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Lets cut our monthly grocery bill - Page 5

post #81 of 110
Subscribing as well.

I was spending about $500-$600 a month on groceries but the last 2 months I've been making progress spending less.

An important factor for me was the STAY OUT OF THE STORE when it wasn't grocery day. I can't seem to just go in for what I need so I don't go anymore. If I need milk I go to the corner store by my work (same cost as the grocery store) and that's it. If we're out I go without.

I've also starting shopping at a bread outlet and the fruit and veggie stand next door. I save about $20-$25 a week this way maybe more since with tons of nice fruit in the house I've been buying almost no snack foods except for popcorn and tortilla chips (DD loves to take them for lunch with salsa, sour cream and veggies). I buy my produce for the week and I buy potatoes, onions and carrots in bulk once a month. They keep just fine. I was buying small bags weekly. :

To cut back even more I think I'll try making bread this weekend since it costs pennies. I thought it wouldn't be as cost effective. I can get organic 12 grain for $1.29 a loaf at the outlet but I'll do a cost comparison to see if I should start to bake. I made my first batch of tortillas this weekend. We eat tons of them and now I have a stockpile.

I'm going to check out the wholesale store for cheese since there are several of you saving a few dollars that way. Now if I can straight to the cheese and back out again....

Thank you for all the wonderful ideas. It's going to make a big difference to us.
post #82 of 110
Thread Starter 
: One hurdle I am up against is price increases.

In my area the "big chain" is Jewel whose parent co is Albertsons. They took about 5 plus years ago and have in a nutshell changed everything. My neighborhood Jewel was a friendly cost effective place 5 years ago and had wonderful produce etc. Well they have just finished a remodel, have flat screen monitors at the checkout ( ), and redid everything. Then they upped their prices this past month or so. I used to get a nice bunch of red/green leaf or romain lettuce for about $1.25 every week. We would eat it with our meals or have a salad for dinner. They recently put it in bags sealed and now charge $2.25 for it and you get half the amount : : . Plus I cannot "touch" it. When I complained on their website, the store mamangr gave me a call and said he had countless complaints. He didn't order the lettuce- the produce buyer did!!! It of course is still the same.

One plus- we have a local grocery that has been there for decades and he has very competitive prices. Also I go to Trader Joes a lot. I have been doing all this for about 3 plus years and I give little business to JEwel, but there comes a time when I have to go there and I see there prices I almost go into cardiac arrest! DH gave me the arguement I always give- vote with our dollar, don't go there. duhh.

Anyone else notice this?
post #83 of 110
I think my number one step to reducing our monthly grocery bill has been to use our bread machine. I buy flour and yeast on sale and use the machine just about every day. We make our daily loaf of whole wheat bread most days, and also pizza dough, cinnamon rolls (yum!), any kind of sandwich roll, and several other recipes for just a fraction of the cost of buying the items at the bakery or supermarket.

Right now our bill is around $70 a week to feed a family of three. Although I think I could reduce it further by buying dried and not canned beans, and by finding one of those discount food stores for some of our basic items.
post #84 of 110
One thing I do that reduces my grocery bills has to do with store policies. At Price Chopper they have a policy that if a customer finds something expired in the dairy they get that identical item for free. So if you find one of their "At least 10 lbs!" blocks of mozzerella cheese expired you get 10 lbs of cheese for free. You get free food, other people don't buy the expired item thinking it's good, and the store learns not to try to sell expired food to customers. It's only one item per customer per visit though.

**Thought I'd add, my local WIC just started a pilot program where anyone who has an appointment in the next month or two gets $5 fruits and veggies a month. I'm so excited! You have to spend all $5 at once, and can get canned, frozen, or fresh veggies. I hope the program goes well and we can get more fruits and veggies next time I go in.
post #85 of 110
Thanks for the suggestions, those who gave them. I love this thread by the way. It has been helpful.

Does making your own bread really save that much money? We eat a LOT of bread and if it would be that much cheaper to make our own, I will definitely do that.

Powdered milk was something I read about, and we actually have some, but I thought it tasted weird. Maybe I just haven't chilled it enough. We usually only use milk in baking or to make oatmeal, but when I am pregnant I have milk cravings. I also try to follow a high-protein diet when pregnant, so going vegetarian atm is unfortunately out of the question.

