Author Topic: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill  (Read 10069 times)

OtherJen

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #100 on: December 14, 2019, 06:54:13 AM »
I would add to "shop once a week" - after shopping, cook everything for the week over the next day or two. Then boom, done, you don't have to rely on "discipline" or "willpower" or any of that other shit when you get home from work hungry on a Tuesday, everything is just there and ready to eat. Also prepare any snacks or baked good you need.

Our routine with regards to that is normally to go shopping Friday after work, then cook double portions of all our meals on the weekend, which gives us five or six different things to rotate through during the week for lots of variety. I also bake bread and muffins, which takes care of breakfast and snacks. So all of our food during the week is 100% zero effort, zero thinking required. My boyfriend has to do a shit ton of dishes on the weekend though, lol.

This is exactly what we do.
That way there's no work or thinking about food after a work day beyond "which delicious meal do I want?"

People often hear about how I cook and think it's a lot of work. Well, yeah, it is, for about 3 hours of my entire week. I look at people making entire meals every evening and the concept sounds exhausting.

Whether or not it is exhausting depends on your lifestyle. My husband and I donít work standard 9-5 hours. I work from home and unless I have an evening choir rehearsal, I usually cook dinner because I genuinely enjoy cooking and itís a nice change from staring at my computer screen. Husband likes to cook on his days off.

Given how variable our work schedules can be, on top of my volunteer work, we personally would find it difficult to fit in a regular cooking day every week. Different strokes and all that.

Malkynn

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #101 on: December 14, 2019, 07:03:51 AM »
I would add to "shop once a week" - after shopping, cook everything for the week over the next day or two. Then boom, done, you don't have to rely on "discipline" or "willpower" or any of that other shit when you get home from work hungry on a Tuesday, everything is just there and ready to eat. Also prepare any snacks or baked good you need.

Our routine with regards to that is normally to go shopping Friday after work, then cook double portions of all our meals on the weekend, which gives us five or six different things to rotate through during the week for lots of variety. I also bake bread and muffins, which takes care of breakfast and snacks. So all of our food during the week is 100% zero effort, zero thinking required. My boyfriend has to do a shit ton of dishes on the weekend though, lol.

This is exactly what we do.
That way there's no work or thinking about food after a work day beyond "which delicious meal do I want?"

People often hear about how I cook and think it's a lot of work. Well, yeah, it is, for about 3 hours of my entire week. I look at people making entire meals every evening and the concept sounds exhausting.

Whether or not it is exhausting depends on your lifestyle. My husband and I donít work standard 9-5 hours. I work from home and unless I have an evening choir rehearsal, I usually cook dinner because I genuinely enjoy cooking and itís a nice change from staring at my computer screen. Husband likes to cook on his days off.

Given how variable our work schedules can be, on top of my volunteer work, we personally would find it difficult to fit in a regular cooking day every week. Different strokes and all that.

Yep, different strokes for sure, but I was more referring to the people IRL, mostly mine and DH's colleagues, who work traditional 9-5s and cook every evening and put together lunches every morning, and they're the ones always commenting to me that the way I cook sounds like a lot of work.

Chrissy

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #102 on: December 14, 2019, 08:28:08 AM »
COSTCO!  Our kids are 1 & 3.  We don't cook.  We do "tapas" or pre-prepared, but it's organic and grass-fed, range free, etc.  Not always, but mostly.  Husband and I eat meat maybe 2x/wk.  He's 5'11", 180lbs.; I'm 5'7", 131lbs.

We're averaging $659/mo right now.  That includes paper goods, diapers for the little one, and the Costco membership.


Goldielocks

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #103 on: December 14, 2019, 08:47:19 AM »
My family spends a lot on food. i have read the how to kill your $1k grocery bill post (here for a refresher https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/29/killing-your-1000-grocery-bill/) and several other posts about it here in the forums. i am having a hard time reconciling how healthy (or unhealthy) food options are when so little money is being spent. Not that quality food has to be expensive but quality has a price. Food is medicine, and i want to be healthy now, ensuring a long and happy life not just retirement.

I guess my question is how do folks with small grocery budgets feel about the food they eat?  Do foods with labels saying organic, grass fed, pasture raised appear on the foods you buy? Are some foods eliminated from your diets like wheat, white potatoes, white rice, pasta, industrial and processed meats and dairy? Are you following a specific diet like Keto, Mediterranean, Low Carb, Gluten Free, Vegetarian or Vegan, how does that affect your grocery bill?
 
Personally we buy organic grass fed meats, free range organic eggs, grass fed milk, lots of salads, and vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds and fruit. i tend toward the lower carb  and gluten free diets. i think our average monthly grocery bill is nearly $900 (from personal capital) for a family of 4 - 2 adults and two small kids. 

i am not trying to kick the hornets nest with this post, just wondering how others think about food

well - this is awkward.......

