Shoestring Meals - Share your best budget shopping tips!




Suzanne 3FC
05-26-2004, 09:35 AM
Dieting can be expensive. Not dieting can also be expensive :) We want to know how you manage to eat healthy and stay within budget.

Any tips are appreciated!


SuchAPrettyFace
05-26-2004, 01:18 PM
I eat what's on sale. :)

Toryw
05-26-2004, 01:30 PM
Never go shopping when your hungry...you buy nice looking food that costs the earth and is normally fattening!! I buy plenty of fresh fruit and veggies...i stay away from pre-preped veg and fruit as that tends to be more expensive than preping your own :)


QuilterInVA
05-26-2004, 04:39 PM
When the sale flyers come out on Wednesday, I make up my menus for the next week, make a shopping list and stick with it. I use coupons when I can. I do not go down the snack/cookies aisle or the softdrinks and that kind of stuff. I go to the day-old bread store and get 3 loaves for the price of one - the good whole grain kind like Nature's Own and Arnold's and Cobblestone Mills. I don't use boxed mixes for potatoes, rice, pasta...way too expensive for what you get. I make my own soups.

Suzanne 3FC
05-27-2004, 12:28 AM
I look for bananas that are already ripe, they cost a fraction of the cost of green ones. And they are sweet and ready to eat. I avoid all of the other produce that is past it's prime.

I avoid diet soft drinks (costly) and make tea with splenda.

I buy Splenda at Sams Club, it's very cheap there.

I also buy chicken and some veggies at Sams. Some things are cheaper. Other things really aren't cheaper or even cost more. You have to know your prices to get a deal at Sams.

In the summer, I love to buy produce at the farmers markets. Great deals, best quality.

mauvaisroux
05-28-2004, 12:31 PM
I check what is in the freezer, fridge and pantry and then I plan my meals ahead for the week. I also review and recipes I will be using that week and make up a list for everything I need on my computer then print out the list. This enables me to avoid impulse purchases, gets me out of the store faster and saves me $$

I also stick to the outer parameters of the store where all the fresh food is. I try to avoid buying processed food as much possible as these end up costing more money.

I check the weekly flyer for the store I normally shop at for any specials they have and check to see if I have any coupons I can use before I go shopping.

I also make sure I eat and have a coffee :coffee: before I go to the store so I won't be hungry and crabby while I am there ;)

StarPrincess
05-28-2004, 12:57 PM
I second the 'parameter' technique!

I buy meat in bulk. (yeah, Costco!)

I make large meals and use the leftovers for lunches (saves the lunch money and the time)

blugirrl1
05-31-2004, 09:40 AM
another paremeter shopper here. I check fliers, plan all my meals for the week. and never go to the store hungry. never!!

LilDudesMomma
06-08-2004, 04:29 PM
I also shop by sales..... and i started carrying a healthy snack w/ me so if i see something I want (chips), I eat my snack and walk away

lhendricks
06-14-2004, 03:57 PM
WalMart Superstore. I live less than five minutes away and the place is open 24 hours a day. Plus they will match prices from other store's flyers. (If you don't like WalMart, don't feel you need to enlighten me. My friends are already sharing the propaganda.)

I found that it helped to make an online list of the products I use, including the few that are brand specific. Some can only be found at one of the five markets in my area, so I note that down. And I keep track of the price.

One market has high prices but great specials. So of course I go only for those.

And once a month or so I go to Trader Joes. The stuff I buy there (like the frozen veggies) are so much better than what is available elsewhere that I really stock up. I eat WAY more vegetables when I have a freezer full of TJs!

And I learned to cook beans 400 ways when I was a college student. I love them and because I'm eaten them for years, they agree perfectly with my digestive tract!

tinlizzy
06-14-2004, 10:08 PM
Just when I think I HAVE TO go to the grocery store...I don't...I haven't failed yet to scrounge up a meal that night and maybe the next by forcing myself to eat what I have available.

KO
07-20-2004, 12:35 AM
lhendricks are those canned or dried beans? I want to try some legume stuff but I also want to go mega cheap I'm a newlywed any input would be great Thanks!
Bargain wise I'm a circular Junky and live and die by the sales if its not on sale its not on my fridge

markgm
11-21-2004, 09:05 PM
Buy on sale, and except for cereal, stick to the outside (which includes ice cream at my store!) The sale thing is amusing. I checked the bottom of my reciept from a store since July I "saved $160". I didn't save that, I wouldn't have spent that if if wasn't on sale.

