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General Discussion => Throw Down the Gauntlet => Topic started by: pancakes on January 19, 2018, 07:54:18 PM

Title: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: pancakes on January 19, 2018, 07:54:18 PM
Last yearís thread seemed to go really well for some people (not so much me).

Letís keep the momentum up in 2018, or perhaps kick it all off again.

Share your goals and tips, get some motivation or ask for help. Whatever stage you are at, if you are looking to reduce your day to day grocery expenses, welcome!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: pancakes on January 19, 2018, 07:57:46 PM
My grocery goals for this year are first to get an idea of how much we are actually spending.

I know Mr Pancakes is buying lunch at work often and we are drinking a lot of wine but some detailed itemised tracking is needed to see just how out of control it has become. Then we will set up some goals to work towards.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: HappierAtHome on January 19, 2018, 07:58:36 PM
I'm in! We spent $878/month on average last year (two adults, one baby on formula and occasional disposable nappies).

My basic strategies: avoid food waste. Shop mostly at Aldi. Include plenty of vegan and vegetarian dinners. Plan ahead! Less convenience food.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on January 20, 2018, 07:28:46 AM
Iím in again.  Goal is $600 for groceries and standard household products, and to minimize weeknight takeout (for health reasons as much as anything else), but without a specific $ limit.  So far this month we are off to a good start - groceries + household together is $262 (I didnít break it out on the receipts).  Part of it is thanks to my giant shop on 12/31, and part of it is because DD got her license and wanted to take over shopping.  Best idea Iíve ever had:  I gave her the list, put $100 on her card, and told her she could use or keep the rest.  She called about 10 times for help figuring out the cheapest options and came home with an $88 bill.  :-)

Takeout is killing me, though, as a new BBQ place opened a block away, and we donít get good BBQ here.  And they are not cheap ($10 sandwiches, $2-3 for each very small side).  Iíve already dropped $100 there for just two meals for the family, ugh.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: zeli2033 on January 20, 2018, 08:16:20 AM
I'm in for this. I just looked at our average monthly spend on food/dining last year and it is, I shit you not, $1,377. FOR TWO PEOPLE.

I thought it must be some mistake in Mint (ah, rationalization). Alas, no - I went through each line item in that category and can attest that it was due to food/dining. The only caveat is that I don't break out our household goods purchased at grocery stores so some of this can be attributed to that. BUT STILL! Not nearly enough to make that number reasonable by any stretch of the imagination.

After getting a bit more serious about mustachianism in the last few months of 2017, the average dropped to $1,118. With the holidays and travel that's moderately more forgiving but with the introduction of meal planning and using our resources wisely, I think this can be better.

Goal for 2018: Average monthly spend for Food/Dining category to be less than $850. This will continue to include household goods. That's still ridiculous for two people but I think it's a reasonable goal to have based on what all we have coming up this year for trips and it will be the first of many small steps into a future toward more reasonable spending.

So far this month, we've spent $459. Meal planning has been a huge saver and making large batches of freezer meals has also been life changing. I have some travel coming up for work but it will be on the company so we just have to get DH through next week and then finish up the month strong. Shouldn't have any issues staying under budget but I've seen us do all sorts of crazy things when under "stress"*...

*"Stress" is my self-diagnosed complainypants speak for laziness, poor planning & letting convenience reign supreme
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on January 20, 2018, 08:56:17 AM
My goal for 2018 is to keep our grocery spending at $620. Our dining out budget is a lean $85/month for four people. Two adults, 2 kids (10 & 11). We do get free lunch at work, so that definitely helps.

We do the majority of our shopping at Costco (lots of produce) & a produce stand, but I think I can find a better source of cheaper meat, by tracking the ads a bit more regularly & stocking up when things are a particularly good deal elsewhere.

Here's our standard weekly list:

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on January 20, 2018, 02:03:28 PM
Yes! Got all of my grocery shopping done for the week, and came in at $99.89. I like to be between $115-$120, but any time I'm under $100, it's a huge win. Caveat, did use $9 on a grocery store gift card. Even got the ingredients to make a new chicken curry recipe.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: haypug16 on January 20, 2018, 03:58:50 PM
I'm in. joining the 2017 thread was a huge help. My grocery spend in 2017 was an average of $250 (beginning of 2017 was closer to $300 and end of 2017 was closer to $200) My monthly stretch goal is $200 but anything under $250 I will call a win. I am trying to also reduce my dining out spend for the year so we'll see how it goes. Good luck to you all.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Off the Wheel on January 20, 2018, 04:02:02 PM
I'm in!

I'd like to keep my groceries under $250. Same with dining out. Last year my Mint "dining/entertainment" was $750/month... I was carrying a lot more of the load since my husband was in school, but that still seems crazy. $250 feels realistic if I'm mostly just covering myself.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Abe on January 20, 2018, 04:26:21 PM
We're in! Goal is $600 from average of $1060 for 2 adults and a toddler (self-facepunch). 60% of that was eating out.
Changes we're making: bought an insta-pot, I no longer work 14 hours a day, and our kid eats normal food now.

Bill so far this month: $250!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: DTaggart on January 20, 2018, 04:47:24 PM
I'm in! My goal is to stick to a $250/month budget. This includes food and household/personal care crap for my husband and I. It does not include anything for the dog or eating out. I pretty much never eat out myself, and if my husband chooses to eat out it comes from his personal spending money.

My only trouble is sometimes I buy discount grocery store gift cards and then I don't end up tracking that spending well in the month I actually use it. Like yesterday I did my shopping and spent ~$12 at Sprouts using a gift card I got for 10% off last fall, I'm too lazy to add that $12 back in to my grocery spending since Quicken adds all my regular card-based spending up for me. I need to work on that.

...and part of it is because DD got her license and wanted to take over shopping.  Best idea Iíve ever had:  I gave her the list, put $100 on her card, and told her she could use or keep the rest.  She called about 10 times for help figuring out the cheapest options and came home with an $88 bill.  :-)

I just want to say GOOD FOR YOU for doing this! When I got my DL, my mom would often put me in charge of the grocery shopping when she was working. I'm not going to say we ate very well on the weeks I shopped, but it taught me a ton about how to shop and just being responsible for a major household task. I'm really glad I had that opportunity.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MEJG on January 20, 2018, 06:42:12 PM
I'm in.

Family of 5, about to be 6. 
Goal                <$600/month Groceries     and     <$150/month in eating out
Stretch goal     <$500/month Groceries     and      <$75/month eating out
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Off the Wheel on January 20, 2018, 07:15:07 PM
I'm in!

I'd like to keep my groceries under $250. Same with dining out. Last year my Mint "dining/entertainment" was $750/month... I was carrying a lot more of the load since my husband was in school, but that still seems crazy. $250 feels realistic if I'm mostly just covering myself.

Well, today was a big fail. $290 at Costco. However, that's about an every-6-week purchase, and rotated between DH and I. All the pantry basics, plus a new stock pot and some things for the dog.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Lkxe on January 20, 2018, 07:27:55 PM
[quote author=DTaggart link=topic=86492.msg1863923#msg1863923 date=
My only trouble is sometimes I buy discount grocery store gift cards and then I don't end up tracking that spending well in the month I actually use it. Like yesterday I did my shopping and spent ~$12 at Sprouts using a gift card I got for 10% off last fall, I'm too lazy to add that $12 back in to my grocery spending since Quicken adds all my regular card-based spending up for me. I need to work on that.


^  We buy the Sprouts cards at a discount every November. I know we spend about 25 dollars a week in produce so we get nine or ten. My grocery year starts when I do so, and I lower the budget by the same amount. That purchase gets marked as grocery so the “account” is high one month but evens out across the year.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: DirtDiva on January 21, 2018, 07:48:24 AM
Hello, fellow mustachians/mustachiennes.  We are in for the year.  We agreed on Jan 1 that we would reduce our food and beverage spending to 1k/month (two adults).  Our 2017 average was 1,666/mo.  That included alcohol, household cleaning items, miscellaneous Walmart purchases like towels, dog food, and personal care stuff, but mostly, it was food, wine, and bourbon. 

So far, for January, we are at $713, which sadly, is a victory in comparison to $1,666.  I'm looking forward to sharing this journey with all of you and to learning some ninja food skillz.

Laura33, brilliant strategy with your daughter.  HAH!!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: DTaggart on January 21, 2018, 10:33:26 AM
Quote from: DTaggart link=topic=86492.msg1863923#msg1863923
My only trouble is sometimes I buy discount grocery store gift cards and then I don't end up tracking that spending well in the month I actually use it. Like yesterday I did my shopping and spent ~$12 at Sprouts using a gift card I got for 10% off last fall, I'm too lazy to add that $12 back in to my grocery spending since Quicken adds all my regular card-based spending up for me. I need to work on that.

^  We buy the Sprouts cards at a discount every November. I know we spend about 25 dollars a week in produce so we get nine or ten. My grocery year starts when I do so, and I lower the budget by the same amount. That purchase gets marked as grocery so the ďaccountĒ is high one month but evens out across the year.

Yeah I think I'm just going approximate this as well. I've probably put about $25 on it this month so I'll lower my regular budget for this month to $225. There's about $75 left on the card, so I'll assume $25 for the next 3 months there (I don't go there every week), so we'll call my budget through April $225/month.

It's cool to get 10% off those gift cards but it makes it SO easy to just spend more!

Anyway, this leaves me with $25.98 for the rest of the month, which should be ok. I've already done most of my shopping for this week, just want to run to Big Lots for some dish soap and maybe canned tomatoes since its 20% off today*, and then produce, bread and milk next weekend.

My chest freezer is packed but I have no idea what's in there, so it's definitely time for an inventory.

*Meh, screw it. I have an extra bottle of soap and if I go there I'm just going to over-spend stockpiling. 20% off days come often enough.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on January 21, 2018, 01:26:16 PM
Not quite so great this week ó needed to do the periodic Wegmanís run, so itís a ďbiggerĒ week, plus ALDI had a huge selection of massively cheap produce (e.g. pineapples for $1.49), so I went off-script a little.  That I donít feel bad about, because I am making a serious effort to eat healthier this year, so anything that gets me to eat more produce is a good thing in my book.  And still under $200 total (DD again came in under budget, huzzah, even with a visit to the Wegmanís deli), for a month-to-date of
total for groceries + household of about $450.  Weíre pretty well stocked now, so I should be able to hit the $600 figure, if I pay attention.  And no additional takeout, at least. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Serendip on January 21, 2018, 06:32:04 PM
This is the first time we are tracking food spending (I was surprised my SO agreed--he doesn't think we should budget food since it's one of our 'joys of life'--ha)

We both installed the Monny app and are just using it for groceries/eating out/coffee/booze. I set a general guess of $400 each but have blown through that (and not eating out much by our standards). We could improve in this area a lot. Our home region is very pricey for food, and we have no storage/pantry so buying big bulk isn't an option.

 I've been cooking a lot more at home but still it is interesting how much we spend.
Will love see what you guys do to keep it frugal!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: mountain mustache on January 21, 2018, 07:16:00 PM
My usual goal is $400.00 a month, for one person. I live in a very small town, so groceries are $$$ and also not very high quality. Buying fresh vegetables and good meat is a challenge. Besides our one chain grocery store, we have a few tiny health food stores that make me want to cry they are so expensive.
My goal for the next 3 months (Feb, March and April) is $300.00 a month because it's a pretty tight time of year for me, my paychecks are a little smaller, and I have some medical bills coming up that are disrupting my budget.
I supplement my normal groceries with a trip to Costco every 2-3 months, and I usually spend about $2-300.00 to stock the freezer and pantry. I haven't always included this in my normal monthly budget because it's often staples that last forever, like 4 pounds of walnuts, and a gallon of olive oil. But, I wanted to add that in on this post because it is a significant way that I reduce my spending at my normal grocery store (yeah, we have only one)
I just did a trip to Costco last weekend for the first time in months and spent $400.00, which made me cringe. But, I was out of everything including all my pantry staples (coconut oil, olive oil, etc)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Abe on January 21, 2018, 09:52:22 PM
Our grocery list for other's reference:

1 pound kidney beans: $3
1 pound lentils: $3
5 pounds rice: $5
Bell peppers: $2.50/lb = $5
Yams: $2/lb = $6
Zucchini: $2/lb = $6
Onions: $1.50/lb = $3
Garlic: $1.50/lb = $1.50
Butternut squash: $2.50/lb = $5
Milk: 2 gallons for $8
Banana: $1.50/lb = $4.50
Apples: $2.50/lb = $7.50
Oranges: $2/lb = $6
Eggs (18): $5
Salmon: $15
Bread: $3

Total: $90 for 6 days of food for 2 adults, 1 kid (we eat out one lunch and dinner).
- Salmon is by far the most expensive per portion. The rest is bought at a store that buys secondary market produce that ninnies at the regular stores think looks too weird to sell.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Linea_Norway on January 22, 2018, 12:08:17 AM
I will join again. My goal: keeping the same average spend this year as last year. I really hope that my credit card will give 3% cash back on grocery again from next month. Otherwise I'll have to earn in those 3% in some other way.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: kaypinkHH on January 22, 2018, 08:07:25 AM
I'm in!

Goal is $700 for grocery (including household purchases), food out of the house, and alcohol. Pretty much all consumables!

Still transitioning from moving, so hopefully February/March/April I'll start seeing some realistic numbers!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: haypug16 on January 22, 2018, 09:54:08 AM
At $193.27 month to date. It's pretty safe to say I wont hit my stretch goal of $200 for the month with 10 days left but I have hope I will keep it under $250 easily. I only need to pick up a couple things for lunch at work I went grocery shopping with DH yesterday so we have enough produce, pasta, oatmeal, and coffee for the month. I also made a loaf of bread and some lemon "larabars" yesterday. There is actually some hope that I could get very close to $200 with some good planning.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: FireHiker on January 22, 2018, 10:18:39 AM
I am in! I found the challenge enormously helpful last year. We are a family of five. Kids are 6, 8, 17. We often feed other kids a meal as well if friends are over. My goal is $1100 per month total, groceries and eating out, including all treats and alcohol. I know it is a higher goal than average here. For comparison, last year's goal was $1200/month and we came in at $1264. In 2016 it was $1774/mo, and 2015 was $2126. I was tracking but not trying to cut down at all in 2015. In 2016 I  tried a little bit but not much. Last year is the first year I really put effort into it and was astonished to realize an average savings of $510/month. This included a decadent trip to Italy where we ate we reckless abandon.

So far this month we are at $858.79, on track for last year's $1200/month but not for this year's $1100. We did go to Disneyland earlier this month and I included the food there in "eating out" as opposed to "entertainment" adding $123 to the monthly total (ugh, I know. It was our last trip two days before our annual passes expired and we are not renewing this year). If I take out the Disney day we are ahead of our target, but I'm hoping we can be frugal the rest of the month to make up for it and still be on track.

It's amazing how much of a difference a little bit of awareness makes. I know we have a long way to improve compared to many of you here, but we're going to keep working on it! Thanks for all the help last year.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Linea_Norway on January 22, 2018, 01:28:26 PM
I started the challenge by buying the cheapest type of salad and by not buying anything I didn't need. Just a few veggies, milk, the cheapest healthy bread and a chunk of Greek feta cheese. The latter is luxury, but I hate the alternative Danish feta without taste.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: pancakes on January 23, 2018, 05:54:31 AM
Well since I started this thread I have cooked every night and cooked pretty thrifty meals.

All our fancy kitchen equipment collected over the years is in storage pending us buying a house and weíve been struggling to cook because we donít have the equipment for our old favourites. Buy nothing group to the rescue delivering on my request for a pasta maker. It turns out the baby loves fresh egg pasta too.

Mr Pancakes is still buying his lunches at work. We also donít have any containers to take lunches. Iím trying hard not to repurchase too many things that we have already in storage but containers will pay for themselves in a week.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on January 23, 2018, 06:07:53 AM
Can anyone tell me if they buy canned fat free refried beans? They are low cost, full of fiber, low in calories and very filling. I just can't find ideas on how to use them. The other day I made warmed up refried beans and put in a bowl then added Cholula, then added a sunny side up egg. It was delicious! I was filled up till lunch. I love the refried beans but my creative juices are just not kicking in on how to use them for every day stuff. Anyone make sandwiches out of it and if so what did you add to it. This morning I am thinking of having a peanut butter sammie and adding refried beans to it to kick up the fiber in the sammie. I am pretty creative with recipes and I have searched for refried bean recipes and all I keep coming up with is giant bowls of dip with cheese. I am considering fat free refried beans to be somewhat healthy but adding tons of cheese and sour cream just doesn't fit the healthy picture.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: kaypinkHH on January 23, 2018, 07:17:04 AM
Mmm refried beans!!

I like making burrito wraps (either with tortillas, or with leafy greens)...refried beans, rice, black beans, veggies, salsa an cheese. Burrito bowls also work. Trying to think what else we use them for!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: frooglepoodle on January 23, 2018, 07:43:16 AM
Iím in! We spent an average of $625/mo last year for two adults and a very hungry toddler, but Iím shooting for a modest reduction to $600/mo. Alcohol spending will be lower since Iím pregnant, but Iím anticipating an increase in more convenience-type groceries late in pregnancy and during the first few months with baby #2.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on January 23, 2018, 09:03:23 AM
Can anyone tell me if they buy canned fat free refried beans? They are low cost, full of fiber, low in calories and very filling. I just can't find ideas on how to use them. The other day I made warmed up refried beans and put in a bowl then added Cholula, then added a sunny side up egg. It was delicious! I was filled up till lunch. I love the refried beans but my creative juices are just not kicking in on how to use them for every day stuff. Anyone make sandwiches out of it and if so what did you add to it. This morning I am thinking of having a peanut butter sammie and adding refried beans to it to kick up the fiber in the sammie. I am pretty creative with recipes and I have searched for refried bean recipes and all I keep coming up with is giant bowls of dip with cheese. I am considering fat free refried beans to be somewhat healthy but adding tons of cheese and sour cream just doesn't fit the healthy picture.

I do breakfast tacos or scrambles a lot, or a bowl like you did (the runny yolk is just yum).  Or fajitas or regular tacos.  Basically, that same general flavor profile (which I tend to crave), but you can use the beans with or instead of any kind of protein (e.g., beans and grilled veg if you want a vegetarian fajita).

One thing I do to spike up the flavor quotient without a lot of cheese/sour cream is to add in chipotle powder or some other version of smoked chile powder (I have about 3 at home), plus cumin, and/or a little smoked salt; counterbalance that with some mixture of avocado/lime/cilantro, and it's delicious.  If you do want to do a dip-type thing, you can also use plain yogurt in place of sour cream (especially strained or Greek yogurt).  I once did a combo of Greek yogurt with lime and cilantro, plus home-fried tortilla strips dusted with smoked salt, and the combination was like crack -- you could put that on cardboard and I'd eat it.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on January 23, 2018, 09:27:00 AM
Super jazzed. Just got a $700 Costco card (from a rebate). Costco is where we do 90% of our grocery shopping. To ensure it doesn't allow us to wildly get off track with our budget (e.g. spend mindlessly due to "free money"), I'm going to set allow $200 as extra grocery money for a few splurges (nice meat or fish) + stock up items & then use the remaining $500 towards the kids college accounts. I'm trying to fund as much of the yearly limit as possible out of "found money" this year.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: HappierAtHome on January 23, 2018, 05:01:33 PM
I use refried beans in vegan chilli, chilli con carne, burrito bowls... Really anything Mexican.

They're even cheaper and tastier if you make your own, too.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Suzanne on January 23, 2018, 08:37:45 PM
Last yearís thread seemed to go really well for some people (not so much me).

Letís keep the momentum up in 2018, or perhaps kick it all off again.

Share your goals and tips, get some motivation or ask for help. Whatever stage you are at, if you are looking to reduce your day to day grocery expenses, welcome!

Let's get started pancakes and improve our net gains this year.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: haypug16 on January 24, 2018, 09:48:16 AM
at $197.27/$200 - $2.73 left over 7 days to reach my stretch goal. Thankfully my work now has oatmeal and snacks (as well as coffee) so I'm set in that department.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on January 24, 2018, 10:44:03 AM
I am very excited about this challenge. I think I might be over-challenging myself this year with everything I've joined.  Although I'm not doing well in the losing weight challenge!  We have 2 adults and 2 elementary age children, so our normal food budget is $400-450 per month.  This does not include eating out, since we haven't been tracking that so far.

My goal for the first three months of the year is $120/month for grocery store items.  This includes some household, but I also buy a very limited amount of random food items at Target, so I'll call that a wash rather than getting particular about it.  For this month, right now I'm at $111, and my weekend shopping list is very small and should be less than $9, so I am pretty sure I made it.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on January 24, 2018, 11:53:21 AM
I am very excited about this challenge. I think I might be over-challenging myself this year with everything I've joined.  Although I'm not doing well in the losing weight challenge!  We have 2 adults and 2 elementary age children, so our normal food budget is $400-450 per month.  This does not include eating out, since we haven't been tracking that so far.

My goal for the first three months of the year is $120/month for grocery store items.  This includes some household, but I also buy a very limited amount of random food items at Target, so I'll call that a wash rather than getting particular about it.  For this month, right now I'm at $111, and my weekend shopping list is very small and should be less than $9, so I am pretty sure I made it.

That is crazy low & super impressive! How are you getting it down to $120/month for grocery items with a family of 4. We're similarly sized (kids are 11 & 12) & would love ideas.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on January 24, 2018, 12:31:45 PM
I spend WAY too much for two people and people's heads here would explode. Just yesterday we spent $252 and a few days before that another $100. This is just for two people. I could feed the neighborhood for a weekend if I had to! LOL!

Okay so I had to check out my grocery spending this month and you all will face punch me! I added it all up and this also includes papertowels, TP and a few cleaning products but mostly groceries. I spent a whopping total of $1,250.88 this month...so far!

However, a lot went into the freezer and I bought a case of canned salmon from Costco for $139.00.

My upright freezer is so full.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on January 24, 2018, 01:29:17 PM
I spend WAY too much for two people and people's heads here would explode. Just yesterday we spent $252 and a few days before that another $100. This is just for two people. I could feed the neighborhood for a weekend if I had to! LOL!

Okay so I had to check out my grocery spending this month and you all will face punch me! I added it all up and this also includes papertowels, TP and a few cleaning products but mostly groceries. I spent a whopping total of $1,250.88 this month...so far!

However, a lot went into the freezer and I bought a case of canned salmon from Costco for $139.00.

My upright freezer is so full.

Can you make a menu plan for the next 4-6 weeks that leverages much of your freezer/pantry/fridge, requiring you to spend less in February? That's one way I get myself through weeks/months that have been particularly crazy
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on January 24, 2018, 02:13:07 PM
Yes, I am a bit of a hoarder and buy stuff on sale and stock up. My cupboards, cabinets, freezer and two refrigerators are FULL!

I should concentrate on using my sale items for the next month and just buy my produce and dairy next month. At Thanksgiving my local grocery store had turkeys on sale for 59 cents a lb and I bought 3 of them.

Butter has been sky high here for probably 6 months and this week it went on sale for $1.99. I went to the store twice and bought 4 total so I hoarded up.

I have a 'thing' about running out of anything! I lose it when I find I am totally out of anything! Hub let some spice jars run down to nothing and when I went to the cabinet to get something there was nothing in the jar I wanted. He knows it makes me nuts but he is laid back about it.

I definitely need to work to use what is in the freezer in February.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on January 24, 2018, 03:03:29 PM
MaybeBaby, I am like roadrunner in that my pantry and freezer were bursting, so the reduced budget is working only because I am relying so heavily on my stockpile.  That's why it will eventually go back up to $400 or so.  I have decided that when I run out of what I have, I will rely more on beans and potatoes like I used to so that I can keep it right at or slightly under $400.  We have also made a conscious effort to stop buying things like granola bars for the kids.  Although it's more work, I starting making applesauce muffins as a substitute and I am pretty sure they prefer my muffins.  I might branch out to other flavors if the kids get sick of the applesauce ones.  I also just this week decided to stop buying yogurt because I buy the fancy kind, and it's kind of a waste of money based on how filling I perceive it to be.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: redbird on January 24, 2018, 03:48:42 PM
I use refried beans in vegan chilli, chilli con carne, burrito bowls... Really anything Mexican.

They're even cheaper and tastier if you make your own, too.

Wow. This post made me look into how to do it. I didn't realize making refried beans was that easy.

Since I have an Instant Pot, I just started getting into making beans sometime last year. I make the whole bag of dried beans at once and freeze whatever I don't need immediately. I had a recipe that had me use pinto beans recently and so I have a lot of pinto beans cooked but frozen in my freezer. I am new to pinto beans and wasn't sure what else to use them for. Now I know exactly what I'm doing with them. :)

My parents pretty much never had beans as part of any meals while I was growing up (no, they never even made chili), so I'm very new to them in general. I didn't realize they could be so tasty!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on January 24, 2018, 03:59:10 PM
MaybeBaby, I am like roadrunner in that my pantry and freezer were bursting, so the reduced budget is working only because I am relying so heavily on my stockpile.  That's why it will eventually go back up to $400 or so.  I have decided that when I run out of what I have, I will rely more on beans and potatoes like I used to so that I can keep it right at or slightly under $400.  We have also made a conscious effort to stop buying things like granola bars for the kids.  Although it's more work, I starting making applesauce muffins as a substitute and I am pretty sure they prefer my muffins.  I might branch out to other flavors if the kids get sick of the applesauce ones.  I also just this week decided to stop buying yogurt because I buy the fancy kind, and it's kind of a waste of money based on how filling I perceive it to be.

Got it! Makes sense! We spend the majority of our budget on fruit & vegetables (although, we do have a stockpile of meat in the freezer, etc), so our bills remain pretty consistent month over month, assuming we're not on vacation or feeding extra people. I'm thinking I need to get more creative about where I shop, & decide if chasing deals week over week is worth it. Currently, I do 90% of my shopping at Costco.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: HappierAtHome on January 24, 2018, 04:06:54 PM
I use refried beans in vegan chilli, chilli con carne, burrito bowls... Really anything Mexican.

They're even cheaper and tastier if you make your own, too.

Wow. This post made me look into how to do it. I didn't realize making refried beans was that easy.

Since I have an Instant Pot, I just started getting into making beans sometime last year. I make the whole bag of dried beans at once and freeze whatever I don't need immediately. I had a recipe that had me use pinto beans recently and so I have a lot of pinto beans cooked but frozen in my freezer. I am new to pinto beans and wasn't sure what else to use them for. Now I know exactly what I'm doing with them. :)

My parents pretty much never had beans as part of any meals while I was growing up (no, they never even made chili), so I'm very new to them in general. I didn't realize they could be so tasty!

This post makes me so happy. Beans are the best! Easy to cook with, tasty to eat :D
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: HappierAtHome on January 25, 2018, 01:03:40 AM
Spent $66 today (a very cheap weekly shop by our standards). Still on track to juuuust squeeze in under budget this month.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: frooglepoodle on January 25, 2018, 04:15:20 AM
I am out of onions and had planned to make bolognese sauce for dinner tonight. One of my big weaknesses is going in for one or two things, then getting distracted and ending up with a cart full. The other is the trifecta of shopping while pregnant, hungry, and with a toddler. X.x

I'm way over my proposed budget for the month, but under my goal number for the year. I meal planned out to the rest of the month and made my list of what I'll need today in order to hold myself accountable.

My list for today:
Onions
Mushrooms
Apples
Clementines (toddler's favorite snack)
Eggs



Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on January 25, 2018, 05:15:55 AM
frooglepoodle, that is what happens to me every time I go to the grocery store. I go in for a handful of things and come out of the store $200 later! Just the other day, Hub and I went together and he said should I just get a basket since we only have a few things to get. I said no, get a cart and sure enough, $252 later we walked out of the store. UGH! I am a bargain shopper/hoarder and talked to Hub last night and we intend to start shopping our freezers in February. If I send him to the store with a list, he usually gets only what is on it. However, he has come home with some tasty treats too that were not on the list! The other thing that I find that is helpful in my area is Peapod which is a home delivery grocery. You go on line and pick out what you want and pick a delivery day and time. They do charge a delivery fee but it is easier to keep yourself in check. However, sometimes I have gotten fresh produce that I didn't like. I ordered two sweet potatoes expecting them to be like baked potato size and when they came they were the size of eggs. LOL!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: jambongris on January 25, 2018, 06:59:35 AM
Our grocery list for other's reference:

1 pound kidney beans: $3
1 pound lentils: $3
5 pounds rice: $5
Bell peppers: $2.50/lb = $5
Yams: $2/lb = $6
Zucchini: $2/lb = $6
Onions: $1.50/lb = $3
Garlic: $1.50/lb = $1.50
Butternut squash: $2.50/lb = $5
Milk: 2 gallons for $8
Banana: $1.50/lb = $4.50
Apples: $2.50/lb = $7.50
Oranges: $2/lb = $6
Eggs (18): $5
Salmon: $15
Bread: $3

Total: $90 for 6 days of food for 2 adults, 1 kid (we eat out one lunch and dinner).
- Salmon is by far the most expensive per portion. The rest is bought at a store that buys secondary market produce that ninnies at the regular stores think looks too weird to sell.

Where are you located that you’re seeing these prices? Some of them seem really high to me. I’m in Ottawa, Canada for reference which I understood to be about 20% to 30% more expensive than your average American grocery store prices.

These are the best prices I’ve found locally for some of the items on your list:

Bell Peppers $1.25/lb
Yams $1/lb
Onions $1/lb
Butternut Squash $0.67/lb
Bananas $0.57/lb
Apples $0.66/lb
Oranges $1/lb
Eggs (30) $5
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: jambongris on January 25, 2018, 07:05:50 AM
frooglepoodle, that is what happens to me every time I go to the grocery store. I go in for a handful of things and come out of the store $200 later! Just the other day, Hub and I went together and he said should I just get a basket since we only have a few things to get. I said no, get a cart and sure enough, $252 later we walked out of the store. UGH! I am a bargain shopper/hoarder and talked to Hub last night and we intend to start shopping our freezers in February. If I send him to the store with a list, he usually gets only what is on it. However, he has come home with some tasty treats too that were not on the list! The other thing that I find that is helpful in my area is Peapod which is a home delivery grocery. You go on line and pick out what you want and pick a delivery day and time. They do charge a delivery fee but it is easier to keep yourself in check. However, sometimes I have gotten fresh produce that I didn't like. I ordered two sweet potatoes expecting them to be like baked potato size and when they came they were the size of eggs. LOL!

We’ve had this problem as well, especially at Costco.

Our closest grocery store just started offering a service where they collect your groceries for you and they bring them out to your car at a predetermined pickup time. This has really cut down on the unexpectedly large grocery runs and it causes us to be much more conscious of what we’re ordering.

The service is $100/yr but it comes with a bunch of other perks that end up saving us more than the annual fee. Their website is fairly intuitive and has nearly everything they carry in store. They’ve also been really good at selecting produce.

The biggest downside is that I can’t check out the clearance racks and the price matching process is a bit of a pain compared to how quickly the cashiers can do it.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MrDelane on January 25, 2018, 07:09:47 AM
frooglepoodle, that is what happens to me every time I go to the grocery store. I go in for a handful of things and come out of the store $200 later! Just the other day, Hub and I went together and he said should I just get a basket since we only have a few things to get. I said no, get a cart and sure enough, $252 later we walked out of the store.

I've found that if I'm only picking up a few things it is best to grab a basket.  It will immediately limit how much you're willing to get.  Just earlier this week I stopped by to buy milk and purposely did not even get a basket, limiting myself to whatever I could carry.

It still takes having a plan and some willpower - but putting physical limits on yourself in regards to how much you can buy at one time really does help (at least in my experience).
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on January 25, 2018, 07:17:26 AM
I'm planning out my shopping for Saturday. I'll be out of town Sunday-Friday (international work travel), so I usually pick up a few easier meal options for my husband.

I know we need:
-Bananas
-Meatballs (I don't make them myself. I know. Insert facepunches here. It's on my list of items to try in 2018)
-Cheese pizza
-Milk
-Eggs
-Apples
-Pears
-Cucumbers X2 packages
-Tomatoes
-Lettuce
-Grapes
-Oranges
-Kiwi
-Spinach
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: frooglepoodle on January 25, 2018, 09:20:56 AM
I am out of onions and had planned to make bolognese sauce for dinner tonight. One of my big weaknesses is going in for one or two things, then getting distracted and ending up with a cart full. The other is the trifecta of shopping while pregnant, hungry, and with a toddler. X.x

I'm way over my proposed budget for the month, but under my goal number for the year. I meal planned out to the rest of the month and made my list of what I'll need today in order to hold myself accountable.

My list for today:
Onions
Mushrooms
Apples
Clementines (toddler's favorite snack)
Eggs

I'm happy to report that I got in and out with only the items on my list today, for a grand total of $15.18. We're in a smallish town in a semi-rural area and I imagine there isn't much demand for online ordering or services like PeaPod (I checked and they don't serve our area). I'm a stay-at-home parent so I'd have a hard time justifying those extra costs over having a snack before we go so we aren't shopping hungry. I do usually have my husband pick up one-off items on his way home from work, as he's less likely to get distracted than I am (but more likely to buy candy at checkout).
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on January 25, 2018, 11:37:00 AM
-Meatballs (I don't make them myself. I know. Insert facepunches here. It's on my list of items to try in 2018)

Oh, this is SO easy!!!  One tip:  I have always been a fan of the meatballs you get in Italy, which are sort of soft and tender, not hard little nuggets.  Turns out the real secret is more filler!  If you are interested, here is how I make meatballs:  put some bread crumbs (or stale bread that you whiz up until it's crumbly) in a bowl with about the same amount of parmesan.  Add an egg and some milk and mix it up.  Let it sit until the bread crumbs absorb the liquid, then mix that in with the chosen meat, herbs, and spices -- you can check any cookbook for herb/spice combinations that will go with different flavor profiles.  Then cook one up in a pan to test the flavors before cooking the whole batch (I tend to find that I need to add more herbs/spice/salt, because I'm always afraid to add too much at first).  These also tend to be more delicious if you saute them in a frying pan to get that little crust.

I also do turkey-veggie meatballs to try to sneak veg into my non-veg kiddos.  For these, I whiz up bunches of veggies (garlic, onions, carrots, spinach, peppers, mushrooms, whatever you want), and then I cook them down in a large pan until the liquid is gone and it's looking kind of like a large veggie patty (this will take 45 mins or so, depending on quantities).  Then I mix that in with ground turkey and the egg/milk/bread*/parmesan mix and the herbs (I find fresh sage goes very, very well in this, along with thyme); if you want to cook up a little pancetta or add some demi-glace or similar, that can pump up the deep umami-ness that tends to be missing in turkey meatballs.  These are very tender, so I tend to use an ice-cream scoop and just form them very gently with wet hands before putting them in a roasting pan in the oven to bake (or plop into simmering sauce).  This version is definitely a production, but I make 2-3 lbs of meat at a time and then freeze whole masses of them.

*If I am making these super-healthy, I will use something like oat bran instead of the bread crumbs.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on January 25, 2018, 11:49:27 AM
-Meatballs (I don't make them myself. I know. Insert facepunches here. It's on my list of items to try in 2018)

Oh, this is SO easy!!!  One tip:  I have always been a fan of the meatballs you get in Italy, which are sort of soft and tender, not hard little nuggets.  Turns out the real secret is more filler!  If you are interested, here is how I make meatballs:  put some bread crumbs (or stale bread that you whiz up until it's crumbly) in a bowl with about the same amount of parmesan.  Add an egg and some milk and mix it up.  Let it sit until the bread crumbs absorb the liquid, then mix that in with the chosen meat, herbs, and spices -- you can check any cookbook for herb/spice combinations that will go with different flavor profiles.  Then cook one up in a pan to test the flavors before cooking the whole batch (I tend to find that I need to add more herbs/spice/salt, because I'm always afraid to add too much at first).  These also tend to be more delicious if you saute them in a frying pan to get that little crust.

I also do turkey-veggie meatballs to try to sneak veg into my non-veg kiddos.  For these, I whiz up bunches of veggies (garlic, onions, carrots, spinach, peppers, mushrooms, whatever you want), and then I cook them down in a large pan until the liquid is gone and it's looking kind of like a large veggie patty (this will take 45 mins or so, depending on quantities).  Then I mix that in with ground turkey and the egg/milk/bread*/parmesan mix and the herbs (I find fresh sage goes very, very well in this, along with thyme); if you want to cook up a little pancetta or add some demi-glace or similar, that can pump up the deep umami-ness that tends to be missing in turkey meatballs.  These are very tender, so I tend to use an ice-cream scoop and just form them very gently with wet hands before putting them in a roasting pan in the oven to bake (or plop into simmering sauce).  This version is definitely a production, but I make 2-3 lbs of meat at a time and then freeze whole masses of them.

*If I am making these super-healthy, I will use something like oat bran instead of the bread crumbs.

Fabulous - thanks. It's been one of our last "crutch" prepared food options. The time/money investment has made me reluctant to come up with a better solution. But, will definitely give them a try.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Parizade on January 25, 2018, 12:26:33 PM
I would like to join, my grocery bill has been facepunch-worthy lately. I'm going to see how low I can go in February.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: haypug16 on January 25, 2018, 12:28:11 PM
Forgot to bring in lunch today! Oh No!!! Around 11:30 the CEO asks me if I brought in lunch I say "nope" he says "OK let's all go out for a nice lunch" That worked out nicely for me :) Still holding strong at $197.27 (goal of $200) with 1 week left in the month.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 25, 2018, 02:43:32 PM
Hi, I'm pretty new to the forum, and looking for a place to hang out.

Grocery spend seems to be where I am focusing right now!  As in, reducing it.

I really don't know what I usually spend on groceries (plus meals out) a month for my family of 4 (including two hungry teens) but I know it is a lot.  I set a Uber Frugal January goal of $400 for groceries for the entire month -- seemed reasonable, we had a lot of food in the pantry -- HA!  That was unrealistic!  I am now thinking $650 and will probably go over even that THIS MONTH.  But there will be a next month... and I plan to keep scrutinizing and reducing this expenditure.

So I'm glad to join in! 

I'm currently tracking every single item I buy at the grocery store to see exactly what I am buying most often.  I want to locate the cheapest sources of things I buy a lot.  I'm wondering how I can make better use of my Costco Membership, or if I should let it expire and shop elsewhere.  I"d love to be buying more Costco meat and fish, but I have a habit of not repackaging it, and then wasting half of what I bought due to freezer burn or whatever.

In fact, I'd say a large part of my budget problem is food waste and not eating up leftovers.  If I can get a handle on that, we'll be doing great.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on January 25, 2018, 03:46:22 PM
Hi, I'm pretty new to the forum, and looking for a place to hang out.

Grocery spend seems to be where I am focusing right now!  As in, reducing it.

I really don't know what I usually spend on groceries (plus meals out) a month for my family of 4 (including two hungry teens) but I know it is a lot.  I set a Uber Frugal January goal of $400 for groceries for the entire month -- seemed reasonable, we had a lot of food in the pantry -- HA!  That was unrealistic!  I am now thinking $650 and will probably go over even that THIS MONTH.  But there will be a next month... and I plan to keep scrutinizing and reducing this expenditure.

So I'm glad to join in! 

I'm currently tracking every single item I buy at the grocery store to see exactly what I am buying most often.  I want to locate the cheapest sources of things I buy a lot.  I'm wondering how I can make better use of my Costco Membership, or if I should let it expire and shop elsewhere.  I"d love to be buying more Costco meat and fish, but I have a habit of not repackaging it, and then wasting half of what I bought due to freezer burn or whatever.

In fact, I'd say a large part of my budget problem is food waste and not eating up leftovers.  If I can get a handle on that, we'll be doing great.

Welcome, CrustyBadger. I tracked my grocery spending (at the item level) for all of 2016, and it was pretty eye opening. Menu planning & ensuring leftovers don't go to waste our critical for our budget. We also shop primarily at Costco, and have done most price per unit comparisons to figure out what makes the most sense. As soon as we get back from Costco, we bundle things up & freeze the meat. But, if it's not saving money to buy in bulk, I'd recommend perhaps evaluating buying in smaller portions for some period of time.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 25, 2018, 05:10:19 PM
Welcome, CrustyBadger. I tracked my grocery spending (at the item level) for all of 2016, and it was pretty eye opening. Menu planning & ensuring leftovers don't go to waste our critical for our budget. We also shop primarily at Costco, and have done most price per unit comparisons to figure out what makes the most sense. As soon as we get back from Costco, we bundle things up & freeze the meat. But, if it's not saving money to buy in bulk, I'd recommend perhaps evaluating buying in smaller portions for some period of time.

Thanks, MaybeBabyMustache!

It took me a while to put together a spreadsheet, but now that it is done, it doesn't take long to update it.  I'm not sure I've created the most useful categories, but once I have maybe two months of records, I'd like to post it here, and get people's feedback on where I could do better.

I think I'll get the most bang for the buck by looking at items I buy frequently.  Right now that seems to be milk, butter and cheese, OJ, cereals, breads, snacks, and of course fruits and vegetables.  I don't particularly shop the sales yet, but now that I'm aware of how frequently I am buying these things each month, I"ll have a better sense of when it makes sense to buy in bulk quantities.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: jambongris on January 25, 2018, 05:36:12 PM
Welcome, CrustyBadger. I tracked my grocery spending (at the item level) for all of 2016, and it was pretty eye opening. Menu planning &amp; ensuring leftovers don't go to waste our critical for our budget. We also shop primarily at Costco, and have done most price per unit comparisons to figure out what makes the most sense. As soon as we get back from Costco, we bundle things up &amp; freeze the meat. But, if it's not saving money to buy in bulk, I'd recommend perhaps evaluating buying in smaller portions for some period of time.

Thanks, MaybeBabyMustache!

It took me a while to put together a spreadsheet, but now that it is done, it doesn't take long to update it.  I'm not sure I've created the most useful categories, but once I have maybe two months of records, I'd like to post it here, and get people's feedback on where I could do better.

I think I'll get the most bang for the buck by looking at items I buy frequently.  Right now that seems to be milk, butter and cheese, OJ, cereals, breads, snacks, and of course fruits and vegetables.  I don't particularly shop the sales yet, but now that I'm aware of how frequently I am buying these things each month, I"ll have a better sense of when it makes sense to buy in bulk quantities.

The best grocery option seems to vary from city to to city and from person to person so you’ll need to crunch your numbers to figure out which is best for your needs/habits.

We generally use the superstore near us because it’s close, they have decent prices and the cashiers are really good at handling price matching requests for when something is priced lower elsewhere.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 25, 2018, 05:58:08 PM
My most convenient grocery store is Aldi, but I hadn't shopped there much. The one by us has very poor service, and I'm concerned about their food safety to be honest (I see perishable items left around and then being placed back on the shelves, and food is moldy).   And lines are long and slow... but the prices are so good!   
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: FireHiker on January 25, 2018, 06:23:09 PM
Monthly total so far is $961.79. I really hope we can cut back the rest of the month and make it under $1100, even with the crazy spend on our Disney day. Trying to eat as much from the pantry and freezer as possible. We need a Costco run soon-ish though.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Linea_Norway on January 26, 2018, 01:05:29 AM
New (small) challenge, not a problem. DH is home with has sick leave for the moment. Sometimes when he visits a place, he also shops groceries and sticks mostly to the shopping list. Recently he came home with some really good and tender meat (very expensive, we ate it at Christmas). He is generally a more frugal person than I used to be and we also need to enjoy ourselves a bit. But I think the groceries will be costing a bit more this year. DH does not have a cash back card and does not want one either. He doesn't want to track his finances in detail ("I don't want them to know everything about me!"). So I can only track what I shop and use my cash back cards.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 26, 2018, 05:17:17 AM
Linda, can you ask him to save the receipt when he goes grocery shopping, and just give it to you?   Then you can track what he's been spending on food, but "they" don't need to know any more than they already knew (in providing him the receipt).
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on January 26, 2018, 07:04:35 AM
I know some people swear by Aldi but I can't get into that store at all. The produce is minimal and looks pretty crappy. I bought this meat that looked like filet mignon wrapped in bacon and it was TERRIBLE! The meat was tough as shoe leather. They don't have a dedicated butcher there and all of it is prepackaged and in a refrigerated case. I did buy refrigerated pizza there a couple of times and it was cheap and good. That is the only thing that I liked there. However, I am a pizza nut so most pizza is good pizza in my book. When my Mom was still alive we went there when it first opened and she was appalled that we had to pay 25 cents for a cart. Even though we got the quarter back, she despised it and the store after that! LOL! We didn't even buy anything. Packing your own groceries is a bit of a turn off too.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on January 26, 2018, 09:02:12 AM
I'm one of those Aldi fans! I don't mind the quarter for the cart, and I actually like packing my own groceries.  I hate getting plastic bags, and it seems like when I go to a "regular" grocery store, they don't understand how to bag anyway.

I will say, our Aldi has always been really clean, the employees are long-time employees who are super-helpful, and while in the past I had just a couple of issues with produce going bad too fast, I haven't experienced that in at least two years. 

There are at least 5 Aldis in my area that I've visited, and none are subpar.  I have heard that to be the case in other areas, though.  All of ours have been remodeled, so I would encourage anyone to give it a second chance if it's been remodeled.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on January 26, 2018, 09:12:52 AM
Please tell us what you buy there. I just meander thru the aisles never seeing much of interest. Please enlighten me!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on January 26, 2018, 11:41:45 AM
Please tell us what you buy there. I just meander thru the aisles never seeing much of interest. Please enlighten me!

For reference, we are a family of four.  I buy on a regular basis there: vanilla wafers, pretzels, milk, eggs, salad dressing, lettuce, bell peppers, radishes, cucumbers, carrots, berries, apples, bananas, clementines, avocados, cilantro, saltines, fake ritz crackers, croutons, canned green beans, canned corn, canned tomatoes and sauce, canned beans, dried beans, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, rice, quinoa, chia seeds, yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream, crescent rolls, goat cheese, boneless skinless chicken thighs, their brand of rotel, soft tortilla shells, pasta, pasta sauce, granola bars, oats, bread, spices, baking supplies, and seasonal products.  I have occasionally bought almost everything they sell if it's something we eat of another brand (like mayo and ketchup).

Things I don't buy there (because I can get better deals elsewhere): chicken breast, ground beef, shredded cheese, bagels, name brand cheerios.

Things I don't buy there bc they aren't available: diet dr. pepper, california pizza kitchen bbq chicken pizza, jack's salsa, tostitos cantina chips, some types of dried beans.

Basically, if they sell it, and it's not a significantly better deal somewhere else, I buy it there.  We average two stores per week.  Aldi, and then one other trip, usually for 2-3 items based on what I need. 

Our Aldi is significantly cheaper than Walmart, Publix, and Harris Teeter, so I only get loss leaders at the other two, and I only stop at Walmart if I'm in a pinch.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on January 26, 2018, 12:06:17 PM
AmandaPanda, thanks for such a great report on what you buy at Aldi. We have stores in the North East called Big Y. They have some great sales and lots of buy one get one or get two free. That store has gotten me into trouble because I keep buying and buying all these good deals! OMG! Now that I have filled up one upright freezer and two refrigerator freezers and two refrigerators, not to mention three giant cabinets down in the basement, I have to STOP! On top of that I found this place on line where I can buy stuffed fillet of sole with crabmeat and scallops and coconut shrimp. Each is on order and 10 lbs each! That is IT for me for a while. I have gone bananas! Somehow I have to just buy dairy and salad stuff for the next couple of months and whittle it all down. Previously, I bought the coconut shrimp, eggplant slices and fish fillets and each of those were 10 lbs each. Hub is starting to freak out on where we will store more stuff! LOL, maybe I will have to buy another freezer...no, LOL, just kidding! The dumb thing is that it is just the two of us and two dogs on special dog food from the vet!

I don't even want to look at the grocery store sale flyers...too many good deals! How many times I went to the store for just 5 things...Temptation is everywhere!

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 26, 2018, 12:21:15 PM
The Aldi's where my parents live (upscale suburban neighborhood) is quite clean and everything looks fresh; great service.   Where I live (much less upscale and more urban neighborhood) it is a different story.

That said, it is our closest grocery store, and I can do very well there in prices, so I keep trying.  The pantry and baking basics are fine, as are the generic cereals and snacks.   Produce that doesn't need refrigerations is generally OK, but perishables are hit or miss.  (They are fine if they look OK and you plan to eat them that day or the next.)  I've been burned a few times on the berries.

