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Old 12-06-2010, 03:53 AM   #1
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I am new to this site and not sure which forum to use. i'm sure everyone on these sites faces challenges. not sure anyone has one like mine but let me explain and if you have any suggestions i'd love to hear them. both my x-wife and i are disabled. only x's, so she could get ssi and medicare. i'm 56 and shes 35. both over 300 pounds. shes in much worse health than i. neither of us could hold a job. both need to lose weight but not easy on food stams and what little money we recieve. in fact just living together would reduce our income by $380.00 a month. can't explain that any futher. i don't know how to even begin to lose weight. my x has so many medical problems that i never know from day to day if she will even be able to walk or on deaths doorstep. been trying to find out whats wrong with her for over 2 years now. she has undiagnosed pelvic pain and after over 100 dr. visits we are no closer to knowing what is wrong with her. she has been in and out of the hospital numerous time and in the past year has been in the er 15 times. 5 of those by ambulance. some times her attacks are 2 weeks apart and as long as 2 months. sometimes bedridden for weeks. on top of that she is bi-polar and has tried to end her life 5 times in the past two years. she is on medication of course but it doesn't always keep working. i myself have numerous medical problems, non life threating. all dealing with cronic pain. we get $170.00 in food stanps for the both of us. try eating healthy on that. we bought groceries yesterday and i bought alot of lower calorie stuff and fruits and it cost me $100.00 more than what we had to spend so something else wont get paid. i'm already in bankruptsy court now to get my bills as low as possible. so here,s the bottom line. how do you lose weight with an uncertain schedule and very little money. thanks for taking the time to read this.
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:48 AM   #2
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My husband and I are both on disability. Our current disability income is pretty decent, but about six years ago, before either of us were on disability we were in a very tight situation. We had to file bankruptcy mostly because of my medical bills, and hubby losing his job. I was losing my job, because of my illnesses. We moved to Wisconsin were hubby found work, and had to live on one income. I filed for disability, but it would be another 9 months before I would be approved (didn't know that at the time, though). Hubby made just a few dollars more than the cut-off point for food stamps, but our medications (even with good insurance) were costing us hundreds of dollars per month. It wasn't unusual for our food budget to fall below $50 for both of us, for the whole MONTH. We ate lots and lots of beans and pasta, and we learned a lot of ways to save money.

First, I'll recommend the Tightwad Gazette books. Ideally The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn (because it's all three books under one cover), but any of them will do, and your library probably can get a copy for you.

There are similar books under different titles, and frugal living and cheapskate/tightwad/miser/saving money websites. Essentially tips on how to save money ins every possible way.

I've talked about this a lot before, so rather than try to remember and repeat everything, I'd suggest you browse the shoestring meals forum. Where a bunch of us have shared money-saving tips. You may only be able to use one tip in ten, but every little bit helps.

Another great website is hillbillyhousewife.com website, especially the dieting on a budget section (using an exchange plan).

http://healthy.hillbillyhousewife.com/category/articles


We were very lucky that we never lacked transportation. Not only did we have a car, but our area has inexpensive public transporation as well.

There are so many things we learned and did that I can't even begin to list them all, probably the most important was learning where the bargains were and developing a system that maximized our ability to take advantage of them.

Just as an example, we usually started our monthly shopping at a store kind of like Big Lots, where we looked for bargains and only bought items that were a bargain (not only money wise, but healthwise too. Candy was really, really cheap, but with both of us having blood sugar issues that wasn't a good option). However, we found some great bargains on healthy foods too - such as gourmet dried beans for .29 cents per pound bag.

Unfortunately, overstock stores are like garage sales, in that you can get amazing deals, but you never know what you will or won't find, so you have to be flexible.

As I read in the Tightwad books, I kept a price book. Everywhere we shopped, I'd use the cash register receipt or even would take notes while I was shopping. It helped me find and recognize the best bargains.

We did a lot of shopping at Aldi and Walmart. We bought yellow-tag meats at Walmart (discounted, but still good - as long as you used them or froze them within a couple days).

We shopped ethnic markets. The best price for rice, asian vegetables, and asian seasonings are in the Asian groceries. We can buy a quart of gourmet mushroom soy sauce for the price of a tiny bottle of store-brand soy sauce.
Mexican markets have great prices on dried beans (especially black beans).

We buy spices from bulk shops (either scoop-your-own places, or baking supply stores where they've repackaged bulk spices into small plastic tubs).