Just waiting for the summer when we can grow some vegetables and go buy a cow or something lol.

Oh! And the chicken thing. I know it is cheaper poundwise to buy a whole chicken as opposed to breasts or whatever, but aren't you then paying for the weight of the bones and other inedible pieces? I just always wondered whether you really do end up saving with that.

I don't think WIC or anything like that is an option since we are middle class and shouldn't be having the problems we are. Our current financial situation is solely due to poor planning. We bought a house we couldn't *really* afford knowing that we would fix it up and rent out the bottom floor, which would make it affordable and eventually start making us money. However, we were lazy for too long and didn't get it fixed up, and ate through our savings on incidentals. It was just really dumb.

On the plus side, I found a copy of the Tightwad Gazette somebody must have bought for us years ago in the basement. Woohoo! And I didn't even need to buy it.

Veronica
post #86 of 110
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Allie2
Subscribing as well.

I I've been buying almost no snack foods except for popcorn and tortilla chips (DD loves to take them for lunch with salsa, sour cream and veggies).
How do you buy your popcorn? Do you pop it yourself or in the microwave?
post #87 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by eldadeedlit
Does making your own bread really save that much money? We eat a LOT of bread and if it would be that much cheaper to make our own, I will definitely do that.
Well, around here I can get Wonder whole wheat bread at the bakery outlet for 95 cents a loaf. I just bought a 50-lb sack of flour for $16. For the price of a 50-lb sack of flour I could buy 16.8 loaves of bread. 50 pounds of flour will make WAY WAY WAY more than 16.8 loaves of bread. Even with the cost of the other ingedients, you are paying literally pennies for a homemade loaf of bread. I could also buy 5 lbs of flour for $2.59 at the grocery. That amount of flour will make at least 10 loaves of bread, so once again, you would come out WAY ahead.

Quote:
I also try to follow a high-protein diet when pregnant, so going vegetarian atm is unfortunately out of the question.
WHY? I am vegetarian and I was vegetarian when I was pregnant. I followed the Bradley diet and ate between 90 and 100 grams of protein every day. It was not hard. It's a huge misconception that you can't get enough protein as a vegetarian. Beans, tofu, cheese, milk, eggs, nuts and seeds ... it's easy to get enough protein.

Namaste!
post #88 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st
How do you buy your popcorn? Do you pop it yourself or in the microwave?
I pop what we eat at home myself (just started) but I do still buy microwave bags for dd to take with her. She goes to an afterschool program for 3 hours every afternoon while I'm working and she likes to share with her friend. Her friend brings it some days and mine the others. It's cute.


It's such a moneysaver to pop ourselves. I was spending $3.49 for 6 bags (enough for a big bowl) at least once a week and now I'm spending $4.99 for a jar of kernels that will last us about 2 months. I buy the packages of 12 snack bags for dd for $3.49 and it lasts about a month alternating with her little friend. So I'm saving $7 to $10 a month just on popcorn. That's hard to believe!
post #89 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by eldadeedlit

Does making your own bread really save that much money? We eat a LOT of bread and if it would be that much cheaper to make our own, I will definitely do that.
It saves us a lot of money because we were buying bread that cost 2.99 a loaf. A loaf!! However if your family is just as happy to have the 99 cents loaf that a lot of stores carry, your savings would of course be less significant.

But I really enjoy knowing that our daily bread is wholesome and fresh. Also, it gives the illusion of having a more bountiful menu when the smell of fresh bread is in the air, even if you are just eating a "peasant's lunch" (or dinner) of fresh bread and thin soup.
post #90 of 110
Thanks for an inspiring thread! I wanted to add a couple of tips I use. To the pp that buys microwave popcorn for your dd's snack, did you know that you can pop corn in a paper lunch bag in the microwave and then season it when it comes out? I was amazed when DH demonstrated this for me. No oil or anything is needed!

Also, we are not vegans, but I routinely use a product called Egg Replacer that costs about 5.50 for a box that is the equivilant of 113 eggs. I use this in most of my baking and never notice a difference. Since we eat free range eggs, this saves me money using them all up in muffins etc. Cost is about 5 cents an egg replacer egg vs. 25 cents for a real egg (free range, organic)
post #91 of 110
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jane-t-mommy
Thanks for an inspiring thread!