A few things we particularly like there are the peanut butter filled pretzels, the "Oat So Healthy" sandwich bread, and the Chicken Tikka Masala simmer sauce.  The Oat so Healthy bread is a lot more expensive than basic white bread, but it is very hearty and filling, and the kids just like to eat it as a snack.  Oh, we also often get a pack of refrigerator Buttermilk Biscuits for 99 cents.  They aren't as good or cheap as homemade, but everyone likes them and they make a stew meal a little more interesting with very very little effort.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: FireHiker on January 26, 2018, 12:22:08 PM
We don't have an Aldi near us; the closest one is about 20 minutes away and just opened in the past year or two; I haven't been up there yet. The closest Walmart is also 20 minutes away. We shop a mix of Sprouts, Jimbo's (local chain, expensive like whole food but surprisingly reasonable for some items with awesome local produce in season), Target, Trader Joes, Costco. We have Sprouts, Jimbo's, and Target within 3 minutes of our house, Trader Joes and Costco are 10 minutes away. We live 2 miles from work and don't leave a 3 mile radius from home most days. If we have to go over to the shopping center where Costco and Trader Joes are for another reason we'll stack errands accordingly and stock up on the items we buy there. Every once in a rare while we'll go to an ethnic store (H-Mart or Northgate) for specific items that are drastically cheaper than anywhere else.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on January 26, 2018, 01:38:50 PM
Love reading other shopping lists/staples from others. Thought I'd chime in with an average weekly shopping list for us:

Costco:
-Milk
-Eggs (one area where we focus on organic)
-Bagels (every other week)
-Apples
-Pears
-Bananas (x2)
-Mandarins
-Kiwi
-Pineapple
-Melon
-Grapes
-Lettuce
-Tomatoes (mostly every other week)
-English cucumber (x2 packs)
-Broccoli
-Cauliflower
-Meat (maybe monthly either chicken or ground beef)
-Cheddar cheese (every 3-4 weeks)
-Romano cheese (every 3-4 weeks)
-A prepared meat (e.g. baked chicken, meatballs, breaded tilapia, etc). We don't buy these every week
-Pantry staples we might be out of (flour, sugar, etc)

Local produce stand:
-Mini cucumbers (yes, we eat A LOT of cucumbers)
-Wheat lavosh bread
-2 bunches of radishes

We rarely go to a more traditional grocery store, but if we do, it will be for pasta (typically cheaper than Costco when on sale) or a random recipe ingredient
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 26, 2018, 01:55:32 PM
MaybeBabyMustache -- what do you do with all that produce?  Do people just eat it as a snack or with meals, or do you cook with it/incorporate it into a meal?
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: fruitfly on January 26, 2018, 03:31:15 PM
I'm joining here to try and encourage myself to do better. Family of four - two adults, two school aged kids. Last year I was spending upwards of $1,500 for groceries/household. I got it down to $1,000, but I still feel like that is too much. My SO is currently a SAHD so he cooks everything (it's wonderful, before we split the cooking). But one income means I'm trying to save money!

I think initial goal will be $750 a month. I've spent $902 this month so far.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on January 26, 2018, 03:46:46 PM
MaybeBabyMustache -- what do you do with all that produce?  Do people just eat it as a snack or with meals, or do you cook with it/incorporate it into a meal?

We use most of the vegetables in a salad we eat every night. The kids eat fruit with breakfast, and have fruit as "dessert" in the evenings. I sometimes also have fruit in the evenings. My husband has fruit with yogurt for his breakfast in the morning. We rarely waste produce, so yep, going through it all week. Two adults + two boys ages 11 & 12
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: SquashingDebt on January 26, 2018, 04:06:47 PM
Aldi also has high-quality, cheap specialty cheeses (I loved their sharp white cheddar) and hummus.  When I lived near an Aldi, that's what I would go there to stock up on.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 26, 2018, 04:15:13 PM
MaybeBabyMustache -- what do you do with all that produce?  Do people just eat it as a snack or with meals, or do you cook with it/incorporate it into a meal?

We use most of the vegetables in a salad we eat every night. The kids eat fruit with breakfast, and have fruit as "dessert" in the evenings. I sometimes also have fruit in the evenings. My husband has fruit with yogurt for his breakfast in the morning. We rarely waste produce, so yep, going through it all week. Two adults + two boys ages 11 & 12

I meant to ask -- "with all that fruit"!   We eat vegetables every night, but fruit tends to not get eaten. Your list seemed like a lot of fruit -- bananas, apples, pears, kiwi, oranges, pineapple....   Just wondered if that was a weekly shop or if you rotated the fruit.   If you are eating them as dessert that would use up a lot of it, though.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on January 26, 2018, 05:51:08 PM
MaybeBabyMustache -- what do you do with all that produce?  Do people just eat it as a snack or with meals, or do you cook with it/incorporate it into a meal?

We use most of the vegetables in a salad we eat every night. The kids eat fruit with breakfast, and have fruit as "dessert" in the evenings. I sometimes also have fruit in the evenings. My husband has fruit with yogurt for his breakfast in the morning. We rarely waste produce, so yep, going through it all week. Two adults + two boys ages 11 & 12

I meant to ask -- "with all that fruit"!   We eat vegetables every night, but fruit tends to not get eaten. Your list seemed like a lot of fruit -- bananas, apples, pears, kiwi, oranges, pineapple....   Just wondered if that was a weekly shop or if you rotated the fruit.   If you are eating them as dessert that would use up a lot of it, though.

No rotation, that's the weekly list for fall/winter. We actually buy more in spring/summer with additional berry options, etc. The kids take some for lunch as well. Forgot to add that.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on January 27, 2018, 07:38:01 AM
My ALDI experience is that they are hit-or-miss based on the area.  The first one I found was in the less-affluent area near me.  Itís bad.  Dirty, narrow aisles, small - just unpleasant.  I sucked it up because, damn, the prices. 

Then I found a new one in the more affluent area in the other direction.  OMG.  Huge, light, bright, clean, well-stocked.  Totally different experience.

I will say, though, that it depends on time of day.  I tried the new one late on Sunday a few weeks ago, and thereís was basically no produce left - I literally got the last two bananas.  So if that had been my first trip there, Iíd probably have written it off.

I am transitioning most of my shopping there, as most of their alternatives are as good as what I got at the regular stores.  Some exceptions are chicken stock and cat litter; I also havenít reliably found juice boxes that I like there. And they donít carry DHís Diet Pepsi, sausage, or OJ brand, or my Powerade Zero, so we still hit Wegmanís every second or third week.

Oh, and those ďfiletsĒ?  I almost fell for that when I was looking for a special New Yearís Eve dinner:  they are ďmockĒ filets, a/k/a chuck roast cut to be shaped like filets.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on January 27, 2018, 08:13:07 AM
I mentioned that packing your groceries at Aldi is a turn off but I had to rethink that because at my local grocery stores, sometimes they do a lousy job and when I get to my car, I am repacking anyway. I do NOT understand how these people do this for 8 hours a day and can't pack like things together. I will find meat and cold things in 3 or 4 different bags. I even put the LIKE items on the belt together to make it easier for them to pack but NOPE never fails, I have a jumbled up mess. It just makes putting groceries away a giant headache. Then I will buy onions, potatoes, oranges and they will pack all of them in one tiny bag and weights 15 lbs. Or I might stock up on canned veggies, jarred sauces and YEP, never fails, 60 lbs all in one bag. Or a loaf of bread jammed in a bag with a gallon of milk! WHY??? What is so difficult?
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Linea_Norway on January 27, 2018, 09:34:15 AM
I mentioned that packing your groceries at Aldi is a turn off but I had to rethink that because at my local grocery stores, sometimes they do a lousy job and when I get to my car, I am repacking anyway. I do NOT understand how these people do this for 8 hours a day and can't pack like things together. I will find meat and cold things in 3 or 4 different bags. I even put the LIKE items on the belt together to make it easier for them to pack but NOPE never fails, I have a jumbled up mess. It just makes putting groceries away a giant headache. Then I will buy onions, potatoes, oranges and they will pack all of them in one tiny bag and weights 15 lbs. Or I might stock up on canned veggies, jarred sauces and YEP, never fails, 60 lbs all in one bag. Or a loaf of bread jammed in a bag with a gallon of milk! WHY??? What is so difficult?

Your country has people packing your groceries for you... i have experienced that once or twice on a busy shopping day just before a holiday, when the shop har hired a packer for the occasion. This packing is not common in the countries where I lived in. I am usually stressed, trying to pack fast, while the next customer is close, i need to take a packing break to pay, amd then the next customer is there and my good are still not packed... i kike shopping with my DH, so I have a personal packer. But that is not so often.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on January 27, 2018, 12:18:55 PM
Bought a week's worth of groceries. Note that I'll be out of town for work, so I picked up more convenience foods than usual. And, feel guilty I didn't make my own meatballs from Laura's recipe, but shaving a day off of my weekend for travel means rushing a bit.

Costco - $86.06
2 packages bananas
Kiwi
Tomatoes
Milk
5 dozen eggs
Bag of onions
Pineapple
Pears
Meatballs (sorry, Laura! ;-))
Romaine
Cucumbers
Pizzas
Apples

Produce stand: $8.06
3 lbs Persian cucumbers
2 bunches of radishes
1 organic yellow pepper

Grocery store: $1.71 (on gift card earned)
French bread (freebie)
2 pkgs of pasta

Obviously, we have lots of stuff in the freezer. Meals for the week will likely be:
-Spaghetti with meatballs
-Pizza
-Tortellini w/grilled chicken (freezer)
-Leftovers

All dinners served with salad, & fruit for dessert

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on January 27, 2018, 02:00:30 PM
@MBM: I forgive you.  ;-)  I only make meatballs on lazy weekends myself.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on January 27, 2018, 02:14:19 PM
What kind of meatballs do you buy at the grocery store? What brands?

My Hub usually makes meatballs and they are so good. He uses hamburger and meatloaf mix (hamburger, veal, pork), dehydrated onion soup, chopped onion, breadcrumbs, egg and Italian spices. Bakes them in the oven and woo hoo, to die for! But sometimes we run out and it would be nice to have a back up. I kind of 'fear' frozen meatballs for blah flavor and the worst is finding a small bone fragment when you are chewing. GAG ME! Years ago, it was more common to find the little tiny bone fragments in ground beef. I would gag and that was the end of the hamburger or whatever. I would almost lose my lunch!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on January 27, 2018, 02:46:54 PM
@MBM: I forgive you.  ;-)  I only make meatballs on lazy weekends myself.

Still plan to try your recipe.

@Roadrunner53 - we buy the Costco Italian kind. And yes, total gag on the bone in ground meat. Never had an issue with the Costco kind. The kids eat them as a staple. I have one incredibly picky eater, and it's one of his preferred proteins. It's not terrible, but I'd prefer to make them myself, time permitting.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 27, 2018, 04:23:31 PM
Making walnut lentil chili for supper tonight.  I need to find ways to use up this bag of bulk walnuts from Costco that I rebagged and stored in the freezer.  My family just doesn't eat walnuts much for breakfast, but they were such a good buy and so nutritious!

3/4 of the family liked the walnut lentil chili last time I made them.  the other 1/4 liked the taste but not the texture. So I am chopping the walnuts a little bit finer and cooking 1 minute more in the pressure cooker.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Tess on January 27, 2018, 04:41:16 PM
I'm in!  Trying to reduce grocery budget in 2018 -- all groceries and HH supplies (but not eating out, which comes out of entertainment/personal spending, and which we don't do often, maybe 1 x/week at Thai or Mexican type place) for $500 to feed 3.7 adults (me,hubs, 26 year old DD and 14 year old DSD (dear step daughter) who is with her mom .3 of the time.   So far I'm on track for January as long as I don't buy any more groceries before next Thurs.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: frooglepoodle on January 27, 2018, 05:24:21 PM
@CrustyBadger, can you share that walnut and lentil chili recipe? It sounds delicious and I also have some Costco walnut to use up!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 27, 2018, 06:01:44 PM
@CrustyBadger, can you share that walnut and lentil chili recipe? It sounds delicious and I also have some Costco walnut to use up!

Sure can!  I used up the last of my bag of orange lentils (recipe calls for brown I think but not sure it makes much difference).   And last time instead of all the spices, I just used some taco seasoning that I had.   This time I really followed the recipe, and it was very flavorful, but too spice for my husband, unfortunately.

https://www.delishknowledge.com/instant-pot-walnut-lentil-tacos/

(Side note -- this is the first time in my life I have used the phrase "all out of lentils"!   I'm eating through my pantry!!   Need to buy more lentils!)

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: pancakes on January 27, 2018, 06:12:04 PM
Our local supermarket is ALDI and if they have any fruit and veg even on the shelves it is almost all inside excessive plastic packaging.  We got a CSA box last week instead of grocery shopping for fruit and veg but it is going to be a steep learning curve to cook from a box again. We did it for years previously but the things in it I never buy - potatoes, sprouts, white onions, apples (I remember why I was always baking apple tea cake now haha). Also lots of bananas which are literally the only food my baby refuses to eat.

Then when we were at the supermarket I still bought figs, grapes, sweet potato, tomatoes, rocket...

I feel like I need to put a proper effort in before I start changing things but maybe we need to swap to a veg only box or do a week on, week off.


We donít eat much meat but to me potato is a side to a meat dish. Please recommend me your favourite vegetarian potato dishes.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 27, 2018, 06:17:10 PM

We donít eat much meat but to me potato is a side to a meat dish. Please recommend me your favourite vegetarian potato dishes.

Can you eat eggs?

I love latkes and applesauce!   (Would use up your potatoes AND apples).  Though some members of the family don't consider that meal to be a full meal.

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/killer-potato-latkes
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: frooglepoodle on January 27, 2018, 06:35:34 PM
@CrustyBadger, can you share that walnut and lentil chili recipe? It sounds delicious and I also have some Costco walnut to use up!

Sure can!  I used up the last of my bag of orange lentils (recipe calls for brown I think but not sure it makes much difference).   And last time instead of all the spices, I just used some taco seasoning that I had.   This time I really followed the recipe, and it was very flavorful, but too spice for my husband, unfortunately.

https://www.delishknowledge.com/instant-pot-walnut-lentil-tacos/

(Side note -- this is the first time in my life I have used the phrase "all out of lentils"!   I'm eating through my pantry!!   Need to buy more lentils!)

Thank you! I canít wait to make this. We like spicy food in our house. :-)

Congratulations on being out of lentils! (As weird as that sounds, lol)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: pancakes on January 27, 2018, 06:41:56 PM

We donít eat much meat but to me potato is a side to a meat dish. Please recommend me your favourite vegetarian potato dishes.

Can you eat eggs?

I love latkes and applesauce!   (Would use up your potatoes AND apples).  Though some members of the family don't consider that meal to be a full meal.

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/killer-potato-latkes

Oh yes! I love latkes. We donít have a frypan at the moment, hopefully I can not mess them up too much in a wok.

Eggs are fine. Meat is fine too but so expensive here and we are trying to not eat too much for environmental reasons too.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: HappierAtHome on January 27, 2018, 06:44:53 PM

We donít eat much meat but to me potato is a side to a meat dish. Please recommend me your favourite vegetarian potato dishes.

Can you eat eggs?

I love latkes and applesauce!   (Would use up your potatoes AND apples).  Though some members of the family don't consider that meal to be a full meal.

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/killer-potato-latkes

Oh yes! I love latkes. We donít have a frypan at the moment, hopefully I can not mess them up too much in a wok.

Eggs are fine. Meat is fine too but so expensive here and we are trying to not eat too much for environmental reasons too.

Loaded baked potatoes?

Scalloped potatoes? (So unhealthy, so delicious).

Homemade oven baked wedges?
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: frooglepoodle on January 27, 2018, 07:24:38 PM
@pancakes I make a potato salad with cooked diced potatoes, peas, feta cheese, and fresh herbs or just chopped green onions if thatís all I have. Dressed with just olive oil and some lemon juice. You can also serve it over lettuce for some more leafy green goodness.

Leftovers are delicious baked into a frittata!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on January 27, 2018, 07:26:02 PM
@pancakes I make a potato salad with cooked diced potatoes, peas, feta cheese, and fresh herbs or just chopped green onions if thatís all I have. Dressed with just olive oil and some lemon juice. You can also serve it over lettuce for some more leafy green goodness.

Leftovers are delicious baked into a frittata!

This sounds amazing!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: NinetyFour on January 28, 2018, 08:23:17 AM
I totally need to do this.

Last year, my average monthly grocery spending was $237.31.  That's just on food, for just me.  Ugh.  WAY higher than necessary.

This month, I brought it down to $149.85.  YAY!!!!  It helps that I have gone caffeine free, so I have not needed to buy coffee or tea.  It also helps that I have put myself on a strict diet of only fruits, veggies, tofu, tempeh, and beans.  They are cheap!!

In February, I may have to purchase more olive oil and more Bragg's Liquid Aminos.  But, I will still try to keep the total amount to under $160, with a stretch goal of $150.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on January 28, 2018, 09:05:59 AM
We still buy meat, but I try to use it as an ingredient rather than an entree. Iíll make a pound of ground beef bulk up 3 jars of spaghetti sauce and add mushroom to it to fill it out. Things like that. Iím definitely into hearing othersí soup and bean/lentil recipes. Iím trying to make soup a weekly thing right now while itís cold because itís easy and cheap.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on January 28, 2018, 09:47:18 AM
Not quite so great this week ó needed to do the periodic Wegmanís run, so itís a ďbiggerĒ week, plus ALDI had a huge selection of massively cheap produce (e.g. pineapples for $1.49), so I went off-script a little.  That I donít feel bad about, because I am making a serious effort to eat healthier this year, so anything that gets me to eat more produce is a good thing in my book.  And still under $200 total (DD again came in under budget, huzzah, even with a visit to the Wegmanís deli), for a month-to-date of
total for groceries + household of about $450.  Weíre pretty well stocked now, so I should be able to hit the $600 figure, if I pay attention.  And no additional takeout, at least.

Well, hardly needed food this week, but still dropped $115 at Wegmanís on stock-up stuff DD didnít find last week.  But I should have plenty to make it through Wed. (one night at my momís, went out one night*, and had leftovers from going out another night, so I still have an entire flank steak and lots of leftovers from last week), so hoping to end up at @$565 groceries +HH for the month.

*I count eating out as a separate category, because it is part of my ďIíd like to remain marriedĒ plan, so those numbers arenít included here.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on January 28, 2018, 10:47:47 AM
Just stopped at an Aldi out of town, and the prices were even cheaper! Milk was $1.09 per gallon.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 28, 2018, 11:02:07 AM
People who make their own yogurt -- any success making your own sour cream?

We do not eat much yogurt but do go through a lot of sour cream.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 28, 2018, 11:10:42 AM
As I am tracking all my spending, I'm also saving my grocery receipts to see which items I am buying frequently.  These it would make sense to buy in larger quantities at Costco or elsewhere for example.  I'm also tracking the cost of items we buy a lot to see where I can get it most cheaply.

I just found this spreadsheet online comparing Aldi's and Walmart's prices on various stables, many of which I buy myself.   It was dated about 6 months ago.

https://www.mashupmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/aldi-vs-walmart-prices-1.pdf

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Abe on January 28, 2018, 03:34:38 PM
Our grocery list for other's reference:

1 pound kidney beans: $3
1 pound lentils: $3
5 pounds rice: $5
Bell peppers: $2.50/lb = $5
Yams: $2/lb = $6
Zucchini: $2/lb = $6
Onions: $1.50/lb = $3
Garlic: $1.50/lb = $1.50
Butternut squash: $2.50/lb = $5
Milk: 2 gallons for $8
Banana: $1.50/lb = $4.50
Apples: $2.50/lb = $7.50
Oranges: $2/lb = $6
Eggs (18): $5
Salmon: $15
Bread: $3

Total: $90 for 6 days of food for 2 adults, 1 kid (we eat out one lunch and dinner).
- Salmon is by far the most expensive per portion. The rest is bought at a store that buys secondary market produce that ninnies at the regular stores think looks too weird to sell.

Where are you located that youíre seeing these prices? Some of them seem really high to me. Iím in Ottawa, Canada for reference which I understood to be about 20% to 30% more expensive than your average American grocery store prices.

These are the best prices Iíve found locally for some of the items on your list:

Bell Peppers $1.25/lb
Yams $1/lb
Onions $1/lb
Butternut Squash $0.67/lb
Bananas $0.57/lb
Apples $0.66/lb
Oranges $1/lb
Eggs (30) $5

Much cheaper up there than here in southern california. Other than bananas, nothing is below $1/lb. It's kind of crazy since a lot of the US eats comes from farms in California. Prices don't fluctuate much if they come from Chile (fruit in the winter) or from here. We still manage to cook for <$10 / meal.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: DTaggart on January 28, 2018, 03:39:25 PM
I completed my last grocery shopping excursion for January, and the grand total for the month is... $224.08, plus ~$25 on my Sprouts gift card. Right on target! Plus, I now have $21 in my iBotta account, which is enough to cash out (I need to get my phone number updated on my account first though). I think once that goes through I will add it in to my February budget.

I had to keep this weekend's shopping pretty minimal to squeeze under, but I did get 5 loaves of bread since they had a 1-day only deal on the bread we like for .77/loaf. I was also able to stock up on some bags of frozen vegetables that were .49 each. The rest was mainly fresh produce and some milk plus a pack of swiss cheese slices to keep hubby happy.

I still need to do a freezer inventory.






Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: zeli2033 on January 28, 2018, 04:14:49 PM
Alright, just completed the last planned grocery shopping trip of the month. I still won't be breaking out household goods from this budget (that can be a goal for 2019 or something).

Average Monthly Spending Last Year: $1,377
Goal Monthly Spending 2018: $850
January 2018: $744.54

Of that total, only $29 was spent on eating out/coffee out. Last year, our average for those categories was $252. I'm feeling pretty stoked about this! I know it's ridiculous that we're spending this much for two people but the level of progress is awesome.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: jim555 on January 28, 2018, 05:47:31 PM
Last year's monthly food spending, 1 person house:
$210.33
$201.83
$191.98
$240.30
$216.64
$227.01
$227.28
$216.89
$207.56
$167.36
$169.10
$190.36
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on January 28, 2018, 06:11:04 PM
People who make their own yogurt -- any success making your own sour cream?

We do not eat much yogurt but do go through a lot of sour cream.

What do you use the sour cream for? In recipes, I pretty much always sub yogurt anyway, as I rarely have sour cream on hand. If I'm serving it with something (tacos?), I'll mix in sriracha so it has a bit more flavor & use the yogurt that way.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 28, 2018, 07:32:13 PM
I use it for ... dolloping!   Tacos, meats, soups, whatever.

I have an unusual situation where I am looking for ways to up the calories in meals for 3/4 of my family members while reducing calories to myself.  So I do tend to use a lot of sour cream or butter sauce, etc., on the side.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Linea_Norway on January 29, 2018, 02:13:53 AM
This weekend I made a batch of yogurt. But in my country, when using full fat milk from the store, you don't save any money. The yoghurt was reduced in volume compared to the milk and we are left we a similar liter price.
But it is nice to finally have a succeeded batch. The previous time I used low fat milk and I stirred quite often during the process. Eventually the yogurt separated into whey and a concrete-like structure that could not be eaten.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on January 29, 2018, 04:40:25 AM
Try freezer cooking: https://newleafwellness.biz/2015/11/02/17-free-printable-freezer-meal-plans-and-grocery-lists/

I have some books here at home and have done it a few times.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: fruitfly on January 29, 2018, 04:29:24 PM
CrustyBadger we use full fat greek yogurt in our house instead of sour cream (my SO is lactose intolerant). I actually like it better than sour cream now. When I make homemade yogurt it usually comes out pretty thick but otherwise you just drain it to make it thicker.

I totally blew my budget this month, it's over $1k. I got too many snacky things and have poor impulse control when faced with bargains. Ugh. Next month is a new month, right??
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 29, 2018, 04:35:32 PM
Thanks @fruitfly !  On reflection, sour cream is pretty cheap and I don't think I can get it much cheaper by making it myself, really.   I think I will instead spend my time learning how to bake the muffins my family loves so much, that are like $1 a muffin.

They really like these muffins from Wegmans:   Oats, nuts and cranberries.   I am not much of a baker, but they can't be that hard.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: frooglepoodle on January 29, 2018, 05:17:55 PM
Thanks @fruitfly !  On reflection, sour cream is pretty cheap and I don't think I can get it much cheaper by making it myself, really.   I think I will instead spend my time learning how to bake the muffins my family loves so much, that are like $1 a muffin.

They really like these muffins from Wegmans:   Oats, nuts and cranberries.   I am not much of a baker, but they can't be that hard.

A quick google found this recipe: http://hometownqueenbee.blogspot.com/2015/10/cranberry-nut-muffin-healthier-recipe.html

But Iím partial to this recipe: http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/oatmealmuffins.htm. I use whole wheat flour and add some spices (at least 1 tsp of cinnamon) and it is a great base to add all sorts of extras. I made them this weekend with diced apples and chopped walnuts, and used cinnamon, cardamom, and a tiny bit of ground ginger for the spices.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: galliver on January 30, 2018, 12:34:01 AM
I guess since I'm commenting on SoCal stores I'll end up following along permanently. And if that's the case I should share my own situation. I'm kind of unreasonably pleased we are only just barely over my typical $500 budget goal for 2 of us....I'm pleased though because we actually spent the first $100 on two nice, meaty dinners for 7 (and one leftovers-dinner for 4) while staying with family, i.e. it's not actually *our* grocery spending... we've been making our choices a little differently lately and don't include 10lb of red meat in one week, lol.

I'd love to get our bill down to the ~$400 range. I know the bulk of our eating costs well below that, even with meat. I think what trips us up are beverages (LaCroix, infrequent ginger beer, alcohol, bottled cold brew...), prepared foods (emergency dumplings, frozen pizza), good cheese and deli meats (for breakfast and non-leftovers lunches). Oh also it includes stupid expensive probiotics...but dammit they seem to work. Last big shopping trip, out of a total ~$110, drinks were $30+$11+$6 so a good 40%. :( Buuut changing that requires nudging bf (we shop together, which is actually pretty great relationally), so it's an interpersonal problem rather than a personal willpower/planning/responsibility problem...

Much cheaper up there than here in southern california. Other than bananas, nothing is below $1/lb. It's kind of crazy since a lot of the US eats comes from farms in California. Prices don't fluctuate much if they come from Chile (fruit in the winter) or from here. We still manage to cook for <$10 / meal.

...where in SoCal are you and where are you shopping? I'm in the LA area and would have a hard time finding produce *over* $1/lb at Super King and Sprouts... (except maybe organic). Smart & Final has occasional good deals, too... And ethnic markets abound. Might interest @FireHiker, too?
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MEJG on January 30, 2018, 04:47:40 AM
Family of 5, about to be 6. 
Goal                <$600/month Groceries     and     <$150/month in eating out
Stretch goal     <$500/month Groceries     and      <$75/month eating out

Jan 2018- FAIL

Goals:
Groceries <$600, actual $728.34                  Exceeded goal by $128.34
Eating out stretch <$75, actual  $70.72         Met goal by $79.82, Met by stretch by $4.82

Exceeded monthly goal by $48.52.

I split out household goods in YNAB so this is food only.

We had a GI illness go through the house and had to run out for gatorade, pedialyte pops and crackers that ran about $20, and three times this month I ran to stop and shop to buy lunch/lunch materials due to poor planning at work, each trip was between 20-25 and lasted 2 days at work. So lots of room for improvement.

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 30, 2018, 03:30:07 PM
Thanks @fruitfly !  On reflection, sour cream is pretty cheap and I don't think I can get it much cheaper by making it myself, really.   I think I will instead spend my time learning how to bake the muffins my family loves so much, that are like $1 a muffin.

They really like these muffins from Wegmans:   Oats, nuts and cranberries.   I am not much of a baker, but they can't be that hard.

A quick google found this recipe: http://hometownqueenbee.blogspot.com/2015/10/cranberry-nut-muffin-healthier-recipe.html

But Iím partial to this recipe: http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/oatmealmuffins.htm. I use whole wheat flour and add some spices (at least 1 tsp of cinnamon) and it is a great base to add all sorts of extras. I made them this weekend with diced apples and chopped walnuts, and used cinnamon, cardamom, and a tiny bit of ground ginger for the spices.

THank you so much frooglepoodle! 

OK new habit time.  Tonight we are eating leftovers (so a simple meal for me) and then... daughter and I are going to bake homemade muffins.

I already have a ton of walnuts in the freezer, and baking stuff like whole wheat flour and sugar.  I stopped off at the store to get some cranberries and other ingredients I might need.   Found the muffin tin (I am not a baker much).  Wish me luck!!   I don't like muffins but my husband and daughter go through them like crazy.

I can't decide if I should make them with oatmeal or not.  The ones at Wegman's do not have oatmeal.  But I am trying to incorporate more oatmeal in our diet.

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: HappierAtHome on January 30, 2018, 05:49:19 PM
Well it's the last day of January and I am not shopping today, so our official January total is $731, well under our $800 budget. I'm toying with the idea of setting a $700 budget for February...
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 30, 2018, 06:02:52 PM
Good work, @HappierAtHome !!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 30, 2018, 07:50:47 PM
I made the muffins!  It took about 30 minutes all told but next time will be quicker. They are not sweet enough.  I used some frozen mixed berries (cranberry, raspberry, blueberry) because I couldn't find any fresh cranberries.  I think I should have mixed the berries with some sugar or honey or something.  But anyhow, they are made, and bagged. One in the freezer, on in the fridge, and one to be eaten tomorrow morning by my adoring family.  (-:  Yeah right.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: HappierAtHome on January 30, 2018, 09:05:51 PM
Good work, @HappierAtHome !!

Thanks @CrustyBadger :-)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Abe on January 30, 2018, 09:22:19 PM
Came in at $550 for family of 3, $50 under budget and 60% of last year's average!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on January 31, 2018, 07:47:28 AM
I made the muffins!  It took about 30 minutes all told but next time will be quicker. They are not sweet enough.  I used some frozen mixed berries (cranberry, raspberry, blueberry) because I couldn't find any fresh cranberries.  I think I should have mixed the berries with some sugar or honey or something.  But anyhow, they are made, and bagged. One in the freezer, on in the fridge, and one to be eaten tomorrow morning by my adoring family.  (-:  Yeah right.

Right now I'm making a lot of cinnamon applesauce muffins for the kids because they love them.  I'm sure they will eventually get bored and ask for a different flavor.  When you made them with frozen fruit, did you have to account for the extra moisture, or did you just throw them in the mix like normal?  Frozen fruit as an ingredient is really the only other add-in I would consider other than applesauce, just because I can always have it on hand.

We are over my $120 budget for the month.  We are at $139 and change, and I am definitely not making any purchases today.  I think the budget may need to be $150 for Feb and March, and after that go back up to $400 for the remainder of the year.  I am enjoying the process of having to come up with meals that use up mostly things we already have on hand, though
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 31, 2018, 09:06:18 AM
@AmandaPanda wait what? How many people are you feeding for $120 a month? Wow thatís fruga!!

I never made muffins before. I just threw in 1 cup frozen berries where the recipe called for 1/2 c chopped cranberries. I threw in 1 c chopped walnuts as well then added 1 extra cup milk because the batter seemed too thick.

I had one for breakfast. Definitely edible and filling.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: haypug16 on January 31, 2018, 09:27:02 AM
Managed to finish the month at $204.65 (Goal of $250, Stretch goal of $200) It was tough and my Dining out total for the month was a little higher ($30) than I hoped. Overall not bad. On to February.

*side note - I need to find that MMM article when he breaks down the household yearly spending. I had a talk with DH about how we can get our numbers down to his and I think we need to take it category by category.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on January 31, 2018, 09:36:17 AM
I'm in.  Our grocery bill has been slowly inching up, so we're at about $400/month (including all personal care items, dog food, etc.) when we used to be around $250.  We did add a second dog, but that should only be about $35/month (buy dog food through Costco). 

We're two adults and two dogs.  We eat out once/week, and dining out is excluded from the above cost. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on January 31, 2018, 11:48:23 AM
CrustyBadger, nooooo. The $120 is filling in with my overloaded freezer and pantry.  Once my stocks dwindle down, it'll be a more accurate monthly number of $400 or so.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on January 31, 2018, 11:54:14 AM
CrustyBadger, nooooo. The $120 is filling in with my overloaded freezer and pantry.  Once my stocks dwindle down, it'll be a more accurate monthly number of $400 or so.

Hahaha, my freezers are going to explode! Am whittling down however tomorrow I have 10 lbs of stuffed fillet of sole and 10 lbs of coconut shrimp delivered. MORE in the freezer! That is it...gotta stop the insanity!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 31, 2018, 12:17:38 PM
Ok, freezer cooking. That makes sense!

So I kept records of all grocery shopping in January. With me SEVERELY CUTTING BACK I went to the grocery store SEVENTEEN times. Out of 31 days.

That is NUTS!!

Ok I made s list if what items I bought each week. For the items I buy over and over again Iím going to buy in bulk as much as is practical. I have a small kitchen and small storage space.  But I need to cut these shopping trips at least in half. No more than 8 trips in February!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on January 31, 2018, 12:39:20 PM


So I kept records of all grocery shopping in January. With me SEVERELY CUTTING BACK I went to the grocery store SEVENTEEN times. Out of 31 days.

That is NUTS!!



Hahaha, I cracked up 17 times in 31 days! I didn't do that but I do a lot of shopping at Jet, Target, Walmart, a food service place, Peapod, and had deliveries on top of grocery shopping! We are food shopaholics!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on January 31, 2018, 02:24:54 PM


So I kept records of all grocery shopping in January. With me SEVERELY CUTTING BACK I went to the grocery store SEVENTEEN times. Out of 31 days.

That is NUTS!!



Hahaha, I cracked up 17 times in 31 days! I didn't do that but I do a lot of shopping at Jet, Target, Walmart, a food service place, Peapod, and had deliveries on top of grocery shopping! We are food shopaholics!

Oh you guys, how I relate.  That made me go back and tally, and I have 13 for the month.  Why can't it be 4 or 5???
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on January 31, 2018, 02:39:30 PM
You know what is even more SICK is that I shop for just the Hub and I! LOL! The dogs are on special Veterinarian dog food. That stuff is expensive!

What are you all pulling out of your freezers to eat for dinner tonight? I have stuffed Costco Salmon thawing. One little dent out of the refrigerator freezer. A long way to go!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: FireHiker on January 31, 2018, 04:17:07 PM
We will eat dinner at home tonight, so that puts my January numbers at $1126.20. Ugh, my goal was to get it under $1100. $123 of that total was food at Disneyland earlier this month. Even without that, our eating out spending is still more than some of you spend the entire month so we have a lot of room for improvement, $325 (not including the Disney day). $677 on groceries, 13 trips. To be fair, some of those trips included hunting for good masa flour; we finally broke down and went to Northgate which is a local Hispanic grocery store. At least it's an incremental improvement since last year's monthly average was $1264.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 31, 2018, 04:22:13 PM
Oh you guys, how I relate.  That made me go back and tally, and I have 13 for the month.  Why can't it be 4 or 5???

The incredible thing is, this was me CUTTING BACK.  I specifically did NOT grocery shop as much as I used to.  I was Uber Frugaling January!  I was batch cooking!

I guess I actually shopped almost every day before?   I do have grocery stores on the way home from both places I work and I do often just pop in and pick something up.

Oh, the changes I have planned....

I made a spreadsheet for everything I bought this month, and listed Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 and Week 4.   Then I noted how often each week I bought which products.   Not the cost, just how much I am buying.

SO for example for milk I bought:

Week 1: 2 gallons
Week 2: 3 gallons
Week 3: 3 gallons
Week 4: 2.5 gallons

So now I safely can assume I'll use 5 gallons of milk every 2 weeks.

I have identified the 20 things I buy the most frequently, at least 3 weeks in the month, to see if I can bulk purchase them more cheaply or at least more conveniently. I have an aversion to buying in bulk because (a) small kitchen and no storage (b) I waste too much food that way.   But now that I have a record of what I have used the most this month, I can be more confident that this food won't go to waste.

The foods I bought most frequently were (when I list "bags" that means just the normal, everyday size the food is often sold in a regular grocery store - not family size or bulk size. I'm not sure of exact ouces):

bacon - 4 lbs
milk - 10.5 gallons
cheddar - 6 pounds
eggs; 5.5 dozen
butter- 7 pounds
OJ- 4 bottles
fudge brownies - 3 containers
cheerios - 4 boxes
yellow potatoes - 15 pounds
various greens: 9 clamshells
carrots: 9 pounds
peppers: 9
yellow onions: 12 pounds
strawberries: 4 pounds
apples: 18 pounds
bananas: 16 pounds
PB Pretzels: 4 bags
potato chips: 3 bags
Goldfish- 3 bags

Some of these things I can't buy for the whole month ahead. I don't have enough fridge or freezer room to store everything.  But for others I am going to check out Costco and see if they have something similar in bulk sizes, for a better price than Aldis.  OR I can just buy all I need for one month in one gigantic shopping trip!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on January 31, 2018, 04:28:18 PM
So much butter! Tonight I made baked nachos using up frozen chopped peppers, frozen chopped turkey breast, can of beans, half a can of enchilada sauce that was leftover in the fridge, and some chips from an open bag left here after a party. Itís not my best meal, and I thought it sounded pretty good when I made it up.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 31, 2018, 05:19:08 PM
So much butter! Tonight I made baked nachos using up frozen chopped peppers, frozen chopped turkey breast, can of beans, half a can of enchilada sauce that was leftover in the fridge, and some chips from an open bag left here after a party. Itís not my best meal, and I thought it sounded pretty good when I made it up.

Baked nachos sound delicious!

Yes, it is a ton of butter!   3/4 of my family is under medical orders to gain weight!  (I wish I could give them mine.)  We are a high fat, high calorie, hugh nutrient dense family.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: frooglepoodle on January 31, 2018, 05:31:28 PM
January total: $573, but this includes two months of herdshare fees, so it includes Februaryís milk deliveries as well. Not even close to my Uber Frugal January goal, but on track for my annual goal so Iím counting it as a win.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: haypug16 on January 31, 2018, 07:34:51 PM


So I kept records of all grocery shopping in January. With me SEVERELY CUTTING BACK I went to the grocery store SEVENTEEN times. Out of 31 days.

That is NUTS!!



Hahaha, I cracked up 17 times in 31 days! I didn't do that but I do a lot of shopping at Jet, Target, Walmart, a food service place, Peapod, and had deliveries on top of grocery shopping! We are food shopaholics!

Oh you guys, how I relate.  That made me go back and tally, and I have 13 for the month.  Why can't it be 4 or 5???

I had to go back and check my count for the month. 7 trips. Would love to get that down to 4 times a month
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: galliver on January 31, 2018, 08:15:31 PM
Ah, I spoke too soon... bf and I both ended up stopping by the grocery store yesterday. I wouldn't call our food purchases unreasonable (spinach for dinner that night, bread, bananas, white cheddar w/ cranberries for $3/lb, coffee beans, cold brew coffee (him not me!)) But we also stocked up on like $100+ worth of the probiotics. At least I should be set for >2 months...

I like the idea of tracking visits, though I think shopping days or perhaps trips is more meaningful than individual transactions? We usually go to 2, sometimes 3 stores when we do a big shop because we like the produce and meat at different places. So we have 9 shopping days with 18 visits. Still more than I would think/like! I'm thinking 6ish (~3-4 weekend ones, +2-3 "I need X to use up Y" small trips). Looking at the transactions it seems evident I should discourage bf from grocery shopping mid-week. Especially after the gym! (Not that I am blameless.)

Re: probiotics because I'm sure someone is wondering (or judging :P) (TMI alert?) It's not some fad clean-eating thing, some very important microbiota got nuked by antibiotics a couple years ago and "consume probiotics" is the best that docs (multiple) have recommended for the resulting symptoms. The cheap ones didn't seem to do jack but the kind with 30-odd varieties seem to maybe help when I don't forget to take them, and also eat yogurt. Hoping that if I redouble my efforts I can build my own back up in time, but it seems a very slow process to get it to stick... (I realize there are probiotic foods but I don't relish the idea of switching to straight sauerkraut and yogurt...)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 31, 2018, 08:48:44 PM
I like the idea of tracking visits, though I think shopping days or perhaps trips is more meaningful than individual transactions? We usually go to 2, sometimes 3 stores when we do a big shop because we like the produce and meat at different places. So we have 9 shopping days with 18 visits.

I think, whatever works!  I am thinking about the time involved in shopping as much as I do.  I already only go shopping when it's on the way from somewhere I need to go, but it still easily takes at least 30-45 minutes to get in and out.  If I could cut out 8 such trips, that's an extra 4 hours I could have back to myself each month.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on January 31, 2018, 08:52:09 PM
(I realize there are probiotic foods but I don't relish the idea of switching to straight sauerkraut and yogurt...)

There's also pickles, olives, and miso-- but the cost for naturally fermented varieties would probably be more than the supplements, unless you did it yourself.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Abe on February 01, 2018, 12:44:16 AM
One of the stores we go to will sell groceries by the case for substantial discounts. That may help you all with the big families.

Re: probiotics - does stopping them for 1-2 days significantly affect your bowel function? If not, you can probably try every other day dosing which seems to work well for our Crohn's patients who're always in & out of the hospital and getting antibiotics.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: galliver on February 01, 2018, 01:07:27 AM
One of the stores we go to will sell groceries by the case for substantial discounts. That may help you all with the big families.

Re: probiotics - does stopping them for 1-2 days significantly affect your bowel function? If not, you can probably try every other day dosing which seems to work well for our Crohn's patients who're always in &amp; out of the hospital and getting antibiotics.
Hmm let's maybe not get into the internet diagnosis game? ;) I appreciate your desire to help.

It occurs to me I could avoid the budgetary issue by splitting transactions and calling it OTC medical; didn't occur to me at first because we get basically no other non food things at the grocery store. Derp. :)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: imadandylion on February 01, 2018, 02:47:21 PM
I want to try to get my household monthly grocery spending to $160-200.

Prior to this goal I just stated, I had been trying to achieve $200 (just my end, since we try to alternate buying groceries every week, so my partner and I each buy half a month's worth of groceries), usually spending $90-100 for two people in a week. Recently, I've found that going to the farmer's market is a lot more inexpensive than buying at the grocery store, so for the past couple of weeks we've been able to spend $40/week for two people, using basics we already had on hand from the grocery store (things like rice, beans, legumes, other grains, noodles, pasta). I'd really like to keep this up with going to the farmer's market because it seems much more wallet-friendly to buy the produce there instead.

The new goal will require spending $40-50 per week for two people Ė half the amount of my previous goal. I think it'll be okay, but we'll see! We don't eat a lot of packaged products except for convenience things like pasta/noodles (really inexpensive, and I'd really like trying to make my own), and sometimes beer/wine.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 01, 2018, 04:09:08 PM
I ALREADY went to the store again.  February 1!!

I hope I can make it at least 4 more days without another trip.

I bought fish, chicken and chorizo.  That makes three meals.  We have two dinners in the freezer still. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on February 01, 2018, 04:18:55 PM
Here's how we netted out for January. Spent $554 on a budget of $625. Note that I did use a Costco gift card, so would have ended up pretty much even if I hadn't had that. We started the month with pretty much nothing in the fridge, as we were out of town for the holidays.

So, feeling good about how January went. We have quite a bit in the freezer, so once I'm home from my work trip, I'll itemize available meal options, menu plan, & then stock up on fruit & veggies.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MEJG on February 02, 2018, 04:50:47 AM
Lost all our chicken from shopping last weekend.  It smelled off on Tuesday.....  That puts us WAY behind in protein for the next 2-3 weeks.... we bought 2 Costco flats of chicken thighs.
Bought a fridge thermometer since fridge seemed warm...

Fridge is freaking broken, holding at about 55 degrees, on the "coldest" setting.  So now we need to figure out what the heck to do with the fridge, make it through on the food in the freezer and the food that won't spoil at 55 in the fridge.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: frooglepoodle on February 02, 2018, 12:00:06 PM
Spent $80 on groceries yesterday, forgot to buy chili powder that I need for tonightís dinner. The freezer is well stocked to keep my husband fed for the next ~2 weeks while I am gone, perhaps supplemented by $10-15 of fresh veggies.

My (very ambitious) goal is to keep total spending for the month to $300, including the herdshare fee for March.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: galliver on February 02, 2018, 01:23:53 PM
Lost all our chicken from shopping last weekend.  It smelled off on Tuesday.....  That puts us WAY behind in protein for the next 2-3 weeks.... we bought 2 Costco flats of chicken thighs.
Bought a fridge thermometer since fridge seemed warm...

Fridge is freaking broken, holding at about 55 degrees, on the "coldest" setting.  So now we need to figure out what the heck to do with the fridge, make it through on the food in the freezer and the food that won't spoil at 55 in the fridge.

Based on your location: what's the weather, and do you have a garage or other indoor, unheated space that's getting refrigerator-cold right now? My bf's family puts holiday leftovers and big pots of soup in their covered porch or garage in the winter (in Iowa). Sorry to hear about the chicken :/
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: HappierAtHome on February 02, 2018, 09:09:48 PM
I've spent $204 so far in Feb. I think I want to keep my overall Feb spend to $700. This may be harder than I expected!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Clara Smith on February 03, 2018, 12:48:09 AM
In the first month of 2018, January. I reduced the intake of-of fast food, snacks, and instant noodles and I noticed that my grocery spending is reduced. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MEJG on February 03, 2018, 05:25:38 AM
Based on your location: what's the weather, and do you have a garage or other indoor, unheated space that's getting refrigerator-cold right now? My bf's family puts holiday leftovers and big pots of soup in their covered porch or garage in the winter (in Iowa). Sorry to hear about the chicken :/

Yep it's cold here so all the perishables went into coolers and out in the cold. 
DH couldn't find a fridge handy man in our area yesterday, spent some more time trying to research on the internet.  We unplugged it and he took off part of the back- our coils were frozen solid.  Our toddler has recently learned to open the fridge and freezer so it may be that it was left open for too long making it into a solid block of ice.
We will see if it works after defrosting it and plugging it back in.
I really don't want to have to look for a new one right now.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: zeli2033 on February 03, 2018, 06:40:19 AM
First grocery shopping trip of February in. Restocked on some non-perishables at Costco and got enough of the perishables to stay out of there for two weeks. So larger trip than normal.

Total so far: $238/$850
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Linea_Norway on February 03, 2018, 07:37:43 AM
Grocery shopping is going a bit scheisse this year. First January, which was far more expensive than any month in 2017. Today we went CC skiing and combined the trip with visiting a shopping center to buy wine and groceries. The grocery store beside the wine shop is the well assorted and therefore not cheap store. But the cheaper store is in the other end of the very long stretched and busy shopping center. We had actually manager to get a parking place close to the one entrance. DH was in the mood for buying some nice luxury croissant-like buns, to atop his hunger after skiing. We ended up doing all of the shopping in the expensive shop. Only positive thing is that we bought a few things on sale, including the buns, that I found a butternut squash that the cheap store doesn't sell, and that I earned some bonus point that can be cashed out later.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 03, 2018, 12:45:09 PM
Oh, Linda! So dangerous, to go shopping in the expensive grocery store when hungry from invigorating exercise! If it had been me, I would have bought up all the fancy cheeses! Good that you got away with croissants and produce!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on February 03, 2018, 01:55:49 PM
I've finished our grocery shopping for the week. I spent $144.59, although $132.80 of that was on a gift card, so technically "free". I like to keep our shopping around $125/week, so a smidge higher than normal. I bought a fancy spicy hummus for Super Bowl Sunday, and a few of our freezer staples were also on sale at Costco. We were also out of ground beef. Cucumbers were $2 more expensive than usual, although the melon was $1 off. So, net/net, pretty close in prices to normal. This will be 28 dinners (7x4 people), 15 lunches (DH & I get free lunches at work), & 22 breakfasts (I eat breakfast for free at work). So, about $2.22/meal/person.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 03, 2018, 02:08:21 PM
It's the third day of February and already I've been to THREE grocery stores.   If I can make it now to the end of the week, at least I won't have to hang my head in shame.   I did try to plan out meals for the week. 

A friend gave me 10 pounds of chicken wings so I have to do something with them today or tomorrow.   Obviously -- Buffalo wings for tomorrow; plus chicken stock with the rest.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Serendip on February 03, 2018, 03:45:10 PM
 


We tracked our groceries/ eating out /alcohol last month and found out we collectively spent around $1100 (2 people only--and this is eating out less than normal) Oh boy.