The other thing I try to do is make what I eat. You pay a lot for convience, but sometimes you have to see how much your time is worth. I have a variety of quick foods and slower foods. If you are in the mood for something fast and easy and all you have is stuff that takes time, you'll probably not eat as well!

lhendricks
11-22-2004, 09:26 AM
You can use canned or dried beans : I use canned to save time and because I like variety. They are very inexpensive. The most expensive ones are some organic black soybeans that I buy at my food co-op and those are $1.29. I seldom pay more than 75 cents for anything else. And a can of beans goes a long way!

mastiffmama
12-11-2004, 01:09 AM
I try to plan a menu for the week. If I get too ambitions and realize that I have planned 5 expensive meals, I stop and replan. This works better for me than going the the store and winging it. I also print out recipes I find online and tear out the ones in magazines. I take the whole batch with me including a back-up or two so that I can change my plan if the store is out of somthing or the fish or produce I planned to buy looks bad. I second the idea of using what you've got - usually you can stretch the pantry out another day.
I buy most veggies frozen or canned except for a meal or two, because so often I plan something and wait to long to make it, and the veggies are rotting in the drawer.

friendsforfitness
12-16-2004, 04:14 PM
OMG! I just recently found this website and it has changed my whole way of thinking as far as grocery shopping goes. I used to HATE grocery shopping. I used to spend 600.00 a month on groceries ( I have a family of 5). At the end of each week I would be scrounging for whatever I could pull together. Since this site, I LOVE to grocery shop and even look forward to it. The best part is I am already spending 200.00 a month less on groceries and I have only been participating for like 5 weeks. And after all this the best part is my cabinets keep getting fuller every week even with us eating normally all week long. It's addicting. They will give you a one month trial for 1.00 if you decide to stay on and over 90% of trial memberships do there it will only be 10.00 every 8 weeks. It's very reasonable. You don't have to be some kind of super shopper either. I never cut coupons or shopped the ads before and Like i said I am saving 200.00 a month. I know it will get to be even more as the time passes too. Last week I saved 69% on my grocery bill and there are some people who save even more! Check it out for yourself. It's at www.thegrocerygame.com good luck and trust me it's worth it.

Lisa
ps I don't work for them either, I just really love it!

ibrandi
01-06-2005, 07:00 PM
I was just going to post about that site!
I use it every week and save at least a hundred dollars.
I feel really great when I save more than I spend, but I think my best trip was when I spent $145 on $350 worth of groceries.

You have to have a Kroger, Ralphs or Vons near you, but if you do, the membership price is totally worth it.

Plus, it's FUN!

HAL123
01-06-2005, 07:28 PM
I find a good way to stop wasting fresh produce if I don't get round to cooking the meal i bought it for in time, is to blanch it in boiling water and then freeze it. At the moment I have A LOT of broccoli in my fridge due to a friends bumper crop in her vege garden, so tonight it is all getting bagged up into single servings and frozen.

Actually find out who in your office/group of friends has a vege garden and offer to take any extra veges they have off their hands! It's cheap and you know the veges you are getting are fresh and chemical free!

Another good trick I have learnt is to put things like pasta sauce/soups/mince in a baggy and freeze it so it is flat. That way you can fit heaps more in your freezer, and it takes less time to defrost (greater surface area for heat transfer!).

Olek85
01-07-2005, 08:16 AM
I find that if you go shopping after you have gone to the gym or for a walk, or any exercise, you will feel really healthy and you won't buy bad food. Works for me anyhow.

friendsforfitness
01-08-2005, 01:22 PM
You have to have a Kroger, Ralphs or Vons near you, but if you do, the membership price is totally worth it.



Actually, none of those stores are in my area. I think it just depends on where you live. In my area it's only Winn Dixie and Publix. You just go to there site and enter in your zip code and it will let you know what stores it works for in your area. Last week I saved 56.00 and only spent 43.00!!

Lisa

SuchAPrettyFace
01-09-2005, 07:08 PM
I make my own entrees, sometimes.

I will buy chicken breasts when they are on sale, then sprinkle w/salt-free spices (Mrs Dash has 8 or so varieties, McCormick has a few, or something like Italian seasoning or my personal favorite, chili powder) & bake them on the broiler pan, letting the fat drip down. Then I cut them in half & place in a Tupperware or Gladware container w/ 2/3 cup cooked brown rice, which has been seasoned w/whatever I put on the chicken & maybe a tsp of butter, and 1/2 cup green beans, spinach, broccoli, etc. Cheaper, WAY less salt & FLAVORFULLLL. :)

I've also done this with shrimp, Louis Kemps' seafood when it was on sale, and Gardenburgers/Morning star farms pizzaburgers on occasion. I also tried it ONCE w/chunk light tuna (no seasoning) and frankly would NOT recommend that. :lol:

I've also bought the big tub of fat free vanilla yogurt (although I've heard the fat in dairy is the good-for-you kind.) and mixed it with frozen fruit to make my own parfaits.

sally_jp
02-05-2005, 04:54 PM
I try to balance cheaper meals with more expensive ones when I shop, and I try to match up meals; for example, if I am using cilantro one night for Mexican food, I'll also plan a Thai dish that will finish it up for later in the week. I plan to start growing a little kitchen-window herb garden, because fresh herbs are terribly expensive at the store (compared to the cost of growing them--and I hear they're easy to grow).

I have to say, I find my incidentally vegetarian weeks to be cheaper than ones where I eat meat. Beans all the way, baby! And tofu is cheap for the amount you get, too.

