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Shopping smarter for groceries...ISO tips :) - Page 2post #21 of 313/2/13 at 3:55amThread StarterThanks everyone for the fabulous ideas! I am reconsidering the CSA for this year...might be better to have more control over my budget since its going to take me until July to pay off my debt...post #22 of 313/2/13 at 6:30amAnneca, where do you shop? DH and I would always shop at Fairway or Stews but are realizing how expensive those places are. We're also trying to cut down on grocery money and just started really paying attention to unit prices to pick the cheapest per amount not just cheapest price tag.post #23 of 313/2/13 at 6:55am
I started ordering most of my groceries from Azure. I already have meat since we are farmers and I generally have a garden and I also have my own milk cows- so I am not buying 100% of our food anyway. So basically I order our grains, a lot of veggies, cheese, supplements, yogurt, frozen berries, tea, other random things that we need. It is mostly organic- so perhaps a little more costly than Aldi's or something- but astronomically cheaper than HyVee's conventional products. I am that person who goes into the grocery store for 2 things and comes out $80 later. Additionally I live a good 40 minutes from a big grocery store- so when I am in town for church I often want to run in to get the few random things- well once a week of doing that and $80 each time is ridiculous. So I place a big order from Azure and then in that same trip to pick up my order I swing through the grocery store to pick up the rest of our needs and I am down to probably 1 additional trip/mo. I am trying to cut that out too. So far I have knocked off at least $100 off our groceries. I buy in bulk, hopefully at one time, and try to roughly meal plan. Also--- we eat a lot of meat. A LOT! I don't know- call me crazy... but it seems to me that it is cheaper at least for us to go ahead and make a yummy cut of meat rather than find all the ingredients to make some random casserole that either uses less or cheaper cuts?post #24 of 313/3/13 at 6:30pm
We are a vegetarian family of 4 and spend less than $500 a month and I do not feel like I am scrimping on anything. I do make most things from scratch myself which may not be an option. Once a week I make a large crockpot of beans. I use 1/3 for soup, 1/3 for bean dip, 1/3 for casserole or tacos. We do not purchase beverages other than occasional juice and tea and coffee which saves money. I use sales on pasta and sauce to stock up on cheap spaghetti. Cheese tends to be on the high side so I look for sales and buy extra. Using a slow cooker is helpful because food is ready when you get home and the need for quick foods (which are more expensive )is minimized. I got slowcooker cookbooks from our library to learn how to do it.
Good luck.post #25 of 313/3/13 at 8:32pmQuote:Originally Posted by anneca77
Oooh awesome tips! Thank you! Any advice on how to cook a chicken in a slow cooker?
Mamarhu, I was thinking about farms and farmer's markets...we are halfway between the city and the farms. I don't know of any farmer's markets here, but I will look into it. I also don't know of any farms here that are open this time of year...but it will be spring soon enough. I wonder what you all think about joining a CSA. It's 500.00 for veggies (some fruits) all organic, one box, once a week from May-November. Do you think this is cost effective? I think it sounds like a good deal, but then again I get overexcited about organic produce. We are also hoping to do some gardening and get some veggies that way too (just moved to a house with a yard).
I think the CSA is a maybe. When I was in a CSA I did like it. But I also felt like I wasted too many things that didn't fit my needs and spoiled before I got creative enough for them. You'd be paying less than 20/week and that seems really good to me if you are happy with the selection you are likely to get. But frugal? What would you otherwise pay per week? What other veggies will you still be buying to supplement? I spend about $20-30/week on veggies, maybe $10 on fruit. But even with a good CSA I would still probably spend about half of that in addition to the CSA items because some of the veggies I use a lot of have short local seasons like cole crops, I use large quantities of mushrooms, and bananas aren't local at all... When you consider the extras you get through the CSA are you going to splurge on those extras if you don't get the CSA or are you more likely to skip most of them? I'd be happier spending $20 on a couple of pricey extras each week rather than a mixed box I didn't choose even if it meant a much smaller quantity, and this need to choose would be even more important with your own garden because of all of the duplication you'd have otherwise.
Are you set up to invest the time and effort into your own garden and do you have enough knowledge or willingness to acquire it that the harvest will be abundant? You could spend more money making your garden really, really nice, but still far less than the CSA fee. If you aren't experienced with gardening though I would not count on saving much money with it, just start learning and see how it goes at first.post #26 of 313/4/13 at 10:11am
OP- you are in or close to NJ?
I would make a vacation day around the u-pick places - NJ is loaded with them and some close to the shore as well- we are in PA and pick in NJ early in the morning and the afternoon at the shore- works for us (using coolers!)
NY is alos great to u-pick apples places too
we found this saves big time and is a great day off as wellpost #27 of 313/9/13 at 4:41ampost #28 of 313/9/13 at 6:28am
Do you have an Aldi? They even have some organic things now like, apples, potatoes, salad, spinach, cheese, tomatoes, EVOO, pasta, canned tomatoes! I have been trying to shop mostly at Aldi the last few weeks and have got my grocery bill way down!!!!post #29 of 313/18/13 at 3:20pm
Sorry it's taken me so long to reply! I'm not on these boards much anymore. I personally cut all the skin off (as much as I can) with kitchen shears. Then I use a spice blend to make it taste similar to a rotisserie chicken. I do not add veg with the chicken usually, because I just don't like the way they turn out most of the time and some of them always get kind of burnt (if they're touching the crock).
It's illegal in the US to use hormones in poultry, so I don't worry about them! As for antibiotics, technically they are not supposed to be given any within a certain time frame before being slaughtered--so there should be no antibiotics in the chicken when you eat it. I still don't like that they use so many antibiotics, but I'm at a place in my life where I can't worry about it right now. There are too many other issues to think about and this is one I don't focus on. I mean, it crosses my mind when I buy the chicken, but the cheapest organic chicken around here is $4/pound. We are moving into a cheaper place, so I might be able to expand our grocery budget a little, but right now I just can't afford it. I'm actually more weirded out by the GMO soy and corn they're probably fed...but that's another story!post #30 of 313/18/13 at 7:38pm
$4 per lb for chicken? Really? I'm so jealous! It's $6.99 per lb for organic chicken here. Surprisingly enough, grass-fed hamburger beef is $5.99 per lb.post #31 of 313/18/13 at 8:13pm
Whole Foods nation wide last month had whole organic chickens for $1.99 a pound. If you watch Whole Foods, you can get organic grass fed beef for under a $1 a pound (unadvertised in the store). I buy my milk from Whole Foods and good deals like above. We only got there every other week to get the milk. I am sure if I went there more often, I would be able to find even better buys but I do not think it is worth the 15 minutes drive for what ifs.
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