When I first joined the forum, I got a lot of grief for my finances in general and food budget in particular. I made some changes saved a good percentage of the food budget.....and quickly gained about 5 pounds in one month. I did a complain thread and was essentially poopooed!

I secretly went back to my usual eating/budget, and I never fessed up to that. :|     I have not lost those 5 pounds, but I haven't gained any more either.

Being a busy professional who is a middle-aged woman with a stable weight that I don't have to do anything about is a really important, quality of life issue for me. I don't currently have time or money for any real exercise routine - which is super bad, I know, but I am super busy and don't have any extra money floating around either! I'll have some down time (hopefully!) at year's end and I can try to figure out something better/exercise routine, plan to lose those 5 pounds, etc.

But! I'm never giving up my organic produce again!

What does organic produce have to do with losing weight?
- queue dry humor here-

When you buy organic, you have a lot less money to buy food, especially things like organic chips and organic prepared foods.   You have to be very selective about what you buy to get all your food for your budget.

Less food (tastier quality?) = less calories
« Last Edit: December 14, 2019, 09:03:24 AM by Goldielocks »

Goldielocks

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #104 on: December 14, 2019, 09:00:02 AM »
One more tip that ANYONE on ANY diet can do to control costs.  This one time has cut my grocery spend by about 20%.

Don't go to the grocery store more than once a week.
I like that idea in theory, but some of the items I like to eat on a regular basis don't stay fresh for a week.  Twice a week might work, though.
THAT'S THE POINT!

Those fresh items are some of the more expensive items in your cart.  Price it out per serving. 
Fresh items are also the items that you throw out a much larger percentage of because they go bad so quickly.  Miss eating all of it for 3 days and you end up throwing it out.

ysette9

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #105 on: December 14, 2019, 12:59:50 PM »
COSTCO!  Our kids are 1 & 3.  We don't cook.  We do "tapas" or pre-prepared, but it's organic and grass-fed, range free, etc.  Not always, but mostly.  Husband and I eat meat maybe 2x/wk.  He's 5'11", 180lbs.; I'm 5'7", 131lbs.

We're averaging $659/mo right now.  That includes paper goods, diapers for the little one, and the Costco membership.
I cannot wait to switch this baby over to formula so I can start eating real food again! Iíd love to go buy a bunch of frozen prepared stuff at Costco and just be able to pop something in the oven for a meal. The hardest part about feeding my family for me is the mental load of figuring out what the hell to buy and make. My girls constantly want new things. Add in a baby who canít handle cow dairy or eggs or broccoli in my diet and that gets complicated quickly.

nickybecky1

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #106 on: December 14, 2019, 08:23:25 PM »
We live in a HCOL area, have two people working and have a small child and we eat out. We spend a lot on food. The thing that has helped lately is:

Picked 10 meals that I make over and over again for weekdays, often cooking tomorrowís dinner tonight after bedtime. Iím getting faster at making them and Iíve been able to make small adjustments to streamline the ingredients and get to one grocery shop per week for the first time since moving to the big city where I live walking distance to a grocery store. We also are eating out less bc thereís always a plan for food.

But also, I am not too fussed about it. I know we could do more to cut back and I also know that some of it is the cost of living of the place I choose to live and the choices that we make.

ShastaFire

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #107 on: December 15, 2019, 08:05:25 AM »
My husband and I sit down once a week and, among other topics (house maintenance, fun outing ideas etc), talk about what we'd like to eat that coming week.  Before that, I survey what we have in the pantry, freezer etc, so I can add input as to what can be made easily, doesn't require a special trip to the store etc.  It's a bit formal, but works for us.  I think our grocery bills, food waste and prep time stay lower as a result.  We spend about $375-400/month on groceries, includes organic vegetables and meat.

Malkynn

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #108 on: December 15, 2019, 02:55:13 PM »
Continuing on my persian kick, just made a gorgeous lentil stew

-onions and garlic
-brown and red lentils
-can of diced tomatoes
-sumac and 7 spice (cayenne, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, pepper)
-2 lemons
-italian parsley & cilantro

Total cost maybe $6 or $7 for 8 huge servings.
Wildly aromatic, and I just found some sumac yesterday and it makes a HUGE difference in flavour.

The fresh herbs were the most costly part of the dish at just over $1 for each bunch, which I plan to grow on my balcony in the summer.

ysette9

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #109 on: December 15, 2019, 03:17:55 PM »
I did a similar lentils recipe except I also added a can of coconut milk and for spices used regular curry powder. Pretty tasty, especially when I add some butternut squash.

Earlier today I did a bit batch of Thai peanut sauce and put that with wilted spinach and fried tofu puff over rice.

Mmm, I need to go back for seconds.

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #110 on: December 16, 2019, 08:37:43 PM »
Malkynn this sounds delicious - can you post the recipe for the chickpea spinach persian stew?

mm1970

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #111 on: December 17, 2019, 10:58:52 AM »
One more tip that ANYONE on ANY diet can do to control costs.  This one time has cut my grocery spend by about 20%.

