or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Frugality & Finances › HELP ME!!! I spend nearly $900...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

HELP ME!!! I spend nearly $900... - Page 5

post #81 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovebeingamomma View Post
We've gone out a total of 33 times for food (this includes, groceries, Dunkin Donuts, and eating out)

<snip>

I buy almost exlusevley organic, so I understand that makes it more expensive,
What I can't wrap my head around is that if you care enough to buy organic at home, why are you eating out to just undo the good that buying organic does?

I'm not trying to be snarky, although I don't really know a better way to put it that sounds any less harsh. It's an honest question to help you think about what you are doing and I mean it with good intentions. It just seems ironic that you're spending so much on organic, but then eat out (at cheap places like Cracker Barrel) where they notoriously have low quality food, high in sodium and fat. If you're eating food like that, why not just buy non-organic at the grocery? It would help with the bill. Do you see the disconnect?

ETA: I really do mean this to be a thought-provoking and not a finger-pointing post. I hope you take it that way, as it might help you to look to cooking at home (and the *desire* to cook at home) in a different light. From a health perspective it doesn't make sense to spend the money on organic if you are eating at chain restaurants every day. I guess it's a lifestyle perspective. I'll quit rambling now. Sorry.
post #82 of 117
Thread Starter 
I did think of that and no I don't mind you pointing that out But it really isn't so much a money & health thing as it is a time thing with the eating out...I HAVE $900 to spend on food, I just don't WANT to spend that much because I feel it's wasting. And I'm not completely obsessed with health either, but if I have the choice, I'll buy organic, and nowadays there's a lot more available. Hope that makes sense and answers your question. Good point And I'm always striving to eat healthier, and would prefer to never eat out and eat entirely organic, and thus the original post.
post #83 of 117
Well, it's possible to completely nix out eating out, AND buying convenience food. I know, because I do it and I have 4 kids running around. I make every meal we eat, with the exception of very occasional pizza out ($5 large). I'm a SAHM, we have four closely spaced kids, I homeschool and make time for homesteading activities and projects. it can be done.

The trick is managing your time, planning your meals, buying only raw and basic ingredients (so you're forced to cook.. doesn't sound fun but ifyou buy canned and frozen meals, those will be the first to go and a waste at that... dont knwo about your family but those meals dont fill our tummies so they're a huge waste of moeny because I find myself having to cook something to supplement them anyway), bulk cooking once in a while (so you're not cooking EVERYTHINg from scratch EVERY night) and making it happen.

Put those kids to work if they're old enough. My kids start to really "help" in the kitchen around 2 or 3 yrs. I have a blog post on my closely spaced blog about how they help and what they're capable of year by year. Maybe that'll giv eyou some ideas (look for the post about cooking, or visit the tips/ideas page and the link to cooking with kids is listed there). Look in the sig.

Take a day or two or three or four a month and assign a task to cooking in bulk for those days. One day a month I make up a bunch of mixes I might be low on - coatings for oven fried poultry, bouillon, seasonings, baking mix, seasonings for foods we eat that contain a lot of dry ingredients.

Take another day and perhaps make up a bunch of bread dough, pizza crusts, pie crusts (for meat pies as well as fruit. Basically the same thing). Then freeze it.

Another day could be devoted to making soups and stocks you usually use in your meals. We use cream of celery, cheddar cheese, tomato soup, beef and chicken stock. Freeze in smaller containers based upon the quantities most often used in recipes.

When you cook, cook in double or triple batches. freeze the rest for a conveniance meal on busy days, or for when you're sick of cooking.

Use a timer when you cook so you can multi task doing other things and not let the food burn as its cooking.

I realise not everyone shares my mentality about this, but I figure I'd rather make anything I would like to buy if it's cheaper (and most of the time it is). This leaves us buying mostly things we cannot make. i figure there are many more things to spend my money on than food i could make myself, so if your budget allows $900 in food, and you can trim your budget down several hundred imagine where that moeny could go! For our family of 6, I spend around $200/month.

Also use coupons and match them to store sales, and store coupons!
post #84 of 117
I posted in the wrong thread!
post #85 of 117
nak...

for limited freezer space, use good quality freezer bags. you will fit more in there.
post #86 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovebeingamomma View Post
I did think of that and no I don't mind you pointing that out But it really isn't so much a money & health thing as it is a time thing with the eating out...I HAVE $900 to spend on food, I just don't WANT to spend that much because I feel it's wasting. And I'm not completely obsessed with health either, but if I have the choice, I'll buy organic, and nowadays there's a lot more available. Hope that makes sense and answers your question. Good point And I'm always striving to eat healthier, and would prefer to never eat out and eat entirely organic, and thus the original post.
I'm glad you took my post in the spirit in which it was offered. I hope you find a way to trim your budget and start cooking at home. It is so worth it!
post #87 of 117
Yow!!! My family of three eats on about $350/month and I don't use coupons.