My SO is not concerned about this since we live in a town with increased food prices (destination town/no discount shopping anywhere) and we do eat very healthfully and enjoy cooking for friends but I would love to bring it down.

I still am saving around 50% of each paycheque but would love to get the food under control.
This month I am aiming to bring my portion to $400 (last month it was $550) and do a lot of batch cooking/soups to encourage my SO to eat things from the fridge/cupboard (he likes to cook and shops continuously for selective meals)

He will be gone on a work-related trip for the next 5 days so I will try to eat exclusively from what we already have :)

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: RayO on February 03, 2018, 03:54:34 PM
Iím joining starting this month. My goal is $250 for all food and household items for two people. I havenít purchased meat for about six months, but I will still purchase milk and eggs occasionally. We do have a soft spot for eating out, Iím hoping to fit it all into the $250. So far this week:

Berkeley                          Aldi                                         Walmart                            Target
5lb red pot $1.98          Seedless cucumber $1.39x2         750 ct qtips $3.17    Ripple pea milk $4.29
Roma toms $0.60          Carrots $1.09                             Floss $0.87                = $4.31
JalapeŮo $0.09              Corn tortillas $1.09                     Fire rstd diced tom $0.94
3 pk romaine $1.48        Bag limes $1.69                         Body wash $3.47
= $4.22                        3lb red onion $0.79                     Mouthwash $3.37
                                    Avocados $0.49x5                       Coconut oil $9.98
                                    3pk multi bell pprs $1.69x3          = $22.86
                                    Cilantro $0.69
                                    Gal freezer bags $1.99
                                    Oatmeal $2.39
                                    = $20.50

Total spend was $51.89. Some of these items such as the huge tub of coconut oil and freezer bags I only purchase every few months. Iím going to Jewel-Osco tomorrow for 3/$0.99 mangos and $12 tp. All of these stores are very close to home with four of the stores including Jewel-Osco on the same street.

Meals/food for the week (I batch cook so pulling things out of the freezer I previously made is normal for us)(Also, when I make beans in the instant pot, I try to make as many things as I can, hence all of the black bean foods below):

Sat. Chickpea loaf w/roasted red potatoes and carrots (Will have leftovers)
       Make black beans & rice in instant pot and freeze for later in the week
       Black bean brownies
       (Thaw lentil taco ďmeatĒ)

Sun. Lentil fajitas w/spanish rice and refried beans (all 3 packages of peppers, planned leftovers)
        Black bean lime dip (for dipping veggies, part of lunch)
        Corn bread (goes with freezer chili Iíll thaw for lunches)

Mon. Leftovers

Tues. Leftovers

Weds. Leftovers
          Make mango salsa
          (Thaw black beans and rice)

Thurs. Black beans and rice with mango salsa (either bowl form or in tortilla)

Fri. Leftovers

If we are running low on a ďleftoversĒ night Iíll pull a soup out of the freezer in the morning and we have that usually with a salad. I have a 2.5 hour commute 5 days a week, so planning ahead has helped save us from grabbing takeout. In emergencies Aldi is on the way home, and I grab one of the refrigerated pizzas for about $5.



                 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on February 03, 2018, 07:05:34 PM



We tracked our groceries/ eating out /alcohol last month and found out we collectively spent around $1100 (2 people only--and this is eating out less than normal) Oh boy.

My SO is not concerned about this since we live in a town with increased food prices (destination town/no discount shopping anywhere) and we do eat very healthfully and enjoy cooking for friends but I would love to bring it down.

I still am saving around 50% of each paycheque but would love to get the food under control.
This month I am aiming to bring my portion to $400 (last month it was $550) and do a lot of batch cooking/soups to encourage my SO to eat things from the fridge/cupboard (he likes to cook and shops continuously for selective meals)

He will be gone on a work-related trip for the next 5 days so I will try to eat exclusively from what we already have :)

Given the expense of local groceries, does it make sense to plan a monthly big shop somewhere cheaper?
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Serendip on February 03, 2018, 08:08:42 PM



We tracked our groceries/ eating out /alcohol last month and found out we collectively spent around $1100 (2 people only--and this is eating out less than normal) Oh boy.

My SO is not concerned about this since we live in a town with increased food prices (destination town/no discount shopping anywhere) and we do eat very healthfully and enjoy cooking for friends but I would love to bring it down.

I still am saving around 50% of each paycheque but would love to get the food under control.
This month I am aiming to bring my portion to $400 (last month it was $550) and do a lot of batch cooking/soups to encourage my SO to eat things from the fridge/cupboard (he likes to cook and shops continuously for selective meals)

He will be gone on a work-related trip for the next 5 days so I will try to eat exclusively from what we already have :)

Given the expense of local groceries, does it make sense to plan a monthly big shop somewhere cheaper?

Indeed...you are right, it would make sense! We have talked about it, but my SO is quite insistent to keep as much of our shopping as possible to our local store and community (small, family run). The bigger stores are about 45-90 min away. I can respect that. At first I resisted  but now feel that we can still reduce our expenses with creativity and better planning.

We have started ordering bulk amounts of grains/beans/nuts from another new local company (that brings in refundable glass jars so cuts out plastic waste while increasing the amount of rice, quinoa, etc that we have available) and I might try to do some advance meal-planning (which would be very new to us). Ha. Baby steps! Will see how well we can do for Feb :)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Linea_Norway on February 04, 2018, 06:56:13 AM

Given the expense of local groceries, does it make sense to plan a monthly big shop somewhere cheaper?

Indeed...you are right, it would make sense! We have talked about it, but my SO is quite insistent to keep as much of our shopping as possible to our local store and community (small, family run). The bigger stores are about 45-90 min away. I can respect that. At first I resisted  but now feel that we can still reduce our expenses with creativity and better planning.


Yes, please support your local shop. If they don't make enough income, they might close down and then you will always have to get your groceries from afar.

We have this issue with our mountain cabin where the first shopowner stopped working and it took a year before there was a new shopowner. Then, a year later the shop burned down and shop owner didn't want to restart. We have been without a shop for several years now and it very inconvenient. We also have a broken freezer there.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: mountain mustache on February 04, 2018, 09:11:33 AM
I have a new goal this year of keeping my "regular" groceries under $200.00 a month. I have some newly emerging medical bills that are threatening to force me to stop saving any money at all...so I figured I would cut grocery costs first. I live in a small mountain town, so $200.00 would be impossible without supplemental bulk stock ups, as food just doesn't go on sale, and is typically marked up almost 50% higher than in the city. I also want to continue to support the small businesses around me, so I buy produce and a few specialty items at these stores, and then spend about $300 every 3-4 months at Costco to stock up. I also just ordered a large quantity of beef and pork from a local farmer, which will cost $400.00 but likely last me a year in the chest freezer.
So my goal is to spend about $1200-$1500 this year on "bulk" purchases...supplementing with a monthly grocery bill from local places of $200.00
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 04, 2018, 09:45:12 AM
Mountain Moustache, consider buying thru Costco on line canned Sockeye Salmon, one case is $139, canned roast beef...it is delicious and canned chicken meat. All very nice products and no refrigeration needed till you open them up. I order this stuff all the time on the Costco website. You might find some other stuff you like that is canned too. The trick is to meet the minimum purchase requirement to avoid shipping fees.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on February 04, 2018, 01:30:09 PM
Well, this week I may be turning laziness into an a grocery advantage -- it is sleeting, and I really really have zero desire to leave the house, so I think this will be an "eat out of the freezer" week.  :-)  I will probably have to make a quick trip for produce, and the Amazon monthly delivery is on its way ($40), plus dairy delivery Thursday -- so it won't be a zero-spend week.  But what the hell, let's see how little else I can buy.

Totally cheating, though:  my mom is bringing a giant tray of BBQ tonight for the Superbowl, so not only am I avoiding my typical giant Superbowl shopping trip, I am getting probably multiple meals for free to boot.  :-) :-) :-)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Novik on February 04, 2018, 03:20:18 PM
Joining in! No big reduction goals here, but would like to creep the groceries* number down.

2017 average - 414$/month for two people (in Canadian $).
2018 goal - 390$/month

Meeting that goal would save my partner and I 300$ for the year, and is doable without having to be laser-focused on costs (which would make the cook of the house unhappy, which would be bad for my cooking avoidance strategy).

Things we already do: use Flipp for price matching, stock up on sales, cook with meat substitutes and less meat, cook from scratch (hummus, bread, pies including crusts).

Things we'll try: make more of our own treats (ie. baked pita chips yesterday!), reduce meat usage further, and aim for 80$ weekly grocery shops as a baseline (to leave some room in the budget or extras/last minute grocery runs/the expensive stock-up weeks).

Results:
Jan 2017 - ~425$.    Not great, but we do have a full freezer and reasonably full pantry. Hoping for a big drop in February.

*includes some household goods when we buy them with food, and the occasional wine/beer. If we're stocking up on those things though I try to separate out the purchase.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 04, 2018, 05:53:08 PM
I've been cooking a ton since January 1st of this year -- no more convenience foods or takeout dinners for us. (Well almost none, anyhow.)   Mostly to good effect.

Tonight's frugal meal though, was such a bust.  I even prepared it ahead of time, knowing I'd be out till 5 PM with kid activities.   I made some kind of vegetarian pasta lentil cheese bake, with a side of homemade meatballs, hoping to have a lot left over for lunches or even another dinner this week.

Well the meal stunk out loud.   So disappointed.  Meatballs might be salvaged into another meal but really not sure about the pasta bake.   
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Serendip on February 04, 2018, 11:42:48 PM
I've been cooking a ton since January 1st of this year -- no more convenience foods or takeout dinners for us. (Well almost none, anyhow.)   Mostly to good effect.

Tonight's frugal meal though, was such a bust.  I even prepared it ahead of time, knowing I'd be out till 5 PM with kid activities.   I made some kind of vegetarian pasta lentil cheese bake, with a side of homemade meatballs, hoping to have a lot left over for lunches or even another dinner this week.

Well the meal stunk out loud.   So disappointed.  Meatballs might be salvaged into another meal but really not sure about the pasta bake.

Sorry to hear CrustyBadger--What a disappointment!

I am resisting shopping for the next few days while my SO is out of town..we have lots of bits & ends that could use eating up and he prefers more variety than I do.
So far haven't spend anything on groceries but bought a beer & pizza one night out with friends $23

(leftovers :  curried kidney beans with quinoa, and blended lime & cilantro..yum!)

Made vegan banana bread from old frozen bananas and have been chopping up slices of it to eat with seeds & hemp milk in the mornings, actually really good and the bananas are being used up.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Linea_Norway on February 05, 2018, 01:16:48 AM
Challenge for the grocery budget today. DH has a meeting in town, taking the car and passes the grocery shop that sells the cheap cheese we like to eat. I asked him to buy a bunch of cheese. If I would have bought it, I would have gotten 10% with a customer program. DH doesn't want to join these programs. Still, it is more convenient if he buys it, as he will drive buy anyway. It would cost me extra time and fuel if I had to visit that shop.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 05, 2018, 04:50:54 AM
Linda, the customer program benefit doesn't transfer to your husband as well?
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Linea_Norway on February 05, 2018, 05:39:21 AM
Linda, the customer program benefit doesn't transfer to your husband as well?

Only if I would register his card to my account. He doesn't want to be traced, so I haven't registered his card. Can't force him, as I used to think the same way earlier. I need to respect that.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: kaypinkHH on February 05, 2018, 05:50:50 AM
@RayO that weekly meal plan looks delicious. May be stealing your meals :).

Still not really tracking yet for 2018. Jan was last month living with my in-laws, and feb is going to be a gong show as we restock our kitchen. We moved more non-preshiables than I thought, so we aren't as bad as off as I planned.

Went and did first groceries for Feb, basically only enough food to get us a few meals this week (maybe 2 lunches and 1 dinner), plus work snacks, breakfasts.

Grand total was $78!!!!! This was mostly because I bought some premade salads, and a veggie tray instead of the raw ingredients. This will end this week. We are giving ourselves a 1 week buffer to get our house unpacked, then it is back to frugal meals. (Premade food from the grocery store at least still cheaper than restaurant food though...even though we went out twice this weekend...ack!)

TIME TO COOK SOME BEANS! 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 05, 2018, 08:11:09 AM
If you have an Instant Pot you might try this method of yogurt making. I watched the entire video and wrote down the steps. I am going to try this as soon as I buy some yogurt that is needed to use as a starter. It is a great video and the yogurt doesn't need straining either. If you watch the video I highly suggest you get a note pad and write down each instruction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=22&v=EtXnaP17D4Q

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 05, 2018, 09:50:07 AM
Linda, the customer program benefit doesn't transfer to your husband as well?

Only if I would register his card to my account. He doesn't want to be traced, so I haven't registered his card. Can't force him, as I used to think the same way earlier. I need to respect that.

Ah yes, the super secret cheese purchases! I get it.

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 05, 2018, 09:53:32 AM
So some people in my town are organizing a freezer meal swap. We each make 8 of one kind of meal, buying in bulk to save costs of course, then swap.

Anyone have any great ideas for a crock pot type freezer meal with meat, that I should make? I want to stay frugal but not be cheap. Because Iím making 8 of something itís a good time to buy something fancier than usual from Costco in a large quantity.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 05, 2018, 10:12:52 AM
Here are some ideas: https://newleafwellness.biz/2015/08/06/31-crockpot-freezer-meals-for-back-to-school/

Looks as if some you can assemble and freeze right away or cook first. The assemble method would be nice and the recipient could place ingredients in their crock pot to cook it. The stuffed peppers look nice!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Linea_Norway on February 05, 2018, 10:54:07 AM
So some people in my town are organizing a freezer meal swap. We each make 8 of one kind of meal, buying in bulk to save costs of course, then swap.

Anyone have any great ideas for a crock pot type freezer meal with meat, that I should make? I want to stay frugal but not be cheap. Because Iím making 8 of something itís a good time to buy something fancier than usual from Costco in a large quantity.

Sometimes I buy a cheap type of beef that needs to be cooked for a looong time to become tender. Then I cook it for hours with some spices and tomatoe. It gets very tasty and the meat almost falls apart. It can be served with potatoes or rice.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: galliver on February 05, 2018, 05:35:18 PM
First grocery trip of Feb: $80, two stores. The sad part is it was supposed to be a small-haul, supplementary trip...but at this point we probably won't need to go next week, especially since we're headed out of town Weds (I forgot about this until yesterday night, derp, and bf didn't remind me while we were shopping). It'll be ok though; we had some root vegetable+grain meals planned, which will keep just fine until we get back, as well as some of the produce we just got. I made a bunch of salads for this week, we'll just have to go through them faster than anticipated!

Expensive things...coffee ($14/2lb), deli (~$17), $3 ea for coffee creamer* and raddichio and 3 lb of pasta (semi-stocking up). Pretty sure the rest was produce at reasonable prices, and milk.
*Sometimes I get cream or half and half, sometimes I get Natural Bliss which is dairy with a fun flavor; they seem to cost about the same and since they're ultra-pasteurized, usually last me 2 weeks. Bf takes his coffee black. But insists on the "good stuff". (Granted, on this BOGO sale, it came close to what coffees that I like cost, e.g. Trader Joes...)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on February 05, 2018, 08:08:46 PM
First grocery trip of Feb: $80, two stores. The sad part is it was supposed to be a small-haul, supplementary trip...but at this point we probably won't need to go next week, especially since we're headed out of town Weds (I forgot about this until yesterday night, derp, and bf didn't remind me while we were shopping). It'll be ok though; we had some root vegetable+grain meals planned, which will keep just fine until we get back, as well as some of the produce we just got. I made a bunch of salads for this week, we'll just have to go through them faster than anticipated!

Expensive things...coffee ($14/2lb), deli (~$17), $3 ea for coffee creamer* and raddichio and 3 lb of pasta (semi-stocking up). Pretty sure the rest was produce at reasonable prices, and milk.
*Sometimes I get cream or half and half, sometimes I get Natural Bliss which is dairy with a fun flavor; they seem to cost about the same and since they're ultra-pasteurized, usually last me 2 weeks. Bf takes his coffee black. But insists on the "good stuff". (Granted, on this BOGO sale, it came close to what coffees that I like cost, e.g. Trader Joes...)

Do you have a Costco? I find their coffee to be very good & reasonably priced (as far as nice coffee goes). I can't drink it black, but have slowly weaned myself off of creamer. First I went with milk & agave, and that took a month or so. Now just coffee & milk, and I don't like the coffee sweetened at all now.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on February 06, 2018, 08:22:54 AM
On Feb 6 I've already spent $70 this month. I doubt I can keep it to $120 this month.  Something I've noticed is that my stockpile isn't really economical.  I have a beef roast, several pork roasts, etc.  We could just as easily eat bean dishes for much cheaper.  Especially if I just throw the meat in the freezer for later.  I'm starting to re-evaluate what types of foods I'm stocking up on.  Is anyone else doing anything similar?

Crustybadger, sorry about your lentil pasta.  That totally sucks.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on February 06, 2018, 09:08:20 AM
On Feb 6 I've already spent $70 this month. I doubt I can keep it to $120 this month.  Something I've noticed is that my stockpile isn't really economical.  I have a beef roast, several pork roasts, etc.  We could just as easily eat bean dishes for much cheaper.  Especially if I just throw the meat in the freezer for later.  I'm starting to re-evaluate what types of foods I'm stocking up on.  Is anyone else doing anything similar?

Crustybadger, sorry about your lentil pasta.  That totally sucks.

We don't typically stock up on meat. To be honest, we buy it always at the same place, at the same price (Costco). They sell in bulk, so for convenience, we typically have it in the freezer. I also pre-prep much of it. My husband grills all of the chicken, & then we package it in the freezer for quick dinner options. I turn ground beef into taco meat & kebabs, burgers, etc. For me, meat is more about getting a quick dinner on the table vs stockpiling savings. But, my family doesn't do much veggie eating (i.e. no meat in a dinner - they eat a ton of produce).
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on February 06, 2018, 09:12:52 AM
On Feb 6 I've already spent $70 this month. I doubt I can keep it to $120 this month.  Something I've noticed is that my stockpile isn't really economical.  I have a beef roast, several pork roasts, etc.  We could just as easily eat bean dishes for much cheaper.  Especially if I just throw the meat in the freezer for later.  I'm starting to re-evaluate what types of foods I'm stocking up on.  Is anyone else doing anything similar?
Meat is expensive.  We don't really eat that much meat even though we have a little bit at almost every meal.  When I taught myself to cook, I used Budget Bytes (even if it's awful, I wasted a few dollars of ingredients).  Now, most of my go-to recipes are variations on Budget Bytes.  I also don't like to eat a large slab of meat at dinner.  Most of my favorites use meat as an ingredient, not the main course. 

Good luck!

So far, we've been trying to eat down our freezer and fridge (getting a new one on Friday), so I've spent $1.99 on groceries this month.  I bought a large baguette for our Superbowl party--served with cheese (leftover from gift baskets), fancy olive oils, and balsamic vinegar. 

My lunch is a lot of random stuff, but I don't want to go grocery shopping until we get the new fridge.  We have a huge stockpile of food, so this really isn't a problem.  I have plain yogurt with frozen blueberries topped with homemade granola; two chicken sausages; pistachios; half a banana; and two pieces of Ezekiel bread. 

Tonight, I will make hummus and crisp a tortilla under the broiler.  I think we still have a bag of baby carrots and a few pine nuts. 

Last night, we finished the Superbowl baguette with a variety of cheese (SO much cheese).
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on February 06, 2018, 09:18:44 AM
Here are some ideas: https://newleafwellness.biz/2015/08/06/31-crockpot-freezer-meals-for-back-to-school/

Looks as if some you can assemble and freeze right away or cook first. The assemble method would be nice and the recipient could place ingredients in their crock pot to cook it. The stuffed peppers look nice!

Thank you!  I hadn't seen this blog before, but I now have crockpot meals planned for the next three weeks.  This will be so easy, and probably cheaper than some of the other things I make.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Novik on February 06, 2018, 09:19:23 AM
We don't typically stock up on meat. To be honest, we buy it always at the same place, at the same price (Costco). They sell in bulk, so for convenience, we typically have it in the freezer. I also pre-prep much of it. My husband grills all of the chicken, & then we package it in the freezer for quick dinner options. I turn ground beef into taco meat & kebabs, burgers, etc. For me, meat is more about getting a quick dinner on the table vs stockpiling savings.

We do the buy in bulk + freeze thing as well  (although not at Costco so we do watch for sales), but haven't been doing pre-prep of it. I used to when I lived solo and "bulk" was much less, but not anymore. Would be nice to get back on that wagon and have a little bit of pre-cooked meat in the freeze set aside for "emergency dinners."
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: galliver on February 06, 2018, 11:04:41 AM
First grocery trip of Feb: $80, two stores. The sad part is it was supposed to be a small-haul, supplementary trip...but at this point we probably won't need to go next week, especially since we're headed out of town Weds (I forgot about this until yesterday night, derp, and bf didn't remind me while we were shopping). It'll be ok though; we had some root vegetable+grain meals planned, which will keep just fine until we get back, as well as some of the produce we just got. I made a bunch of salads for this week, we'll just have to go through them faster than anticipated!

Expensive things...coffee ($14/2lb), deli (~$17), $3 ea for coffee creamer* and raddichio and 3 lb of pasta (semi-stocking up). Pretty sure the rest was produce at reasonable prices, and milk.
*Sometimes I get cream or half and half, sometimes I get Natural Bliss which is dairy with a fun flavor; they seem to cost about the same and since they're ultra-pasteurized, usually last me 2 weeks. Bf takes his coffee black. But insists on the "good stuff". (Granted, on this BOGO sale, it came close to what coffees that I like cost, e.g. Trader Joes...)

Do you have a Costco? I find their coffee to be very good & reasonably priced (as far as nice coffee goes). I can't drink it black, but have slowly weaned myself off of creamer. First I went with milk & agave, and that took a month or so. Now just coffee & milk, and I don't like the coffee sweetened at all now.

I appreciate your suggestion; I think things like the coffee are probably inflating the food spending. I'll have to see how much any specific thing (like coffee) contributes to decide whether it's worth pushing on bf to change our collective habits. We are not coffee fiends and our consumption is like a mug a day (each), and not every day (we probably drink more tea, but nothing like a coffee jolt in the AM!) He rather tends toward connoisseurism in that area, has since college, but generally he funds it himself since we have different tastes. Mine are strictly middle-of-the-road; I typically get it from Trader Joe's (because I got to try those to find ones I like) or on sale from Sprouts (comes in bulk so I can try before I buy a whole pound). And that'll last me a good 2 months for $5-7.

I've no desire to change my dairy-in-coffee preferences. :) I tried to switch to black coffee once and found it gave me jitters. I do milk sometimes in a pinch, but I find it ends up watery...tbh usually I get the dairy (cream or half & half) separately and add sugar if I want it...but in Dec I went on a hazelnut kick and have really been enjoying it in my coffee since...might be drawing to an end though.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on February 06, 2018, 11:18:50 AM
I don't really serve slabs of meat, either, so I think that's why having so much in the freezer is getting me down. I am putting pressure on myself to serve more meat, when usually I am very Budget Bytes style.  Right now I have a craving for her Roasted Red Pepper Pasta, but I feel like I shouldn't buy the peppers, because I have so much other less appealing food I could be eating right now.  This exercise will hopefully help me change how I shop in the future and what I stock up on.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 06, 2018, 11:48:40 AM
AmandaPanda, allow yourself a few treats otherwise it will be a grind! Any chance you can make another family member a casserole, thus getting rid of some of your less appealing food, then allow yourself a treat? If you have parents and aunt, uncle or even a young couple that have kids, they may appreciate a night off from cooking. You could feel like you did a good deed, got rid of some excess food and allowed yourself a treat! Life it too short, make yourself happy!

By the way, how do you make that roasted red pepper pasta? Sounds yummy! I love roasted red peppers on hamburgers and roast beef grinders...drool!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: krmit on February 06, 2018, 01:06:41 PM
AmandaPanda - I always like to stretch my cooked meatsin casseroles/lasagnas, soups, tacos (my personal favorite) in the week after cooking it up. That said, I tend to treat meat more like a condiment than THE THING for dinner.

I'm challenging myself to only buying milk and eggs for the month of February, and it'll be interesting to see how my grocery list changes after this month. Super excited to be going through the freezer in a more intentional way - there's lots of frozen vegetables and random leftovers to use up. I'll have a lot of staples (grains and flour mostly) to stock up on in March, but probably not significantly more than usual.

That said, Mr. krmit and my cheese consumption is much more intentional! We don't have much left and still have 22 days to go!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on February 06, 2018, 01:11:32 PM
The pasta recipe:

https://www.budgetbytes.com/2015/06/one-pot-roasted-red-pepper-pasta/

It is delicious!

I do need to focus more on the leftovers. So make the roast, then immediately freeze for recipes, or use up in a different recipe the next day.  I think that will make it more appealing than just, oh, leftover roast beef (which does not sound appetizing!)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 06, 2018, 02:22:20 PM
Thanks for the recipe! Printed it and maybe tomorrow night! Have all the ingredients but might use spaghetti instead of fettucine.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 06, 2018, 05:14:55 PM
The pasta recipe:

https://www.budgetbytes.com/2015/06/one-pot-roasted-red-pepper-pasta/

It is delicious!

I do need to focus more on the leftovers. So make the roast, then immediately freeze for recipes, or use up in a different recipe the next day.  I think that will make it more appealing than just, oh, leftover roast beef (which does not sound appetizing!)

Some food just are better as leftovers than others.  Foods with yummy marinating type sauces... Yum the second day.   Even pasta dishes .. flavors meld etc.

Roast beef ... needs doctoring up into something else, I feel.   My family does NOT enjoy leftovers.   As a frugal strategy (still beginning this) I feel I basically have to do two "fresh" meals, followed by a "leftovers only" day.  Otherwise people will rebel....

And I try not to have any leftovers.  It just doesn't go over well with my family.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 06, 2018, 05:32:53 PM
Wow, some leftovers taste better the next day like lasagna and chili! I  made big bucket of chili for the two of us. We ate it for dinner, hub ate it for breakfast then we ate it again for dinner. We still have a lot left over and will freeze it. It will be good on Baked taters with sour cream, Mexican cheese and sour cream. I am always surprised when people say they don't like leftovers! I love leftovers. Oh well, to each his own!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 06, 2018, 05:45:20 PM
Wow, some leftovers taste better the next day like lasagna and chili! I  made big bucket of chili for the two of us. We ate it for dinner, hub ate it for breakfast then we ate it again for dinner. We still have a lot left over and will freeze it. It will be good on Baked taters with sour cream, Mexican cheese and sour cream. I am always surprised when people say they don't like leftovers! I love leftovers. Oh well, to each his own!

I think chili and lasagna are good examples of food that can taste better the second day.   I think the flavors meld better over a 24 hour period.

Other foods like dry cooked meats (steaks, chops, roasts etc) personally I don't think taste so great the next day and certainly not by day 3.   Usually I have to dice them and cook them in a different manner. 

But I'm not any great "use up the leftovers" person by any means.  Just my opinion!  Interesting write up about it here:

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/food-better-leftovers-next-day
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: mountain mustache on February 06, 2018, 07:52:50 PM
The pasta recipe:

https://www.budgetbytes.com/2015/06/one-pot-roasted-red-pepper-pasta/

It is delicious!

I do need to focus more on the leftovers. So make the roast, then immediately freeze for recipes, or use up in a different recipe the next day.  I think that will make it more appealing than just, oh, leftover roast beef (which does not sound appetizing!)

You mentioned you have some beef and pork roasts. I'm just one person, but I like to make a big roast in the crockpot, with pretty basic flavor (salt, pepper, garlic) and then shred it and freeze it in maybe 1/2 pound to 1 pound portions. It's great in so many things that way because it's still a simple ingredient...with pork roast I like to make carnitas tacos, and sometimes I'll fry it up in the morning with some eggs. It's great cold and shredded on salad like a taco salad...etc. But simple shredded beef and pork can make tons of good meals!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 07, 2018, 03:38:45 AM
Mountain Moustache, Costco has roast beef in a can. It is a great tasty product and can be used in a variety of ways. I add a jar of beef gravy to a pot then once it is hot, add the beef till warm. Then pour over rice or mashed taters. The beef is very tender. I imagine you could also shred it up for taco's or other applications. I only discovered this about a year ago and it is a go to meal when we don't know what to have. I mentioned it to my fuss pot girlfriend and she retched at the thought of canned roast beef. Oh, well, she lives in a small world of food and isn't open to trying much. If you like pot roast, you should like this.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 07, 2018, 06:39:03 AM
I kinda need a few things at the grocery store, but since I have already gone THREE TIMES since the start of the month SIX DAYS ago and I am trying to REDUCE the number of times I go shopping (because last month I went SEVENTEEN TIMES in 31 days)... I am trying to hold out until Friday.

I have enough milk and bread to get by till then. Running low on bananas and delicious processed pork products but those aren't vital. 

If I can keep it to three trips per week, that's progress right?  (-:



Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 07, 2018, 06:53:06 AM
Just curious, what do you need to buy at the grocery store so often? I buy this salad kit and I buy 5 bags at one time. They make 4 large salads per bag. Each bag lasts 2 days so that is 10 days worth. We also buy this milk Fairlife and it has an extremely long shelf life. You could buy a bunch and keep in a spare refrig if you have one. What are delicious port products...bacon? If so, buy some with a long expiration date or buy the precooked that needs no refrigeration till you open the package. Bananas is another story, you can't really do much with them if you want to eat them fresh. I think I have seen frozen fruit combos in the freezer section with bananas and strawberries.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Novik on February 07, 2018, 06:56:58 AM
Bananas you can buy two bunches (or two half bunches)... one as ripe as you need for the next few days, and one ,much more green for the days after that.

Seriously Badger... admire the accountability and honesty but cannot imagine what you have to go to the grocery store for so often. Serious question - do you do a big weekly shop with a meal plan for the week and a list?
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 07, 2018, 07:04:48 AM
No, I don't generally do a big weekly shop!

We have a tiny fridge and very small kitchen with no pantry space to speak of,  so not a lot of space to store stuff. No extra fridge in the basement. 

I drive by several grocery stores on my way to and from work, so I got in the habit of just stopping by to pick something up... a gallon of milk, some cereal, a loaf of bread, or whatever.

My husband likes some bacon or sausage for breakfast so he goes through that quickly.  I did buy two packs of bacon and kept them in the freezer, but we used it up yesterday morning.  I don't quite have a handle yet on how much of everything we go through on a weekly basis.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 07, 2018, 07:25:27 AM
Oh, that explains why you need to shop more often! I have a big refrigerator in the kitchen, a medium one down in the garage and a full upright freezer in the garage. So I have lots of freezer space and refrigerator space. However, I have a suggestion for you. It may sound stupid but people in small places 'find' odd ball places to store canned or non perishable things. Like getting containers that fit under your bed. There are some on wheels to make it easier to roll out. You might be able to hoe out your clothes closets and add in a rubber maid bin or two for items. Then you know those over the door canvas shoe holders, you can put several on the back of doors and each pouch would hold at least a big can or a couple of small ones. The precooked bacon is shelf stable and you could always have that on hand in a pinch. Milk, bananas and refrigerated items will be an issue. You will have to shop often for that stuff.

Speaking of oddball places to store stuff, I saw where a person had a small bin under the foot rest on a recliner chair! Desperate people do desperate things! LOL!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: mountain mustache on February 07, 2018, 07:29:21 AM
My goal this month is to spend $200.00 on groceries, and I am already at $123.00! I did stock up on a few things that were on sale to be put in my chest freezer. I think I can make it, when I'm only buying produce I need about $25.00 a week to stock up on apples, lettuce, greens, other veggies, etc. But this is hard! I usually spend about $400 when I'm not paying attention, but that just seems like way too much for one person.
I am getting a bulk farm meat purchase tomorrow, which will be $400.00. But, I am not counting that into the "regular" grocery budget, as it will last for the next year.

I am looking forward to Summer foods so much! I am hoping with the bulk farm meat, a fruit CSA, and a vegetable CSA, my "regular" grocery spending will be around $100.00 a month for random nuts, oil, butter, eggs etc
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on February 07, 2018, 07:29:40 AM
No, I don't generally do a big weekly shop!

We have a tiny fridge and very small kitchen with no pantry space to speak of,  so not a lot of space to store stuff. No extra fridge in the basement. 

I drive by several grocery stores on my way to and from work, so I got in the habit of just stopping by to pick something up... a gallon of milk, some cereal, a loaf of bread, or whatever.

My husband likes some bacon or sausage for breakfast so he goes through that quickly.  I did buy two packs of bacon and kept them in the freezer, but we used it up yesterday morning.  I don't quite have a handle yet on how much of everything we go through on a weekly basis.

Have you ever had a week where you can get all of your food in the fridge? Does it legitimately not fit? If so, that's one problem to tackle. Or, is it more of a planning/organization problem. How big is the fridge? Are you buying things that can go into smaller containers? Do you have a bunch of condiments in your fridge taking up space?

Like others, we have an auxillary fridge in the garage, but when we our at our vacation house, get by with food for 8-10 (all meals) for 5-6 days with one fridge.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on February 07, 2018, 07:31:02 AM
So far, we've spent $24.56 on groceries (remainder on Costco gift card). I run all of our errands on Saturday (Costco, produce stand, etc) & can't go after work due to scheduling. It prevents last minute stop ins.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on February 07, 2018, 09:28:04 AM
@CrustyBadger WOW!  I also drive by grocery stores, but I hate going into them.  We actually get our groceries delivered once/week, so we just use what we have in the house. Both of us have become much more flexible with our eating.  For example, I love avocado toast, but we ran out of avocados.  For breakfast, I had a toasted piece of Ezekiel bread with two eggs. 

All of you make me feel so lazy!  I'm so impressed at the lavish meals you make for your families.  No leftovers...ohmy!

Two nights ago, we pulled together a cheese plate for dinner.  Last night, my DH was out for a work dinner; so I had blueberries, plain yogurt, and homemade granola. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Serendip on February 07, 2018, 09:39:10 AM
Crusty Badger, I feel your pain :) we have a similar issue--regular size fridge but very, very little pantry space and only a small amount of freezer space.

My SO does not like stockpiling (he equates it with hoarding)--he was a bachelor for a long time and got used to eating out or buying groceries for each dinner, he like to daily shop (buy a fresh baguette, etc) We would have a similar amount of trips to the store as you (which is just by the house, another reason we use it as our extra storage space but of course buy more than necessay as well)
 
Slowly we have been buying extras but it's difficult when storage is lacking
 (because then it DOES feel like hoarding if raisins and quinoa are just stored in the corner of the kitchen!)

I've been trying to streamline things a bit (being more efficient with space we have, freezing soups in jars, etc..) but it is a  conundrum--
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on February 07, 2018, 09:45:25 AM
@CrustyBadger WOW!  I also drive by grocery stores, but I hate going into them.  We actually get our groceries delivered once/week, so we just use what we have in the house. Both of us have become much more flexible with our eating.  For example, I love avocado toast, but we ran out of avocados.  For breakfast, I had a toasted piece of Ezekiel bread with two eggs. 

All of you make me feel so lazy!  I'm so impressed at the lavish meals you make for your families.  No leftovers...ohmy!

Two nights ago, we pulled together a cheese plate for dinner.  Last night, my DH was out for a work dinner; so I had blueberries, plain yogurt, and homemade granola.

We don't make elaborate meals, but are also feeding four, so it's harder to have "on the fly" meal options. I also only cook on weekends (Friday I work from home, Saturday, & Sunday). We eat leftovers the next three days, and as needed, eat a freezer option on Thursday. We have a rotation of about 10-15 meals. I do have one picky eater, but if he doesn't like what we are having, he has to sort something out from the fridge.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 07, 2018, 11:14:34 AM
Hub and I made a BIG batch of chili with meat, peppers, onions, kidney beans and tomato sauce. We had two dinners on it and Hub had another bowl for lunch. I still have a crapload of it and now will freeze it. I am thinking of having a baked potato loaded with chili and cheese with sour cream. So, maybe some of you can make a big batch and be able to eat it a few times in a week. You could also make egg noodles or rice to put the chili over to stretch it.

Funny, I would think having a stockpile, not necessarily huge, would be such a convenience to those on a tight schedule. I guess I am a bit of a food hoarder and like to be able to have a lot of variety. Sometimes I want to make some recipe and it is so nice not have to shop for the ingredients, I already have them!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 07, 2018, 02:25:38 PM
Crusty Badger, I feel your pain :) we have a similar issue--regular size fridge but very, very little pantry space and only a small amount of freezer space.

My SO does not like stockpiling (he equates it with hoarding)--he was a bachelor for a long time and got used to eating out or buying groceries for each dinner, he like to daily shop (buy a fresh baguette, etc) We would have a similar amount of trips to the store as you (which is just by the house, another reason we use it as our extra storage space but of course buy more than necessay as well)
 

I was a Stay at home mom for 10 years, and I did the stockpiling food in the basement thing; we had an old fridge in the basement for extra meat etc.  Once I returned to work, I joined Costco and I think I kind of overdid it buying in bulk and storing things in the basement "pantry" that we then just never used.  Costco's large sizes don't fit in my kitchen mostly.

At some point I just gave it up and decided that the key to living in a 50s style house was to buy things in 50s style quantities.  (So, I no longer buy the bulk sized ketchup, even if it is a best buy... I just get the regular kind that fits in my fridge easily.)

But, at the same time, I started buying a lot of convenience foods and also we did take out a ton.   So now of course, I am trying to go back to cooking from scratch.  That means suddenly I'm running out of staples a lot more frequently -- it will take me some time to readjust.  I'm keeping track of what foods I actually do buy over and over again so I can confidently stock up (last month it was things like bread, milk, potatoes, onions and cheddar cheese and butter.)

I'm also guilty of buying a few small fancy things here or there, hoping the family will like it, and that takes up room in my tiny kitchen.   I could (should) also free up some more space in my minimal cabinets by getting rid of some items of cookware.

I also have teens who exercise and eat a ton and the do legitimately eat more food than they did when they were 2 and 4.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on February 07, 2018, 02:30:51 PM
I do like having a stockpile.  I've just realized that a lot of the things left in my stockpile aren't necessarily what I want, so I won't overbuy them in the future.

I also love a huge batch of chili! But we don't mind taking the same thing for lunch every day, so if I make it on Sunday, we eat it everyday for lunch until it's gone (within the week, of course).  I have to intentionally freeze leftovers or we just eat them, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 07, 2018, 02:53:26 PM
Yes, it is easy to over stockpile. However, if you buy stuff you don't like or know the expiration date is coming soon, donate canned/non perishables to a food bank. There is always the Post Office food drive usually in the spring. They take canned and non perishable stuff, no glass jars. I just cleaned out the upstairs freezer and found food that was freezer burned and had to toss. IRKS me but that is what hoarder me gets! Still working on hoeing out the freezers. Pulled out a oven roaster and will cook tomorrow, pulled out a few meatballs for another dinner.

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 07, 2018, 05:36:44 PM
Super successful home cooked meal today. I tried to replicate our favorite Mexican taqueria take out meal:  chorizo tacos.  Apparently I did a great job, many raves from the family.   And only about a $8 meal total for the three (hearty eating) carnivores among us (the vegetarian tween had leftovers); with about half a pack of corn tortillas and some cilantro and lime left over for tomorrow's supper.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on February 08, 2018, 02:40:53 PM
I'm kind of enjoying learning to cook more from scratch. 

My goal this year is about $125/week for groceries, household goods, and dog food.  There are 5 of us and 1 dog.

We spent $123 last weekend, and that included supplies to cook 2 dinners for a friend who has health issues.  For the last two nights I've been busy and got lazy.  Husband ate salad, kids had grilled cheese, I ate the yuumiest meal - roasted cauliflower, topped with sauteed bell pepper, onion, and mushroom, with a few spoonful of salsa on top.  This might well be my newest go-to lunch.

I'm trying to get out of the habit of stockpiling so much.  We had too much waste.  Our Costco trips are now strictly regulated.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: RayO on February 09, 2018, 07:00:37 AM
This weeks shopping total is $45.78.

Aldi                                          Berkeley.                             Walmart.                          Jewel
3 pk bell ppr $1.69.                 3 pk romaine $1.48.             24 pk tp $12.52.          Mangos 3/$0.99
Avocados $0.49 x 4.                5lb red potatoes $1.98.         Toothpaste $5.24.        =$1.01
Cucumbers $0.29 x 5.             1lb Roma tomatoes $0.49.      Bbq sc $0.98
Bag gala apples $3.29.             8lb russet potatoes $1.48.      =20.18
Gallon 1% milk $0.95.              Bananas $1.88
Dozen eggs $0.47.                   =$7.44
Celery $0.95
38oz ketchup $1.49
3lb mandarins $2.69
3 dozen tortillas $1.09
Hamburger buns $0.83
= $17.15

There werenít too many things on sale this week in the circulars, so I stopped at Aldi and Berkeley again on Tuesday before the prior weeks sales were over. I had a really hard time purchasing that expensive toothpaste. I actually put it to the side while checking out 🤣, but our teeth have become sensitive to cold after using harsh whitening toothpastes. Next time Iíll try and use a coupon for it.

Our leftovers of chickpea loaf w/roasted veggies and the fajitas meal actually lasted all week, so the black bean meals will be this week (and the mangos arenít ripe yet, so that all worked out well 😁)

Fri (vacation day) - Eggs (with onion and bell peppers), oven hash browns, topped with avocado and
                            tomatoes
                            Dal with brown rice and side salad
                            Crockpot navy bean soup - make in evening to cook overnight

Sat - Cornbread to go with the soup
         Chickpea ďmeatballsĒ to put in freezer
         Veggie burgers with oven fries

Sun - Naan bread and freeze
         Lentil sloppy joes with oven fries

Mon (holiday) - Black beans with brown rice and mango salsa
                        Black bean brownies
                        Black bean lime dip

Tues - Leftovers

Weds - Leftovers (Thaw chickpea meatballs)

Thurs - Pasta with chickpea meatballs and side salad

Fri - Leftovers
       
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on February 09, 2018, 07:58:48 AM
So, we stuck to our menu plan this week (I cook Friday/Saturday/Sunday & then we eat leftovers during the work week), although the kids are eating more now that soccer is back on. Here's what we're doing:

Friday - In & Out (came home from international flight, no power). This is a rarity, but also left us with fewer options
Saturday - My husband grilled beef kebabs, made rice & a yogurt sauce
Sunday - I made tacos & guacamole + taquitos for the super bowl
Monday - Leftover kebabs & rice
Tuesday - Leftover tacos
Wednesday - Had 1/2 of each, so adults had leftover kebabs & rice, & kids had leftover tacos
Thursday - Turned the few kebabs, some lingering spaghetti sauce, grated cheese, and a few odds & ends in the fridge/freezer into individual naan pizzas. Made 8 & we have 1/2 of one left. Fridge is pretty much cleared out as we enter a new week (just the way I like it), save for a few tiny things.
Friday - going out to dinner for my birthday
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on February 09, 2018, 08:55:04 AM
Somehow our week has devolved into there not being any leftovers by Thursday, so I am having to cook Thursdays and Fridays.  Last week I made instant pot mac and cheese, last night was a pf changs type frozen entree, and I had lo mein and broccoli in the freezer to serve with it.  I feel like Thursdays need to be something I can make in 30 minutes total, including chopping time.  I'll take ideas for super quick dinners that aren't spaghetti! (Because we already have that on a regular basis.)

I'm going over the $120 this month.  Turns out the stockpile isn't enough for everything: I'm totally out of all starches, only a few cans of beans left, etc. But I'm like Arby's in that i have ALL THE MEATS.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on February 09, 2018, 08:56:12 AM
So, we stuck to our menu plan this week (I cook Friday/Saturday/Sunday & then we eat leftovers during the work week), although the kids are eating more now that soccer is back on. Here's what we're doing:

Friday - In & Out (came home from international flight, no power). This is a rarity, but also left us with fewer options
Saturday - My husband grilled beef kebabs, made rice & a yogurt sauce
Sunday - I made tacos & guacamole + taquitos for the super bowl
Monday - Leftover kebabs & rice
Tuesday - Leftover tacos
Wednesday - Had 1/2 of each, so adults had leftover kebabs & rice, & kids had leftover tacos
Thursday - Turned the few kebabs, some lingering spaghetti sauce, grated cheese, and a few odds & ends in the fridge/freezer into individual naan pizzas. Made 8 & we have 1/2 of one left. Fridge is pretty much cleared out as we enter a new week (just the way I like it), save for a few tiny things.
Friday - going out to dinner for my birthday

Loved reading this and hope you continue posting the weeklies, since we both rely on leftovers to get us through the week.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: RayO on February 09, 2018, 09:24:51 AM
Somehow our week has devolved into there not being any leftovers by Thursday, so I am having to cook Thursdays and Fridays.  Last week I made instant pot mac and cheese, last night was a pf changs type frozen entree, and I had lo mein and broccoli in the freezer to serve with it.  I feel like Thursdays need to be something I can make in 30 minutes total, including chopping time.  I'll take ideas for super quick dinners that aren't spaghetti! (Because we already have that on a regular basis.)

I'm going over the $120 this month.  Turns out the stockpile isn't enough for everything: I'm totally out of all starches, only a few cans of beans left, etc. But I'm like Arby's in that i have ALL THE MEATS.

I like to make instant pot taco lentil ďmeatĒ. It take 15 minutes. While that is cooking I chop up any toppings (lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, maybe some Greek yogurt for sour cream and fresh lime to squeeze over everything) and cook tortillas 3 at a time in an iron skillet. You could just buy crunchy taco shells and you donít have to cook tortillas.

https://pin.it/6ms46ifkqa3mpi
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 09, 2018, 10:12:06 AM
Making Instant Pot yogurt for the first time right now...Hope it comes out good!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on February 09, 2018, 11:04:09 AM
RayO, that is so funny! Saturday night's menu is lentil tacos! As long as everyone likes it, I can see it becoming a frequent meal, because we all like Mexican food.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on February 09, 2018, 03:41:26 PM
So, we stuck to our menu plan this week (I cook Friday/Saturday/Sunday & then we eat leftovers during the work week), although the kids are eating more now that soccer is back on. Here's what we're doing:

Friday - In & Out (came home from international flight, no power). This is a rarity, but also left us with fewer options
Saturday - My husband grilled beef kebabs, made rice & a yogurt sauce
Sunday - I made tacos & guacamole + taquitos for the super bowl
Monday - Leftover kebabs & rice
Tuesday - Leftover tacos
Wednesday - Had 1/2 of each, so adults had leftover kebabs & rice, & kids had leftover tacos
Thursday - Turned the few kebabs, some lingering spaghetti sauce, grated cheese, and a few odds & ends in the fridge/freezer into individual naan pizzas. Made 8 & we have 1/2 of one left. Fridge is pretty much cleared out as we enter a new week (just the way I like it), save for a few tiny things.
Friday - going out to dinner for my birthday

Loved reading this and hope you continue posting the weeklies, since we both rely on leftovers to get us through the week.

Will do! And, Thursdays are our most flexible dinner options. We either have leftovers (if they've survived the week & my voracious 12 year old), or we have a quick dinner option. I take lazier routes & stock frozen stuff. Options we currently have: cheese tortellini (would serve with grilled chicken from freezer), pesto (freezer) that I'd serve with pasta (pantry) & grilled chicken. I also have a few soups in the freezer, shelled edamame, and maybe a few homemade dinners that I could whip out in a hurry. I always have pre-prepped meat: the grilled chicken, taco meat, chicken strips, etc. In an absolute pinch, we'll do chicken strips & parmesan pasta.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: SachaFiscal on February 09, 2018, 05:18:08 PM
I'm starting to focus on reducing my grocery spending this month.  I've been tracking our spending on groceries for the past 8 months and our average is about $750 per month with the highest month being $940 and the lowest month $615.  I don't have a particular goal in mind but I'd like to see how much I can reduce it by just being mindful of what I'm buying and not wasting any food.  We are mostly vegan so our staples (e.g. rice and beans) are fairly cheap but we like to eat organic when possible so that increases our spending on produce a bit.

