South Beach Diet - Can someone help me budget for the SBD? Someone who's really good at budgeting?




Fat Melanie
06-15-2008, 02:57 PM
I went to the grocery store yesterday to get the ingredients for the stuffed bell peppers, and got some extras, like lean lunch meats, reduced fat cheeses, produce, and whatnot. Spent $80 in all!!! It cut way deep into our budget, and I only bought ONE meal out of all of that. Now I've got $52 for the month for me and my boyfriend. (Throughout the month we'll make extra money to add to the $52, but right now that's what I've got.)

What sort of stuff could I get that will equal up to a lot of meals but low funds? I am pretty lost. Not sure what to buy. I want to go ahead and spend it on real food before Boyfriend wastes it on mindless things such as sodas and candy bars and junkfood (this is what he eats, yet he's skinny. Probably not healthy though, lol.)

Anyhow, I know there are probably a lot of women here who budget for their families and control the finances and have experience in this sort of thing. I am in need of your advice! :)


Kim_Star060404
06-15-2008, 03:43 PM
Number 1, Congrats on coming to SB. It's a great WOL and you will see BIG changes if you apply yourself.

Okay, here's some tips for your budget.

1. Clean out your freezer. That way when SB-approved meat and poultry goes on sale, you can stock up.

2. Eat fresh veggies as much as possible, but if it's cheaper, go frozen. (If you're shopping at a grocery store, frozen may be healthier because the veggies are flash-frozen closer to harvest than what you're getting in the produce section so there are more nutrients.)

3. Try not to buy prepared food. (I.e., bagged salad, sliced veggies, etc.)

4. Find recipes that make large amounts and EAT LEFTOVERS!! The Taco Bake is delicious and lasts DH and I about 5 meals. (2 dinners and 3 lunches each). I can usually make Taco Bake with a side of salad and sauteed bell peppers and onions (DH eats tortillas with his) and it typically costs about $10. That comes out to $1 a meal. Other good budget recipes are: Meatball Casserole, San Antonio Style Chicken (Tortilla) Soup, Baked Chicken Breasts and the Fireside Sausage and White Bean Soup (I think that's the name). Following the above, I only cook an average of 3 times a week and we always have plenty of food.

5. Finally, realize that this WOE isn't the cheapest and that sometimes you may have to sacrifice in other areas to make sure you stay on track. DH and I have been through the ringer financially, but we have always done whatever we could to make sure we were eating healthily. Some of the things we've done without are eating out, date nights like going to the movies and to the bar, drinking a lot less alcohol, vacations and etc. If it's worth it to you to treat your body right, you'll make it work. Just like the rest of us do. :)

Good luck!

~Kim

Fat Melanie
06-15-2008, 03:54 PM
Thank you for the advice, your idea of the taco bake with a sie of salad and sauteed peppers and onions sounds delicious. I love to eat leftovers.

Do you think I could save even more by freezing half of whatever I cook? I wonder if that sort of stuff freezes well. That way, I would have some for another meal some weeks later.


Schmoodle
06-15-2008, 04:53 PM
I always cook double and freeze. Casseroles and stews all freeze really well. I watch the sales, buy lots and stock up the freezer whenever there is a good sale, and I don't limit myself to one store. I regularly shop at Trader Joe's the PA Dutch Market, a local dairy, butcher, and farmer's market, Aldi's, and three "regular" grocery stores. Of course I don't go to all of these places every week, but keep an eye on the sales and go wherever I can get the most bang that week. I go to all these places because there are certain things I know I can get cheaper there. So keep an open mind and check out all your options, you will get to know where you can do the best. Definitely check to see if you have an Aldi's nearby, because that has made a big dent in my grocery bill lately.
Meats that go on sale regularly around here include ground turkey, turkey breast, chicken breasts, lean ground beef, and pork loin. These all go on sale for $1.99/lb or less. Sometimes I buy regular ground beef, saute, drain, and rinse in hot water, if it's going into a casserole. On occasion I splurge on some steaks, crabmeat, shrimp, or fish. Eat lots of beans too, they are cheap and good for you. Hope this helps.

WebRover
06-15-2008, 05:07 PM
If you spent $80, you've got more than a couple of peppers and some cold cuts. I'm thinking. It sounds like there are some salad meals in there with cold cuts, definitely a Stuffed Baked Pepper meal and a lunch or dinner of leftovers. If you give us an idea of what you bought and what you already have in the pantry and fridge/freezer, we can probably come up with this week's meals. Are there two people eating or more? I think you're in the first week of SB? Correct? If nothing else, a couple cans of beans (or a bag of beans if you want to make them from scratch) will add to the veggies you have for a couple meals. Eggs? Omelete, frittata or souffle dinner and some breakfasts. Let us know what you're working with.

Fat Melanie
06-15-2008, 05:16 PM
I always cook double and freeze. Casseroles and stews all freeze really well. I watch the sales, buy lots and stock up the freezer whenever there is a good sale, and I don't limit myself to one store. I regularly shop at Trader Joe's the PA Dutch Market, a local dairy, butcher, and farmer's market, Aldi's, and three "regular" grocery stores. Of course I don't go to all of these places every week, but keep an eye on the sales and go wherever I can get the most bang that week. I go to all these places because there are certain things I know I can get cheaper there. So keep an open mind and check out all your options, you will get to know where you can do the best. Definitely check to see if you have an Aldi's nearby, because that has made a big dent in my grocery bill lately.
Meats that go on sale regularly around here include ground turkey, turkey breast, chicken breasts, lean ground beef, and pork loin. These all go on sale for $1.99/lb or less. Sometimes I buy regular ground beef, saute, drain, and rinse in hot water, if it's going into a casserole. On occasion I splurge on some steaks, crabmeat, shrimp, or fish. Eat lots of beans too, they are cheap and good for you. Hope this helps.