Don't go to the grocery store more than once a week.
I like that idea in theory, but some of the items I like to eat on a regular basis don't stay fresh for a week.  Twice a week might work, though.
THAT'S THE POINT!

Those fresh items are some of the more expensive items in your cart.  Price it out per serving. 
Fresh items are also the items that you throw out a much larger percentage of because they go bad so quickly.  Miss eating all of it for 3 days and you end up throwing it out.
Plus, ya know...
Start the week with the salmon and fresh spinach and strawberries.

Yeah, by Friday you are eating spaghetti, oranges, and broccoli.  But it's okay.

Cranky

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #112 on: December 17, 2019, 04:22:06 PM »
Iím trying to imagine what doesnít last a week. You do have a refrigerator, right?

I used the last of a bag of spinach tonight that I bought two weeks ago, and finished up the blueberries from that shopping trip in my yogurt this morning.

When my kids were little, I meal planned a month at a time and bought all the staples at the beginning of the month, including stuff like onions and potatoes. I went to the grocery store maybe twice more for milk and to restock produce. We ate just fine.

Zamboni

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #113 on: December 17, 2019, 04:52:56 PM »
https://time.com/8515/what-the-world-eats-hungry-planet/

I got this book from the library and found it really interesting. Families in many countries laid out large ceramic pots of rice, lentils, whole squash, etc. It made me pretty embarrassed to be American, honestly, with all of our packaging and garbage.

I can't throw stones at anyone here, though, as my family spends more than $1000 per month on food.

Malkynn

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #114 on: December 17, 2019, 05:06:32 PM »
Malkynn this sounds delicious - can you post the recipe for the chickpea spinach persian stew?

https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/persian-herb-and-chickpea-stew-with-rice/

Schaefer Light

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #115 on: December 17, 2019, 05:10:49 PM »
Iím trying to imagine what doesnít last a week. You do have a refrigerator, right?

I used the last of a bag of spinach tonight that I bought two weeks ago, and finished up the blueberries from that shopping trip in my yogurt this morning.

When my kids were little, I meal planned a month at a time and bought all the staples at the beginning of the month, including stuff like onions and potatoes. I went to the grocery store maybe twice more for milk and to restock produce. We ate just fine.
For one thing, meat.  Chicken, steaks, and seafood are always within 2-3 days of their expiration date when I buy them.  I also struggle with bananas.  I like them to be a little on the green side and there's only a 1-2 day window when they're at their best (in my opinion).  I sometimes go to the grocery store just to buy 65 cents worth of bananas.

Cranky

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #116 on: December 17, 2019, 06:09:45 PM »
Iím trying to imagine what doesnít last a week. You do have a refrigerator, right?

I used the last of a bag of spinach tonight that I bought two weeks ago, and finished up the blueberries from that shopping trip in my yogurt this morning.

When my kids were little, I meal planned a month at a time and bought all the staples at the beginning of the month, including stuff like onions and potatoes. I went to the grocery store maybe twice more for milk and to restock produce. We ate just fine.
For one thing, meat.  Chicken, steaks, and seafood are always within 2-3 days of their expiration date when I buy them.  I also struggle with bananas.  I like them to be a little on the green side and there's only a 1-2 day window when they're at their best (in my opinion).  I sometimes go to the grocery store just to buy 65 cents worth of bananas.

Canít you put meat in the freezer? I usually buy an assortment of bananas - some are about ready to eat and some are really green and wonít be ready until the end of the week. Also, when they are at whatever level of ripe that you like, put them in the refrigerator. The skins get brown, but the actual banana stays fine.

Seriously, I go to the grocery store once/week now and we have plenty of produce, and meat.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #117 on: December 17, 2019, 08:54:52 PM »
Iím trying to imagine what doesnít last a week. You do have a refrigerator, right?

I used the last of a bag of spinach tonight that I bought two weeks ago, and finished up the blueberries from that shopping trip in my yogurt this morning.

When my kids were little, I meal planned a month at a time and bought all the staples at the beginning of the month, including stuff like onions and potatoes. I went to the grocery store maybe twice more for milk and to restock produce. We ate just fine.
For one thing, meat.  Chicken, steaks, and seafood are always within 2-3 days of their expiration date when I buy them.  I also struggle with bananas.  I like them to be a little on the green side and there's only a 1-2 day window when they're at their best (in my opinion).  I sometimes go to the grocery store just to buy 65 cents worth of bananas.

Stick the meat in the freezer, eat the seafood unfrozen and first. As for fresh produce, buy like a french person - buy daily or every second day and buy from a green grocer. That will stop you buying anything else on impulse from the supermarket, and their stuff if usually cheaper and fresher than a supermarket. You're also supporting a small business. AND there's generally a lot less bullshit packaging involved at the green grocer. It's all win.

You could extend the french style shopping to butchers, fishmongers and bakeries. Buy small amounts of fresh, good quality items and ditch the supermarket.

