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Can someone help me budget for the SBD? Someone who's really good at budgeting?

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Old 06-15-2008, 02:57 PM   #1
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Default Can someone help me budget for the SBD? Someone who's really good at budgeting?

I went to the grocery store yesterday to get the ingredients for the stuffed bell peppers, and got some extras, like lean lunch meats, reduced fat cheeses, produce, and whatnot. Spent $80 in all!!! It cut way deep into our budget, and I only bought ONE meal out of all of that. Now I've got $52 for the month for me and my boyfriend. (Throughout the month we'll make extra money to add to the $52, but right now that's what I've got.)

What sort of stuff could I get that will equal up to a lot of meals but low funds? I am pretty lost. Not sure what to buy. I want to go ahead and spend it on real food before Boyfriend wastes it on mindless things such as sodas and candy bars and junkfood (this is what he eats, yet he's skinny. Probably not healthy though, lol.)

Anyhow, I know there are probably a lot of women here who budget for their families and control the finances and have experience in this sort of thing. I am in need of your advice!
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Old 06-15-2008, 03:43 PM   #2
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Number 1, Congrats on coming to SB. It's a great WOL and you will see BIG changes if you apply yourself.

Okay, here's some tips for your budget.

1. Clean out your freezer. That way when SB-approved meat and poultry goes on sale, you can stock up.

2. Eat fresh veggies as much as possible, but if it's cheaper, go frozen. (If you're shopping at a grocery store, frozen may be healthier because the veggies are flash-frozen closer to harvest than what you're getting in the produce section so there are more nutrients.)

3. Try not to buy prepared food. (I.e., bagged salad, sliced veggies, etc.)

4. Find recipes that make large amounts and EAT LEFTOVERS!! The Taco Bake is delicious and lasts DH and I about 5 meals. (2 dinners and 3 lunches each). I can usually make Taco Bake with a side of salad and sauteed bell peppers and onions (DH eats tortillas with his) and it typically costs about $10. That comes out to $1 a meal. Other good budget recipes are: Meatball Casserole, San Antonio Style Chicken (Tortilla) Soup, Baked Chicken Breasts and the Fireside Sausage and White Bean Soup (I think that's the name). Following the above, I only cook an average of 3 times a week and we always have plenty of food.

5. Finally, realize that this WOE isn't the cheapest and that sometimes you may have to sacrifice in other areas to make sure you stay on track. DH and I have been through the ringer financially, but we have always done whatever we could to make sure we were eating healthily. Some of the things we've done without are eating out, date nights like going to the movies and to the bar, drinking a lot less alcohol, vacations and etc. If it's worth it to you to treat your body right, you'll make it work. Just like the rest of us do.

Good luck!

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Old 06-15-2008, 03:54 PM   #3
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Thank you for the advice, your idea of the taco bake with a sie of salad and sauteed peppers and onions sounds delicious. I love to eat leftovers.

Do you think I could save even more by freezing half of whatever I cook? I wonder if that sort of stuff freezes well. That way, I would have some for another meal some weeks later.
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Old 06-15-2008, 04:53 PM   #4
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I always cook double and freeze. Casseroles and stews all freeze really well. I watch the sales, buy lots and stock up the freezer whenever there is a good sale, and I don't limit myself to one store. I regularly shop at Trader Joe's the PA Dutch Market, a local dairy, butcher, and farmer's market, Aldi's, and three "regular" grocery stores. Of course I don't go to all of these places every week, but keep an eye on the sales and go wherever I can get the most bang that week. I go to all these places because there are certain things I know I can get cheaper there. So keep an open mind and check out all your options, you will get to know where you can do the best. Definitely check to see if you have an Aldi's nearby, because that has made a big dent in my grocery bill lately.
Meats that go on sale regularly around here include ground turkey, turkey breast, chicken breasts, lean ground beef, and pork loin. These all go on sale for $1.99/lb or less. Sometimes I buy regular ground beef, saute, drain, and rinse in hot water, if it's going into a casserole. On occasion I splurge on some steaks, crabmeat, shrimp, or fish. Eat lots of beans too, they are cheap and good for you. Hope this helps.
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Old 06-15-2008, 05:07 PM   #5
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If you spent $80, you've got more than a couple of peppers and some cold cuts. I'm thinking. It sounds like there are some salad meals in there with cold cuts, definitely a Stuffed Baked Pepper meal and a lunch or dinner of leftovers. If you give us an idea of what you bought and what you already have in the pantry and fridge/freezer, we can probably come up with this week's meals. Are there two people eating or more? I think you're in the first week of SB? Correct? If nothing else, a couple cans of beans (or a bag of beans if you want to make them from scratch) will add to the veggies you have for a couple meals. Eggs? Omelete, frittata or souffle dinner and some breakfasts. Let us know what you're working with.
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Old 06-15-2008, 05:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Schmoodle View Post
I always cook double and freeze. Casseroles and stews all freeze really well. I watch the sales, buy lots and stock up the freezer whenever there is a good sale, and I don't limit myself to one store. I regularly shop at Trader Joe's the PA Dutch Market, a local dairy, butcher, and farmer's market, Aldi's, and three "regular" grocery stores. Of course I don't go to all of these places every week, but keep an eye on the sales and go wherever I can get the most bang that week. I go to all these places because there are certain things I know I can get cheaper there. So keep an open mind and check out all your options, you will get to know where you can do the best. Definitely check to see if you have an Aldi's nearby, because that has made a big dent in my grocery bill lately.
Meats that go on sale regularly around here include ground turkey, turkey breast, chicken breasts, lean ground beef, and pork loin. These all go on sale for $1.99/lb or less. Sometimes I buy regular ground beef, saute, drain, and rinse in hot water, if it's going into a casserole. On occasion I splurge on some steaks, crabmeat, shrimp, or fish. Eat lots of beans too, they are cheap and good for you. Hope this helps.
I don't have a Trader's Joe or Aldi's near me but I wish I did. I've got Food Lion, Piggly Wiggly (which usually has good meat sales), and Harris Teeter. (I can't afford to shop at the Teeter, Lol.)