I don't have a Trader's Joe or Aldi's near me but I wish I did. I've got Food Lion, Piggly Wiggly (which usually has good meat sales), and Harris Teeter. (I can't afford to shop at the Teeter, Lol.)

I am gonna try to incorporate a lot more beans in my diet and make them into meals. Do you have any ideas on how to turn beans into a meal? I've never really ate beans much before so I don't have any idea on what to do with them.

Fat Melanie
06-15-2008, 05:23 PM
If you spent $80, you've got more than a couple of peppers and some cold cuts. I'm thinking. It sounds like there are some salad meals in there with cold cuts, definitely a Stuffed Baked Pepper meal and a lunch or dinner of leftovers. If you give us an idea of what you bought and what you already have in the pantry and fridge/freezer, we can probably come up with this week's meals. Are there two people eating or more? I think you're in the first week of SB? Correct? If nothing else, a couple cans of beans (or a bag of beans if you want to make them from scratch) will add to the veggies you have for a couple meals. Eggs? Omelete, frittata or souffle dinner and some breakfasts. Let us know what you're working with.

Thank you thank you thank you. :D I desperately need help, lol!!!! Yup, there are two people eating, and I'm on day one of phase one.

Here is what I've got:

l lb of ground turkey (I'm gonna use half in the stuffed peppers tonight)

4 peppers (only gonna make two peppers, either I'm gonna make 2 for us to eat and 2 to freeze for another meal, or just make 2 and do something with the remaining peppers, what do you think??)

1 large can of green beans
1 large can of pinto beans
eggs
2 8 oz blocks of reduced fat cheddar
2 packages oven roasted 98% fat free turkey breast lunchmeat (my bf has to use some of it to make sandwiches for lunch)
reduced fat cream cheese
lettuce
3 tomatoes
light italian salad dressing
6 cans tuna in water
some dried red beans
leftover frozen spaghetti sauce
celery
onions
roasted garlic hummus
spinach artichoke hummus
smart balance margarine
reduced fat sour cream
salsa
pickles (dill)


Heeeelp!!! :D

Auralei
06-15-2008, 05:37 PM
Melanie, I'm not sure if PW or Food Lion does this, but where we shop (Kroger and Walmart), they will mark down meats pretty often, especially on Saturdays at Kroger since the new sale starts on Sunday. I've been able to get a great sized London Broil for like 6 bucks, just have to get there early. We've also seen produce marked down at Kroger, they'll stuff a bunch of veggies into a big plastic produce bag and mark it for a dollar. I bought a metric ton of yellow squash thanks to that markdown today. Just have to really check the quality and make sure you freeze the meat right away.

Also, I bought dried beans instead of canned, and invested the $25 in a food processor to make my own hummus tomorrow. It takes more time, sure, but saving money and making things from scratch makes me feel good.

WebRover
06-15-2008, 06:07 PM
You're light on veggies. If you can add any at any point, that will improve your experience.

Day 1
B: Omelette(s) with sauted celery, pepper & onions, with cheese
Day 3
S: Celery & hummus
L: BF turkey & cheese sandwich & pickles
You turkey/cheese rollups with pickle
S: Cheddar with celery
D: Pinto beans, mashed lightly with a fork, heated
Chop 1/2 tomato & 1/2 pepper and top the beans with the tomato & peppers, salsa & sour cream -
(Soak the red beans in water overnight, hard boil 6 eggs while cleaning up from dinner - put eggs in water to cover, bring to a boil, boil for 10 minutes, plunge into water with ice. Use the oldest eggs you have, they'll peel better)

Day 2
Pour off the water from the beans, put in a crockpot, add water to cover, add a chopped onion DO NOT add salt, put on low and let cook for 8-10 hours or more.
B: Scrambled eggs with salsa & cheese (hopefully the salsa is fresh with no sugar added)
S: 1/2 pepper in slices with hummus
L: BF turkey & cheese sandwich & pickles
You wrap from inside out pickle, turkey, cheese, lettuce leaf with cream cheese
Sn: Celery with hummus
Dinner Red beans with cheese
Tossed salad (lettuce, 1/2 tomato, 1/4 pepper, rings of fresh onion,) dressing
Green beans
You should have a lot of red beans left, refrigerate

Day 3
B: Hard boiled eggs & 1/2 tomato sliced- you can devil the eggs by mashing the yolks with mayo and chopped pickles, then putting the mixed yolks back in the hollows.
S: Celery with cream cheese
L: BF: Tuna sandwich (tuna drained, mayo, chopped pickle, chopped onion)
Tuna drained, chilled and served on 1/2 tomato, leftover green beans or pinto or red beans
S: Turkey wrapped around pickle spears (slice pickle long way)
D: Turkey burgers (you can add finely diced onion, peppers & an egg if you want) - dress them like burgers with 1/2 sliced tomato, sliced pickle & mustard.

