General chatter - Craving bad food




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Serval87
10-05-2011, 12:31 PM
Because my husband and I only get $224 a month for food (food stamps), we always run out of the better tasting food (like processed food, snack foods, and chocolate) toward the second half of the month. The end of the month should be a detoxing period for us, because we're left with healthier food, because our little "diet splurges" are gone. Anyway, I was supposed to go grocery shopping on the 3rd, but my mom couldn't take me, because she had no money for gas, and I couldn't give her any, because my husband's ssi got cut dramatically, and we haven't gotten all our monthly bills yet, so we don't know if we're going to have any left for anything "extra" or not, if that makes sense.

Anyway. I was wondering if anyone else has the problem ... like if you only get groceries once or twice a month for the whole month, and if that affects your mentality any. I ask this, because I start to crave "junk foods" and sugar and stuff like that so bad near the end of the month, and at the beginning, before I buy groceries. I can't even write on my stories, because all I can think about is buying groceries, and then I see fast food commercials on, and it makes it worse.

If anyone else ever feels like this, what do you do? I know that eventually I will need to give up these foods for good, but I'm so addicted.


QuilterInVA
10-05-2011, 01:14 PM
You shouldn't be wasting money at any time of the month on junk. As long as you eat it you'll crave it. I get by on SS and am a lot healthier because I have to use the grocery money I have on healthier food - beans, fruits and veggies that are in season and on sale, skim milk, and I get bread at the day old bakery outlet.

kateleestar
10-05-2011, 01:19 PM
I don't get any assistance and for my DH and I, I don't spend anywhere near $224 a month on groceries. Wow! I think you need to re-evaluate what you are buying. And soon.


Serval87
10-05-2011, 01:24 PM
Reevaluate how?

I buy a couple things that I crave for a couple meals near the beginning of the month, because I'm craving it so bad. And, honestly, the longer I go without eating what I'm craving the worse the cravings get, and the less I can focus on more important things like my writing.


kateleestar, what are you buying that keeps you in the food the whole month if you're not spending that much? I've noticed that our old diet (mostly processed junk) lasted us most of the month, and now that I've been trying to eat healthier we only get food for about half the month. I buy dry beans, frozen fruit and veggies (I was buying fresh, and it barely lasted us half the month), Greek yogurt, cheese, bread, canned fish/frozen fish, tortillas, frozen chicken ... stuff like that. Maybe some cereal and coconut or almond milk.

nina125
10-05-2011, 01:35 PM
My husband & I spend less than $50 a week... Around $200 a month for groceries and we eat organic meat & veggies which are very pricey. When I got laid off from work, we spent $20-30 a week on groceries. We never bought anything boxed or canned (except for tomato paste). We found an Asian store and bought fresh veggies for less than $15 for 2 weeks. Fresh veggies like cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, carrots will last a week or two in your fridge.

The problem with processed & refined foods is that you crave it the more you eat it. Ignore your cravings for a couple of weeks and they will go away by themselves. Also, get checked out if you are insulin resistant or diabetic..that would definitely fuel craving for carbs.

berryblondeboys
10-05-2011, 01:40 PM
I don't know how you all spend so little. I am shopping for a family of 5 and I spend $200 a WEEK. And I make our bread and make our yogurt. Yes, we buy organic milk and eggs and meat, but almost no processed foods at all.

I used to buy veggies at an international market, but half of it was bad within a day or two - quality was off always on half of it, but yes it was cheaper, but I'm not buying at Whole Foods all the time either (will buy meats there as it's higher quality and milk as it's cheaper than at other stores).

And this is for 3 meals a day per person, every day. We don't eat out ever... like twice a year.

Serval87
10-05-2011, 01:40 PM
There aren't any stores like that where I live, nina125. I only have access to Aldi, Save-a-lot, Walmart, Kroger, and Foodlion. Organic is expensive here. Aldi and Save-a-lot are cheap on processed stuff, but their fresh and frozen veggies aren't very cheap anymore. I can load up on frozen veggies from Kroger when they're 10 for 10, and that's the cheapest vegetables I can get. We actually splurged on a chest freezer before husband's check got cut, so we could grab frozen veggies when they went on sale and stock up. That has seemed to help a little, but to be honest ... it gets boring, and doesn't taste nearly as good as junk food that I crave. (Yes, I know typical fat-girl response). I just hate feeling this way. It's almost like a drug addiction withdrawal or something.

