Shoestring Meals Budget friendly ideas for healthy eating

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Old 12-16-2004, 05:14 PM   #16  
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OMG! I just recently found this website and it has changed my whole way of thinking as far as grocery shopping goes. I used to HATE grocery shopping. I used to spend 600.00 a month on groceries ( I have a family of 5). At the end of each week I would be scrounging for whatever I could pull together. Since this site, I LOVE to grocery shop and even look forward to it. The best part is I am already spending 200.00 a month less on groceries and I have only been participating for like 5 weeks. And after all this the best part is my cabinets keep getting fuller every week even with us eating normally all week long. It's addicting. They will give you a one month trial for 1.00 if you decide to stay on and over 90% of trial memberships do there it will only be 10.00 every 8 weeks. It's very reasonable. You don't have to be some kind of super shopper either. I never cut coupons or shopped the ads before and Like i said I am saving 200.00 a month. I know it will get to be even more as the time passes too. Last week I saved 69% on my grocery bill and there are some people who save even more! Check it out for yourself. It's at good luck and trust me it's worth it.

ps I don't work for them either, I just really love it!
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Old 01-06-2005, 08:00 PM   #17  
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I was just going to post about that site!
I use it every week and save at least a hundred dollars.
I feel really great when I save more than I spend, but I think my best trip was when I spent $145 on $350 worth of groceries.

You have to have a Kroger, Ralphs or Vons near you, but if you do, the membership price is totally worth it.

Plus, it's FUN!

Last edited by ibrandi; 01-06-2005 at 08:01 PM. Reason: wrong information
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Old 01-06-2005, 08:28 PM   #18  
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I find a good way to stop wasting fresh produce if I don't get round to cooking the meal i bought it for in time, is to blanch it in boiling water and then freeze it. At the moment I have A LOT of broccoli in my fridge due to a friends bumper crop in her vege garden, so tonight it is all getting bagged up into single servings and frozen.

Actually find out who in your office/group of friends has a vege garden and offer to take any extra veges they have off their hands! It's cheap and you know the veges you are getting are fresh and chemical free!

Another good trick I have learnt is to put things like pasta sauce/soups/mince in a baggy and freeze it so it is flat. That way you can fit heaps more in your freezer, and it takes less time to defrost (greater surface area for heat transfer!).
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Old 01-07-2005, 09:16 AM   #19  
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I find that if you go shopping after you have gone to the gym or for a walk, or any exercise, you will feel really healthy and you won't buy bad food. Works for me anyhow.
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Old 01-08-2005, 02:22 PM   #20  
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Originally Posted by ibrandi

You have to have a Kroger, Ralphs or Vons near you, but if you do, the membership price is totally worth it.
Actually, none of those stores are in my area. I think it just depends on where you live. In my area it's only Winn Dixie and Publix. You just go to there site and enter in your zip code and it will let you know what stores it works for in your area. Last week I saved 56.00 and only spent 43.00!!

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Old 01-09-2005, 08:08 PM   #21  
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I make my own entrees, sometimes.

I will buy chicken breasts when they are on sale, then sprinkle w/salt-free spices (Mrs Dash has 8 or so varieties, McCormick has a few, or something like Italian seasoning or my personal favorite, chili powder) & bake them on the broiler pan, letting the fat drip down. Then I cut them in half & place in a Tupperware or Gladware container w/ 2/3 cup cooked brown rice, which has been seasoned w/whatever I put on the chicken & maybe a tsp of butter, and 1/2 cup green beans, spinach, broccoli, etc. Cheaper, WAY less salt & FLAVORFULLLL.

I've also done this with shrimp, Louis Kemps' seafood when it was on sale, and Gardenburgers/Morning star farms pizzaburgers on occasion. I also tried it ONCE w/chunk light tuna (no seasoning) and frankly would NOT recommend that.

I've also bought the big tub of fat free vanilla yogurt (although I've heard the fat in dairy is the good-for-you kind.) and mixed it with frozen fruit to make my own parfaits.
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Old 02-05-2005, 05:54 PM   #22  
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I try to balance cheaper meals with more expensive ones when I shop, and I try to match up meals; for example, if I am using cilantro one night for Mexican food, I'll also plan a Thai dish that will finish it up for later in the week. I plan to start growing a little kitchen-window herb garden, because fresh herbs are terribly expensive at the store (compared to the cost of growing them--and I hear they're easy to grow).

I have to say, I find my incidentally vegetarian weeks to be cheaper than ones where I eat meat. Beans all the way, baby! And tofu is cheap for the amount you get, too.

I do spend more on groceries than I do on other things, because I don't eat a lot of processed foods and try to buy organic when I can. But I also look at it like this--if eating fresh foods without pesticides, hormones, etc., is more expensive, what am I saving as far as my life goes? My health, money not spent later on doctors' bills, etc. . . .
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Old 02-05-2005, 06:23 PM   #23  
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I spend quite a bit on groceries as well. I buy my fruit, vegetables and meat at a traditional English market. I save about 25% or more than if I shopped at a supermarket. I buy organic or local when I can. If one product is organic and imported and the other is non-organic and local, the local tends to win out. We have a local farmers market once a month, so I hold over some of my food budget so I can buy locally caught fish and locally raised meat. I might be dieting, but I am still a foodie at heart!!!!
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Old 02-12-2005, 11:33 AM   #24  
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I seldom buy any meat in the grocery store. When I do, it is only chicken or on a rare occassion, a beef roast or pork tenderloin when they are on sale. By not buying much meat, I really save in comparison to those who are checking out in front of me in line I've noticed. Generally, I spent about $50/week. We live on beans, chili, pasta salads, and lots of other one pot meals at our house. I use the frozen chicken breasts, and usually one a couple at a time in a meal. We also eat a lot of leftovers are our house. I find it easier to stay on program and we enjoy eating out a couple of times a week where we get other meats. I am getting back into eating liver and onions (which I love). Now there's a cheap meal!