If I've described combinations you don't care for, feel free to modify.
Continuing in a future message

kaplods
06-15-2008, 06:11 PM
If you search google or even the search option in forums on this site on words like cheap, frugal, budget, cheapskate, tightwad, thrift... you'll find a lot of money saving ideas. In fact, you can end up spending hours and hours on this. Some of the ideas are NOT South Beach or generally weight loss friendly, but a lot of them are, because "whole foods" are often cheaper foods.

I google recipes by searching by budget and/or ingredient. Say "bean recipes," or "thrifty recipes,"...

There are also some excellent books on amazon.com about cheap cooking (Miserly Meals, I hear is very good. I can recommend Good Cheap Food and the TVP Cookbook). Amazon is often very cheap, but I start there because I sort all the books I'm interested in in my wish list, print them out, and then take them to the library to search and/or order.

I believe TVP is South Beach Friendly, but someone more experienced, please correct me if I'm wrong, but I often do this to save money and calories as well as time for ground beef recipes. I brown ground beef and/or ground chicken with tvp granules from the health food store. I often add onion, celery and bell pepper, and garlic but no seasoning that would be incompatible with a variety of dishes. I add water to the browning at the point that the meat is starting to lose most of it's pinkness. I usually add about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of tvp to 1 lb of ground beef. I usually pay about $2.25 for tvp granules. It's the equivalent of about 3 lbs of ground beef, so it's about 1/3 the price per serving. I've also started adding cooked wheat berries to the mix (also very cheap per pound at the health food store - though I think this is Phase II).

So a mixture of 1 lb of ground beef and 1 1/2 cup tvp is about equivalent to 3.5 to 4 lbs of ground beef (so about 1/2 price per serving).

I put the mixture into a ziploc freezer bag (or a tupperware container) and stir or shake the bag in the freezer every 15 minutes or so until frozen, so that it freezes in crumbles not ahuge block. This way I can scoop out just what I need to add to spagheti sauce, or make into taco filling or sloppy joe mix, etc.

I buy beans by the pound, dry. Much cheaper, but they take a lot longer to cook, so I also make a big batch and freeze using the same shake and toss technique to be able to scoop out what I need from the freezer bag. Beans can also be used in place of pasta in recipes or in place of groundmeat or small chunks of meat. I've added beans to spaghetti sauce instead of meat or to reduce the amount of meat. White beans and other mild tasting beans are really good with tuna dishes. Even as part of the tuna in a tuna casserole. Or I like salad dinners and a really good one is tuna - red or green onion - beans - and italian dressing, served on greans. I like adding cooked fresh green beans when they're in season.

Walmart sells rotisserie chickens for about $1 to $1.50 more than a raw chicken would cost, so it's a good value for super fast meals. I get double duty by saving the carcass in the freezer to make soup (worth learning how to do, but I know it's not something everyone is interested in).

Farmer's Markets are often a source of cheaper, and better quality produce.

Also see if there is an oriental market or grocery in your area, sometimes they sell great produce very cheap, especially if you like eggplant, oriental cabbage, cilantro, bean sprouts....

WebRover
06-15-2008, 06:27 PM
Day 4
B: Turkey cheese rollup with salsa
S: Celery & hummus
L: Egg salad (mashed hardboiled eggs, diced pickle, onions) on lettuce with 1/4 chopped pepper
S: 1/2 tomato with cheddar
D: Red beans with spaghetti sauce, chopped whatever veggies are left: celery, onions, green beans either cold with salad dressing or sauteed lightly OR as a side vegetable baked onions: Wrap an onion in foil, bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour.

Day 5
At this point, you will need to consider adding some more vegetables, perhaps a cabbage (usually not too expensive) or summer squash, as you will have some cheese, some red beans and tuna left, maybe some salsa, sour cream & cream cheese. Add cottage cheese if you like it.
b: Eggs (if you still have them) with sauteed onions and cheese
S: celery with cream cheese or hummus
L: Tuna salad or tuna patties with sliced raw cabbage (think coleslaw size) with italian dressing.
S. hard boiled egg with salad
D. Grilled summer squash with red beans & onions

Hope that's helpful.

Marathon Mom
06-16-2008, 09:10 AM
Hey Melanie,

You got a lot for $80... THe only things I think that you can substitute are the lunch meat (Lunch meat is so overpriced) Perhaps instead of lunch meat you could buy bone in chicken and cook it yourself. The difference is 6.99+ a lb for lunch meat vs 2.99 a lb for bone in chicken

Also for the prepared hummus - I usually see it priced for 2.49 - if you have a blender/choppper or food processer you can make hummus w/ a can of garbanzo beans .99 and some garlic, lemon, salt/pep and olive oil.

Keep up the good work! You can do it!

zeffryn
06-16-2008, 10:33 AM
Melanie - Food Lion has great sales. They also do double and triple coupon days(LUCKY! We don't have a FL by us)

I know that this diet is heavy in lean protein, but that doesn't always mean meat. You can use lentils and beans for a CHEAP and filling lean protein. Frozen veggies are much cheaper than fresh, and if prepared properly are just as nutritious and good.

Try substituting cheaper ingredients in the recipes when they call for prepared foods (like in the Taco Bake, it calls for refried beans as the bottom layer - I cook up some lentils with cumin and chili powder, mash and use) I also cut the amount of meat in most meals. I can get two meals out of a pound of ground turkey by just using half the recommended amount. It cuts the fat and calories as well.

