Author Topic: How can I spend less on groceries  (Read 28132 times)

Bracken_Joy

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #50 on: June 24, 2015, 03:24:05 PM »
Not sure about the Aldi store you were at with the poor produce.  Our Aldi has trucks delivering daily that are filled with quality, low price produce.  They have a generous variety and also carry organic items.  It seems like people either love or hate Aldi - no in between.

Complete hearsay on my part, since there are no Aldi's near me, but I have heard the chain varies quite a bit from store to store. One blogger I followed who used to do majority of her shopping at Aldi's moved and hated the new Aldi's she was near.

So maybe that is at play?

Rosy

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #51 on: June 24, 2015, 09:36:23 PM »
Here is another vote for ALDI - organic blueberries for 99cents and the quality was outstanding. I love that it is a much quicker in and out than any other store and their weekly fresh meat specials are awesome too. You might give it another go at a different ALDI location - it would be worth it on a Wednesday when they get their fresh meat buys. Just sayin'.
 
In Florida there is no excuse not to have truly fresh veggies and fruits and herbs. We have several outdoor markets, farmers markets and even homegrown vendors at the nearby flea market not to mention the roadside stands all within a mile or two from home. One friend goes to the Fleamarket produce section on Wednesdays, whenever she wants to can or fix a large batch of something. Her pear-cinnamon jam is to die for, so is her hot pepper jelly and homemade applebutter.

We trade fruits with our friends, we have avocadoes, they have tangerines and limes - cost zero. Hope to have my first batch of figs and macadamia nuts this year. There is a grower at the market who sells macadamia nut trees that are suitable for growing in Florida and mine is looking fat and happy:).

Since you are already growing herbs, how about:

Lemon Verbena, a milder somehow sweeter but intense yet more delicate flavor than a lemon - season a fish filet then wrap with a couple of branches of lemon verbena, wrap in parchment paper or foil if you prefer and bake in the oven - DELICIOUS and simple and works on the grill too:)
Makes a fine cup of tea too:) In Florida this will grow into a small bush - I've found mine prefers to be in a pot and wants to be watered regularly.

Blue African Basil, not the sweet Italian kind  - a slightly spicy but not hot, peppery, full flavor basil that will punch up any Italian dishes, egg dishes and of course mozarella and mushrooms. Grows into a bush too, lives for 3-5 years - the only variety of basil you cannot grow from seeds, must be propagated or just buy a small plant whenever Lowes has them in stock in the spring. I plant mine in the ground, it doesn't mind the Florida summer heat and full sun.

Chocolate mint - your carrots never tasted so good - add a little brown organic sugar and as much mint as you like along with fresh butter, serve over steamed carrots - to die for:)
I like at least one sprig per carrot.

Lemongrass - easy to grow in a pot or in the ground - great for pork, chicken and fish and free lemongrass tea whenever you want it.

Bayleaf - looks attractive and I know mine is 100% organic and what's a good stew or roast without a bayleaf anyway?

Rosemary - can fend for itself here in Florida - just give it a little love and water the first year. A must have for pork and chicken, good with fish too. I saw you mentioned you already grow that, but it is worth mentioning again, because it is so good and savory. Makes a great pick me up if you use it as a sachet in your bathwater or just float a few branches in warm water. It has a 101 uses.

I shop on base which saves us minimum 30% on meat and they always have a managers special of some sort in the meat department as well - often for pennies on the dollar. 

I designate one or two days a week to meat free dishes partly to save money and partly because I think it is healthier. We like casseroles, frittatas, quiche, veggie soups, homemade waffles and pancakes filled with anything from fruit to cheese to jams/jellies, chocolate - savory veggies and any kind of egg dishes you can think of, mushroom omelets made with bella mushrooms, my grandmothers apple pancakes etc. ......

