Shoestring Meals - Cost Of Weight Loss

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11-17-2009, 09:21 AM
I've been going over my budget for the last couple of months and it seemed that my grocery bill has been getting higher and higher. Of course with the recent economical situation I've been getting used to that but I have been spending an awful lot more on food since I stopped eating rubbish.

This got me thinking about all of the other little 'extras' I've been spending to treat myself before, if I was feeling a bit down I'd get a bar of chocolate or an iced bun and have change out of a pound but my little pick me ups are now about going to the hairdresser or beauticians, which, is costing about fifty times as much.

Then I get to the new clothes and I don't even want to think about how much my 'in-between' clothes have cost. And the books, I must have bought thirty books trying to work out why I was eating the way I did.

Has anyone else managed to do the whole weight loss thing on the cheap and does anyone have any suggestions for feel-good treats that don't cost a fortune?

11-17-2009, 09:48 AM
Hmmm. I first of all think that any penny spent on "weight loss" is money VERY well spent. Certainly better then remaining fat, getting sick and losing wages from being absent at work and spending money on doctor's bills. That to me is frightening!!

I know that I spend LOTS on healthy foods. Veggies and fruits are LOTS more expensive then rice, pasta and packaged cookies. But I also rarely eat out and eat very little processed expensive foods, which saves $.

As for buying clothing, it's all part of the package. Yes I had to buy some "interim" clothing that I gave away fairly quickly, but I was thrilled to do so. I also get great bargains now that I can shop in regular sized stores.

I really think at the end of the day it's much cheaper to adhere to a healthy lifestyle then to not. Even given the fact that I've become a HUGE clothes horse, have more frequent haircuts, pedicures, etc.

11-17-2009, 09:50 AM
There's no reason to spend more on food when eating better.

The clothes...not much you can do there. I shop second-hand stores and beg for hand-me-downs. From time to time, I'll buy some nice clothes if they really strike my fancy, but I'm not going to invest much money in clothes for sizes I won't be in for very long.

I don't buy books unless I know it's going to take me a long time to read them. The library is a great resource and, if your library doesn't have it, ask them to do an inter-library loan. I've gotten dozens of books that way.

I know that I spend LOTS on healthy foods. Veggies and fruits are LOTS more expensive then rice, pasta and packaged cookies. But I also rarely eat out and eat very little processed expensive foods, which saves $.
This has been so counter to my experience. My family eats less, so I can buy less. F.ex. the other night I made grilled tuna steaks (~$4 TJs), wilted greens (~$2 worth) and oven-roasted veggies (~$2 worth). Yeah, this was just for me and hubby, instead of heading out to a restaurant. Coupled with half a bottle of 3 Buck Chuck, the whole meal came to a whopping $10, about a quarter of what the same meal would have cost at a restaurant.

When we were eating "junk," our grocery bill was around $100-$125 a week for our family of 5. With "real food," I've managed to pare that down to $75 a week.

11-17-2009, 10:15 AM
I never really calculated how much I was spending before, and sometimes I feel like it's more now, sometimes less. I mean, yes, fruits and veggies cost a LOT of money. And I find that seafood is really helpful for me in weight loss, because I love love love it, but don't overindulge, and if prepared properly, is very very good for you. But it's really expensive.

However, I don't order out once or twice a week just for me, which is also very expensive. But the pasta and cheese that I used to buy was super cheap. So I think that it might come out to about the same, or mabye a little more. It's worth it though, and at the moment, I can afford a little bump in food money, although not a lot (I'm a grad student, making a pathetic stipend!)

KaCee J
11-17-2009, 10:18 AM
I think mastercard had the right idea,
Healthy whole foods...$125
New pants b/c the old ones don't fit...$30
Being fit, healthy, and capable of walking a flight of stairs...PRICELESS!!!

I do spend more on food now, but as the weight comes off I will be able to shop in regular sized stores and not spend an arm and a leg for jumbo clothes anymore...its a win-win really

11-17-2009, 10:21 AM
I don't buy treats or rewards, and I don't eat any sort of processed or diet foods, so my food bills have gone down. In fact, it's become an issue with food possibly going to waste because it sometimes can't be eaten quickly enough. Since I was cooking from whole foods before I started eating better, there really hasn't been a change in the food I buy, only the quantity.

I'm resisting interim clothing buying and plan to wait until I can't take in my clothes. I think that's going to be the only expense I anticipate with losing weight.