Soaking and cooking your beans is by far cheaper than buying canned. The cans cost about a dollar and a half, while a pound of dried beans costs about that. Just soak overnight and boil for about an hour in water before using. Same texture and flavor, just cheaper.

Try buying in bulk...for example: When the Winn Dixie puts their b/s chicken breasts on sale buy one get one free...I save about $35 and have enough chicken to feed my family of 3 for 3-4 weeks. I do the same with roasts when they are b1/g1 free.

Try to have at least 1 if not more meatless meals. They will be good to your budget. Soup is inexpensive (especially if you make your own stock) as are sandwiches (use lettuce leaves instead of bread for p1). My family has one sandwich night (our favorite sandwich is "salad" sandwich - lf cheese and lots of veggies) and one soup night a week (we add whole grain rolls and fruit).

I make stuffed peppers...but I use quinoa instead of meat (it's a healthier protein than meat). It's cheaper and just as yummy. I can get you the recipe if you need.

It isn't easy being frugal - especially while eating healthy, but if you think about it in longer terms - this way of eating will save you money (and years!) in the future, medically speaking. It's worth it. Clip coupons, look online for food coupons, shop sales and only sales, cook with what is in season...
It's in your best interest to plan ahead before you go to the store. Always have a list and STICK to it! Check the weekly sales online before heading out - plan your list according to what is on sale.

By clipping coupons, shopping sales and cutting a lot of animal protein out of our diets(not all, we still have meat 3-4 times a week) I can feed our family of three (almost 4) for around $250 a month - including lots of fresh, organic produce, organic or grass fed beef and chicken and organic dairy.


If you need any other help, feel free to PM. I've become a master at feeding my family well on a small budget. Good luck!

Fat Melanie
06-16-2008, 02:36 PM
Melanie, I'm not sure if PW or Food Lion does this, but where we shop (Kroger and Walmart), they will mark down meats pretty often, especially on Saturdays at Kroger since the new sale starts on Sunday. I've been able to get a great sized London Broil for like 6 bucks, just have to get there early. We've also seen produce marked down at Kroger, they'll stuff a bunch of veggies into a big plastic produce bag and mark it for a dollar. I bought a metric ton of yellow squash thanks to that markdown today. Just have to really check the quality and make sure you freeze the meat right away.

Also, I bought dried beans instead of canned, and invested the $25 in a food processor to make my own hummus tomorrow. It takes more time, sure, but saving money and making things from scratch makes me feel good.

I have sometimes found meat on sale. I love Walmart too, I prefer to shop there for groceries, (it's cheaper!), but it's 30 minutes away, and with the gas prices lately, we're not going there anytime soon unfortunately.

I'm gonna start buying dried beans, you're right, they are cheaper. I think a food processor would be a really cool investment and really fun (I love to make my own homemade things.) Let us know how that hummus turns out! Yum.

Fat Melanie
06-16-2008, 02:39 PM
WebRover- thank you, so much! You gave me some really great ideas that I would never have thought of. Your advice was priceless. Thanks again! :D

Fat Melanie
06-16-2008, 02:42 PM
Hey Melanie,

You got a lot for $80... THe only things I think that you can substitute are the lunch meat (Lunch meat is so overpriced) Perhaps instead of lunch meat you could buy bone in chicken and cook it yourself. The difference is 6.99+ a lb for lunch meat vs 2.99 a lb for bone in chicken

Also for the prepared hummus - I usually see it priced for 2.49 - if you have a blender/choppper or food processer you can make hummus w/ a can of garbanzo beans .99 and some garlic, lemon, salt/pep and olive oil.

Keep up the good work! You can do it!

Lunch meat really is very overpriced, I agree. I definitely could get my own chicken.. . thanks! :) I would love to make my own hummus, too. That would be mad cool.

Fat Melanie
06-16-2008, 02:53 PM
Zeffryn,


You had some really good ideas, thank you! I was wondering if you could share some of your soup recipes, I love soup. And I would love that recipe for the quinoa stuffed peppers... never had quinoa but I would love to try it. I would love to have some meatless meals, but my BF has to have a meat at every meal. Maybe if I start replacing with beans, he will learn to like it (or else, mwhahaha.) I have a budget of $180 a month for a family of two (baby isn't eating solids yet.) What sort of stuff should I get with my remaining $52 to last throughout the month? Help me, Budget Master, lol. :D I love the buy one, get one chicken breasts sale, they always have 'em at Food Lion although it's $12 for a pack, which I think is kinda ridiculous but, it lasted somewhat last month. (But that's because I had to go buy a bunch of cheap noodles and $25 cent macaroni boxes, and I can't do that this time around if I'm to stick to the SBD. ) There's gotta be a way that I can spend the remaining budget money wisely but I'm scared to even attempt it without more counsel.

kaplods
06-16-2008, 03:35 PM
When I met my husband, he was definitely opposed on principle to no and low-meat meals (and let's not even talk about what the native Wisconsin boy thought of "imitation" meats and cheeses).

Although he wasn't nearly as "slab o' fatty red meat," as he or I thought. He loves fish, and in that respect he has been a good influence on me. Especially since we've moved to Wisconsin where good fish is plentiful. But he also loves Hamburger/Tuna Helper like pasta dishes and tacos, burritos and taco salads.