One last thought on the food budget, one of the guys DH works with is a hunter and my nephew has a boat he takes to the keys for fishing and lovely lobsters - so we benefit and trade. My son goes crabbing for blue crab and likes to fish to, so there are always a few freebies that way. So even if you don't fish and hunt, it is possible to get fresh fish and seafood and meat for free or in trade for something else - maybe your fisherman friends freezer is running over:)

Living in Florida we need an emergency stash of food and water anyway in case of a Hurricane. After Katrina I expanded on that and created a rotating pantry which will last for 30 days. What I realized in setting up the pantry is that each food item is on sale within a given cycle - some only every 8 to 10 weeks even. So I made a note of the sale cycle of our favorite food items and buy enough to last until then. That's an easy way to save a guaranteed average of 35%.

I'm not big into coupons, mostly because the things I buy seldom have coupons except for real coffee beans, real butter etc and I make it a point to have at least one coupon for every bag of coffee and every single package of butter I buy. Adds up that way, he looks in the coupon section of the paper and I browse online. We don't spend more then 15 min to half an hour a week on looking for deals and coupons.
Good coffee is my one indulgence I never do without even during dire times. Tea grows in my garden from mint to lemon and my son knows how to make a good fruit wine. 

We are foodies, but we do not over indulge. For me concocting a great dinner on whatever budget I can afford at the time is both an ever welcome challenge and a great pleasure. Money isn't everything when it comes to food, but quality ingredients, a little passion and an attractive presentation to please the eye not to mention a little wilyness in procuring the food is a good thing!



Rural

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #52 on: June 25, 2015, 07:06:56 AM »
Not sure about the Aldi store you were at with the poor produce.  Our Aldi has trucks delivering daily that are filled with quality, low price produce.  They have a generous variety and also carry organic items.  It seems like people either love or hate Aldi - no in between.


Aldis vary wildly from location to location in terms of the quality of their fresh foods (meat and produce). Produce is rotting and meat dubious-looking at the two "near" me (40 and 45 miles off), but my mother swears by Aldi and couldn't understand why I didn't love it. Finally, on a visit she took me to "her"Aldi and I understood. Hers is wonderful.

powskier

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #53 on: July 11, 2015, 09:25:35 PM »
Not for everyone or every location but can you hunt, fish or grow your own?
There are some expenses involved but for me it is a HUGE money saver and the highest quality meat, same goes for our vegetable garden.


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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #55 on: July 12, 2015, 03:57:58 PM »
Not for everyone or every location but can you hunt, fish or grow your own?
There are some expenses involved but for me it is a HUGE money saver and the highest quality meat, same goes for our vegetable garden.

I have to thank my wife for our vegetable garden and chickens, because she's the one doing the tending.  She enjoys it as a hobby, and we both are benefiting from producing our own eggs (way more than we can use), a wide variety of vegetables, and even fancy fruit (like blackberries, which are coming into season right now and which I thoroughly enjoy eating without having to factor in how much they cost in the grocery store).  We've also butchered chickens, but all of those are still in the freezer.

Bearded Man

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #56 on: July 17, 2015, 11:08:29 PM »
At my last house I had a homestead, and I plan on having one once I move out of the HOA community I live in now, and definitely part of my ER plan.

I had six chickens and about 28 rabbits (started with three and ended up whith that many in about 4-6 months or so). I also had tilled a large area of the yard with a manual tool for a good sized garden with onions, potatoes, corn, lettuce, cilantro, parsley, carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, etc.

Raising your own chickens for eggs, meat, and not to mention rabbits for meat and a garden for your vegetables and fruits reduces your food bill drastically. Add to that a 20lb bag of basmati rice, beans and pasta, and some bread and butter and you're set.

You can eat very well like this for less than what people spend on coffee every month. A lot less...

 
« Last Edit: July 17, 2015, 11:10:58 PM by Bearded Man »

dabears847

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #57 on: August 20, 2015, 08:14:47 AM »
Has anyone noticed a price increase at aldis?

fitfrugalfab

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #58 on: August 20, 2015, 08:59:31 AM »
My husband has Crohn's and Rheumatoid arthritis as well so we have very specific dietary needs for him. I have several coupon apps on my phone (cartwheel, Ibotta, and Checkout 51). I also get my coupons for free at coupons.com.