We shopped health food stores for sprout mixes and tvp. TVP granules (soy protein) looks like grapenuts cereal, but reconstitutes with hot water to a ground meat substitute. Hubby doesn't like the plain tvp flavor, so I would brown it with cheap (fatty) ground meat. Because tvp is fat-free, the tvp/beef mixture would be fattier than the tvp alone (but more flavorful) but as lean as more expensive ground meat. TVP is usually (in my area) about the same price per pound as mid-grade ground beef - but one pound of tvp is the equivalent of 3 to 4 lbs of ground beef. Using tvp alone would save the most money (and calories and fat), but the beef-tvp is a good compromise.

Sprouting mix is also a great health bargain. You can sprout in almost any glass or plastic container. There are instructions online. Sprouting mix prices seem a little high until you realize just how many sprouts a package of seed mix will grow. Only only a couple tablespoon of sprout seeds makes a lot of sprouts. They're great as a salad, as an ingredient in a salad, on sandwhiches, tossed into soup, or stir fried in dishes. They grow fast (about three to four days for most seeds. When they've reached the size I like, I just put the jar into the fridge, and pull out what I need.

We buy apples in bulk bags, they're cheaper that way. And we store them in the fridge (not only do the apples last up to 10 times longer, they taste better and have a crisper texture cold too).

Some stores discount bananas once they turn yellow. We buy them and store them in the fridge. The peel gets black, but the fridge slows down the ripening. Or if they're too ripe to eat fast enough, I'll peal them, cut them into four pieces per banana and freeze (perfect for using in a smoothie).

It's really all about finding hundreds of ways to save a few cents, which add up quickly.






We make homemade soup often.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:13 AM   #3
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WELCOME! Glad you posted. You will find folks here are friendly, helpful and supportive.

I am so sorry to hear of your difficult times and health problems. Don't forget to use the electric scooter in the grocery stores. They can be so helpful if you have a mobility problem. Most stores have them. (except for Aldi's, I think)

Kaplods has given you wonderful ideas!

Buy bread when it is marked down and freeze it for later.

If you can get the coupons from the daily paper from someone who doesn't use them - often places will double them. Even better if the food item is on sale. Sometimes you can find coupons on line, too.

Loose versus bags. On occasion, packaging pays. Bags of onions, apples, fruits etc are often less expensive than individual onions, apples, fruits - so long as you can use them all.

Keep your eyes on the items on the bottom shelf where the prices are lower!

Check online for the sales of the grocery store(s) near you. Plan your meals around what is on sale.

If you are not good doing math in your head, bring a calculator so you can determine the better value of the same item in different sizes. (if it's not listed on the store shelf tag) Also - keeping track as you go can help you know how much you are spending.

Buy certain foods from the bulk area. Much cheaper if you are not paying for the packaging. ie... rice, beans, lentils, pasta, spices, flour etc. Some bulk places have whole wheat flour and/or pastas.

Learn to cook with dried beans. Now days, when I make chili, I use half the meat (DH insists on some meat) and I buy dried black beans (DH doesn't like kidney beans) - use cooked dried beans instead of canned beans. It costs so much less. (and is so much more healthy)

Buy a whole chicken instead of pieces. Roast it, take the skin off and use for meals, sandwiches, etc. Freeze cooked portions of chicken meat to use later.

Cooking with eggs for a main protein can be frugal. If you need to avoid egg yolks. Just use the whites instead of buy Egg Beaters. If you can have some yolks - mix one whole egg with two whites and add veggies for a nice healthy omlette. Moreover - have breakfast for dinner once a week: eggs, pancakes, french toast.

Buy off brand cleaners at the Dollar Store. Or make a natural cleaner from vinegar, baking soda etc. (recipes online)

Google -
saving on groceries
healthy budget recipes
- things like that.

I wish you well in your journey for better health.
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Last edited by Beverlyjoy; 12-06-2010 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:24 AM   #4
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texascritter I am really sorry to hear about your situatiaon, would you go to a food bank? That may be an option to get some fruits and vegetables etc. Also alot of groceries have fruits and veggies tat are overripe for cheap you can buy these and make soups and fruitsalads etc.

As for the disability aspect that is very hard. Have you considered surgery as an option? Are the illnesses related to weight?
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:13 AM   #5
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I second tvp. it is insanely cheap. it's only 2 something per pound here in bulk and it's really light so a lb really stretches. a half cup for example reconstituted makes enough 'taco' meat for two large taco salads to be split between me and my bf.

Also, does anyone like the flavor of unflavored tvp? I don't add meat but I do add stuff like chili powder seasoning, taco seasoning, italian seasonings for a lasagna filling.
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:54 AM   #6
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You said you don't even know how to get started. I think the first thing you need to do is pick an eating plan. Nothing crazy - something that you can live with. Lots of folks here like to count calories.