When I first started the hamburger tvp mixtures, he would have no part of it. When I "snuck" it in he didn't notice, and was ok with that, but reluctantly. That is until it passed the "buddy test" when I had to use it to extend the taco meat for an unexpected crowd of his friends. Now he's a true convert, and reminds me to get tvp when we're running low. Though I have to admit, I think part of the reason he is so "helpful" in this regard is he thinks of it as a way to eat larger portions of "meat-like substance") and still lose weight. He'll even eat an occasional boca burger. I recently made a ham salad (he calls it sham salad) in which I replaced 3/4 of the ham with tvp and wheat berries simmered with ground ham in a bit of ham bouillon flavored broth, and then cooled to make a traditional ham salad with sweet relish and mayo (a lot less mayo was needed because of the moisture of the mixture). I unintentionally made too much (I thought), especially since I thought I'd be eating it myself, but hubby loved it.

I think the secret to converting him to healthier ground meat extenders (I use tvp, wheat berries, cracked wheat, quinoa, beans and lentils, ground chicken) was to do it gradually. If I added white beans to spaghetti, at first he thought they were too "weird" and would pick around them but not complain because the ground beef was still in there. When he started eating the beans, I started decreasing the meat. Same with tacos, he likes beans in tacos, so I just stated gradually adding more tvp and more beans.

I developed the scoopable freezer bag technique to be able to save money and time, and to be able to "sneak in" healthier ingredients easily. Cooking a large batch of beans or ground meat takes nearly as much time as making a small batch, but by freezing it and making sure it freezes crumbly so I can just take out what I need prevents waste and using lack of time as a reason to make a less healthy or less frugal choice. When I was working, I would even freeze pasta this way. With several bags of frozen "speedy ingredients", I had dozens of meals I could pull together in 10 minutes or less.
Even when I choose frozen veggies in the store, I make sure the veggies in the bag are not "block o' veggie," so it's easy to pour out just what I want to use.

I buy a LOT of ziploc bags, and now that we have a dishwasher will even consider washing them. (A tip I found in the book The Tightwad Gazette that I NEVER thought I would use).

I do seriously recommend borrowing it from the library. I found my copy of the three volume set at a garage sale, and I refer to it a lot. Some of the tips you will find are a bit crazy (the tip to swish milk in a jam jar to freezen into a popsicle for kids made me a little nauseous - not sure why as I've definitely eaten stranger things). The frugal websites are also fun to read and helpful. You won't want to use every tip you read, but it helps you realize how many ways there are to save money.

Kim_Star060404
06-16-2008, 03:43 PM
I wash our Ziplocs as long as they haven't had raw meat in them. We go through about 25% of what we used to. I also use washable dish rags instead of paper towels for cleaning the counters. I bought a pack of 7 for about $2 and wash them once a week with our bath towels. I also make my own cleaning spray. 1 bottle of spray here is about $4 and I can make ours for about $0.50 a bottle. For tough stuff and raw meat, I just dilute bleach in warm water and pour that into a spray bottle. I can get bleach for $0.50 a gallon when there is a sale.

Cutting corners in other areas can mean big money into your food budget.

kaplods
06-16-2008, 04:44 PM
I think it's rather shocking when you start looking for budget-stretching ideas just how many you can find and where you find them. Things you never thought of as luxury items suddenly seem a huge waste of money. Everyone is different as to what they're willing to substitute or sacrifice and what they're not, as well as how much time and energy they want to put into the "hunt" but again I have to say how addictive it becomes.

I also think how ironic it is that much of what I've found myself doing, seems rather "radical" by modern standards and yet was common practice and doing otherwise would have been odd only a few decades ago. I remember as a kid when helping Mom clean on Saturdays always wanting to get to the rag bag before my brother so I didn't have to dust and clean with underwear. We both wanted to use the old t-shirts, not the underwear. The cabinet was full of butter dishes and Cool-Whip containers, not tupperware. Even people who hadn't had babies in the house in 40 years still had baby food jars for storage in the kitchen and the garage (and the bathroom and for sewing and crafts).

And egg cartons, why on earth did people save egg cartons? I mean when I was a kid, everyone saved them. It's not as if they were really had that many uses, at least not to warrant the six foot tall stacks of egg cartons in eveyone's garage.

zeffryn
06-16-2008, 04:46 PM
Melanie -

My husband used to be completely 100% opposed to having no meat meals....and then I started implementing no meat meals, and his only other option was to cook for himself. Guess which way he went.

$52 for the rest of the month is tight, but if you use small amounts of meats and different forms of proteins. Frozen veg instead of fresh, etc....you should be fine. You might have to make a couple small sacrifices, though.

$180 a month having meat every night and eating good, healthy foods is going to be tough. If it is absolutely impossible to up your budget, consider changing the way you eat.

I'm looking at the Food Lion circular online right now. Sales ads come out on wednesdays and most produce and meat is freshest on Wednesday as well. I would definitely recommend you getting an MVP card and signing up for a free online coupon service.

Pick up a few dozen eggs. They make for a cheap and healthful breakfast and snack (hardboiled). You can even make them into egg salad with a little celery and onion and have them for lunch.

