://www.budgetbytes.com/

Regarding cheese; I've found CostCo to have the best prices on quality cheeses in my area. 

tmac

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2014, 01:31:59 PM »
I have a bunch of thoughts, and not all of them my apply to your specific situation. So bear with me. :)

* Baking: What is this? Is it necessary? You're buying a lot of bread as well. My baking expenses are about double yours, but I make all of our bread.

* Beans: Maybe increase your bean cost and lower your meat cost. Dried beans are incredibly cheap and can make a meatless/veggie meal very filling and satisfying. Tonight, I'm making bean enchiladas with brown rice. It'll probably cost $2 to feed all 5 of us.

* Beverages: We spend about the same amount as you. It's a weak spot for us. We're trying to reduce the volume, and figuring out what we'd be happy with that's less expensive. I'm drinking tea instead of coffee, and water with lemon instead of soda. Beer and wine, well, that's a work in progress. :)

* Dairy: I make the Frugal Girl yogurt for us so that's a good choice, but another option is to buy the big tubs of yogurt. I divy it up into 1/2 cup jars for easy transport. Cheese and milk are just expensive. If you're just using milk as an ingredient, 1) See if you can just skip it or 2) try dried milk, which will be cheaper in the quantities you're talking about. Cheese is really easy to speed through if you're not careful. I buy four dairy items per month at Costco: 18-pack of eggs, shredded mozz (which is cheaper there than the block is at the regular market), shredded cheddar (same), and a package of sliced Tillamook cheese. I parcel out the sliced cheese into four vacuum packs so we don't eat it all the first week. Once that's gone, it's gone. If I run out of eggs for baking, I substitute in 1 T of ground flax + 3 T water.

* Frozen. Those patties are not only pricey, they're also very high in sodium and processed junk (even vegan/veggie frozen food ain't good for you). Try to get in the habit of something else for breakfast. I usually have a piece of homemade toast with peanut butter and a banana. You could also make up some homemade patties.

* Produce: I hate to say you should cut back on fresh produce, but maybe just be careful about what you're buying. Pay attention to the relative costs of things. Bananas are cheaper than grapes. Apples last a long time. Blood oranges are more expensive than regular ones. Pre-cut salad is WAY more expensive than head lettuce. I'm hoping to finally figure out our veggie garden this year, and peppers is one of the things I'll grow. They're expensive and apparently easy to grow.

* Meat: Setting aside the steak, it looks like you eat meat with most evening meals, and not usually going for the lowest per pound meats. Think about the bean suggestion. Our meat costs are more like $60 for the five of us. When we do have meaty meals, I stretch it with beans or use it as more of a topping, rather than making it the whole point of the meal. Ex. Instead of chicken breast, veggie, and salad, have a Mexican salad with spicy beans and a few chicken slices on top.

* Rice/pasta: At about $1/lb, that's a lot for two people for a month. Are you eating it at every meal? Or are you buying more expensive kinds? Plus all that meat, dairy, and produce? Quite a lot of food.

* Snacks: What's this? Can you substitute something homemade? We used to buy a ton of granola bars. Now I bake a giant batch of whole grain, low-sugar oatmeal cookies.


Good luck! I know it's hard. Food is the only area that we over-spend -- ever. It's a constant struggle.


« Last Edit: April 02, 2014, 02:59:59 PM by tmac »

Catbert

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2014, 02:17:38 PM »
Yogurt is super simple to make.  It's also a great way to extend the life of milk.  Buy a gallon or half gallon.  Make yogurt with some of it and keep the rest for cooking.  If you get close to the expiration date w/milk left just make more yogurt.  Homemade yogurt will easily last 3 weeks.

I also wouldn't worry too much about cooking steak for date night.  If it's something you both like and keeps you out of expensive restaurants then its a budget win.  (Assuming that you can afford it.)
« Last Edit: April 02, 2014, 02:20:02 PM by mary w »

TrMama

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2014, 02:35:01 PM »
Floral? Really?

rescuedog

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2014, 02:51:49 PM »
Are you terribly unhappy with it?  Maybe look for a few more veggie/vegan meals so that meat doesn't add to the bill?