After that, the most important thing is to plan, plan and plan some more. Planning ahead what you will eat does many things. It has things set for the day - all those food thoughts of what will I eat next don't 'spin around' in your mind because it's decided. It can be very calming. Some folks find that writing down everything you is helpful because you really see what you are eating.

There are many site on the web that can help you figure out how many calories to eat, etc.

Some are sparkpeople, livestrong, etc. Many are free. I know sparkpeople is free. Other folks have their favorites.
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:56 AM   #7
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Just wanted to say welcome

My family lives on a pretty tight budget.. we are a family of 6 (hubby and I and our 4 littles) living on 1 income (that isn't great.. about $15.50 an hour minus about $200 a week in insurances.. ugg). It's definately not easy, but I'm learning every day how to be creative and make it work for us.

I have learned that as much as I hate shopping there Walmart is about the cheapest for MOST things around here (I can get bread way cheaper at the grocery store and even cheaper still if I happen to be about 15 miles away from here where there is a day old bread store).

Are there any "discount" type grocery stores there? Aldi, Save A Lot, or any of those "out of date, dented can, crushed box" type stores? We have one of those too, and though it's not the highest grade products I can get my fresh produce there really cheap (50 cents for a head of lettuce compared to 1.50 at Walmart or $2 for a bag of apples instead of $5 at Walmart). We don't have an Aldi close or even really a Save A Lot, but there are some good bargins to be had there too (both are too far to make it worth the drive).

OH.. here is one of my biggest secrets.. well 2, we go to Sam's Club (which is a drive for us so we only go once a month or every other) and buy the great big pork loins because they are CHEAP... Ok, they are usually about $20, but we have the butcher there cut it into 1/2" thick slices and one will give my family of 6 at least 4 meals... so you and your lady would get WAY many more meals.. and they are fairly lean. My other thing.. we are big ice tea drinkers in my house, we sweeten it with sweet n low.. $12 for a box of either 1000 or 1500 packets, we use 20 in a gallon and 4 of those generic double tea bags (so 8 actual bags) and fill it with hot tap water.. fast and easy and tastes just as good as any sweet tea I have ever had. One of those boxes will last us over a month (usually 2 or more.. and I use it for other sweetening needs as well).
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:50 PM   #8
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ALDI's is the cheapest place for food I have found. I am a family of 5 we spend 125 a week thats 500 a month on all of us I buy EVERYTHING at ALDIS all my veggies fruits they even have a fit n active line and it isnt to expensive. If it was just hubby and I we could easly spend 40 to 50 a week at ALDI's
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:59 PM   #9
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Welcome!!

I am single and on disability. I have food stamps as well. I have 3 diagnosed mental disorders (borderline personality disorder, dysthymia and social anxiety), as well as neuropathy and a few other physical issues, all diagnosed. Thank goodness I live with my very understanding roommate/ex-boyfriend/best friend who helps me out!!

I'm struggling with the same food issues that you are-- on another forum someone posted a website of two ladies that put together grocery lists for you (including for special diets) for all kinds of diets and/or stores. These lists are made to be as cheap and inexpensive as possible. I'll go there and see if I can find the link, and pass it on to you.
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Old 12-06-2010, 02:09 PM   #10
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Do you have Second Harvest in your area ? This is food that is free. You don't have a choice what will be in the bag but most often you can expect in season fruits and vegetables, beans, rice , canned goods and once in awhile a chicken and this is all free. It may have different names in different areas here it is called Brown Bag but it is Second Harvest.
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Old 12-06-2010, 02:42 PM   #11
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thanks to all of you that have posted so far. you have some good ideas and advise. we have considered surgery for her but way to many medical issues for that to happen. she has a blood disorder that causes blood clots and the medication she has to take prevents her from being able to eat green leafy vegs. a main part of most any diet. we don't really have any discount stores in our area. there is a big lots in lake charles. that's 70 miles round trip from us. they have food banks there also. most of her dr's are located there. we have to make at least one trip there a month and we do everything we need there during that trip. she has to use one of those scooters to get around in the store. i can manage to get through it without one. we had to put out donation jars to raise money for upcoming trips to houston to see specialist there to see if they can figure out what is wrong with her. we have been to every specialist here that takes medicare and medicade. they have no idea how to help her. her life is literly at stake. two of her dr's said if something doesn't change she will not live another year. that was 6 months ago and things have only gotten worse. i have got her dr to write a prescription for physical therapy. i figure they will help her exercise there under supervision and along with the changes in food this month hopefully she will lose some weight. she 5' and weighs 371. i lose weight fairly easy when i can get the chance to pay attention to what i'm doing and get some exercise. 3 months ago i was close to 300 pounds now i'm back up to 338. all depends on what is going on with her and her medical condition. i'm like a caretaker and social worker alot. she just doesn't have the will power to do what is best for herself so it falls to me to take care of everything. her bi-polar is a hard disease to manage. i don't know that i'm doing everything exzactly right but i'm am trying. has to better than the road we have been on so far. does everyone buy groceries then make a meal plan or the other way around?i'm going to work on that this entire month so next month i have a better plan and idea on how to proceed. i look forward to hearing more from everyone. again thank you
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Old 12-06-2010, 03:08 PM   #12
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It sounds like you are doing the best you can for her, making some changes in the way you are eating will benifit you both.