I do spend more on groceries than I do on other things, because I don't eat a lot of processed foods and try to buy organic when I can. But I also look at it like this--if eating fresh foods without pesticides, hormones, etc., is more expensive, what am I saving as far as my life goes? My health, money not spent later on doctors' bills, etc. . . .

kykaree
02-05-2005, 05:23 PM
I spend quite a bit on groceries as well. I buy my fruit, vegetables and meat at a traditional English market. I save about 25% or more than if I shopped at a supermarket. I buy organic or local when I can. If one product is organic and imported and the other is non-organic and local, the local tends to win out. We have a local farmers market once a month, so I hold over some of my food budget so I can buy locally caught fish and locally raised meat. I might be dieting, but I am still a foodie at heart!!!!

poohshunny
02-12-2005, 10:33 AM
I seldom buy any meat in the grocery store. When I do, it is only chicken or on a rare occassion, a beef roast or pork tenderloin when they are on sale. By not buying much meat, I really save in comparison to those who are checking out in front of me in line I've noticed. Generally, I spent about $50/week. We live on beans, chili, pasta salads, and lots of other one pot meals at our house. I use the frozen chicken breasts, and usually one a couple at a time in a meal. We also eat a lot of leftovers are our house. I find it easier to stay on program and we enjoy eating out a couple of times a week where we get other meats. I am getting back into eating liver and onions (which I love). Now there's a cheap meal!

Recently, I needed green peppers but they were expensive in the veggie aisle. I went to the frozen foods and for 88 cents, I could get a bag of green peppers already chopped. These work great in soups and other dishes. And, no worries about spoiling! I have also put whole green peppers in ziploc bags from my garden and used these throughout the winter in the past. This last summer, though, dd used them all in making stuffed peppers.

Christalynn
02-12-2005, 11:03 AM
I shop @ Wal mart Neighborhood Market. It is alot cheaper than regular grocery stores and has the same items and quality. Thet are very competitive on prices.

Cindy_Gail
04-04-2005, 02:45 PM
I buy chicken breasts with the bone in them and debone them myself at home. It saves a lot of money.

Islander
05-12-2005, 01:18 AM
We buy at most of groceries at Sam's club....but I do check Wednesday newspaper for good bargain at the local supermarkets. I also have a garden that will help with some veggies. We canned our own salsa...that helps.

Allie Abbott
05-27-2005, 07:41 AM
Since I started WW, I have found that I'm spending about $100 less per month on groceries. Even though I buy some more expensive products, I am buying less of them. Less cream-o, cheese, meat, etc, and way less junk food and prepared foods. My veggie garden is started, so I can buy less veggies (but I don't kid myself, growing the veggies does cost some $$, but I benefit because of better taste and exercise growing them). I grow chives, basil and thyme on my windowsill.

shortiemetoo
07-06-2005, 09:56 PM
I also shop the outer recesses of the store. I love my Trader Joes and save a ton of money there!!! Produce always seems better there also!
I find that I eat a lot less meat of any kind now and that saves a lot of money. Also not buying any junk food has saved me a ton of money!! I was a sugaraholic and could easily spend another $50 to $100 a month on sugary sweet items!
I buy some items at Sams club, but only if I am sure I will use it all or it becomes a not so good value!!
I used to follow the circulars a lot but now find that I can usually plan around whatever produce I can find at Trader Joes and that saves me a lot of money!!

lucky
07-07-2005, 11:08 AM
I also shop the Wednesday ads, make a list of the things I need and buy often, then head to Wal-Mart (either very early in the morning or very late at night) and I take advantage of their price matching program. More often than not they have the items on my list for cheaper than what the grocery stores have them on sale for anyway.

Also, I've created a price list to reference in general but at Sam's in particular. It was a pain to create but I tracked everything I bought for a few months and noted the price that I paid. Now, when something is on "sale" I can easily tell whether or not it is a really good buy and when I go to Sam's for bulk shopping I know whether or not it is worth the space in my pantry (I've found a lot of stuff these days is actually more expensive at Sam's than if you just wait for a sale at the grocery store). And I ALWAYS do the math on sale prices. I've found that a lot of times stores will advertise items as "3 for $5.00" or something - and it actually works out to be regular price anyway (and I know because of my handy, dandy price list!). If I do find something that is a great buy I stock up as long as it is something that isn't going to spoil or can be frozen.

Also, for me, planning is key. I make note of what I have on hand and make my menus based on that and the sale ads. I usually make a week's menu to go by but I also think about a month ahead as well and create a sort of outline for those weeks too (making use of planned leftovers, bulk items on my list, etc.).

Oh, and I almost never buy prepared meats. For instance, I buy the bone-in, skin on split breasts and clean them myself. I can buy them for .99 a pound (and have gotten them as low as .79 a pound), the resulting breast is much bigger than the boneless, skinless breasts you'll buy in the store (2 is enough to feed my family of 5 - my husband I split one and my three small children share one - they are THAT much bigger!), plus, I can seperate the tenderloin and freeze them seperately to use in stir frys, for chicken strips, fajitas, etc.

Finally, I often make double recipes and freeze one for later. It doesn't necessarily save grocery money but it does save me time, and usually doesn't require nearly as much energy to heat up as it would to cook. So, if I do it often enough I see a slight difference in my electric bill. I even do this for things we put on the grill. I prefer charcoal grilling over gas and there is always plenty of heat still going once I've finished cooking our meal. So, I'll throw something else on and then freeze it. Later, I just have to finish it off in the oven (depending on what it is I might not cook it all the way through. This gives us the grill taste without drying out the meat).

