Save hundreds of dollars a month of groceries - a vent - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-27-2009, 10:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really am getting annoyed by the news stories and magazine articles that entice you with the tease of saving you and your family thousands a year on groceries a year. Just follow the exclusive money saving tips inside on page 60, or stay tunned until after the break and we'll show you how. Then I get the following advice, all things I already do:

Shop with a list to avoid impulse buying. - okay really, who goes to the market and just wanders the store throwing things in their cart aisle after aisle? Short of my baby eating my list when I let her hold it, I never go shopping without a list.

Don't be embarrassed to use coupons for name brand items - duh. Are there really people out there who are ashamed of using coupons?

Buy produce in season for lower prices. - I can't imagine buying a watermelon in the winter for $4.50 a lb and not realizing I'm spending too much $$. Do people really not even look at the prices of things?

Join supermarket clubs and swipe your card. - How is this an exclusive money saving tip? The stores have glaring yellow or red labels that you'd have to be legally blind to miss telling you how much $$ you will save using your club card.

Don't shop hungry - The obvious joke here is if I didn't get hungry I wouldn't need to go shopping. But yes I am aware that shopping hungry = coming home with snack foods. I've known this for years and so has anyone I have ever met. Not new news.

Save money on non-food household products by shopping at discount stores rather than the supermarket for things like paper towels and deodorant, toothpaste. - Again, really? Are there people out there that don't know you can buy things like that for about two dollars less at Target?


Thanks for reading my little rant. This one ranks up there with the "Dress to impress for less" items on the morning news. Then they show you a blouse that is $90 (rather than the $250 designer one) and jeans that are $140 (rather than $300) and the boots for $240 (rather than the designer $1,500 ones) and all the reporters marvel at how easy it is to look good on a budget. :
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:06 PM
 
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I think the same thing all of the time. It is not hard to save 1K on groceries, clothing, etc. every month if you spend 4-5K.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:06 PM
 
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I totally agree! I get so frustrated when I read suggestions for things I've already been doing for ages. Wash laundry in cold? Thanks, been doing that since 1990. I want some NEW ideas ...
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:12 PM
 
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totally agree! The only time I get new ideas is when I watch something like Frontier House, lol. How sad is that!
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:15 PM
 
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ITA... the grocery games bug me, too. Sure, I can spend 88 cents for 50 dollars worth of stuff at CVS, but will I ever use it? And why don't they make coupons for things I actually buy? I never see coupons for tofu.
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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but if you want to eat pringles you're in luck.
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:10 AM
 
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ITA... the grocery games bug me, too. Sure, I can spend 88 cents for 50 dollars worth of stuff at CVS, but will I ever use it? And why don't they make coupons for things I actually buy? I never see coupons for tofu.


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Old 04-28-2009, 12:11 AM
 
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ITA... the grocery games bug me, too. Sure, I can spend 88 cents for 50 dollars worth of stuff at CVS, but will I ever use it? And why don't they make coupons for things I actually buy? I never see coupons for tofu.
Sometimes they have coupons for tofu at mambosprouts.com
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:22 AM
 
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totally agree! The only time I get new ideas is when I watch something like Frontier House, lol. How sad is that!
OT - I love Frontier House, Pioneer Quest too!


Anyways, yeah I saw the "swip the store discount card" on the news the other day about a good tip! Ha, ha, ha, heck the clerk even asks you for it.

I've yet to see any new stories that actually could help.

I get a kick out of the morning shows... it's truly like watching the dumbing down of american live and in action each and every morning. The $75 saturday picnic or the "cheap" $120 dress shoes now on sale.
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:05 AM
 
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Yeah, those articles are for people who just habitually spend without thinking or budgeting or planning and now realize they can't do that anymore.

I have yet to run across an article that tells me something I don't already know.
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:18 AM
 
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Thanks for reading my little rant. This one ranks up there with the "Dress to impress for less" items on the morning news. Then they show you a blouse that is $90 (rather than the $250 designer one) and jeans that are $140 (rather than $300) and the boots for $240 (rather than the designer $1,500 ones) and all the reporters marvel at how easy it is to look good on a budget.
I hate that so much! I want to jump up and down screaming at the TV that I STILL CAN'T AFFORD IT, IDIOT!!!!!

Body, I've been more than patient. Please make a baby. Please?
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:22 AM
 
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Ha, i loved this thread!

This morning i saw on UK tv some feature about dressing for less with a £190 dress which had a tiny short puffball skirt, drop waist and horizontal pleats in the top and sleeves. It was neon pink. If i wanted to look too-pink, too-manly and too-fat i could save the £190 and just take my clothes OFF! :rofl

Also there are two features in the magazine i just bought about saving money. One begins "always check prices" - seriously? Checking prices means i'll spend less!? The other was a recipe for chicken curry which consisted of opening a tin of storebrand chicken curry and eating it!
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:53 AM
 
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If someone were to think of an idea that could apply to those of us here, it wouldn't be some article buried in the middle of a magazine, it would be front page news!! It would be the top story for all newstations!! When you think about how much "news" is out there (magazines, cnn, nightly news), how could it all possibly be new?
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:54 AM
 
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I think a lot of people, especially in their early 20s and men, just buy what their parents bought, but yeah, I find the whole advice thing useless.