Here are the things I have done so far to reduce my spending:
1. Track grocery spending.
2. Eat pretty much the same things every week. So I can buy some stuff in bulk.
3. Don't waste any food. Everything I buy we eat.
3. Don't overeat (also helps with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight). I portion out the food so that we eat a sufficient amount without going overboard.
4. Switching from canned beans to dry beans.  I've started using my instant pot to cook dry beans which saves quite a bit and may be more nutritious and less caloric.
5. Cook from scratch as much as possible.
6. Stop/reduce drinking alcohol. We don't buy alcohol to drink at home anymore. I only drink about once or twice a month if I go out with friends or on special occasions.

My plan next week is to start looking at where I can buy things the cheapest. Going to a few different stores and checking out their prices on the things I normally buy.

So far this month I've already spent $125 but I had to buy some bulk items.  I expect future weeks to be much less.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 10, 2018, 11:46:32 AM
Well!   I have a new menu option that may be a game changer in feeding my ravenous teen boy (who never has time for breakfast).

Someone shared with me an Instant Pot recipe for some copycat version of the Starbucks sous vide egg bites.  I never had these, but I guess they are  basically a crust free quiche and people find them very yummy.  I read that if you make these in glass mason jars with lids on, they will keep quite a while in the fridge for reheating...

So I made some this morning to try, and my son ate about 5 of them!   Eggs, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, and whatever add ins you want to add.  They'd be very easy to make ahead of time, and heat up as many as he wants in the morning.  I'm always looking for cheap, high calorie and protein, easy to eat foods for him to eat.  This was super easy to make in the Instant Pot.

https://mycrazygoodlife.com/copycat-starbucks-egg-bites-recipe/



Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 10, 2018, 12:05:04 PM
Crustybadger, I made yogurt in my Instant Pot yesterday and it came out fantastic! I ended up with 5 mason jars full. I was a bit doubtful on what I would end up with but just had it a few minutes ago and Hub liked it and me too! I found a good tutorial on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtXnaP17D4Q

I watched it and took notes and followed it exactly except the water cool down method. I let the yogurt cool naturally because I was afraid cold water on the hot jars might crack them.

I hate the cost of yogurt and this will be a cost saver after the first batch. You are supposed to be able to use the new yogurt as a starter. However, I might just spring for a new little tub of yogurt to start a new batch.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Linea_Norway on February 10, 2018, 01:05:33 PM
I am not buying foid for this weekend. I have eaten from the fridge and the freezer.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: SquashingDebt on February 10, 2018, 04:11:34 PM
Crustybadger, I made yogurt in my Instant Pot yesterday and it came out fantastic! I ended up with 5 mason jars full. I was a bit doubtful on what I would end up with but just had it a few minutes ago and Hub liked it and me too! I found a good tutorial on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtXnaP17D4Q

I watched it and took notes and followed it exactly except the water cool down method. I let the yogurt cool naturally because I was afraid cold water on the hot jars might crack them.

I hate the cost of yogurt and this will be a cost saver after the first batch. You are supposed to be able to use the new yogurt as a starter. However, I might just spring for a new little tub of yogurt to start a new batch.

I usually use the last bit as a starter for the next batch for 3 or 4 times, then start fresh with a little tub.  It works just fine.  You can also freeze yogurt in an ice cube tray and then thaw it to use it as the starter.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on February 10, 2018, 05:49:33 PM
Are you guys making plain yogurt?  Iíd love to make some, but we are a vanilla yogurt fam.

Made the lentil tacos and everyone loved them! Itís going in the rotation.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 10, 2018, 06:39:12 PM
Vanilla yogurt is just plain yogurt with a little vanilla (and maybe some sugar) added, right?
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on February 10, 2018, 07:04:11 PM
I guess, but how much vanilla, sugar, etc. I buy stevia sweetened vanilla right now...
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 10, 2018, 07:49:17 PM
I guess, but how much vanilla, sugar, etc. I buy stevia sweetened vanilla right now...

I don't make yogurt myself, but this recipe says 4 C milk to 1 T vanilla and 4 T sugar (not sure if you would add the same amount of stevia but I imagine you could add a little and adjust to taste.)

http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/vanilla-yogurt-homemade-58661
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on February 11, 2018, 08:41:04 AM
Okay, so again, a non-standard week for us, as we normally cook on Friday/Saturday/Sunday & eat leftovers for the rest of the week. The good news is that the freezer is stocked, so this will give us a chance to eat down the inventory.  Here's the plan. My husband did the grocery shopping yesterday, and forgot to use our gift card. :-( Anyway, we'll just save that for another week. Total spent was $97.03, and he didn't exactly stick to the list. He bought another giant bag of limes, and we have one unopened in the fridge. Going to have to figure that out! I also need to run to the produce stand & pick up mini cucumber. Otherwise, we're done shopping.

Here's the menu:
Friday - we ate out for my birthday, and had enough leftover Greek food for lunch on Saturday
Saturday - we had a quick "freezer" meal. The kids had pasta from the fridge & the adults had pesto tortellini. Both served w/salad & baked chicken. Had to get out the door quickly for a soccer game
Sunday - My husband is making kebabs & rice
Monday - Empanadas (freezer) w/leftover baked chicken
Tuesday - leftover kebabs & rice
Wednesday - any remaining leftovers. Or, I'll make more pesto tortellini (finishing the last of the pkg) & pasta for the kids.
Thursday - Spaghetti & meatballs
Friday - Son's birthday at a bowling alley. Comes with pizza
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Serendip on February 11, 2018, 08:58:57 AM
My SO tracked groceries food/groceries for one month and decided he doesn't like to do it (and isn't one month enough? :))

So I will just continue to track my spending and try to bring that total down (it was $550 for my end last month..groceries, eating out and alcohol) and we tend to alternate purchases (although he does tend to pick up the more expensive things I wouldn't buy: ie..a variety of cheeses, small-batch granola,etc)
But since we don't totally combine our finances, that is his choice!

So far this month I've spent $109.25 so far but feel as if we have heaps of food to eat up so hopefully don't need to buy anything more for another few days/or stretch to end of the week.

Meals have been :
Thursday: Curried Veggie Ramen with Lentils
Friday: Jackfruit burgers (home-made) with avocado & pesto
Saturday: Black beans, rice, kimchi & broccoli
Sunday: probably will have the leftover jackfruit tonight
Monday: Falafel salad or some chickpea curry (batched cooked dried chickpeas)

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: PKate on February 11, 2018, 10:12:40 AM
Reducing foods costs is something I seriously need to get better at.  I have severe dietary restrictions that make it even more challenging.  We easily spend $1000 or more a month for the 2 us not including eating out.

I already cook from scratch all of our meals.  I also do lots of canning, dehydrating, and other food preservation of out garden produce.
 
     

Goals. 
Track spending on food better.  I get food from supermarkets, online, and directly from local farms and our costs swing dramatically from month to month.     
Grow more of my own and preserve more of it for winter consumption.
Reduce the costs of growing my own food.  Seed saving, selling excess production, and bartering with other gardeners/farmers. 
Find lower cost options while still fitting into my dietary needs. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: kaypinkHH on February 11, 2018, 12:13:22 PM
Decided to actually post January's numbers. Lots and lots of eating out :'(.

2 Shopping weeks into February, we are finally settling into our new house. We have gone a FULL WEEK without buying food from a restaurant/coffeeshop/takeout place etc.

Our grocery bills are looking inflated, but we have been doing some mega meal prep (freezer is now full), and it works out to about $3 a serving of food, which isn't too bad! We will see how the numbers average out month by month!

Ideally I would still like to see that total number closer to $600 a month.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 11, 2018, 04:10:33 PM
Well, this weekend was NOT frugal grocery shopping!   I joined this meal swap club in town.  We make 8 freezer meals and then swap them.  I got nervous about what to make as it is my first time and I want it to be delicious so everyone likes me!  (-:   So I went with something tried and true -- chicken pot pie.   I could buy the chicken in bulk, and vegetables are perfectly cheap, but I couldn't find a budget purchase on premade pie crusts, and there's no way I would be able to make that many pie crusts myself, so I had to pay full price for them... so it was pretty expensive!   I am hoping that this turns out to be worth it and than I receive 8 freezer meals of deliciousness that my family will eat.  If so, it will be worth the money and effort of making 8 beautiful chicken pot pies which are now cooling on my kitchen counter.   
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 12, 2018, 04:25:55 AM
Crustybadger, maybe next time you could try bisquits on top of the pot pie mixture: https://www.bing.com/search?q=Impossibly+Easy+Chicken+Pot+Pie&filters=ufn%3a%22Impossibly+Easy+Chicken+Pot+Pie%22+sid%3a%221270e909-8ec7-f51d-82fe-377614bd17f1%22+segment%3a%22generic.carousel%22+secq%3a%22easy+chicken+pot+pie+with+biscuits%22+supwlcar%3a%221%22+tsource%3a%22EntitySegments%22+catesegtype%3a%22recipe%22+cack%3a%22f55bbaa3-a8ee-4490-a673-0a293f1ac766%22+segtype%3a%22UmVjaXBl%22+ctype%3a%220%22+mltype%3a%220%22+eltypedim1%3a%22Recipe%22&FORM=SNAPCR&crslsl=0
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Linea_Norway on February 12, 2018, 07:11:46 AM
Well, this weekend was NOT frugal grocery shopping!   I joined this meal swap club in town.  We make 8 freezer meals and then swap them.  I got nervous about what to make as it is my first time and I want it to be delicious so everyone likes me!  (-:   So I went with something tried and true -- chicken pot pie.   I could buy the chicken in bulk, and vegetables are perfectly cheap, but I couldn't find a budget purchase on premade pie crusts, and there's no way I would be able to make that many pie crusts myself, so I had to pay full price for them... so it was pretty expensive!   I am hoping that this turns out to be worth it and than I receive 8 freezer meals of deliciousness that my family will eat.  If so, it will be worth the money and effort of making 8 beautiful chicken pot pies which are now cooling on my kitchen counter.

I never heard of a meal swap club, but it is an interesting concept. I hope that everyone has clean standards and that you receive some good meals.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on February 12, 2018, 07:18:22 AM
Decided to actually post January's numbers. Lots and lots of eating out :'(.

2 Shopping weeks into February, we are finally settling into our new house. We have gone a FULL WEEK without buying food from a restaurant/coffeeshop/takeout place etc.

Our grocery bills are looking inflated, but we have been doing some mega meal prep (freezer is now full), and it works out to about $3 a serving of food, which isn't too bad! We will see how the numbers average out month by month!

Ideally I would still like to see that total number closer to $600 a month.

Just curious why you divide the eating out into buckets? Isn't it all the same, from a budget perspective? I'd finding the tracking annoying, but also would likely spend more if I had multiple buckets.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 12, 2018, 07:27:25 AM
Well, this weekend was NOT frugal grocery shopping!   I joined this meal swap club in town.  We make 8 freezer meals and then swap them.  I got nervous about what to make as it is my first time and I want it to be delicious so everyone likes me!  (-:   So I went with something tried and true -- chicken pot pie.   I could buy the chicken in bulk, and vegetables are perfectly cheap, but I couldn't find a budget purchase on premade pie crusts, and there's no way I would be able to make that many pie crusts myself, so I had to pay full price for them... so it was pretty expensive!   I am hoping that this turns out to be worth it and than I receive 8 freezer meals of deliciousness that my family will eat.  If so, it will be worth the money and effort of making 8 beautiful chicken pot pies which are now cooling on my kitchen counter.

I never heard of a meal swap club, but it is an interesting concept. I hope that everyone has clean standards and that you receive some good meals.

Me too! Itís all moms I know. Our town has a long standing tradition of doing meals for new babies or illnesses. So Iím not concerned about cleanliness but I do hope the meals are yummy!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on February 12, 2018, 07:54:12 AM
Ah, I love it when laziness works in my favor -- didn't shop last week, ate out of fridge/freezer, and still had tons of food left (just no fruit/veg), so I have my leftovers for this week's lunches already.

Did shop this week, so totals so far are $135 (Safeway + dairy delivery) and $40 household (monthly Amazon), for about $175 total.  Groceries could have been lower, but DH had car trouble and needed my car when I planned to do the grocery run, so we ended up hitting Safeway late Sunday instead of my normal early ALDI's run.*  Also had probably $50 in weekday takeout, but half of that was deciding to take the kids out to lunch on a snow day, so not quite as lazy as it sounds. 

*Yeah, ok, in complete honesty, by the time he got back, I was having waaayyyy too much fun watching all the overnight Olympics I had taped to want to go shop, and it was raining like hell and I didn't want to leave my comfy nest.  Tried to get DD to go shop for me, but she turned down my bribe (rather go study for her physics test, damn kid!). :-)  So basically I procrastinated until it was too late for ALDI.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Novik on February 12, 2018, 08:16:37 AM
Ah, I love it when laziness works in my favor -- didn't shop last week, ate out of fridge/freezer, and still had tons of food left (just no fruit/veg), so I have my leftovers for this week's lunches already.

I'm doing the same laziness thing this week! We haven't shopped this week yet, and are planning to do leftover vindaloo and honey chicken stir fry from last week + defrosting frozen chili and pot pie from January + scrounging if needed. The main reason is to give my partner a break from cooking so he can focus on applying to jobs, but the grocery costs benefit is certainly a bonus!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on February 12, 2018, 08:21:59 AM
Decided to actually post January's numbers. Lots and lots of eating out :'(.

2 Shopping weeks into February, we are finally settling into our new house. We have gone a FULL WEEK without buying food from a restaurant/coffeeshop/takeout place etc.

Our grocery bills are looking inflated, but we have been doing some mega meal prep (freezer is now full), and it works out to about $3 a serving of food, which isn't too bad! We will see how the numbers average out month by month!

Ideally I would still like to see that total number closer to $600 a month.

Just curious why you divide the eating out into buckets? Isn't it all the same, from a budget perspective? I'd finding the tracking annoying, but also would likely spend more if I had multiple buckets.

Not to speak for kay, but I started dividing my eating-out-budget into even more buckets than that. 

I have buckets for:
Work lunches - Husband
Work lunches - me
Vending machine / coffee shop - husband
Date Night
Family Dinners
Social Restaurant meals (out with friends)
One parent w/kids (we're a blended family; sometimes we have dates with our own bio kids)
Desserts

It was eye-opening for us to see where the problems really were.

My husband spent way more money than we realized on work lunches and vending machines/coffee shops.
I spent way more money than I realized treating the kids to desserts or having one-on-one dates with the kids.

Each category does have a monthly budget now, and we're finally making progress at cutting down that spending.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: zeli2033 on February 12, 2018, 09:34:17 AM
Tallied up this weekend's grocery spending. DH decided to go shopping for things without telling me as a really sweet and nice gesture but without a list per the meal plan. So he stocked up on things that we didn't need. And we somehow ended up collectively going out on shopping trips 3 separate times in the span of two days. No wonder we spent so much more than we needed to this weekend.

Total so far: $411/$850

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on February 12, 2018, 09:54:51 AM
. . . snip . . .

+1.  I divvy up primarily so I can focus on what is in my control, and to separate lazy spending from those "quality of life" things that will lead to divorce if I push too hard. 

So for ex., we have categories for groceries, lunches, takeout, and eating out.  I carved out "lunches" specifically because DH insists on eating out every day; I am not going to nag him on a battle that was lost 20 years ago, but I am also not going to hold myself responsible for something that not my choice and completely out of my control.  A/k/a not my circus, not my monkeys.

Similarly, I am not focusing on eating out or weekend takeout, because DH likes going out and is extremely grumpy if I make him eat at home all the time.  So I work on it from the standpoint of "why don't we just go get a burger/order pizza instead of Fancy Gourmet Place," but that's it. 

OTOH, groceries are weeknight takeout are on me.  It's my job to plan, shop, and prepare, so poor results in those categories usually mean that I got lazy.  Those are therefore both areas in which I can and should focus my efforts to improve.  In addition, the trends in the individual categories also matter -- I could drop my groceries way down if I just ordered a buttload of takeout, but that isn't desirable; and on the flip side, cutting back from our takeout habit definitely required more consistent grocery shopping.  So tracking the categories individually helps me figure out not just if I am getting lazy, but where. 

@Novik:  Can you please come deliver some of those leftovers to my house?  I'm still eating leftover Superbowl BBQ and an awful chicken/brown/broccoli rice dish that I couldn't inflict on anyone else.  :-(  I will happily trade you some really delicious green chile stew that turned out to be just a little too spicy and so will take about 2 weeks to work through. . . .
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on February 12, 2018, 09:56:13 AM
Decided to actually post January's numbers. Lots and lots of eating out :'(.

2 Shopping weeks into February, we are finally settling into our new house. We have gone a FULL WEEK without buying food from a restaurant/coffeeshop/takeout place etc.

Our grocery bills are looking inflated, but we have been doing some mega meal prep (freezer is now full), and it works out to about $3 a serving of food, which isn't too bad! We will see how the numbers average out month by month!

Ideally I would still like to see that total number closer to $600 a month.

Just curious why you divide the eating out into buckets? Isn't it all the same, from a budget perspective? I'd finding the tracking annoying, but also would likely spend more if I had multiple buckets.

Not to speak for kay, but I started dividing my eating-out-budget into even more buckets than that. 

I have buckets for:
Work lunches - Husband
Work lunches - me
Vending machine / coffee shop - husband
Date Night
Family Dinners
Social Restaurant meals (out with friends)
One parent w/kids (we're a blended family; sometimes we have dates with our own bio kids)
Desserts

It was eye-opening for us to see where the problems really were.

My husband spent way more money than we realized on work lunches and vending machines/coffee shops.
I spent way more money than I realized treating the kids to desserts or having one-on-one dates with the kids.

Each category does have a monthly budget now, and we're finally making progress at cutting down that spending.

Interesting. Thanks for sharing! I think, for us, we have few of these categories, and spend the eating out money in primarily two ways (as a family, or on a date night). And, when we spend more on date nights, for example, we don't spend any/much on  eating out as a family. But, the way you explained it is helpful - to pinpoint where the overage is really coming from. Makes sense!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: DapperD123 on February 12, 2018, 11:30:42 AM
I hope you don't mind if I play along too.... I know I'm late to the start.
Coming out of last year we averaged $1050 a month for food/gas. That's foe my DW, a newborn, and I.

My 2018 goal is to reduce that by at least 25%.

I've got a few items already in place:
- We used to buy individual servicing sized cups of rice or pouches. That's long gone.... buy in bulk now and cook when it's needed.
Or I'll cook enough for the week on Sunday for my lunch meal prep.

- Oatmeal... so long small boxes of oatmeal packs or 3 for 5 individual service cups....
It's now large containers of oats or I'll buy the Sams club sized oatmeal packs.

- Potatoes.... so long premade mashed potatoes or pre sliced and seasoned potatoes...

etc etc

I don't mind spending a little time doing meal prep because the savings are happening very quickly.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Novik on February 12, 2018, 11:44:14 AM
Novik:  Can you please come deliver some of those leftovers to my house?  I'm still eating leftover Superbowl BBQ and an awful chicken/brown/broccoli rice dish that I couldn't inflict on anyone else.  :-(  I will happily trade you some really delicious green chile stew that turned out to be just a little too spicy and so will take about 2 weeks to work through. . . .

Maybe what we need is an MMM cooking swap!  Alas, I must turn down your generous chile stew offer, since spice and I are not friends. The chicken/broccoli/brown rice actually sounds like it could be really good though - sorry to hear it didn't turn out!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: PKate on February 12, 2018, 01:58:47 PM
Today my friend and I got together and made a couple of gallons of chilli.  It was made with ground beef, ground pork, ground venison, and pureed beef liver.  These were all in our freezers along with peppers I froze from this past summer along with home canned tomatoes, home canned salsa verde, and dried herbs from my garden.  The meat came from buying whole animals directly from a farmer except for the venison.  My friend's DH is a hunter.  I add a small amount of liver because I get it when I buy half a cow.  Hiding it in chili is the best way for me to eat and not notice. The rest of the ingredients except for some spices came from our gardens.  We periodically get together to  can or batch cook.  It reduces the work,  we get to catch up, and both of us have food ready to eat in the freezer.  We plan these events based on what we need to use up or what the garden is over producing.  We have made jams, tomato sauce, relish, stews, chicken soup, chili, plus pressure canning meats and stock.   
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on February 12, 2018, 03:05:05 PM
The chicken/broccoli/brown rice actually sounds like it could be really good though - sorry to hear it didn't turn out!

Well, the fact that I don't really like broccoli and just kinda tolerate brown rice didn't help.  :-)  The pain of trying to be healthy . . . . 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 12, 2018, 03:12:29 PM
Laura33, what kind of broccoli do you cook? I LOVE broccoli and actually prefer the frozen broccoli florets over fresh. Got to be careful not to buy the broccoli 'cuts'. They are CRAP stalks/stems and some florets. I sometimes buy this huge 3 lb bag of frozen broccoli florets at the store and break it down into more manageable portions. It is so good with just butter after a light cook. I steam in the microwave and it comes out perfect. I am sure brown rice can be jazzed up to taste good but I am a white rice person. Maybe someone could help out on add ins to flavor the brown rice. Garlic, onions, peppers, tomato sauce?
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: kaypinkHH on February 12, 2018, 03:51:44 PM
@MaybeBabyMustache, totally what others have said (also Mint automatically breaks it out that way for me, I actually lump fast food and coffee shops together).

For us, fastfoood/coffeeshops are my MOST EVIL PURCHASES. I want those to go to 0. Normally fast food and or coffee shops means sh!t convenience food that I bought on the run, and for us it is laziness. January did include some big purchases (like a take 12 coffee pack) and timbits and pizza for moving help (Feb will have the same).

Restaurants though are normally with friends, or food styles we haven't mastered at home yet, so I don't feel as bad about it.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: galliver on February 12, 2018, 03:55:28 PM
One more trip and 2 more stores for us this weekend, under atypical circumstances. We went out of town for a wedding and stayed at my parents. They don't mind feeding us, but this time they were headed out of town themselves so their fridge was low. Picked up $30 of breakfast and lunch for 4 days. (I also stopped in grocery stores 2 other times, but it was entirely for gift-giving purposes--candy and cards--so not groceries.) We're at $110 for the month so far with a pretty full fridge (pretty low for this time in the month and usually $500+ total!)

The chicken/broccoli/brown rice actually sounds like it could be really good though - sorry to hear it didn't turn out!

Well, the fact that I don't really like broccoli and just kinda tolerate brown rice didn't help.  :-)  The pain of trying to be healthy . . . . 

You could try red rice if you have an ethnic grocery that stocks it. I find it a lot less...cardboardy, and maybe sweeter? We got a 3?lb bag from 99 Ranch fairly inexpensively, but I don't know what's available on your coast. Keep an eye out?

I also find that heartier grains (brown/red/black/wild rice, barley, farro, etc) work better with richer, heartier, saucier additions/toppings...like chicken marsala, mushrooms, sweet potatoes/root veg, etc. I would never substitute them in something like sushi. Kind of like how I wouldn't bake delicate pastries with whole wheat flour, but oatmeal cookies or bran muffins would work fine. Enjoyed a variation on this dish with red+brown+wild rice: https://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/wild-rice-pilaf-with-dried-cranberries-and-pecans.html

There werenít too many things on sale this week in the circulars, so I stopped at Aldi and Berkeley again on Tuesday before the prior weeks sales were over. I had a really hard time purchasing that expensive toothpaste. I actually put it to the side while checking out 🤣, but our teeth have become sensitive to cold after using harsh whitening toothpastes. Next time Iíll try and use a coupon for it.

My teeth became crazy sensitive around the time I got my wisdom teeth out (though dentists tell me it's unrelated?); I've been on non-whitening, anti-sensitivity toothpaste several years. I've had very good luck with the Colgate anti-sensitivity toothpastes (possibly better than Sensodyne); from what I've seen the Colgate ones tend to be cheaper ($3.50-4 vs $5+?); especially if it's not from a newer "line" of pastes and in a big tube. (Just make sure it has potassium nitrate.)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: krmit on February 12, 2018, 04:31:41 PM
So far I've only spent $11.05 on groceries this month (milk, eggs, and half and half), in my monthlong challenge to eat down the pantry at home. Still got plenty of rice, beans, canned tomatoes, various condiments, and grocery staples. Low on fresh veggies- out of potatoes and onions, almost out of garlic, peanut butter (!!) and cheese. On the plus side, I reorganized the various pantry cabinets and was able to consolidate a lot, found some more chocolate chips (yay!), and picked some fresh broccoli raab from the garden for dinner tonight.

I'm 90% sure I'm going to do an Imperfect Produce order this week (side bar - not a huge meal delivery kit person, but IP keeps perfectly good, if weirdly sized produce out of the landfill and this month, keeps me out of the grocery store, AKA temptation) because the only veg we have in the house is broccoli raab, half a cabbage, and half a head of celery to get us through the month. Not enough fresh veg for our tastes!

I also may need to pick up more flour, because I'm down to my last few cups in the 20-pound bag and I make all our bread at home. Bad timing to run out in no-spend grocery month - I think I opened that bag in December.

But even with those purchase in mind, I'm pretty sure I'll be under $100 for the month and will have a much more streamlined pantry!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Off the Wheel on February 12, 2018, 04:50:25 PM
At about $90 for the month so far, so nicely under the $250 goal.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on February 12, 2018, 05:19:07 PM
I've spent $1.99 on groceries so far this month.  I will probably do a big delivery on Saturday, but I'm trying to eat down my fridge and freezer this week. Lots of frozen broccoli in my future!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 12, 2018, 06:48:14 PM
My meal swap went great!  I received 8 delicious looking meals, all frozen and ready for crock pot, instant pot or sheet pan dinner and of sufficient variety (sausage, pork chop, beef, chicken with various vegetables and starches). Everyone made their favorites, and I still have one of my chicken pot pies.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on February 12, 2018, 07:26:06 PM
@galliver - Good thinking, I love red rice.  I think you pegged part of my problem - I was trying to re-create a rice and chicken that I remember from my childhood, but try to make it healthier, and it just ended up bland (but not in a ďgoodĒ/childhood memory way).  I think a pilaf with some deeper/stronger flavors would have worked better with the nuttier flavor of the rice.

@RoadRunner:  fresh broccoli.  I just donít like broccoli, but itís one of the veggies I will tolerate, so I was trying to work it in.  But the combo brought out all of the ďessence of vegetableĒ flavor I donít like, without enough other good flavors to tone it down. 

But, hey, I finished it off today, so we never have to do that again.  :-)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Serendip on February 12, 2018, 09:16:44 PM
I am so impressed with those low groceries numbers (especially those of you eating down the fridge/freezer)!
I am at $109 and still somewhat stocked..

my SO is not on the same page as me so he has reverted to picking up groceries often and I will try to do my biweekly shop and cook in batches. We keep our finances seperate so I will just do my own accounting :)

Tomorrow I will cook up a curried chickpea meal and then will brainstorm what to make for a Valentine's Day dinner.
Not usually my type of thing, but I have the day off so might as well make something tasty.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: mountain mustache on February 12, 2018, 09:47:26 PM
I failed at my goal of $200 for the month already :( I had an emergency wisdom tooth extraction last week, and ended up having to do an extra grocery shop for all soft foods (pretty much just dairy free ice cream which is $$, and applesauce and such). I was super bummed because I'd already gotten tons of fresh produce for the week, that I couldn't and still can't eat. I'm still hoping I'll come in under $250, which will still be my lowest month in a long time.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: HappierAtHome on February 13, 2018, 12:20:17 AM
At $592 so far for Feb; goal is $700. Hmph. We may need to exercise more caution from here on out. The good news is that we have ingredients to make a few comfort foods, including turning the bland batch of Bolognese in the freezer into delicious lasagne. We're having a shit month, so comfort food is a good move.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on February 13, 2018, 07:44:13 AM
I hope you don't mind if I play along too.... I know I'm late to the start.
Coming out of last year we averaged $1050 a month for food/gas. That's foe my DW, a newborn, and I.

My 2018 goal is to reduce that by at least 25%.

I've got a few items already in place:
- We used to buy individual servicing sized cups of rice or pouches. That's long gone.... buy in bulk now and cook when it's needed.
Or I'll cook enough for the week on Sunday for my lunch meal prep.

- Oatmeal... so long small boxes of oatmeal packs or 3 for 5 individual service cups....
It's now large containers of oats or I'll buy the Sams club sized oatmeal packs.

- Potatoes.... so long premade mashed potatoes or pre sliced and seasoned potatoes...

etc etc

I don't mind spending a little time doing meal prep because the savings are happening very quickly.

Welcome, Dapper!

I'm trying to cook more from scratch this year, too.  My kids think I'm being very weird, but were pleasantly surprised that oatmeal can come from something other than a packet.  It is amazing how much healthier we are eating and at how much less of a cost.

My goal is to be between $125-150 per week ($125 at the main grocery store plus a monthly Costco run of about $100).  That includes food for 5 people, 1 dog, and also household items.

My stretch goal is a total of $6500/year ($540/mo).
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on February 13, 2018, 08:28:37 AM
My meal swap went great!  I received 8 delicious looking meals, all frozen and ready for crock pot, instant pot or sheet pan dinner and of sufficient variety (sausage, pork chop, beef, chicken with various vegetables and starches). Everyone made their favorites, and I still have one of my chicken pot pies.

That is great news!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on February 14, 2018, 10:51:06 AM
I've spent $1.99 on groceries so far this month.  I will probably do a big delivery on Saturday, but I'm trying to eat down my fridge and freezer this week. Lots of frozen broccoli in my future!
Still no new grocery shopping.

I started my crockpot this morning before work (a first!).  We will have chicken taco bowl (https://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/07/taco-chicken-bowls/) for dinner tonight.  I used up our last can of black beans, two mostly empty bags of frozen corn, 2 chicken breasts (the last of the frozen chicken from a bulk buy a few months ago), and finished the salsa.

I had a work dinner last night, so I have leftovers for lunch today. 

I forgot breakfast this morning, so I pulled together a few things from my office (packet of oatmeal, almond butter, and dried fruit).  Filling and tasty!

If I get hungry, I have a Belvita package that I received on a Southwest flight last month.  I ate one for an afternoon snack yesterday. 

I am planning a large grocery shop (~$150) on Saturday.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: haypug16 on February 14, 2018, 01:21:21 PM
So far this month I'm at $160.23. Hoping the second half of the month to spend less than that. I know I need to get some more coffee beans, milk, pastry flour, and produce. Hopefully that will be pretty much it and I can keep it around $200 or at least under $250.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 14, 2018, 02:22:06 PM
You all are so inspirational!  I'm already thinking about how to trim down NEXT month's grocery budget... LOL.  But I can do better the rest of this month too.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CutTheFat on February 14, 2018, 02:55:28 PM
I'm sad to say, that I've allowed the grocery budget to get away from me over the last couple months.  So I'm reeling it in!  The good news is we have lots of reserves to eat from and won't have to spend much this month.  Last night I made 6 quarts of buffalo stew, tons of leftovers and the buffalo was given to us for FREE (and there's more in the freezer).  I defrosted pork chops for tonight, I want to make them special for my Valentine I'm thinking of serving them over polenta with some braised veggies.  So far for Feb we've spent $233.07  for 3 of.  I enjoy grocery shopping and love finding bargains and stocking up.  But I need to not go into certain stores when we don't need to stock up.  So the plan is to eat a bunch of the food that we already have and supplement with produce, dairy and eggs as needed.  I'm hoping to stay under $300 for this month!         
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on February 14, 2018, 03:53:17 PM
Quick mid-month check in for us, and meal plan check in. We've spent $132.30 (budget of $200 for Feb, as we have a gift card for other spending).

Meal plan (as I expected it to be):
Here's what we've eaten so far:

Friday - we ate out for my birthday
Saturday - boys had soccer, so had a quick "freezer" meal. The kids had pasta from the fridge & the adults had pesto tortellini, served with salad & baked chicken
Sunday - kebabs & rice
Monday - ate leftover pasta, tortellini & chicken
Tuesday - leftover kebabs & rice

Mid-week, as we only cooked one big meal this weekend (as opposed to normal 3), this is where things get dicey. Rest of week plan
Wednesday - empanadas (freezer) + chicken. I'll have the last of some soup, and my husband will likely also have a kebab.
Thursday - spaghetti & meatballs
Friday - my son's birthday, so we're having pizza at the bowling alley.

3 of 4 birthdays in our family are in a 5 week span, so things get a little crazy.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: krmit on February 15, 2018, 03:27:29 PM
Well, we're in the second half of February and the no (low)-spend grocery month continues to stretch my creativity. Still got plenty of food in the pantry - it feels like I've barely done any rice and bean cliche meals. (Lentils and rice last week, and I'm planning chili for tomorrow)

Spent $25.46 on an Imperfect Produce box, mostly onions, carrots, and potatoes, which we were totally out of. My splurge was throwing in 3 avocados for $2 - when they're ripe, we'll have half-assed sushi rolls (with canned tuna) and delicious tacos.

The total spend for the month so far is $36.51.

I find myself actually tempted to eat out more, which is unusual. We are also continuing to be tempted by all the snacky things. We love our popcorn.

But the great challenge remains - as of this morning, we're out of peanut butter. That's one of my trigger foods, as in, "out of peanut butter? Time to go grocery shopping TODAY!" The only nuts I have in the house are pecans. That sounds absurdly fancy, but it would probably be a good stand in.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on February 16, 2018, 10:59:11 AM
krmit, I love pecans, and when we ran out, I begrudgingly started eating the walnuts, all in the name of saving money.

This weekend the kids and I are out of town.  I served up the Aldi grocery list and two recipes for the husband to have waiting for our week when we return on Sunday.  Turkey meat spaghetti for the kids, zucchini sausage ravioli from budgetbytes for adults, and salad for all.  I'm sure I will be cooking again on Thursday to get us through the remainder of the week.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Serendip on February 16, 2018, 04:13:33 PM
Good job everyone :)

So far I've spent $153 this month which I am feeling pretty good about (last month's total was $550 for groceries, eating out and alcohol)

Heading to dinner at a friend's house tonight (will buy wine) and might make a coconut lentil soup tomorrow, which I have all the ingredients for..so will see how long until we do another shop.

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: frooglepoodle on February 17, 2018, 10:13:49 AM
I'm right at my $300 goal for the month ($301.17, to be exact). I bought ingredients for freezer meals that won't all be eaten this month, so I'm upping the budget to $325 to allow buying enough fresh vegetables and other necessities like rice or tortillas if we need them.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: krmit on February 17, 2018, 11:02:34 AM
Toasted pecans + salt + food processer = a perfectly acceptable fancy-pants peanut butter substitute!

I really think I'll be able to come in under $50 for the month. I'll need to pick up a few staples next week (coffee and flour) but otherwise should hold out for another 10 days!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: icecreamcat on February 17, 2018, 11:40:30 AM
DH and I are trying to reduce our grocery budget by another $400 this year to $400/month total. I made quarterly goals in Asana because thatís the way I roll. Goals for this quarter are to decrease overall budget by $100/month by eating out less and spending less money on alcohol.

Iím the one who bloats our budget with eating out because itís my favorite treat. Iíll eat out less by using PlanToEat to do meal planning, only eat out for social events, and batch cook lunch meals each weekend. It pains me to pay for PlanToEat, but it is helping a lot, so I'm using it at least for a year. Biggest success so far this month ó we had date night in for Valentineís Day. We made dinner together, drank some wine, and it was better than going out to eat.

My husband does most of the alcohol spending as he enjoys having a craft beer or expensive scotch after work. We are drinking tea in place of alcohol. My husband found some cheaper whiskeys at Costco that he enjoys (yay!), and heís aging one in a barrel I bought him for Christmas.

@krmit Thanks for posting how it went! That's a pretty cool substitution.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on February 17, 2018, 01:25:58 PM
Well, I think I am going to be in trouble in a few months - just got word they are opening a new gourmet market literally two blocks away.  This is one area in which I am learning to use my innate laziness to my advantage: shopping requires effort (all the good stores are 15 minutes away), so if I am lazy, I have to figure out how to eat out of my pantry and freezer.  But now the laziness is going to induce me to spend more instead of less - oh, gee, I really donít feel like driving, Iíll just pop across the street. 

Worse:  they will have takeout sushi.  DH and DD love sushi.  Ugh.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 17, 2018, 01:48:41 PM
I spend a lot on groceries but don't feel one bit bad about it. We eat at home almost 100% and eat what I would call restaurant quality food. If we were to eat out all the time, we'd spend much more and not have leftovers to eat for lunch or breakfast. We enjoy variety and trying new things which requires shopping for ingredients we do not have at home. We shop the sale flyers too. This week we bought an 8 lb chicken and poached it. Hub cut it up and we tossed the bones and scraps into the broth and I cooked it in the crockpot all night with celery, onions, garlic, carrots. Strained it this morning and will make a pureed white bean soup out of it. How can you beat the price of that chicken and all the broth I ended up with? The chicken will make a few meals and leftovers. So we buy bargains and then also buy expensive stuff like sea scallops now and then. Shrimp and lobster now and then. So my cheap chicken kind of offsets the expensive stuff! To each his own I guess.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: zeli2033 on February 18, 2018, 08:54:42 AM
Update after shopping completed for next week: $517/$850.

Tracking along nicely although DH and I did succumb to getting takeout last night. We would have spent even less but itís was a good treat for us.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on February 18, 2018, 05:06:19 PM
We are currently at $99.50* for the month. 

I might pick up some more fruit and salad greens next weekend, but that should be under $20. 

Today, I prepared a batch of breakfast burritos for the freezer (whole wheat tortillas, eggs, spinach, black beans, cheese), a large batch of chicken curry in the Instant Pot (will freeze half), chickpea shawarma, (http://minimalistbaker.com/chickpea-shawarma-sandwich/) and tripled the recipe for a cauliflower salad (https://www.budgetbytes.com/2017/03/peanut-lime-cauliflower-salad/).

I also packed up the extra chicken breasts we bought in package of two and put them in the freezer.  These will probably be used to make shredded chicken in the Instant Pot.

*This includes delivery fees (yes, we get our groceries delivered), a few bags (oops!), paper products, toiletries, and cleaning products (bulk vinegar).
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on February 19, 2018, 07:30:41 AM
Not so hot this week -- let DD talk me into Wegmans, and we were out and I hadn't checked pantry for staples so ended up buying some stuff we don't need.  So $232 for groceries and $8 for household, for a monthly total of $367 groceries, $48 household -- so I should still be easily within the $600 total budget if I pay attention next weekend (and I totally overbought this week, so I really shouldn't need much).  Also ended up agreeing to pho when DH was out of town, bringing the monthly takeout to around $100.



Edited to fix math.


Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 19, 2018, 07:52:59 AM
Laura33, you made me laugh! I always go to the store 'for just a few things' and $300 later I walk out of the store! My Hub will say, should I just get a basket? I usually say NO, get a cart. It isn't just me, he will see a bargain and point it out to me and we buy it! Then something else and something else...cha ching...your bill is $300 MAM!

It also makes me laugh when a storm is predicted and everyone runs to the store to stock up on MILK and BREAD! LOL! Like we are going to get snowed in for months! I have so much food in my house that I could supply my neighborhood with meals for a few weeks! Just as long as we don't lose electricity for too long. We do have a generator so we could get by for a while.

One summer it was HOT, HOT, HOT and we got a horrible thunderstorm that blew out our electricity and most of the town. My Hub cranked up the generator and wa la, on the hottest day we had ac running, refrigerators running and tv running! LOL! Decadent!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on February 19, 2018, 09:15:08 AM
Laura33, you made me laugh! I always go to the store 'for just a few things' and $300 later I walk out of the store! My Hub will say, should I just get a basket? I usually say NO, get a cart. It isn't just me, he will see a bargain and point it out to me and we buy it! Then something else and something else...cha ching...your bill is $300 MAM!

Probably the only thing that saved me from a $300 trip was getting the smaller cart instead of the big one. ;-)

My real lesson from doing this last year was exactly how susceptible to impulse spending I am in the grocery store.  I always prided myself on being immune to that, as things like malls and commercials and clothes and "stuff" don't really do it for me.  But, man, do not let me loose unsupervised in Wegmans!  Especially when I can justify it as buying treats for someone else, like DH/kids -- I can say no to myself, but I want to keep my family happy.  I have really had to learn different habits to manage myself -- e.g., ALDI as much as I can (fewer temptations), having a plan and a menu and a complete list, 1-2 meats/cheeses at a time for DH/kids instead of a deli tray full, fully vetting the state of the pantry before leaving, NO kids, and taking the smaller cart.  This week was a fail on all but that last front! 

But at the same time, I don't feel too bad about it, because (a) I also learned last year that if I don't periodically get some prosciutto and mortadella and the like, DH gets extremely cranky and resentful (the reason my budget is $600 in the first place -- which is ridiculous by MMM standards -- is to allow for a big Wegmans shop every 2-3 weeks) and (b) at least my "fail" week is $100 lower than before I started paying attention.  :-)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: RayO on February 19, 2018, 10:18:33 AM
@ galliver - Thank you for the Colgate recommendation! Iíll give it a go next time I need toothpaste.

I totally fell off the wagon 😣. Hubby and I both got sick and I didnít feel like cooking at all. Somehow between eating take out and Haagen Dazs for a week and a half I still lost about 4 lbs.

Currently Iím at -$148.82 for the month, with a total spend goal of $250.00. Hopefully I can get that to even out throughout the rest of the year. I did enjoy all of the yummy food, also no dishes was the best! Lol.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 19, 2018, 10:32:38 AM
I am retired and it is just the two of us, no kids. I don't mind spending on food as long as we eat it. It is life's little luxuries. I have found a place on line where I have been ordering some tasty treats like coconut shrimp. You have to buy large size boxes, like 10 lbs. They have these fish fillets like what is on the Burger King Fish filet sandwich, another 10 lb. box. The worst part though is you have to pay for shipping with dry ice. Ooooh la la!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: SachaFiscal on February 19, 2018, 03:26:19 PM
I'm starting to focus on reducing my grocery spending this month.  I've been tracking our spending on groceries for the past 8 months and our average is about $750 per month with the highest month being $940 and the lowest month $615.  I don't have a particular goal in mind but I'd like to see how much I can reduce it by just being mindful of what I'm buying and not wasting any food.  We are mostly vegan so our staples (e.g. rice and beans) are fairly cheap but we like to eat organic when possible so that increases our spending on produce a bit.

Here are the things I have done so far to reduce my spending:
1. Track grocery spending.
2. Eat pretty much the same things every week. So I can buy some stuff in bulk.
3. Don't waste any food. Everything I buy we eat.
3. Don't overeat (also helps with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight). I portion out the food so that we eat a sufficient amount without going overboard.
4. Switching from canned beans to dry beans.  I've started using my instant pot to cook dry beans which saves quite a bit and may be more nutritious and less caloric.
5. Cook from scratch as much as possible.
6. Stop/reduce drinking alcohol. We don't buy alcohol to drink at home anymore. I only drink about once or twice a month if I go out with friends or on special occasions.

My plan next week is to start looking at where I can buy things the cheapest. Going to a few different stores and checking out their prices on the things I normally buy.

So far this month I've already spent $125 but I had to buy some bulk items.  I expect future weeks to be much less.

Doing good so far!  I've only spent $288 and I have enough food to last until Saturday at least.  I'll probably do one more shopping run on Sunday which will probably be less than $100 putting me below the USDA thrifty food plan amount for two adults ($385). Not bad!  I think this is as low as I can go and still eat mostly organic produce.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 19, 2018, 05:43:39 PM
I'm not even bothering to post this month because my grocery spending has been abyssmal.

But I did intend to buy asparagus today at the store, and in a weak, Spendy McSpendy pants moment, picked up a pack of prewashed, precut asparagus.   Noted the cost per pound ($8.99!!!) and walked over to the regular asparagus ($2.99 pound) and thought of all you frugal guys here, and bought green beans.  ($1.99/pound).
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: galliver on February 19, 2018, 08:45:21 PM
Tuesday, stopped by nearest grocery store for pizza crusts and cheese for a quick dinner that used up some leftovers (we'd had mixed grains + roasted veggies planned but I kept coming home too late to do it, *sigh* work). Also got yogurt while/because it was on sale and at bf's request, flavored fizzy water ($12 for 3x8 packs, total bill $27).
Friday, convinced bf to go grocery shopping so I could do a cooking project Saturday (I'd been wanting to try my hand at my own won tons since December, and they turned out awesome). He wanted to do burritos later, so we picked up stuff for those as well. ~$100 in meat, vegetables, tortillas, cheese (block of cheddar), won ton wrappers. No beverages or alcohol or deli!
Saturday, had to send bf out for more won ton wraps and he ended up going to 2 stores because they were out at the first one. He picked up a couple additional things to the tune of $25.
So we're just short of $300 at the moment with a full fridge...way less than we'd normally be at by this part of the month!

The won-ton project also prompted me to clean out odds and ends from the freezer so I'd have room for a tray! I've also been noticing that being on this challenge is motivating me to think about meal plans in terms of using up what's available more often (cooking projects that have to take place on the weekend aside). Finished off two dressings in the last week by using them as sauce/marinade for cooked dishes.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on February 19, 2018, 08:56:54 PM
We're still below $140 for February, but that's mostly because we had a Costco gift card. My husband has done a few shopping trips, and sticks to the list about 80%. The 20% of stuff I try to use, but not guarantees. We've bought two giant bags of limes, a second 2 pack of cooking spray (still have a 2 pack in the pantry), another pack of baguette bread, etc. I do what I can, but also know that unless I'm doing the shopping, some grace needs to be extended.

Menu plan for the week ahead:

Friday - pizza at son's bowling/birthday party
Saturday - chicken fiesta skillet w/homemade guacamole
Sunday - skiing at Tahoe, and had to eat on our way home. (Comes out of vacation budget). Went to Old Spaghetti Factory
Monday - butternut squash soup with bread & salad
Tuesday - Will have leftover chicken fiesta skillet
Wednesday - Leftover soup & bread
Thursday - Spaghetti & meatballs
Friday - likely a chicken rice pilaf recipe

We did all of the shopping on Saturday, and don't shop mid-week. But, one more shop for February.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Novik on February 20, 2018, 08:03:52 AM
Didn't go grocery shopping last-last weekend, which was awesome for the budget. This week though the bill was 128$ - I used PC points to get it under 100$, which is better aligned with my goals AND more reflective of food costs (we had ~30$ of pharmacy stuff - meds, mouthwash, deoderant). 

Today though I have to go BACK to the store for frozen pizzas, as we are hosting games night (planned after our last trip to the store). And can't feasibly cook since the game we're playing (Power Grid) took almost 4 hours from start to finish last time!

To those on track - great work! To those struggling - hang in there!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on February 20, 2018, 08:12:03 AM
We were doing really well for February, and then I forgot to properly meal plan this weekend.  I realized I'd forgotten a few things we needed for the meals I planned to make and sent my husband to the store with a list yesterday.

He bought everything on my list and then another $30 in junk - ice cream, chips, soda, etc.

He's not allowed to go grocery shopping again for a while, at least until our new healthy eating lifestyle has caught on.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Candace on February 20, 2018, 09:41:58 AM
We were doing really well for February, and then I forgot to properly meal plan this weekend.  I realized I'd forgotten a few things we needed for the meals I planned to make and sent my husband to the store with a list yesterday.

He bought everything on my list and then another $30 in junk - ice cream, chips, soda, etc.

He's not allowed to go grocery shopping again for a while, at least until our new healthy eating lifestyle has caught on.
Clever how he got you to sign up to do all the grocery shopping :-/.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Mrs. Rocker on February 20, 2018, 09:59:50 AM
We've been enjoying lower produce prices lately in Texas. Since we travel full-time we seldom go to the same grocery store more than once so it's always interesting what we will find. Yesterday we bought:
Asparagus $.98/#
Broccoli Crowns $1.28/#
Cauliflower $2.25/head
Baby Carrots $.88/#
Sweet Onions $.88/#
Last night for supper we chopped up the asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Placed them on a sheet of foil. Sprinkled with salt and pepper. Topped with a handful of onions and drizzle of oil. Wrapped it up and grilled on each side for a few minutes. Yum!!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on February 20, 2018, 10:18:22 AM
We were doing really well for February, and then I forgot to properly meal plan this weekend.  I realized I'd forgotten a few things we needed for the meals I planned to make and sent my husband to the store with a list yesterday.

He bought everything on my list and then another $30 in junk - ice cream, chips, soda, etc.

He's not allowed to go grocery shopping again for a while, at least until our new healthy eating lifestyle has caught on.
Clever how he got you to sign up to do all the grocery shopping :-/.

If only!

He did all the grocery shopping for the last few years, but we rebalanced chores in September so now I do it.  He volunteered to pick up the handful of things I'd forgotten; otherwise I would have gone after work yesterday.