I used to spend as much as $600 a month at the grocery store - sometimes more if I was out of staples like flour, sugar, and condiments too. Now, I spend as little as $70 a week and rarely more than $100. And the best part is that we eat good, healthy food. It drives my sister crazy because she only has 3 in her family and she spends at least twice as much as me on groceries and doens't eat nearly as well - they'll be having hot dogs and and we'll be having steak! She finally went grocery shopping with me last week to "see how it is done." It is corny, I know, but I've actually come to entertain myself by seeing just how little I can spend. What can I say? I'm easily amused.

Ahealthierme
07-09-2005, 12:48 PM
I buy mostly frozen fruits, veggies (unless it's summer in which case I go to the very cheap and abundant farmer's markets) and chicken breasts.

I make a list and stick to it. I run down the snack aisles only to grab my fiance his favorite chips, and me my 100 cal packs. that's it! I've found when I linger in the snack aisle I spend $30 more on average!!

I check all expiration dates and buy the milk/cheese/yogurt/salad/ etc that will be around the longest. I hate throwing stuff out!

The only sales items I buy are the things I NEED. In the past I've spent more money buying things that are on sale just because they're on sale and a bargain. A waste if you never eat or use them! lol

Amarantha2
07-09-2005, 10:08 PM
Actually, I never budget. I buy the best of everything that I like because I think quality is the most important thing in getting value for money. :)

cadwell125
07-26-2005, 06:20 AM
the best way i've found to save money is to buy all my packaged foods (yogurt, soymilk, wine, condiments, dried fruit) at trader joes, veggies at the korean markets (half the price of ralphs), and meats on sale at the supermarket. i buy boneless skinless chicken if it's cheap, but otherwise, i debone it when i get home, and wrap it in saran wrap and freeze it.
i think we would spend twice as much at least on groceries if it weren't for trader joes. i love that place. two buck chuck forever!!

byebigbutt
10-02-2005, 03:39 PM
OMG! I just recently found this website and it has changed my whole way of thinking as far as grocery shopping goes. I used to HATE grocery shopping. I used to spend 600.00 a month on groceries ( I have a family of 5). At the end of each week I would be scrounging for whatever I could pull together. Since this site, I LOVE to grocery shop and even look forward to it. The best part is I am already spending 200.00 a month less on groceries and I have only been participating for like 5 weeks. And after all this the best part is my cabinets keep getting fuller every week even with us eating normally all week long. It's addicting. They will give you a one month trial for 1.00 if you decide to stay on and over 90% of trial memberships do there it will only be 10.00 every 8 weeks. It's very reasonable. You don't have to be some kind of super shopper either. I never cut coupons or shopped the ads before and Like i said I am saving 200.00 a month. I know it will get to be even more as the time passes too. Last week I saved 69% on my grocery bill and there are some people who save even more! Check it out for yourself. It's at www.thegrocerygame.com good luck and trust me it's worth it.

Lisa
ps I don't work for them either, I just really love it!


Thank you so much for the tip on this site! I checked it out and the grocery store in my area that I spend the most at participates so I'm signing up right away! Especially since this weekend our grocery bill was around $230 for 3 of us. The food should last us somewhere between 10-14 days if we're lucky, but still that's just too much.
I do have a question though: are the things you get on sale primarily processed, not so good for you foods or is there a wide variety?

flower
10-02-2005, 04:15 PM
I have 3 sons, 2 teenagers and a kindergartener. They eat a lot! But I do have plans to deal with it. I shop 2-3 times a month. I get protein that is on special. If I am shopping for 2 weeks worth, I get enough for 14 dinners. I pick out frozen veggies for 14 days and 14 side dishes. And 7 or so desserts. (desserts normally last 2 days) Family isn't much into casseroles, so this works for us. I get lunch and breakfast stuff on special and our local store has double coupons. I shop at the bread outlett stores. I also have a membership at Costco. Occasioanally I sprlurge and spend 60 or so on me a month, but I figure it is a small price to pay to keep me on my diet. But normally I spend 250 at the regular grocery stores and an additional 100 at Costco a month. 400 is my max for the budget, sometimes staples all run out at once. Oh, and I stock up on canned fruit/pb/jelly ect when Smiths has their case load sales.

friendsforfitness
10-02-2005, 08:28 PM
Byebigbutt, (LOL)

I am finding out that I have to shop at walmart to stay on my diet and not use the list as much, check it out though, it's only a dollar for like 10 weeks or something. See if it's for you. I still am a member and I do use the list for the really great deals that I can't pass up.

Lisa

tickleyourfancies
10-03-2005, 07:16 AM
I'm somewhat thrifty..however, I do not bend on my meats & produce. I only buy fresh..and prefer to buy from a particular supermarket. They are of a higher quality..when you are on a low carb, you notice this...lol.
Otherwise, I write my list, go thru the two sale papers...cut coupons..and hit walmart for canned goods if I have many.
I hardly go down the snack aisle, unless the kiddo is low..which will be a while. I snagged up on the sale last week :P

tickleyourfancies
10-03-2005, 07:20 AM
oh yeah..and what helps with fresh produce prices..I live in the Sunshine State..lol..although not so sunny today..very runny

miss_elisha
10-05-2005, 03:11 PM
One word: Aldi. I save so much money shopping there it's not even funny. True, they don't have as wide a selection as other stores, so I still have to buy a lot of my diet-type foods elsewhere, but it's dirt cheap, and they are always adding new products including LF, FF, and SF products. And here's an insider secret for you (my mom was a manager): a lot of their food is brand name food repackaged (e.g. Campbell's soup and Heinz ketchup), so the quality is still good.

jillybean720
10-05-2005, 07:52 PM
Byebigbutt, (LOL)

I am finding out that I have to shop at walmart to stay on my diet and not use the list as much, check it out though, it's only a dollar for like 10 weeks or something. See if it's for you. I still am a member and I do use the list for the really great deals that I can't pass up.

