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"How to feed your family for less" - Page 3

post #41 of 116
Oh SNAP. That's fabulous.

Really. I feel like a light just went on. Between that and the crockpot site, I am seriously excited about cooking again. Well, cooking for less.


***ETA: My happiness was from the $5 site... heck, it's the 20$ meals for 4 which mean $30 for me that are kicking my behind now
post #42 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyS View Post
What a great website - thank you!
post #43 of 116
I wonder how people's eating styles is making a difference in price?

I know organic meat is very expensive. And eggs, and dairy.

We don't buy much of that at all.

When we do have meat or dairy, it's as a "side" or flavoring to a meal, not the main part. For instance, I don't just roast a chicken and serve it up like that. I can get at least 3 meals out of that, plus chicken stock for soup. 1 lb of ground beef spreads out to four spaghetti meals, since it's a flavoring for the sauce, not a main dish. We *never* just throw a whole roast in the oven and eat it straight (although I would love to). A 3 lb roast is another thing I can get 2-3 meals out of.

I also don't make a lot of egg-based dishes, unless I've got a realy good deal on eggs.

Same with dairy. I use those things mostly in baking, or for Sunday special breakfasts.

The base of our diet is brown rice (which Aldis sometimes has!! 1.89/2 lb last time I saw it there), pasta, potatoes, lentils, and other kinds of legumes, along with vegetables which I stock up on whenever they're on sale. Every once in a while we have a meal like cheesy mashed potatoes with vegetables, or garlic noodles with garlic broccoli with garlic sauce on top. : Obviously not healthy to eat like that every day of the week, but even once a week helps the budget a little. I try to make sure we get enough veggies by throwing spinach in just about everything and grating zucchini into any baked goods that will hide it. I write out our meal list to make sure we're getting mostly well-balanced meals.
post #44 of 116
Quote:
I wonder how people's eating styles is making a difference in price?
I think that's a big part of it. I think where you get your food makes a huge difference too. We eat grassfed, organic meat at every meal. But we raise our own, so pretty cheap for us. Same with produce. Even if its something I don't raise, I can get it locally (not always organic though) for pretty cheap or free.
post #45 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by carouselrider View Post
I just wanted to respond to the comments that people who spend exhorbitantly on groceries are also buying crap or not scratch cooking. Honestly, if I really wanted to save money, I'd do less scratch cooking - I think prepackaged crap is actually a lot cheaper, but that's a sacrifice I'm not willing to make.

This is us also... we went from healthy organic vegetarian fare to strictly whole foods, nothing processed or prepackaged healthy organic vegetarian fare (this means no beverages, btw, so we aren't buying wine or fruit juices or coffee, we just drink water from our tap) and our grocery bill (which includes all our household items as well as foods) jumped from $600-800/mo to $1100-$1300/mo... major ouch! If I didn't worry about 'natural flavors' or processed foods I could buy dressings, sauces, snacks etc. very, very inexpensively, but to make all the same things from scratch, wowza! There just aren't coupons for kale or fresh tomotoes, etc... and that jump included a csa, farmer's markets, buying in bulk, on sale and in season, and picking my own foods, so a whole lot more work. I was really shocked, I hadn't ever bothered to check in the past, just bought whatever I wanted when we wanted it and once we got serious about cooking from scratch and not eating additives (which are in everything including all the 'healthy' 'natural' stuff, argh!) we started finding we were running out of money and so I went back and checked everything (I always put everything into quicken for years) and it was a major, major shocker for me, I honestly thought we were spending less! I'm definitely finding it very challenging to get enough veggies and fruits and keep the budget down... I've been tempted to do inorganic but I feel like we all pay for that in some way ultimately and it only seems like it makes any difference with the "dirty dozen" anyway (like strawberries or potatoes), everything else often I can even sometimes find cheaper organic so it doesn't make sense. I'm definitely going to start a price book though, I feel like I have a sense of costs since I'm mostly buying the same things but maybe I'm wrong! I have given up on buying some things local to save costs though (which really frustrates me, but some things are ten times more to buy local, I just can't justify that).
post #46 of 116
We eat kosher and kosher meat is expensive. Kosher, organic meat? Fuggedaboutit! $$$

We eat a lot of dairy meals, a lot of beans (tostadas, taco salad, red beans and rice) and fish. Last night I made meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I used 1lb chub of kosher ground turkey and loaded up on homemade bread crumbs and chopped veggies. I fed 8 people (five adult sized people) and had a lunch portion leftover. So, 1 lb of meat between 8 people is pretty darn good, if you ask me!