How does bf feel about fish? Salmon burgers or tuna burgers are great when seasoned correctly, and cheap when you make them with canned salmon or tuna.

lentils make great...everything. We love lentil tacos (lentils cooked down with cumin and chile powder - used in place of meat - resembles refried beans) and taco bake made with lentil taco mix, 1/2 lb. ground beef or turkey, and black beans. If a recipe calls for an entire pepper, use a half pepper - or a 1/4 bag of frozen peppers.

If bf absolutely will not eat something sans meat, make the meat go farther by adding filler. frozen vegetables, beans, etc. You will spend less by making your meat go a little farther.

Use google to your advantage! Search low budget meals - many of them are healthful and inexpensive.

My best advice is to plan ahead. Whenever I go to the grocery store without planning ahead, I always spend twice as much as I wanted to. Go with a list and stick to that list. Resist the urge to buy packaged snacks - they cost entirely too much if you look at the per ounce price. Look at the allowed list
for South beach and only choose snacks and other foods that are inexpensive. Buy store brands whenever possible. Blocks of cheese are expensive, only buy one. Don't buy lunch meat - really - it has too many nitrates to be healthy, and the natural lunch meat is expensive. Roast your own meat and slice it up. You can control the ingredients 100% and it's cheaper.
Freeze meals. If you make a lasagna (there is a great veggie lasagna recipe here) freeze half for another night. There is less chance of the leftovers going bad.

hmacneil6
06-16-2008, 06:25 PM
I've just got to say that you ladies are amazing!!! Your suggestions and ideas are awesome and such a support. Great job ladies!!

Scarlett
06-17-2008, 12:37 AM
I am a college student on a budget and I allow myself $30-35 per week to spend on food and I have no problem sticking to it. I actually spend less money on food because I am not eating subway 1-2 times per week and grabbing a cup of coffee 3-4 times per week.

The first week I went on phase 1, I used the book as a refrence and put together a make shift menu for the week. I ended up spending $100 and FREAKED out. It turned out that I vastly over estimated how much I would be able to eat and the food lasted for 3 weeks. With a minor trip to the grocery store thrown in.

Now I buy food for the week, I'll eat eggs, egg substitutes, or quiche cups with decaf coffee and v8 juice for breakfast which tends to be cheap...I also snack on string cheese and Almonds which are inexpensive. Then have cottage cheese as a snack. You won't eat as much as you think you will, the food is very filling. I also like previously mentioned tend to cook something and eat it for the next 4 days.

I think one of the best things you can do on this diet is to make sure you EAT all the food you buy, don't let leftovers go to waste and don't let produce or dairy go bad. This oddly keeps me on plan at times. I'll want to cheat but feel like I can't becasue I have a salad in the fridge that is going bad.

Fat Melanie
06-17-2008, 10:35 PM
When I met my husband, he was definitely opposed on principle to no and low-meat meals (and let's not even talk about what the native Wisconsin boy thought of "imitation" meats and cheeses).

Although he wasn't nearly as "slab o' fatty red meat," as he or I thought. He loves fish, and in that respect he has been a good influence on me. Especially since we've moved to Wisconsin where good fish is plentiful. But he also loves Hamburger/Tuna Helper like pasta dishes and tacos, burritos and taco salads.

When I first started the hamburger tvp mixtures, he would have no part of it. When I "snuck" it in he didn't notice, and was ok with that, but reluctantly. That is until it passed the "buddy test" when I had to use it to extend the taco meat for an unexpected crowd of his friends. Now he's a true convert, and reminds me to get tvp when we're running low. Though I have to admit, I think part of the reason he is so "helpful" in this regard is he thinks of it as a way to eat larger portions of "meat-like substance") and still lose weight. He'll even eat an occasional boca burger. I recently made a ham salad (he calls it sham salad) in which I replaced 3/4 of the ham with tvp and wheat berries simmered with ground ham in a bit of ham bouillon flavored broth, and then cooled to make a traditional ham salad with sweet relish and mayo (a lot less mayo was needed because of the moisture of the mixture). I unintentionally made too much (I thought), especially since I thought I'd be eating it myself, but hubby loved it.

I think the secret to converting him to healthier ground meat extenders (I use tvp, wheat berries, cracked wheat, quinoa, beans and lentils, ground chicken) was to do it gradually. If I added white beans to spaghetti, at first he thought they were too "weird" and would pick around them but not complain because the ground beef was still in there. When he started eating the beans, I started decreasing the meat. Same with tacos, he likes beans in tacos, so I just stated gradually adding more tvp and more beans.

I developed the scoopable freezer bag technique to be able to save money and time, and to be able to "sneak in" healthier ingredients easily. Cooking a large batch of beans or ground meat takes nearly as much time as making a small batch, but by freezing it and making sure it freezes crumbly so I can just take out what I need prevents waste and using lack of time as a reason to make a less healthy or less frugal choice. When I was working, I would even freeze pasta this way. With several bags of frozen "speedy ingredients", I had dozens of meals I could pull together in 10 minutes or less.
Even when I choose frozen veggies in the store, I make sure the veggies in the bag are not "block o' veggie," so it's easy to pour out just what I want to use.

I buy a LOT of ziploc bags, and now that we have a dishwasher will even consider washing them. (A tip I found in the book The Tightwad Gazette that I NEVER thought I would use).