It's going to be hard to say this without it coming off badly, so I'm going to preface it by saying that absolutely no judgment or attitude is intended in this statement, but I don't want to reward myself with special purchases as I make progress. I want the progress itself to be the reward. I think that eating properly is something that I need to view as normal, not as something which I need to give myself presents for doing. That's just for me though. It's not my concern how others motivate themselves. If something works for you, more power to you!

Sanna Maria
11-17-2009, 10:28 AM
Trudiha, seeing as you live in the UK too, you might want to look into getting fruit and veg at Lidl, usually it's quite cheap and good quality, class 2 veg is cheaper too if you don't mind that they look a bit funny sometimes:) Also some asian shops sell big packs of spices and rice etc. for cheaper than most supermarkets.
As for rewards, maybe little things like nail varnishes or a new dvd could be nice. Maybe you could sell the diet books and clothes you don't need anymore on Ebay and use the proceeds for something fun like a weekend trip or clothes or a photo session.

Thighs Be Gone
11-17-2009, 10:43 AM
I am a frugalista in many, many respects. (But in a good way and you wouldn't think it by looking at me!) I don't do gym memberships, programs, personal trainers, etc. That saves some money. Also, I almost eat out zero--no fast food, usually no restaurants, etc. I focus on buying whole foods. I like fresh fruits and veggies and lean proteins. Fruits and veggies--I buy what is in season and usually the least expensive. Right now we are eating apples, squashes of all kinds, berries (great sale this week) and vine tomatoes--also very cheap right now.

I love the bulk bins. Oats, raw almonds, raisins, quinoa, brown rice, etc. Money saving compared to packaged varieties and deelish--seems much fresher too. ETA--LENTILS! Oh, the beauty of lentils/beans of all types. Beautiful protein for such little money! You can cook them in soups, make burgers with them, make hummus. OMG--possiblities are limitless!

Protein--we like fish and lots of it. When the sockeye salmon went to $4 a pound I bought an entire case. We also eat turkey--again, I wait until the sales run. I am getting free turkeys right now because of the grocery store specials for Thanksgiving. I may not use all of them--some may go to the food pantry actually.

As far as "rewarding" myself I do it often. Like, everyday! My "rewards" are never foods of limited nutritional value. I do however, purchase things like fresh raspberries, a high quality bottle of Olive Oil, $18 a pound Halibut on occasion, etc. I also reward myself with a new lipstick ($5 or something), high end running socks, etc. Anything to keep me focused and encourage my new found lifestyle.

I cannot really see that my grocery bill has gone up since we ceased eating out. I see our food as an investment in our health and happiness. My entire family eats this way and it makes me proud as a mom and a wife to know I am giving this to them as well as myself.

By the way, I have an enormous second freezer that stays packed. I wish I didn't have to freeze back food but because I buy on sale it's a necessity. You might find freezing back to be budget friendly as well.

Also, last tip. USE WHAT YOU HAVE. Don't let it go bad! Check the bins daily in your fridge to decide what needs to be used up and find a way to prepare it. In general, people throw way too much money down the drain on food that has just been neglected!

11-17-2009, 11:04 AM
This has been so counter to my experience. My family eats less, so I can buy less. F.ex. the other night I made grilled tuna steaks (~$4 TJs), wilted greens (~$2 worth) and oven-roasted veggies (~$2 worth). Yeah, this was just for me and hubby, instead of heading out to a restaurant. Coupled with half a bottle of 3 Buck Chuck, the whole meal came to a whopping $10, about a quarter of what the same meal would have cost at a restaurant.

It's funny, because I think we're eating MORE. We eat enormous portions of vegetables. Just enormous. And those veggies DO cost more then say a pound of pasta. Or cups of rice, cans of corn, etc. For example, the other night, I made two bunches of broccoli at $1.79 each = $3.58. One pound of pasta = $1.00 or less if it's on sale. But I'm fine with it. That pound of pasta comes with a much bigger price tag that's got nothing to do with money. :)

11-17-2009, 11:10 AM
I found with searching around I was able to find produce cheaper at smaller stores than the large chains. I used to pay $6 for strawberries- at a local market it's $1.50! I used to pay $3 an avocado- local market 2 for $1! ONE pomegranate for $4, local market $1!

Check around your area- I probably spend like $10-20 on produce a week now and it's a TON of produce!