Lisa

I checked the site, and it's $10 for 8 weeks for just one store, then an additional $5 for any other stores in your area that you want to add (so 2 stores is $15 for 8 weeks, 3 stores is $20, etc.). I was thinking about it, but since I live alone, I don't think it would be worth it--I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to save $10 a month on just things for myself, so it wouldn't pay for itself. Probably makes more semse for bigger families :^:

friendsforfitness
10-05-2005, 08:30 PM
The TRIAL membership is something like a buck for 4 weeks or something like that. You are right about the regular prices. If you have a big family like I do it's defintiely worth it.


Sorry for any confusion on that.
Lisa

phantastica
11-14-2005, 10:39 PM
I eat a lot less meat. That saves money.

violet1amythest
11-30-2005, 04:35 PM
Since I live in a very small town we only have 2 stores to buy groceries. Well 3 if you count Walmart but there is very little there honestly. I shop the flyers all the time, we don't have a paper with coupons in it so if I have a coupon it's from the manufactor that the store put out. The best thing I can do to save some money is looking closely at the price tags. They usually have how much it costs per 100ml, kg, or item. I find that a lot of times the bulk size is cheaper in the end even though it will boost my total at the register. Plus when comparing brands it makes things really easy to. I also take a calculator with me in case I can't see the per price or if it's for something like laundry soap, 1 tag can say per load others say per ml. I don't usually plan my meals for the week but after reading so many of you doing it, I'm going to be trying it out again.

Another way I save is buying my meat from the farm not the store. We will be getting a half cow this year and get everything from ground beef to tenderloin for $2/lb. A HUGE difference in price when you consider that it's usually about $10/lb or more for tenderloin and is still a deal for ground beef. At least where I live. I'm going to be looking into finding a chicken farm also since we go through a lot. Mainly breasts though so not sure if it's going to be a deal or not it we don't get the whole chicken.

PhysDom
12-01-2005, 10:21 AM
Yesterday I realized how much I spent in -baby- carrots... regular carrots are much cheaper. And you don't have to do a lot to prep them... just wash/scrub a little, cut off a tiny bit of the tip and cut off where the leaves are. I don't bother to peel them, so I get the health benefits of the skin. Yum.

I also buy oatmeal/rice/grains in bulk at places like Whole Foods. (Everything -else- there is more expensive... but the bulk section is great!!)

phantastica
12-01-2005, 11:37 AM
Yesterday I realized how much I spent in -baby- carrots... regular carrots are much cheaper. And you don't have to do a lot to prep them... just wash/scrub a little, cut off a tiny bit of the tip and cut off where the leaves are. I don't bother to peel them, so I get the health benefits of the skin. Yum.

I've noticed that old-skool carrots have more flavor when they're cooked than the baby carrots do. I'll use baby carrots for raw, but I try to get regular ones at least half of the time (for half of the price).

Another thought on budgets - I am going to check out a program in Minnesota called Fare for All - once a month, you purchase a package of meat and vegetables for less than half its regular price if you prove that you've volunteered for 4 hours somewhere in the community for that month.

xostephie
12-24-2005, 04:05 PM
;) Just wanted to post congratulations to myself, lol.
I just went shopping for Christmas dinner (and I picked up some crest white strips-a total bargain! They were 27.99 on sale, and I happened to go through my fathers newspaper from thanksgiving last night-and i found a coupon for 7$ off, and then another for 5$;) Sooo....i basically got it for close to 1/2 off ;) ) . Then, I actually used more coupons, so my total went from almost 88$ to 55$. All of my coupons, plus the member card deals saved me.....$37.80!

Ahh...saving is sweet;)

catinhat
12-24-2005, 07:53 PM
Great Thread!

Well, one of my big savers is that I have a chest freezer. When there is a good sale on something, I can stock up. Back at Thanksgiving, you could get a turkey up to 16 lb for $5. (I didn't get any - we raise our own, but still, a person with a freezer can stock up!). Recently, hams have been the loss lead at several stores, so I got one for Christmas, and one for the freezer. (We aren't raising pigs....yet.).

We garden some, and I have water bath and pressure canners, so I can either freeze or can stuff from the garden. I have a dehydrator too. When we landscaped our place, we used fruit trees and fruit bearing 'shrubs'. Blueberries are pretty plants, strawberries make nice ground cover in flowerbeds, that sort of thing. We have cherries, apples, pears, etc....and the ugly ones can be used for applesauce (or pear, or peach), and juices. All the peels and leftover pulp and cores and seeds go to my chickens as a supplement to their feed, and we have fresh eggs year round. We also raise some meat chickens. You can buy chicken for less than it costs us to raise them, but ours are organic, free range, happy chickens. That's important to us.