As far as the shopping.. ummm for me I have to figure out what I have to spend on each meal for my family.. breakfast is usually budgeted the cheapest because the kids are ok eating cereal, I eat eggs, lunch is pretty cheap too because 3 of my 4 littles could live on PB&J. Using 100% wheat bread makes that cost a bit more than it used to, but it's one of the few things I'm trying to instill in them so I manage. My lunch tends to be oatmeal or soup or salad, and my oldest son usually eats salad or ham & cheese sandwhiches. Dinner usually consists of either those pork loin chops or skinlss boneless chicken breast (cooked with a wide variety of seasonings so they don't always seem the same every night) a whole grain type side (sweet potatoes either baked, "fried" [no butter just some spray and water] or sliced into fries and baked, brown rice or whole grain pasta) and a veggies... usually canned or frozen green beans, peas or california blend. I get up every morning and pack hubbys food for his day at work, he gets a banana and yogurt for breakfast, a whole grain turkey wrap for lunch and some whole grain pretzels and a low fat string cheese for his afternoon snack. Now remember I'm buying for 6 people so this is way more than you will need to spend but I figure $140 for a week for food alone (not counting paper products etc.) I figure $3 a day for breakfast, $3 for lunch, $4 for snacks and $10 for dinner for my entire family . Breaking it down that way makes it easier for me to see what kind of meals I can fit into our budget. I do try to keep things lower than what I set it at.. like I prefer to make dinner be about $5, but it usually doesn't work out that way.. sigh.
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:40 AM   #13
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lots of things happening. all positive. first off i lost 8 pounds since i first posted this. likly due to the difference in foods i bought this time. not on any peticular plan as that comes next month after i've had time to develop a long term plan we can follow. much more reasearch needed for that. as far as the wife and her medical problems which dominotates my time and energy, i took her to a houston dr. last week and he seems determined to find the cause of her pain. she is scheduled to have 2 test next week back in houston a (400) mile round trip from here, but well worth it if it helps her get her health back. i also got her in with a physical therapists to help her learn how to exercise in her condition. he gave her some exercises to do 2 times a day at home and he works withher 2 time a week in the clinic. so things are looking up. we are excited about our future reguardless of the suitation we find ourself in at this monent. finding good foods on our little budget will be challengeing. our budget will increase a good bit in march due to the money filing bankruptsy will save us and that will help alot toward eating healthy. any ideas on how to make brown rice taste better without adding lots of calories. also is there a way to count calories without a scale? we don't have one and i know it only cost a few dollars but a few is more than we have to spend right now. looking forward to your replies and again thanks for those replies as they defently help.
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:09 AM   #14
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Great to hear that things have taken a positive turn, and well done on the 8lbs.

For counting calories - do you have a measuring cup? It's not as precise as a kitchen scale but well worth using as a first place.
If you sign up for a site like sparkpeople.com or fitday or one of several others (free), you can enter '1 cup brown rice, cooked, unsalted' (for example) and it will log the calories automatically. It will also log the nutrients too - it's important to keep calcium and iron and fibre and many other things up to RDA.

Good luck with the planning! And great news that your wife is getting pain and exercise help.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:40 AM   #15
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TexasCritter ~

Congrats on the loss!! That's all good news! I hope everything continues down the road to a brighter future.

There are a few general rules for serving size:

the palm of your hand is usually a 4 oz serving of meat (depending on thickness of meat and size of your hand)

a cupped hand usually holds about 1/2 cup (without heaping it up to max capacity)

a regular flatware spoon with a little rounded top is about 1 tablespoon

Brown rice - try using chicken boullion dissolved in the water you cook the rice in. I've also added chopped sweet onion and bell peppers. I'll bet diced garlic would be good or maybe some steak seasoning stuff.

Tis the season for SOUP. It is a real budget stretcher and healthy too.
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