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Help! Need to decrease the grocery bill

14 years 6 months ago #63709 by Cabinbuilder
I don't know about being a HERO of sorts but I appreciate the kind words. I am fortunate to have had a mother who taught me how to really make everything from scratch and if I don't know how I have the early recipe books that tell me. She even made her own syrup and ketchup!!! Plus I worked for many years in a store deli and can prepare stuff very quickly.

I am also fortunate that where I live right now the food is extremely inexpensive and the cost of living very low. There is no way I could do it for that little in Alaska so that has a big part of it.

I should tell you too that I need to factor in the fact that I do not have to pay for lunches for the kids - I don't make enough money and qualify for free lunches for them at school. They always eat the hot lunch.

Another way I cut down on cost is the cuts of meat I buy. I don't buy precut steak cubes for stew, I cut my own. I buy the big blocks of cheese at sam's club at $10/5lb brick vs 7.29/lb for plain chedder at the store. I shread my own cheese. I don't buy pre-cut stir fry meat, I buy the beef breakfast steaks thin cut for $1 and cut my own strips. Remember that if someone else cut it up, you are paying their salary. Oh, and I should say that my kids will NOT eat sandwiches with lunch meat - I don't buy it. They will only eat peanut butter - easy. OMG, I feel like I should teach a class :yes: You guys are all great. It takes a little planning and cutting down on the impulse stuff. Stock your house with cheap brand staples, do you really need gourmet tomato sauce on a budget???? Add spices and it tastes pretty close. I will admit too that my cooking is very bland or my kids wont eat it but a tub of crushed garlic at Sam's is only $2 and it lasts 6 months. Keep trying ladies, it will come. :grouphug:

LECOM Class 2006
Osteopathic Family Practice Resdincy 2009
Locum Tenens: Urgent Care/Rural Medicine.

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14 years 6 months ago #63710 by mom1st
What great ideas! I spend about $450 a month for groceries for two adults and two small kids...more than I'd like, but the cost of groceries in a rural area is expensive. (4 bucks for a gallon of milk, and my guys are milk lovers. Cereal is just outrageous, and I only buy it now if I can get it on sale out of town) The other down side of rural groceries is the freshness. I can rarely buy green onions that aren't limp-yuck! When and if I get to a Sams about 5 hours away, I stock up. I do have one of those vacuum sealers that I got as a gift. It really works great and supposedly keeps food fresh for months. I wish I had time to use it more, but I think it's great asset. I've also tried the once a month cooking technique where you spend much of one day making and then freezing meals for the month. (I looked it up on the internet for recipes.) It was great while it lasted and I hope to try it again...finding several hours to just cook is really tough for my schedule. But being able to just grab spaghetti sauce/enchiladas/taco meat out the night before to thaw was sooo convenient. Do any of you use a crockpot? I've done that on a few occasions as well. Kudos to those frugal chefs out there--how inspiring!!

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14 years 6 months ago #63711 by Laramisa
We eat a lot of vegetarian meals (like indian dahls+rice) and save money by not buying much meat. We also cook alot of stir fries and make vegies the main ingredient rather than meat. I'm also growing vegetables & herbs in pots on my balcony this summer (e.g. tomatoes, cukes, beans, peppers, coriander, basil) and hope this will save me money. Plus it is fun for the kids and tastes better.

My friend who is a champ at saving with food, feeds her family lots of cheap pasta and salads - but I get sick of pasta myself.

The idea of putting a fixed amount of money in an envelope for the month is one we've used in the past too, and I think we'll go back to because our food budget has gotten out of hand again. When you're forced to use up what's in the house you can end up getting very creative and trying new recipes.

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14 years 6 months ago #63712 by Angie O'Plasty
Some good ideas on here--I certainly can use them too! Making things ahead and freezing them is definitely good--saves money AND time. One thing I do is stock up when things are on sale (like buy one get one free w/grocery store card) and freeze the extra if it's something perishable. Save-A-Lot is a good place to get some things. And always buy store brands if possible.

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14 years 6 months ago #63713 by Empi
Spiced Dal, mmmmmm.

My dh won't eat it but my children love it.

Red and yellow lentils make good dal.

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14 years 6 months ago #63714 by MomMD
We're also big on beans etc. What I do, which I highly recommend. I buy several bags of dried beans - kidney, cannellini etc. etc. I pick a day, soak the entire lot over night. Then spend the following morning cooking them. Bag them all for the freezer! That way they last about 2-3 months, no need to buy cans (which can be more expensive) and I just toss them into things when I feel like it. I've recently switched to a very high fibre diet and feel great! I also love couscous, because it's so easy and versatile. Sample meal for me would be a lentil and split pea non-meat loaf, curried cabbage couscouse (just stir fry some green cabbage lightly in thai curry paste, add the couscous and raisins when done). Serve that with a green salad and a fresh tomato salsa/relish - yummy! Another favourite is mixed bean salad. This time I use a can of mixed beans, rinse them. Mix them in a bowl with some lemon juice, salt and pepper, sliced red onions, finely sliced celery, blob of mayonnaise, dash of olive oil and a splash of vinegar. Just to according to taste. This salad tastes better when had time to marinate.

Better go!

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