Before you go shopping, check your weekly circulars to see which grocery stores are having sales on the items you need. You can triple up by have the item on sale, using a coupon, then getting the grocery rebate on Ibotta or checkout 51. It may be time consuming but I save about $60 a month on groceries.

If you live near a commissary and have an ID or a friend an ID, go there. Groceries are substantially cheaper.

Cassie

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #59 on: August 21, 2015, 03:38:49 PM »
WE average about $300/month & like meat & buy good quality. I do plan meals before I make the grocery list so I know that I have enough to feed us for the  month. we usually have company about once a week.  This does not include eating out. I only grocery shop once per month which helps keep costs down. Obviously you have to buy milk, eggs, fruit etc in between but when I need those I go right to them & do not look around for obvious reasons.

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #60 on: August 24, 2015, 03:10:14 AM »
My husband has Crohn's and Rheumatoid arthritis as well so we have very specific dietary needs for him. I have several coupon apps on my phone (cartwheel, Ibotta, and Checkout 51). I also get my coupons for free at coupons.com.


Can I ask what your husband's restrictions are? I have Crohn's and doctors here have never given any advice on diet.

fitfrugalfab

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #61 on: August 24, 2015, 07:41:34 AM »
My husband has Crohn's and Rheumatoid arthritis as well so we have very specific dietary needs for him. I have several coupon apps on my phone (cartwheel, Ibotta, and Checkout 51). I also get my coupons for free at coupons.com.


Can I ask what your husband's restrictions are? I have Crohn's and doctors here have never given any advice on diet.

Unfortunately Doctor's usually can't give advice on diets because every Crohn's patient is different, and it also varies on the type of Crohn's you have. While we were at the hospital a nutritionist came in to speak to us everyday and tailored his diet depending on his the food affected him. We were there for 16 days so we had the time to figure out what worked best for him while we had the resource of the nutritionist. During a flare up, which is what he is currently dealing with, he can't have raw fruits or veggies, cooked veggies high in fiber (spinach, broccoli, kale, etc.) seeds, nuts, dairy, fried foods, fatty meats like red meat or pork, alcohol or coffee. When he is not in a flare up he can have all of the above except for alcohol, seeds, nuts, and he has to do dairy and fried foods in small quantities.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #62 on: August 24, 2015, 08:34:33 AM »
My husband has Crohn's and Rheumatoid arthritis as well so we have very specific dietary needs for him. I have several coupon apps on my phone (cartwheel, Ibotta, and Checkout 51). I also get my coupons for free at coupons.com.


Can I ask what your husband's restrictions are? I have Crohn's and doctors here have never given any advice on diet.

Crohn's is very individual for dietary impact. The best answers come from doing elimination diets and keeping a journal of everything. Two basic approaches to the elimination diet:
1- restrict nearly everything for 1 week, then add food groups back in one at a time, at least a week apart. Veggies and fruits tend to see the largest variation in reactions, so adding them in individually works best.
2- eliminate one thing per month, and see how you react when it is added back in. This takes longer than the above, but obviously is easier to trial while living life normally.

Bob W

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #63 on: August 24, 2015, 08:42:49 AM »
To answer OP --

Use only cash and set your budget tight --- Budget $2.5 per day per person.

Buy meats, eggs,  butter in bulk when on sale.  Meat freezes well and eggs can be kept for months in the fridge.

Use water as your primary drink.

Use all the veggies you buy.

Avoid any processed foods (learn to cook)

Soups!!

Break your shopping receipt up into categories as follows so that you know how much is for food :

Booze
Drinks
Fun food (ice cream, snacks,  yogurt etc..)
Junk food
Real food  -  Meat, veggies, cheese, fish, eggs, canned tomato products etc...
Non grocery  items
Cleaning supplies

Then track each category --- It really isn't a stretch to eat on $2.5 per day per person..

If you are using coupons you are probably eating junk food. 

Cassie

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #64 on: August 24, 2015, 10:33:58 AM »
Sorry Bob but I don't see someone going from 700 to 155/month. I would try to cut your bill in half which appears to be reasonable.