Also, we are not vegans, but I routinely use a product called Egg Replacer that costs about 5.50 for a box that is the equivilant of 113 eggs. I use this in most of my baking and never notice a difference. Since we eat free range eggs, this saves me money using them all up in muffins etc. Cost is about 5 cents an egg replacer egg vs. 25 cents for a real egg (free range, organic)
Glad we can help! You're helping me too, can you tell more about this product? Never heard of it...
post #92 of 110
I thought I would add that when onions are are on sale I make french onion soup. Some bread (hopefully homemade soon, I'll be trying my breadmaker for the first time this week) and it's a yummy imexpensive meal!
post #93 of 110
The egg replacer is a great idea. Thanks for the reminder about this product. I have been using powdered milk in my baked things lately, saves a lot of milk. So now I can just use egg replacer and powdered milk.
Hey, I bet with the powdered milk and the egg replacer I could make "instant" muffin mix all myself, just add oil and water. Hmmm. Good idea for a handy quick snack.

H
post #94 of 110
Can you tell me more about popping the popcorn in a paperbag??

You made my night.
post #95 of 110
Uhm, trying to function on very little sleep, but to the best of my foggy memory, Egg Replacer is made by a company called Ener-G. OKay, coffee just kicked in and according to the box their web site is: www.ener-g.com. I usually buy it at a health food store, but maybe they sell it on-line?

For the pop corn, just use a regular lunch size brown bag and put some corn in the bottom (I'm not a strict measurer...but about a handful, maybe 1/4-1/3 of a cup??) Then fold the top over in about 1" segments a few times. You could probably put a piece of tape (is that microwavable???) for added security, but we just fold it well and place the same way you would the commercial products and microwave about 2-4 minutes (basically follow commercial instructions) When the popping slows (or you smell burning corn ), ding, it is ready. Then I season it in a bowl and voila, cheap easy corn...

Thanks for the idea to make instant muffin mix using dry milk (soy for us) and egg replacer. That could definitely help these sleepy mornings!!!
post #96 of 110
Thanks for the instructions! Now to convince dd that paperbags are as cool as store bought. Maybe if we decorate the bags....hmmmm....that might start a new trend.
post #97 of 110
Thanks for the instructions on the popcorn. I have been wondering if it was possible to do it yourself.

H
post #98 of 110
Thread Starter 
The egg replacer is sold right by my house at the local health store we frequent. I am going to try it. I am always in need of an egg for scratch baking so this works well for me. Thanks!

What have I learned so far:
So, last year I did the pantry challenge a few times and I learned that our pantry was way too stocked. Some things would get covered and then expire etc. During the challenge we could actually live out of the pantry for several days and just buy produce and dairy etc. So now, with cutting groceries etc over the last year and now, our pantry is lean but very useful.
We also feed our freezer and use what is in it instead of "saving" it. We have never been big snackers- we make cookies, chocolates etc if we want them. Also dd usually likes to snack on popcorn, fruit etc so that also helps. We also buy a huge bag on sale and cook it right on the stove.If anything we buy more fresh things. So in that dept, we try to shop lose leaders and buy the stuff on sale for a well rounded amount of food.
I also learned we can get away with cutting our bill that extra amount. With using the cc, we were buying more. With cash we buy what we need and check out the prices. This has been a learning experience!!
post #99 of 110
I bought 25 lbs of flour on the 14th of Jan. and I am 1/2 thru it! LOL Making my own bread, cookies , muffins etc. can use up alot of flour! But I think over all it is cheaper. I mean to buy that much bread, pancakes, muffins ect, it would cost way more. But still I thought I wouldn't have to buy flour more than once every two months.

H
post #100 of 110
Thread Starter 
We go thru a 5lb bag of King Arthur flour pretty quick here. One reason is we make pizza dough most friday nights which requires about 4 c of flour. Also I make a bannana bread at least once a week. DD loves bannanas so we have a lot on hand. Sometimes a few get left in the car, smashed whatnot so they end up in the bread which I can serve at a playdate etc.

Do they carry a 25lb bag? I wonder
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