$5 turkey
$1 potatoes
$1 veggies (leftover odds and ends from other meals)
$.50 onion soup mix
Free breadcrumbs

So, $7.50 for 8 people - woo hoo!
post #47 of 116
Well, I think you can do Tyler's Crockpot dinner for less. I think $20 is a generous estimate. If you buy the meat on sale and freeze it, you'll do better than $20.

I'm going to try it with my pork butt in the freezer ($3) + rolls from the bread store ($1) + plus the rest of the stuff I believe I already have on hand.
post #48 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by carouselrider View Post
I think prepackaged crap is actually a lot cheaper, but that's a sacrifice I'm not willing to make.


umm I agree with this- have you seen the crap box food I mean I could serve us all frozen pot pie for .50 each- yuck though- and I too spend a lot but scratch cook and not crazy expensive meals, and we have very big eaters in this household all 6 of us and the dog
My bill is 150 per week tight and that's for everything- I am hopeful though that I can find more ways to save
post #49 of 116
Bless Tyler Florence's little heart. He's just so proud of his $3.75 sammich!

ITA that you can produce that meal for way less. I have a 10$ whole pork loin in the freezer myself. That's about 5 lbs of meat. I have no clue why his estimate is so high.

And eating out to the tune of $400 a week? That's a decent median salary around these parts. Just goes to show how different people have different ideas about life.

All in all, I am always thankful for more ideas for food. I enjoyed the show.
post #50 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ygle View Post
I've been tempted to do inorganic but I feel like we all pay for that in some way ultimately and it only seems like it makes any difference with the "dirty dozen" anyway (like strawberries or potatoes), everything else often I can even sometimes find cheaper organic so it doesn't make sense. I'm definitely going to start a price book though, I feel like I have a sense of costs since I'm mostly buying the same things but maybe I'm wrong! I have given up on buying some things local to save costs though (which really frustrates me, but some things are ten times more to buy local, I just can't justify that).
I am thinking about a price book too, although I do carry a whole bunch of excellent price lists in my head, it would probably help dp a lot..

I also sometimes find organic is cheaper.. not necessarily the fresh stuff, but like canned organic diced tomatoes or canned organic soup I can sometimes find in the clearance bin at 50% off which ends up cheaper than other stuff.. looking there frequently has often let us try getting more organic in our diet more quickly..

(that is also how I put more gourmet cooking items in our diet.. I like gourmet hot chocolate, or gourmet pancake mix, or something else to "try out".. so if it is in the clearance area, I give it a whirl without second guessing myself..)
post #51 of 116
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post #52 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ygle View Post
I'm definitely going to start a price book though, I feel like I have a sense of costs since I'm mostly buying the same things but maybe I'm wrong! I have given up on buying some things local to save costs though (which really frustrates me, but some things are ten times more to buy local, I just can't justify that).
A pricebook is a huge amount of work up front, but I can't say enough how effective it's been in finally controlling my food costs. Before, I thought I knew what a good price was, but actually comparing costs showed me I had absolutely no clue. None. It's embarrassing how far my reality and actual reality were! I think even when we can afford organic again, we'll still eat so much cheaper than before, now that I'm so much more store & price conscious.
post #53 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by carouselrider View Post
A pricebook is a huge amount of work up front, but I can't say enough how effective it's been in finally controlling my food costs. Before, I thought I knew what a good price was, but actually comparing costs showed me I had absolutely no clue. None. It's embarrassing how far my reality and actual reality were! I think even when we can afford organic again, we'll still eat so much cheaper than before, now that I'm so much more store & price conscious.
This was almost my exact experience. I *know* that when I start my new job & we can afford organic again it will still be a lot less than we were spending.

Coming up with a month or so worth of meals to make a pantry list really helped me get the price book together too.

Seriously, you can think you know the prices in your head, but sometimes when you see them in paper it's just shocking how what you're remembering matches up with reality!
post #54 of 116
I used to spend way too much on food for less people...I now cook 99% of our meals (we get take out subs about 2x a month for DH and I). I love to make homemade pizza for between $2.50-$3.00 and it feeds 5 people. I make chicken stock which costs pennies ... because it comes from another dinner -- so it serves several purposes...
post #55 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by janerose View Post
Seriously, you can think you know the prices in your head, but sometimes when you see them in paper it's just shocking how what you're remembering matches up with reality!
Yes, exactly!! Now I get almost a perverse thrill at actually knowing the cheapest place to buy milk, or eggs, or flour etc. I have gotten into the funniest conversations with strangers over the best places to buy x,y,z. It's like I've joined a secret society or something, I love it!
post #56 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinoikoi View Post
Salmon is free.