Bob W

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #65 on: August 24, 2015, 11:01:06 AM »
Sorry Bob but I don't see someone going from 700 to 155/month. I would try to cut your bill in half which appears to be reasonable.

Oh yeah, yeah most people won't make that much of a cut but some people reading this may pick up a tip or two.  And who knows after a few months of tracking and practice the OP may decide that having an extra $6,500 in the bank at the end of the year is worth a little effort? (that will come to around $150,000 in 10 years if invested properly)

I typically say "shoot for $2 per day per person,  fail and end up at $3."   I think our fearless leader comes in around $3 PPPD?

So here might be a daily food plan per person-

Breakfast -  2 eggs, 2 strips bacon, toast = .78
Lunch -  Sliced meat (slice either $2 lb ham or $1 chicken yourself) and cheese sandwich (or wrap), piled with spinach, onions, tomato + chips  = .98
Dinner - Homemade chicken and rice soup (chicken, celery,  carrots, rice, olive oil,  skip the high dollar canned broth which is mostly salt flavored water) = .85  ($1 per pound chicken bought as a loss leader and frozen)

Bedtime snack -- homemade popcorn popped in butter = .25

Total = 2.85     

It is very doable. 

kathrynd

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #66 on: August 30, 2015, 11:01:33 AM »
Sorry Bob but I don't see someone going from 700 to 155/month. I would try to cut your bill in half which appears to be reasonable.

Oh yeah, yeah most people won't make that much of a cut but some people reading this may pick up a tip or two.  And who knows after a few months of tracking and practice the OP may decide that having an extra $6,500 in the bank at the end of the year is worth a little effort? (that will come to around $150,000 in 10 years if invested properly)

I typically say "shoot for $2 per day per person,  fail and end up at $3."   I think our fearless leader comes in around $3 PPPD?

So here might be a daily food plan per person-

Breakfast -  2 eggs, 2 strips bacon, toast = .78
Lunch -  Sliced meat (slice either $2 lb ham or $1 chicken yourself) and cheese sandwich (or wrap), piled with spinach, onions, tomato + chips  = .98
Dinner - Homemade chicken and rice soup (chicken, celery,  carrots, rice, olive oil,  skip the high dollar canned broth which is mostly salt flavored water) = .85  ($1 per pound chicken bought as a loss leader and frozen)

Bedtime snack -- homemade popcorn popped in butter = .25

Total = 2.85     

It is very doable.

Bob, you are spot on.
We're in Canada, where the prices are a bit higher, and my husband (who is 220 lbs) and I spend around $50-$60 week on average.

I say, on average, because when a deal comes up, we stock up.
The other day, the local drug store had tuna on sale for 99c a can. That is a good price here. However, if we bought $35 worth, we got $10 off.(in the form of points) That makes the tuna $0.72  each.

The grocery store has reduced fruit and vegetables...the last time we bought them, they lasted 3 weeks. (cost $9)
You never know what they are going to have..which is fun.
We plan our meals around specials, and what we have at home.

The other day, the grocery store had an incentive. For every $30 spent, you saved $10. (in the form of points...no matter)

We use our bread  machine 4-5 times a week. Costs $0.60 a loaf and 2 minutes to stick into the machine. The cheapest bread in our area is $1.50

My suggestion for some one spending $700 month....wow, I can't even fathom it, unless they are buying a lot of premade crap food...
anyways, go through your grocery flyers..and see what is on sale...stock up !!

The other day, peanut butter was on sale for brand X...which was a good price....but brand Y, which wasn't advertised, was cheaper...we bought that instead. Just as yummy.

My bananas sometimes ripen too fast. I stick them whole, in the freezer. Yesterday, I took out 8, and made muffins.

We rarely shop for groceries. Instead, we shop for reduced produce and meat, and stock up on sales.
Eggs will last for months.Cheese can be frozen.