11-17-2009, 11:32 AM
Well, for me the cost of weight loss HAS TO BE cheap. I admit I bought a few exercise gadgets. One I think that has made a HUGE difference is my pedometer which I call my "lazy meter". I love it, it has a heart rate monitor and alarms you if your HR is above maximum or below target. It also has calories burned per step. (about .045 for me). $40

I also have to brag on the perfect pull up bar. I love that nifty thing especially the pefect abs, and dip bar package. all 3 were $88

NOW about food. I buy nothing "diet". I buy whole wheat bread, salad, veggies, fruit, whole milk, fish, beef, chicken, soup**(this is so important to fill me), and drink only water and green tea. Right now, I'm not buying much meat, because we have a ton of Deer meat to use up. I use frozen pizzas (390cs 12g), and egg rolls (130 cs 2g fat) when we have to have TV dinners or I need a quick lunch. I don't buy the pre-packaged meal things.

I am guilty of trying plans, I loved WW (shortened form of cs counting). I DID IT ONLINE. For free. I got the formulas from a friend, and made a chart in excel. I tried Fast 5 and it curved my gross binging habits. I lost 20 lbs! Cost me nothing but discipline. Now I'm back to the TRIED FOR ME AND TRUE. Calorie counting.

Weight loss REALLY IS less food in than expenditure. So if you have some exercise stuff (if not walking is great!), and the ability to track calories expended, then it really costs nothing more than a pen and piece of paper EXTRA than what you have been spending on groceries.

11-17-2009, 11:34 AM
My grocery bill isn't very much and has gone down over the years. When I starting eating a lot more beans, the cost went down (a pound of dried beans is $1-$2 versus which equals something like 2 lbs of cooked beans, maybe more). Now that I'm vegan, my groceries basically consist of veggies(often organic), fruits(often organic), beans (most often bulk organic), grains (most often bulk organic), spices (which last a while) and some other stuff. It really doesn't cost much.

The other day I was shopping with my husband and he wanted some cereal but even the value priced organic cereal was $3/lb. I told him to just get it and stop whining about the price. I feel it is ok to splurge once in a while on certain things and besides, the cereal (2 lbs of it) will last him a month.

11-17-2009, 11:34 AM
wow, I've spent a small fortune on diet programs (lost and gained back the weight). at the same time, I wouldn't have been able to lose it and keep it off if I hadn't learned what I had from doing those programs. I learned to eat a balanced diet that way too.

The money for the gym I consider extremely well spent, about $50/mo.

we're willing to spend bogus billions on education and other self improvement. it's definitely worth staying healthy to ward off all those possible medical costs being overweight can bring on, not to mention quality of life.

cheaper rewards for me might be planning a day trip to go hiking/walking somewhere nice. maybe give myself the time to go to a museum, or do something else, like Central Park, that I like to do, that's basically free that I wouldn't do otherwise. Plan a picnic (make the food at home and take it somewhere nice). well, sorry, this isn't actually the time of year to do that, ha.

I like the "doing" rewards.

11-17-2009, 11:55 AM
The biggest extra expense for me has been interim clothing. Our food bills have actually gone down, since we rarely eat out, and I do cook everything from scratch, including our weekly loaf of whole grain bread, from whole foods. Beans, rice, other grainy-type staples I buy dried and in bulk, we've got any number of small, independent greengrocers, fishmongers and a traditional market in our town, and unlike practically all the major grocery stores, the fruit & veg aren't wrapped in plastic, so I don't need to buy four or six of something, when I only want or need two. Also, I only really buy seasonal produce, which does save money. Transportation costs have gone down, too, because I don't drive anywhere I can possibly walk. I've also all but given up meat entirely, although the spouse still eats it, and that will shave a pretty penny off your food bills. Be all of that as it may, good food is something I don't mind spending a lot on.

11-17-2009, 12:09 PM
I'm one of those people for whom buying healthier food IS more expensive. I can't even get a head of lettuce for under $2 ON SALE. Chicken breast? $7 a pound. Fish? Can't get it in my town really, if it's not in the stick variety. Lean beef? Not sold here. Ground turkey? A no go. Whole wheat bread? $3 for a small loaf. If I broke down and wanted a hot dog, the regular variety is .99 for a package, and the Oscar Mayer "Light" weiners are $4 a pack. No low fat cheeses, and the regular is $3.50 per bag, shredded. Don't even ask about block cheese - it's crazy. A single red bell pepper is $1.50. I can't even make a good salad for less than $6.

And my store doesn't have or accept coupons.

Shopping for healthy groceries absolutely CAN be more expensive, depending on where you live. Before healthy eating, a week's worth of groceries at my local store cost $80 for TWO PEOPLE. Now it's far over $100 if we shop here. We've started having to travel out of town for our groceries...for two weeks at a bigger store it's $120, PLUS a bunch of money for gas to get there and back.

