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Shoestring Meals Budget friendly ideas for healthy eating

Your Very Best Budget Healthy Eating Tip

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Old 01-30-2010, 02:28 PM   #1
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Default Your Very Best Budget Healthy Eating Tip

Share it here...what is your very best, most helpful tip for saving money when trying to eat healthy on a budget??

Mine - If you have the time, find alternate sources. We grocery shop in 3 or 4 different spots for different things. We go to an inexpensive farmers market (there are expensive and inexpensive ones, so try a few...in suburban areas they tend to be more overpriced than in big cities, we go an hour round trip to get to ours, but pay about 1/3 of what we'd pay at the market in town) for all of our produce...stocking up once a week on veggies. We then menu plan so that the more perishable stuff is consumed earlier in the week, and the heartier stuff is eaten later.

We get our meat from a specialty supplier that butchers animals on-site and has amazingly great prices...it's about an hour and a half away, near my grandfather's house, so we buy 1 month at a time and stock the freezer. We go to a bag-your-own grocery store for staple items, and Costco for the things we use a lot of (chicken broth, organic coffee, and big tubs of greens). Sure, we make more stops, but we save a ton of money and eat really well.

What's your single best tip??
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Old 01-30-2010, 03:45 PM   #2
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I guess it would be to see what's *cheapest* that particular week. I'll go to my local produce store and some times I'll be wanting broccoli, but it will be insanely priced and sitting right next to it will be these moderately priced, gorgeous heads of cauliflower - so scratch the broccoli idea and go for the cauliflower. Be flexible in other words. You can have that broccoli next time. And since the cauliflower's good and cheap, I'll take some to roast for a dinner or two AND I'll take some extra and make lots of soup out of it and freeze it for future use.
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Old 01-30-2010, 03:49 PM   #3
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Make food at home instead of eating out as much as possible!

I try to make a few dishes and do food prep for the week on Sunday so that I WILL eat the healthy, less expensive and delicious foods I love instead of resorting to less than tasty, less healthy and not affordable foods out and about all week!
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Old 01-30-2010, 03:57 PM   #4
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Shop the sales and don't forget the staples. When you see shampoo, deodorant , dish detergent, laundry deterget on sale , stock up, this will give you more money for your food budget. And remember to check out unconventional sources. I got eggs at CVS, a drug store for 97 cents a dozen. That is very cheap. Buy seasonal , much cheaper that way.
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Old 01-31-2010, 07:44 AM   #5
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If you have one near you--Aldi. I do my weekly shop at Aldi. They have great dairy, produce and frozen meats & fish. 2x a month (payday) I also go to a local larger grocery to buy things that are not available at Aldi.

Also, I'm a believer in menu plans. It helps to stay on track when you know what to cook, both financially and weight wise. I am flexible though. If there is a sale, I stock up. I watch the flyers.
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Old 02-05-2010, 03:28 PM   #6
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I guess my best healthy budget tip would have to be...don't buy anything that you can make yourself at home.
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:01 PM   #7
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I agree with losermom. Menus are wonderful! Also price matching and watch for stores that double coupons. I plan based on my Sunday sale papers on the Sunday after my payday (once a month pay!)
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:03 PM   #8
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I am a canner. Grow my own veggies, can 'em up! Make my own jams and jellies, pickles, applesauce...

I buy a cow from a neighbor, and that feeds my family for the year.

We love to fish, so I freeze, can or smoke all the salmon I can get my hands on. Last summer I canned up 10 cases of salmon.

My weekly food budget for myself and my 5 kids is minimal. It's a lot of work, but so worth it in the end.
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Old 04-27-2010, 12:38 AM   #9
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What farmer's market do you go to amanda? I live in Sacramento and I'm searching for one.

Well since I cook for one, I dunno. I buy what's on sale, and base my meals on what's on sale. I also only buy what I know I will eat. Like today, I bought 3 apples, 5 bananas, and a mango from Trader Joe's because I know I'll eat it all. I'd rather go back to get more than have food go to waste.

I also go to many different stores, particularly if I know something is on sale or the other once has better prices. I often shop at 3 stores to get my groceries since I only have like 20-30 dollars a week to spend on food.
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Old 04-27-2010, 12:59 AM   #10
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Oodles - Under the freeway interchange at 8th and W, Sunday mornings from 8-12. It's year round, you can get farm fresh eggs for $2 a dozen, a huge selection of vendors. We are there EVERY Sunday, and we get all the veggies we need for 7 days of lunches and dinners, plus flowers for the table and eggs.

Last week we got 3 bunches of asparagus, a giant bag of broccoli, 3 bunches of flowers, half a flat of strawberries, an avocado, 5 onions, a head of garlic, a bunch of carrots, green garlic, 2 heads of romaine, and a bag of sugar snap peas for $50 (and $26 of that was the strawberries and flowers...but the strawberries were so good, you could smell them two booths over, I had to get them, and my wife is a florist, so that's where we splurge). And it's so fresh and amazing and delicious.

Seriously, you HAVE to check it out. Broccoli tends to be about $1 a lb, asparagus 3 bunches for $5, lettuce heads are a dollar, bunches of carrots are about a dollar...lots of greens are out right now for a dollar a bunch (chard especially), so if you can avoid large quantities of strawberries and flowers, you can get out pretty cheaply. In summer peaches and other stone fruits, and basic tomatoes, are a dollar a pound or big bags for 3 or 4 dollars, so you can eat some and freeze the rest.

If you go in the last hour (11-12), you can get some really good deals as the vendors mark down stuff they don't want to load back in the trucks...they start filling up bags with stuff and selling them for a dollar or two.
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Old 04-27-2010, 01:04 AM   #11
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I shop the leader ads at grocery stores. And plan my meals around that.
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:24 PM   #12
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Oh my word..... That sounds AMAZING. And it's right up the freeway from me. It's just my WW meeting is in the opposite direction so I wouldn't be able to get there until the last hour, but I'm going to go this Sunday! Thank you!
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Old 04-27-2010, 09:19 PM   #13
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This isn't really food related, but I have been making my own liquid laundry detergent and body wash for a few months now. Very easy, and VERY cheap.
It costs me 64 cents to make 2 gallons of detergent, and a 16 ounce bottle of antibacterial body wash costs me approximately 15 cents. I get together with my girlfriends and we make it and put the body wash in empty shampoo, conditioner, or body wash bottles.
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Old 06-23-2010, 02:01 PM   #14
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Get the ads, get coupons that match them and plan your work and work your plan.
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Old 06-23-2010, 03:06 PM   #15
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I use dry beans, not canned. I buy vegetables at the farmers market - got a kohlrabi bigger than my head for $3 and it makes a lot of "hashbrowns" and salad this week. I also buy eggs there. Seasonal shopping makes for low prices - local farmers need to unload their crops when they have them.

I eat meat very very rarely, only go out to eat rarely (good for my health and diet.) I also don't like to drink more than one drink when I'm out - I hate paying for one beer in DC what I would pay for a six-pack in the store. Less drinking is also good for my health, but my motivation is money.

ETA: I cook in bulk and freeze things for later, especially soup. I buy frozen berries, frozen broccoli and quinoa at Costco, and go bulk food shopping for other items at a local market. I also only buy the fresh stuff I know I'll eat - there's a grocery store on the way home if I run out of something mid-week. I throw almost no food away.
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