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I am SO OVER grocery prices. Also coupons SUCK. How are YOU saving money? - Page 5

post #81 of 96
Thread Starter 

Wow this thread just keeps going. Amazing!

 

Here's where I'm at.

 

1. We joined Costco for meat and bulk buys. The only thing that's a deal are the whole chickens (2 for $9). BUT the meat quality is waaaaaay better. Giant Eagle (which is our chain) routinely sells meat that has already been frozen and thawed but does not disclose this so the meat is inedible by the time I refreeze and thaw. Costco eggs are nice too but the organic milk sucks, tastes like milk carton.

 

2. I started shopping at Walmart (except for meat, did that once, it was awful). Which was saving us money but then prices went up again.

 

3.I still have to go to Giant Eagle for the stuff that can't be found at Walmart or Costco. So groceries can be a real circus.

 

We buy very few processed items--we go through 1 box of Kashi bars (if I haven't baked) and 1 box of high fiber crackers a week, bread lasts for weeks in the fridge etc.. We don't eat cereal and DD hates oatmeal as well as pasta and rice so we skip those alot. We eat primarily produce, meat and yogurt/cottage cheese/cheese. We have a freezer. I cook from scratch. I do pick-ur-own for berries and freeze them. We shop biweekly to cut down on costs with me just stopping to pick up fresh produce between shopping trips.

 

So we are still at about $150 a week.

 

I ration out food too to stretch leftovers. Don't let DH eat it all as he is wont to, instead I suggest he eat a salad or apple if he's still hungry.

 

I quit buying things such as Kefir which was a $30 a month habit for DD. I buy generic. I use coupons if I can find them but they are often for things we don't eat. Face it, the large majority of coupons are for highly processed foods. We don't eat that.

 

I plan to expand my lettuce growing into spinach and peppers this growing season to help save money. Also moving to a monthly menu plan to control costs and the number of grocery stores we go to.

 

V

post #82 of 96

I am getting so frustrated too.  I have tried shopping more often, shopping less often, making every last thing from scratch, trying processed (on sale it seems cheaper sometimes).  But I can't get below about $30/ day ---- $210 a week for 8 people.  This includes paper products and toiletries.  I don't buy organic, and only generic. 

 

I have looked at online budget menus and 90% of it my kids wouldn't eat-- they are picky.  They want the same things over and over again-- breads, pizza, yogurt, milk, juice, some fruits, grilled cheese, french toast, desserts, french fries.  I make it all from scratch so I basically just buy ingredients.  Coupons don't help as I buy generic and nothing processed.

 

I've tried shopping at different grocery stores but end up spending about the same each no matter where I go.  I read that NYC schools make lunches for $1 per child in food a day -- at three meals a day for 8 people I am spending slightly more than that ($1.25 per person per meal).  I just don't see how to get it lower without them being hungry.

post #83 of 96

If you eat chiefly meat, produce, and dairy, then I don't think $150/week for 3 people is all that unreasonable. 

 

My budget is $100 a week for 5 people.  I've had to recently increase it (it was $75/week for a couple of years), with the combination of rising costs and growing children. 

 

That's about the same as $210/week for 8 people.  I find this budget point do-able, but it's not an "oh, it's so easy; I don't think about it" price point, at all.  We eat lots of rice and beans, we eat carbs with almost every meal (rice, pasta, potatoes, bread, grits, oatmeal usually), and I buy almost only in-season produce, supplementing with frozen veggies/fruits and stuff I can in the summer.  The baby and I are dairy free, so our suppers are dairy free, for the most part, for all of us.  It's just easier. 

 

 

 

 

post #84 of 96

We're a family of 4 (2 teenagers), and spend $100 a week on groceries.

 

My biggest money saver is Aldi. We save so much money shopping there that it is unreal. For example, their I can't believe its not butter is only .99 rather then almost $4 at the supermarket. Cereals 1.99 box,

 

I also only buy meat when it's on sale. I stocked up my freezer with Wegman's 90% lean chop meat for 1.99/lb. Boneless chicken breasts 1.79, split chicken breasts .99lb, london broil 1.74 lb, bottom round roast 1.99 lb. Boneless pork chops 1.99/lb, boneless pork roast .99/lb. We also buy some meats at BJ' wholesale club.

 

When an item goes on sale, I stock up so I never pay full price for anything. When albacore tuna in 6 oz cans went on sale for .59, I bought 50 cans. we will finish it before it expires. Same with crushed tomatoes. We stock up on seasonal sale items for use in the off season. For example, ketchup goes on sale more often in the summer, so we buy enough to last through the winter.

