South Beach Diet - Tips for cutting costs
01-24-2005, 08:03 PM
I was just wondering if anybody has any good tips on cutting the cost of buying groceries. My husband politely informed me that I had spent half of the grocery budget in one week. I know it's for a good reason but the weight I'm losing isn't being gained by the checkbook.
01-24-2005, 08:20 PM
The first week on the diet I spent a ridiculous amount of money because I thought I needed to buy tons of ingredients for all the different recipies in the book. Now basically what I buy has been narrowed down to boneless skinless chicken breasts, lean beef, and pork loin for dinner...basically whatever is on sale. For lunch I make a huge pot of either chili, ham and bean, or veggie soup and I eat it for the whole week. For breakfast I have eggs every day. I supposed it depends on what you can tolerate. If you can handle not having tons of variety, then you will be able to cut costs.
01-24-2005, 09:42 PM
I only take what I have in my budget in cash then I can't spend more than I have. I buy fruit and veggies bread milk cereal and meat and a few household things. I have been getting inventive with what I can afford. This has helped me cut down on the cost. Not sure if that helps any.
01-25-2005, 08:11 AM
It is hard to keep costs down while still eating fresh vegetables. I had to make a conscious decision to buy red peppers despite the exhorbitant cost at this time of year. Without them I flounder. Apart from those, it's a good time to experiment with different vegetables that are cheaper at this time of year though - turnips were never high on my list but they're actually good shredded in a salad.
Big pots of lentil soup, chili or bean soup are my favourite tactic to keep costs down, like Diamondgrrl. Also, baking pizza at home and buying grains etc. at the bulk food store.
01-25-2005, 09:12 AM
Frozen veggies are much less expensive than fresh as well. I can get a bag of frozen broccoli, cauliflower, or grean beans for about $1, and it feeds me and hubby for one meal. Comparatively, fresh veggies can easily cost 2-3 times as much, and they're more of a hassle to cook.
Don't get me wrong - I prefer fresh based on taste and nutrition. But frozen really isn't all that bad (much better than canned, which I will not eat) in either department, and given the cost and convenience, I have to admit I resort to them at least a few days a week.
01-25-2005, 09:24 AM
The best hint I can give is to ignore the menus in the SBD book and make up your own, cooking from scratch. Avoid all convenience foods. Make your own soups and stews without using packaged seasoning mixes. Soups made of legumes are cheap, healthy and filling. Cabbage is a good choice for salads in the winter. Do not buy any of the "low carb" products - most of them are frankenfoods and are highly overpriced.
01-25-2005, 09:40 AM
Usually when I know the budget is going to be tight, I buy the family packs of meats. Split it up. All groceries sell meat in a bulk package, it's cheaper that way. And as far as veggies go, if you have a farmers market near your house, veggies and fruits are so much cheaper there than at the grocery stores (not to mention fresher). I'm like some of the other ladies here, where stressed for time, I use frozen veggies.
Started South Beach on Jan 02, 2004
Valentines Mini Goal 165
01-25-2005, 10:31 AM
Take a look at whether you are saving money by eating out less. I do spend more on fresh vegetables but I was spending $5 - $6 a day eating out for lunch.
When I buy a pork tenderloin, I make one meal of pork tenderloin and take the other one and slice it thin and freeze it for two meals (Hot and Sour Soup and for Mu Shu Pork). I also check the sales and buy whatever meat is on sale. I stocked up this weekend when they had 98% ground beef for $2.99 a pound.
Don't forget your coupons. Spices are expensive but I save up the coupons and then buy them when they go on sale.
You may still be suffering from startup costs. That bag of Splenda is expensive but it lasts a long time. The last one I got was on sale and I had a coupon but when I first started South Beach, I had to get stuff that wasn't on sale.
01-25-2005, 11:33 AM
Small world, my dh did the same thing to me right after the New Year, "Did you realize that our food costs nearly trippled last year? In 2003 we only spent $X, and in 2004, it was $XXX." Draght those darn credit cards that so nicely have those end of the year statements with everything totaled. Groceries, gas, other (the credit card we use gives us extra points for groceries and gas.)
So, I'm making consciouse choices now too. Fortunately after the 1st couple weeks you will have the staples. You'll learn what you will eat and what you won't.
I would buy too many fresh vegetables and some would spoil before I used them each week. Or I found I bought a vegetable that I didn't really care for.