By the way, maybe the non food stuff should be in a different category? Sometimes I parse out the nonfood stuff from a receipt.  Other times I just use Drugstore.com and then it's easily a nonfood purchase.

I second the idea of seeing what it costs to make a meal, and then what it costs per serving.  I have a spreadsheet of some of our favorite meals.  I only parse out the main ingredients (I don't parse out oil, salt, pepper, etc).  Then I can see what meals are the cheapest per serving.  A good dinner to me will provide 2 dinners and then 2 lunches for work the next day.  I double it if I want more lunches for the week.  You can see which meals to rotate in or out more often or not.

MicroRN

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2014, 02:59:34 PM »
If you only cook or bake with milk, buy powdered.  We buy fresh for drinking and in coffee, but I keep powdered whole, skim, and buttermilk in the cabinets for cooking, and just mix up what I need at the time.  Evaporated canned milk also works well.   

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2014, 05:15:42 PM »
I'll have to remember the powdered milk for myself. My kids like milk but they're old enough to drink mostly water, so the milk is mainly for recipes.

That's a lot of meat. Wow.

My favorite deals on cheese are the 2-pound bricks of sharp cheddar at Costco or Sams. Both used to be $5ish, now they're about $6, but they're nice quality and super cheap. I am Costco only, so I buy shredded mozza there, but Sam's quality was somewhat better when I still went there.

For produce, I find that NOT using recipes helps a lot. Instead, I scope out the deals first, then buy what's on sale or looks especially fresh. Then I improvise from there. A lot of meals end up being a bit samey (pasta, curry, stir fry, grilled meat + veg, shish kebabs, etc. but it really does keep prices down.

Beverages. Have you learned how tasty water is? And coffee or tea is WAY better than Red Bull.

1967mama

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2014, 05:22:29 PM »
Milk - I freeze it all the time and its totally fine. Just pour off about 1 cup from a jug to allow for expansion (and drink or save the milk you pour off)

Cheese - Cheap at Costco. The best bang for your buck is the biggest block there...you seem to eat lots so just cut it in half and tightly wrap the 2nd half while you enjoy the first half. Will keep well.  I shred my own to get the best price, and plus, the pre shredded has an "anti clumping" agent in it which makes it taste powdery.

Yogurt - you said your bf eats one almost every day .. do you mean the single serving ones? If so, its much cheaper to buy a full sized container and portion it out into glad ware or small glass jars and take those instead. I'm able to get a big yogurt for $1.65 at Winco.

Red Bull - gentle face punch! If you're not a tea drinker, get a pack with lots of flavours to try. With milk and sweetener, it could become a reasonable facsimile for your Red Bull energy boost

Laundry Detergent - I buy ECOS laundry detergent at Costco. Cheap, environmentally friendly and works great!

Meat - Definitely learn to cook more with beans and lentils. I make my own "instant" beans in the crockpot. Put 1 inch of beans in the crockpot, and fill to the top with hot water. Put on high for 4-6 hours. They are ready when they mash easily on the roof of your mouth and/or the skin peels back when you blow on the bean.  Drain and cool. Portion out into containers and freeze. To use, just rinse with hot water and they will thaw almost instantly.  Cheesy lentils are also great, especially if you love cheese!

Rice/Pasta - this seems high for one month. Maybe you need to buy in larger quantities and store the excess for future months. Tiny packages of things such as rice and pasta are generally much more expensive. Especially beware of "gourmet" pastas. 

Floral - face punch ... sorry!

Bread - pick up a cheapo bread machine at a thrift store, use a simple recipe from the thousands available online, and learn it. I can get a loaf going in 2 minutes flat. On my machine, the quick cycle is 58 minutes. To get ahead, make a few loaves one weekend and slice and wrap them well and keep in the freezer for the week.