I think he's just rebelling against all the veggies.

I did tell him that if he insists on buying ice cream, at least get the good stuff, not the low-fat tasteless crap.  If we're going to splurge, it better taste good.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Candace on February 20, 2018, 10:25:10 AM
We were doing really well for February, and then I forgot to properly meal plan this weekend.  I realized I'd forgotten a few things we needed for the meals I planned to make and sent my husband to the store with a list yesterday.

He bought everything on my list and then another $30 in junk - ice cream, chips, soda, etc.

He's not allowed to go grocery shopping again for a while, at least until our new healthy eating lifestyle has caught on.
Clever how he got you to sign up to do all the grocery shopping :-/.

If only!

He did all the grocery shopping for the last few years, but we rebalanced chores in September so now I do it.  He volunteered to pick up the handful of things I'd forgotten; otherwise I would have gone after work yesterday.

I think he's just rebelling against all the veggies.

I did tell him that if he insists on buying ice cream, at least get the good stuff, not the low-fat tasteless crap.  If we're going to splurge, it better taste good.
Grin. Damn right. Cool about balancing out the chores.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Shelley on February 20, 2018, 07:37:59 PM
We were doing really well for February, and then I forgot to properly meal plan this weekend.  I realized I'd forgotten a few things we needed for the meals I planned to make and sent my husband to the store with a list yesterday.

He bought everything on my list and then another $30 in junk - ice cream, chips, soda, etc.

He's not allowed to go grocery shopping again for a while, at least until our new healthy eating lifestyle has caught on.

Donít you hate that? You think theyíre on track with you to shop responsibly and it gets blown up. My DH got the task of setting up a phone account for our youngest DD when she started high school this year. I thought heíd just do a quick $15 add on plan to ours, didnít think to discuss it. He put her on a $40 a month, 12 month plan!! And all she needed was free text and calls, no data. So angry!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Shelley on February 20, 2018, 07:52:10 PM
So Iím going to tag along here. We are a family of 4, two girls 13 and 17. At the start of last year we were spending $1300 a month for groceries, including all household products, cat and dog products too. We cut it down to about $1100, some months were less. But since the start of this year Iíve completely changed the way we eat. So our new goal is $880. Last month was $920, I was due for a $30 off with store card but for some reason it didnít go through so I blew my limit well and truly.

We have $400 in gift cards from our credit card rewards, but I donít deduct those as I donít want to over spend because of free money.

Last month we splashed out and bought the cheapest bar size freezer we could find. The top two drawers fit 15 takeaway containers each, the bottom I use to store beans Iíve cooked up from dry and packaged into can size amounts.

We are eating less meat, and I love the website ifoodreal, she has lots of less meat recipes. 500g of protein serves 7 meals now, 4 of which go into the freezer for Ďfakeawayí a couple of nights a week. I also sometimes only half fill the container and they go into the top drawer for lunches. I add beans to just about everything , which my youngest isnít too impressed about, but she is getting used to it.

I always thought it was expensive to buy fresh produce, and used a lot of canned and frozen veg, but we have mostly been eating fresh stuff in the last six months and our bills have been so much cheaper. I only shop once a week, and we have to make do if we run out of something. We have run out of bread, and had to make tortillas for lunch wraps!

Dinner this week weíve having two containers of leftover spaghetti sauce on baked potato with Greek yoghurt, tuna broccoli pasta salad, leftover chicken curry with rice and homemade chapatti bread, lazy cabbage rolls from food real site (will have some leftovers for freezer), choice of Ďfakeawayí from the freezer, chicken fajitas with homemade tortillas.

Sorry for the novel! Iíve got a lot from reading what others are doing to cut costs, so wanted to share mine. Now Iím off to see if they sell instant pots in Australia.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on February 20, 2018, 08:17:45 PM
@Shelley - sounds you are making some huge changes! Congrats. We continue to refine our eating, but the biggest change I've made over the past few years was to start cooking only on Friday/Saturday/Sunday, & then serving leftovers Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday. It reduces weeknight craziness & has cut WAY back on eating out. For Thursdays, sometimes there's still leftovers, and other times we make do with freezer options. I keep a variety of quick dinner options on hand in the freezer.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Serendip on February 21, 2018, 09:38:47 AM
My shopping has been very low-key this month but I feel like it's an exaggerated low since my SO is picking up things left, right & center (and is not tracking his side)

However, I have kept mine under $170 this month, which is a great reduction from $550 last month..my 'stocking up' on dry goods/beans, etc will probably be every other month and I might do a big order of produce so I can do a health-food blitz while he is out of town in March (intestinal spring cleaning?) :)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on February 21, 2018, 09:49:53 AM
We're at $147.50* after buying a ton of Clif bars and 2 boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

I made a batch of breakfast burritos this weekend for the freezer, and I'm LOVING them.  They're so easy to take to work (wrapped each one in foil) when I'm running late, which has been every morning this week. 

I was planning to hit the grocery store for produce this weekend, but I still have plenty of citrus and spinach. This weekend, I plan to bake another loaf of bread, make a huge batch of brown rice (to go with the chicken curry in the freezer), and make a spinach salad with goat cheese.

*This includes delivery fees (we get our groceries delivered), a few plastic bag fees, paper products, toiletries, and cleaning products.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Shelley on February 21, 2018, 01:50:10 PM
What do you put in your breakfast burritos 4alpacas? Iím trying to find something heart healthy for DH who is on the edge of having to get cholesterol lowering medication. He canít have much cheese anymore, which was his favorite part of lunchtime sandwiches. Beans are great for cholesterol lowering though... He has a sandwich press at work so he could warm them up that way.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: krmit on February 21, 2018, 11:32:19 PM
Up to a hair under $80 total for the month. Ran out of coffee and toilet paper, and grabbed some staples for a busy work weekend (got 20 hours of work scheduled for Saturday and Sunday). I can't go into tech weekend without bread and peanut butter on hand. I think that should be the last grocery shop of the month though, and is absolutely the cheapest grocery month I've ever had. I learned a lot about what I need to keep more of around, particularly fast sources of fat/protein/fiber for snacks. Nuts and nut butter, dried fruit, cheese, and yogurt went fast this month.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: HappierAtHome on February 22, 2018, 01:40:46 AM
Up to $669 for February. My overall goal for 2018 is for my average monthly spend to be under $800. I had toyed with a stretch goal of $700 for Feb, but that's clearly not going to happen.

Today's shop at Aldi was interesting. I deliberately paid more for Australian products (e.g. olive oil and honey). I'm noticing that every single month there are things to stock up on - last month we stocked up on dried beans, nuts and seeds, this month we needed olive oil which we buy in bulk both to save money and to reduce packaging (we've also stocked up on wet wipes and a few other irregular purchases). We also spend a LOT on fresh fruit and veg, even with buying in season. It's consistently a high percentage of our spend.

Time to start brainstorming my meal plan for the rest of the month!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on February 22, 2018, 04:32:15 AM
Iím trying to find something heart healthy for DH who is on the edge of having to get cholesterol lowering medication. He canít have much cheese anymore, which was his favorite part of lunchtime sandwiches. Beans are great for cholesterol lowering though... He has a sandwich press at work so he could warm them up that way.

To lower cholesterol I have read try whole oats as oatmeal or in oat bread, certain spreads or oils that contain sterols (Benecal), avocados.   Been trying those and beans with my husband -- will get more recent results in another week to see if we made any change!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: SachaFiscal on February 22, 2018, 07:49:02 AM
Iím trying to find something heart healthy for DH who is on the edge of having to get cholesterol lowering medication. He canít have much cheese anymore, which was his favorite part of lunchtime sandwiches. Beans are great for cholesterol lowering though... He has a sandwich press at work so he could warm them up that way.

To lower cholesterol I have read try whole oats as oatmeal or in oat bread, certain spreads or oils that contain sterols (Benecal), avocados.   Been trying those and beans with my husband -- will get more recent results in another week to see if we made any change!

Iím trying to lower my cholesterol as well. I stopped eating foods with cholesterol except once or twice a month and that reduced it quite a bit bit not enough. Now Iím trying to lose weight (excess fat) as that has been proven to reduce cholesterol. My cholesterol is pretty stubborn but Iíll get in control one way or another! Not excited about going on medication either so Iím trying everything I can to reduce it naturally.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: PKate on February 22, 2018, 09:00:09 AM
What do you put in your breakfast burritos 4alpacas? Iím trying to find something heart healthy for DH who is on the edge of having to get cholesterol lowering medication. He canít have much cheese anymore, which was his favorite part of lunchtime sandwiches. Beans are great for cholesterol lowering though... He has a sandwich press at work so he could warm them up that way.

I make scrambled eggs with all sorts of stuff added to them.  We add lots of veggies and just enough meat for flavoring.  Sometimes we add cheese and sometimes we don't.  It really depends on what we have on hand and what left overs need to get used up.  I always add salt and pepper.  I am on a high salt diet  (It is strange to have your doctors tell you need more salt.) and the salt helps make up for the lack of cheese.   

Left overs are the best.  We use little bits of steak, ham, pork chops, sausage, and bacon.  A little goes a long way and we mostly eat grass fed/pasture raised meats and eggs due to DH slightly high cholesterol.

Veggies include kale, broccoli, spinach, pac choi, tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, salsa, green onions, basil, baked eggplant, and other greens. 

We have chickens so spring and summer we tend to have excess eggs.    I will frittatas in cupcake tins and freeze them.  I use whatever assorted meat, cheese, and veggies on hand and then we have easy heat and eat breakfasts. I am sure you could adapt this for burritos.

 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on February 22, 2018, 11:48:06 AM
We're at $188* after buying another large amount of Clif bars for my DH to take on a work trip.

I have a lot of curry in the freezer that I'll defrost for dinners this weekend.  I also have a lot of cauliflower salad to eat in the next few days. I also need to make a new loaf of bread for avocado toast (my favorite!). 

*This includes delivery fees (we get our groceries delivered), a few plastic bag fees, paper products, toiletries, and cleaning products.

What do you put in your breakfast burritos 4alpacas? Iím trying to find something heart healthy for DH who is on the edge of having to get cholesterol lowering medication. He canít have much cheese anymore, which was his favorite part of lunchtime sandwiches. Beans are great for cholesterol lowering though... He has a sandwich press at work so he could warm them up that way.
@Shelley I use whole wheat tortillas, eggs, a LOT of spinach, black beans, and a little cheese.  I make 6 burritos at a time (10 eggs total), wrap them in aluminum foil, place them in a freezer ziploc, and freeze them.  The burritos keep for a few months.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 22, 2018, 03:42:29 PM
4alpacas, I assume you are scrambling the eggs and adding spinach to the eggs? Do you use baby spinach or regular fresh spinach? Do you put any kind of hot sauce or spices on them or into the eggs like Cholula or when you go to eat them do you dip them in a sauce/salsa? I am a Johnny come lately to Mexican food. I like it but don't know how to make it! Thanks!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: cheddarpie on February 22, 2018, 03:51:35 PM
belatedly PTF. I've been too scared to look at my numbers for the last six months because I know they were face-punch worthy. I have some homework to do and will be back with a goal...in the meantime thinking $400/ mo. groceries and $100/mo eating out.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on February 22, 2018, 10:24:26 PM
4alpacas, I assume you are scrambling the eggs and adding spinach to the eggs? Do you use baby spinach or regular fresh spinach? Do you put any kind of hot sauce or spices on them or into the eggs like Cholula or when you go to eat them do you dip them in a sauce/salsa? I am a Johnny come lately to Mexican food. I like it but don't know how to make it! Thanks!
@Roadrunner53 I add spices to the black beans. Salsa would be tasty, but I worry it might make the tortilla soggy. Maybe an after heating addition.

I start by mixing 10 eggs in a bowl with a little salt and pepper.  I add the eggs to a large pan with a little bit of avocado oil in it on medium low.  When the eggs are about half-way done, I start by adding several handfuls of fresh spinach.  I continue adding as much spinach as possible and let it wilt a little.

We've started getting all of the Clif bars...We received 46 tonight.  Another 30 will arrive tomorrow. We really overdid it, but I guess I have afternoon snacks for a few months.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: zeli2033 on February 25, 2018, 09:46:46 AM
End of month update after all shopping (fingers crossed): $768 / $850.

We did a big shopping trip yesterday at Costco that we didn't necessarily need to do but I justified it by saying we won't need to make the trek all the way out there for a couple weeks.

So bottom line, we could have spent less this month but we're still coming in under budget. And only $22.25 of it was on eating food out so that's a win. Our average spent on eating out at the end of last year was $225 per month on top of everything we were spending on groceries.

All in all I'm happy with the progress!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 25, 2018, 10:29:09 AM
4alpacas, where are you buying your Clif bars? I saw them on Boxed 24 for $21.99.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on February 25, 2018, 02:31:55 PM
So the good news is that groceries and dairy delivery combined were under $70.  Bad news is that I sent DD and DH out to do the shopping, and of the $42 total, $12 was candy!  Because we need more crap in the house. . . .   

In any event, looks like the monthly total is going to be $436 groceries, $48 household, as I am traveling this week and so wonít be here to spend more money.  😄  So definitely well under my generous $600-ish budget.  But Iím sure there will be weeknight takeout in my absence, which will add to the not-impressive $100-ish total so far.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: frooglepoodle on February 25, 2018, 03:45:32 PM
I'm at $415 for the month, and new some more fruit and veggies to get us through the last few days. My goal was $300, which was maybe overly aggressive without serious rethinking of how I approach shopping and meal planning. On the bright side, the freezer and pantry are well stocked going into March.

Areas to improve for March: DO NOT set foot inside a grocery store while hungry, and definitely not with a hungry toddler in tow.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on February 25, 2018, 09:10:54 PM
$188 for the month*

I'm surprised at how easy it was to get our grocery spend back down again.  When we first started on the MMM journey, our grocery bill was over $800/month.  We cut it down to ~$250/month after several solid months of effort.  This month highlights that I need to make more of an effort to cook on Sunday afternoons.

4alpacas, where are you buying your Clif bars? I saw them on Boxed 24 for $21.99.
No face punches for buying 72 Clif bars? ;) @Roadrunner53 We bought them from Target via Google Express.

For this week, I made another batch of the chickpea shawarma that I made two weeks ago. It's SO good.  We still have wheat tortillas, so I'll pack it for lunch. I defrosted the last of the chicken curry I made last weekend.  I made 4 cups of brown rice, so dinner should be set for the next few days. I also put together a few sweet items for the week--frozen fruit + yogurt, frozen fruit blended with milk.

I'm hosting book club on Thursday. I have two boxes of Girl Scout cookies.  I will also make some hummus and crisp up a few whole wheat tortillas. I will probably stop at the grocery store for a bag of baby carrots and a few small pieces of cheese (have crackers).

*This includes delivery fees, a few plastic bag fees, paper products, toiletries, and cleaning products.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Novik on February 26, 2018, 07:03:23 AM
For this week, I made another batch of the chickpea shawarma that I made two weeks ago. It's SO good.  We still have wheat tortillas, so I'll pack it for lunch.

Chickpea shwarma? That sounds pretty good and cheap - do you have a recipe at hand to share by any chance? :)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 26, 2018, 07:07:16 AM
4alpacas, Hahaha, no face punches on your 72 Clif bars. I order from a food service company and buy 10 lb boxes of food for the freezer! I have so much food at my house I could feed the neighborhood for a week.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on February 26, 2018, 08:29:25 AM
Our grocery/household items/dog food budget (for 5 people) is now $125/week.  For February, that would mean $500, and we came in just over that, at $510.   

Our eating out went way up last month, though - we spent $260.  20% of that was poor planning (we forgot to start the crock pot one day when we had company for dinner, so I ordered pizza, and husband didn't let me know in advance that his study group was coming over for dinner, so he ordered pizza).

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on February 26, 2018, 09:35:17 AM
For this week, I made another batch of the chickpea shawarma that I made two weeks ago. It's SO good.  We still have wheat tortillas, so I'll pack it for lunch.
Chickpea shwarma? That sounds pretty good and cheap - do you have a recipe at hand to share by any chance? :)
@Novik I posted the recipe up thread, but here it is again (http://minimalistbaker.com/chickpea-shawarma-sandwich/).  I make the garlic dill sauce with tahini, so it's very rich and decadent.  Usually, one batch goes on two batches of the chickpeas, or 4 total. 

4alpacas, Hahaha, no face punches on your 72 Clif bars. I order from a food service company and buy 10 lb boxes of food for the freezer! I have so much food at my house I could feed the neighborhood for a week.
@Roadrunner53 In full disclosure, I also ordered a few RX bars to get to the free shipping limit on Google Express. 

Our eating out went way up last month, though - we spent $260.  20% of that was poor planning (we forgot to start the crock pot one day when we had company for dinner, so I ordered pizza, and husband didn't let me know in advance that his study group was coming over for dinner, so he ordered pizza).
Would it save money to have a few prepared frozen items in your freezer? We used frozen pizzas as a quick dinner for several years.  Now, we splurge and keep eVol mac & cheese in the freezer (SO good).
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Novik on February 26, 2018, 09:56:47 AM
Sorry, and thank you @4alpacas - looks delicious.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on February 26, 2018, 10:39:07 AM
Sorry, and thank you @4alpacas - looks delicious.
@Novik No need to apologize.  I just don't want to spam the thread with the same recipe a zillion times unless someone wants it.  The recipe is delicious...and so easy!  I also make the chickpea portion just to snack on.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on February 26, 2018, 10:46:40 AM
Our eating out went way up last month, though - we spent $260.  20% of that was poor planning (we forgot to start the crock pot one day when we had company for dinner, so I ordered pizza, and husband didn't let me know in advance that his study group was coming over for dinner, so he ordered pizza).
Would it save money to have a few prepared frozen items in your freezer? We used frozen pizzas as a quick dinner for several years.  Now, we splurge and keep eVol mac & cheese in the freezer (SO good).

Frozen pizzas last on average about 3 days in our house.  We can hear them calling us and, well, none of us have a ton of willpower.  I think husband deliberately didn't let me know about the study group because a) he wanted pizza and b) I have a lovely new cast on my foot and he didn't want me in the kitchen.

At one point I had a nice stock of casseroles in the freezer ready to pop in the oven, but we ate all those up.   I think I'll plan to restock those in April, when I can stand for longer periods of time.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: imadandylion on February 26, 2018, 07:44:35 PM
My partner and I have to get back on this. Our 'not paying attention' spending comes out to around $300-$400 per month. If we can reduce that to $200 and keep that level consistent until retirement, it will shave a month or two off of our retirement timeline, perhaps more if we can keep that level of spending low into retirement.

Our strategies:
-Go cash-based for grocery shopping. We've done budgets before for groceries, but it's so much harder to keep receipts and keep a running total than to stop when the $50 for the week or $200 for the month is gone. We will probably switch back to credit cards afterward for the rewards, once we're a little more calibrated for this level of grocery spending.

This is pretty similar to my household of 2... We're aiming for 200, but when we let loose (*ahem* booze) it's about the same range as your spending.  Using cash definitely helps. We like to go to the Farmer's market and although most vendors have a square reader, we just use cash and carry home... well... what we can carry. So that both helps limit spending.

-Vegetarian days for me. I don't know that I'll ever convince the SO to go vegetarian or vegan. I can't get him to go without meat for a day. But I can take days where my protein is all plant-based, especially with meals that we've prepared ahead of time and frozen so we don't have to eat the same thing.

As I vegan, I approve! :)  I never thought I (or my partner) would go vegan, but I think if you made something realllly delicious and don't mention there's no meat, your partner might not miss it.  Some things, you can't really fake, but some things are pretty close - like the Beyond Meat burger (this brand has many burgers, but the one marketed as the 'Impossible' burger is the most meat-like). Definitely give that a try on one of those days.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: galliver on February 26, 2018, 10:09:54 PM
My partner and I have to get back on this. Our 'not paying attention' spending comes out to around $300-$400 per month. If we can reduce that to $200 and keep that level consistent until retirement, it will shave a month or two off of our retirement timeline, perhaps more if we can keep that level of spending low into retirement.

Our strategies:
-Go cash-based for grocery shopping. We've done budgets before for groceries, but it's so much harder to keep receipts and keep a running total than to stop when the $50 for the week or $200 for the month is gone. We will probably switch back to credit cards afterward for the rewards, once we're a little more calibrated for this level of grocery spending.

This is pretty similar to my household of 2... We're aiming for 200, but when we let loose (*ahem* booze) it's about the same range as your spending.  Using cash definitely helps. We like to go to the Farmer's market and although most vendors have a square reader, we just use cash and carry home... well... what we can carry. So that both helps limit spending.

-Vegetarian days for me. I don't know that I'll ever convince the SO to go vegetarian or vegan. I can't get him to go without meat for a day. But I can take days where my protein is all plant-based, especially with meals that we've prepared ahead of time and frozen so we don't have to eat the same thing.

As I vegan, I approve! :)  I never thought I (or my partner) would go vegan, but I think if you made something realllly delicious and don't mention there's no meat, your partner might not miss it.  Some things, you can't really fake, but some things are pretty close - like the Beyond Meat burger (this brand has many burgers, but the one marketed as the 'Impossible' burger is the most meat-like). Definitely give that a try on one of those days.

Booze is a killer, isn't it?

I'll definitely try more of the meatless stuff. I got meatless crumbles the other day for my burritos, and just because I normally spice the filling so heavily, I legit couldn't tell the difference between that and ground beef. It's a but more pricy though than the homemade black bean burgers or tofu filling I usually whip up as a substitute.

Bf and I aren't going vegan but we've gone "vegan curious" in an effort to reduce meat consumption. You can use green jackfruit to make a filling that is texturally very similar to pulled pork (or chicken) an excellent vehicle for flavors and sauces. I think bf uses this recipe or something like it: https://itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/easy-vegan-jackfruit-tacos/. (For anyone who is intrigued: make sure to get the green jackfruit; it's fruity and tropical when ripe, which doesn't work for tacos!). We like to have it with http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/red-cabbage-slaw (I add carrots and red onion). :)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: pancakes on February 26, 2018, 10:30:08 PM
We have stopped buying alcohol except for a bottle of wine on the weekend in an attempt to save money and just drink less. We are motivated by increasing our savings as we prepare to purchase an extraordinarily expensive house.

Today I made delicious savoury pancakes (heh) for lunch using the never ending supply of cabbage in our fridge. The baby continued her theme of rejecting anything that tastes remotely of egg and decided they were the worst. Hmmm

I also caved and purchased a loaf pan to make apple tea cake as we are accumulating apples from the CSA box. I couldnít find a pan in the second hand stores so went all out and purchased a really good quality one (using gift cards). Buy it for life (hopefully).
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: galliver on February 26, 2018, 10:47:15 PM
We were at about $350 but bf stopped by two grocery stores after the gym today, to the tune of $100 :/ (includes $20 of personal care products for him, and $30 of wine and $$$ coffee we didn't really need...in fairness I did say "next time you go to the gym pick up butter" so I kind of asked for it). Hopefully no more trips before the end of the month, lol! $450 is still less than our non-mindful total, though, and I've definitely used up some odds and ends that were bumming around the fridge and freezer, which makes it feel more...streamlined and organized? We'll see what we can do next month!

The chicken/broccoli/brown rice actually sounds like it could be really good though - sorry to hear it didn't turn out!

Well, the fact that I don't really like broccoli and just kinda tolerate brown rice didn't help.  :-)  The pain of trying to be healthy . . . . 

You could try red rice if you have an ethnic grocery that stocks it. I find it a lot less...cardboardy, and maybe sweeter? We got a 3?lb bag from 99 Ranch fairly inexpensively, but I don't know what's available on your coast. Keep an eye out?

I also find that heartier grains (brown/red/black/wild rice, barley, farro, etc) work better with richer, heartier, saucier additions/toppings...like chicken marsala, mushrooms, sweet potatoes/root veg, etc. I would never substitute them in something like sushi. Kind of like how I wouldn't bake delicate pastries with whole wheat flour, but oatmeal cookies or bran muffins would work fine. Enjoyed a variation on this dish with red+brown+wild rice: https://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/wild-rice-pilaf-with-dried-cranberries-and-pecans.html

Made brown rice for dinner tonight and realized two things. One is that I often like the more robust rices cooked in broth rather than water; usually I throw enough better than bouillon in for half the water or a bit more. The second, more specifically, is that I really can't tell it's brown rice in a taco bowl because there's a lot going on! (I had ground beef, peppers, onions, jackfruit, spices, lime juice, a little cheddar, a little sour cream, cilantro, some beans...) Maybe it'll help with coming up with delicious ways to use brown rice!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 27, 2018, 03:28:52 AM
Did you know Better than Bouillon has other flavors like lobster and clams? I just bought the lobster one from Walmart on line.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: SachaFiscal on February 27, 2018, 09:06:02 AM
I'm starting to focus on reducing my grocery spending this month.  I've been tracking our spending on groceries for the past 8 months and our average is about $750 per month with the highest month being $940 and the lowest month $615.  I don't have a particular goal in mind but I'd like to see how much I can reduce it by just being mindful of what I'm buying and not wasting any food.  We are mostly vegan so our staples (e.g. rice and beans) are fairly cheap but we like to eat organic when possible so that increases our spending on produce a bit.

Here are the things I have done so far to reduce my spending:
1. Track grocery spending.
2. Eat pretty much the same things every week. So I can buy some stuff in bulk.
3. Don't waste any food. Everything I buy we eat.
3. Don't overeat (also helps with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight). I portion out the food so that we eat a sufficient amount without going overboard.
4. Switching from canned beans to dry beans.  I've started using my instant pot to cook dry beans which saves quite a bit and may be more nutritious and less caloric.
5. Cook from scratch as much as possible.
6. Stop/reduce drinking alcohol. We don't buy alcohol to drink at home anymore. I only drink about once or twice a month if I go out with friends or on special occasions.

My plan next week is to start looking at where I can buy things the cheapest. Going to a few different stores and checking out their prices on the things I normally buy.

So far this month I've already spent $125 but I had to buy some bulk items.  I expect future weeks to be much less.

Doing good so far!  I've only spent $288 and I have enough food to last until Saturday at least.  I'll probably do one more shopping run on Sunday which will probably be less than $100 putting me below the USDA thrifty food plan amount for two adults ($385). Not bad!  I think this is as low as I can go and still eat mostly organic produce.

All done with my grocery shopping for the week so February total is $350!  Last month was about $780 so that is quite a reduction. Just being aware of what I already had in my pantry and only buying what I really needed helped.  Also I'm the only one who grocery shops so I have complete control over the budget.  I'm gonna try to match or beat $350 for March :)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on February 27, 2018, 09:35:31 AM
$210 for the month*
I bought a bunch of Clif Shot Bloks and powdered Gatorade Endurance.  Half of our grocery spend went to the Clif company this month. 

I think this will be it for the month.  I don't have time to go to the grocery store, and I still have plenty of fruit and spinach. 

If anyone has any advice on easy Whole 30 snacks, let me know.  I have a friend coming over on Thursday who is on week 2.



*This includes delivery fees, a few plastic bag fees, paper products, toiletries, and cleaning products.

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: galliver on February 27, 2018, 09:40:37 AM
Did you know Better than Bouillon has other flavors like lobster and clams? I just bought the lobster one from Walmart on line.
I know they have a lot! We keep chicken, beef, and veggie around (usually BIG jars). The roasted garlic one was awesome . I may have almost used it up last night... I like to mix and match: chicken and veggie, beef and garlic, etc. Just found out they have a mushroom one, yum! Wish there was an Asian style chicken (it uses different spices/aromatics)...
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Novik on February 27, 2018, 09:42:16 AM
I'm starting to focus on reducing my grocery spending this month.  I've been tracking our spending on groceries for the past 8 months and our average is about $750 per month with the highest month being $940 and the lowest month $615.  I don't have a particular goal in mind but I'd like to see how much I can reduce it by just being mindful of what I'm buying and not wasting any food.

All done with my grocery shopping for the week so February total is $350!  Last month was about $780 so that is quite a reduction. Just being aware of what I already had in my pantry and only buying what I really needed helped.  Also I'm the only one who grocery shops so I have complete control over the budget.  I'm gonna try to match or beat $350 for March :)

Wow - congratulations are certainly in order! Way to go on dropping the food spending by more than half your average. I'm impressed and I hope your family is too!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: SachaFiscal on February 27, 2018, 10:23:42 AM
Wow - congratulations are certainly in order! Way to go on dropping the food spending by more than half your average. I'm impressed and I hope your family is too!

Thanks!  Yeah my husband was really impressed.  He already is thinking how he wants to spend the money we saved LOL.  I want to put it into VTSAX...
This thread is really helping me, it is very motivating to read everyone's posts.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on February 27, 2018, 10:48:46 AM
Wow - congratulations are certainly in order! Way to go on dropping the food spending by more than half your average. I'm impressed and I hope your family is too!

Thanks!  Yeah my husband was really impressed.  He already is thinking how he wants to spend the money we saved LOL.  I want to put it into VTSAX...
This thread is really helping me, it is very motivating to read everyone's posts.
That's an awesome first cut!  When I started, we were around $800/month (for 2!!!).  It took me months to get under $400!

WAY TO GO!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on February 27, 2018, 11:02:05 AM
I'm so disappointed.  I added up our Feb numbers, which, admittedly I haven't been tracking, and we are at $477.  Above even the $400 threshold.  I don't even know what it was spent on.  I felt we were very conscientious all month and only bought what we needed for recipes and lunches, not even any meat.  Certainly some alcohol, but that only adds up to about $50 :(

I still have some stockpile, but it's not a crazy amount, and it's just some meat, not really veggies or starches even.  I'll have to really focus to get it under $400 for March.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on February 27, 2018, 11:27:39 AM
I'm so disappointed.  I added up our Feb numbers, which, admittedly I haven't been tracking, and we are at $477.  Above even the $400 threshold.  I don't even know what it was spent on.  I felt we were very conscientious all month and only bought what we needed for recipes and lunches, not even any meat.  Certainly some alcohol, but that only adds up to about $50 :(

I still have some stockpile, but it's not a crazy amount, and it's just some meat, not really veggies or starches even.  I'll have to really focus to get it under $400 for March.
@AmandaPanda When I was first trying to get my grocery bill down, I taped the receipts to our fridge.  When we finished an item, I would cross it out.  It gave me an idea of the items that were usually regularly and helped cut down on my food waste.  I also circled junk food and items that weren't on our list.

Don't beat yourself up!  We took months to get our grocery bill below $400/month...and even longer to get it below $300. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on February 27, 2018, 01:23:15 PM
Taping them up is a really good idea!  Although I don't think we have a lot left lurking based on what I've bought this month.  I think what I need to do is really look at what types of food I'm purchasing and decide if those foods are worth it.  I buy a lot of fruit for the kids.  It's all from Aldi, but it's still a decent volume.  Same thing with the veggies, when the main dish should be beans, potatoes, rice, etc. to keep cost down.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on February 27, 2018, 02:22:21 PM
Taping them up is a really good idea!  Although I don't think we have a lot left lurking based on what I've bought this month.  I think what I need to do is really look at what types of food I'm purchasing and decide if those foods are worth it.  I buy a lot of fruit for the kids.  It's all from Aldi, but it's still a decent volume.  Same thing with the veggies, when the main dish should be beans, potatoes, rice, etc. to keep cost down.
For vegetables, try frozen.  I have a love affair with frozen broccoli and riced cauliflower.  I steam them in the microwave for dinner every night and have leftovers for lunch. 

I also buy large containers of mixed greens or spinach.  As long as you eat it all, it's actually a pretty good deal.  I eat a large salad most days for lunch.  Since I make my own dressing and use up whatever else I have in the fridge, it's an inexpensive, nutritious meal.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: pancakes on February 28, 2018, 02:53:04 AM
Help! I have an abundance of okra but Iíve never cooked with it before. What are your favorite (easy) recipes? Bonus points if a baby can eat it.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on February 28, 2018, 03:22:27 AM
Okra...BLEH! No way I would eat it but some people make gumbo with it and I have heard people fry it. I would definitely fry it over gumbo. You can fry almost  anything and it will taste good.

https://www.bing.com/search?q=Fried+Okra&filters=ufn%3a%22Fried+Okra%22+sid%3a%22c7889f3b-1449-0845-b12e-0fb90c651843%22+segment%3a%22generic.carousel%22+secq%3a%22what+to+do+with+okra%22+supwlcar%3a%221%22+tsource%3a%22EntitySegments%22+catesegtype%3a%22recipe%22+cack%3a%22bb2a53b7-36d7-407c-ae92-682b50bc5edc%22+segtype%3a%22UmVjaXBl%22+ctype%3a%220%22+mltype%3a%220%22+eltypedim1%3a%22Recipe%22&FORM=SNAPCR&crslsl=0
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: TikiTime on February 28, 2018, 11:04:28 AM
Smothered okra!  Deslime it in the oven first.  Add chicken and serve over rice for a meal. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on February 28, 2018, 11:18:47 AM
Okra is just as easy as other veggies! A little oil and seasonings of your choosing, and pop in the oven to roast or on the grill.

What do you make your own salad dressings with?  I've never tried that.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: kaypinkHH on February 28, 2018, 11:24:45 AM
This could be on the anti-mustachian wall of self shame. Our grocery spend was $720 this month. o_O. For 2 people.

Some caveats:
1. We just moved into a new house and had to restock 
2. I have been doing mega cooking to prep our freezer, so I expect the numbers to level out eventually.
3. We won't be buying a ton of food between now and March 9th, so March numbers should be way lower.
4. We bought fancy things for a party this past weekend, and didn't end up using it, will eat this weekend instead.
5. Some of this "grocery" bill is house stuff too, but I know some other places I buy groceries and classify as a house purchase, it all comes out the wash.

Overall on food/booze, our spend was high this month: $1266 (Vs 2017 average challenge of $773).

Positives: Restaurants/fastfood/coffeeshops were the 2nd lowest they have ever been (if you don't count moving day coffee and snacks). I felt like we did a lot better this month on mitigating extra spending.
- Hosted games night instead of going out to a restaurant
- Ate at home before going out for a friends birthday
- Only 1 restaurant meal that was just Mr.HH and I (cheap chinese food tradition for Vday), rest was social events. (1 or 2 which would have been mitigated if we had fully been moved into the house..they happened early in the month)
- Only 2 purchased lunches (1 was just after the move, 1 was Mr.HH's work event). Every other lunch was brought from home.
- Only 3 purchased coffees, all on a road trip. Coffee is made at home or for free at work!

Areas to improve:
- Ended up caving and getting gross late night McDonalds last weekend. It was disgusting and has completely turned us off fast food. That is a silver lining I guess, but a complete waste of $18.
- Got take out pizza one night after a road trip, we had a freezer full of food. We should have not bought it. Now we have a frozen pizza in our freezer for situations like this.

Alcohol and bars was high, but we bought beer for our moving help at the beginning of the month, and wine for the games night that was not consumed.

Overall since we got settled in the house, our food spending outside of the house has been much more controlled, and even though our grocery bill is high, we are cooking a sh!t ton of food. Most of the meals I'm cooking have been around $3/serving (or less!)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: imadandylion on February 28, 2018, 08:55:48 PM
Bf and I aren't going vegan but we've gone "vegan curious" in an effort to reduce meat consumption. You can use green jackfruit to make a filling that is texturally very similar to pulled pork (or chicken) an excellent vehicle for flavors and sauces. I think bf uses this recipe or something like it: https://itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/easy-vegan-jackfruit-tacos/. (For anyone who is intrigued: make sure to get the green jackfruit; it's fruity and tropical when ripe, which doesn't work for tacos!). We like to have it with http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/red-cabbage-slaw (I add carrots and red onion). :)

Awesome :) I love jackfruit! I have not really had it as the mock pulled pork, but in desserts or fresh.  If you like jackfruit, you might enjoy making steamed bao with BBQ "pulled pork" jackfruit. Bao (buns/dumplings) is so easy is delicious, if you haven't had that. There are several videos of this on youtube. I recommend the one by the Kale Sandwich Show channel!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: galliver on March 01, 2018, 12:06:58 AM
Bf and I aren't going vegan but we've gone "vegan curious" in an effort to reduce meat consumption. You can use green jackfruit to make a filling that is texturally very similar to pulled pork (or chicken) an excellent vehicle for flavors and sauces. I think bf uses this recipe or something like it: https://itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/easy-vegan-jackfruit-tacos/. (For anyone who is intrigued: make sure to get the green jackfruit; it's fruity and tropical when ripe, which doesn't work for tacos!). We like to have it with http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/red-cabbage-slaw (I add carrots and red onion). :)

Awesome :) I love jackfruit! I have not really had it as the mock pulled pork, but in desserts or fresh.  If you like jackfruit, you might enjoy making steamed bao with BBQ "pulled pork" jackfruit. Bao (buns/dumplings) is so easy is delicious, if you haven't had that. There are several videos of this on youtube. I recommend the one by the Kale Sandwich Show channel!

Oooh! We love bao (especially the bbq pork ones!) but have never made it! Jackfruit bao sounds like an excellent veggie alternative for that. I actually picked some up for a quick lunch while we were out of town a few weeks back, and lamented the absence of any veggie ones...I contemplated trying our own sometimes but couldn't think of good fillings. Awesome! Now I have a new cooking project for sometime, haha.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: pancakes on March 01, 2018, 02:37:16 AM
Okra update: I made this (https://www.cookrepublic.com/indian-okra-masala-curry/) which was delicious but if I make it again Iíd sub for something other than okra. It wasnít super slimy but the slight sliminess got to me in the end. My baby on the other hand loved it, especially the okra and shoveled it in her mouth. If we end up with a bunch again at least I can count on the baby to eat it.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: krmit on March 01, 2018, 10:22:23 AM
$94.55 for the month.
Thoughts on my low-spend challenge:
Financially, absolutely successful. In January I paid $375 for this summer's CSA on top of close-to-regular grocery spending. Averaging out January and February put me right on budget at $318/month.

Food-wise, we cleared out a lot of random food from our freezer and pantry. I've got a better inventory of what we have, what we need to stock up on, and most importantly, what foods we need to keep around. I plan to do this again next year, with or without a CSA purchase!

Goal for March: restocking without going completely overboard.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on March 01, 2018, 10:45:20 AM
I'm taking it week by week in March.  I've made my menu for next week, based on what we already have, and we should spend less than $15 at Aldi to fill in with milk and produce.  Hopefully posting the weekly progress here will keep costs down.  I talked to the husband after I added up Feb's expenses, and he thinks we should not buy any food that won't be used within a week.  I think two weeks, with a few exceptions, but for March, we are doing it his way.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Linea_Norway on March 02, 2018, 01:55:37 AM
I have been restocking a bit mindlessly with meat, although only with reasonably priced meat. But the freezer drawer is getting quite stuffed. Time to start eating it.

I also need to buy new frozen spinach. Much cheaper than fresh and good to have in the freezer as a backup vegetable.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on March 02, 2018, 09:51:49 AM
$94.55 for the month.
Way to go!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on March 03, 2018, 02:57:07 PM
$210 for February*
*This includes delivery fees, a few plastic bag fees, paper products, toiletries, and cleaning products.
My goal for March is to be under $200.  This should be achievable because we spent ~$100 in February on Clif bar, Shot Bloks, and powdered Gatorade; which are not common purchases for us. Our dogs have a stockpile of treats, and one of my friends gave me a lot of things that her dog can't have anymore.  We might have to buy a bag of dog food (~$40).
I ate my last frozen, homemade breakfast burrito yesterday.  Without any eggs or bread, I decided to make two mason jars of chocolate peanut butter overnight oats.*

Tonight, I'm hosting my book club.  I plan to make roasted chickpeas, make a batch of hummus, toast a few whole wheat tortillas for dipping, and put out a few small dessert type things.  We have a lot of wine, so I think I only need to buy a bag of baby carrots.

I will also make a loaf of bread tonight because I finished off the loaf on Tuesday night. 

*I used this recipe  (https://wholefully.com/8-classic-overnight-oats-recipes-you-should-try/)with a teaspoon of honey drizzled in this morning. The recipe provides two servings for me.

Just let me know what time I should be over for book club. ;-) Sounds great!

My grocery goal for March is $625. We're one weekend in (only shop on Saturdays) & so far we've spent $150. I think we can still achieve this, as we had to stock up on meat today, but should be good for the rest of the month on that.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: krmit on March 04, 2018, 12:19:47 AM
Already spent $280 after a giant restock of the pantry. Most of that was a Costco trip, so large amounts of staples that will last us well into the year. It's nice to have full cupboards again!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: soccerluvof4 on March 04, 2018, 05:44:34 AM
My monthly bloated budget is 800$ for 4 and sometimes more when the other two come home but this includes everything from paper towels to batteries , cleaning items etc.. That was cut over the years from probably double that. Anyhow my challenge now is 600$ a month without giving up quality of eating. First two months my total is $953 so about $475 a month. So far so good.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Novik on March 04, 2018, 10:56:51 AM
New policy is in place at my house of using grocery store points to pay for pharmacy/cleaning/alcohol at the store only, to keep the budgeted cost more stable to actual food.

With that in mind, this weekend's spending at the grocery store was 24$! We have leftovers and some meat to defrost and will likely be shopping Thursday for next weekend at the cottage. (I also bought 2 bottle of a seasonal cider that I love and used 20$ in points to pay for that).

Still nice to have such a small expenditure. We're likely dropping to a one income household in the next couple months, so dragging the food budget down has become a more time sensitive endeavour.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on March 04, 2018, 02:44:06 PM
Well, this is apparently Backwards Week, as groceries were only about $20, but we decided to run out of just about every expensive household thing at once (e.g., razor blades) and dropped about $124 on that between Safeway and Amazon.

The bad news is that our low groceries figure masks some higher takeout spending by DH.  I was out of town 4 days last week and came home to find pretty much everything in the fridge just as I had left it (thus explaining this weekís low food spend) - and I know DD cooked only one meal while I was out, so I am sure they blew lots of extra cash somewhere.  And this week wonít be much better, as I am again leaving Wednesday morning. 

But, you know, not my circus, not my monkeys; all I can do is leave the food in the fridge for them.*  And hey, at least my numbers look good.  😉

*I do find it interesting how different our various ďtreatsĒ are.  When DH is out of town, it is a great excuse for me to both avoid cooking and revisit cheap childhood favorites, like Spaghetti-Os or chicken and dumpling soup.  But when I go out of town, DH and the kids canít wait to run out for bagels every morning and sushi at night!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on March 04, 2018, 05:01:24 PM
I was planning to do a light grocery shop for produce, but..one friend gave me ALL of her produce because she has a last minute, work trip...and another friend gave me a ziploc filled with sliced fruit leftover from a party fruit tray.  So, $0 spent, but I have a ton of fruit and vegetables for the week. 

I made breakfast for the week (4 chocolate peanut butter overnight oats in separate mason jar) and packed my lunch for tomorrow (huge salad).

I will make pasta with broccoli (https://www.budgetbytes.com/2015/09/bowties-and-broccoli/) for dinner tonight.

So far, $0/$200 for March
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on March 05, 2018, 04:19:40 AM
Laura33, well that would make me MAD as HELL if I went to the effort to prepare food and Hub and DD ate out! Kids are one thing and don't 'get it' when it comes to time and effort put into food prep. BUT the Hub knows better. Time to sit him down and have a talk! Maybe make a compromise of ONE dinner out and the rest at home if you went to the effort of preparing it. Won't they eat bagels at home if you buy them?

GRRRRRR, to that!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on March 05, 2018, 09:23:50 AM
I have to learn to resist the urge to stock up on meat.  We didn't need much meat this week because there is so much in the freezer, but I bought more because chili meat was on sale. 

Even so (and despite, we were $5 under my weekly budget!  My tween daughter was in awe that our bill was $75 lower than our old normal.  I explained about the costs of convenience and junk foods vs healthy foods and pointed out that even eating healthy, I bought a cake and pretzel chips...and still came under budget.

Hopefully I can correct the prior bad example we had set.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on March 05, 2018, 10:09:02 AM
Laura33, well that would make me MAD as HELL if I went to the effort to prepare food and Hub and DD ate out! Kids are one thing and don't 'get it' when it comes to time and effort put into food prep. BUT the Hub knows better. Time to sit him down and have a talk! Maybe make a compromise of ONE dinner out and the rest at home if you went to the effort of preparing it. Won't they eat bagels at home if you buy them?

GRRRRRR, to that!

I travel a lot for work, and it's taken some time (& trial & error) to get the right balance for my husband & the kids on food prep options. He's a great cook, but is only comfortable making a few things. He's not a fan of casseroles or soups, so will studiously ignore those in the fridge, should they be there. So, I make sure he has all of the standard things (breakfast & lunch are pretty routine), salad ingredients for every night, and then a few easy meal options. In our world, that's spaghetti & meatballs, Costco pizza (frozen), lasagna (frozen), & then also give him a gift card to an easy dining option that I bought on sale. Between those few options, they survive for the week. I used to try & make food for every day, and it was a disaster, and I come home to a full fridge of spoiled food & be super p*ssed.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: AmandaPanda on March 05, 2018, 02:33:24 PM
4alpacas just wanted you to know I am saving receipts for this month.  I wanted to do a $15 shop this week, but of course I forgot the kids were out of yogurt, they like to eat dried beans during the week, etc.  The receipts will help me have a more realistic picture of what I need to purchase when, and if we think those purchase are worth it (some definitely are not).
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on March 05, 2018, 04:01:40 PM
4alpacas just wanted you to know I am saving receipts for this month.  I wanted to do a $15 shop this week, but of course I forgot the kids were out of yogurt, they like to eat dried beans during the week, etc.  The receipts will help me have a more realistic picture of what I need to purchase when, and if we think those purchase are worth it (some definitely are not).
Good luck!  It's tedious, but it really helped me with food waste and my stockpiling problem.

I've spent $30/$200. 
$11 - on sparkling water (an impulse purchase)
$19 - trash bags (bought in bulk - Costco)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on March 05, 2018, 05:44:23 PM
Laura33, well that would make me MAD as HELL if I went to the effort to prepare food and Hub and DD ate out! Kids are one thing and don't 'get it' when it comes to time and effort put into food prep. BUT the Hub knows better. Time to sit him down and have a talk! Maybe make a compromise of ONE dinner out and the rest at home if you went to the effort of preparing it. Won't they eat bagels at home if you buy them?

GRRRRRR, to that!

I travel a lot for work, and it's taken some time (& trial & error) to get the right balance for my husband & the kids on food prep options. He's a great cook, but is only comfortable making a few things. He's not a fan of casseroles or soups, so will studiously ignore those in the fridge, should they be there. So, I make sure he has all of the standard things (breakfast & lunch are pretty routine), salad ingredients for every night, and then a few easy meal options. In our world, that's spaghetti & meatballs, Costco pizza (frozen), lasagna (frozen), & then also give him a gift card to an easy dining option that I bought on sale. Between those few options, they survive for the week. I used to try & make food for every day, and it was a disaster, and I come home to a full fridge of spoiled food & be super p*ssed.

Yep! After almost 22 years, I have basically given up.  Generally I keep hot dogs/brats on hand and some deli, but otherwise I donít bother.  Itís just not worth getting all worked up over.  This time I tried to bribe perpetually-broke DD by offering to pay her to make dinner, but that maxed out at only one night.  Oh well.

Really, itís not a big deal - we are FI and both still working, we can afford it, and he loves eating out as entertainment.  It just bugs me because itís wasteful and unhealthy.  But serenity prayer and all that.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on March 08, 2018, 12:59:32 PM
I'm still at $30/$200. 

Both DH and I are at home...and sick. 

I threw two frozen chicken breasts, a few spices, and a can of diced tomatoes and green chilies in the Instant Pot.  We have some brown rice already made. I rinsed a can of black beans.  Lunch with about 5 minutes of time out of my bed.  I don't feel like eating, but I also want to avoid DH ordering pizza. 

After napping, I going to make a version of this recipe (https://www.budgetbytes.com/2015/09/bowties-and-broccoli/) with whole wheat pasta.  It's filling, simple, and comforting.

I need to get my grocery order in for delivery this weekend.  Anyone have any easy recipes to recommend? I have time to dedicate to food prep on Sunday afternoon, but I really don't want to spend more than 2 hours in the kitchen (less than an hour is preferable).
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Novik on March 08, 2018, 01:06:09 PM
Anyone have any easy recipes to recommend? I have time to dedicate to food prep on Sunday afternoon, but I really don't want to spend more than 2 hours in the kitchen (less than an hour is preferable).