1) We drink filtered tap water. Once in a while I'll get some fresh OJ.

2) I only hit Starbucks a few times a month. I bought a Mr Coffee espresso machine for $30 at Walmart and I make a nice big latte every morning. It's as good as a coffee shop coffee. Still, I understand the appeal of getting out of the house and having a hot, fresh coffee that somebody else made for me- although I really, really don't understand why your hubby can't rinse out the coffee pot for himself.

3) I keep juice boxes and 'emergency snacks' in the car at all times. If we do get fast food, I order from the dollar menu. I don't get soda (we drink the juice) and I'll get one order of fries to split with the kids.

4) Four meals a day! Do you guys eat that much because you're burning it off, or is it just because you're home all day? Could you replace one of those meals with snacks-on-hand, like a big batch of trail mix you throw together once a week, pretzels, fruit, cheese, nuts, etc...? Do you keep fruit out and available for the kidlets?

5) Are you against breakfast cereal? I would lose my mind if I had to cook every morning. When I make pancakes, I make a HUGE batch and freeze them. They microwave nicely, as does bacon.

6) Leftovers... do you let food spoil in your fridge, or do you try to eat everything you cook? Do you make large batches? Double lasagna recipes and freeze one, bake one? Crock pot recipes, rice and beans, everything that everyone has already said.

7) Do you shop around? If you could buy your organic milk from a local dairy you could save a bundle just there. Produce from farmer's markets can save you SO much, and then there are those things you'll just want to pick up at the big grocery.

8) Some things you really ought to get organic, some things meh, it's not such a big deal.

I see no reason why you couldn't get your grocery bill down to $450 (not counting eating out) and still eat well, organically. Good luck! I really feel for you, that's a lot of money spent on food!
post #88 of 117
(new posting in this forum...hello!)

I remember reading in The Tightwad Gazette that a wife would put the same amount of money that the husband spent on coffee, lunch etc... into a jar. At the end of the month it served a very visual reminder of what was actually spent on convenience foods. The wife neither nagged, or haggled, she just showed her husband the jar of money (I believe it was about $80?), and that was enough for the husband to change his habits.

We used to--a long, long time ago-- spend money like you. It has been over many years that I have learned to budget and cook all our meals at home. I think you are on the right step recognizing the issue, I think you may want to come up with a reasonable goal for proceeding-- perhaps reducing the times going out to eat by half, or learning to cook 5 new, quick dinner meals-- something that will help you get on the way to spending less money.

I think major behavior changes, that will have lasting impact, neither occur instantly nor without a goal in mind. Best of luck!

PS-not to harp on your husband-- what about just getting a second carafe for the coffee pot, and then in the evening just rinse two?
post #89 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovebeingamomma View Post
thank you thank you everyone!

how do I cook a whole chicken in a crockpot? I just happened to buy one today, and haven't cooked one in like 3 years and when I did it was in the oven.

great ideas, keep them coming!
:
Simple! First, spray your crockpot with pam so that it's easier to clean. Then add your chicken breast side up, and about an inch of water or low-sodium chicken broth. Oil your chicken with a tiny bit of fat (olive oil, butter, veg oil, bacon grease, whatever). Cut slits in the skin and stuff slices of fresh garlic and rosemary (dried or fresh) and/or thyme under the skin. Sprinkle skin with salt and pepper and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 3-6 hours. You know the chicken is done when the leg joint wiggles very easily. Avoid opening the crokpot, as this will help hold heat and moisture in.

I am also 22, and it is tough to learn how to mealplan, but it is worth it. It sounds like you need two cookbooks that I have taught me so much about cooking. The Idiot's Guide to Slow Cookers and the Dream Dinners Cookbook Both of these cookbooks not only include recipes, but also give you tips on how to modify regular recipes to make them work best for freezing or slow cooking.

An old breakfast standby for us: Eggs, milk, cheese, crumbled breakfast meat, chopped veggies, mixed up like a huge omlet and baked in a 13x9 casserole dish. You keep it in the fridge and cut slices and heat it in microwave for a quick easy breakfast or high-protein snack. And it adjusts well to whatever you have in the house. Favorite flavors for us are: eggs cheese and salsa; bacon, cheese and leafy spinach; ham, cheese and broccoli.