As for rewards, I like the idea of DOING something that doesn't cost much, or anything, as a reward. But if that's not your thing...why not save $5 for every 5 pounds you lose, put it in a jar and splurge on something BIG when you're done?

11-17-2009, 12:20 PM
Mindi - are you able to grow any of your own veggies? I also know others make their own bread (I don't eat it often enough to really do that).

I do think 'diet' packaged products cost a bit which explains the hot dogs/cheese. Your produce costs do seem slightly high although we are lucky in that we have asian markets near us were we can get $20 for a 3-4 bags of veggies/fruit and $15 will also buy a 50 lb bag of brown rice (I haven't done this, yet but I usually buy smaller bags of rice).

11-17-2009, 02:03 PM
Here is an interesting article about costs of nutritious diets. As they say, it depends on what you personally define as nutritious. Some define it as organic food, some define it with respect to amounts of animal protein and dairy, some define it with respect to veggies, some defined it with respect to how radically you want to change what you eat. The cost of a nutritious diet will depend on how you define it.

costs also vary according to region that you live in and how easy it is to sustain your own garden. Those of us in the North can't garden much in the months of January or February. Those of us in Arizona have a greater chance of year-round veggie gardening. Those of us in Alaska have to pay a superhigh premium for dairy and fresh produce. Those of us in Wisconsin might find dairy is more available and a great price.

I don't think anyone can say comfortably that the short term cost of two boxes of Kraft Dinner for dinner is more expensive than chicken breasts, veggies and potatoes/rice, especially if you find the KD at the dollar store at 2 boxes for a buck fifty total. The long term costs with respect to health care/medication and so on from an insufficient diet is a different matter.

And England! Don't get me started! Fruit/veg is way more expensive than say picking up a sausage roll for lunch. It just comes down to what you want to eat and how you want to live and if the extra cost if you find it is costing you more to eat more healthfully is worth it to you.

11-17-2009, 02:04 PM
I've got ROOM to grow veggies...but not enough time to put into a garden of any size to make it worthwhile. We've thought about it, but work responsibilities keep me from a lot of free time at home....

Our store is horrible. I'm in a town of 3,500 with ONE locally owned store. They don't get any call for health-conscious foods, so they don't stock them. And when they do, they totally blow the price out of proportion to pay for the small quantities they order. I think we do ok, and we're trying HARD to condense out of town grocery shopping trips to once a month or once every three weeks, and stocking up as much as possible on those trips...

11-17-2009, 02:20 PM
I guess it depends on how you ate before. Personally, I was a binge eater, so I would buy huge amounts of food. Now I eat for one person instead of multiple people ;) and it's much cheaper.

11-17-2009, 02:39 PM
It's really fascinating to hear about everyone's different experiences. I think that here in England it's pretty much accepted that buying unprocessed food, especially in the winter, is much more expensive than buying fresh. For example it costs about twice as much to buy a pound of fresh potatoes as it does a pound of frozen fries, not that I'm eating many potatoes or even ever ate many frozen fries, but you get the idea. :)

Also, it seems to be that any coupons or special offers are for branded processed food, maybe supermarkets don't think that offering cheap apples will attract as many people as offering cheap apple flavoured puddings?

When the sockeye salmon went to $4 a pound I bought an entire case.

I don't know if I should laugh or cry at this, I'm currently paying about $20 per lb for salmon.

11-17-2009, 03:09 PM
I probably am spending more on this lifestyle, but I feel that the rewards more than outweigh the increased costs.

As far as clothing, I LOVE thrift stores and frequent them often!

I do have a gym membership, at work ( I work at a university), $200 a year. And yes I do use it, 4-5x a week. I also have a recumbent exercise bike at home that I ride 6x a week. DH and I did the c25k program this Spring/Summer for FREE! And he's still running :)!

As far as food, I don't really know that I changed the way I cooked so much as the amount that I cook. I am cooking alot more, which my family of 4 really appreciates. I'm a from scratch, farm cook. I don't necessarily cook low-fat, but I assume that my home-cooking is far healthier, are far more filling, than some processed box meal. I do love the grill, my crockpot and the breadmaker. We eat lots of beans, lentils and potatoes. One of my family's favorite meals is homemade soup in the crockpot, tonight is chicken and brown rice, with homemade lower fat muffins or oatmeal bread from the breadmaker (tonight--yum!). Tonight is going to be a crazy night but dinner will be ready when we get home. I also try to have some easier things on hand for times when I'm unable to cook a more intricate meal. I aim for 4 nights a week with one night of an easy meal.