I am gonna try to incorporate a lot more beans in my diet and make them into meals. Do you have any ideas on how to turn beans into a meal? I've never really ate beans much before so I don't have any idea on what to do with them.
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Old 06-15-2008, 05:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by WebRover View Post
If you spent $80, you've got more than a couple of peppers and some cold cuts. I'm thinking. It sounds like there are some salad meals in there with cold cuts, definitely a Stuffed Baked Pepper meal and a lunch or dinner of leftovers. If you give us an idea of what you bought and what you already have in the pantry and fridge/freezer, we can probably come up with this week's meals. Are there two people eating or more? I think you're in the first week of SB? Correct? If nothing else, a couple cans of beans (or a bag of beans if you want to make them from scratch) will add to the veggies you have for a couple meals. Eggs? Omelete, frittata or souffle dinner and some breakfasts. Let us know what you're working with.
Thank you thank you thank you. I desperately need help, lol!!!! Yup, there are two people eating, and I'm on day one of phase one.

Here is what I've got:

l lb of ground turkey (I'm gonna use half in the stuffed peppers tonight)

4 peppers (only gonna make two peppers, either I'm gonna make 2 for us to eat and 2 to freeze for another meal, or just make 2 and do something with the remaining peppers, what do you think??)

1 large can of green beans
1 large can of pinto beans
eggs
2 8 oz blocks of reduced fat cheddar
2 packages oven roasted 98% fat free turkey breast lunchmeat (my bf has to use some of it to make sandwiches for lunch)
reduced fat cream cheese
lettuce
3 tomatoes
light italian salad dressing
6 cans tuna in water
some dried red beans
leftover frozen spaghetti sauce
celery
onions
roasted garlic hummus
spinach artichoke hummus
smart balance margarine
reduced fat sour cream
salsa
pickles (dill)


Heeeelp!!!
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Old 06-15-2008, 05:37 PM   #8
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Melanie, I'm not sure if PW or Food Lion does this, but where we shop (Kroger and Walmart), they will mark down meats pretty often, especially on Saturdays at Kroger since the new sale starts on Sunday. I've been able to get a great sized London Broil for like 6 bucks, just have to get there early. We've also seen produce marked down at Kroger, they'll stuff a bunch of veggies into a big plastic produce bag and mark it for a dollar. I bought a metric ton of yellow squash thanks to that markdown today. Just have to really check the quality and make sure you freeze the meat right away.

Also, I bought dried beans instead of canned, and invested the $25 in a food processor to make my own hummus tomorrow. It takes more time, sure, but saving money and making things from scratch makes me feel good.
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Old 06-15-2008, 06:07 PM   #9
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You're light on veggies. If you can add any at any point, that will improve your experience.

Day 1
B: Omelette(s) with sauted celery, pepper & onions, with cheese
Day 3
S: Celery & hummus
L: BF turkey & cheese sandwich & pickles
You turkey/cheese rollups with pickle
S: Cheddar with celery
D: Pinto beans, mashed lightly with a fork, heated
Chop 1/2 tomato & 1/2 pepper and top the beans with the tomato & peppers, salsa & sour cream -
(Soak the red beans in water overnight, hard boil 6 eggs while cleaning up from dinner - put eggs in water to cover, bring to a boil, boil for 10 minutes, plunge into water with ice. Use the oldest eggs you have, they'll peel better)