Things like "I can't believe it's not butter" spray, Laughing Cow cheese, Ricotta cheese, Turkey bacon, canadian bacon all tend to be expenisive and if you are on a budget you can do without. Wait until they are on sale or you have a good coupon.
Take the foods to enjoy list and make your own menus like Ruth said. Shop the sales at the different grocery stores in your area to get the best bargains. When you do find a good sale on ricotta cheese, low fat cheese and meat you can buy several and freeze them. These freeze well (or at least ok-sometimes texture is affected a little), just make sure you thaw chhese in the fridge because if you don't it all clumps together.
Experiment with different types of grocery stores, sometimes if you have a health food store, like a co-op type store you can get some things at a good price because they buy in bulk and sale in bulk. Some of the larger Asian markets or International markets have great prices on fresh produce. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods Market have good prices on many things-not everything.
If you live in an area that has an Aldi's, http://www.aldifoods.com/
they have great prices on produce and frozen vegetables. They only carry a very limited selection of items but great prices.
Beans and lentils are a great price and wonderful this time of year for making soups. If you buy the dried beans, you can soak them overnight then cook the whole package and what you don't need for the current recipe you can throw into the freezer for later. Beans freeze great. I know that beans aren't exciting, but they do taste good, have lots of wonderful fiber and are high in protein, so maybe do a couple meat free meals a week.
When the fresh produce prices are bad, I switch to frozen also. Many times frozen veggies go on sale, so I fill up my freezer. In drastic times, I've even used canned. Not as healthy, but sure is cheaper. Especially if you buy them at Aldi's.
Not eveyone can afford to spend all the money for fresh fish and fresh vegatables every week. We have to make choices and cut back where we need.
a broad abroad
01-25-2005, 01:48 PM
The hard part to swallow of all this is that healthy food does cost more than junk :( Everyone here has mentioned some great tips. Learning to be a good cost cutter takes a keen eye, creativity, and practice.
Hopefully you like oatmeal! It's pretty cheap and a box goes a long way for breakfast. Since you can add different toppings or liquids, it won't get as boring as having the exact same thing everyday.
Try to make substitutions where possible. For instance, my store has an 8oz. pack of canadian bacon for $$ (can't remember exactly) which was too high so instead I buy a 16oz pack of 98% FF lean boiled ham for half the price of the CB.
WallyWorld price matching!! (This policy was current a couple of years ago in my area. You will have to check your local stores for their policies.) Depending on how much time you want to put into this, you can scout all your local supermarket ads for the week and find what you might/will buy and then go to the Super WalMart and they will match the ad prices. The items have to be exactly the same as the ones in the ads, and it doesn't include drinks, but it could be worth the time.
If you pay attention to seasonal fresh produce, you can throw in some of that every now and then. Recently I have noticed that the price of mangoes is half of what it was a few months ago. Today I saw a 1 kg.(2.2 lbs.) bag of brussels sprouts for 85 cents. At the moment, green onions are through the roof!!
01-25-2005, 04:11 PM
I buy veggies that are on sale. If they are really a terrific deal, I quick freeze them and it is cheaper than buying frozen. Do you have a 99 cents store that carries produce? our's does. You never know what they will have but it is always fresh and 99 cents :D Beans are inexpensive if you make them yourself and you can use them for soup, side dishes, dips,etc. Eggs are usually inexpensive here. Our Albertsons has tuna 4/1.00 this week. Do you buy bottled water? check into a device for your tap and you'll save on that area of things. If you've been buying premade jello, make your own. Buy your spices on sale. Last week our Walgreen's ad had a variety of spices 3/1.00. Check your weekly newspaper on Wednesday for the coming weeks sales. Also, you can grow many spices very easily and you'll save oodles there. You might consider a garden too, if that is something you have interest in. Sign up for Freecycle. Sometimes on our local list people have an overage of fruits, veggies, etc. and they are FREE! Check it out if you haven't signed up. www.freecycle.com :)
01-25-2005, 06:06 PM
I shop at Sams Club. I can get two of the large bags of spenda for only $11.88! One bag alone in the grocery store would cost $9.00! Meat is sooo much cheaper there too. It's a great place to buy all of your groceries. They sell in bulk, so it's cheaper! Instead of shopping for the week, I shop for the month. They do have produce that is much cheaper and just as fresh as the grocery store, but I keep a little money reserved for weekly produce runs.
Costco is another Bulk club.
01-25-2005, 09:19 PM
Thank you all for the great tips!! I will definitely put them to good use.
You guys are great!