Chris Pascale

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #118 on: December 17, 2019, 11:09:39 PM »
The first time I tracked my spending, over $3,000 was associated with the grocery store, but we were using the POS as our ATM for cash back. Actual groceries were about $2,000. I'll sometimes test to see what I can buy with $80, and how long I can make it last, like if I buy cheaper chicken, potatoes and frozen peas for a dinner, then sausage, rice and carrots for another, etc. But my usual dinners consist of a meat with 4 fruits and vegetables, and since this is so commonly served, I try to make sure there is a good sense of variety, which sometimes includes produce that is out of season.

We buy a lot of fruits, vegetables and meat for 6 people, and I can easily be cooking for 10 twice a week with the girls having friends over. For 9 days around Thanksgiving, we had 3 relatives staying with us. I have one gluten-free kid, so some of those products are pricey, too, but they are generally snack foods since almost all of my cooking is gluten free anyway. And there are plenty of cheap G-free snacks, like popcorn and corn-based tortilla chips.

Milk is $5.49 for a half-gallon (grass fed) but sometimes I get the organic gallon if there's not whole milk available in the other.

The shampoo and conditioner we use are $20 each, but I'll sometimes buy the $6 Tresemme.

Chris Pascale

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #119 on: December 17, 2019, 11:11:50 PM »
COSTCO!  Our kids are 1 & 3.  We don't cook.  We do "tapas" or pre-prepared, but it's organic and grass-fed, range free, etc.  Not always, but mostly.  Husband and I eat meat maybe 2x/wk.  He's 5'11", 180lbs.; I'm 5'7", 131lbs.

We're averaging $659/mo right now.  That includes paper goods, diapers for the little one, and the Costco membership.

My Mom has been trying to get me to join for the longest time, but it's kind of far away. Plus, I don't generally like to join things (I knew about this forum for a long time before I joined in).

Maybe it's time.

robartsd

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #120 on: December 18, 2019, 09:43:09 AM »
COSTCO!  Our kids are 1 & 3.  We don't cook.  We do "tapas" or pre-prepared, but it's organic and grass-fed, range free, etc.  Not always, but mostly.  Husband and I eat meat maybe 2x/wk.  He's 5'11", 180lbs.; I'm 5'7", 131lbs.

We're averaging $659/mo right now.  That includes paper goods, diapers for the little one, and the Costco membership.

My Mom has been trying to get me to join for the longest time, but it's kind of far away. Plus, I don't generally like to join things (I knew about this forum for a long time before I joined in).

Maybe it's time.
Costco isn't the best value for everyone. We don have a Costco membership, but I don't think it saves us a tremendous amount of money. Somewhat depends on what other options are around.  I think limiting meat to about twice a week is the big saver for Chrissy.

wenchsenior

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #121 on: December 18, 2019, 10:44:20 AM »
Iím trying to imagine what doesnít last a week. You do have a refrigerator, right?

I used the last of a bag of spinach tonight that I bought two weeks ago, and finished up the blueberries from that shopping trip in my yogurt this morning.

When my kids were little, I meal planned a month at a time and bought all the staples at the beginning of the month, including stuff like onions and potatoes. I went to the grocery store maybe twice more for milk and to restock produce. We ate just fine.
For one thing, meat.  Chicken, steaks, and seafood are always within 2-3 days of their expiration date when I buy them.  I also struggle with bananas.  I like them to be a little on the green side and there's only a 1-2 day window when they're at their best (in my opinion).  I sometimes go to the grocery store just to buy 65 cents worth of bananas.

Stick the meat in the freezer, eat the seafood unfrozen and first. As for fresh produce, buy like a french person - buy daily or every second day and buy from a green grocer. That will stop you buying anything else on impulse from the supermarket, and their stuff if usually cheaper and fresher than a supermarket. You're also supporting a small business. AND there's generally a lot less bullshit packaging involved at the green grocer. It's all win.

You could extend the french style shopping to butchers, fishmongers and bakeries. Buy small amounts of fresh, good quality items and ditch the supermarket.

What is a green grocer and how does it differ from a supermarket?

OtherJen

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #122 on: December 18, 2019, 01:14:43 PM »
Iím trying to imagine what doesnít last a week. You do have a refrigerator, right?

I used the last of a bag of spinach tonight that I bought two weeks ago, and finished up the blueberries from that shopping trip in my yogurt this morning.

When my kids were little, I meal planned a month at a time and bought all the staples at the beginning of the month, including stuff like onions and potatoes. I went to the grocery store maybe twice more for milk and to restock produce. We ate just fine.
For one thing, meat.  Chicken, steaks, and seafood are always within 2-3 days of their expiration date when I buy them.  I also struggle with bananas.  I like them to be a little on the green side and there's only a 1-2 day window when they're at their best (in my opinion).  I sometimes go to the grocery store just to buy 65 cents worth of bananas.