Day 2
Pour off the water from the beans, put in a crockpot, add water to cover, add a chopped onion DO NOT add salt, put on low and let cook for 8-10 hours or more.
B: Scrambled eggs with salsa & cheese (hopefully the salsa is fresh with no sugar added)
S: 1/2 pepper in slices with hummus
L: BF turkey & cheese sandwich & pickles
You wrap from inside out pickle, turkey, cheese, lettuce leaf with cream cheese
Sn: Celery with hummus
Dinner Red beans with cheese
Tossed salad (lettuce, 1/2 tomato, 1/4 pepper, rings of fresh onion,) dressing
Green beans
You should have a lot of red beans left, refrigerate

Day 3
B: Hard boiled eggs & 1/2 tomato sliced- you can devil the eggs by mashing the yolks with mayo and chopped pickles, then putting the mixed yolks back in the hollows.
S: Celery with cream cheese
L: BF: Tuna sandwich (tuna drained, mayo, chopped pickle, chopped onion)
Tuna drained, chilled and served on 1/2 tomato, leftover green beans or pinto or red beans
S: Turkey wrapped around pickle spears (slice pickle long way)
D: Turkey burgers (you can add finely diced onion, peppers & an egg if you want) - dress them like burgers with 1/2 sliced tomato, sliced pickle & mustard.

If I've described combinations you don't care for, feel free to modify.
Continuing in a future message
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Last edited by WebRover : 06-15-2008 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 06-15-2008, 06:11 PM   #10
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If you search google or even the search option in forums on this site on words like cheap, frugal, budget, cheapskate, tightwad, thrift... you'll find a lot of money saving ideas. In fact, you can end up spending hours and hours on this. Some of the ideas are NOT South Beach or generally weight loss friendly, but a lot of them are, because "whole foods" are often cheaper foods.

I google recipes by searching by budget and/or ingredient. Say "bean recipes," or "thrifty recipes,"...

There are also some excellent books on amazon.com about cheap cooking (Miserly Meals, I hear is very good. I can recommend Good Cheap Food and the TVP Cookbook). Amazon is often very cheap, but I start there because I sort all the books I'm interested in in my wish list, print them out, and then take them to the library to search and/or order.

I believe TVP is South Beach Friendly, but someone more experienced, please correct me if I'm wrong, but I often do this to save money and calories as well as time for ground beef recipes. I brown ground beef and/or ground chicken with tvp granules from the health food store. I often add onion, celery and bell pepper, and garlic but no seasoning that would be incompatible with a variety of dishes. I add water to the browning at the point that the meat is starting to lose most of it's pinkness. I usually add about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of tvp to 1 lb of ground beef. I usually pay about $2.25 for tvp granules. It's the equivalent of about 3 lbs of ground beef, so it's about 1/3 the price per serving. I've also started adding cooked wheat berries to the mix (also very cheap per pound at the health food store - though I think this is Phase II).

So a mixture of 1 lb of ground beef and 1 1/2 cup tvp is about equivalent to 3.5 to 4 lbs of ground beef (so about 1/2 price per serving).

I put the mixture into a ziploc freezer bag (or a tupperware container) and stir or shake the bag in the freezer every 15 minutes or so until frozen, so that it freezes in crumbles not ahuge block. This way I can scoop out just what I need to add to spagheti sauce, or make into taco filling or sloppy joe mix, etc.

I buy beans by the pound, dry. Much cheaper, but they take a lot longer to cook, so I also make a big batch and freeze using the same shake and toss technique to be able to scoop out what I need from the freezer bag. Beans can also be used in place of pasta in recipes or in place of groundmeat or small chunks of meat. I've added beans to spaghetti sauce instead of meat or to reduce the amount of meat. White beans and other mild tasting beans are really good with tuna dishes. Even as part of the tuna in a tuna casserole. Or I like salad dinners and a really good one is tuna - red or green onion - beans - and italian dressing, served on greans. I like adding cooked fresh green beans when they're in season.

Walmart sells rotisserie chickens for about $1 to $1.50 more than a raw chicken would cost, so it's a good value for super fast meals. I get double duty by saving the carcass in the freezer to make soup (worth learning how to do, but I know it's not something everyone is interested in).

Farmer's Markets are often a source of cheaper, and better quality produce.

Also see if there is an oriental market or grocery in your area, sometimes they sell great produce very cheap, especially if you like eggplant, oriental cabbage, cilantro, bean sprouts....
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Old 06-15-2008, 06:27 PM   #11
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Day 4
B: Turkey cheese rollup with salsa
S: Celery & hummus
L: Egg salad (mashed hardboiled eggs, diced pickle, onions) on lettuce with 1/4 chopped pepper
S: 1/2 tomato with cheddar
D: Red beans with spaghetti sauce, chopped whatever veggies are left: celery, onions, green beans either cold with salad dressing or sauteed lightly OR as a side vegetable baked onions: Wrap an onion in foil, bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour.