I belong to a food co-op, and I am able to buy things in bulk. Beans, pasta, wheat, rice, etc. You have to be careful, though, and make sure you buy things you'll actually use. We started by just purchasing 3 things. One of them we are nearly out of, one we are using steadily, and one I haven't really used much at all (luckily, I bought a small amount of that one!)

Also, I try to have some really simple, cheap meals. I love when I can have a 10 cent supper. My husband works nights, and my daughter is too young for food, so it's just me. If you get a good price on the raw ingredients, there are lots of really cheap meals you can have. I like a peanut butter sandwich (on whole wheat) with an apple and milk, all kinds of soups, omelets...you just have to get creative!

I also use the sale flyers to get things. Our food budget is for the entire month...so if something is a super deal (and it's something we use) I generally have the freedom to stock up on it. It means I can keep a well stocked pantry of things that were all on sale. Like...this year, sugar never did go on sale for 99 cents a 5 lb bag...but that's fine, because I have 40+ lbs on hand from last year. Sugar doesn't 'go bad'.

I get produce that's in season. Apples are cheaper in the fall - citrus in winter. Cabbage is much cheaper than lettuce in the cold months, so we have more slaw in the winter, that sort of thing.

When our daughter was born (October) we had the added expense of formula(she is adopted, so I can't really nurse), but we didn't increase the food budget. I got a little more 'hardcore' about all this stuff, and I've managed to stay within our food budget...plus, with the good holiday sales on items we use, I have fully stocked our pantry! Since we have so much on hand now, I plan to set aside about 25% of our food budget each month ($200 for food and household items like shampoo, lightbulbs, laundry soap, etc.) so I can buy beef from a local farmer (actually, the guy that lives behind me, lol). But first...I have to find out if he likes turkey and chicken...maybe we can set up a trade!

-Catinhat

DeafinlySmart
12-29-2005, 09:36 AM
One of the biggest money savers is rotating your shelves. Learn to make new stuff with things in your pantry. Once you've done that, then you can go shopping. How many of us are guilty of buying products that six months later we haven't used still. Or better yet, throwing things away!

gjmedina
01-10-2006, 10:05 PM
I look for sales as well. I just bought last week the lean cusines on sale at Albertsons for $1.18 each...i had to stock up!

Autumn Night
02-19-2006, 07:28 PM
I recommend Big Lots. They have both pet food and people food. You have to be willing to take a chance, because there are lots of items that are uncommon brands or flavors. However, the price difference is worth getting the occasional lemon. The bad thing is that most items are only available until they run out. Our Big Lots also has discount bread. It is fresh, name brand, and less than half the price of the supermarkets. I caution you, though, it is easy to get carried away by the prices. You get a lot for your money, but sometimes it is tempting to buy stuff you don't need because it is so cheap.

I also buy discounted meat. Most grocery stores put meat on sale when it is near its expiration date. Like today, I bought two pounds of fresh ground turkey breast at Kroger for $1.25 per pound. I packaged it into smaller servings and froze it. I got a discounted five and a half pound package of extra lean ground beef at Super Wal-Mart for about $12.00 a few weeks ago. I've been purchasing meat this way for years, and no harm has ever come to me. Just make sure you cook or freeze the meat immediately.

I also shop at Aldi's, and sometimes Save-A-Lot. Aldi's is cheaper, Save-A-Lot has more variety. The fresh fruit and vegetables at Aldi's are so cheap you will not believe it until you see it for yourself. :carrot: I grew up eating the brands from Aldi's, so it tastes O.K. to me. Not everyone likes the store brand, so you may want to stick to things like produce, milk, eggs, etc.

I plan on buying a small deep freeze soon. I want to learn how to prepare fresh fruit and vegetables for home freezing. I have access to a farmer's market, and I really want to take advantage of the low prices and good quality.

HealthierMe
03-26-2006, 11:52 AM
Another site that is similar to the grocery game is Coupon mom. It's free she just asks that you usse some of the coupons in conjunction with the sales to donate items to local food pantries.


They do the research, so you don't have to clip the coupons all at once, instead you leave the intact, then you chose your local store and she tells you what the proce is after the sale and coupon, and you clip only the ones that you want.

I really like it, give it a try - there's no charge. (no I don't work for them, I just really like the concept, especially combining it with donations to the food pantry)

truetoHim
05-03-2006, 02:17 AM
I think the best thing is to always buy on sale. I own a large freezer, so I stock up on fruits in season. I especially watch for meat sales. Fresh fish is usually too expensive for me. Shopping at barns for produce. Making my own yogart and doing my own cooking. Making my own sauces, stir frys etc. Ends up being much cheaper overall, but you need an outlay. Buying in bulk. Not wasting. Making my own bread (breadmaker, can buy at thrift stores). Having emergency meals in freezer when I don't feel like cooking. Not eating out. Using coupons. Shopping once per week after meal planned for the week.
Debbie

truetoHim
05-03-2006, 02:26 AM
I think the best thing is to always buy on sale. I own a large freezer, so I stock up on fruits in season. I especially watch for meat sales. Fresh fish is usually too expensive for me. Shopping at barns for produce. Making my own yogart and doing my own cooking. Making my own sauces, stir frys etc. Ends up being much cheaper overall, but you need an outlay. Buying in bulk. Not wasting. Making my own bread (breadmaker, can buy at thrift stores). Having emergency meals in freezer when I don't feel like cooking. Not eating out. Using coupons. Shopping once per week after meal planned for the week.
Debbie

CrazedLedZepFan
05-03-2006, 10:28 PM
I date a guy that works at a produce warehouse and get everything at cost, LOL.