Stick the meat in the freezer, eat the seafood unfrozen and first. As for fresh produce, buy like a french person - buy daily or every second day and buy from a green grocer. That will stop you buying anything else on impulse from the supermarket, and their stuff if usually cheaper and fresher than a supermarket. You're also supporting a small business. AND there's generally a lot less bullshit packaging involved at the green grocer. It's all win.

You could extend the french style shopping to butchers, fishmongers and bakeries. Buy small amounts of fresh, good quality items and ditch the supermarket.

What is a green grocer and how does it differ from a supermarket?

Around here, they're usually called farm or fruit and vegetable markets. They carry a wide range of produce at cheap prices but usually only a few other things. The one I frequent has a small dairy case, small bread rack, and a half-aisle of canned and dried beans, canned veg, cooking oils, and spices.

Zikoris

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #123 on: December 18, 2019, 01:42:04 PM »
Iím trying to imagine what doesnít last a week. You do have a refrigerator, right?

I used the last of a bag of spinach tonight that I bought two weeks ago, and finished up the blueberries from that shopping trip in my yogurt this morning.

When my kids were little, I meal planned a month at a time and bought all the staples at the beginning of the month, including stuff like onions and potatoes. I went to the grocery store maybe twice more for milk and to restock produce. We ate just fine.
For one thing, meat.  Chicken, steaks, and seafood are always within 2-3 days of their expiration date when I buy them.  I also struggle with bananas.  I like them to be a little on the green side and there's only a 1-2 day window when they're at their best (in my opinion).  I sometimes go to the grocery store just to buy 65 cents worth of bananas.

Stick the meat in the freezer, eat the seafood unfrozen and first. As for fresh produce, buy like a french person - buy daily or every second day and buy from a green grocer. That will stop you buying anything else on impulse from the supermarket, and their stuff if usually cheaper and fresher than a supermarket. You're also supporting a small business. AND there's generally a lot less bullshit packaging involved at the green grocer. It's all win.

You could extend the french style shopping to butchers, fishmongers and bakeries. Buy small amounts of fresh, good quality items and ditch the supermarket.

What is a green grocer and how does it differ from a supermarket?

Around here, they're usually called farm or fruit and vegetable markets. They carry a wide range of produce at cheap prices but usually only a few other things. The one I frequent has a small dairy case, small bread rack, and a half-aisle of canned and dried beans, canned veg, cooking oils, and spices.

Another good marker - there's a lot of stuff outside, that they have to bring in every night. My local one recently hired some lovely new staff who work very quickly, and since I shop close to closing time, I now get the pleasure of dodging flying broccoli carts every Friday.

OtherJen

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #124 on: December 18, 2019, 02:10:14 PM »
Iím trying to imagine what doesnít last a week. You do have a refrigerator, right?

I used the last of a bag of spinach tonight that I bought two weeks ago, and finished up the blueberries from that shopping trip in my yogurt this morning.

When my kids were little, I meal planned a month at a time and bought all the staples at the beginning of the month, including stuff like onions and potatoes. I went to the grocery store maybe twice more for milk and to restock produce. We ate just fine.
For one thing, meat.  Chicken, steaks, and seafood are always within 2-3 days of their expiration date when I buy them.  I also struggle with bananas.  I like them to be a little on the green side and there's only a 1-2 day window when they're at their best (in my opinion).  I sometimes go to the grocery store just to buy 65 cents worth of bananas.

Stick the meat in the freezer, eat the seafood unfrozen and first. As for fresh produce, buy like a french person - buy daily or every second day and buy from a green grocer. That will stop you buying anything else on impulse from the supermarket, and their stuff if usually cheaper and fresher than a supermarket. You're also supporting a small business. AND there's generally a lot less bullshit packaging involved at the green grocer. It's all win.

You could extend the french style shopping to butchers, fishmongers and bakeries. Buy small amounts of fresh, good quality items and ditch the supermarket.

What is a green grocer and how does it differ from a supermarket?

Around here, they're usually called farm or fruit and vegetable markets. They carry a wide range of produce at cheap prices but usually only a few other things. The one I frequent has a small dairy case, small bread rack, and a half-aisle of canned and dried beans, canned veg, cooking oils, and spices.

Another good marker - there's a lot of stuff outside, that they have to bring in every night. My local one recently hired some lovely new staff who work very quickly, and since I shop close to closing time, I now get the pleasure of dodging flying broccoli carts every Friday.

Haha, yes. Ours is currently limited to things that won't be ruined quickly in the cold (it's well below freezing today), but they had big cases of Brussels sprouts stacked up next to the door today.

wenchsenior

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #125 on: December 18, 2019, 02:19:19 PM »
Iím trying to imagine what doesnít last a week. You do have a refrigerator, right?

I used the last of a bag of spinach tonight that I bought two weeks ago, and finished up the blueberries from that shopping trip in my yogurt this morning.