Produce - I never used to check prices of produce, pre-MMM, figuring I was doing well and eating healthily if I was buying produce. Not sure what you're buying, but let yourself be shocked by the varying prices between pineapples and papayas, vs. bananas and apples (depending on where you live, of course). Also, this summer, try to freeze some local produce to eat in the winter months. In my area, thats berries. They are great on yogurt, in a dessert, in smoothies etc. and soooo much cheaper right off the farm.

Non foods - make sure you're buying generic non foods such as toilet paper, acetaminophen, etc and not paying a premium for name brands.

Thanks for sharing your list --- it encourages us all to try harder next month!








rocksinmyhead

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2014, 05:14:45 AM »
wow, thank you guys!! so many good ideas!

the beverages amount was very shocking to me too. I usually think of myself as "only drinking water, tea, and alcohol," I'm not sure how I forgot about all the Red Bull I drink :) most of the other stuff was either my boyfriend (he likes to drink gin and tonics, and/or just tonic and lime... and tonic water is pretty cheap so that one's not one of my big worries) or kind of anomalous (I gave up beer and wine for Lent, so I made myself a "mocktail" to bring to a party and that's what the grapefruit juice and ginger ale were for... I know, I'm still totally spoiled! we usually don't ever buy soda though.) I'm a huge tea drinker and now I have a ton of varieties on hand (the 3 boxes in March was an unusually high number to purchase) so it should be easy to make myself sub that for Red Bull (and much healthier!!)

cheese--we don't have Costco in Oklahoma :( huge bummer. we do have a Sams Club membership, though, so I will check prices there! thanks goblinchief!

floral--really I guess I should take this out of the grocery total along with non-foods. I usually buy 1 or 2 of the $7 grocery store bouquets per month. I just really really like to have fresh flowers on my dining room table. I am comfortable keeping this one for now :) since although I still have student loan debt I'm paying it off pretty fast and maxing out my 401k... but I understand the facepunches for sure!!

meat--it does look like a shit ton of meat (and rice/pasta), doesn't it?!? we are pretty stocked in the freezer right now so it'll be interesting to see how April compares. I don't know that this necessarily reflects our CONSUMPTION in a month, but we will see. Either way, I know we can do more vegetarian meals. Right now we do 1-3 per week, but if we could hit 3 consistently I would be a lot happier. I used to cook almost totally vegetarian when I lived by myself (and my boyfriend is pretty flexible about it) so I'm sure we can do this!

Bread--I actually started making bread and pizza dough after I got a KitchenAid for Christmas. The bread has been a bit of a struggle in terms of getting it to cook through without burning the outside (we have a super crappy, unevenly-heating, small apartment oven, which I don't think helps), but I actually had my most successful loaf to date on Saturday!! so I'm pretty sure it's all uphill from here :) that said I baked two loaves of French bread this month and bought two. better planning could help this. the other things in this category are English muffins, corn tortillas (dirt cheap), and ciabatta rolls (bought once for sandwiches for dinner), so I think the only improvement I would make there is that we ended up having to buy the more expensive English muffins twice because we were out and were at the wrong store (we have generic brand refrigerated muffins we prefer, they taste better and are $1.19 for six). I did try making these once last year but it was an epic fail, and just not worth the time and frustration when I can get them for relatively cheap.

We do make beans in the crockpot and freeze them in can-sized servings, which I absolutely love! I can't believe the beans $ was so small because I feel like we eat a decent amount of beans... but I guess dried beans are cheap. I would use them even more often but bf doesn't like the gas factor :) still, might be able to use them more, especially to help with our "more vegetarian meals" goal.

Also, I love Budget Bytes! :)

Yogurt--this is so dumb but I didn't even think of just buying the big container! DUH! Haha, thanks for the idea!!