 

We also have a BJ's wholesale club membership that we use fairly often. Certain things for us are cheaper to buy in bulk.

 

We have 2 large freezers in addition to the refridgerator freezer. We also have a large pantry. When money was super tight, we ate mainly from the freezer for a few months. The way the economy is, one never knows what is going to happen. I look at my food supply almost like a savings account. Should something happen, at least we won't starve.

post #85 of 96


Quote:

Originally Posted by EFmom View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsetdancer View Post

I'm always kind of amazed when people say they don't buy things that have coupons. I've seen coupons for healthy (or healthier than the alternative) foods like whole wheat bread, pasta, rice (both white and brown), oatmeal, cheese (organic and non), meats (mostly chicken but sometime other). People dont eat anymof those items? I know some people have dietary restrictions and personal preference but coupons are not just for junky foods. Of course, there certainly are times when the store brand is cheaper but sometimes that isn't the case.
I check coupons and use the occasional one, but for the most part, even with the coupon, the store brands are cheaper, and I tend to only buy things when they are on sale. Our stores don't double.


yeahthat.gif

 

post #86 of 96

1.  We belong to a food co-op and generally are paying pro rata for bulk goods (spend about $70/week for three people on all items except stuff like shampoos).

2.  We cook one main dish a week which lasts us all week (we basically eat the same thing for dinner every night and have varied packed lunches).

3.  We eat a lot of beans/legumes, no meat, no dairy, no packaged foods, very few grains (essentially we're grazers - except for the main dish - and tend not to eat traditional meals).

 

We don't use coupons because we get ridiculously low prices at our co-op (in exchange for labor).

 

I grew up in a small university town with an agricultural school.  We spent most of the summers growing up picking free fruits and vegetables on the farms and then would can everything.  If you have a university near you with an agricultural department, it may be worth looking into.  It may not be free but it was a wonderful resource for us growing up.  

 

post #87 of 96



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by starrmama View Post

I'll mention a couole things that haven't been covered as much... one that has been saving me some money is to buy in bulk online.  If you don't have many grocery store options, it might even save money to buy regular groceries online; don't know since I haven't really looked into that, but maybe. 

 

My grocery bill is huge in comparison to most discussed here, but its worth-it to me that we eat well for our health, and also that we we enjoy our food too.  We are pretty Nourishing Traditions based too and I like supporting and eating local, so we really don't buy many name brand things that would have coupons.  Still, I'm trying to get it down so we can save money to build my little eco dream house, etc. 

 

Anyway, we go through pretty much coconut oil too.  In stores its like $20 per quart?  Last time I bought 5 gal from Mountain Rose Herbs (they are AWESOME btw), It was $9.61 per quart including shipping.  I put out the word on some local e-mail lists I'm on and usually can unload at least half of it to other people if I don't want that much money tied up in coconut oil :)  There are some other things I buy now online too in bulk, like organic black tea for kombucha, stevia, and the cranberry concentrate that my kids love to drink dilluted.  Buying our grains and beans in bulk online would probably also save a lot... I need to get on that.  Oh, quality nuts are also usually really expensive, but I at least have found a source for almonds now... I buy them direct from the farmer at $5 per pound including shipping and they are unpasteurized, which you can't even get in the store now.

  

great thread!


Thanks for the tip RE coconut oil!  I know I have a few friends who would split an order with me, so that's a GREAT plan.  Could you share your resources for some of the other things you mentioned?  Specifically, stevia!  We use it to sweeten our tea (we're southern ... we drink a LOT of iced tea! LOL) and it can be SO expensive.

post #88 of 96

We do many of the things that others have mentioned.  We buy our meat by the animal from a local source.  It's not certified organic, but they tell us it is all raised organically, and we trust them (friend of a friend).  We have 2 deep freezers (uprights, actually) and buy in bulk in addition to the meat... online and at Costco.  I have a stockpiled pantry of purchased and home-canned products.

 

One major money saver for us is gardening and canning.  Last year was a disaster because of drought, but usually we put out a very nice garden and I home can the harvest that we don't eat fresh.  During the summer, we rarely buy vegetables and the fruit we do buy is very inexpensive.  We used to belong to a CSA, but the box would give us about 1 serving of a bazillion different things and I got tired of having to combine them to make vegetable soups and such (and I'm a good, creative cook, so it wasn't for lack of imagination, but just a poorly organized CSA).  There were few things that we didn't raise ourselves, anyway.  I can soups and meals, so we have some wholesome convenience that doesn't even need to be thawed.  I also can meats, so there is never an excuse that I didn't thaw our something for dinner.  I also raise many of our herbs.  Herbs and spices can be very expensive.  I have a dehydrator, too.  If you have little room where you live and can't put up a large pantry, drying your produce and meats can be economic and space-saving.