Ashley777
10-05-2011, 01:40 PM
Serval87, sounds like you are having a difficult time. I so understand the cravings of food, many of us do. Having limited grocery money and deciding what to buy can be very hard sometimes. the gocery buying doesnt affect my mentality but I do have times I eat great and times I dont and if I do not have the money to go buy the junk it is hard to work thru those feelings. I know many people who struggle with emotions and food and me being one of them. It takes a lot of work and I try to just take it one day at a time and many days I succeed and many days I don't , our thoughts and emotions play a big role in our lives and we don't have to listen to them all the time.
i wish you hugs and encouragement today - one day at a time and I hope you get some encouragment from sharing your struggles. It helps to have others who understand where your at.

Serval87
10-05-2011, 01:49 PM
Thank you, Ashley777. That means a lot. :)

Serval87
10-05-2011, 01:53 PM
I've actually lost the last 5 or so lbs by eating ramen and Pepsi max (also, I've been exercising almost every day). I overeat on healthy food just like I do on junk food.

nina125
10-05-2011, 02:04 PM
How about you try to cut one junk food off the menu every month and see how that works? You could start by quitting soda the first month, candy the next, chips the month after, etc. This way you wont feel completely overwhelmed by the changes.

kateleestar
10-05-2011, 02:09 PM
Last week I spent something like $106 at the "regular" store and that food will last us till about the 22nd. Along with the things I get at the farmers market - spent $23 - we will be fine and dandy.

This does not include things I already have, like spices and seasonings.

I bought chicken in a multi-pack, frozen. I had my coupons for my frozen veggies that ended up to be B1G1, I got 20. I got pork chops on sale. Pasta for .79 a box, we have it at least once a week. I got cereal for breakfasts, I got a gallon of skim milk for $1.99. I got old fashioned oats. I got brown rice at the mexican market, along with some more veggies and a single steak to stir fry.. I spent $8 there.

This has already fed us for 5 days, I went to the store on Saturday. I have rice for my mexican rice and my sushi, and my stirfry. I have steak for stirfry, chicken for fajitas. The money I spent will cover food till 10/22 when I go to the store again. The only thing I might stop and get is milk, because that won't last, but that's only $1.99. We will likely go out to dinner once before then, because our 3 year anniv is on 10/18, so itll feed us for 21 days. I love my coupons, and I'm cheap. If I have to stop at two stores to get a deal, I will, and I live 'in town' so they arent far apart.

Do you coupon? It's great! I saved $30 some last store visit! ETA: I shop at 2 local stores, and Wal-Mart. :D

mandalinn82
10-05-2011, 02:15 PM
I second on the coupons. You can find coupons for healthy foods (we've used them at our house, recently, for almond milk, nuts, Dulcinea watermelons, Del Monte fresh pineapples, yogurt, brown rice, wheat pasta, and whole grain cereal) that, combined with a sale, can get you the healthy stuff for less than the price of the junk.

When we're trying to minimize our grocery budget, we can get by on $50 a week for the two of us...lots of brown rice, beans, veggies/fruits in season and on sale, a small amount of protein, yogurts if they're on sale, and pasta.

Serval87
10-05-2011, 02:17 PM
I coupon a little. I've only been able to use coupons for soda (13 sodas for under $4), greek yogurt, ice cream, almond or coconut milks ... stuff like that. I buy Kroger's brand of veggies (as well as cheese, pasta, and most other things ... I barely ever buy brand name except with drinks, quinoa, and my Greek yogurt). Sadly, kroger rarely sends me any coupons.

mandalinn82
10-05-2011, 02:26 PM
I just looked and Kroger has a pretty comprehensive online coupon program - you make an account with them, then download coupons from their website right onto your card. The discounts are then applied during checkout.

You can also look at the best deals you can get each week at Kroger by going to one of the coupon matching sites. Couponmom.com or TheKrazyCouponLady.com are good places to start.

Serval87
10-05-2011, 02:32 PM
I thought you could only use one coupon on the card per transaction?

mandalinn82
10-05-2011, 02:41 PM
Nope! Their coupon policy says:


Limit one use per digital coupon per transaction
Digital offers cannot be combined with manufacturer paper coupons on the purchase of a single item
Digital offers do not double
A limit of 150 coupons can be loaded per household at one time

So you can use as many of the individual coupons as you want, you just can't use the SAME digital coupon more than once in a transaction. So if you had a coupon for frozen veggies, apples, and brown rice, for example, you could use a coupon on 1 bag of veggies, another, on your apples, and another on your brown rice. You couldn't use the one digital coupon on 20 bags of veggies, though. You can use up to 150 digital coupons in a purchase, just not more than once in that transaction.