Last Winter, while on a kick to pay off credit card debt (done!), I created a rotating 6 week menu plan of my family's favorites (some come around more than once) and grocery lists to go with it. I do follow the sales and usually do a big shop every 2 weeks on payday, followed by a weekly trip to Aldi for milk and produce. My freezer is full. Last week I bought 2 turkeys at .39 a lb and would have bought more but have no more room.

When meat is on sale, I buy. A couple of weeks ago, ground beef was 1.59 a lb. I bought 20 lbs and promptly browned 10 lbs. DH portioned the cooked meat into 1/2 lb baggies for the freezer and presto I have browned ground beef for 20 meals! I also buy stew meat and portion that out into .75 lb a meal. I cook a couple of lbs of chicken breasts in my crockpot, chop it up, and freeze it in .75 lb amounts. This makes cooking so much easier when you work outside the home like me.

11-17-2009, 06:42 PM
losermom, you have such good advice, since I am in nursing school, I try to cook more ahead in my free time and freeze stuff. Since we have about 80 lbs of deer meat--I'm not familiar with cooking---I have been a little slack. I love Aldi's for produce. I need to go more often.

11-17-2009, 06:51 PM
I guess it depends on how you ate before. Personally, I was a binge eater, so I would buy huge amounts of food. Now I eat for one person instead of multiple people ;) and it's much cheaper.

Ditto, I spend a bit less on food now than I did before. I am buying more clothes, and spend more on workout shoes stuff like that. But I'm not breaking the bank and the results are worth the extra money.

11-17-2009, 07:00 PM
Just another amen here with regard to eating out. I do not ... or at least very very seldom do. It drives me crazy to spend on one meal what I would spend on several days worth of groceries.

And another vote for stocking up when stuff is on sale. This week baby carrots and broccoli are not bad. We'll eat lots of both. Frozen salmon fillets are $6 a pound so I got a few packages for the freezer too.

Pork is not bad lately either. I wished I'd got several little roasts that were on sale last week. I did one in the crockpot while I was at work ... it was fabulous!
Oh another one ... those little hams? waaay cheaper than deli meat or prepackaged slices. We just sliced it ourselves.

Arctic Mama
11-17-2009, 10:17 PM
We live in a vey expensive area for produce - so we have to think outside the box to get good fruits and veggies on a very tight budget. For us, a CSA box of organic veggies every other week, plus frozen staple veggies, keep our quality high and cost fairly low. I spend many more hours in the kitchen cooking everything from scratch but the food tastes better and is healthier, even if the cost may be slightly more.

Overall we're spending slightly less eating healthy, but most of that comes from a decrease in convenience foods and eating out - cost against cost per meal I'd say I'm probably spending slightly more, but that is maximizing ingredient quality on the same monetary budget.

11-17-2009, 10:39 PM
I buy healthy food in bulk from Costco. Honestly it's a lot less expensive than buying all sorts of crap from the grocery store.

Clothes...well. That's a whole different story. ;)

11-17-2009, 10:51 PM
Hmm, interesting discussion. I haven't really noticed any change in our grocery bills since my husband and I have started eating better, but I haven't really been looking, either. We do like to eat out at least once or twice a week - I make all of our meals (lunches and dinners), and I like the break from cooking. I haven't reached the point where I need a new wardrobe yet - I hadn't even been thinking about "interim" clothing!

MsDiana 08
11-17-2009, 11:25 PM
weight loss is expensive!!!! but it is worth it.

healthy food is more expensive.
the gym is expensive.

11-17-2009, 11:31 PM
Calorie counting really works for me. I spend about the same on groceries now that I did before. We eat less, higher quality food now.

Clothes - thrift and second-hand shops were my fried. I literally rented clothes. I took in a bag, which netted me a coupon towards a purchase of smaller stuff.

Inexpensive rewards:
1. Check out an audio book or workout dvd at the library.
2. Bubble bath
3. Give yourself a pedicure/manicure with a fun new polish
4. New flavored teas
5. Take your outgrown clothing to a consignment shop and use the profit for something you've wanted for a while
6. A new haircut
7. A new workout video or piece of equipment
8. Update your pictures online
9. Donate food in the amount of your loss to a food pantry/charity
10. Take a "me" day - visit a favorite spot, call a friend you haven't seen in a while, window shop, picnic in the park - whatever makes you feel refreshed and pampered :)

11-18-2009, 12:15 AM
I've been a bit busy and haven't posted to much the last few weeks, but I think I can boil this down to one thing.

