Originally Posted by counterGOPI
I need to learn from you ladies. We live in a very expensive area (portland, or) and I struggle to feed our family of 4 (soon to be 5) on $100 a week. I would like to cut back even more and need to learn how. We are vegetarians so no meat,egg or milk expense but the veg food seems just as expensive to me as meat food. We make everything at home, including our bread, ect. We don't eat any processed grains - just whole wheat, brown rice ect, no snack foods bought and my Dh lives off of ramen for his meals at work (not healthy but he's willing to make that sacrifice for us).
Ughhhh what else can we do? How do we stock the pantry??
Feel smug, because I struggle feeding a family of 3 in a lower COL area for more like $112 a week. We're effectively vegetarian too, and I agree that cheap grocery store meat is actually not expensive. If I was willing to buy it, I think we'd actually feel fuller for less money. Even pasta is $0.99 a pound only when it's on sale, yet it seems like hamburger or turkey or whatever is that cheap (sure, maybe that's sale prices too, but still), and surely it provides a lot more bang for your buck than pasta.
You may just have to stock the pantry slowly, like I am. When something is on sale I try to buy 3 or 4 of it instead of 1 for that week. Even just 1 extra one helps. Since I don't have the money to spend an extra $80 a week filling my pantry, I usually allocate $5 or less. It's slow, but I do see progress. Once I get a certain amount stocked, I can then wait for a sale before buying it again without wiping out my pantry, so the savings accelerate a little bit at that point. Canned red beans, for example - I've built up about a dozen cans, and lately I've just been using 1 can a week. So even if it's 4 more weeks until the next sale, I'm in good shape, and I will be sure to snag the next sale even if I still have 8 cans left.
Store what you eat, eat what you store.
Rotate - when you buy new, make sure you spend the extra effort putting your new items in the back so you're not dealing with expired foods later.
It's slow for me but I'm actually pretty enthused. In a short time my pantry has gone from pretty much bare (buying everything week to week) to having a bit of a stock in there. I've focused on canned and dried beans (dried much more economical but I insist on having some cans to use in a pinch), brown rice, flour (I use whole wheat to bake with but also use white unbleached just for preparing pans or rolling dough out on the counter or whatever, it's a little cheaper), sugar, salt, leavenings, pasta, tuna, black olives and broth. My pantry is also naturally cold enough for me to store fresh potatoes, carrots, beets, onions and squashes. Speaking of which, shop for produce seasonally, it makes a big difference. Well, there's your advice from someone who has no business giving advice on this topic.