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Shoestring Meals Budget friendly ideas for healthy eating

Share your best budget shopping tips!

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Old 05-26-2004, 09:35 AM   #1
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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!
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Old 05-26-2004, 01:18 PM   #2
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I eat what's on sale.
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Old 05-26-2004, 01:30 PM   #3
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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
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Old 05-26-2004, 04:39 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 05-27-2004, 12:28 AM   #5
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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.
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Old 05-28-2004, 12:31 PM   #6
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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 before I go to the store so I won't be hungry and crabby while I am there
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Old 05-28-2004, 12:57 PM   #7
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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)
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Old 05-31-2004, 09:40 AM   #8
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another paremeter shopper here. I check fliers, plan all my meals for the week. and never go to the store hungry. never!!
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Old 06-08-2004, 04:29 PM   #9
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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
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Old 06-14-2004, 03:57 PM   #10
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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!
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Old 06-14-2004, 10:08 PM   #11
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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.
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Old 07-20-2004, 12:35 AM   #12
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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
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Old 11-21-2004, 09:05 PM   #13
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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!
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Old 11-22-2004, 09:26 AM   #14
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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!
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Old 12-11-2004, 01:09 AM   #15
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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.
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