1967mama, thanks for the reminder on ECOS detergent!!! I used to buy that when I lived in Pennsylvania, I was so excited the first time I saw it in the grocery store because it is SO much cheaper than other environmentally-friendly detergents. I forgot about it because I haven't just run across it here in my normal shopping, but I'll have to do a little research!

Powdered milk--genius, I never thought of this one either! will definitely check it out.

I'm sure there are more things to respond to, I'll have to read through the thread again. thanks so much, feel free to keep the suggestions coming!!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2014, 05:33:30 AM »
cheese--we don't have Costco in Oklahoma :( huge bummer. we do have a Sams Club membership, though, so I will check prices there! thanks goblinchief!

Just the cheddar bricks alone are worth a membership, since they are ~$3 cheaper and we go through 3-4 a month.

Quote
Bread--I actually started making bread and pizza dough after I got a KitchenAid for Christmas. The bread has been a bit of a struggle in terms of getting it to cook through without burning the outside (we have a super crappy, unevenly-heating, small apartment oven, which I don't think helps), but I actually had my most successful loaf to date on Saturday!!

Couple things: might be worth checking the actual temperature (versus the dial on the oven) with a thermometer. Your oven may just run hot. Pretty common to see a +/- 50F discrepancy. If it's truly uneven - unlikely IMO - if you have an enameled cast iron Dutch oven, there are bread recipes based around those. The heavy cast iron would help mitigate any temperature weirdness.

My favorite recipe for conventional bread pans is a no-knead bread. I make 8 loaves most weeks and have never had one fail.

http://food52.com/recipes/23747-no-knead-sandwich-bread

I like whole wheat bread, so I use 1/2 bread flour (super cheap at Sam's if you go through a lot) and 1/2 whole wheat.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2014, 07:10:37 AM »
cheese--we don't have Costco in Oklahoma :( huge bummer. we do have a Sams Club membership, though, so I will check prices there! thanks goblinchief!

Just the cheddar bricks alone are worth a membership, since they are ~$3 cheaper and we go through 3-4 a month.

Quote
Bread--I actually started making bread and pizza dough after I got a KitchenAid for Christmas. The bread has been a bit of a struggle in terms of getting it to cook through without burning the outside (we have a super crappy, unevenly-heating, small apartment oven, which I don't think helps), but I actually had my most successful loaf to date on Saturday!!

Couple things: might be worth checking the actual temperature (versus the dial on the oven) with a thermometer. Your oven may just run hot. Pretty common to see a +/- 50F discrepancy. If it's truly uneven - unlikely IMO - if you have an enameled cast iron Dutch oven, there are bread recipes based around those. The heavy cast iron would help mitigate any temperature weirdness.

My favorite recipe for conventional bread pans is a no-knead bread. I make 8 loaves most weeks and have never had one fail.

http://food52.com/recipes/23747-no-knead-sandwich-bread

I like whole wheat bread, so I use 1/2 bread flour (super cheap at Sam's if you go through a lot) and 1/2 whole wheat.

yeah, I have an oven thermometer and it runs about 25 degrees hot, so I set it lower by default. but it also tends to brown things in the front much more quickly than in the back. an enameled cast iron Dutch oven is one of the highest things on my kitchen wish list!! :) and I'm definitely going to check out your go-to bread recipe... thanks!! I have been really enjoying the homemade bread, but was honestly about to give up until I had that successful loaf on Saturday.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2014, 09:27:03 AM »
The Tramontina 5 qt dutch oven is pretty well-regarded. Wal-Mart sells it for around $40 last I checked.