I also make my own baking mix and no pudge brownie mix.

San*_*
05-14-2006, 09:38 AM
I agree with buying veg and other food at markets. It's very cheap. Dried peas are cheap and make lots of soup. Also buying stuff at Indian/Pakistani shops here in the UK is cheap if you want to buy rice and spices and various pulses.

cardsfan2009
06-02-2006, 12:32 AM
Ah, Wal-Mart. We have a love-hate relationship. hahaha.

In the beginning, I would get those frozen Tyson chicken breast strips to put in salads and whatnot, but then i realized it would be way cheaper to buy a bag of chicken breast, cook them, and cut them up myself. Probably healthier anyway (I havent really checked)

Misti in Seattle
06-02-2006, 07:57 AM
I've seen the site but have to admit I am not willing to PAY for a website to get grocery coupons, etc. :) Especially giving them my credit card... might try it if they accepted PayPal. <G>

Misti in Seattle
06-02-2006, 08:00 AM
For what it's worth, when I tried to install the coupon printer for coupons.com I got a warning that it contains spyware... so I did not proceed.

Diamond
06-10-2006, 11:18 PM
i like researcher weekly ads on the internet. This is a great website resource
http://www.sundaysaver.com/

Misti in Seattle
06-11-2006, 12:10 AM
Wow that's a GREAT one... thanks so much!!!

TiffRidesAHarley
07-23-2006, 01:52 PM
One word: Aldi. I save so much money shopping there it's not even funny. True, they don't have as wide a selection as other stores, so I still have to buy a lot of my diet-type foods elsewhere, but it's dirt cheap, and they are always adding new products including LF, FF, and SF products. And here's an insider secret for you (my mom was a manager): a lot of their food is brand name food repackaged (e.g. Campbell's soup and Heinz ketchup), so the quality is still good.

I go to Aldi first and get all the things I need at a HUGE savings, some things are 1/3 of the price. When I am done with Aldi, I head over to the Super Walmart. The combination of both saves me a few hundered a month on groceries!

DeafinlySmart
07-23-2006, 09:50 PM
I_love_superwalmart!__I_will_go_to_a_bulkfood_for_ drinks_canveggies_box_cereals_and_so_forth.__Carry _ads_from_other_stores_and_Walmart_will_ad_match.

phantastica
07-23-2006, 10:49 PM
Once in a while, I'll make an inventory of everything I have in my refrigerator, cupboards, and freezer. Then I'll put together menus.

TiffRidesAHarley
07-24-2006, 02:27 PM
I really try to do that when I can. It is easier to do for the husband and kid's dinner than mine. They like all that bad for you crap. Not much protein for me in the cupboard. I invent meals all the time for them and they usually love it. As long as my husband has a meat, starch, & veggie he is happy.

lady_rose_13
08-11-2006, 01:33 PM
Found this review posted over on Hungry Girl website - 97 cent frozen healthy, tasty meals

Michelina's Lean Gourmet Line. Truth be told, we hadn't even heard of these meals before finding them at our local market. But we're REALLY glad we did. Not only are they super-affordable (ok, we actually spotted these things for an embarrassingly cheap 97 cents per meal at Super Target!), but they taste really great, too. Here's what we found...

hefty1
01-17-2007, 10:15 PM
is everyontring the other tips. :) glen

eharriman1103
02-22-2007, 05:27 PM
I saved a bunch of money using online food companies because I have three sons and a hungry husband. Instead of cooking all the time, I just ordered healthy dinner from Appetizerstogo and groceries from Fresh Direct (i think it's only in NYC)

That way, I just freeze the stuff and defrost and bake for each evening. It's all low-fat and really nice gourmet quality!

Best of luck!
Evelyn

bbybear712
01-02-2008, 07:44 AM
At least once a month or bi-month my local supermarket chain has boneless skinless chicken breats on sale for under $2.00 a pound. When that happens I stock up like crazy and I package them up and freeze them. I also buy 93% lean ground beef only when its on sale in the family packs and stock up and freeze that too. Same goes for lean ground turkey. This is so I never have the excuse of "well I don't have anything healthy to make in the house". My freeze always has chicken.

tamaralynn
01-07-2008, 07:18 PM
Oooh I'm so excited - we're finally getting Super Walmart in Calgary :D

I usually clip coupons... get the 2 for 1 deals... In my city, The 3rd of every month most grocery stores will allow you to save 10% on your groceries if you spend $100or more.

Scenestealer
01-14-2008, 11:13 AM
I too am guilty of having ingredients that I don't get around to using. Try the search engine on FoodNetwork.com - you can put in any ingredients you want (even in combination, e.g. "spinach mushrooms chicken") and it will return all the recipes that have those. Great for when you have things going bad in the fridge!