I'd rather spend a bit more money on food, clothes, the gym, books or whatever.

Look at it this way, do you want to buy new undies every few months because your old ones are to big and are falling down, or spend the money on new undies because you've gained weight and your old ones are crawling into the great unknown?

That aside, my grocery bill didn't really change. Clothes, I can sew, so I can take mine up, that can get you thru a size or 2. Thrift shops, rummage rooms, garage sales, trade with family and friends, all great places to supplement your wardrobe.

If you find non food rewards pricey, our local beauty college does everything at a reduced rate. Or find some friends and have a manicure/pedicure party together, or do each others hair, or take your dogs to the park, visit a museum, take up a new hobby, bird watching, it gets you outside, and you have to walk around. Volunteer at an animal shelter, or a homeless shelter or something.

Lots of options, spread your wings, try something new.

11-18-2009, 08:20 AM
I spend way less for sure on food. The main reason is just not oging out ot eat fast food 2 times a day or more many times a week. I shop at Giant I'm not sure how if you have one in your area but they have great prices on veggies and fruits. I spend less on them then I would the junk food and even get great prices for lean meats.

11-18-2009, 08:55 AM
We spend about the same for food...we are lucky to live in area that has quite a few farmer's markets plus with meat we buy in bulk at Sam's.

If I did spend more on food my weight loss would still be worth every single penny ;)

11-18-2009, 10:40 AM
I spend more only because I buy whatever I want as long as it's healthy. I don't care if it's on sale or if it's expensive, if I want it I get it. This is because it's really easy for me to eat junk food and not care what it is, for an example ice cream, I'd buy whatever was on sale, Edy's, Breyer's, etc because who cares it's going to be delicious anyway. But healthy foods I sometimes have to force myself to eat it, so I buy what really looks good to give me incentive to eat it. So it cost more but it's not putting a huge dent in my pocket and it's totally worth it.

11-18-2009, 11:21 AM
I spend way less for sure on food. The main reason is just not oging out ot eat fast food 2 times a day or more many times a week. I shop at Giant I'm not sure how if you have one in your area but they have great prices on veggies and fruits. I spend less on them then I would the junk food and even get great prices for lean meats.

Wow! I avoid Giant because their prices are expensive.

03-10-2010, 07:07 PM
I remember Magruders (as opposed to Whole Foods, Safeway or Giant) as being a cost effective place. Buying on sale and in season.

03-10-2010, 08:05 PM
I used to shop at Magruder's when it was on my way home from work. Now, I've actually switched to buying to a place called "My Organic Market". They have pretty good prices on produce even if it is organic. Some stuff (out of season) tends to be more costly but I've been buying organic avocados for 99 cents each there lately and organic apples about $1.69/lb.

03-11-2010, 02:06 PM
I shop at MOM's ocassionally primarily for spices and when I was baking break I loved they had the whole wheat white flour and great baking supplies.

If you aren't concerned about organic, I've found that Lotte's and Qmart have good prices on fresh produce. They are both large Asian markets about the size of a large Safeway. I can get a cart full of groceries-produce, tofu and fish for ~$50 for 2 people-one is almost a vegetarian. I love it.

Large Asian markets tend to have good prices because they have high turnover. The smaller mom and pop stores are just the opposite, very expensive and limited selection.

03-11-2010, 03:49 PM
I love Lotte and Qmart too! Qmart is on my way home so I often shop there for produce and they have fresh tofu there as well. Love asian markets :)

04-11-2010, 04:35 PM
Good idea on the beauty college. I'm not sure where in the UK you are based, but in London there are several where you can get a full body massage for 20. Also, you can get your haircut at Headmasters on a standby appointment for 20. Or if your brave you can go to the Toni and Guy academy and get it done there for free or a fiver. I went a few times... no complaints, but I found they tend to be a little scissor happy and thin out my hair too much (I have really thick hair); Headmasters on the other hand cut it just how I ask them too.

For food, I've always spent loads on good quality foods. I think it's worth it. I only buy whole foods and that's surely cheaper than pre-packed/pre-prepared foods. Fresh fruits and veg on the other hand... no way around that.

04-11-2010, 07:18 PM
Another vote for larger Asian markets. I wish we had them here but we have Sun Harvest which is very good both for quality and price.

I haven't had a raise in my food budget in 4 years but with careful shopping I haven't needed one and still we eat healthy.