When my kids were little, I meal planned a month at a time and bought all the staples at the beginning of the month, including stuff like onions and potatoes. I went to the grocery store maybe twice more for milk and to restock produce. We ate just fine.
For one thing, meat.  Chicken, steaks, and seafood are always within 2-3 days of their expiration date when I buy them.  I also struggle with bananas.  I like them to be a little on the green side and there's only a 1-2 day window when they're at their best (in my opinion).  I sometimes go to the grocery store just to buy 65 cents worth of bananas.

Stick the meat in the freezer, eat the seafood unfrozen and first. As for fresh produce, buy like a french person - buy daily or every second day and buy from a green grocer. That will stop you buying anything else on impulse from the supermarket, and their stuff if usually cheaper and fresher than a supermarket. You're also supporting a small business. AND there's generally a lot less bullshit packaging involved at the green grocer. It's all win.

You could extend the french style shopping to butchers, fishmongers and bakeries. Buy small amounts of fresh, good quality items and ditch the supermarket.

What is a green grocer and how does it differ from a supermarket?

Around here, they're usually called farm or fruit and vegetable markets. They carry a wide range of produce at cheap prices but usually only a few other things. The one I frequent has a small dairy case, small bread rack, and a half-aisle of canned and dried beans, canned veg, cooking oils, and spices.

Ah, ok.  I remember one of these down the street from us back in the 1990s in a different (much bigger) city. It went out of business, though, which was a bummer.  I don't think these are common in the U.S. except in very large cities. Certainly I've never heard of one in our city of 100K. 

Zikoris

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #126 on: December 18, 2019, 02:29:45 PM »
Ah, ok.  I remember one of these down the street from us back in the 1990s in a different (much bigger) city. It went out of business, though, which was a bummer.  I don't think these are common in the U.S. except in very large cities. Certainly I've never heard of one in our city of 100K.

To be fair, they're not really something you'd hear about, except maybe by word of mouth if you're in the right circles. They don't have websites or social media, sometimes not even a phone number, they don't advertise, they're not chains, and they're very small and in random locations. You find them by accident generally, or if you specifically go exploring looking for them. If your city has an Asian or immigrant-heavy working-class neighbourhood, that would be a good place to look if you want to go explore.

robartsd

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #127 on: December 18, 2019, 03:16:19 PM »
Ah, ok.  I remember one of these down the street from us back in the 1990s in a different (much bigger) city. It went out of business, though, which was a bummer.  I don't think these are common in the U.S. except in very large cities. Certainly I've never heard of one in our city of 100K.

To be fair, they're not really something you'd hear about, except maybe by word of mouth if you're in the right circles. They don't have websites or social media, sometimes not even a phone number, they don't advertise, they're not chains, and they're very small and in random locations. You find them by accident generally, or if you specifically go exploring looking for them. If your city has an Asian or immigrant-heavy working-class neighbourhood, that would be a good place to look if you want to go explore.
In Europe, I've noticed them close to busy transit stops so commuters can pick up a bit of produce on the way home. Perhaps a lower reliance on public transit in the US limits the viability of such a business. I do know of one in our "Little Saigon".

OtherJen

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #128 on: December 18, 2019, 03:35:28 PM »
Ah, ok.  I remember one of these down the street from us back in the 1990s in a different (much bigger) city. It went out of business, though, which was a bummer.  I don't think these are common in the U.S. except in very large cities. Certainly I've never heard of one in our city of 100K.

To be fair, they're not really something you'd hear about, except maybe by word of mouth if you're in the right circles. They don't have websites or social media, sometimes not even a phone number, they don't advertise, they're not chains, and they're very small and in random locations. You find them by accident generally, or if you specifically go exploring looking for them. If your city has an Asian or immigrant-heavy working-class neighbourhood, that would be a good place to look if you want to go explore.

My city is only 50K, but we're in the middle of a big and very diverse metro region. An isolated city may be less likely to have such options. I agree with Zikoris that ethnic markets are another great option for produce. The Mexican and Arabic markets in our area tend to have beautiful produce departments.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #129 on: December 18, 2019, 06:03:52 PM »
Iím trying to imagine what doesnít last a week. You do have a refrigerator, right?

I used the last of a bag of spinach tonight that I bought two weeks ago, and finished up the blueberries from that shopping trip in my yogurt this morning.

When my kids were little, I meal planned a month at a time and bought all the staples at the beginning of the month, including stuff like onions and potatoes. I went to the grocery store maybe twice more for milk and to restock produce. We ate just fine.
For one thing, meat.  Chicken, steaks, and seafood are always within 2-3 days of their expiration date when I buy them.  I also struggle with bananas.  I like them to be a little on the green side and there's only a 1-2 day window when they're at their best (in my opinion).  I sometimes go to the grocery store just to buy 65 cents worth of bananas.