BrandNewJen
01-16-2008, 04:18 PM
I didn't even know about that search engine!!! Wow- great idea!!!!

helenandaudreysmama
01-19-2008, 11:14 PM
QVC sells "Green Bags" They are wonderful for keeping produce FRESH!!! :carrot: :broc:


also on QVC soda can lids...keeps soda fresh for days!

gastronome
01-20-2008, 12:30 AM
I am notorious for buying "manager's specials" where stores markdown things because they are close to expiration. Just repackage them well and freeze them and they are fine! I have done this for a long time with breads and meats and it has saved me a lot of money. Also buying all the loss leaders and in season items saves a bunch of money. Farmers markets too and really good since they sell seasonal items mostly. Other than that I try to make things myself...like I'll boil a huge pot of beans, package them in smaller portions and freeze them instead of buying canned. Or I'll make a bunch of rice or cook a lot of chicken and do the same. These self made convience items helps a bunch. I'm starting to do these things again and it is doing wonders for those "binge modes" since I have healthy foods so close by. Win win situation.

CrazedLedZepFan
03-14-2008, 02:39 PM
I go to Wal-mart and buy the about-to-expire chicken (you can get a whole one for 3.33). Or I stock up when it's on sale. Make my own no pudge brownie mix. My boyfriend works at a product company (lucky me) so I get all that stuff real cheap.

I make a cheap meal like spaghetti or homemade pizza a few times a week.

CrazedLedZepFan
03-14-2008, 02:41 PM
Found this review posted over on Hungry Girl website - 97 cent frozen healthy, tasty meals

Michelina's Lean Gourmet Line. Truth be told, we hadn't even heard of these meals before finding them at our local market. But we're REALLY glad we did. Not only are they super-affordable (ok, we actually spotted these things for an embarrassingly cheap 97 cents per meal at Super Target!), but they taste really great, too. Here's what we found...

Sorry, but most of those meals are really gross!

jillybean720
03-14-2008, 03:28 PM
Sorry, but most of those meals are really gross!
It depends--I really like their barbecue chicken and mashed potato meal :)

playfullyme
01-15-2010, 02:51 AM
I know this is old, but I actually enjoyed those michelinas meals. The light or regular ones. Even the regular ones weren't too bad calorie wise from what I remember. (Of course, I am allowing myself a higher caloric intake than others.)

therex
04-29-2010, 09:12 PM
i could never support walmart, but i'm really broke so going to local farmer's markets helps a lot, and i go to local natural grocery stores. like Berkeley Bowl.

ptsmith59
01-02-2011, 11:12 AM
I buy bananas on sale. When the are ripe, I peel them, cut each one into 5 pieces, and freeze them in a freezer bag. When I need a banana for a smoothie, it's right there! That way I don't throw away any overripe bananas.

loloi2
04-26-2011, 03:45 PM
QuilterInVA,

I am trying not to buy the rice/pasta sides like you suggested, but dont know how to make them, and my family LOVES them. Can you give me any ideas of where I can find recipes for them that are quick and more healthy than the boxes?

Thanks
Lorri

veggiegirl123
05-23-2012, 10:04 AM
My tips:

-Menu plan
-shop the reduced produce rack if your store has one
-buy frozen vegetables during your area's non-growing season
-store fresh produce correctly, for maximum shelf life
-shop at a bread outlet. I shop at an Aunt Millie's one, but there's other brands who have them too.

pluckypear
01-31-2013, 09:48 AM
I don't drive and end up shopping at the grocery store across the street. It is not a cheap store.

I look at the weekly flyer and make a list.
I buy some food at the local drug store (check flyer)
I do go to a small fruit market up the street and they often sell veg and fruits cheaply.
I go to the farmers market when I can. But I live in a major city, the farmers markets focus on organic and are more expensive then the big chain non organic stores. But it is cheaper then going to the organic stores. I eat local and organic as much as possible.
I do not waste food. I use food in soups etc.
Right now cabbage, carrots and onions are staples. Apples too.:)

Sheridan
01-31-2013, 01:41 PM
Hi,

I always make multiple batches of anything I cook and then make individual meals using my foodsaver ( I have nothing to do with the company and I think there are also other brands)

Anyway the food lasts forever and tastes like the day I made it. When I am on top of things I have a wonderful variety in my freezer- Sort of like a do it yourself Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem.

However, if I go on a complete freezer eating binge and do no cooking, I eventually end up with nothing and have to start over to build my supply.

I would love to try one of those fresh delivery systems but I think the cost is excesive. I want to lose weight but not at any cost.

Good luck everybody.

Sheridan

AlmostMe
01-31-2013, 02:18 PM
I love my crockpot. I buy cheaper cuts of meat (pork shoulder is my favourite!) and cook it all day with tons of veggies, beans and spices according to my whim. Freeze the leftovers.

HelloNurse
02-03-2013, 03:13 PM
I love my CrockPot. Since there are only two of us, I plan my meals for the week around using up the leftovers. For example, if I eat pot roast on Sunday, then Monday's dinner will be beef sandwiches, Tuesday is shredded beef taco salad, Wednesday is soup then any leftovers get rolled into a shepherd's pie or pot pie.

It's not healthy to keep reheating the same food, so I divvy up the portions and then freeze them, thawing out one portion a day. This also helps keep me from using too much per meal.

AlmostMe, your avatar is totes adorbs.