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Shoestring Meals Budget friendly ideas for healthy eating

Share your best budget shopping tips!

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Old 12-24-2005, 05:05 PM   #46
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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
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Old 12-24-2005, 08:53 PM   #47
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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
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Old 12-29-2005, 10:36 AM   #48
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Default Rotating your shelves

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!
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Old 01-10-2006, 11:05 PM   #49
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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!
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Old 02-19-2006, 08:28 PM   #50
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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. 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.
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Old 03-26-2006, 12:52 PM   #51
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Lightbulb coupon mom

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)
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Old 05-03-2006, 03:17 AM   #52
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Default always buy on sale

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.
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Old 05-03-2006, 03:26 AM   #53
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Default always buy on sale

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.
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Old 05-03-2006, 11:28 PM   #54
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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.
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Old 05-14-2006, 10:38 AM   #55
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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.
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Old 06-02-2006, 01:32 AM   #56
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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)
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Old 06-02-2006, 08:57 AM   #57
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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>
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Old 06-02-2006, 09:00 AM   #58
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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.
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Old 06-11-2006, 12:18 AM   #59
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i like researcher weekly ads on the internet. This is a great website resource
http://www.sundaysaver.com/
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Old 06-11-2006, 01:10 AM   #60
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Wow that's a GREAT one... thanks so much!!!
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