Baked tofu/rice/veggies.

Preheat oven to 350įF.
While oven is heating, combine all ingredients in a medium-sized casserole dish. Stir thoroughly to combine.
Place on middle rack in oven, and cook uncovered for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until rice is cooked and all water is absorbed.
Ideally stir once or twice during cooking.

Ingredients:
2 cups rice (not instant!)
3 1⁄3 cups water
1.25 package onion soup mix or similar spices (watch the salt!)
3 1⁄2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons oil

firm tofu (1/2 to 1 package)
1 head of brocoli, chopped
~2 carrots, chopped
frozen corn and peas (total < 1 cup)
3-4 small mushrooms, chopped

Adjust ingredients as desired, to taste or to minimize prep. We tend to double the recipe and cook two batches, but if you had two casserole dishes that could make a lot of easy, warm, comforting food at once.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: LMBB on March 08, 2018, 07:08:34 PM
Joining this challenge a little late, but grocery spending can get to be a big problem for us if I don't keep an eye on it. We're a family of 5 (3 adults, 2 kids aged 6 and 9) and at the highest my grocery spend would approach (or exceed... ugh) $1,000/month. This figure doesn't include eating out, which we rarely do anymore.

Now I'm aiming for $300-$400/month. Full disclosure, this low target is meant to encourage me to take advantage of my already bursting pantry and freezer stocks.

I just recently started keeping a price book for groceries so I can tell the per unit cost of things I buy most frequently and compare from store to store. I'm also not going to the store when I'm missing one or two ingredients from a recipe because I'll come out with $100 worth of groceries instead of just the one or two things I needed. Instead, I omit, substitute, make my own (if possible - like self-rising flour, mayonnaise, etc), or find another recipe with the items I do have.

I do meal planning and prep, but have to force myself each week. It's not my favorite way to spend the weekend but it really pays off financially. I just ordered an instant pot which should arrive today and I'm sure will magically solve all of my cooking woes (ha). I've also been cooking extensively from the Budgetbytes website and Leanne Brown's book "Good and Cheap". Here's to a frugal 2018!

So far this month I'm at $73.21, mostly for produce.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on March 08, 2018, 10:05:52 PM
Thanks, @Novik

Lots of food prepped in our fridge, so we should be set for a few days.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: LMBB on March 09, 2018, 11:33:22 PM
Did my weekly shopping today at Winco.

Spent $34.76 which brings me to a total of $110.17 of $300.00 for this month. So far so good.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: imadandylion on March 10, 2018, 07:17:00 PM
Pretty much blew the $100/per month goal already!  Spent about 70-80 bucks in the first week of March and today, I spent $188.  I was looking for some special ingredients for certain dishes that are a little hard to find and trying to stick to nearby grocery stores. Ended up stocking up on a lot of pantry-type items like a 50-lb bag of rice ($40!), a ton of sweet potatoes, noodles of various types, pasta, my favorite san marzano whole canned tomatoes, barista-style almond milk (refrigerate after opening!), etc. so they'll be useful for many weeks to come.

...and I still want to hit up the farmer's market tomorrow and get some more goodies that are generally really inexpensive, like oranges, because they're still technically in-season.  Sticking to a smaller weekly budget is much more do-able with a well-stocked pantry, but when it comes to seeing a bill that high for one month makes me feel like I can't budget properly or something, but I also don't like to only eat rice and beans... and have a hopeless addiction to mushrooms (the legal, produce kind!).
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on March 12, 2018, 09:13:37 AM
$175/$200

I doubt we will be able to stay below our goal, but I'll give it my best shot! We bought a lot of frozen, packaged food ($35), which I hope will save us from ordering delivery. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Novik on March 12, 2018, 09:55:37 AM
Spent 143$ on Friday night in advance of a ski trip, but ate way less of that food than expected over the weekend, so it should cover this week's meals and through next weekend. That's good since the bill was much higher than the ~75$/week goal, although averaging with last week is only 85$/week. Still disappointing, but I impressed my partner by predicting within 5$ our bill when looking at the full cart.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Linea_Norway on March 12, 2018, 01:16:12 PM
I found out that the double so big packs of milk have a 0,5 USD lower unit price than the normal size milk packs. So I bought the big pack. I guess I haven't paid enough attention to the big packs, as we are only 2 people at home and DH does not drink much milk.
Nice to know that there is a new thing I can save on.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on March 14, 2018, 06:15:56 AM
Total splurge week here -- we were in NYC for a long weekend and came home with tons of fresh pasta, homemade sausage, cheeses, and jars of luxury stuff.  Oh, and a truffle.  Yeah.  Our "real" groceries were $35, but the NY groceries were almost $200, so we are currently at $247 groceries for the month + $134 household. 

The even worse news is that the pasta is being devoured and not leaving me with leftovers, and I didn't prep/cook anything else Sunday because we were out of town, so I am now out of lunch foods -- and I forgot to bring in my new jar of peanut butter and so am going to have to buy my lunch today.

On the plus side, it was worth every damn penny.  :-)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on March 14, 2018, 06:48:09 AM
Laura33, you CRACK ME UP! Glad you enjoyed your weekend and lived it up! Life is too short to dwell on every single dollar! Hahaha, hoard those leftovers and put them in a container marked pickled pigs feet!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on March 14, 2018, 09:15:56 AM
@Laura33 That sounds pretty darn amazing!  Plus, it's probably only a few takeout meals. 

Even though we spent a bunch of money on prepared food (and had cooked food in the fridge), we ordered Indian last night.  $35.  It will be dinner tonight too.  We did make rice in the Instant Pot, which saved about $5.  So...not great, but it could be worse. 

In better news, I've been eating down a lot of produce that a friend gave me.  I haven't let anything go bad, and I have been truly enjoying all of the fresh vegetables.  I made hummus last night, which I will eat with the remaining carrots and sliced cucumber.  Still working on what to do with the mushrooms...

I also used up the 3 half-used bags of frozen fruit.  I made 4 smoothies, and I packed one for an afternoon snack today. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Novik on March 14, 2018, 10:38:42 AM
Speaking of leftovers, we were treated for a birthday dinner last night, and my sister wasn't going to box up the rest of her meal as she didn't enjoy it much. We swooped in to ask for it to please be boxed up, and that's an extra delicious lunch for my partner today. Win all around!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: zeli2033 on March 15, 2018, 08:06:35 AM
Food spending is at $445 this month so far. It's been a disaster as compared to recent months. Eating out has been $150 so far, a far cry from $30 I was able to hit over the last couple of months. Oh well, we're hoping to shore some things up for the rest of the month and hopefully keep things within the monthly budget of $800. Shameful but still much better than last year.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: LMBB on March 15, 2018, 10:32:07 PM
Midway through the month and spending is at $127/$300.

We did eat out tonight because I was feeling lazy.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: meatgrinder on March 15, 2018, 11:06:07 PM
I will join again. My goal: keeping the same average spend this year as last year. I really hope that my credit card will give 3% cash back on grocery again from next month. Otherwise I'll have to earn in those 3% in some other way.

AMEX blue cash preferred gives 6 percent on groceries.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: imadandylion on March 18, 2018, 04:24:27 PM
Just totaled my grocery bill for the month so far and it's $439.73. :/  This total doesn't even include what my partner spent.

Does anyone else have a hard time getting a plan to stick with their partner?  Not trying to blame my partner but he can definitely be resistant to the idea of meal planning for some reason.  I wonder if this is a problem with "Mustachian" people in general with partners not agreeing on finances.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on March 18, 2018, 05:41:32 PM
Does anyone else have a hard time getting a plan to stick with their partner?  Not trying to blame my partner but he can definitely be resistant to the idea of meal planning for some reason.  I wonder if this is a problem with "Mustachian" people in general with partners not agreeing on finances.
My spouse is not up for meal planning, but he will usually eat food if it's prepared.  So I meal prep, so there is food around.  Slowly he's stopped ordering pizza and getting take-out. However, I have to do the work because saving the money matters to me (and the health benefits are only my concern too).
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on March 18, 2018, 08:57:47 PM
We're getting close to our March limit, but I'm feeling good about hitting both groceries & eating out. (We'll be $5 over our eating out, but let it slide ;-)). My husband normally does the shopping, and is out of town for two weekends, so I feel good that we can stay on track.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on March 19, 2018, 08:09:00 AM
Does anyone else have a hard time getting a plan to stick with their partner?  Not trying to blame my partner but he can definitely be resistant to the idea of meal planning for some reason.  I wonder if this is a problem with "Mustachian" people in general with partners not agreeing on finances.
My spouse is not up for meal planning, but he will usually eat food if it's prepared.  So I meal prep, so there is food around.  Slowly he's stopped ordering pizza and getting take-out. However, I have to do the work because saving the money matters to me (and the health benefits are only my concern too).

I also have this issue.  My husband buys junk whenever he goes to the store.  Grocery shopping and cooking are my chores for this semester (we renegotiate chores every 4-6 months).

I'm trying to a) not forget anything so I don't have to ask him to pick up one or two items for me - he comes home with those plus a cartful of junk and b) keep consistently under my weekly budget so that when he does splurge on junk food there's room, plus c) post a list of the week's planned meals on the fridge.  If he gets home early and is hungry, he can get started on the meal I've already planned and prepped.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: FireHiker on March 19, 2018, 10:18:01 AM
March has been abysmal for grocery spending for us. I started getting up to run before work a month ago and it is a hugely different habit for me which is sucking all of my mental capacity out of me. It's getting better, and I'll get back on track with grocery spending soon. I AM still tracking every penny in and out, but I haven't recorded everything yet for March. I know we are well over where I wanted to be; I'll get my spreadsheet updated in the next couple days to see just how bad it is. But, I ran 4 miles this morning for the first time ever. Trying to balance financial and non-financial goals...it will get better.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on March 19, 2018, 11:14:55 AM
Well, not surprisingly, the lingering impacts of my NYC free-for-all have left me over budget.  Ended up doing takeout and work lunches a couple of times because of the lack of leftovers + a school fundraiser at the pizza place for the club my daughter founded ($66), and then of course I had no actual food in the house and did a big shop this week to stock back up (how I topped $150 at ALDI I don't know!  Although they did have the maple sausage my family loves on sale, so that's $20 right there, plus $10 in ribs for DD's braces-off celebration).  Put that together with bi-weekly dairy and a short Wegmans stop, and our monthly totals are now $493 food + $160 HH + $123 takeout. 

Yeah, I suck.  I do at least have meals planned and prepped for this whole week, so back on the horse.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Novik on March 19, 2018, 01:18:17 PM
@4alpacas

Riffing off the chicken/carb theme, we made this pretty easy one dish meal last week - roasted chicken with potatoes and asparagus (https://www.marthastewart.com/315875/roast-chicken-with-potatoes-lemon-and-as). Not sure if it works for you, but we did it with a couple chicken breasts and no lemon and it turned out fine and reheated well. I'd probably recommend covering it for the last cooking to help keep the asparagus moist though.

In terms of pantry to slow cooker, maybe a chili? Cans of tomatoes, black and/or kidney beans, with some fresh veg like peppers and yam. Could also get some naan or other bread to eat it with. I have a recipe that also involves ground meat but that makes it less easy.

(Please let me know if this is too much... I just strive to find easy meals for my family and hope they can be helpful to others.)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on March 19, 2018, 01:24:56 PM
Try crock pot pizza!

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=averagebetty&qft=+filterui%3auserpage-averagebetty&view=detail&mid=FF563CD7E0137BA3D310FF563CD7E0137BA3D310&&FORM=VRDGAR

You rock Laura33!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on March 19, 2018, 02:01:34 PM
Thank you, @Novik
We don't have any asparagus in the house, but we do have everything else.  I could probably do something with frozen broccoli.  Thanks!

For the chicken breasts, how long did you have to bake them?

@Roadrunner53 I don't have any pop-fresh bread things, but I could make some pizza dough tonight for dinner tomorrow.  Thanks!

Thank you for the input.  I'm NOT creative in the kitchen, and I'm also not a very good cook.  I'm working on improving my skills, but weeknight cooking is a struggle for me.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Novik on March 19, 2018, 02:04:36 PM
For the chicken breasts, how long did you have to bake them?

Since the recipe calls for a chicken cut into pieces, we didn't find the baking time much different with chicken breasts only. Maybe only 15 min vs. 20? I don't entirely recall.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on March 19, 2018, 02:13:05 PM
For the chicken breasts, how long did you have to bake them?

Since the recipe calls for a chicken cut into pieces, we didn't find the baking time much different with chicken breasts only. Maybe only 15 min vs. 20? I don't entirely recall.
Awesome!  I'll move the chicken breasts from the freezer to fridge tonight, and I think that will be dinner tomorrow. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on March 19, 2018, 02:38:55 PM
4alpacas, look into freezer cooking. I bought some books and I think they are called Dinner is ready. It shows you have to prepare up to 30 meals in one day and get them ready for the freezer. I haven't done it in a while but as I recall you choose so many chicken recipes, beef recipes and then you are guided on how to prep/freeze. I believe there are shopping lists too. I think mine came with a CD so you could print out the grocery lists. They show you how to prepare the meals in various ways, using the oven, crockpot and stove top meals.

https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/097877650X

You need to make time to do this on a weekend. You need to shop for all the ingredients, then prep some of the stuff the day before so the big day of assembly will be smooth. It just takes organization and the book will tell you how to set up stuff.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on March 19, 2018, 06:29:59 PM
@4alpacas - <mwah>
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on March 20, 2018, 05:01:34 AM
4alpacas, I have not personally used these recipes but some look really good and easy!

Sheet pan recipes: https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/sheet-pan-supper-recipes/view-all/

Foil packet dinners: https://www.southernliving.com/dinner/foil-packet-dinners-for-fall#sausage-potato-green-bean-foil-packet-dinners-for-fall

Crock pot dinners: http://www.easybreezyrecipes.com/Crockpot.html
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on March 20, 2018, 06:36:24 AM
@4alpacas - one thing we do is bulk grill chicken breasts. (My husband marinates them all day in some sort of secret sauce that involves pureed onions, garlic, & spices). He grills them, and then after they are cool, we bag them into meal size portions & freeze them. Because the protein is already cooked, dinner comes together really quickly. Here are a few things we do with the chicken:
-Chicken soft tacos
-Grilled chicken on salad
-Grilled chicken w/pasta. Great w/pesto & tortellini

I take pretty much any recipe that includes cooking chicken, & just sub our chicken in. I make homemade chicken taquitos, baked chicken pasta dishes, chicken risotto, etc.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on March 20, 2018, 08:57:01 AM
4alpacas, I have not personally used these recipes but some look really good and easy!

Sheet pan recipes: https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/sheet-pan-supper-recipes/view-all/

Foil packet dinners: https://www.southernliving.com/dinner/foil-packet-dinners-for-fall#sausage-potato-green-bean-foil-packet-dinners-for-fall

Crock pot dinners: http://www.easybreezyrecipes.com/Crockpot.html
I love the idea of the sheet pan recipes!  Easy, and great to have the oven on to heat the house a little :) 

@MaybeBabyMustache That's a great idea.  I could freeze some of the shredded chicken we make.  Usually, I just freeze uncooked chicken or complete meals. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: kaypinkHH on March 20, 2018, 11:53:27 AM
@4alpacas I love making meal plans! Shoot me a PM with your allergies/DH's pickiness/constraints and I can shoot you some ideas!! I try to balance frugalness, with healthy choices as well as easy to cook meals.

Not sure if you are on the meal planning thread, but that has a lot of ideas too! https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/meal-planning-2018/

I typically do some bulk freezer cooking on the weekends for days where we just don't want to cook, but then mix it up with some more "fresh" easy weeknight meals.

Food spend wise so far this month- Groceries are out of control, BUT: We have been stocking our freezer, technically we could probably get through a month with minimal grocery spend (which is the plan for May when baby HH arrives)...but in good news so far: 0 in fast food, 0 at coffee shops, and only $45 at restaurants!!! WHAT!!!! I'll update ya'll with final numbers in 11 days!

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: LessIsLess on March 20, 2018, 02:20:13 PM
Before you eat, do 20 push ups, every single time.  Your grocery budget would drop like a rock, and you'll have some muscles to show for all that eating.  Can't do the push ups?  Sorry, no food for you!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on March 20, 2018, 03:00:32 PM
@kaypinkHH PM sent!  You're so thoughtful!  I'll check out the meal planning thread.

@LessIsLess Before every bite or before every meal?  If it's just before every meal, I'm set ;)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: ohsnap on March 21, 2018, 12:07:03 PM
In looking at YTD grocery spend, I might be on to something:
(this is for 2 people, sometimes 3 as one of our adult kids usually spends weekends here)
1. January $270 (this included one Costco trip for $120)
2. February $402 (this included two Costco trips for $197)
3. March 1-21 $72 (no trips to Costco yet).

Hmmm.  I really feel like the stuff I buy at Costco is at best per-unit prices.  But is it actually reducing my overall grocery bill, or increasing it?  I do purchase "impulse buys" like the stupid box of pre-cooked beets I found in the produce department in Feb.  I just opened the first pack of those yesterday and realized dh and I will need to eat beets every day for 3 days to finish it before it goes bad.  Oh, and the frozen curry dish that I bought "because it would be cheaper than going out" but it's languishing in the freezer after several months.  Maybe I'll challenge myself to ONLY buy what's on my list and see how that affects my grocery bill.  Right now we're about out of cashews, cheddar cheese, and canned tomatoes, and I know I can't find those cheaper elsewhere.  Let's see if I can stick to it.  (or maybe don't buy cashews...if we don't have those on hand, we use much cheaper peanuts)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on March 21, 2018, 12:23:18 PM
Costco makes a lot more sense for us after I started sticking to the list.  I also try not to go more than once a month ... about the time we run out of cheese, chicken, and cereal.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on March 22, 2018, 08:32:43 AM
In looking at YTD grocery spend, I might be on to something:
(this is for 2 people, sometimes 3 as one of our adult kids usually spends weekends here)
1. January $270 (this included one Costco trip for $120)
2. February $402 (this included two Costco trips for $197)
3. March 1-21 $72 (no trips to Costco yet).

Hmmm.  I really feel like the stuff I buy at Costco is at best per-unit prices.  But is it actually reducing my overall grocery bill, or increasing it?  I do purchase "impulse buys" like the stupid box of pre-cooked beets I found in the produce department in Feb.  I just opened the first pack of those yesterday and realized dh and I will need to eat beets every day for 3 days to finish it before it goes bad.  Oh, and the frozen curry dish that I bought "because it would be cheaper than going out" but it's languishing in the freezer after several months.  Maybe I'll challenge myself to ONLY buy what's on my list and see how that affects my grocery bill.  Right now we're about out of cashews, cheddar cheese, and canned tomatoes, and I know I can't find those cheaper elsewhere.  Let's see if I can stick to it.  (or maybe don't buy cashews...if we don't have those on hand, we use much cheaper peanuts)

FWIW, I had the same realization myself and ended up dropping Costco.  A lot of it was my own self-control (or lack thereof).  When I go to the regular grocery store, I can do my list (the app lists them aisle by aisle), pick up what I need, and go.  But at Costco, their offerings are always changing -- so I'd make my list, but then see all these other things that weren't there last time that seemed like an awesome deal and throw that in, too.  And then half the time they wouldn't have everything on my list (or offered it in such quantities that I knew we'd never eat it all), so I'd end up going to the regular store, too.  And instead of spending $200 at the regular (expensive) grocery store, I'd spend $200 at Costco and $100 at the regular store.  So for me, the better dollar-per-unit price was more than offset by my inability to control my impulsiveness when presented with a deal. 

I wasn't exactly happy to discovery that about myself.  :-)  But no one is perfect, and as the poster at my gym says, success is the result of controlling failure.  So I stick to regular stores now because they pose fewer temptations (or even better, ALDI, where there are many "what a deal!" temptations, but they actually are ridiculously cheap, so I can buy some treats and still pay less than $100 total).
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on March 22, 2018, 08:46:35 AM
Laura33, have you tried shopping Costco on line? You can place an order and control your impulses. My Costco has same day delivery (Instacart) and 2 day delivery that they ship to you. I just got an order yesterday delivered by UPS. I have not tried Instacart yet. If you reach certain minimums they will ship or deliver for free. I need to go to Costco soon to cash my Visa Rewards check. But during the year I order stuff. Costco is about 15 miles from me and not a million miles away but I hate driving and fighting the traffic. When I do go it will be a haul and my car will be filled to the brim!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on March 22, 2018, 09:18:24 AM
Laura33, have you tried shopping Costco on line? You can place an order and control your impulses. My Costco has same day delivery (Instacart) and 2 day delivery that they ship to you. I just got an order yesterday delivered by UPS. I have not tried Instacart yet. If you reach certain minimums they will ship or deliver for free. I need to go to Costco soon to cash my Visa Rewards check. But during the year I order stuff. Costco is about 15 miles from me and not a million miles away but I hate driving and fighting the traffic. When I do go it will be a haul and my car will be filled to the brim!
My DH and I are also horrible impulse shoppers.  However, Costco is a winner for us with dog food alone (then you add in dog treats, and we're golden).  We use Google Express, which provides free delivery for non-perishables for orders over $35 (which is a single bag of dog food).  We also occasionally get 20-25% off coupons, which I use to stock up on dog treats and buy an extra bag of dog food.  I haven't set foot inside a Costco store in several years.  We also pay to have a groceries delivered because we can't be trusted in regular grocery stores.  The grocery delivery fees are face punch-worthy, but we have zero impulse control when it comes to "exciting" new products and stuff that we think we need.

I'm going to go over my planned spending for March because @kaypinkHH gave me an amazing meal plan!!!  I'm going to give it a go and do a bulk cook on Saturday. 

Thank you, @kaypinkHH
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on March 22, 2018, 09:26:21 AM
If you meet certain minimums, they ship for free! I will kill myself to get free shipping. There is always something we can use! Even Walmart will give free shipping. I have been known to be a dollar short to get free shipping but by damn, I will find something for a dollar or two to get free shipping! LOL! Chapstick, a box of tissues, a bar of soap! LOL!

The only downside of getting deliveries is the cardboard boxes. Hub is always breaking them down for recycling! Maybe if you have a fireplace you can burn them!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: kaypinkHH on March 22, 2018, 09:27:47 AM
Haha @4alpacas, yes, this will bust the budget most likely!!! (Sorry haha).

That is one bad thing about mega cooking/bulk meal prep, it can be hard to keep a monthly grocery shopping on track...however, mathing it out most of the meals I make are ~$3/serving, especially if I buy meat on sale ahead of time and chuck it in the freezer for later use. Trick is to have a running inventory of what is there so nothing goes to waste.

I modified the meal plan I sent 4 alpacas slightly to be more generic and now you can all see the link :).
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DGOPmLigiCBMZxmbWq6yFATp6TyFakbcsGT180yp0h4/edit?usp=sharing
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on March 22, 2018, 10:16:44 AM
Haha @4alpacas, yes, this will bust the budget most likely!!! (Sorry haha).

That is one bad thing about mega cooking/bulk meal prep, it can be hard to keep a monthly grocery shopping on track...however, mathing it out most of the meals I make are ~$3/serving, especially if I buy meat on sale ahead of time and chuck it in the freezer for later use. Trick is to have a running inventory of what is there so nothing goes to waste.

I modified the meal plan I sent 4 alpacas slightly to be more generic and now you can all see the link :).
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DGOPmLigiCBMZxmbWq6yFATp6TyFakbcsGT180yp0h4/edit?usp=sharing
I'll probably spend about $100 (including all of my extras), so it would fit into a normal month budget.  However, we bought a bunch of packaged foods earlier in the month. 

Even so, if I can increase my grocery bill and decrease eating out, then I'm in for it!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on March 22, 2018, 08:01:18 PM
@RoadRunner/4alpacas:  Coincidentally, I did check out Costco online just last month.  Since my prior Costco efforts, I have discovered Amazon Subscribe & Save for most household products and OTC medicines.  So I compared the prices from both sites on the things I usually buy, and it was basically a wash - some were a little higher or lower, but it balanced out to a degree that surprised me.  So between that and ALDI for truly low-priced groceries (not in massive quantities, either), I feel like Iím at the ďgood enough for nowĒ point.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on March 23, 2018, 05:01:21 PM
$314/$200

We really destroyed the budget this month.

I received our grocery delivery this evening, so I decided to get a jump start on cooking all of the recipes that @kaypinkHH outlined.  I made the egg roll caserole and the brown rice.  I'm working on the pesto with peas recipe right now. 

Tomorrow I'll tackle the rest of the list! 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on March 25, 2018, 07:35:51 PM
We were $17 over. I have no idea what my husband bought last time he went to Costco, but it was $60 over our normal bill. So, that's pretty much that. We're still doing better than last year (or, previous years). We're done shopping for March, so I'm happy we got it close. I know we can do better, though.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on March 26, 2018, 06:18:18 AM
Not as good this week, but not horrible -- $72 groceries (more than I anticipated given that DH/DD are out of town as of Thursday, but I forgot I needed Passover stuff), plus $15 for snow-day bagels for the kids.  Which brings the should-be-final monthly total to $565 groceries, $160 HH, and $148 takeout.

Of course, $200 of that is attributable to my NYC splurge, so I'd say my "normal" spend is reasonably on track.  Just have to work harder on planning better for leftovers and getting the takeout more under control again -- am becoming too fond of the pizza-and-ice-cream place two blocks away. :-)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on March 26, 2018, 08:22:26 AM
I'm mostly pleased with us.

My goal is $125/week.  For the first four weeks in March, we've spent $416 -$84 under budget.  We're hosting the family for Easter next weekend, so I'll have to go to the store again on Saturday, but I'm confident I'll still be under $125.

Our eating out, on the other hand, is over $250 for the month.  We've had to throw away some food, so it isn't that the grocery bill is artificially low because we eat out, but we eat out in addition because....lots of reasons.

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on March 26, 2018, 08:41:16 AM
Not to be preachy, but can you take one weekend day and get help from spouse to whip up some stuff to have in your freezer so you can avoid take out? You can even freeze spaghetti and rice. I have cooked meatballs, cooked ground meat, cooked cheeseburgers, cooked chicken breasts, breaded fish patties, frozen veggies and hamburger rolls in the freezer. I also stock up on chicken pot pies when on sale. On a night when I am not in the mood there is plenty to pull out of the freezer. There is always grilled cheese sammies and soup and frozen pizza. Tuna sammies are good too with lettuce and tomato.

Hub buys a big box of hamburgers and will cook up six or 8 at a time and add cheese. I wrap them up individually and freeze. Only takes around a minute from frozen to hot in the microwave.

We buy big packages of hamburger and whip up meatballs and bake in the oven, drain the grease, then freeze. So many meals you can make with them. We will also cook up ground meat with onions, drain off grease, place in vacuum bag or ziplock and freeze flat. I have bags of spaghetti sauce with hamburger frozen. If you freeze spaghetti, rinse with cold water and drain well, then add it to a ziplock and add a good splash of olive oil, toss, then seal and freeze flat.

Hot dogs and beans are good now and then too!

Just some ideas to help you out.

I had some waste the other day and should have frozen it. Made a lentil soup type thing and it made a lot. I ate it probably 4 times and hub once. I had a lot leftover and bleh, didn't want anymore so tossed it. I do not like to waste food but sometimes enough is enough!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on March 26, 2018, 09:33:04 AM
For us, the problem tends to be lack of planning when we're out.  I usually have a few frozen or canned things we can whip up when we're busy at home.

I blame half of this month on volleyball.  We went to the first volleyball tournament and didn't bring snacks.  The tournament was running hours late...so by the time it ended we were starving and still an hour from home.

The next tournament we coordinated the other parents to bring a picnic, but the instructions weren't clear so some only brought enough for the kids, not for the parents to share....so out again.

The other half of the the overage is social occasions with friends.  There's been a lot of celebrating lately.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on March 26, 2018, 10:01:13 AM
Perfectly understandable when you are away from home it is hard to plan.

How about this idea. Buy some cold cuts like ham, cheese and turkey breast. Bring along hard rolls or a loaf of bread. Some mustard or a small jar of mayo. Bring some chips, fruit and have each kid make their own sammie. Towels and paper plates, knives forks and some cups for seltzer with a splash of juice. Pack in an ice chest and go! Hand sanitizer too!

Here ia another 'outrageous' idea! Here is a crockpot thing you can plug into your car outlet and warm up something for dinner! Chicken, rice and peas. Hot dogs and beans. Chili. https://www.amazon.com/RoadPro-RPSL-350-Quart-Slow-Cooker/dp/B0013IR88A

I would probably warm up leftovers rather than trying to cook raw meat. Like cooked chicken meat mixed with rice and peas and cream of mushroom soup. Costco has this canned roast beef that is REALLY GOOD! You could make a barbeque beef and put on buns. It comes in chunks. You could throw some frozen meatballs and some spaghetti sauce and bring some grinder rolls.

Okay, I am a Debbie Downer...

Eating out is fun too!



Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on March 26, 2018, 10:27:13 AM
@formerlydivorcedmom - our kids play in a lot of soccer tournaments, so totally understand. Until we got the hang of it, we definitely ate out more than normal. Here are a few things we do:

-Always pack meals, even if it appears we won't need them. Something regularly comes up, so we have the food handy. If for whatever reason you don't need them, you can always eat the food at home.
-Bring lots of snacks, & water.
-If there is a kids meal planned out as part of the tournament, the adults still pack food. In fact, my youngest still prefers pasta in a thermos over pretty much anything else, so we'll get him a snack, so he can be part of the group, but then he eats the rest in the car.
-Buy gift cards to Subway/Panera (the two most common tournament eat out options for us) at a discount for an emergency
-We also plan quick & easy freezer meals for when we get home, because that can be another budget killer

It gets easier with more experience! :-)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: zeli2033 on March 30, 2018, 02:03:37 PM
Sigh. This month was a hot mess. I have no excuse - we just stopped trying and and reverted back to old, lazypants behavior. Our food spending hit $1,056 - $256 more than the budget for the month. Eating food out hit $339. Ugh...it's painful even writing it out.

At least we can say it honestly wasn't fun. We are ready to recommit to the goal for April.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on March 31, 2018, 12:39:12 PM
Not as good this week, but not horrible -- $72 groceries (more than I anticipated given that DH/DD are out of town as of Thursday, but I forgot I needed Passover stuff), plus $15 for snow-day bagels for the kids.  Which brings the should-be-final monthly total to $565 groceries, $160 HH, and $148 takeout.

Of course, $200 of that is attributable to my NYC splurge, so I'd say my "normal" spend is reasonably on track.  Just have to work harder on planning better for leftovers and getting the takeout more under control again -- am becoming too fond of the pizza-and-ice-cream place two blocks away. :-)

Well, I should know better than to count chickens before Iíve bought them all.  Between some grocery stuff I forgot and me getting sick and DH reverting to takeout, my numbers ballooned to $604 groceries, $160 HH, and $210 takeout.  Blerg.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on March 31, 2018, 01:14:07 PM
Laura33, you always make me smile when I read your posts!

It is just the Hub and me and we don't really try to stick to a budget. I know I am being sacrilegious but I try to shop smart and pick up the bargains as they become available.  I don't stress out on trying to stick to a dollar amount per month and once in a while we splurge. Hub had some excellent lab results which we were pretty stressed out about till the doctor told us they were as good as they could get. We celebrated by eating lunch out and splurged big time! But we are back on track eating cheeseburgers, tomorrow will be Chicken Teriyaki in the crockpot and eggplant parmesan the next night. Nothing exotic!

Picked up boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.99 a lb. for the Chicken Teriyaki. It is a jumbo family pack so we will eat several meals on it and probably freeze the rest for sammies later on. Package was around $8 so will make many meals!

I feel that if you buy the bargains and use your food up and not tossing the leftovers in the garbage you are being frugal to a certain extent. Eating out is expensive and our celebration lunch, with generous tip cost us $75. We each had two alcoholic drinks which is the kiss of death on eating out. I didn't care!

We are retired and rarely eat out so when we do, it is a splurge we enjoy!

Any chance you can get your Hub on board by asking him to take over some cooking for the family? Maybe if he feels more responsibility, he might take it more seriously and stop take out stuff!

Take care, hope you feel better!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: kaypinkHH on April 02, 2018, 07:36:10 AM
Another month done, and this one I'm calling a success!

According to Mint:
Groceries~ $600
Restaurant*~ $126
Coffee Shops/Fast Food- $0!!!
Alcohol and Bars- $0!!!

My goal this month was to cut the out of the house food spending, due to all my meal prepping, we were able to avoid a lot of quick runs to pick up food.

*Out of the house food spending:
- Thai food take out with my parents- Goal for April is to learn some quick and easy thai food recipes to replace the need for take out.
- Sugar shack breakfast with Mr.HH. Not needed per-say, but $40 well spent. Lovely seasonal local food, and we menu hacked to get a better deal on our breakfast (split some orders etc.)

My parents paid me back for the 1/2 the thai food in cash, and I figure we spent that cash on the following food items:
- Beer (6.50), Pop (4.50) and Fries (6) at a hockey game (beer and pop not needed, fries 100% worth it haha).
- 1 Coffee (2.30) during travel forgot a travel mug, could have been avoided :(
- 1 Ham and Cheese Croissant from a local bakery for lunch one day when errands took longer than planned, only $3.20, yes could have been avoided, but for $3.20 I'm not going to worry about it too much.
- $10ish thrown in to order pizza with a group at a party, way easier than packing our own dinner.

Normally I don't track cash items, but it is cool to get to a point where we are spending out of the house so infrequently that we can track to that level!

We still could work on reducing our grocery spend more, but we are shopping the sales, stocking up on cheap meats, and doing meal prep, so I still think the grocery spend will level out in May/June. Considering this month we hosted people at our house 3 weekends, traveled 1 weekend, and had a house warming party, overall not too bad!

(I pivoted my tracking table attached, the other way made no sense).
 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on April 02, 2018, 08:13:08 AM
I budget $125/weekend for groceries, and there were 5 weekends this month.  That means we could have spent $625...but the real grocery spend was only $599! This included about $60 of pure, unnecessary, quite tasty junk food (I should not be allowed to go to the grocery store with kids when I'm sick), as well as the costs of Easter (hosted 5 relatives for dinner + candy for the kids).

I really wonder now how the heck I ever managed to spend $200/week at the grocery store - consistently!

Eating out added up to an additional $252 this month - $70 was husband's work lunches/vending machine purchases that I have given up lowering.  $45 was me eating out with friends (twice my budget), and the rest were family meals or treating the kids to lunch. It's actually lower than I thought it would be (we were worse at the beginning of the month), but still too high.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: frooglepoodle on April 02, 2018, 08:40:24 AM
Spent $602 on groceries last month. My April goal is also to be in the ballpark of $600, including restocking the freezer with Instant Pot/crockpot meals, plus pay our CSA fee for the season ($650 for a 6 month season, starting mid-May). My hope is that the ~$110 per month for the CSA will offset more than $150 of other grocery spending for the season.

Some new-to-me recipes I'm looking forward to trying this month:
Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal (https://www.budgetbytes.com/2018/03/carrot-cake-baked-oatmeal/)
PB&J breakfast bars (http://www.cookingismessy.com/2015/02/06/peanut-butter-jelly-breakfast-bars/)
Spinach & artichoke quesadillas (https://www.budgetbytes.com/2018/02/spinach-artichoke-quesadillas/)
Tuna risotto pie (https://chewtown.com/2013/03/tuna-risotto-pie/)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on April 02, 2018, 08:45:06 PM
March totals for a family of 4, including 11 & 12 year old boys. Both play sports 4+ days/week, so have a big appetite:
Groceries. Budget was $625. Spent $642
Dining out. Budget was $150. Spent $130

We can do better on groceries, still. We didn't throw much of anything away, meal planned, made & froze leftovers, etc. But, things add up. I have a few ideas for April to start trimming.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Novik on April 03, 2018, 07:21:09 AM
March totals - no idea, haven't added it up yet, but expect in the 350-400$ range, so fine.

April is the start of the one income budget though, with a 350$ cap on groceries (or 80$ a week to account for 5 weekend months). And yesterday we shopped for three big meals and acquired many staples for 74$*, so that's a win right there!

Hope to be able to keep this up going forward... I think it will get easier as my partner will have more time to make bread, hummus etc.

(*I feel I should admit I did use 20$ in PC points, but that was to pay for the OTC drugs @ 17$ incl tax... so even adding the 3$ back in we're ok)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: mountain mustache on April 03, 2018, 07:37:00 AM
March totals were:

Groceries $300, actual was $330
Restaurants $30, actual was $42...I went out a few times this month, which is unusual...going through a breakup, it was good to have some friend support and a little wine, haha!

I did pay my upfront fruit CSA fee this month, which was $315, but I don't count that in for this months groceries since it separates out by the week.

I'm actually happy about this, because just 3 months ago I was spending $500-$600 a month on groceries, without even realizing it! I'm just one person, but I love buying local and organic food, and sometimes impulsively shopping at the little health food store in my neighborhood, when I feel like trying a new recipe. It has been really hard to get it down in the $300s, but I'm stoked! And I think I'll be able to do even better in the Summer, when fresh produce is easier to come by. I live in a super high cost of living area, in a tiny town...so for example, a pound of apples (doesn't matter what kind), not even organic, is regularly $1.99/lb...organic is like $3.99! Onions, potatoes, etc are never under $1.00/lb, and eggs are $3.99. So it is a struggle to get it down to those super low numbers I see everyone else quoting. But, I'm working on it!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: FireHiker on April 03, 2018, 12:47:37 PM
March was SO bad. I'm genuinely embarrassed about it. I'm not even sure I can bring myself to share the ghastly numbers. I know it's still down from a two years ago, but we ate out a TON.

April will be questionable: we leave Friday night for an 8 night trip in Europe (trying not to freak out too much about the rail strike since we'll be in Paris; so far our trains are not canceled). I plan to enjoy myself there and not worry about it too much, although I will track our spending. When we get back from Europe I will be getting serious about meal planning and a much healthier diet so we'll see how the month turns out.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on April 04, 2018, 06:29:37 AM
The only other thing you might do is to do an internet search to see if you can get the Vega shakes cheaper thru another supplier. Maybe you have already done this but product prices can be so different from one place to another. Also, some offer free shipping.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on April 04, 2018, 08:58:15 AM
How many meals of the Vega shake to you have per day to lose 70 lbs! That is fantastic!

Does it really keep you full? I find within no time I am hungry after drinking a shake. I am hungry a lot and need to lose weight!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on April 04, 2018, 10:52:59 AM
@Roadrunner53 -- Thanks, you are always so nice and supportive.  I won't bore you with the details, but no, he's not going to cook -- he doesn't cook, enjoys buying whatever he wants, and has no desire to cut back, so putting him in charge of buying and cooking would likely increase our budget.  :-)  My focus is really on what I can control, and on finding a happy medium between frugality as a normal baseline with sufficient splurges/extras that DH and the kids enjoy. 

Which, though, means that I really shouldn't account for all the times when I am out of town and DH gets takeout.  And you know, I started out this way, only "counting" the stuff that I am accountable for.  I think I got away from that in an effort to better track the "real" number, but the reality is that it just makes me feel bad because of things that I can't control, so I think it's better to just go back to my own numbers and leave him to get what he gets.

Of course, that still leaves me on the hook for the $50 in takeout I let DD talk me into last night.  :-)  No time for shopping/cooking this weekend again, so out of my routine and susceptible to the teenage please.  But now DH is out of town, and I can easily scrabble through on leftovers for the rest of the week, so maybe I can count it as a "shopping" trip that just involved pizza and the new Krispy Kreme store.  ;-)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on April 04, 2018, 01:35:38 PM
Laura33, What is it your husband craves when he does take out? Is there some specific food he craves? Chinese is one food that I could never master so that would be off my list! Tell us what he likes...maybe some ideas will surface!

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on April 04, 2018, 07:02:13 PM
Laura33, What is it your husband craves when he does take out? Is there some specific food he craves? Chinese is one food that I could never master so that would be off my list! Tell us what he likes...maybe some ideas will surface!

Different.  Just different.  He likes all sorts of ethnicities, and everything from hole-in-the-wall to fine dining.  I am a good cook and have gotten good in some areas and decent in others, but I still canít cook everything from every variety of local ethnic food.  I have some great Chinese recipes, and can make a few Thai options, but am completely SOL on Indian.

FYI if you want an accessible inroad into Asian food, try 101 Easy Asian Recipes - itís by the guys who did Lucky Peach, and the name is tongue-in-cheek, but the recipes really are easy, and the flavors are spot-on and frankly better than most restaurants around here.  My favorite part is where they give you the lists of the various condiments to have on hand, by brand.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Basenji on April 04, 2018, 07:10:11 PM
Laura33, What is it your husband craves when he does take out? Is there some specific food he craves? Chinese is one food that I could never master so that would be off my list! Tell us what he likes...maybe some ideas will surface!

Different.  Just different.  He likes all sorts of ethnicities, and everything from hole-in-the-wall to fine dining.  I am a good cook and have gotten good in some areas and decent in others, but I still canít cook everything from every variety of local ethnic food.  I have some great Chinese recipes, and can make a few Thai options, but am completely SOL on Indian.

FYI if you want an accessible inroad into Asian food, try 101 Easy Asian Recipes - itís by the guys who did Lucky Peach, and the name is tongue-in-cheek, but the recipes really are easy, and the flavors are spot-on and frankly better than most restaurants around here.  My favorite part is where they give you the lists of the various condiments to have on hand, by brand.

Jumping in completely out of the blue. Indian is totally doable! I'd say easier than Thai and Chinese in some ways because it is often just a wet braise. The main obstacle is getting the spices in hand. What does he order specifically from Indian menus?
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on April 04, 2018, 08:00:33 PM
Laura33, What is it your husband craves when he does take out? Is there some specific food he craves? Chinese is one food that I could never master so that would be off my list! Tell us what he likes...maybe some ideas will surface!

Different.  Just different.  He likes all sorts of ethnicities, and everything from hole-in-the-wall to fine dining.  I am a good cook and have gotten good in some areas and decent in others, but I still canít cook everything from every variety of local ethnic food.  I have some great Chinese recipes, and can make a few Thai options, but am completely SOL on Indian.

FYI if you want an accessible inroad into Asian food, try 101 Easy Asian Recipes - itís by the guys who did Lucky Peach, and the name is tongue-in-cheek, but the recipes really are easy, and the flavors are spot-on and frankly better than most restaurants around here.  My favorite part is where they give you the lists of the various condiments to have on hand, by brand.

Jumping in completely out of the blue. Indian is totally doable! I'd say easier than Thai and Chinese in some ways because it is often just a wet braise. The main obstacle is getting the spices in hand. What does he order specifically from Indian menus?

He likes lamb vindaloo or lamb pasanda.  I like chicken tikka or paneer masala or seekh kebab.  And I would love to know how to make ras malai, which is just like manna from heaven to me.  My biggest problem is that I hate the standard curry spice blend - I donít even know which particular spice it is, but there is something in there that I just canít stand, which makes me a little timid to try new recipes since I donít know the flavor profile.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Basenji on April 04, 2018, 08:04:37 PM
Jumping in completely out of the blue. Indian is totally doable! I'd say easier than Thai and Chinese in some ways because it is often just a wet braise. The main obstacle is getting the spices in hand. What does he order specifically from Indian menus?

He likes lamb vindaloo or lamb pasanda.  I like chicken tikka or paneer masala or seekh kebab.  And I would love to know how to make ras malai, which is just like manna from heaven to me.  My biggest problem is that I hate the standard curry spice blend - I donít even know which particular spice it is, but there is something in there that I just canít stand, which makes me a little timid to try new recipes since I donít know the flavor profile.

Strokes chin, I see, I see. I'll be back in a bit. Yeah, first thing is you will not use a standard curry mix, you will make your own (and it really won't be that hard).
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Basenji on April 04, 2018, 09:12:37 PM
OK, Mustachian Indian. I'll be working on this as a project now. I'm not an expert, but I do I cook Indian fairly often.

You probably know that Madhur Jaffrey is a big name in Indian cookbooks. Your library will have one of her many books. I'm also collecting some web recipes and I'm going to try some out and see which do not require a ridiculous investment in spices. The spices are the main obstacle to keeping cost down. Lamb Vindaloo is a good one because it doesn't require that many "strange" spices (being influenced by Portuguese cuisine). Here's an example: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pork-or-lamb-vindaloo

Another aspect that I would like to test is how a recipe freezes and reheats so you can make extra and have an insta-takeout when DH gets the urge. For example, nan freezes well.

I'm not trying to be insulting by posting links (I am quite aware you know how to Google), but more to show examples. I'm going to also comment on all the "extras" like rice and bread. Ooh, this is a fun challenge. More to come. If I'm not headed in the right direction, just let me know.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on April 05, 2018, 04:27:17 AM
Laura33, this is totally our of my league! I can't say I have ever even eaten Indian food except Madras Lentils from Costco. Not sure that is even representative of Indian food! Have not eaten Thai food either. Not that I wouldn't but in my town there are very few ethnic restaurants. Come to think of it, there is a Thai restaurant. Maybe I will have to check it out!

Should be interesting to see what Basenji comes up with!

In the mean time, I found these kits you could buy and whip up.

https://indianmealkit.com/t/meal-kits

https://www.amazon.com/Sukhis-Gourmet-Indian-Foods-Gluten-Free/dp/B00TT65DG2/ref=sr_1_17_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1522923790&sr=8-17&keywords=indian+vindaloo

Well, since I don't have much of a clue, I will leave it at that!

Sometimes you gotta have a little SOUL food to break up the monotony!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on April 05, 2018, 04:57:39 AM
Laura33, My brain cells are spinning this morning! This is a new idea I have come up with.

In my town we have a few restaurants (Italian) that advertise that they will cater. In the ad it will show big trays of lasagna or manicotti or stuffed shells. You get the picture. Maybe you could call one of your favorite Indian or other ethnic restaurant and tell them you are having a party and need one big tray of Chicken Tikka and one tray of lamb vindaloo or lamb pasanda. Then when you get it home break it down into normal portions and freeze it. If there are any delicate things they might add, ask them to put them on the side so they don't get mushy. This might not save a ton of money but it might save some and if nothing else, you know what you spent rather than what your hub will spend. Maybe keep a variety of his favorites in the freezer so he can pull that out when the desire strikes. Not sure the quality of frozen ethnic foods but I have pretty good luck with everything else including rice, beans and spaghetti.

Just another hair brained idea of mine!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Basenji on April 05, 2018, 06:34:07 AM
Laura33, My brain cells are spinning this morning! This is a new idea I have come up with.

In my town we have a few restaurants (Italian) that advertise that they will cater. In the ad it will show big trays of lasagna or manicotti or stuffed shells. You get the picture. Maybe you could call one of your favorite Indian or other ethnic restaurant and tell them you are having a party and need one big tray of Chicken Tikka and one tray of lamb vindaloo or lamb pasanda. Then when you get it home break it down into normal portions and freeze it. If there are any delicate things they might add, ask them to put them on the side so they don't get mushy. This might not save a ton of money but it might save some and if nothing else, you know what you spent rather than what your hub will spend. Maybe keep a variety of his favorites in the freezer so he can pull that out when the desire strikes. Not sure the quality of frozen ethnic foods but I have pretty good luck with everything else including rice, beans and spaghetti.

Just another hair brained idea of mine!

I love out-of-the-box thinking! I'm going to look at our local Indian take out menu and compare the prices against what someone can do at home.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on April 05, 2018, 07:54:37 AM
@Laura33 - one suggestion I have for the dining out. Do your local restaurants ever offer discounted gift cards? We have one place that is our go to. (It's not even a top favorite of mine, but works well for the kids, & is reasonably priced). When they have discounted gift cards, free meal passes, etc, we stock up. They also have a frequent diner program that sends discounted promotions. We take advantage of that to reduce the cost of eating out. I've come around to accepting that, when I'm traveling for work (8-10 weeks/year), my husband and the kids will eat out at least once, and will eat Costco pizza and the like as well. Planning for this & getting good deals has helped to reduce the outlay.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: fuzzy math on April 05, 2018, 08:16:08 AM
Jumping in! Family of 5 who recently switched to Aldi and even more recently quit SAMs club. Due to family visiting last week and our SAMs membership ending, we spent about $400 extra on food / alcohol.

My normal budget is now $400 but I'm going to challenge myself to $350 for April.