Serval87
10-05-2011, 02:44 PM
Ooooh. I see. Thanks! And they just work ... just by scanning my loyalty card?

mandalinn82
10-05-2011, 02:46 PM
Yes. Once you go to their website (you have to sign up for an account if you don't have one yet), you can go to "Digital Coupons" and there's a button to load the coupons to your card. Once you load them to the card, they should work when you scan at the store.

Serval87
10-05-2011, 02:48 PM
Sweet. I will do that now. :)

midwife
10-05-2011, 03:01 PM
I just looked and Kroger has a pretty comprehensive online coupon program - you make an account with them, then download coupons from their website right onto your card. The discounts are then applied during checkout.

You can also look at the best deals you can get each week at Kroger by going to one of the coupon matching sites. Couponmom.com or TheKrazyCouponLady.com are good places to start.

Oooh....I did not know this about Kroger!!!

Also, just wanted to give a shoutout to our Shoestring subforum:

http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/shoestring-meals-235/

indiblue
10-05-2011, 10:41 PM
My husband & I spend less than $50 a week... Around $200 a month for groceries and we eat organic meat & veggies which are very pricey. When I got laid off from work, we spent $20-30 a week on groceries. We never bought anything boxed or canned (except for tomato paste). We found an Asian store and bought fresh veggies for less than $15 for 2 weeks. Fresh veggies like cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, carrots will last a week or two in your fridge.

The problem with processed & refined foods is that you crave it the more you eat it. Ignore your cravings for a couple of weeks and they will go away by themselves. Also, get checked out if you are insulin resistant or diabetic..that would definitely fuel craving for carbs.

I second this. Except for peanut butter and tomato paste, almost nothing in our house is canned or packaged. We get dried beans, we make our own tortillas. We make our own tomato sauce, our own hummus, our own soups.

We don't buy soda or candy. If I want a treat we make our own cookies or cakes. From scratch. So much cheaper! And less of an incentive to eat sweets because they aren't premade- I have to make them.

Yes, it takes more time. I work from home as a consultant and we don't have kids, so I have more time than many to spend in the kitchen cooking. I believe from other posts you have mentioned you are currently at home as well right? And your husband is on SSI, so I assume he's at home most of the time too? Between the two of you perhaps you can find one our each day to cook more of your food instead of buying processed.

I would agree with other posters that weaning yourself off of processed seems like a necessity at this point. There just doesn't seem to be room in your budget (or healthy lifestyle :)) for things like Pepsi Max.

Serval87
10-06-2011, 12:09 AM
Well, the Pepsi Max was only $.45 a 2 liter with my coupons, but I get what you mean. lol.

It just seems like making everything from scratch would be expensive having to buy flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and whatever else you use (I'm not much of a baker, so I don't have any of these ingredients in my pantry).

indiblue
10-06-2011, 01:07 AM
It's usually cheaper. Flour + baking soda = tortillas (or just flour and water!), but that makes DOZENS and DOZENS of tortillas. You only need two cups of flour (hardly any out of a 5 lb bag) and a tsp of baking soda for enough 2 meals for 2 people. That is cents per tortilla, nothing compared to a package.

Then you can take your tortillas and cut them into triangles, sprinkle with salt + pepper. Pita chips! Way, way cheaper than buying a bag of chips from the store. And healthier.

Hummus is another good example. Tahini is expensive but it only requires a few tbs for each batch of hummus so it lasts forever. I do 1 c dried chickpeas + a few tbs tahini + few pinches of cumin (which also lasts for months) + squirts of lemon + salt + few cloves of garlic= hummus for 2 people for 2-3 meals/snacks. It is FAR cheaper than those $3-5 packages of hummus which only last for 2 servings at most.

EDIT: SOUP is another good example! A bag of lentils + some vegetables + some bullion or stock will make 5-6 batches of lentil soup, with each batch 4-5 servings. Onions + garlic + cauliflower + carrots with a little milk pureed makes a delicious "cream" of cauliflower soup, with enough to freeze for leftovers later. It's cheaper and healthier than buying canned soup, which is only 1-2 portions.

I live overseas so the prices don't really correlate to US prices. However, when I lived in Washington, D.C. (one of the more expensive cities in the country) I budgeted very carefully. I would go grocery shopping maybe once a month to stock the pantry (sugar, flour, peanut butter, etc- around $50) and then once a week for fruits, dairy, and veggies with an occasional piece of fish ($20 each week). Total each month= around $150. Most of my meals are made from fruits and veggies.

kaplods
10-06-2011, 01:09 AM
Checking out books on frugal living from the library was very helpful for me. I liked The Complete Tightwad Gazette so much, that I bought the book from amazon.com (the book cost less than $5 including shipping).