I do seriously recommend borrowing it from the library. I found my copy of the three volume set at a garage sale, and I refer to it a lot. Some of the tips you will find are a bit crazy (the tip to swish milk in a jam jar to freezen into a popsicle for kids made me a little nauseous - not sure why as I've definitely eaten stranger things). The frugal websites are also fun to read and helpful. You won't want to use every tip you read, but it helps you realize how many ways there are to save money.
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I've found some really good TVP and soy products in the store, like morningstar farms, which I've loved for years. But I don't know where to go to buy straight up TVP... is it sold at places like Walmart and Food Lion and stuff??

I've seriously got to try the scoopable freezer bag techique. Definitely. Awesome advice! I've also got to try washing my ziplock bags.

I'm heading over to Google right now to google this websites. I love to google things.



I. I also make my own cleaning spray. 1 bottle of spray here is about $4 and I can make ours for about $0.50 a bottle. For tough stuff and raw meat, I just dilute bleach in warm water and pour that into a spray bottle. I can get bleach for $0.50 a gallon when there is a sale.

I do that same exact thing, bleach water mixture is way better than Mr Clean, and stuff like that, cause although Mr Clean apple cleaner smells fabulous, it doesn't disinfect. Bleach does the job.



I think it's rather shocking when you start looking for budget-stretching ideas just how many you can find and where you find them. Things you never thought of as luxury items suddenly seem a huge waste of money. Everyone is different as to what they're willing to substitute or sacrifice and what they're not, as well as how much time and energy they want to put into the "hunt" but again I have to say how addictive it becomes.

I also think how ironic it is that much of what I've found myself doing, seems rather "radical" by modern standards and yet was common practice and doing otherwise would have been odd only a few decades ago. I remember as a kid when helping Mom clean on Saturdays always wanting to get to the rag bag before my brother so I didn't have to dust and clean with underwear. We both wanted to use the old t-shirts, not the underwear. The cabinet was full of butter dishes and Cool-Whip containers, not tupperware. Even people who hadn't had babies in the house in 40 years still had baby food jars for storage in the kitchen and the garage (and the bathroom and for sewing and crafts).

And egg cartons, why on earth did people save egg cartons? I mean when I was a kid, everyone saved them. It's not as if they were really had that many uses, at least not to warrant the six foot tall stacks of egg cartons in eveyone's garage.

I need to start saving my margarine containers. My mom used to do that. I haven't even thought of it recently until you brought it up. Thanks! No idea what the egg cartons are for, though. That's kinda weird, lol! :p



Melanie -

My husband used to be completely 100% opposed to having no meat meals....and then I started implementing no meat meals, and his only other option was to cook for himself. Guess which way he went.

$52 for the rest of the month is tight, but if you use small amounts of meats and different forms of proteins. Frozen veg instead of fresh, etc....you should be fine. You might have to make a couple small sacrifices, though.

$180 a month having meat every night and eating good, healthy foods is going to be tough. If it is absolutely impossible to up your budget, consider changing the way you eat.

I'm looking at the Food Lion circular online right now. Sales ads come out on wednesdays and most produce and meat is freshest on Wednesday as well. I would definitely recommend you getting an MVP card and signing up for a free online coupon service.

Pick up a few dozen eggs. They make for a cheap and healthful breakfast and snack (hardboiled). You can even make them into egg salad with a little celery and onion and have them for lunch.

How does bf feel about fish? Salmon burgers or tuna burgers are great when seasoned correctly, and cheap when you make them with canned salmon or tuna.

lentils make great...everything. We love lentil tacos (lentils cooked down with cumin and chile powder - used in place of meat - resembles refried beans) and taco bake made with lentil taco mix, 1/2 lb. ground beef or turkey, and black beans. If a recipe calls for an entire pepper, use a half pepper - or a 1/4 bag of frozen peppers.

If bf absolutely will not eat something sans meat, make the meat go farther by adding filler. frozen vegetables, beans, etc. You will spend less by making your meat go a little farther.

Use google to your advantage! Search low budget meals - many of them are healthful and inexpensive.

My best advice is to plan ahead. Whenever I go to the grocery store without planning ahead, I always spend twice as much as I wanted to. Go with a list and stick to that list. Resist the urge to buy packaged snacks - they cost entirely too much if you look at the per ounce price. Look at the allowed list
for South beach and only choose snacks and other foods that are inexpensive. Buy store brands whenever possible. Blocks of cheese are expensive, only buy one. Don't buy lunch meat - really - it has too many nitrates to be healthy, and the natural lunch meat is expensive. Roast your own meat and slice it up. You can control the ingredients 100% and it's cheaper.
Freeze meals. If you make a lasagna (there is a great veggie lasagna recipe here) freeze half for another night. There is less chance of the leftovers going bad.

"My husband used to be completely 100% opposed to having no meat meals....and then I started implementing no meat meals, and his only other option was to cook for himself. Guess which way he went." Lol! :D

Yay, tomorrow is Wednesday, so definitely gonna check out the new Food Lion sales. Hope they have some of that chicken breast on sale. I didn't know you could look it up online, actually I'm gonna head on over to food lion's website as well. Then I can get an idea of what sort of stuff to buy. I wonder if Piggy Wiggly has something similar, their meats are usually even cheaper, gotta check that out too.

I love egg salad, excellent idea. Yesterday though I ate so many hardboiled eggs that I felt nauseous but I've been feeling sick anyway, since starting this diet. Hope this "flu" goes away soon.