Stick the meat in the freezer, eat the seafood unfrozen and first. As for fresh produce, buy like a french person - buy daily or every second day and buy from a green grocer. That will stop you buying anything else on impulse from the supermarket, and their stuff if usually cheaper and fresher than a supermarket. You're also supporting a small business. AND there's generally a lot less bullshit packaging involved at the green grocer. It's all win.

You could extend the french style shopping to butchers, fishmongers and bakeries. Buy small amounts of fresh, good quality items and ditch the supermarket.

What is a green grocer and how does it differ from a supermarket?

They generally only sell fruit and veg, sometimes other fresh items like dairy. If you have ANYONE of any other ethnicity than caucasian in your city, you will have green grocers. If you can't find one by googling, ask the ethnic restaurants (the little sole trader ones) where they buy their vegetables. Most of the planet doesn't shop exclusively at supermarkets. Alternatively, google market gardens. Someone is growing the produce in the supermarket. They often have a shop near their gate, because supermarkets only pay them cents on the dollar for their goods.

mspym

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #130 on: December 18, 2019, 09:06:34 PM »
Iím trying to imagine what doesnít last a week. You do have a refrigerator, right?

I used the last of a bag of spinach tonight that I bought two weeks ago, and finished up the blueberries from that shopping trip in my yogurt this morning.

When my kids were little, I meal planned a month at a time and bought all the staples at the beginning of the month, including stuff like onions and potatoes. I went to the grocery store maybe twice more for milk and to restock produce. We ate just fine.
For one thing, meat.  Chicken, steaks, and seafood are always within 2-3 days of their expiration date when I buy them.  I also struggle with bananas.  I like them to be a little on the green side and there's only a 1-2 day window when they're at their best (in my opinion).  I sometimes go to the grocery store just to buy 65 cents worth of bananas.

Stick the meat in the freezer, eat the seafood unfrozen and first. As for fresh produce, buy like a french person - buy daily or every second day and buy from a green grocer. That will stop you buying anything else on impulse from the supermarket, and their stuff if usually cheaper and fresher than a supermarket. You're also supporting a small business. AND there's generally a lot less bullshit packaging involved at the green grocer. It's all win.

You could extend the french style shopping to butchers, fishmongers and bakeries. Buy small amounts of fresh, good quality items and ditch the supermarket.

What is a green grocer and how does it differ from a supermarket?

They generally only sell fruit and veg, sometimes other fresh items like dairy. If you have ANYONE of any other ethnicity than caucasian in your city, you will have green grocers. If you can't find one by googling, ask the ethnic restaurants (the little sole trader ones) where they buy their vegetables. Most of the planet doesn't shop exclusively at supermarkets. Alternatively, google market gardens. Someone is growing the produce in the supermarket. They often have a shop near their gate, because supermarkets only pay them cents on the dollar for their goods.
We have a substantial Italian community where I live and the green grocers *insert chef's kiss* You just need to follow the nonnas to find amazing and cheap produce + deli goods.
#notallcaucasians

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #131 on: December 18, 2019, 09:37:54 PM »

wenchsenior

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #132 on: December 18, 2019, 09:44:18 PM »
I’m trying to imagine what doesn’t last a week. You do have a refrigerator, right?

I used the last of a bag of spinach tonight that I bought two weeks ago, and finished up the blueberries from that shopping trip in my yogurt this morning.

When my kids were little, I meal planned a month at a time and bought all the staples at the beginning of the month, including stuff like onions and potatoes. I went to the grocery store maybe twice more for milk and to restock produce. We ate just fine.
For one thing, meat.  Chicken, steaks, and seafood are always within 2-3 days of their expiration date when I buy them.  I also struggle with bananas.  I like them to be a little on the green side and there's only a 1-2 day window when they're at their best (in my opinion).  I sometimes go to the grocery store just to buy 65 cents worth of bananas.

Stick the meat in the freezer, eat the seafood unfrozen and first. As for fresh produce, buy like a french person - buy daily or every second day and buy from a green grocer. That will stop you buying anything else on impulse from the supermarket, and their stuff if usually cheaper and fresher than a supermarket. You're also supporting a small business. AND there's generally a lot less bullshit packaging involved at the green grocer. It's all win.

You could extend the french style shopping to butchers, fishmongers and bakeries. Buy small amounts of fresh, good quality items and ditch the supermarket.

What is a green grocer and how does it differ from a supermarket?

They generally only sell fruit and veg, sometimes other fresh items like dairy. If you have ANYONE of any other ethnicity than caucasian in your city, you will have green grocers. If you can't find one by googling, ask the ethnic restaurants (the little sole trader ones) where they buy their vegetables. Most of the planet doesn't shop exclusively at supermarkets. Alternatively, google market gardens. Someone is growing the produce in the supermarket. They often have a shop near their gate, because supermarkets only pay them cents on the dollar for their goods.