So far for April  $20 / 350. Not a wise purchase either (grocery deli take out and a kombucha). Everyone at the house is sick and my DH had surgery so it was kind of necessary. going to Aldi today to pick up the bare basics after I look through our crowded fridge to determine which left overs are still edible. The one upside is that we have chickens and the vast majority of our food waste goes to them, which lowers their feed needs.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on April 05, 2018, 08:25:38 AM
Jumping in! Family of 5 who recently switched to Aldi and even more recently quit SAMs club. Due to family visiting last week and our SAMs membership ending, we spent about $400 extra on food / alcohol.

My normal budget is now $400 but I'm going to challenge myself to $350 for April.

Welcome!

I obviously need to be going shopping with you - my family of 5 budget is $125/week.

Does your number include pet food and household items (toilet paper, etc)?

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on April 05, 2018, 08:52:40 AM
@Laura33 I don't have cooking advice, but I also have a DH who loves diversity of flavors and restaurants.  I've had luck with fancy frozen meals.  Some of them are $4.50 (an Indian one with a piece of naan included) a piece, so NOT thrifty.  However, my DH is also lazy...so it's way easier to heat up something in the microwave than wait for delivery (and about $30 cheaper). 

I need to get on my tracking again!  We ordered a bunch of "fancy" ramen, so my DH is in heaven.  Carbs! New flavors! And...super easy for me. 

With @kaypinkHH 's help, I executed a weekly meal plan.  However, my DH refused to eat most of the dishes, so I am still trying to get through all of the meals.  Luckily the butter chicken freezes well, so I have about half of it still in my freezer. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: fuzzy math on April 05, 2018, 09:04:20 AM
Jumping in! Family of 5 who recently switched to Aldi and even more recently quit SAMs club. Due to family visiting last week and our SAMs membership ending, we spent about $400 extra on food / alcohol.

My normal budget is now $400 but I'm going to challenge myself to $350 for April.

Welcome!

I obviously need to be going shopping with you - my family of 5 budget is $125/week.

Does your number include pet food and household items (toilet paper, etc)?

My pet food is prescription so no, and TP has historically been bought at Costco / SAMs which I just stocked up on so it is a quarterly type purchase instead of weekly/monthly. We use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning. MY biggest recommendation re: TP is to get a $50 bidet from Home Depot or Amazon... Will help stretch those $$s much further.

And $350 is going to be a challenge! I had recently gone to one of those salvage grocery stores a few times and have approx $300 worth of snack bars and sauces that I got for $40 which we are working on. My pantry is shamefully overstocked right now.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on April 05, 2018, 09:17:03 AM
Lalllura33 here are some frozen grocery store Indian foods. You can put in your zipcode to see where you can buy this stuff. https://saffronroad.com/store-locator/

Buying bulk:

https://www.foodservicedirect.com/search/indian

https://www.foodservicedirect.com/search/thai
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: kaypinkHH on April 05, 2018, 09:28:16 AM
@4alpacas Oh no, I'm sad your husband refused to eat them, good attempt though!

I'm super happy that Mr.HH (and I) are probably the least pickiest eaters in the world. Only thing I can't eat is lobster, (which really impacts my MMM ways haha), and Mr.HH doesn't love olives/capers/pickles etc. but will eat them if served in a dish. Literally everything else is fair game.

Even with all my meal prep/planning ahead we still have a back up frozen pizza and a few "microwave" style meals to get us through days where we forget to defrost something. Definitely better than take out!

I'm planning my grocery run for tomorrow...another round of mega cooking coming this weekend! I think now that I have my takeout/coffee/restaurant spending reigned in, it is time to start optimizing food prices. We shop at No Frills (Canadian equivalent of Aldi) and the prices at the "normal" stores boggle my mind.  We do a tiny bit of shopping at Costco, and then have discovered a local meat/fruit/veg market that does weekly CRAZY SALES. Like this week broccoli is $0.47/lb. Getting ALL the broccoli. We don't eat a ton of meat, we do eat a ton of eggs and cheese. Still have not started soaking beans vs buying canned beans. Must. Start. Soaking. 

It does make me think though that we have already implemented quite a few frugal aspects and we are still spending ~$500 a month on groceries (2.9 people hehe). (Yes we have extras in our freezer). I can't even imagine that bill if we were shopping at the "normal" stores or if we were big meat eaters.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Basenji on April 05, 2018, 10:52:20 AM
MMM Indian or Other Take-out Tempting food project:

Looked to see if this question has been asked and answered before on this forum (sorry, didn't check if this has already been done in this thread):
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/homemade-indian-food/
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/international-food-website-recommendations/
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/restaurant-quality-meals/

Whoa, we struck gold, meta food-thread threads:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/the-ultimate-mustachian-food-guide/

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/mustachian-recipe-index/
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: kaypinkHH on April 05, 2018, 11:54:34 AM
Wow those are quite a few links!! The mega threads are overwhelming!

Cross posted over on the Meal Planning thread, but here is my latest mega food meal prep plan if people are looking for ideas.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/15ky4hJH8AYYufcW1_peTPxlmMmRch_jF1kuS7so82WE/edit?usp=sharing

Grocery run tonight, we shall see what the damage is!

Edit: One of the recipe items was wild rice. I had no idea how expensive that was! Basmati rice it is!!!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on April 05, 2018, 01:39:20 PM
Jumping in! Family of 5 who recently switched to Aldi and even more recently quit SAMs club. Due to family visiting last week and our SAMs membership ending, we spent about $400 extra on food / alcohol.

My normal budget is now $400 but I'm going to challenge myself to $350 for April.

Welcome!

I obviously need to be going shopping with you - my family of 5 budget is $125/week.

Does your number include pet food and household items (toilet paper, etc)?

My pet food is prescription so no, and TP has historically been bought at Costco / SAMs which I just stocked up on so it is a quarterly type purchase instead of weekly/monthly. We use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning. MY biggest recommendation re: TP is to get a $50 bidet from Home Depot or Amazon... Will help stretch those $$s much further.

And $350 is going to be a challenge! I had recently gone to one of those salvage grocery stores a few times and have approx $300 worth of snack bars and sauces that I got for $40 which we are working on. My pantry is shamefully overstocked right now.

That makes me feel better :)  I include the household items and food for the aging pug from Costco in my grocery budget too.

If there was room for a bidet in the kids' bathroom I would totally get one.  That would solve several problems.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Basenji on April 06, 2018, 07:19:17 AM
@Laura33 I'm moving the home-cooked Indian experiment over to my new journal. Don't want to derail this thread. Working on some recipes this weekend.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on April 06, 2018, 08:20:13 AM
You guys are awesome - thanks!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: SachaFiscal on April 06, 2018, 10:39:55 AM
I'm starting to focus on reducing my grocery spending this month.  I've been tracking our spending on groceries for the past 8 months and our average is about $750 per month with the highest month being $940 and the lowest month $615.  I don't have a particular goal in mind but I'd like to see how much I can reduce it by just being mindful of what I'm buying and not wasting any food.  We are mostly vegan so our staples (e.g. rice and beans) are fairly cheap but we like to eat organic when possible so that increases our spending on produce a bit.

Here are the things I have done so far to reduce my spending:
1. Track grocery spending.
2. Eat pretty much the same things every week. So I can buy some stuff in bulk.
3. Don't waste any food. Everything I buy we eat.
3. Don't overeat (also helps with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight). I portion out the food so that we eat a sufficient amount without going overboard.
4. Switching from canned beans to dry beans.  I've started using my instant pot to cook dry beans which saves quite a bit and may be more nutritious and less caloric.
5. Cook from scratch as much as possible.
6. Stop/reduce drinking alcohol. We don't buy alcohol to drink at home anymore. I only drink about once or twice a month if I go out with friends or on special occasions.


February - $350
March - $430

Total for this month is significantly above last month but it makes sense because I bought some groceries for my mom when I was visiting her (about $80 worth).  I didn't really pay much attention to my grocery spend this month, just bought only what I needed and only bought fresh stuff (veggies and fruits) a few days in advance of using it. I find that we don't end up eating everything right on schedule so the fresh stuff ends up lasting a couple days more than I expect it to.  Also I'm pretty much cooking the same dishes more or less as last month. I'm pretty happy with this spending level for groceries.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: never give up on April 06, 2018, 11:24:40 AM
Hi everyone,

I hadn't seen this thread so haven't posted before but grocery's are my largest monthly spend so I wanted to take on the challenge to reduce them in 2018. I'm single so am in full control of what I eat. I've never had much food wastage and cook every night. I count eating out as entertainment rather than general food/grocery shopping. My numbers include cleaning products and the like, not just edibles. Apologies I'm in the UK so I deal in pounds and pence.

Last year my average monthly spend was £225.69
My target average monthly spend for 2018 is £179.99 (20% reduction)
My current actual average monthly spend for 2018 is £170.00

I am achieving this through a couple of main strategies:

1. Reducing my consumption of pre-prepared food. A good example of this is that instead of buying pre-cooked chicken slices for salads and things I now buy a whole chicken (with legs and everything) and roast it weekly. This gives me two meals and enough for taking salads to work every day. I also buy things like cabbage rather than bags of salad leaves.

2. My second strategy is to give myself time to perform the weekly shop properly. I used to be head down bomb around in as quick a time a possible. Although that was beneficial as it prevented impulse purchases (I only had time to get the items on my list) I wasn't able to spot offers on non-perishable items. So I am able to save money by looking for washing tablets for example, every time I go shopping regardless of whether I need them or not, so I can benefit from any discounts. I do this for all expensive items now and buy in bulk when a sale is on. Another example is that I have also found different flavour yogurts on sale some weeks. Historically I would have just grabbed the brand/flavour I aways get. Now having a bit more time to take a look provides the opportunity to see that often other brands/flavours are discounted e.g. 8 for the price of 4 etc. This approach is great across a wide range of products.

I was never particularly wasteful but have found it remarkable that I could reduce my bill by so much just through applying a bit of common sense really. There is nothing particularly clever in what I am doing. As with many of our expenses its putting some effort in rather than just floating along in life thinking what we are doing is normal and fine. My only regret is the money wasted over the years through not optimising things like this earlier.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on April 06, 2018, 05:35:15 PM
MY biggest recommendation re: TP is to get a $50 bidet from Home Depot or Amazon... Will help stretch those $$s much further.

But... your water bill probably increases, right?
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on April 09, 2018, 07:41:21 AM
First week:  groceries $88 (better), HH $23 (monthly Amazon).  Bad news was takeout was around $50 again (damn you, new Krispy Kreme!).

On the plus side, I managed to cook for a party just out of my fridge and pantry without hitting the grocery store*, and even got rid of a bunch of beers that had been hanging around.  And it was all delicious. :-)   

*Ok, I needed one pepper.  But all of the other things I thought of making required a full shop, so I was happy to come up with chili. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on April 09, 2018, 08:19:16 AM
I blew my April budget over the weekend.  I spent about 90% of the month's grocery budget in three hours (yay, Costco!).

I have several who are facing family crises at the moment, so I spent all day Saturday prepping casseroles to bring to them so they don't have to worry about meals for a while.  Each family got enough to feed them for 1 or 2 weeks.  Plus I now have 10 days' worth of food in my freezer.

The purpose fits my values, so I'm okay with spending the money.

However, because I do want to try to save still, today's lunch is going to be all the leftover veggies in the fridge.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: KBCB on April 11, 2018, 05:10:32 PM
I am in for this as well. I never seem to leave the grocery store for less that $125 and that's weekly.
The sad part: My husband only eats home 4 days a week. How do I spend this much on mostly me?

The plan: Take stock of what I bought, what I ate and what got tossed.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: fuzzy math on April 11, 2018, 07:45:16 PM
MY biggest recommendation re: TP is to get a $50 bidet from Home Depot or Amazon... Will help stretch those $$s much further.

But... your water bill probably increases, right?

Only if you make bidet using an Olympic endurance event. I believe my water is billed in increments of 748 gallons, so my goal is obviously to use less than that.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: fuzzy math on April 11, 2018, 07:47:48 PM
April running total:

21 previously posted about
79 - roughly a  weeks worth of basics - packaged goods, produce, lunch fixings from Aldi last Thurs
--------
100 so far

Anticipating another smaller trip in the next 3 days or so
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: mountain mustache on April 11, 2018, 07:52:46 PM
I'm at $125 for the month so far. That's including a large "stock up" at Natural Grocers at the 1st of the month.

Going to Costco and Sprouts this weekend, so I'm sure that will be another $150.00. I only get to go to "real" stores every couple of months, so I tend to stock up while I'm there since all I have normally is Safeway.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on April 12, 2018, 09:32:44 AM
I am in for this as well. I never seem to leave the grocery store for less that $125 and that's weekly.
The sad part: My husband only eats home 4 days a week. How do I spend this much on mostly me?

The plan: Take stock of what I bought, what I ate and what got tossed.
When I was trying to tune our food waste, I kept the grocery receipts on the fridge and crossed stuff off when I finished them.  It was insane how much food waste decreased (we were super wasteful) when their was a visual in front of me.

I haven't been tracking this month.  I'm going to take a break from cutting our grocery bill and focus on cutting back on take-out.  My husband has been ordering take-out or delivery pizzas about twice/week the last two months (we used to get these things 2-3 times/year).  I would estimate the take-out is costing about $300/month, so I'm happy to increase my grocery budget by $100/month to cut out the delivery.  I'm also concerned about the health consequence/over eating of this food, but my DH responds better to time savings.  So...I need to make it easier to eat at home with a ton of variety. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: fuzzy math on April 12, 2018, 11:58:44 AM

When I was trying to tune our food waste, I kept the grocery receipts on the fridge and crossed stuff off when I finished them.  It was insane how much food waste decreased (we were super wasteful) when their was a visual in front of me.


I haven't been tracking this month.  I'm going to take a break from cutting our grocery bill and focus on cutting back on take-out.  My husband has been ordering take-out or delivery pizzas about twice/week the last two months (we used to get these things 2-3 times/year).  I would estimate the take-out is costing about $300/month, so I'm happy to increase my grocery budget by $100/month to cut out the delivery.  I'm also concerned about the health consequence/over eating of this food, but my DH responds better to time savings.  So...I need to make it easier to eat at home with a ton of variety.

Very cool idea!! When I am ready to level up I am going to try this
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: jim555 on April 12, 2018, 12:15:21 PM
Jan $192.62
Feb $186.73
Mar $217.83
Apr $67.96 so far
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on April 12, 2018, 06:28:36 PM
MY biggest recommendation re: TP is to get a $50 bidet from Home Depot or Amazon... Will help stretch those $$s much further.

But... your water bill probably increases, right?

Only if you make bidet using an Olympic endurance event. I believe my water is billed in increments of 748 gallons, so my goal is obviously to use less than that.

(-: OK then!  I thought I remembered reading a cost analysis about bidets (thinking of getting one for my disabled husband and was hoping it would somehow save me money) and the result was that it somehow cost a little more than the cost of TP saved.   But maybe it was the cost of the electricity (for those who need warm water on their tush...?) Anyhow, not really a topic for this grocery shopping thread.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on April 12, 2018, 06:36:56 PM
When I was trying to tune our food waste, I kept the grocery receipts on the fridge and crossed stuff off when I finished them.  It was insane how much food waste decreased (we were super wasteful) when their was a visual in front of me.

That's a neat idea!  I think I will try that soon.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: fuzzy math on April 15, 2018, 01:13:17 AM
April running total:

21 previously posted about
79 - roughly a  weeks worth of basics - packaged goods, produce, lunch fixings from Aldi last Thurs
--------
100 so far

Anticipating another smaller trip in the next 3 days or so

+ 70 at Aldi today

ALso shamefully forgot  60 in vitamins and probiotics earlier in the month and DH spent $21 today.

------------------
Total $251
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on April 16, 2018, 09:02:37 AM
Update:  decent, not great -- DD did the groceries again, so Wegman's, not ALDI, but kept it under $100 ($80), although that didn't exactly provide a huge amount of food.*  With our dairy delivery, I am at $182 MTD for groceries.

Household $$$ continues to suck, especially with two teens/preteens who are always running out of shampoo and deodorant and laundry detergent -- but given that that is so much better than the alternative, I will continue to purchase vast quantities of de-stinkifying agents.  MTD HH is $70. 

Takeout was a little better at $50 for only one cave so far this month.

*I blame Basenji, because the absolutely delicious vindaloo recipe required like $25 of lamb and other ingredients.  ;-)  Still cheaper -- and better! -- than Indian takeout, though.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Bicycle_B on April 23, 2018, 02:24:18 PM
Hi, everyone.  I'm in!

Ok, so not trying that hard to reduce.  More just - actually tracking all grocery spend in a spreadsheet, and looking to build more frugal habits by noticing the detailed data.  In prior years, had spent $300-$450/mo for one person buying lots of organic stuff, fresh deli meat, some packaged products, expensive junk food, packaged cereals. In recent years, paid more attention to price, was down around $220/mo.  Last year (or so), replaced packaged cereal with beans & rice, paid more attention to sale items, ended up around $170/mo.  Data are from year-end card summaries.

This year, am tracking grocery costs purchase by purchase.  Planned to cook more; mostly just added a new cheap meal to the rotation - bean tacos, yum!  Also bought cheaper meat using sales (not a big meat eater anyway); replaced some grocery junk food with home cooked pancakes; researched a little, started buying my broccoli and frozen vegetables non-organic; ate a few pizza leftovers due to voluntary donation by roommate; hosted a number of guest meals (new girlfriend!) blissfully unworried about cost...I'm cooking in batches, sharing is cheap; received some gifts of food via girlfriend, roughly a wash with the guest meals. 

Results year to date:  about $140/mo groceries.
Jan $179.79
Feb $149.68
Mar $125.47
Apr  $ 88.57 month date, about $120 projected
 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on April 23, 2018, 03:07:52 PM
Update:  decent, not great -- DD did the groceries again, so Wegman's, not ALDI, but kept it under $100 ($80), although that didn't exactly provide a huge amount of food.*  With our dairy delivery, I am at $182 MTD for groceries.

Household $$$ continues to suck, especially with two teens/preteens who are always running out of shampoo and deodorant and laundry detergent -- but given that that is so much better than the alternative, I will continue to purchase vast quantities of de-stinkifying agents.  MTD HH is $70. 

Takeout was a little better at $50 for only one cave so far this month.

*I blame Basenji, because the absolutely delicious vindaloo recipe required like $25 of lamb and other ingredients.  ;-)  Still cheaper -- and better! -- than Indian takeout, though.

Laura33 Can you give your kids a reasonable allowance each month and tell them they can spend it as they want on products but that is it till the next month. Maybe they will understand when the jar or envelope runs out of money that is it till next month. It might wake them up. They might not use half a cup of shampoo each time they shampoo.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on April 24, 2018, 10:00:38 AM
I've taken a break from tracking my grocery spending because I'm trying to dial back our delivery/eating out mindlessly.  So far, prepackaged meals have kept DH from ordering food.  However, he ordered delivery (2 meals) while I had to go pick up a friend who was in the hospital (gone about 4 hours).  Our grocery order on Sunday filled the freezer with every ethnicity and type of frozen meal, so I hope this will keep his ordering out in check. 

I also have a lot of work travel coming up, so I hope to get my DH used to reaching in the freezer rather than ordering in.  Any advice? 

I should mention that I'm not a great cook.  I'm working on improving, but I work a lot and prefer to be outside rather than cooking.  The thought of taking an entire day to cook on the weekend isn't going to fly (I won't be able to hike that day!), so I'm working on bulk cooking hands-off recipes during the week.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on April 24, 2018, 10:23:33 AM
What kind of food does your Hub tend to order for take out?

One thing we do is cook up 8 hamburgers at a time. The hub adds cheese and melts it. We let them cool and I put them in individual baggies then freeze. We have an air fryer and cook up French fries and rewarm the burgers in the microwave. Only takes a minute or so. I have frozen hamburger buns wrapped individually too.

You could buy some chicken breasts, cook them up and put some chicken gravy in a ziplock with the chicken and freeze. When ready to eat, just pull them out and put them in a skillet to warm up. Microwave some frozen veggies. You can also make instant mashed potatoes and freeze them too. Rice freezes good and so does spaghetti. Another thing you could do is cook up a huge meatloaf. Once it is cooked and refrigerated, cut it into serving slices. Freeze each slice in a zip lock baggie. Pull out of freezer and warm in gravy or without. You can also use these slices and crumble them into spaghetti sauce. Makes a great meat sauce!

 Look up 10 easy recipes and master them. I recently made a chicken teriyaki which cooked in the crockpot. It was easy and we had many meals out of it. First over rice, then on buns and little more for snacking.

Another easy thing to make is inside out stuffed peppers. Cooked rice, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, onion, cooked hamburger and green and red pepper slices. Mix it all together and put in crock pot. You can make a boat load and freeze the extras.

You don't have to be a great cook, just a smart cook!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on April 24, 2018, 11:22:42 AM
@Roadrunner53 - Papa John's pizza, Indian (usually biryani and chicken tikka masala), chicken and rice (it's not even good) from a Mediterranean-ish restaurant.

The major issue is that my DH will not defrost anything that I've cooked.  If I'm home and do it, then he'll eat it.  However, he has never pulled anything from the freezer.  We are ordering microwave safe bento boxes to try to freeze meals, so we will see how that goes.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on April 24, 2018, 11:37:57 AM
Well, as far as Indian food, that would be off my radar screen. No idea how to cook any of that or Chinese food.

I have heard of Bento boxes for lunch boxes but what is freezing meals about? Never heard of it.

So your hub is not in tune with cooking from a frozen status. Now that is a problem. Is it from boxed foods or from stuff you have put in the freezer like leftovers?
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on April 24, 2018, 11:41:37 AM
4alpacas is this the Bento boxes you are talking about: https://www.amazon.com/Compartment-Containers-Portion-Control-Bento/dp/B01D0JDZFO/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1524591516&sr=8-3&keywords=frozen+bento+box

They look like a great idea!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on April 24, 2018, 02:32:25 PM
4alpacas is this the Bento boxes you are talking about: https://www.amazon.com/Compartment-Containers-Portion-Control-Bento/dp/B01D0JDZFO/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1524591516&sr=8-3&keywords=frozen+bento+box

They look like a great idea!
Yeah, that's the idea.  Maybe a little protein, rice, and something else...make a bunch and freeze (or refrigerate). 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on April 24, 2018, 02:55:52 PM
I like them a LOT! I wonder if ice build up will occur in them? I have a vac sealer. I might consider putting the Bento boxes inside a vac pouch and seal lightly as to not squish the Bento box. Please let us know how you like the boxes after you use them!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: fuzzy math on April 25, 2018, 01:48:41 PM

April running total:

21 previously posted about
72 - roughly a  weeks worth of basics - packaged goods, produce, lunch fixings from Aldi last Thurs

+ 70 at Aldi

+ Also shamefully forgot  60 in vitamins and probiotics earlier in the month and DH spent $21 today.

------------------
Total $251

+ 4 at hippie store
+ 14 at overpriced grocery
+ 30 DH spent at walmart
+ 21 at Aldi
+ 102 at Aldi (pre emptive large stock up since I will be out of town for the week and I don't want my family to resort to cannibalism)

----------------------
$422 for April 

Would like to have a much better May!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: HappierAtHome on April 25, 2018, 06:49:51 PM
We've had to ignore grocery costs while I've been sick for the last ~six weeks. Now that I appear to be getting better, it's time to focus on this again. Setting a goal of $900 for May - which is high, but I know we need a bulk stock up and we're feeding 20 - 30 people for a birthday party.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: mattjv89 on April 25, 2018, 08:17:47 PM
Groceries bought for the final week so it looks like I'm closing out April at $232 for one.  Ran a little over the $50 a week goal, here's to a better May!  Most of my shopping is at Aldi and making making lists, buying a week at a time and zero eating out by myself have all been helpful. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: savedough on April 27, 2018, 02:11:02 PM
We've been trying to eat up all the food in the freezer and my spending was still above $500 for food this month for a family of 5 (3 growing eating machines boys).

I won't probably really hunker down until after we move, but lots of great ideas in this thread.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on April 28, 2018, 08:00:54 PM
Been offline with a funky last @2 weeks - planned travel, followed by unplanned trip to take care of my grandmother who broke a bone and needed help.  So DH and the kids were home, and I have zero clue what they spent, but judging by the fridge, not much of it was on groceries.  OTOH, I spent $137 stocking up my grandmaís fridge and freezer and foil and Saran Wrap and such, but then I didnít really benefit from that.  So I think in the interest of fairness, I am going to count the groceries part of that trip toward the monthly grocery budget, because otherwise that would give me @10 days of $0 grocery spend, which is clearly inaccurate.  So that and the dairy delivery bring me up to about $360 for the month, with probably one more big shop tomorrow given the state of the fridge.

@RoadRunner:  I need to do the ďtoiletries budgetĒ with DD.  With DS, I am working on getting him to remember even to use soap and shampoo.  😉
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: jim555 on April 29, 2018, 08:16:18 AM
April is closing at $174.24.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on April 29, 2018, 08:41:13 AM
I don't know how you all spend so little on food. It is just my hub and I and we spend a lot but spend pretty wisely. We went to Stew Leonards and bought a NY strip section and got 14 nice steaks out of it. It cost $107.82 and the butcher cut it up. Somehow we picked up another $50. Then we went to Costco and stocked up and spent another $175. Some items like batteries were not food items. We bought bulk porkchops, two rotisserie chickens, beef hotdogs, stuffed salmon, bulk butter and a 3+ boneless turkey breast. Various cheeses and other things I can't recall. We vac packed most of the meats and froze them.

So can't say we were frugal but we shopped the bargains and stocked up.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on April 29, 2018, 09:00:56 AM
I don't know how you all spend so little on food. It is just my hub and I and we spend a lot but spend pretty wisely. We went to Stew Leonards and bought a NY strip section and got 14 nice steaks out of it. It cost $107.82 and the butcher cut it up. Somehow we picked up another $50. Then we went to Costco and stocked up and spent another $175. Some items like batteries were not food items. We bought bulk porkchops, two rotisserie chickens, beef hotdogs, stuffed salmon, bulk butter and a 3+ boneless turkey breast. Various cheeses and other things I can't recall. We vac packed most of the meats and froze them.

So can't say we were frugal but we shopped the bargains and stocked up.

Do you have a process for eating down all of your stock ups? I do sometimes stock up, but then have months where we rotate through & buy much less.

As for us, my parents were in town for a week, so we were feeding 6 instead of 4, so we're $70 over our budget for April. :-( Also, don't ask how far over our alcohol budget we are. We bought extra wine, my husband bought a whiskey for my dad to sample, etc.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on April 29, 2018, 09:11:16 AM
No real process. Just the usual question, "what are we having for dinner tonight'. We have lots of choices and we usually cook more than we need for dinner and eat the leftovers for lunch.

I have to say it is the one luxury we have. We don't eat out hardly ever because we cook fairly gourmet foods at home. We are pretty much stay at home people.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Bicycle_B on April 29, 2018, 09:57:40 AM
I don't know how you all spend so little on food. It is just my hub and I and we spend a lot but spend pretty wisely. We went to Stew Leonards and bought a NY strip section and got 14 nice steaks out of it. It cost $107.82 and the butcher cut it up. Somehow we picked up another $50. Then we went to Costco and stocked up and spent another $175. Some items like batteries were not food items. We bought bulk porkchops, two rotisserie chickens, beef hotdogs, stuffed salmon, bulk butter and a 3+ boneless turkey breast. Various cheeses and other things I can't recall. We vac packed most of the meats and froze them.

So can't say we were frugal but we shopped the bargains and stocked up.

Beans+grain instead of meat...a few eggs instead of meat... some fish, but canned bought on sale...

You were probably venting, sorry if i'm intruding.  Was just struck that your bargain list consists primarily of an expensive food category (meat).  If you're going to buy in that category, bargains by stocking up on sales and low-cost suppliers are excellent ideas, but a bigger cost advantage would come from mixing in lower-cost protein categories.  I mean - emotionally it's hard if the meaning of "dinner" is "our family eats meat and some stuff", but maybe a couple of stews instead of all-meat portions would be a gentle transition at first.  Then you could add in a couple of bean stews, or have bean tacos once a week at dinner.  Just that modest mixture would probably cut your cost by half in the protein category.

Again, please accept my apology if I'm out of line.  This has been more of a sharing/support thread, not a face punch thread.  I don't mean to disturb the vibe.

ETA:  Never mind about canned fish, unless someone can handle it as a lunch.  My list at the top was "stuff I do, maybe you could sometimes" but if you want gourmet, I guess canned fish isn't it.  You can get a lot of protein for 66 cents that way, but not a feeling of gourmet.  :)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on April 29, 2018, 10:36:31 AM
Face punch me if you wish! Not venting at all, just amazed how some are so frugal. In certain ways I think I am frugal by stocking up when sales occur. But I spend a lot when I stock up!

We actually do mix it up with beans at times. Made a lentil soup recently and plan to make a pea soup soon too.

I just made a big pot of home made beef broth from beef bones.

I also have canned salmon, canned mackerel, canned tuna, canned chicken, canned sardines, canned trout, canned anchovies. Canned kidney beans, black beans, white beans, garbanzo beans.

Just made a awesome meat free roasted tomato, basil, garlic, mozzarella, spaghetti dinner that was huge and lasted days. I love tuna sandwiches and egg salad sandwiches. Or eggs and/or tuna over a salad.

Most of the meats we picked up will last months.

I also buy giant bags of broccoli and other veggies. It is cheaper and they are so good! I think the bags are at least 4 lbs.

I have a miniture warehouse of foods of all types!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: kaypinkHH on April 30, 2018, 09:14:05 AM
April results:

Groceries- $407
Restaurant- $254
Coffee Shops/Fast Food- $28
Alcohol and Bars- $69

Considering we had company/events...every. single. weekend, this was actually not too bad of a month.

Groceries were very reasonable, and we have been eating some of the mega cooking from March, and still have a ton of food leftover. This leads me to believe that the next few months will be reasonable as we get into less mega cooking and more bbq and seasonal fruits and veggies. Big splurge this month was fancy costco snacks to use for post natal snacks for this month. We hosted people at our house for a few meals, but other meals were provided for free so a pretty typical month. One thing we did buy that I "regret" was a rotisserie chicken with sides. I was craving take out and with using some coupons/deals we would have been better off just getting take out. Lesson learned.

Restaurants/Bars were way higher than last month, but every restaurant/bar bill was with other people and logistically did not make sense for us to host them at our place. (One bday dinner, and we had lot of out of town visitors who wanted to see the sites, not our kitchen haha.) MrHH finally had to restock his beer supply, but now has enough to probably get through May as well.

Fast food/Coffee: After over 2 months of no fast food, we caved and got Wendy's the other week (it was delicious, no regrets)...but now we will try to do 3 months without fast food. I would love to get to a point of fast food every 6 months. That seems doable. Other fast food costs was a singular fancy latte for Mr.HH and a ikea hot dog and icecream dinner (3rd trimester pregnancy cravings are real yo!!)

So the long TL;DR: We still spend a sh!t ton on food compared to some people on here, but I feel like we are more mindful with our spending. This was the first month that I was able to look back and only have one "regret" (the rotisserie chicken). It is also interesting to see our consistency. Looking like $750 a month is a reasonable baseline now. Next month- new baby gets added to the mix (restaurant spend should go down, hopefully people will bring us food haha).
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on April 30, 2018, 01:14:23 PM
Final April grocery shop was as bad as anticipated -- hit Wegman's, and left DH unsupervised in the deli/cheese aisle.  ;-)  But I kinda did it on purpose, since I was gone for the previous 1.5 weeks and am gone for the first half of this week and I at least wanted him to have something to look forward to while I wasn't there.  So final totals for the month were $560 groceries and $70 HH.  The good news is only @$50 in weeknight takeout while I was in town (although that is not representative given my absence for so long this month).  So ok, not great, coulda been worse.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: CrustyBadger on May 01, 2018, 05:28:29 AM
Next month- new baby gets added to the mix (restaurant spend should go down, hopefully people will bring us food haha).

Is this your first baby?   Convenience food spending (prechopped produce, premade meals and takeout) sometimes has a tendency to go up when there is an infant in the house, especially if you are dealing with colic or reflux and a miserably crying baby who only wants to be held.  Just a heads up. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: kaypinkHH on May 01, 2018, 05:48:41 AM
Yep first baby, currently freezer is full of prepped meals to avoid premade and take out meals as much as possible, and we are OK with spending a bit more on pre-chopped veggies if need be. Spending a bit more on convenience based groceries should be negated by the lack of restaurant events. 

It also helps that MrHH is a decent cook himself (especially going into BBQ season), so between the two of us (plus lots of family support), hopefully we can manage!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: frooglepoodle on May 01, 2018, 06:48:41 AM
April was higher than Iíd have liked at $734 plus higher than normal restaurant spending. Itís a combination of the farmerís market opening again, too many snacks, and pregnancy fatigue leading to lack of organization and planning.

My goal for May is to figure out a system that keeps food on the table without making too much work, and make some progress towards getting meals prepped for later in pregnancy. The actual budget will depend on how many freezer meals I manage to get stocked.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on May 01, 2018, 11:39:54 AM
I have no idea how much we spent in April, but my DH ordered delivery only twice!  The packaged freezer meals are paying off.  I'll be on a ton of work travel in June, so I won't try to load up our freezer with homecooked meals until we get back from vacation in July. 

Breaking my DH of his restaurant delivery food habit is much harder than I thought (this is a relapse after a few years of little to no delivery). 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: OtherJen on May 06, 2018, 05:20:26 PM
Face punch me if you wish! Not venting at all, just amazed how some are so frugal. In certain ways I think I am frugal by stocking up when sales occur. But I spend a lot when I stock up!

Iím also amazed at how frugal others are. Husband and I probably spend $500/month on groceries (although this includes paper products, detergent/soap, etc.). Food/cooking is one of our shared hobbies, and we eat out maybe once per month (I have celiac disease so most restaurants are a minefield). Iím all about stocking up on sale items that weíll use before they spoil.

Following this thread to get tips. We arenít willing to sacrifice quality for price, but weíre always on the lookout for good ideas. The nearest Costco sells 2 dozen organic, cage-free eggs for $6, 3 lbs. of good coffee beans for just under $16, 4 lbs. of grass-fed organic ground beef for $20, 6 avocados for $6, and a huge box of our favorite gluten-free crackers for $9, so those are regular purchases.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: fuzzy math on May 06, 2018, 07:12:34 PM

April running total:

21 previously posted about
72 - roughly a  weeks worth of basics - packaged goods, produce, lunch fixings from Aldi last Thurs

+ 70 at Aldi

+ Also shamefully forgot  60 in vitamins and probiotics earlier in the month and DH spent $21 today.

------------------
Total $251

+ 4 at hippie store
+ 14 at overpriced grocery
+ 30 DH spent at walmart
+ 21 at Aldi
+ 102 at Aldi (pre emptive large stock up since I will be out of town for the week and I don't want my family to resort to cannibalism)

----------------------
$422 for April 

Would like to have a much better May!

Crap. Found another $13 from DH while I was gone.

$435 for April


May so far:

111 at Aldi
13 from DH again at expensive grocery
34 from Amazon subscribe and save
------------
158 so far
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: HappierAtHome on May 06, 2018, 07:19:43 PM
For the first few months of 2017, before we had a baby, we spent under $600/month on groceries. Since he arrived the average is $900. UGH. The baby himself is definitely not consuming $300 of groceries per month; this is on us.

Anyway. I keep committing to this challenge but apparently making no changes to my spending habits. Mr Happier bought the wrong brand of decaf coffee on the weekend (one I do not like nearly so much as the correct one) and I was planning to give it away on Buy Nothing, but instead I will drink all the damn coffee and not buy my preferred brand until it's gone.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on May 07, 2018, 05:46:22 AM
Make Mr. Happier drink the damn coffee and get the one you like and drink it. He will learn to buy the right one in the future! LOL!

OR, my hub makes a fantastic coffee rub. If you use ground coffee this is a perfect solution to use up the coffee you don't like. He mixes the dry unused grounds with spices and we put it on steaks. Excellent!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: OtherJen on May 07, 2018, 06:44:30 AM
I just did a tally of grocery spending since May 1st. We're at $256.78 for food, $34.06 for household.

To be fair, the food number includes several bulk items at Costco and Gordon Food Service to restock the pantry and freezer. I don't expect to buy much beyond fresh produce for the next couple of weeks at least. Full disclosure: the food total also includes $10 of fancy cheeses and $17 of steak from the downtown market district (we got two meals out of the steaks and enjoyed every bit so it was worth it to us).

The household stuff includes a huge jug of laundry detergent from Costco that will last several months. We're well stocked on paper products and cleaning supplies, so that shouldn't go up much.

I expect to spend roughly $50 on pet food/supplies in the next week, and then we should be set for several weeks.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Novik on May 07, 2018, 08:33:51 AM
I don't have a monthly total to back this up yet, but I think in April we've been pretty close to our new lower 80$/week budget (aka 350$/month) based on the big shops being <70$ and at least a week apart, and minimal other trips.

That's easily 50$ a month shaved off the budget, almost effortlessly (on my part) thanks to my partner quitting his FT job in early April. I think the biggest change is not feeling like we "must" buy everything for the next 7-10 days means we don't over-shop as much and can be way more flexible. I know it's the opposite of conventional frugal wisdom, but it seems to be working for us!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Bicycle_B on May 07, 2018, 10:29:39 AM
I don't have a monthly total to back this up yet, but I think in April we've been pretty close to our new lower 80$/week budget (aka 350$/month) based on the big shops being <70$ and at least a week apart, and minimal other trips.

That's easily 50$ a month shaved off the budget, almost effortlessly (on my part) thanks to my partner quitting his FT job in early April. I think the biggest change is not feeling like we "must" buy everything for the next 7-10 days means we don't over-shop as much and can be way more flexible. I know it's the opposite of conventional frugal wisdom, but it seems to be working for us!

@Novik, definitely agree about the feeling of not needing to buy everything.  Very peaceful. 

Year to date, one person:
Jan $179.79
Feb $149.68
Mar $125.47
Apr  $123.25
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on May 07, 2018, 12:05:42 PM
OK, I have put this off as long as I can, but I have to 'fess up:  total shit show to start the month.  The thing I am really kicking myself about is that my Subscribe & Save "change your subscription by" date came while I was taking care of my Granny, and I was focusing on taking care of her and completely spaced it.  And I have a lot of things that I didn't need and that I had pushed off for a month or so, and then a number of "every six months" items that I also didn't need that were also scheduled.  So I arrived home to almost $200 worth of food/HH/meds I didn't need.  UGH.  I mean, I'll use it, it just kills the month.  And it was completely avoidable.  I was just a doofus.

And then I went ahead and doubled down and let DH do the shopping while he was out, so he went to Wegmans and converted a @$65 list into a $120 bill.  Meanwhile, our farmer's market finally opened for the season, and I splurged on ribs* and chicken pot pie for DD's birthday, along with some herbs and the like, to the tune of almost $70.  And the worst part of it all is that we still have half the stuff I made last week from our giant Wegmans shop the previous week -- this weekend was supposed to be a quick ALDI supplemental run.

Enough whining, time to read 'em and weep:  MTD $203 groceries, $163 HH -- or almost 2/3 of the monthly goal in 6 days.  Sigh. 

I guess the only good news is that in the past, I have dropped more than that at Wegmans without batting an eye.  At least now I'm paying enough attention for it to hurt!

*The real embarrassment is that these packages were all marked between like 0.98 and 1.20.  So I thought it was like $4.  But that was the weight, not the cost (duh!), and when it rang up to $22, I was too embarrassed to do anything but fork over the money!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on May 07, 2018, 01:54:04 PM
Laura, you and your family are only human! Life is not perfect! Like when we were kids learning to ride a bike, we got on, fell off, skinned our knees, cried and our Mom's told us everything would be okay, bandaged us up and told us to get back on the bike. We fell off a few more times till we mastered it. Then more challenges came and we had to go thru bumps and scrapes to learn new territory.

Don't beat yourself up! This won't be the last time things fall thru the cracks!

Here is a story you probably have never heard! I used to own several timeshares. One week in June and at the other it was October. Well, we didn't plan to go to the October week and these people wanted to rent it from us. They had actually rented before from us. So, I used to be very organized and checked everything 10 times but I think I was travelling at work a lot and just got so busy I didn't do my usual due diligence. So these people pay us and they go to the timeshare. We get a phone call that evening and find out that the week they should have gone was the week before! There was no openings at the timeshare so they went to another place. The odd part is that the timeshares have calendars for the weeks you purchase. I used the calendar from the other timeshare which was one week off from the other. Let me tell you, I felt like a blooming idiot and on top of that, we had to pay for some of the extra expenses they had for staying at the other place. It was really, horribly embarrassing. Never rented to anyone again and eventually got rid of the timeshares...end of story!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on May 08, 2018, 06:53:08 AM
Thanks, Roadrunner -- you're always nice.  I just like to kick myself for the stupid.  It's really the Amazon that is pissing me off, because I have no excuse except sheer distraction and laziness, and my fundamental expectation for myself is "don't be a dumbass."  Plus my dad had just sent me a $200 Amazon gift card for my birthday, and it was immediately depleted by the S&S order, so there goes my present.  :-(  But you're right, no one is perfect, and in the annals of all-time fuckups -- or even in the list of my own personal fuckups -- this is barely a footnote.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on May 08, 2018, 08:48:02 AM
Laura33, well there are plenty of us in the I am an Ass Club! I have been perpetual member my whole life! I don't even have to pay membership dues, it is completely free for me! I think I might be the next President of the club soon too! LOL!

Shit happens, thank God the Hub and I can laugh off most of our STUPIDITY! By the way...we laugh a lot!

Take care!

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on May 14, 2018, 12:28:47 PM
Ahh, fun times.  I decided that my Mother's Day present was that DD should do the grocery shopping for me.  So of course DH went along, and of course they went to Wegmans, and of course they blew through my already-generous @$150 list to the tune of over $200.  I kid you not, they came home with a second zester, because the little rasp grater I already own wasn't good enough for them.  But what are you going to do?  They bought my food and made me dinner, and it was freaking delicious, and I got to sit and read a book and watch Netflix and golf (and then the Caps won, so all is right with the world).

On the more pragmatic side, DH is back doing Atkins, so that cost included over $65 of meat/eggs/cheese for him.  Will be interested to see over time how that affects the budget.  And now that I have discovered a delicious Indian recipe that I can actually make that DH loves and that is diet-friendly (vindaloo!!), I also added new pantry staples for that and other things (cardamom for proper rice, citric acid and rose water for ras malai, etc.), which was of course a hit all at once.  Which is why the list was $150 to start with.

So in any event, monthly totals (which include a minor correction of last week's numbers) include $392 groceries, $209HH.  And I should be more upset than I am, but whatever -- unlike the last couple of weeks, this one's basically on other people, and I'm really really looking forward to this week's menu (which in addition to the vindaloo also includes super flavorful pork/turkey lettuce wraps; chicken in a delicious mustard/creme fraiche sauce; my favorite salad with spinach, blue cheese, blueberries, pecans, and a blueberry dressing; pears and blue cheese; and cheesesteaks with leftover steak DH brought home from a business dinner, taleggio, and probably truffle paste because deliciousness).  It is a good, good week to be eating at my house.  ;-)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: pancakes on May 15, 2018, 05:21:48 AM
Iíve finally got myself organised enough to track a month.

Half way through May and we are $192 in groceries which I think is pretty good for Australia but it isnít the whole picture. There is another $85 in work lunches, $92 dining out/take away, $41 of coffee and $78 in alcohol bringing us up to $488. Sigh.

Dining out is ok, this is also our entertainment and social budget and we arenít trying to cut that back at the moment. Alcohol weíve been worse for sure and are going to skip it for now. Coffee we can tackle another time too when the work environment isnít so demanding.

The next step is to make a plan to tackle the work lunches because they are purely a convenience spend and we can definitely bring that cost down by packing Mr Pancakesís lunch from home.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on May 15, 2018, 09:13:41 AM
We've been doing really well at avoiding restaurants (going out/take-out/delivery) since my last post.  Our grocery bills will be a bit higher due to buying packaged food items.  However, the cut in restaurant spending dwarfs any increase in our grocery spending. 

This weekend I bulk cooked turkey chili and cornbread for the week.  I portioned it out in single serving containers for the week.  I also made a large batch (10) of breakfast burritos--spinach, egg, cheese, black beans, and whole wheat tortillas--and put them in the freezer. 

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on May 19, 2018, 09:32:02 AM
We grocery shop on Saturday, and our fridge is in really good shape (almost empty of all perishables), which is actually how I like it to be the day of a grocery shop. We've only spent about $200 of a monthly budget, but have way overspent on dining out. Two family members were out of town & the remaining family members really splurged. ;-)

So, given our high dining out budget, i'd like to keep the grocery shopping to $400. This will, in total, bring our food spending for the month back inline with the actual budget.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: pancakes on May 29, 2018, 10:56:59 PM
Almost the the end of May and our tracking has revealed some disappointing numbers. $530 in groceries which is actually awesome for us but also $520 in other food/drink related purchases - mostly eating out and especially Mr Pancakesí lunches.

We had a planned fancy meal in there which is fine because it was planned, considered and very much enjoyed. But then there is all the other incidental stuff.

Disappointing but also gives us something to work on next month.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: mountain mustache on May 30, 2018, 07:06:26 AM
I just did my last grocery run for the month and ended up at $258.00. my goal was $250, so I'm pretty happy about that considering my parents visited and I had to get some extra things for that. $250 is the lowest I've ever spent, and I had to eat a lot of food out of the freezer/just not buy things I like to have to get to that number. I also spent $25 at restaurants, and $40 on alcohol this month (wine for my parents). All in all it was a pretty good month.
In June the farmers market starts, so I'll have a CSA box, and a farm share coming every week that I paid for way back in January. Woohoo! I do need a big Costco stock up though, so it will probably be higher than May overall.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: jim555 on May 31, 2018, 11:51:33 AM
May coming in at $194.36.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on June 04, 2018, 07:10:42 AM
Well, I am now remembering how I used to spend $1200/mo on groceries without even noticing it.  This month came in at around $625 groceries and $220 household, give or take.  Started off forgetting to cancel the subscribe & save; then DH shopped a couple of times and doubled the list; then I spent ridiculous amounts at our farmers' market, twice -- once because it was DD's birthday, and once because I was going out of town and bought various pre-made things for the kids to eat while I was gone.  Add in the Atkins and the Indian pantry stock-up, and, yeah, not good.  On the plus side, we ate so well that I don't think we got takeout more than maybe once or twice all month; I mean, I splurged on a bagel at the office once (because I was in the mood), but I generally had plenty of leftovers for lunches, and the food was overall delicious so none of us felt bad about eating it (even DH ate vindaloo leftovers twice -- normally he'll grudgingly do leftovers once, even that involves some eye-rolling).  So in reality, some of the extra groceries was probably offset by decreased takeout.  But still, I can do a lot better -- need to get my ass back to ALDI.

June is also off to a similar splurgy start -- in NY, so bought some tasty pantry staples like pesto that I can't get at home, along with cheese for DH, for $49, and while I was gone DH dropped $128 at Safeway + $7 for HH stuff. 


[Edited to correct June numbers.]
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on June 04, 2018, 07:52:54 AM
We completely blew our food budget in May.  I budgeted $550, but we spent about $1100 on groceries/household.  Plus another $450 on eating out!!!!

When I broke it down, though, most of the excess was due to celebrations.  Eating out doubled because of Mother's Day (we treated the extended family), a family meal out the day my husband graduated college, and a pricey birthday dinner for friends.  Groceries were high because we threw ourselves a large party this weekend to celebrate graduation and family birthdays. (Soooo much food!  Soooo much fun!)

I expect to go back to being close to hitting a budget this month!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on June 04, 2018, 08:13:53 AM
Not sure how to figure my monthly costs. I am not a minimalist. I am like a squirrel, constantly gathering nuts!

For instance, recently I went to Stew Leonard's and bought a large section of meat and had it cut up into steaks. So maybe we got 14 steaks out of it (froze them) but since I bought it last month at more than $100 how would I calculate that into the $200 a month?

I buy things on Walmart or Amazon or Costco too. I am constantly stocking up. I don't like being down to one can of green beans.

We bought lobsters on sale Mother's day weekend. It is a splurge but we don't eat out often at all. So in a way the lobster was cheaper than eating out!