 

We don't eat processed food at all and I do all of my cooking from scratch.  We do eat some *prepared* food.  I like this term because "prepared" is something I buy for convenience, but the ingredients are not chemically processed and it would be something I would make from scratch at home if I had the time.  For example, crackers.  You can buy crappy, highly-processed crackers with a ton of ingredients you can't pronounce or you can buy crackers that are made from whole wheat flour, salt, fat, milk (or not), and oil.  I will buy the prepared crackers, but not the processed crackers.  But my first inclination to save money is to try to find a way to make it at home.  I think that processed foods really HURT the overall budget.  In the end, if you eat a lot of that kind of food... the kind that typically has coupons... you're destroying your health, so you'll pay for it through healthcare.

 

There are a lot of good ideas here.  I remember this thread and it always tickles me when someone resurrects these old ones.  Some advice never goes out of style.  (And I may have repeated myself because I don't have the time to go back and re-read it again and I know I posted to it before.)

post #89 of 96
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyJayne813 View Post

We're a family of 4 (2 teenagers), and spend $100 a week on groceries.

 

My biggest money saver is Aldi. We save so much money shopping there that it is unreal. For example, their I can't believe its not butter is only .99 rather then almost $4 at the supermarket. Cereals 1.99 box,

 

I also only buy meat when it's on sale. I stocked up my freezer with Wegman's 90% lean chop meat for 1.99/lb. Boneless chicken breasts 1.79, split chicken breasts .99lb, london broil 1.74 lb, bottom round roast 1.99 lb. Boneless pork chops 1.99/lb, boneless pork roast .99/lb. We also buy some meats at BJ' wholesale club.

 

When an item goes on sale, I stock up so I never pay full price for anything. When albacore tuna in 6 oz cans went on sale for .59, I bought 50 cans. we will finish it before it expires. Same with crushed tomatoes. We stock up on seasonal sale items for use in the off season. For example, ketchup goes on sale more often in the summer, so we buy enough to last through the winter.

 

We also have a BJ's wholesale club membership that we use fairly often. Certain things for us are cheaper to buy in bulk.

 

We have 2 large freezers in addition to the refridgerator freezer. We also have a large pantry. When money was super tight, we ate mainly from the freezer for a few months. The way the economy is, one never knows what is going to happen. I look at my food supply almost like a savings account. Should something happen, at least we won't starve.


This is the next step for us I think. Serious bulk buying. No longer buying for the month with a few extras for the pantry, but for the year.
 

I am keeping an eye out for loss leaders and I do stock up when I spot good ones,but not for a year yet.

 

Just bought 15 jars of spaghetti sauce for $1.25 each which is a good price in our area.

 

F

 

post #90 of 96

One of our grocery stores (Publix) has had "Italian days" in February the last 3-4 years.  This year was GREAT for me.  I usually can our tomatoes.  I like home-canned, because the texture is better.  But, this year, I underestimated how many I'd need, and we have only 6 quarts left.  I need enough tomatoes to get us through to July, when tomato season starts (we'll eat fresh for the 11 weeks or so of tomato season, then switch to canned).  Anyway.  I bought 40 cans for a great price.  That should (hopefully!) get us through until July.  They aren't as great quality as home-canned, but they are better than fresh out of season (to us), so it works for us. 

post #91 of 96

I disagree, I think it is more expensive to buy processed food. When we bought processed just for the 2 of us before the baby, we spent about $450 a month. Now for the three of us (with 2 year old toddler) we spend $200 a month and I make everything from scratch except for one package of frozen dumplings that I buy for when I don't have time to cook. We eat modestly, enough to fill us but not overeat.

 

We cut down our shopping to just once every three weeks, that seems to have helped. I always make a list and we don't buy things not on the list. I never use coupons. We buy about 60-70% organic food. I do all our food shopping at Trader Joe's (don't know if you have one in the area). I love their steady low prices and the fact that they are smaller, I don't have to sweat running across an entire grocery store. Their store brand prices for organic are really low compared to others. I'll send you a PM with a link to my shopping list and receipt, maybe it will help :)

 

Oh, by the way, for meat I buy 3 packages of drumsticks (6 count each, no antibiotics) at $1.29/lb. We eat one package per week. That saves a lot. for other meat I get one package ground turkey for soup (meatballs), and occasionally a whole organic chicken if we're having guests. We then eat the chicken leftovers after we have guests on the weekend. That's all we eat for meat. I would rather eat little but good quality than a lot of meat from sick animals. I make a big pot of soup once a week and we eat that the whole week for lunch. 