Good Cheap Food, by Miriam Ungerer was another book I liked enough to buy from amazon.com

Whenever I'm interested in a subject, I always start with amazon.com and do a search on the topic, and start reading the description pages and the reviews (and in each book's description page there are recommendations for similar books, so I write those down too, and then look at their pages, and write down what's recommended on those - and then I take my list to the library).

I've read dozens of books on cheap cooking, and saving money at the grocery store, and the Tightwad Gazette book is one of the best (so are the The Cheapskate books).


My husband and I always start our monthly grocery shopppiong at a discount grocery. These aren't always easy to find, because they're usually Mom & pop operations that don't spend much on advertising.

They buy "scratch and dent" and bankruptcy stock from larger chains, and then sell at a huge discount. For example, say a jar of spaghetti sauce breaks in a case on it's way to a grocery store (say Walmart, Kroger, Meijer...). The store manager, seeing the damage will refuse or return the entire case (and sometimes the entire shipment), because of the damage.

The manufacturer of the food item (or sometimes the grocery store that accepted a shipment before realizing there was damage) will sell the shipment at a discount to these discount groceries.

It's sort of like "Big Lot's" only on a smaller scale. You never know what you'll get, or how deep the discount will be.

We always start our grocery shopping there.

We went today and for $30, we got more than $300 worth of food (we can't say we "saved" $300 because we would not have bought most of what we did, if we would have had to pay the original price).

The most popular items sell for only about half normal price, but the odder stuff and the junk food sells for about 10 cents on the dollar or even less. (For example "dollar size" candy bars sell for 10 to 15 cents).

My husband spent about $5 just in individual bags of pistachios (the original price $1.79 per bag - we paid a dime per bag). So esentially he got $90 worth of pistachios for $5.

I bought cans of artichoke hearts and heart of palm ($3-$4 per can, regular price and I payed 50 cents per can).

We buy cans of chicken and tuna (about 1/4 regular price - there's not as much savings on these items - but still "saving" 3/4 the price.

A lot of people are squeamish about buying dented cans, but as long as the seal is good, they're safe. We only buy cans with rounded dents (if there are sharp folds or corners in the dent - we don't). We also don't buy any cans that have any sign of rust (actually I only found a rusty can once, in ten years of shopping these kinds of stores) or any cans or jars with stained labels (this may be overkill, but I don't want to have to worry about whether the can was leaked onto - safe as long as I wash the can or jar or is leaking - unsafe).

I think there's a website that lists some of these stores state-by-state (but all are not listed). If I can find it, I'll add it to this thread. These stores are a a great place to start, because you never know what you'll find and how much you can save.

berryblondeboys
10-06-2011, 07:20 AM
I live in the dc area. Food is very, very expensive. We do insist on organic milk and meats (not as much on veggies/grains).

Milk everywhere for organic is $3.49-$4.29 for a half gallon. So, just there per week we spend $18-$21 a week on milk for a family of 5 (3 adults, one teen, one elementary school kid). I make our own yogurt which cuts the price in half for yogurt, but the price of milk is still high. If I were to buy organic plain yogurt - $3.99 a quart. Greek yogurt: $5.99 a quart.

Bananas everywhere are 69 cents a pound. Apples regular price are 2.49 a pound. Those things I can get at an international market cheaper (produce), but we find we end up throwing more food away because it's quality is so-so - apples go bad faster, peppers are already a bit soft, etc.

Serval87
10-06-2011, 09:04 AM
Wow, kaplods, that store sounds awesome. I wish we had one in my area.

Serval87
10-06-2011, 10:07 AM
I hope this isn't rude, but could someone post me a list (or a link) of the cheapest ingredients I would need to make homemade tortillas, homemade cakes, and homemade pizza crusts (we love pizza)? Thanks, everyone. I really am considering making my "junk" meals from scratch now. At least then I'll know what's in them, and will probably eat less (hopefully).

ade903
10-06-2011, 10:49 AM
Firstly, it really rubs me the wrong way when food stamps are used for processed crap...I wish that was better regulated (just like it rubs me the wrong way when the government spends tax money bailing out factory farms or how they are basically sleeping with the dairy industry).

Secondly, I am in no way trying to get you to go vegan, but this blog is REALLY good. She lives off of $100/month for food. She has recipes and ideas: http://melomeals.blogspot.com/

I recently made a budget and I have less than you do. Each week I am making two types of dried beans, two types of grains, and two types of sauces. I'm also buying veggies to cut up and then I'm making veggie/bean/grain bowls.

Also, it might FEEL like it is more expensive to make stuff from scratch, but you'll buy that stuff once, and use it tons of times.

Good luck!