I stock up when there are sales. We are just two people but we have enough to feed the neighborhood. We are frugal shoppers but not $200 a month frugal!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: frooglepoodle on June 04, 2018, 08:16:12 AM
I also blew my budget in May, $800 on groceries and $400 on dining out (though that included a weekend trip, treating my brother to lunch when he visited, and a date night for me and DH to celebrate the end of his semester). I need to exercise some restraint at the farmer's market, but our CSA box has started up and that ought to help reduce spending on produce.

June's challenges: food for our son's 3rd birthday party, moving at then beginning of July, and prepping freezer meals for July since I'm due with kid #2 at the end of the month and anticipate low energy levels.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on June 04, 2018, 08:36:08 AM
Oh my gosh, @frooglepoodle , you are going to be so busy this summer!  Best of luck to you.

@Roadrunner53 , part of this challenge, for me, is confronting my habit of excessive stocking.  We were being wasteful - I'd buy a lot of stuff (on sale) and put it in the pantry and forget about it.  Three years later, I'd throw it away.  I'm working to identify the minimum level of stock that I need.  It's hurricane season now, so I'll need a bit more this summer than I would normally keep in the winter.  I'm hoping by the end of the year I'll have found the right balance.

I go to Costco once a month to stock up on those items for the next month.  So that fits nicely into our monthly budget. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on June 04, 2018, 08:58:51 AM
formerllydivorcedmom

You seem to have gotten into your groove. I am kind of happy with my groove. I did recently throw out about 10 items which did make me mad. Most of the stuff I would have used but the Hub is freaked out by expiration dates. I have recently convinced him things don't totally turn to oozing sludge on the magic day the expiration date occurs. He will go along with some things and not others.  I worked in food research for years and we did shelf life studies and know most things are not rotten the day of the expiration date. There are foods I won't play games with and that is canned fish or refrigerated foods. However, I am sure it is good too for longer than the date. The nutritional values typically decline over time.

The reason I threw out the items is that it was the Mailman food donation day. It is once a year and I go thru all the canned foods for dates. Some things do fall thru the cracks but I try to donate stuff that is still good but may only have a few months left on the expiration date. I really didn't have a lot to donate this year. Some years I have 4 giant bags full. This year it was maybe two bags.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: kaypinkHH on June 04, 2018, 02:01:19 PM
May round up!

Groceries: $123
Restuarants: $51
Fastfood/Coffeeshops: $152
Alcohol and Bars: $110

Total: $436

So this is not a usual total for us due to the fact that on May 4th, Baby HH joined us! Here is how he has impacted this month's food spending.

1. Groceries- we barely had to buy anything since my parents were staying at my house the first 3 weeks, and refused to let us pay them back for groceries. Also, my ILs have also hosted us for a few meals.  #spoiledrotten. Other than that, we are slowly working our way through our freezer/pantry stock pile.
2. Fastfood/coffeeshops/restaurants- we were stuck at the hospital for a full week (had been planning max 2 days). It was a lot easier (and cheaper) for MrHH to pay the $7 per meal the hospital would deliver or go grab subway.  I got free meals with my stay. Big splurge: last night in the hospital we got take out from a nearby burger restaurant!
3. Alcohol- MrHH bought some stuff to share with my dad while he was staying with us, and last weekend we went on a road trip to local vinyards and distilleries and bought some of the product for future use.

Since this month doesn't really count (relying on other people spending money on us is not the mustachian life I imagined lol), I am interested on what June's totals will be!

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: galliver on June 04, 2018, 06:51:11 PM
So, I went on a bit of a hiatus for the end of March, April, and May... I was finishing my doctoral thesis, defending, and recovering (I passed! Yay!)

Looking up on totals in Mint, I'm somewhat surprised to find our grocery totals were $337, $366, and $483 respectively...and that last is after I assigned some grocery spending to Travel (we used Splitwise to reconcile expenses for a group of 9, which included some groceries various people bought). I think the conclusion I have to make is that we spend less when I/we are not cooking, although a caveat to that is that I don't have full takeout values because BF was bringing me food a lot. It's all a haze. I think there's some truth to the numbers, in that I'm more willing to eat boring food when I'm stressed/busy, but want to get more creative when I'm not. That said it's also likely not as healthful, even if I remember a vegetable here and there. I had a lot of frozen dinners at work...

May was weird...we were traveling for 2 weeks plus Memorial day weekend, but for the first part some was defense travel (my lodging plus meals are reimbursable, I just haven't gotten it back yet), some was staying with friends who fed us some of the time, and of course some was eating out--more than usual, less than expected. All this travel time, plus the fact that our first full week back I got leftovers from a lab group lunch that made SIX portions for us (when combined with some old-but-fine soyrizo and cheese), should have resulted in much lower grocery bills, but between coming home to an empty fridge and the foggy head/lack of motivation I couldn't shake for 2 weekends after returning... we managed to get in 4x $100 grocery trips, and a few smaller ones...eep! And I can't for the life of me remember much of what we got (foggy head...).

Ahem, anyway. New plan for June: I realized that for some reason whenever I think of tracking grocery spending I think of saving paper receipts...but whenever I need to remember who ordered what at a group dinner bf or I pay for, I take a picture of the receipt and send it to everyone. So, this month I'm going to try and photograph all my grocery receipts! Then when I have the "what the hell is this total?" moment at the end I can at least analyze retroactively. I also think it might be more effective since it will highlight if anything is a more regular splurge than I thought...

Grocery related, not sure if cost-saving: I dehydrated some lemons and limes last night and threw them in my water at work this morning. They did an excellent job of flavoring the water (and rehydrating themselves, but slowly). I think I might pulverize the remaining dessicated citrus and put them in spice jars, but I'll have to report on that result later. In the meantime, if you have extra citrus and a dehydrator and are wondering how to preserve...I recommend.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on June 05, 2018, 07:50:14 AM
Congrats @kaypinkHH  and @galliver!!! 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on June 05, 2018, 10:05:32 AM
Our grocery spend for May was $568 (budget of $625). However, there was WAY more eating out than we should have had, so not feeling like it's an overall win. I was traveling two weeks out of the month, and things fall apart when I'm away & my husband & the kids are solo.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: galliver on June 05, 2018, 11:53:01 AM
Thanks, @Laura33! Glad to be on this side of it.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on June 06, 2018, 08:39:21 AM
This might not be the exact place to put this but I wanted to share a yummy food I had. I had some leftover plain spaghetti and added a couple tablespoons of peanut butter on it and warmed in the microwave. I didn't have any sesame seeds or scallions but that would have been delicious. I guess this could be kind of compared to Chinese sesame noodles. So my point it, this could be a cheap but kick ass dinner. Oh, and I put some hot crushed pepper in it too.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on June 06, 2018, 06:07:24 PM
This might not be the exact place to put this but I wanted to share a yummy food I had. I had some leftover plain spaghetti and added a couple tablespoons of peanut butter on it and warmed in the microwave. I didn't have any sesame seeds or scallions but that would have been delicious. I guess this could be kind of compared to Chinese sesame noodles. So my point it, this could be a cheap but kick ass dinner. Oh, and I put some hot crushed pepper in it too.

For a slight adaptation of that, check out this recipe. Love it! http://inpursuitofmore.com/2013/01/24/recipe-peanut-sauce-noodle-bowl/
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on June 07, 2018, 05:57:25 AM
Making that! DROOLING!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: galliver on June 11, 2018, 10:27:27 AM
I've accidentally discovered a way to curb over-shopping/over-stocking.

Past 3-4 weeks, or been making a 2 gal batch of iced tea and a quart of cold brew coffee (bonus benefit: using up tea stash!) These beverages (in addition to beers that have been on clearance lately at Sprouts, wine we put in to chill and didn't drink, and milk) take up a significant portion of fridge real estate. Plus of course they slow down the consumption of store bought beverages like mineral water and seltzer. (We drink tap water, too. We just get bored. And our water tastes bad. And it's getting warm in  SoCal.)

I've had a good month so far. $90 stock up at Super King last weekend, and a $10 trip to Vons for milk and ice cream, then NO shopping trips until this weekend! $70 this weekend, mostly chicken, produce, milk. Stocked up on 33¢ pasta and &lt;$3/lb ground beef at Vons. On the menu: roasted lemon chicken w/pineapple bbq sauce and grilled veg &amp; pineapple (set off smoke alarm...worth it!), potato salad (been craving!), and quinoa bowls with sweet potato and kale. Might try cooking dried black beans for that last one!

PS Shoot, I forgot IKEA food. That's another $30 of veggie balls and chocolate...but we're still on target!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: mtnman125 on June 19, 2018, 02:46:04 PM
Posting to follow here.  I do all the cooking, and all the grocery shopping for our family (2 adults, one toddler, and MIL stays with us frequently), so I have no one to blame but myself for overspending here.

I started tracking closely in November, but didn't really focus on reduction till our daughter started daycare ($$$) in January.

So far we're averaging ~$750/mo including dog food and household items.  Toddler is mostly on real food now, so may save some compared to formula and purees.

I have some kidney issues (so no beans/potatoes/limited protein), and my wife is celiac, so we mainly focus on fruits, vegetables, and meat, with rice and some GF pastas.

Mostly shop at Costco and Aldi, but have a Jewel walking distance that we get fill ins.

Biggest opportunities to save are meal planning for dinner (breakfast and lunch are easy), and limiting alcohol. 

Dining out is ~$150/mo, mainly for convenience or trying new local spots.  I'm ok with this for now- it was much higher before baby.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Yasha on June 21, 2018, 04:45:42 AM
Please refrain from too many face-punches! We are quite new to budgeting (really just since Feb), before that money was just dissappearing into the black hole... That being said we are still on a somewhat frightening $800/month grocery budget for two people (not including eating out which is budgeted under 'entertainment' two nights a week). That is, like, $40 a day -_- I would like to try and bring things into line a bit more. I am 6/7ths vegetarian, we have a slow cooker, my work hours are reasonable and my work kitchen is easy to use... I'd like to aim for $700 in July. Baby steps.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on June 25, 2018, 07:48:52 AM
OK, so I am looking at June, and realizing that I have just completely lost all mental discipline, because there's always one more excuse.  Fancy things from NYC because we're there.  Oh look, there's a new Indian grocery, let's by X different varieties of ras malai and see which one I like best.  It's my mom's birthday and I don't have time to cook, let's just pick up a $25 fruit tart from Wegman's.  I'm traveling, so let's get some quiche and cornbread and pot pies and pierogies from the farmer's market for everyone to eat while I'm gone.  DD has a big trip coming up, let's get new travel-sized stuff that will last the whole trip.  And on and on and on.  Month to date -- which should be all of it -- is $574 groceries and $81 HH.  Not horrible, but not exactly meaningful -- it's death by 1000 cuts.  And that doesn't include whatever DH bought last week while I was gone (but it does include the groceries while we were at the beach).

As always, it is when I am thrown out of my routine that I struggle, and I have been traveling like crazy this month.  That coinciding with the opening of the farmer's market is killing me, because there are so many delicious things there, and the kids think of them as treats so won't miss me being there to cook quite as much, and if the stuff tastes good enough maybe DH won't get so much takeout.  I tell myself that $8 for a pot pie and $6 for pierogies is better than them doing takeout all the time, but when it's every week, it adds up -- it is rapidly becoming an expensive crutch disguised as a reasonable treat.  The only good news is that July will be easy, because we are gone for half of it, and that money counts toward the vacation budget.  ;-)

I have also temporarily lifted my personal prohibition on work lunches.  I am really focusing on eating better, and the place up the street from my office has an absolutely delicious and healthy chicken/mango/avocado salad, so I am allowing myself to have that a couple of times a week.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on June 25, 2018, 08:49:14 AM
Laura33, may I ask what kind of a job you have that you travel so often?

I too used to travel quite a bit and I was in food research and development. It was somewhat stressful because everything was based on perfection. I have no children so didn't have that hanging over my head. My Hub took care of our dogs when I travelled and also helped my mother with anything she needed so travel puts stress on family members too.

I am retired now but when I reflect back on how busy our schedules were, I don't know how we did it all! When we went on vacation it would take us about 3 full days to decompress.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on June 25, 2018, 09:07:30 AM
@Roadrunner53 -- lawyer.  It's very off-and-on -- I will frequently have several months in a row with no travel, and then sometimes everything piles up in the same month.  That has been my late-May-to-June so far.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on June 25, 2018, 09:21:43 AM
Erratic travel was the norm for me too. One trip after another then nothing for a while. Thank goodness for down time! Thank goodness I am retired from it all now!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: jim555 on June 30, 2018, 05:07:34 PM
June coming in at $197.24.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on July 01, 2018, 02:36:48 PM
Came in $7 over for June, which I'll take. We hosted my parents & Uncle for a deck building day, and made crab cakes (we're at the coast), served beer, etc. I did change up our menu for the next four days when we'll have six extra eaters at our house - I went with fresh shrimp, which was $25 cheaper than crab. We do like to eat the local seafood when we're in town, but it's still useful to price check.

We also drove all the way to Costco (45 minutes each way) to buy our groceries. The local coastal towns are INSANELY expensive. Costco is 40-50% cheaper on pretty much everything.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on July 02, 2018, 09:33:57 AM
June came in $10 less than I previously reported, because I had counted an Amazon purchase that never arrived.  So, teensy yay there, I guess.

July is off to a June-like start -- too much shit going on, schedules are too screwy, I am out of sorts.  Dropped $100 at the Farmer's market yesterday (largely on things like pierogies and cornbread, not actual veggies), $30 of which was on beer from a local brewery that was freaking delicious (and that I do not regret).  Then Wegman's for $67 in groceries (not bad given the stocking up on some stuff), along with a gigantic $57 HH spend for a giant mess of travel-related stuff for all of our big trips coming up (which sucked).
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: krmit on July 02, 2018, 10:54:14 AM
June total was $182 in groceries. The garden is starting to produce so I'm hoping I can keep it under $200/month for the summer!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: galliver on July 20, 2018, 11:23:08 AM
We were at $429 for June (so close! I think getting snacks for a wine tasting trip we took for a friend's birthday tipped us over a little. Cheese.) I have the receipts snapshotted and will sit down one of these days to figure out what our biggest splurges are, category-wise. I have an uncomfortable feeling we spend more on beverages than we ought. >_>

Already at $438 for July (!!) of which OVER HALF was during a 5-day vacation to see family. So far: $192 at home, ~$100 on sushi night for family (homemade, for 7 people, but fish is $$$), ~$40 on beer we were asked to pick up, and ~$100 on random other groceries (ice cream, picked up bao for lunch, picked up chips to have with dad's chili...it was $10 bucks here and there, apparently 10 times!). So, I think at home we've been doing well, but I couldn't resist the urge to treat my family (and usually can't). My sister treated us to fancy pastries for breakfast and my dad made steak so I wasn't the only one ;)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on July 20, 2018, 12:20:47 PM
Kids are coming back from summer camp today, so we finally replenished the fridge. Feeling good about where we sit for July. Currently at $410, so we can definitely stay under our goal of $625. And, in really great news, I was worried that we'd switch from buying groceries to eating all meals out. We did eat out a few times, but largely stayed the course while the kids were gone. We're only $20 over our dining out budget!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on July 26, 2018, 06:11:42 PM
Posted this in the "eat all the food in your house" thread, but thought I'd share here as well.

I've found a reasonable rhythm for menu planning. We've always done "cook on weekends, eat leftovers" during the work week. That works well, but we typically run out by Thursday. What I've started to do on Thursdays is to consider it my eat down single servings from the fridge/freezer, or other random freezer items day. This really helps to cut down on costs, but we primarily do it for the time savings. I emotionally just can't make dinner during the work week, as things are too crazy. I work from home on Fridays, which gives me more flexibility to prep dinner.

Here's our menu from the week:
Friday - naan pizzas
Saturday - grilled hot dogs & corn
Sunday - beef kebabs & rice
Monday - leftover pizza
Tuesday - leftover hot dogs & corn, with an addition of side pasta
Wednesday - leftover kebabs & rice
Thursday - kids will have hot dogs & pasta, my husband will have kebabs & rice, and I'll have eggplant cutlets from the freezer + the remaining rice.That should pretty much clear out the fridge
Friday - I'm thinking tacos, but will start a fresh cycle of meal prep
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: jim555 on July 31, 2018, 02:54:47 PM
July coming in at $200.50.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: haypug16 on August 01, 2018, 12:48:05 PM
July was $279.54 and the yearly average so far is $254.86 not bad but I'm going to try to get it down a little more. $200 or less is my goal for August. I'm hoping to have some produce from the garden ready soon but right now we're just looking at a bunch of cucumbers (which I do love)

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: JanetJackson on August 13, 2018, 09:06:34 AM
Oops,
Somehow I missed that there was an updated thread.
I'm in!  Six months too late, but I've been doing it... just not posting.
I'm SINK with a gym-goer appetite shopping only at Aldi/Lidl (if they don't sell it there, I can't have it). 
Somehow last year my monthly Grocery spending ballooned to over $300, I'm working to get it between $200-$250 including toiletries/households.

 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on August 13, 2018, 09:47:37 AM
I guess I should update, but July-August are not good indicators of "normal," because we have lots of vacation/travel, which comes out of other budgets.  July came in at around $400-ish (not sure whether I caught the final dairy delivery in there).  August so far has been hellacious -- re-stocking the fridge, + DD shopping at Wegman's/Farmer's market*, + a big birthday dinner ($50 in ingredients, but we'd have spent 2-3x that if we'd gone out), $30 in beer, and whatever he spent yesterday on stuff for the office picnic at our house.  So @$400 so far, plus party stuff and whatever Amazon S&S was.  And I leave tomorrow again, so I know DH/DS are going to eat out the whole week, even though we literally have 5+lbs of BBQ left from the picnic.  So the reality is that our food spend these two months is atrocious and much worse than the grocery numbers would even suggest.

I am looking forward to September and being in one place and back in the normal routine.

*Such a blessing and curse.  On the one hand, she loves shopping at Wegman's and likes to make more complicated/expensive stuff (e.g., last week was lamb ragu, which required like $20 worth of lamb for about 6 servings).  OTOH, holy shit is it awesome to not have to grocery shop and to come home to deliciousness bubbling on the stove!  So right now laziness and outsourcing to the child (we can call it "teaching valuable life skills" to make it sound more productive than it is) is totally winning out.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on August 13, 2018, 01:39:53 PM
@Laura33 I'm in a similar situation!  Tons of work travel for me, very little cooking, WAY too much delivery.  I have a few works trips coming up, but I'm going to try to keep the freezer stocked with premade options (not super healthy, but much cheaper than the take-out version). 

I'm also going to double down on bulk cooking. 

Wish me luck! 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Novik on August 17, 2018, 07:25:44 AM
When my partner quit his FT job in early April, we set a new grocery budget goal of 80$/week to a max of 360$ a month. (compared to spending 360-450$ / month while both working FT.) After finally catching up on tracking since then, I am pleased to report, success!!

Apr-18   May-18   Jun-18   Jul-18
326.5   351.65   303.37   248.29
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: galliver on August 17, 2018, 04:46:33 PM
Came across this today and was intrigued, although I usually have more issues with wilting greens and squishy cucumbers than overdue root veg...they have a longer natural shelf life. I have saved ginger on a few occasions by dehydrating it, though. I should try it with other foods. Also intrigued by the book they mentioned. Added to my wish list.

https://food52.com/blog/22853-what-to-do-with-wilting-produce-fruit-vegetables

Edit: decided to include a personal update. We're at $266 in groceries for this month. Haven't analyzed my receipts for our grocery budget-killers. I suspect it's beverages and deli/cheese/processed food, just based on the receipts I've looked at. I don't understand how people are like "produce is expensive." If I just buy produce I get like 5 bags of food for $30 (yeah, you have to pair it with something else for calories/fat/protein...on the cheap-per-calorie side beans/grains/oils on the more pricey meat/dairy...but a little of those goes a long way, and the veg adds a lot of bulk and flavor).

Anywho...bf is leaving on a trip for two weeks and I'm thinking about doing a frugal grocery challenge while he's gone, getting only fresh produce and maybe milk *as needed* (i.e. not "I have peppers and I want cucumbers"), and mostly trying to eat down the pantry/fridge/freezer, especially the older stuff. On the other hand, I want to enjoy a more-than-average quantity of homemade sushi while he's gone and I'm out of wasabi, ginger, and crab sticks...is it cheating to prepare for my challenge by stocking up on these things this weekend? :D
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Zola. on August 21, 2018, 09:34:44 AM
I need to look to reduce the grocery spend. We do a lot of cooking but the batch cooking when done right saves a lot of money.

I hate throwing out food, but we always buy things and they end up being neglected without rigorous planning to use it all.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on August 30, 2018, 03:16:08 PM
I'm making a large batch of food for dinner tonight, lunch tomorrow, and dinner tomorrow.  I'm using stuff from our pantry and freezer.  Right now, I'm making brown rice with onions and garlic.  I will make some chicken in the instant pot (have a lot of frozen chicken breasts in the freezer) after the rice is done.

I also made a batch of peanut butter cookies without eggs  (https://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/egg-free-peanut-butter-cookies-71849)(ran out) and bone broth. (https://nomnompaleo.com/2012/01/17/20120117quick-pressure-cooker-bone-broth) The bone broth used a bunch of vegetables that were questionable and the gallon size freezer bag of chicken bones I've been hoarding.

I'm trying to make as much food as possible to keep my DH from getting take-out/delivery.  He's started getting back into the habit. I need to get back into the habit of bulk cooking, so there are options for us when we are lazy and vulnerable. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: haypug16 on August 31, 2018, 08:18:17 AM
My goal for August was $200 or less and I'm finishing up the month at $208.89. Pretty close! Monthly average for the year is $249.12. Same goal for September $200 or less.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: jim555 on August 31, 2018, 09:07:50 AM
August coming in at $210.32, average for the year $196.73.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on September 04, 2018, 07:06:21 PM
We came in under our goal of $600 (for 2 adults, & two almost teen boys). We were at $540/month, which included $25 of food for my relay. I travel via plane, so have to buy when we arrive. We did go over our $120/month dining out budget, as I took my mom out to lunch as a thank you for deep cleaning our house for 2 days while she was here.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on September 17, 2018, 10:10:02 AM
We went into a Costco this weekend.*  It was bad.  Costco is set up to separate impulse shoppers** from our money.  We spent $400 on stuff with a list that was about $150.  I'm not even upset about it.  My DH has fallen back into the habit of ordering delivery ($35-$50/order), so I let him go crazy in the Costco.  I have a lot of work travel coming up.  If he's happy eating the prepared frozen meals that we bought, then we will come out ahead. 

An approximate breakdown in our spending:
$100 on dog stuff (food/treats) - Planned
$70 on alcohol (not planned)
$15 on prepared food - Not planned, but we both ate at home for the entire weekend with no takeout. 
$15 on pillows - Not planned, but needed.  We were planning to buy a $50 pillow, but we got 2 for $15. 
$20 on sparkling water - Planned
$50 on sweets - Not planned
$75 on snacks - Not planned
$15 on cheese - Not planned, but a better deal than the grocery store
$40 on frozen prepared food - Not planned

I don't think we will go back to Costco soon, but we had fun.  We will go back if this keeps my DH from ordering food.

*We've had a Costco membership for several years, but we get the stuff delivered for free with Google Express.  The math works for dog food and dog treats.
**Both DH & I are awful grocery shoppers.  We cut our grocery budget to the bones by paying extra for grocery delivery.  We cannot be trusted inside stores.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on September 17, 2018, 12:47:35 PM
@4alpacas - we shop at Costco weekly (buy majority of our produce, dairy & meat there), but I have the same approach to the frozen/prepared foods. I'm traveling this week, and if a frozen pizza or meatballs keeps the kids/husband away from eating out, it's way cheaper.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on September 17, 2018, 12:49:34 PM
Yeah, so I have been hiding in shame, but time to 'fess up.  I totally lost track of July/August with all the travel; since DH refuses to be bothered to track what he gets when I'm away, it seemed futile.  Meanwhile, for September, I have changed priorities and emphasizing planning and cooking over cutting the grocery budget per se.  The reason for this is laziness masquerading as "good parenting":  I have decided to put DD completely in charge of the grocery shopping, as well as cooking some of our dinners, as this is her last year before going off to college.  But she loves Wegmans and detests Aldi.  So we are doing better on planning and staying on the list (since I only put enough money on her card to cover what is listed), but the overall cost is just a lot higher.  I figure I will do this in baby steps -- get her used to the shopping where she feels comfortable for a couple of months, then give her some training at Aldi and figure out some incentives to lower the grocery bill (e.g., "here's the list, if you can get all this for less, I will let you keep half the savings" or something).

But even that's half bullshit, too -- I mean, yes, that is the plan, but I am sucking on my own as well.  A week ago I went to what historically has been a cheaper store, only to discover that they have really jacked up their prices on everything that wasn't on sale.  I knew I should have bought the cheaper stuff and finished the rest elsewhere, but I was trying to get stuff done and get home, so I just grabbed it all -- to the tune of $220 (first big restock after travels).  And then there's the damn farmer's market -- boy, I cannot wait until it's closed for the year!  The pierogies are killing me -- kids love them and beg me to get them, and I love them so give in.  But Sunday I dropped $50+ on almost no real food (some pierogies, some rugelach, some cornbread, some bruschetta sauce, and a small loaf of bread). 

So halfway through the month, I'm at $572 food and $113 household.  I clearly belong on the Antimustachian Wall of Shame right now.  The only good news is that we have so much food our takeout is down -- even DH agreed to leftover chili for lunch this weekend, and he usually likes to eat out both days.  ;-)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on September 17, 2018, 03:36:48 PM
@MaybeBabyMustache I can't imagine shopping at Costco weekly.  I think we will stick to every once in a while and continue getting dog food delivered.

@Laura33 Welcome back!  I took a break too. Your method of having your kid cook keeps your DH from getting take-out, so you're decreasing one budget category. I'm having a problem finding the perfect intersection of low grocery bill and DH not ordering delivery.  Right now, I'm defaulting to an insane grocery bill to attempt to get restaurant spending under control.  The other issue with the food delivery is that my DH does it while I'm away on travel and when I get back as something nice to do since I just got home. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on September 18, 2018, 07:09:09 AM
@MaybeBabyMustache I can't imagine shopping at Costco weekly.  I think we will stick to every once in a while and continue getting dog food delivered.

@Laura33 Welcome back!  I took a break too. Your method of having your kid cook keeps your DH from getting take-out, so you're decreasing one budget category. I'm having a problem finding the perfect intersection of low grocery bill and DH not ordering delivery.  Right now, I'm defaulting to an insane grocery bill to attempt to get restaurant spending under control.  The other issue with the food delivery is that my DH does it while I'm away on travel and when I get back as something nice to do since I just got home.

Yeah, perfect description!  Like you, I think we are better off on many levels if we focus on the habit of meal planning and cooking more, so I am actually pretty good with the extra grocery money, even if by any normal standard it is ridiculously high.  But, damn, it's like whack-a-mole, isn't it?  You focus on improving one area, and then another pops up!  I need to get to a place where all of the money-blowing options are under control at the same time, and some days it sure feels like a Sisyphean task.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on September 18, 2018, 03:02:45 PM
@MaybeBabyMustache I can't imagine shopping at Costco weekly.  I think we will stick to every once in a while and continue getting dog food delivered.

@Laura33 Welcome back!  I took a break too. Your method of having your kid cook keeps your DH from getting take-out, so you're decreasing one budget category. I'm having a problem finding the perfect intersection of low grocery bill and DH not ordering delivery.  Right now, I'm defaulting to an insane grocery bill to attempt to get restaurant spending under control.  The other issue with the food delivery is that my DH does it while I'm away on travel and when I get back as something nice to do since I just got home.

Yeah, perfect description!  Like you, I think we are better off on many levels if we focus on the habit of meal planning and cooking more, so I am actually pretty good with the extra grocery money, even if by any normal standard it is ridiculously high.  But, damn, it's like whack-a-mole, isn't it?  You focus on improving one area, and then another pops up!  I need to get to a place where all of the money-blowing options are under control at the same time, and some days it sure feels like a Sisyphean task.
The hardest part about my quest is that I don't have buy-in from my DH.  I've cut a huge amount off our spending while making his life easier.  However, his is not on board for any true cost cutting that would "cramp" his lifestyle.  A happy relationship versus an extra percent of savings is an easy decision.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Rosy on September 29, 2018, 02:14:26 PM
OK people - I need help. I'm a good cook, but I just don't know how to fix "real" steel cut oats (preferably with apples and a pinch of sugar and cinnamon) without cooking it all to mush, sticking to the pan or worse having a really good flavor.

Can someone please tell me how - so I can stop buying the low sugar ready-made oatmeal pouches - save some money and live healthier?
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on September 29, 2018, 03:49:25 PM
I have cooked mine in a crockpot with a crockpot liner by Reynolds. No sticking problem. Not sure on the mush issue. I would cook it in the CP and occasionally taste it for texture. Maybe after a few hours on low start tasting it. Upon the first taste, check every 15-20 minutes after than and go from there.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Rosy on September 30, 2018, 08:12:39 AM
@Roadrunner53 thanks:)

I didn't know crock pot liners even existed. I even considered buying an Insta Pot only because I really want to make steel cut oats:) We'll see how it goes.

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on September 30, 2018, 08:35:14 AM
Rosey, yes, the liners are fantastic. The material is like the Reynolds turkey cooking bags. Just be careful if you buy them. They come in different sizes. My CP is a very large one and oval. The largest Crockpot cooking liner just fits it and is tight. I also have a small CP and use the large liners for it too. I am cooking a pot roast today in the CP with the liner. Makes clean up so easy! Love them!

What I do sometimes is to just remove the liner from the CP and put the whole liner and food in it into a storage container for the refrigerator. I am always a bit nervous the bag/liner might burst on the bottom but so far that has not happened!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: jim555 on September 30, 2018, 12:00:44 PM
September $199.18 total.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on September 30, 2018, 01:59:20 PM
Spending $400 at Costco paid off! I was out of town on a work trip, and my DH ordered no delivery/takeout.  We've also avoided restaurants for an entire weekend.  We had a decadent grocery spending month, but our freezer is still full of packaged food.  I hope my DH continues to opt for frozen food when I'm out of town.

Our grocery bill (including dog stuff, cleaning supplies, paper products, etc.) was $600 for September.  However, the restaurant spending went way down the second half of the month. 

I'm going to try to continue to work on bringing down our restaurant spending in October.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on September 30, 2018, 02:40:01 PM
@4alpacas - that is great progress! I stopped trying to change my husband's behavior while I was gone (traveling for work), & instead figured out cheaper workaround to what he was trying to do (quickly throw together dinner for the kids). I stocked up on Costco pizzas, bought discounted gift cards for the quick & easy salad bar they like, etc. It's not perfect, but it definitely saves over the previous way he handled it.

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on October 04, 2018, 12:45:01 PM
@4alpacas -- sure we didn't marry the same guy?  ;-)

DH went shopping when I was out of town last weekend, so that brings our monthly spend to, oh, about double the target -- $861 food, $137 HH.  It is clear that I need to stay away from the farmers' market (which accounts for over $150 of that, for very little food value).

One slight bit of good news:  I got PO'd that I was dropping so much on pierogies at the farmers' market and tried to make them myself.  Took all day, but I did it, and they are delicious, and now I have a freezer full of two different kinds.  And the dough was really easy to work, too, so now that I know how to do it, I can experiment with the different flavors the kids like. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on October 04, 2018, 02:01:29 PM
@MaybeBabyMustache My approach to spending less is to make the cheaper way the easiest way.  So far, I've been happy with the progress.  However, it does take a lot of work on my end.  If I'm lazy, then our spending balloons. I'm the only one who cares, so I don't mind putting in the time.

@Laura33 A workaholic, spendypants?  If yes, then probably!

I've kept track of the items that we finished quickly from Costco.  We will probably go back this month, but WITH A LIST! The only restaurant spending since our Costco trip is my DH's lunch habit,* which I haven't been able to break. 

I will have to have groceries delivered this weekend because I'm desperate for fruit.

*Technically, both of us have been to restaurants while on work travel.  The decrease in restaurant spending might also be a move from our budget to reimbursable spending.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: rachellynn99 on October 06, 2018, 08:38:32 AM
My spending so far for October is $243.xx.

I actually have about $30 of that left though in cash as I got out $100 last week and only spent $70. So I have really I guess spent $213 for the month.

This is for 2 adults, 3 kids ( ages 12, 11,7), we eat all breakfast, lunches and dinners from home or at home. I pack the kids lunches each day for school along with mine and my husband's.

I've finally gotten to a really nice spot in our pantry.  I am just using our grocery budget to stock up each week. I'll go and buy what is on sale and then meal plan when I get home. There are certain things we like to do like Taco Tuesday, so when they have black beans or refried beans on sale I'll stock up. I now have about 10-15 of each kind of can along with several dried bags of each. Same with tortillas- they had them on sale for 89 cents a few months back and I bought 10 packs and then froze them. Each week when I go to the store I just buy what is on sale and even "managers" special.

I'll buy whatever fruit is in season and super cheap. I find that we are staying in our "around" $300 budget each month for groceries and still eating very good and fairly healthy. We could not go to the store for a while and have plenty of food, but I find this process works very well for our family.

There were months in the not so distant past that I was spending $800 on groceries... Oh my goodness.

So I won't go back to the store until probably the 15th or so and will have the $30 cash I already have as well as about that much more to stock up if anything is on sale.

Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: mountain mustache on October 06, 2018, 08:42:40 AM
I am having an "eat what you have, spendypants!" budget month. I stocked up a lot this summer on vegetables/fruits from farm stands, etc...as well as a big Costco stock up a month ago, so my freezer and pantry are very full. I gave myself a reach goal of only spending $100 (for fresh fruit/veggies) this month, but if I keep it under $200 I will be super happy. So far I have spent $25. I am working on my impulse of buying food to throw in the freezer because it is on sale. Not that it's a bad thing to do, but I have enough right now! So I am really limiting myself, and trying to stick to only vegetables and fruit, unless I really need meat that I don't have for a recipe.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: SproutingStacheHK on October 06, 2018, 10:00:29 AM
Just found this thread - I'm so in.  Moved to Hong Kong recently, and whew! the groceries can set you back.  It's my single most antimustachian spend each month.  Goal for the month from now on: under HK$5000 (US$638).  Still sounds really high for one person - but a tub of plain yoghurt here is US$10.  No more buying lunches!  (So far this month: US$71.)
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on October 08, 2018, 05:39:18 AM
Just found this thread - I'm so in.  Moved to Hong Kong recently, and whew! the groceries can set you back.  It's my single most antimustachian spend each month.  Goal for the month from now on: under HK$5000 (US$638).  Still sounds really high for one person - but a tub of plain yoghurt here is US$10.  No more buying lunches!  (So far this month: US$71.)

Buy an Instant Pot and make your own yogurt. Go to youtube and watch some video's on people who are very frugal shoppers and stretch their grocery money in interesting ways! Watch videos on youtube on freezer meals like cook for a day, eat for a month. Good luck to you in HK!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: fuzzy math on October 10, 2018, 08:57:01 AM
Skipped Sept (local grocery store closed and I may well have purchased $700 in discounted food to last many months).

Oct so far:

Sams club $56.87
Hy-vee $4.88
Aldi 87.81
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: 4alpacas on October 11, 2018, 09:00:03 AM
I was premature in the self-congratulation.  My DH wanted to go to dinner (or order in) last night.  I opted to go out, bring the dogs, walk to the restaurant, and have a nice evening.

$50 later.  I have a fancy lunch for today.  One of our dogs needs to work on socialization, so the dinner was a good training exercise. 

I'm trying to look on the bright side.  But...I'm disappointed that I didn't do more food prep on the weekend. 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: SproutingStacheHK on October 12, 2018, 08:26:59 PM
Buy an Instant Pot and make your own yogurt. Go to youtube and watch some video's on people who are very frugal shoppers and stretch their grocery money in interesting ways! Watch videos on youtube on freezer meals like cook for a day, eat for a month. Good luck to you in HK!

Looking into it, Roadrunner53!  Thanks for the tips - and it turns out I have been overestimating the cost of living re. food.  I'm half-way through the month, just did a grocery shop that I hope will take me all the way through this coming week, and I'm just touching HK$1500 (US$191). And that includes all household items & toiletries, and a US$30 water filter. Ugh - facepunches to self for the wasted months believing the HCOL for food story, and for shopping at Marks & Spencers. No more! 
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: FamilyGuy on October 13, 2018, 11:01:06 PM
I am shopping predominantly at Aldi and Walmart to reduce my grocery expenses. Also I am planning to list everything in the pantry and plan and make dishes out of them. That is my next mini project.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: mountain mustache on October 14, 2018, 07:14:04 AM
I am shopping predominantly at Aldi and Walmart to reduce my grocery expenses. Also I am planning to list everything in the pantry and plan and make dishes out of them. That is my next mini project.

This is my project also for next weekend. I have a deep freezer full of food, and a pantry full, but I need to take an inventory of everything so I can purposely meal plan
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: FamilyGuy on October 14, 2018, 09:18:54 AM
With you !! Letís make it happen.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on October 16, 2018, 07:39:56 AM
I am shopping predominantly at Aldi and Walmart to reduce my grocery expenses. Also I am planning to list everything in the pantry and plan and make dishes out of them. That is my next mini project.

This is my project also for next weekend. I have a deep freezer full of food, and a pantry full, but I need to take an inventory of everything so I can purposely meal plan

This. I need to purposefully weave in the freezer items into our menu, and know what's available. I bailed yesterday (was out of town all weekend) & picked up some Trader Joes options. Better than takeout, not as good as making something from the freezer. But, my goal is to inventory everything & make it happen this weekend.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: SproutingStacheHK on October 20, 2018, 12:37:30 AM
A new low (or a new budgeting high) - just finished this week's grocery shop: HK$250 (US$31); I'm expecting it to last until next Saturday's shop.  So far this month: 1-7th: HK$950 (US$118); 8-14th: HK $700 (US$87); 15-21st: HK$250 (US$31).  I went through the freezer and pantry to account for all the leftovers and stored food, and came up with some meal plans for the week ahead - before I went shopping. Like the comments above, I'm determined not to buy until I've used what I have. Thanks for the inspiration, FamilyGuy and company! My monthly aim of HK$4000 is not even half gone: I'll have to revise the number way down for next month.  Side bonus: all this careful watching of what I buy and consume is having an amazing effect on my weightloss goals.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on October 22, 2018, 06:20:18 AM
My sloth and frivolity continues.  Currently at $472 food, $40 household.  $80 of that was (i) beer from the farmer's market, and (ii) tea from Amazon (thus killing both my grocery and gazingus pin challenges in one swell foop).

The overall trend is better, though.  Even though we are still shopping at Wegmans, the last two weeks have averaged $120 each for the actual groceries, which includes kids' and my lunches.  I have been avoiding the farmer's market, which helps a LOT, and DD has been good at sticking to the list.  So clearly, the lesson is to avoid the temptation of what seem like one-off little treats -- I think at close to 20% of the food spend, we're beyond the meaning of the term "treat."
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: mountain mustache on October 22, 2018, 06:24:02 AM
I did my freezer inventory (which was really cold, btw!! haha) and made a spreadsheet, because everything needs a spreadsheet. It was so nice to see everything I have, and reorganize as well. I took out a bunch of stuff I know I've had for a while, and it also helped me make a Costco list for things I need to stock up on.
I made 4 different dishes for the week using older ingredients I had forgotten about in the depths of the freezer. And I only spent $18 on groceries for the week!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on October 22, 2018, 07:40:13 AM
I did my freezer inventory (which was really cold, btw!! haha) and made a spreadsheet, because everything needs a spreadsheet. It was so nice to see everything I have, and reorganize as well. I took out a bunch of stuff I know I've had for a while, and it also helped me make a Costco list for things I need to stock up on.
I made 4 different dishes for the week using older ingredients I had forgotten about in the depths of the freezer. And I only spent $18 on groceries for the week!

Good for you and the spreadsheet! I am too lazy to do that but it is an excellent idea. My freezer broke about 4 weeks ago! EEEEEEKKKKKK!!!! Called all around town to find a quick replacement and NOPE no one had anything in stock. All told me about 3 days. I did not want to lose a whole freezer full of food and was in panic mode! Even checked Craigslist for a used one and NOPE nothing listed was suitable. By chance I went on line to Sears website and found an upright freezer and they advertised next day delivery! OMG! So I bought a jumbo upright sight unseen and hoped for the best! They also had free shipping but did charge a little extra for overnight delivery. It was very cheap and I have already forgotten what it was. The freezer was just under $1,000. They gave us a window of delivery time and were even early! All my freezer items were saved! Nothing lost except maybe one bag of OLD veggies! We kept the freezer door shut, no peeking and unloaded it about a half an hour before they came to deliver! WHEW, what a crazy two days!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on October 22, 2018, 09:28:24 AM
@mountain mustache - I thought of the freezer inventory, & got ready to attempt it & my dry erase boards wouldn't come clean. Lamest excuse ever. I moved on to another task, and completely forgot about it. But, need to make it happen! Thanks for the reminder
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: jim555 on November 01, 2018, 01:19:31 PM
October $185.75.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: SproutingStacheHK on November 02, 2018, 07:14:29 AM
October HK$2160 (US$275) - not nearly as good as the rest of you, but something I'm really happy with after the horrible blowouts of my early months in Hong Kong!  Aiming for under HKD$2000 this month.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: thesavoryhello on November 04, 2018, 01:40:03 PM
We have been working on the same goal this last year! We went from (yikes) 900+/month early on in the year to $360 in September for two adults. It went up again last month (to $506) as we adjusted to a new diet for health reasons, but hopefully once we figure this new diet out it will be back down in November.

My favorite way that we've saved money on produce is that we started buying from a huge wholesale produce warehouse that typically sells to grocery stores and restaurants. We split up the boxes of produce between 5-10 friends to manage the minimum size requirements that you have to meet when buying at that kind of place. We also made our gas money back, which was nice. We love avocados and berries, so it saved us a ton of money to get huge boxes of avocados for <$.50 per avocado, <$1 per box of berries, etc.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on November 04, 2018, 02:08:40 PM
October HK$2160 (US$275) - not nearly as good as the rest of you, but something I'm really happy with after the horrible blowouts of my early months in Hong Kong!  Aiming for under HKD$2000 this month.

Did you invest in an instant pot to make yogurt or a yogurt maker? If I recall, you mentioned yogurt was expensive there. I made one batch in mine and it came out awesome. The only trouble is that it takes a long time. I have to make sure I get up early to start it. Takes about 1-1/12 hours in the morning to steam the milk then cool it down, then it has to incubate for 8 hours. I want to be able to take it out before bed and refrigerate it. I am attaching a youtube video. This video shows one jar in the Instant Pot but I used...I think...5/ 12 ounce jars. The yogurt came out thick like the youtube demo. I used Greek yogurt, plain, unflavored. Some other video's show a need to put the yogurt in a strainer overnight to strain out the liquid. The procedure I am attaching did not require that step.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtXnaP17D4Q

If you decide to use this recipe I would suggest you watch and write down every step. I wrote down everything and for me it was 27 steps but I wrote everything including buttons to push. I watched it again yesterday and picked up another tip I missed the first time.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: SproutingStacheHK on November 05, 2018, 07:10:49 AM
Not yet - I just didn't buy yogurt, which worked just as well!  But I'm on the lookout for three key pieces of kitchen equipment when they come up cheap in the asiaexpat classifieds - a bread maker, and instant pot, and some kitchen scales.  This, and messing about with them in the kitchen, will be my Christmas present to myself, since I can't visit home this year.  Thanks so much for the video - filed away for when I get my pot!  I do LOVE a good Greek yogurt, so I'm really looking forward to trying out the recipe.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on November 05, 2018, 07:43:59 AM
Finished October with $670 in groceries. Our budget is $625. Our freezer is completely full, so I'm hopeful we can get through November under budget. *fingers crossed* We shop on Saturdays, and there were five Saturdays in October, so not totally unexpected.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Roadrunner53 on November 05, 2018, 08:01:08 AM
Not yet - I just didn't buy yogurt, which worked just as well!  But I'm on the lookout for three key pieces of kitchen equipment when they come up cheap in the asiaexpat classifieds - a bread maker, and instant pot, and some kitchen scales.  This, and messing about with them in the kitchen, will be my Christmas present to myself, since I can't visit home this year.  Thanks so much for the video - filed away for when I get my pot!  I do LOVE a good Greek yogurt, so I'm really looking forward to trying out the recipe.

Just make sure you find an Instant Pot with the yogurt button! Not all have them. Yes, the video is good. Whoever posted it did an excellent job.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: jim555 on December 01, 2018, 04:42:05 PM
November is in $203.31.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on December 01, 2018, 09:29:48 PM
$545 on groceries in November, for a family of four. My almost 13 year old boy is eating an exceptional amount right now, so I'm investigating cheap snack options to keep him full. Goal is $625, but we were on vacation for almost a week, and ate out quite a bit. (Considered as the vacation budget). Either way, I'll take it as a win.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: middo on December 02, 2018, 03:38:55 PM
I just found this thread, a bit late in the year.

We started 2018 spending $1028 in January on food.  My goal was to get it down to under $700 per month.

Last three months average has been $506, with November coming in at $413.  December will be a little higher as Christmas goodies will tend to inflate it a bit. 

My biggest change has been to stop buying the most expensive cuts of meat and fish.  They may be nice, but slow cooking and a bit of thought can make cheaper cuts (and smaller serves) just as interesting.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on December 02, 2018, 09:10:02 PM
Wow, @middo - that's a huge change! Congrats on the drop & all of the improvements.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: mountain mustache on December 02, 2018, 09:52:30 PM
I am really happy with my progress for this year, getting my spending around $300 a month for my groceries(VHCOL area). November ended up being a stock up month for me, which means I spent about $550.00 (two trips to Costco, 1 trip to Sprouts, 1 trip to Trader Joes). I don't get to stock up super often because I live really far away from anything but a really terrible Safeway, but I had two trips in November to towns with the "good stores". I'm stoked to go into December and January with a stocked freezer and pantry...my goal is to end the year with a $200 grocery month in December!
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Zola. on December 03, 2018, 03:59:02 AM
Mine has been chaotic and terribly inconsistent :/
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: Laura33 on January 01, 2019, 01:24:46 PM
Hi guys -- been incommunicado because I was traveling a lot and so really lost track of everything in November-December.  I am pretty sure we were in the $600-700 range both months (higher in November, lower in December, but that's because our vacation spend goes on the vacation budget and so there was a lot more eating out). 

I've also just sort of lost interest.  My behavior has demonstrated that I am willing to make the changes to get the spend down from its original @$1200 to the $600 +/- mark, but I am not willing to go below that.  I am also finding that next year I want to focus on the quality of what I eat (cholesterol/weight), and mentally my desire to be cheap gets in the way of that.*  For example, there are a couple of services that do delicious portioned meals with balanced nutrition and such, but I have refused to buy them because they are like $10/meal.  I have decided to try some of those in January to see if we can have some better "I don't want to cook" options on hand, and hang the expense.  In addition, I have tried a new produce service that uses produce that would otherwise be thrown away; the prices are ok, but not ALDI level, and there's a $5 delivery fee -- but I like what they are trying to do to minimize waste and get some additional cash to the farmers, and so I have decided to keep doing that.

So, in any event, this challenge has been very enlightening over the past two years, so thanks for starting it and for all of the encouragement folks here have provided (and the vindaloo recipe!!).


*Yes, I know it is entirely possible to eat much better than I currently do for much less money, but I am dealing with my own psychology and habits here.  And my habit is to set big goals, like "I'm going to learn to make delicious things with lentils!" -- and then never getting around to it.  And so when I am in the store, the $1 mac and cheese ends up more tempting than the $5.99 ground turkey, because I fret that the healthier option will hit the budget harder.  So I sort of need to give myself express permission to spend more money on the healthier option.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: jim555 on January 01, 2019, 07:10:18 PM
$203.02 December 2018
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: middo on January 01, 2019, 09:05:28 PM
My 2018 grocery spending:

Next year the aim is to be under $500 every month.  I'll see how we go.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: pancakes on January 01, 2019, 11:32:21 PM
Reducing my grocery spend was not a priority towards the end of 2018 and probably wonít be for 2019 either.

If you think there is enough interest and someone else is willing to start a new thread for 2019 I am more than happy to pass the baton.
Title: Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
Post by: haypug16 on January 03, 2019, 02:38:37 PM
My average for the year was $264.77 per month. I'd like to trim this a little in 2019 while at the same time reducing my Dining Out expenses ($198.39 average p/month) This may be tricky but I just need to get better about finding sales, not wasting food, etc.