post #92 of 96

Absolutely hate going to Walmart... but they ARE cheaper than anywhere except Aldi's around here. I went to Harris Teeter this month and whoa. whoa.  I did save by opening a VIC card and buying things on mark down, but geez oh petes. We have an Aldi's but it is sooooo annoying to get to for some reason! I dread going in there... it's terrible. Thankfully we are having a brand new Food Lion built less than a mile away and they are great for store brands and coupons! Im praying that I can really start using coupons this next month to save more on our grocery bill. $100 a week for 3 people (one of which is a 2 yr old! ) is too much!!!!! I looked into the local CSA and it was super expensive and not worth it. The only thing I haven't tried is going to the Farmer's Market. It's hard to get DH to get up on a Saturday with me to go and I hate going to places like that by myself shy.gif.  If only we didn't eat meat.....

post #93 of 96

Check out if you have bountifulbaskets.org in your area.  Similar to what Starrmama suggests for produce only co-op. If they aren't in your town, but maybe nearby you can start your own site in your town. You make a $15 contribution and get $35-50 worth of fresh fruit/fresh veggies. Ours runs only every two weeks, but with my two sons and myself we usually just eat up the offering before the next one comes and we are big fruit/veg eaters. We volunteer also (takes about 1 hour) and each volunteer gets to take home an additional 'large' item (pineapple, acorn squash, cabbage, etc.) or two small (bananas, apples, turnips, etc.) items for volunteering. You don't get to pick what you get, but we've never been disappointed. It's all regular, first quality produce you'd buy at the store. We are always excited to see what's in our basket and find a recipe for it if it's something we don't normally buy, or we got a ton of something. Some towns even have organic offering for $25 instead of the $15. Although every week we've had at least one or two of our items in regular baskets be organic too :) Just can't say enough good about this co-op!

post #94 of 96

On my sources:

 

Mountain Rose Herbs I already mentioned for the coconut oil.  Their price actually went up, so I just bought the latest 5 gal of coconut oil yesterday from here with the 10% off for new customers: http://www.naturesapproved.com/shop/product_view.asp?id=845328&StoreID=DED66C93AF6E45488DF43C733A64B7F1&private_product=1  I buy some herbs/spices from Mountain Rose still though.  Black tea,  Arrowroot powder, Horsetail and Oatstraw, etc.

 

The stevia I have been getting lately is KAL brand from here: http://www.valuenutrition.com/ Value Nutrition has great prices, but they are slower than molasses.  I only keep shopping there because they have a few of my favorite items for cheaper than anywhere else and free shipping if you order enough... but it takes weeks, not days, for an order to arrive from them.

 

Almonds if anyone is interested in those, are from Bill Grisson, in 10 lb increments with shipping included.  $5 per pound.  bgrissom73@gmail.com

 

Other money saving things we do for toiletries/personal care is that we rarely buy toilet paper because we use family cloth.  I think it saves in the long run.  Also, I just got an Eco Wash Ball that's supposed to cean laundry without detergent so now I'll only be using our Charlie's on the diper load since I'm not sure I trust the wash ball with that... I wash hair now with baking soda/apple cider vinegar, and just once a week.  My deodorant is Everclear with a few drops of essential oil and baking soda.  We rarely buy napkins or paper towels and use a lot less kleenex now that I have cloth substitutes for all those. 

post #95 of 96

If you are eating a lot of meat and dairy and having to avoid rice and pasta, then I don't think $150 is actually too over the top. Our family of three eats (and gets household supplies) for about $110-$120/week (we always eat out on Fridays) and that includes farmers' market organics. We buy large blocks of cheese at Costco and rarely cook meat.

 

It looks like you eat  a lot of spaghetti. How about growing your own basil and making pesto for the summer for spaghetti and pizzas? You can make it with pumpkin seeds instead of ridiculously expensive pine nuts.

 

 

post #96 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by RawMilkMama View Post

  

We eat a very whole foods/ Nourishing traditions diet, so very little of what's in the grocery store and even less of what has coupons fits our eating habits.

 

 

 

 



This is our situation also. We buy alot from Polyface (whose prices have gone up since last year btw) and at local farmers markets.  Even for what we do buy at the grocery store there aren't usually coupons available (if only I could get my hands on coupons for things like Kerrygold butter and coconut oil!).    My attempts to lower our food costs are currently centered around growing more of our own food and becoming better at meal planning to avoid waste and allow for some bulk buying. 

 

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