warfreak2

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2014, 09:29:01 AM »
floral--really I guess I should take this out of the grocery total along with non-foods. I usually buy 1 or 2 of the $7 grocery store bouquets per month. I just really really like to have fresh flowers on my dining room table. I am comfortable keeping this one for now :) since although I still have student loan debt I'm paying it off pretty fast and maxing out my 401k... but I understand the facepunches for sure!!
Soil, water and sunlight are very nearly free. You can totally cut this expense and still have flowers around the house. At $7-14/month, plant pots will pay for themselves in a few months, or you can use whatever appropriate containers are already going spare.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2014, 09:42:48 AM »
floral--really I guess I should take this out of the grocery total along with non-foods. I usually buy 1 or 2 of the $7 grocery store bouquets per month. I just really really like to have fresh flowers on my dining room table. I am comfortable keeping this one for now :) since although I still have student loan debt I'm paying it off pretty fast and maxing out my 401k... but I understand the facepunches for sure!!
Soil, water and sunlight are very nearly free. You can totally cut this expense and still have flowers around the house. At $7-14/month, plant pots will pay for themselves in a few months, or you can use whatever appropriate containers are already going spare.

hmm, good point. I have a pretty black thumb but maybe I can do some research and find something that's pretty but hard to kill :)

TrMama

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2014, 10:42:09 AM »
If your oven is cooking things unevenly, try just rotating your pans part way through the cooking time. My oven also tends to run a little hotter near the front right corner. I just turn my pans 180 degrees at about the halfway mark.

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2014, 11:02:10 AM »
Do you have an Aldi nearby?

You can get floral arrangements from there for about $3.99 or 4.99. This is always my source when it's time for flowers.

Noodle

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2014, 11:11:37 AM »
Re: the flowers...

I also love fresh flowers and get them fairly often nowadays. At one point I was lucky to live somewhere I could get beautiful bouquets for under $5 at the farmer's market. Some suggestions--

--make it a real treat...as in something you get at specific intervals (like once a month) or when you meet specific mileposts. My dr. asked me to cut back on (but not eliminate) a couple things from my diet. Now I save them for Friday nights, and find I enjoy eating them more when I look forward to it. I think that works for anything that should be a "treat."

--if you have the light for it, absolutely do fresh flowering plants in pots. Unfortunately, I keep living in cavern-like apartments...

--my grocery has single-flower bunches for $4. I have also learned which flowers last longest...alstromeria fills a large vase and lasts a couple of weeks, whereas iris are gone by in about two days.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2014, 12:03:58 PM »
If you like things like alyssum, baby's breath, or other small-flowered plants, many of them look almost as nice dried as fresh.

kite

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2014, 05:46:42 PM »
No knead bread baker here, too.
I use a preheated cast iron Dutch oven,  so no worries about oven temperature fluctuations. 

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2014, 05:50:39 PM »
If you can't find a flavor of yogurt that BF likes in the big cartons, you can stir in jam, which is what I often do.

Make your own laundry detergent. Super cheap and works fine--recipes are all over the interwebs. I use a powder myself.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2014, 06:22:44 PM »
If you can't find a flavor of yogurt that BF likes in the big cartons, you can stir in jam, which is what I often do.

I've been doing this for my kids for quite a while. When fresh fruit is in season, I break out the food processor.

Plus, you can make random flavors they DON'T make, like banana-grape (to use a recent example).

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Please help me scrutinize my grocery bill!
« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2014, 07:19:22 AM »
Just a suggestion - I think you might be looking at this backwards.  Instead of identifying what you paid for each ingredient, you might want start by looking at the cost of your meals and then buying accordingly.

forgot to respond to this one earlier--great idea!! I have actually known I should do this for a while, but I've been lazy :( Hopefully I can make time this weekend!

The Tramontina 5 qt dutch oven is pretty well-regarded. Wal-Mart sells it for around $40 last I checked.

this is the one I was thinking of actually! sweet!

Also, thanks everyone for the flower tips. Noodle, I'm glad I'm not the only one who likes a little fresh flower pick me up. even if I just cut back to once a month and am able to make the trip to buy cheaper flowers at Aldi (I'll also check Sprouts, which is closer to me) that would help!

And the yogurt tips especially with "make your own flavor"... I'm excited!