Day 5
At this point, you will need to consider adding some more vegetables, perhaps a cabbage (usually not too expensive) or summer squash, as you will have some cheese, some red beans and tuna left, maybe some salsa, sour cream & cream cheese. Add cottage cheese if you like it.
b: Eggs (if you still have them) with sauteed onions and cheese
S: celery with cream cheese or hummus
L: Tuna salad or tuna patties with sliced raw cabbage (think coleslaw size) with italian dressing.
S. hard boiled egg with salad
D. Grilled summer squash with red beans & onions

Hope that's helpful.
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:10 AM   #12
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Hey Melanie,

You got a lot for $80... THe only things I think that you can substitute are the lunch meat (Lunch meat is so overpriced) Perhaps instead of lunch meat you could buy bone in chicken and cook it yourself. The difference is 6.99+ a lb for lunch meat vs 2.99 a lb for bone in chicken

Also for the prepared hummus - I usually see it priced for 2.49 - if you have a blender/choppper or food processer you can make hummus w/ a can of garbanzo beans .99 and some garlic, lemon, salt/pep and olive oil.

Keep up the good work! You can do it!
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Old 06-16-2008, 10:33 AM   #13
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Melanie - Food Lion has great sales. They also do double and triple coupon days(LUCKY! We don't have a FL by us)

I know that this diet is heavy in lean protein, but that doesn't always mean meat. You can use lentils and beans for a CHEAP and filling lean protein. Frozen veggies are much cheaper than fresh, and if prepared properly are just as nutritious and good.

Try substituting cheaper ingredients in the recipes when they call for prepared foods (like in the Taco Bake, it calls for refried beans as the bottom layer - I cook up some lentils with cumin and chili powder, mash and use) I also cut the amount of meat in most meals. I can get two meals out of a pound of ground turkey by just using half the recommended amount. It cuts the fat and calories as well.

Soaking and cooking your beans is by far cheaper than buying canned. The cans cost about a dollar and a half, while a pound of dried beans costs about that. Just soak overnight and boil for about an hour in water before using. Same texture and flavor, just cheaper.

Try buying in bulk...for example: When the Winn Dixie puts their b/s chicken breasts on sale buy one get one free...I save about $35 and have enough chicken to feed my family of 3 for 3-4 weeks. I do the same with roasts when they are b1/g1 free.

Try to have at least 1 if not more meatless meals. They will be good to your budget. Soup is inexpensive (especially if you make your own stock) as are sandwiches (use lettuce leaves instead of bread for p1). My family has one sandwich night (our favorite sandwich is "salad" sandwich - lf cheese and lots of veggies) and one soup night a week (we add whole grain rolls and fruit).

I make stuffed peppers...but I use quinoa instead of meat (it's a healthier protein than meat). It's cheaper and just as yummy. I can get you the recipe if you need.

It isn't easy being frugal - especially while eating healthy, but if you think about it in longer terms - this way of eating will save you money (and years!) in the future, medically speaking. It's worth it. Clip coupons, look online for food coupons, shop sales and only sales, cook with what is in season...
It's in your best interest to plan ahead before you go to the store. Always have a list and STICK to it! Check the weekly sales online before heading out - plan your list according to what is on sale.

By clipping coupons, shopping sales and cutting a lot of animal protein out of our diets(not all, we still have meat 3-4 times a week) I can feed our family of three (almost 4) for around $250 a month - including lots of fresh, organic produce, organic or grass fed beef and chicken and organic dairy.


If you need any other help, feel free to PM. I've become a master at feeding my family well on a small budget. Good luck!
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Old 06-16-2008, 02:36 PM   #14
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Melanie, I'm not sure if PW or Food Lion does this, but where we shop (Kroger and Walmart), they will mark down meats pretty often, especially on Saturdays at Kroger since the new sale starts on Sunday. I've been able to get a great sized London Broil for like 6 bucks, just have to get there early. We've also seen produce marked down at Kroger, they'll stuff a bunch of veggies into a big plastic produce bag and mark it for a dollar. I bought a metric ton of yellow squash thanks to that markdown today. Just have to really check the quality and make sure you freeze the meat right away.

Also, I bought dried beans instead of canned, and invested the $25 in a food processor to make my own hummus tomorrow. It takes more time, sure, but saving money and making things from scratch makes me feel good.
I have sometimes found meat on sale. I love Walmart too, I prefer to shop there for groceries, (it's cheaper!), but it's 30 minutes away, and with the gas prices lately, we're not going there anytime soon unfortunately.

I'm gonna start buying dried beans, you're right, they are cheaper. I think a food processor would be a really cool investment and really fun (I love to make my own homemade things.) Let us know how that hummus turns out! Yum.
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Old 06-16-2008, 02:39 PM   #15
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WebRover- thank you, so much! You gave me some really great ideas that I would never have thought of. Your advice was priceless. Thanks again!
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