Once you get the hang of cooking from scratch and cooking in doubles, it'll be easier. We have something easy for breakfast, sandwiches or leftovers for lunch, and a fresh meal for dinner. This is our dinner schedule:

Mon - Baking day (bread, a sweet treat) and a crockpot soup.
Tue - Mexican night
Wed - American or German
Thu - Asian (STIRFRY!!!)
Fri - Italian or maybe a "date" night
Sat - Breakfast for dinner (pancakes, omlets, eggs and homefries etc)
Sun - Grab and Growl (leftovers!)
post #90 of 117
Thread Starter 
thank you once again everyone! :
post #91 of 117
I also SAH, and while the cooking doesn't bother me, the cleaning gets old. So I've been fixing lunch at the same time I fix breakfast, and I make snacks once a week.

To illustrate:

Snacks:
I peel and chop carrots, celery, and peppers all at the same time, and put them in these. (Wal Mart has their own version for much cheaper... I should have waited... grr.) I might wash cherry tomatoes and put them in one, too. I don't do cucumbers ahead, though, they get funky too fast. I mix up a couple small containers of dip- very often just low fat mayo and Italian dressing, stirred together. DD likes a little ketchup in hers, makes it more like thousand island dressing. I'll also make granola or trail mix, and a dozen small containers of homemade custard style yogurt or pudding. I'll take a loaf of bread, sliced, and make the whole thing into PB&Js, which I then put in fold top baggies and put them back in the bread bag, which I then freeze. You can take out a sandwich, put it in the toaster oven/microwave for one minute, and it's nice and warm, which is a yummy way to eat PB&J. We also usually have fresh fruit on hand, or, as back up, canned peaches and pineapple. I'll also cut some cheese up, and hide it in an opaque container so it doesn't all get eaten right away. I try to have little melba toasts on hand to eat with the cheese.

Does this save me tons of time? No, not really. But it saves lots of cleanup, since I just do one big cleanup once a week and don't have dishes staring at me after every time someone gets a snack.

Lunches:

Today, while I was making oatmeal and coffee, I made salmon salad (from canned salmon) and pasta with peas (thank you, Clara on YouTube!) for lunch for today and tomorrow, since I know we'll be busy tomorrow. Just spread the bread, or put the little pot on the stove, and it's done. No thinking, fewer dishes at lunch time, and not much more clean up at breakfast. While I was cooking, I figured out what we're having for dinner. I got the soup in the crockpot, sliced and buttered eight peices of bread, and sliced cheese. (We are having tomato-basil soup, grilled cheese, and dill pickles for dinner.) My cooking today is all but done, and other than a couple plates, three bowls, the grilled cheese pan and turner, and some spoons, all my dishes for the day are done (we use water bottles, so no cups.)

Getting it all done and out of the way in the morning helps me get other stuff done during the day, and not feel like a martyr to the kitchen. Plus, after dinner I'm tired, and I don't want to tackle a giant dinner mess. A small dinner mess I can usually handle.

This isn't about saving money, per se, but eating at home saves money, and this helps us to eat at home.
post #92 of 117
For me, PLANNING AHEAD is the key. If I decide what will be made for dinner the night before, have something defrosted, if necessary, and then in the morning, chop some veggies so it's quick to throw together at dinner time. 10 am is my favorite time to cook dinner. I can prep a casserole, or make a soup, or put the rice in a rice cooker, or chop veggies for stir frying, or whatever, at that time. 5:00 is the witching hour around here. If I am trying to decide what to make for dinner at 5:00, I'm much more tempted to eat out than if I'm planning ahead. I'm frazzled, kids are grumpy, it's not the best time to cook then.

One of my favorite easy meals for dinner is scrambled eggs on toast, with a steamed veggie on the side. It can all be made within 5 minutes of DH getting home.

Aven
post #93 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by nerdymom View Post
An old breakfast standby for us: Eggs, milk, cheese, crumbled breakfast meat, chopped veggies, mixed up like a huge omlet and baked in a 13x9 casserole dish. You keep it in the fridge and cut slices and heat it in microwave for a quick easy breakfast or high-protein snack.
Sounds great! I was thinking about baked oatmeal, too. If you're using the oven in the evening anyway, you can whip up the next day's breakfast and pop it in the oven when dinner comes out to bake while you're eating. Then you just reheat in the morning.