Recently, I needed green peppers but they were expensive in the veggie aisle. I went to the frozen foods and for 88 cents, I could get a bag of green peppers already chopped. These work great in soups and other dishes. And, no worries about spoiling! I have also put whole green peppers in ziploc bags from my garden and used these throughout the winter in the past. This last summer, though, dd used them all in making stuffed peppers.
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Old 02-12-2005, 12:03 PM   #25  
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I shop @ Wal mart Neighborhood Market. It is alot cheaper than regular grocery stores and has the same items and quality. Thet are very competitive on prices.
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Old 04-04-2005, 03:45 PM   #26  
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I buy chicken breasts with the bone in them and debone them myself at home. It saves a lot of money.
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Old 05-12-2005, 02:18 AM   #27  
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We buy at most of groceries at Sam's club....but I do check Wednesday newspaper for good bargain at the local supermarkets. I also have a garden that will help with some veggies. We canned our own salsa...that helps.
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Old 05-27-2005, 08:41 AM   #28  
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Since I started WW, I have found that I'm spending about $100 less per month on groceries. Even though I buy some more expensive products, I am buying less of them. Less cream-o, cheese, meat, etc, and way less junk food and prepared foods. My veggie garden is started, so I can buy less veggies (but I don't kid myself, growing the veggies does cost some $$, but I benefit because of better taste and exercise growing them). I grow chives, basil and thyme on my windowsill.
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Old 07-06-2005, 10:56 PM   #29  
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I also shop the outer recesses of the store. I love my Trader Joes and save a ton of money there!!! Produce always seems better there also!
I find that I eat a lot less meat of any kind now and that saves a lot of money. Also not buying any junk food has saved me a ton of money!! I was a sugaraholic and could easily spend another $50 to $100 a month on sugary sweet items!
I buy some items at Sams club, but only if I am sure I will use it all or it becomes a not so good value!!
I used to follow the circulars a lot but now find that I can usually plan around whatever produce I can find at Trader Joes and that saves me a lot of money!!
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Old 07-07-2005, 12:08 PM   #30  
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I also shop the Wednesday ads, make a list of the things I need and buy often, then head to Wal-Mart (either very early in the morning or very late at night) and I take advantage of their price matching program. More often than not they have the items on my list for cheaper than what the grocery stores have them on sale for anyway.

Also, I've created a price list to reference in general but at Sam's in particular. It was a pain to create but I tracked everything I bought for a few months and noted the price that I paid. Now, when something is on "sale" I can easily tell whether or not it is a really good buy and when I go to Sam's for bulk shopping I know whether or not it is worth the space in my pantry (I've found a lot of stuff these days is actually more expensive at Sam's than if you just wait for a sale at the grocery store). And I ALWAYS do the math on sale prices. I've found that a lot of times stores will advertise items as "3 for $5.00" or something - and it actually works out to be regular price anyway (and I know because of my handy, dandy price list!). If I do find something that is a great buy I stock up as long as it is something that isn't going to spoil or can be frozen.

Also, for me, planning is key. I make note of what I have on hand and make my menus based on that and the sale ads. I usually make a week's menu to go by but I also think about a month ahead as well and create a sort of outline for those weeks too (making use of planned leftovers, bulk items on my list, etc.).

Oh, and I almost never buy prepared meats. For instance, I buy the bone-in, skin on split breasts and clean them myself. I can buy them for .99 a pound (and have gotten them as low as .79 a pound), the resulting breast is much bigger than the boneless, skinless breasts you'll buy in the store (2 is enough to feed my family of 5 - my husband I split one and my three small children share one - they are THAT much bigger!), plus, I can seperate the tenderloin and freeze them seperately to use in stir frys, for chicken strips, fajitas, etc.

Finally, I often make double recipes and freeze one for later. It doesn't necessarily save grocery money but it does save me time, and usually doesn't require nearly as much energy to heat up as it would to cook. So, if I do it often enough I see a slight difference in my electric bill. I even do this for things we put on the grill. I prefer charcoal grilling over gas and there is always plenty of heat still going once I've finished cooking our meal. So, I'll throw something else on and then freeze it. Later, I just have to finish it off in the oven (depending on what it is I might not cook it all the way through. This gives us the grill taste without drying out the meat).

I used to spend as much as $600 a month at the grocery store - sometimes more if I was out of staples like flour, sugar, and condiments too. Now, I spend as little as $70 a week and rarely more than $100. And the best part is that we eat good, healthy food. It drives my sister crazy because she only has 3 in her family and she spends at least twice as much as me on groceries and doens't eat nearly as well - they'll be having hot dogs and and we'll be having steak! She finally went grocery shopping with me last week to "see how it is done." It is corny, I know, but I've actually come to entertain myself by seeing just how little I can spend. What can I say? I'm easily amused.
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