The other day I decided to make a pot of chili. Out of the freezer, I used up celery, onions, yellow peppers, that I froze a couple of months ago, when I couldn't use them up fast enough.
I save all my bread crusts in the freezer. I use it to make bread stuffing , when I cook a chicken...or bread pudding, for a dessert.
When my ketchup or BBQ sauce bottle gets empty, I rinse out the remainder with water or vinegar, and use it in a recipe of sweet n sour sauce.
With mayo or jam, I use my rubber  spatula.

I would venture to say, I rarely throw anything out.... can the person spending $700 a month say the same thing?
With the money you save...pay off bills.

Cassie

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #67 on: August 30, 2015, 11:29:02 AM »
We spend about 300/month & eat well. Occasionally we may spend 400 for 2 people. WE usually have people for dinner 1x /week.

kathrynd

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #68 on: August 30, 2015, 12:00:40 PM »
Most people simply overeat...thus the obesity
And groceries don't cost enough...people buy too much, and throw most of it out.

Cassie

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #69 on: August 30, 2015, 01:09:35 PM »
I really disagree with that. Food on the West Coast is not cheap.  We throw very little of our food away. We either eat or freeze our leftovers.

kathrynd

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #70 on: August 30, 2015, 03:08:55 PM »
When I refer to 'cheap'...it means, we really don't appreciate it.

How often have you seen people throw out leftovers..half eaten fruits...bottles of condiments because they want to open another one.
Bottles of half drank pepsi/coke.

Cassie

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #71 on: August 30, 2015, 03:27:16 PM »
Actually no I have never seen people throw that stuff away unless the soda is flat.

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #72 on: August 30, 2015, 05:51:23 PM »
I eat paleo myself and it can be expensive. Frozen veggies are cheaper than fresh and I like to stock up whenever I find a sale. I've also cut back on my meat portions and upped the amount of veggies I eat instead to save some money there. Also I make sure I eat  large buttery omelet for breakfast and that pretty much keeps me full all day so I can get by on a smaller supper (I usually only eat 2 meals a day)

EngineerMum

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #73 on: August 30, 2015, 10:48:23 PM »
Thanks FitFrugalFab and Bracken Joy. Appreciate the info.

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #74 on: September 04, 2015, 06:15:36 AM »
My wife started a vegetarian diet and I was surprised how this cut down on our grocery bill. I still eat meat occasionally but because we cook together, I end up eating more fruits and vegetables now and the cost of those are much less.

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #75 on: September 14, 2015, 07:15:59 AM »
My wife started a vegetarian diet and I was surprised how this cut down on our grocery bill. I still eat meat occasionally but because we cook together, I end up eating more fruits and vegetables now and the cost of those are much less.

Have to disagree on the cost argument here. Wife and I consume 12-14 lbs (before cooking) meat each week; at $1.50/lb that comes out to $18-$21. We can easily spend twice that on veggies. We probably eat double that weight in veggies and they are $1/lb at minimum, typically more.

Bob W

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #76 on: September 15, 2015, 08:40:05 AM »
Did I mention that the absolutely cheapest Paleo food is olive oil.   That shit is dirt cheap on a per calorie cost basis.      You could easily get 50%+ of your calories from olive oil.

Canned Mackerel = $2 per can at 3-4 servings.  Don't overdo the meat or fish.   I would say in general that 1/4 - 1/2 lb of actual protein (about 100-200 grams as stated on the labels)  is more that enough. 

My guess is that you could get by on a 1400 calorie diet if you are eating nutrient dense foods.  Skip the organics, hand fed,  free ranged,  grass fed and just stick with the hormone laced CAPO meats.   The real benefit of Paleo is in the reduced calories,  no sugar, low glycemic and more veggies than the SAD. 

ACLR8R

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Re: How can I spend less on groceries
« Reply #77 on: September 22, 2016, 12:25:48 PM »
Wow - ACL - your monthly bill is $100 for 2 people?  That is amazing.  I agree, Walmart, as much as I dislike it, has an amazing price match policy.  And purely from a financial perspective, is the cheapest and easiest way to shop.  I go through all the local stores' Wednesday sale flyers, pick out the best deals, take them to Walmart and pick those foods.

I have heard they are looking at doing away with the price matching, though. It will be a pain to have to go to all the stores if it happens!