Serval87
10-06-2011, 10:57 AM
Thanks, ade903. I love blogs, so I'll definitely check that out.

indiblue
10-06-2011, 11:08 AM
Serval, I use this recipe for pizza dough (note it makes 3 pizzas, you can freeze two of them): http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pizza-dough-ii/detail.aspx. I can't get bread flour here so I just use all-purpose.

If you make the pizza thin-crust, it lasts even longer, and is more healthy!

I just eyeball my tortilla recipe- just water and flour. I'm sure there are some good ones online.

For cakes and such I use allrecipes.com. I have tons of recipes I've pulled from there. Like others have said, check out the Shoestring budget forum on here. Quite useful.

theCandEs
10-06-2011, 12:13 PM
Nope! Their coupon policy says:



So you can use as many of the individual coupons as you want, you just can't use the SAME digital coupon more than once in a transaction. So if you had a coupon for frozen veggies, apples, and brown rice, for example, you could use a coupon on 1 bag of veggies, another, on your apples, and another on your brown rice. You couldn't use the one digital coupon on 20 bags of veggies, though. You can use up to 150 digital coupons in a purchase, just not more than once in that transaction.


This is so cool!!! I didn't know this. I hate actually cutting coupons and searching through them at the store.

Thank you so much! I'm going to be doing some shopping at Kroger now.

kaplods
10-06-2011, 12:58 PM
Wow, kaplods, that store sounds awesome. I wish we had one in my area.

You actually may. Because these stores don't advertise much, because they tend to be located outside the popular commercial areas (where commercial rents are cheaper), and because many people who use them don't talk about it, these stores can be difficult to find. Most of the ones we've used, we've stumbled across, or just happened to hear someone talk about it, or once in a while one will be mentioned in the paper (usually in the form of an article on something else, like a person falling on tough times using the stores).

I just googled the words salvage grocery tennessee and I found these two sites (there are a lot more sites, so you can search yourself, I just grabbed the first two).

This one is a map that you click on the nearest markers to your location

http://batchgeo.com/map/ac1a6ffbff376136dc9aa1b103f05723


and this one lists 28 stores in tennessee

http://www.frugalvillage.com/forums/discount-stores/97055-salvage-grocery-list-state.html


If there's no store listed for your area, it doesn't mean there isn't a store. The store we use, isn't listed on any website yet, as far as I've found.

There are also bakery store outlets in many locations. These likewise don't advertise much. Usually you can find them in the yellow pages under bakery or discount store (you may be able to find the salvage grocery stores this way too. Try terms like discount, salvage, bakery, grocers or grocery).

It takes a bit of digging, but I bet you have stores closer than you think.

Also if you do discover these stores, when you shop ask when they get deliveries, or if they run special discounts. For example the bakery outlet stores often have a mark down day - the day before they get in new stock. I've seen bread prices as low as 4 loaves for $1.00 (when we bought bread this way, we'd freeze three loaves, or even all 4, because you can usually use the bread frozen for toast. Or I'd even make sandwhiches for our lunches with the frozen bread, and the bread would defrost by lunch time, but the lunch meat would still be cold.

kaplods
10-06-2011, 01:37 PM
frugalabundance.com is a website I've been using for frugal recipes.

I also just google frugal recipes, and find a whole bunch of sites.

If you google tortilla recipe you'll find dozens. This is one that is pretty similar to mine (I don't measure exactly anymore. I can tell by how the dough is coming together whether it needs more water. And the salt doesn't seem to matter. I use about a quarter to half tsp whether I'm making a small batch or a big batch)


Any way - I found this recipe just now in a google search, and it's pretty close to mine.

Mix together

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 cups water


I usually cut the recipe in half and sometimes cut back on the oil or even omit it.

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (or less)
1 tablespoons oil or melted butter
3/4 cups water


A long time ago, I think I was still in high school, I checked out a book from the library called "flat breads" or something like that, and it made me realize that these breads are extremely forgiving. Some where even as simple as flour and water, and nothing else. Others added fats, eggs, herbs, baking powder, sour dough starter, or packaged yeast.





Mix the dough with clean hands, until the dough forms a smooth ball. Let the dough rest a bit (about 15 minutes). Then cut into equal size pieces (about the size of a golf ball) and use a rolling pin or a tortilla press to flatten them (or use your hands).

Cook in an oiled or buttered skillet (or a nonstick pan) on medium heat. (after you cook the first few you'll figure out how you like them. We like crispier edges, but that makes a tortilla that's hard to fold.

You can use whole wheat flour too.

Serval87
10-06-2011, 03:40 PM
Thanks, everyone! I will definitely try making my own stuff soon.