I don't mind cooking, but "food prep" is annoying. Making grilled cheese isn't really all that stimulating, so I rely on left-overs as often as I can for lunch, and that just means making large dinners. Breakfast is only a catered affair here on weekends otherwise it's cereal, oatmeal, or reheated pancakes that I froze on a more industrious day.

I really only cook dinner, and we eat a very wholesome, organic diet.
post #94 of 117
I hate to say it, but you have to stop eating out so much...Is there anyway you can at least lower that amount? Say to 1 time a week? And also the DD thing, to 1 time a week, that will shave a lot off of you budget I guarantee it. And when you do eat out, are you eating at fast food places or sit down restaurants? Try to get coupons for where you like to frequent, check to see when restaurants offer free kids meal/cheap kids meal nights.

This is the first month that we have not eaten out as a family. Dh was down to eating out to maybe one time a week at work and we ate our maybe twice as a family a month. Dh's work buys them lunch on saturdays, so he gets to eat that food once a week now, otherwise he just comes home to eat for lunch-he works 3 miles away. I also sahm, and now w/dh eating lunch, i am too making/fixing 3 meals everyday. And it doesn't bother me as much, the main thing i would suggest is making enough to last for two or three meals. Also cooking in bulk and freezing the excess is a good idea. I do that with pankcakes and muffins for breakfast-they freeze well.

Our food budget is down to about 175$ a month for 2 adults and 1 child thanks to couponing. Our budget also includes eating out, household/health/beauty items. I have been couponing for a year now, have a decent stockpile too. You should check the sticky about couponing, and hotcouponworld.com it has saved us thousands of dollars in the past year. Start shopping sales only. Sign up for websites homemailers, I just bought 2 lbs of organic carrots for .88 at Walmart after coupon. So you can get decent deals on organic while couponing. I don't buy a lot of organic, but do when the prices are good.
post #95 of 117
[QUOTE=because why not?;13267246]Yow!!! My family of three eats on about $350/month and I don't use coupons.

Thats what we spend before coupons about 350-400 on food/household/eating out etc. with only a few organicsQUOTE]
post #96 of 117
I seriously don't know how some people feed their family on $200-350 a month. I cook all meals from scratch and incorporate dried beans and legumes and rice into many meals. I buy SOME organic and I am always hunting for sales. I use a few coupons per visit. I spend close to $500 a month on groceries. Lately I've been able to get it down to $450 for my family of four. I don't see what else I could do other than turn to cheaper foods like non-omega eggs, frozen vegetables, less meat (we eat meat maybe 4-5x a week but usually chicken). Maybe you all have cheaper supermarkets where you live because here it is just, imo, not possible.
post #97 of 117
I notice you describe your dh in your signature as "hardworking surfer dude." Sounds like someone who needs a lot of calories. Maybe part of the difference is that your dh eats unusually big quantities.
post #98 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by freespirited View Post
I seriously don't know how some people feed their family on $200-350 a month. I cook all meals from scratch and incorporate dried beans and legumes and rice into many meals. I buy SOME organic and I am always hunting for sales. I use a few coupons per visit. I spend close to $500 a month on groceries. Lately I've been able to get it down to $450 for my family of four. I don't see what else I could do other than turn to cheaper foods like non-omega eggs, frozen vegetables, less meat (we eat meat maybe 4-5x a week but usually chicken). Maybe you all have cheaper supermarkets where you live because here it is just, imo, not possible.

I don't think $450- $500 a month is extreme at all, and depending on where you live (Beach dreamin mum?) it might be really, really low. I just can't fathom why anyone with small children could be spending $1,200+, unless they have a larger family AND lots of allergies AND they live in a high-cost-of-living area AND eat organics.
post #99 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovebeingamomma View Post
Where would I get coupons for Whole Foods Market? That's where I get all my organic goods.
Mambo Sprouts mambosprouts.com
Horizon Organic horizonorganic.com
Organic Valley organicvalley.coop

They also have coupon books at the entrance of WF. Those coupons are only for use in WF whereas the ones listed above work at any grocery.
I always seem to have $1 Organic Valley eggs coupons, so I only pay like $2.65 for a dozen organic eggs. Organic Valley has some good ones on their Web site right now, too.
post #100 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by alison_in_oh View Post
No, those are different chains. Meijer originated in and still remains in Michigan. Fred Meyer originated in Oregon, has since been bought by Kroger, and is mostly in the Northwest.
Meijer is all over the central midwest now. We have several here in Cincinnati and I know they have them in Columbus OH as well. LOVELOVELOVE their organic house brand. Good stuff and CHEAP!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Frugality & Finances
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Frugality & Finances › HELP ME!!! I spend nearly $900...