I actually don't think I've ever tried lentils... I know what they are though, definitely going to try them. Thank you so much for your advice. BTW- is that you in your avatar picture! You are gorgeous!






am a college student on a budget and I allow myself $30-35 per week to spend on food and I have no problem sticking to it. I actually spend less money on food because I am not eating subway 1-2 times per week and grabbing a cup of coffee 3-4 times per week.

The first week I went on phase 1, I used the book as a refrence and put together a make shift menu for the week. I ended up spending $100 and FREAKED out. It turned out that I vastly over estimated how much I would be able to eat and the food lasted for 3 weeks. With a minor trip to the grocery store thrown in.

Now I buy food for the week, I'll eat eggs, egg substitutes, or quiche cups with decaf coffee and v8 juice for breakfast which tends to be cheap...I also snack on string cheese and Almonds which are inexpensive. Then have cottage cheese as a snack. You won't eat as much as you think you will, the food is very filling. I also like previously mentioned tend to cook something and eat it for the next 4 days.

I think one of the best things you can do on this diet is to make sure you EAT all the food you buy, don't let leftovers go to waste and don't let produce or dairy go bad. This oddly keeps me on plan at times. I'll want to cheat but feel like I can't becasue I have a salad in the fridge that is going bad.

How do you make those quiche cups? Sounds delicious. Good advice!



I've just got to say that you ladies are amazing!!! Your suggestions and ideas are awesome and such a support. Great job ladies!!

I completely agree. Amen to that!
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kaplods
06-17-2008, 11:37 PM
The cheapest place to find the tvp granules are health food stores. Even those that charge crazy prices, usually sell the bulk tvp fairly reasonably.

And the egg cartons - the only place we ever used them was for mixing paints and craft projects in school (and sometimes at home to copy the craft projects we'd done in school). Craft projects that only used them because the teachers knew everybody had access to them. Tuna cans were also quite popular for school craft projects. And dead leaves.

zeffryn
06-18-2008, 12:27 PM
I'm with Kaplods. I use the egg cartons for a few things actually....one, for sorting our craft supplies (they are great for mixing paint as well) and two, for starting seedlings in the spring before I can plant them in the ground. I have a stack a couple feet tall.

I get TVP at the local health food store. I think I pay about a dollar a pound for them...maybe a little more, but not much.

I told DH that I included them in ground meat mixtures the other night. He didn't believe me. HA!

Fat Melanie
06-18-2008, 02:33 PM
Ooh, never thought to use them as paint containers.. that could come in handy when my son's older.

The only health food store in this area is owned by my dad's horrible, horrible ex girlfriend... She can't stand me (feeling's oh so mutual), but I'm going to go anyway, because she has to be nice to the customer. :D Customer's always right! :D Plus her store has other cool stuff as I recall, that I could use on the SBD, like toasted soy nuts, and organic stuff.

zeffryn
06-19-2008, 09:28 AM
Melanie -
I checked at my local Albertsons yesterday and they did carry TVP, although it was prepackaged and not bulk. The easiest to find will probably Bob's Red Mill brand. I'm not sure if you have Albertsons, but it might be worth it to check any upscale grocery stores you have...it might be an alternative to going to see that woman. ;) Also, since the 'green' movement became popular, I've been seeing more and more organic stuff in the regular supermarket. It definitely makes it easier on me when I don't have to make two (or sometimes three) to get everything my family needs. Also, if you want your local grocer to carry something - just ask! My grocer has been more than accommodating when it came to special orders. Mind you, I buy what I've ordered all the time, so he stocks it on the regular....but asking can't hurt!

Also, I left a comment on your latest blog entry....if you so care to check it :)

PamByr
06-20-2008, 01:50 PM
I am going to date myself but the reason why our moms saved egg cartons is that quite often the local farmers would "come to town" and sell fresh farm eggs so if you wanted fresh farm eggs (and who wouldn't?) needed something to put them in, right? That is the reason why.

However, like everything in life, once you start collecting something, you don't know when to stop.

I made a file folder called "Cheap Eats" just based on all the good advice here.

PS I am the old Pamatga. My computer got hit by lightning and 3FC website didn't recognize me when I went to log on from this computer. Hope that squares things away of who I am.;)

Fat Melanie
06-20-2008, 08:01 PM
Hi Zeffryn,

We don't have any Albertson's, (not anywhere near me, not sure if they have them in NC), but I will check Harris Teeter, they're the highest quality grocery store I can think of. Food Lion just added one whole section devoted to organic stuff... it's awesome. Thanks for your comment on my blog, I've heard of fitday but never used it. About to make an account, it sounds like it will be very helpful to me.


Ahh, that would make sense, PamByr. Now we know. :)

briezee
06-20-2008, 08:22 PM
zeffryn, I bought it once, long ago, same brand. Most of the Bob Mill's stuff is in the flour section in my King Soopers. Is the TVP there as well where you shop or off in another section?

My use for egg cartons is for holding small groups of beads when I'm beading, but I don't need lots for that!

Barb0522
06-22-2008, 11:58 PM
Scouts use egg cartons to make fire starters with wax and dryer lint.

You can also use them to help a raw egg survive in an egg toss.

I'm not caught up reading the old posts but I'll try to post an update on Twilight Camp tomorrow.

Ruthxxx
06-23-2008, 06:21 AM
Lots of good budgeting ideas here but we are off topic. I'll close and may copy some of the ideas into a Sticky for the FAQ.