(yep, don't think I have ever paid for it..)

Catfish and tilapia I have paid for, but salmon? nope..

I have paid for crabmeat a few times, but it is usually free too.
oooh. I'm jealous. That's funny you get what I consider delicacies for free and you have to pay for "junk fish."
post #57 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magpie1972 View Post
As I type I already have stuffed peppers in the crockpot and fresh bread rising for dinner rolls.
Stuffed peppers in the crockpot? Do share, PLEASE! It's something I can do vegetarian and still use the crockpot. My problem is I work full time outside the home now (at the kids' school, so it's not as bad as it could be) but coming home and cooking is always a challenge. There aren't too many vegetarian crockpot recipes out there that I can find.

You ladies are amazing. I buy very little meat for DH and I still spend upwards of $600/mo for four people.
post #58 of 116
I love this thread. DH and I cut up our credit cards and are only paying cash....no charging for those little extras. I tried the price book but after calculating the TIME, savings and driving around decided it wasn't worth it. I do a variation on it though. I shop solely from sale fliers and Costco.

I am so lucky to have a Costco, 3 Wholefoods and 2 other competing natural food markets in my town.
The small markets put out sale fliers every week and I've started planning my meals around those. I buy a standard supply of Earthbound Organic produce from Costco every 2 weeks....salad mix, spinach, baby carrots and apples. This week we bought a 20lb bag of rice and a 20lb bag of beans. I am able to get Coleman chickens at Costco so I buy 2 of those and we splurge on Friday night dinner by roasting a chicken. The carcass becomes chicken soup.
I buy my other meats on from the sale fliers. Those are no hormone, no abx and I'm fine with that compromise.
My kids never see cereal, cookies or bars unless I make them. Chips and crackers are out. Popcorn is in!
This week instead of making cookies from an on sale bag of chocolate chips, I made a trail mix of raw almonds, raisins and chocolate chips. The kids love it, it's certainly healthier and the chips should last into next week!
I don't eat much bread but DH and the kids love it. Our family of 5 can tear through a $6 loaf of bread in a day. My wonderful mom sent me her old bread machine. I start bread when I go to bed and we have a fresh baked loaf in the morning for a fraction of the price.
Flour is getting expensive though.
My goal is $100 a week. We should be able to pull it off!
DH just called. He just picked up 10lbs of organic russets for $5!
Roasted, baked, scalloped...bring it on!
post #59 of 116
Oh yea. I have great crock pot recipe for BBQ chicken sandwiches.

2lbs boneless, skinless thighs.
1 bottle bbq sauce bought on sale
dump it all in the crock pot and cook on low/medium all day or high for 4 hours.
It shreds up nice when it cooks for a long time.

I bale cornbread and we serve the sandwiches open face with coleslaw on the side.
I use the Moosewood Cookbook for coleslaw and cornbread recipes.

OK, I gotta go and make dinner. Minestrone using all my leftover, about to wilt veggies and chicken thighs!
post #60 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by chiromamma View Post
oooh. I'm jealous. That's funny you get what I consider delicacies for free and you have to pay for "junk fish."
Ah, yes.. but I LOVE catfish fried in butter, I just don't have it often.. and tilapia is a fish my dp grew up on in PI.. so although I don't buy either one often, I do like them.. I actually think they have a similar flavor now that I think about it..

Salmon on the other hand has a VERY different flavor, and I don't like the smell of it cooking at all.. and I have eaten salmon every way imaginable.. baked, smoked, pickled, fried, soup, grilled, cream cheese spread, and my mother makes a "salmonloaf"... yep, reminds me of Forest Gump actually..

my mother used to live VERY rurally and whenever she flew to town she would bring in a big box of crabs.. all it takes is an old spark plug, some string, and a lot of stamina.. Crab I love.. salmon I honestly only eat when I am desperate.

This summer I am planning on trying clam digging.. I have done it before elsewhere, but not this area, so there will be a bit of homework involved.. so stick that on my "free" list also..
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