Interesting.  The shop I remember from the 1990s had pale white Yuppie type owners.  I just Googled using several different terms and turned up nothing but Whole Foods knockoffs (of which there are two in our city, both close to me).  But there are a small handful of ethnic markets around...I've not been into any of them b/c none are remotely close to where I live, but my husband and I just noticed an Asian grocer had recently opened about 2 blocks away. We were quite  surprised and not optimistic for its future, given the extreme whiteness of the area, but we will stop in there and check it out. 

There are a couple of tiny local farm stands outside of town on the dusty highways during the summer; very poorly stocked, so we've never been tempted to buy anything (this is an extremely harsh climate, not that good for veggie growing...honestly, I'm impressed anyone farms anything edible).

Likewise, the city has in the past few years attempted to get a farmer's market going, and it seemed pretty pathetic (but I spent much of my youth in a city that has a world-class farmer's market, so perhaps anything else is going to seem un-enticing).  This one seemed to be mostly crappy handcraft booths and coffee vendors, with a scattering of veggies. We never bothered going again. Perhaps things have changed in the past couple years, though. 
« Last Edit: December 18, 2019, 09:46:27 PM by wenchsenior »

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #133 on: December 18, 2019, 10:59:52 PM »
Iím trying to imagine what doesnít last a week. You do have a refrigerator, right?

I used the last of a bag of spinach tonight that I bought two weeks ago, and finished up the blueberries from that shopping trip in my yogurt this morning.

When my kids were little, I meal planned a month at a time and bought all the staples at the beginning of the month, including stuff like onions and potatoes. I went to the grocery store maybe twice more for milk and to restock produce. We ate just fine.
For one thing, meat.  Chicken, steaks, and seafood are always within 2-3 days of their expiration date when I buy them.  I also struggle with bananas.  I like them to be a little on the green side and there's only a 1-2 day window when they're at their best (in my opinion).  I sometimes go to the grocery store just to buy 65 cents worth of bananas.

Stick the meat in the freezer, eat the seafood unfrozen and first. As for fresh produce, buy like a french person - buy daily or every second day and buy from a green grocer. That will stop you buying anything else on impulse from the supermarket, and their stuff if usually cheaper and fresher than a supermarket. You're also supporting a small business. AND there's generally a lot less bullshit packaging involved at the green grocer. It's all win.

You could extend the french style shopping to butchers, fishmongers and bakeries. Buy small amounts of fresh, good quality items and ditch the supermarket.

What is a green grocer and how does it differ from a supermarket?

They generally only sell fruit and veg, sometimes other fresh items like dairy. If you have ANYONE of any other ethnicity than caucasian in your city, you will have green grocers. If you can't find one by googling, ask the ethnic restaurants (the little sole trader ones) where they buy their vegetables. Most of the planet doesn't shop exclusively at supermarkets. Alternatively, google market gardens. Someone is growing the produce in the supermarket. They often have a shop near their gate, because supermarkets only pay them cents on the dollar for their goods.

Interesting.  The shop I remember from the 1990s had pale white Yuppie type owners.  I just Googled using several different terms and turned up nothing but Whole Foods knockoffs (of which there are two in our city, both close to me).  But there are a small handful of ethnic markets around...I've not been into any of them b/c none are remotely close to where I live, but my husband and I just noticed an Asian grocer had recently opened about 2 blocks away. We were quite  surprised and not optimistic for its future, given the extreme whiteness of the area, but we will stop in there and check it out. 

There are a couple of tiny local farm stands outside of town on the dusty highways during the summer; very poorly stocked, so we've never been tempted to buy anything (this is an extremely harsh climate, not that good for veggie growing...honestly, I'm impressed anyone farms anything edible).

Likewise, the city has in the past few years attempted to get a farmer's market going, and it seemed pretty pathetic (but I spent much of my youth in a city that has a world-class farmer's market, so perhaps anything else is going to seem un-enticing).  This one seemed to be mostly crappy handcraft booths and coffee vendors, with a scattering of veggies. We never bothered going again. Perhaps things have changed in the past couple years, though.

Sounds like you have several options. I'd be heading out of my way to explore those ethnic markets, love those. They often have fresh made things like tortillas or dumpling wrappers, naan bread, tofu etc etc that you just can't get anywhere else. Not to mention sauces and spices that your supermarket won't carry, cheap bulk nuts, unusual varieties of beans and pulses, all sorts! I love browsing that stuff, so good for cheap ideas. In my country, you know you've found a source of well priced and great quality vegetables if the place is packed with people of asian extraction. They cook fresh, and the flavour of the meal is greatly impacted by the quality of the veges, so they're much pickier than the caucasian section of the population. Is that racist? It isn't meant to be!

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Re: The $1,000 Monthly Grocery Bill
« Reply #134 on: December 19, 2019, 06:17:58 AM »
No greengrocer here.

The Italians shop at the Italian market, which is quite nice, but I stopped shopping there because one of the owners became a conservative state rep and he annoys me every time.

The Asians drive to Cleveland for specialty stuff.

There are farm markets in the summer, and they are more expensive than the grocery store.

The Farmer's Market has about 5 venders at its peak.