Coupons are not worth the time, I find, it is still usually cheaper to get the store brand. I am planning to make a price book, but I have been procrastinating - perhaps the real enemy of saving money.

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Old 04-28-2009, 10:26 AM
 
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yeah I agree. But BOTH my parents and my ILs go to the store and just wander through the aisles picking up stuff-they'll have a list of staples that they've run out of but no meal plan. Boggles my mind! Well, actually, having eaten my mom's cooking it doesn't boggle my mind so much.... My MIL gave me a small round of motzarella cheese the other day. She had impulse bought it and didn't know what to do with it...
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Old 04-28-2009, 11:32 AM
 
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I think for people like us here on this board, yes this is hysterical at best. But for some uneducated folks out there, well yes they need to hear this.

I get tofu for about a buck so I get over the fact there is no coupon. My ILs and I always LOL because about twice a year they are presented with celery from their neighbor. They have a party/brunch and make bloody marys. After the party they give my ILs the celery because they will use it. So basically they do not keep fresh produce in the house at all. Literally. Maybe these type of headlines are for the neighbors like this and their offspring who are basically in the same boat.

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Old 04-28-2009, 11:36 AM
 
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Shop with a list to avoid impulse buying. - okay really, who goes to the market and just wanders the store throwing things in their cart aisle after aisle? Short of my baby eating my list when I let her hold it, I never go shopping without a list.
while I totally agree with your rant, there are LOTS of people who go to the market without a list, throwing things that look good into their cart. my mom shops 2-3 times a week for her family of 2 because she does this. Also, some stores (particularly farm market type produce stores in the winter) are not conducive to list shopping - sometimes the produce looks good, other times it doesn't, so it's better to go and pick out what looks good after you get there.

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Old 04-28-2009, 11:41 AM
 
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Another thought. We freegan a lot of our stuff, there's no point having a list in a skip
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Old 04-28-2009, 01:15 PM
 
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YES!!! It's very annoying.

And you are right, the worst is the 'dress on a budget' things. Seriously, I've felt like I've majorly splurged if I spend $12 on a shirt. I think I would keel over if I ever spent $40 on one clothing item.

And the other 'budget' tips: Stop buying coffee, make your own. Duh. Like who doesn't know this will save money? Borrow books at the library instead of buying at the bookstore. No crap? That will save me money? Ya think?
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Old 04-28-2009, 01:38 PM
 
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I think those tips are for the young folks just out on their own for the first time. They never had to shop for food before so yeah, its news to them.

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Old 04-28-2009, 01:43 PM
 
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One of the things that annoys the living crap out of me about stories like these are how they play it fast and loose with what "from scratch" means.

When I talk about cooking from scratch, I'm making bread, from yeast, water, flour, honey, oats, and heat. I'm making tofu from a pound of dry soybeans, water, and vegetarian rennet.

The notion that opening a bag of tortillas, a packet of seasoning, frozen peppers and onions, and precut strips of chicken breast and calling that "scratch" fajitas is really disingenuous. It's cheaper than going out for fajitas, sure, probably healthier, too, but it's still not saving nearly as much money as could be saved.

I think stuff like this, as reported in the mainstream media, is part of the reason for the success of Hillbilly Housewife. I don't buy hot dogs or boxed mac and cheese, but the way that the meal planning is done and the process of eating on the cheap is described on the website is very helpful in wrapping your mind around what should be done to acheive a low grocery bill.

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Old 04-28-2009, 01:46 PM
 
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I love you guys! I've been feeling this frustration for ages! I was talking with a single, childless gal at work the other day and she was appalled at how much I spent on groceries each month. But she backpedaled when she realized that that included diapers (we use a few sposies a week), tissues, expensive organic milk and cheese, and all body care and toiletry items. Oh, and flowers once a week for shabbat. I think if she added it up she spends more than half of what I spend for herself (no others in her house) than I do for a family of 5!

people are amazing. However, I was impressed with myself last week when I was sick and couldn't bring myself to go to the grocery store - I managed days and days of meals on what I thought was "nothing left in the house". I love it when I can be so creative - especially when sick!

peace and health,

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Old 04-28-2009, 02:26 PM
 
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Oh my. My neighbors spend so much money on food it's ridiculous! They go w/out a list, and just wander. The dh is 'in charge' and he just gets whatever he wants at the time, and then gripes about not having $ later.

My 20 yo dd is sooooooo lucky to have me as a mom . I can send her w/my list and she'll come back having spent less than I would have, lol! And she knows to buy more than one of something we use alot if it's on sale (and she knows what 'on sale' really means).

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Old 04-28-2009, 02:36 PM
 
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I laugh at those articles too, but I like to remember that we are all at a different place in our journeys. The frugal zealot in my winces when I hear of bargain $100 outfits and overpriced groceries that are "on sale" when I know that we are still paying an enormous surcharge for the privilege of buying a few ounces of packaged flour.

But then I am reminded that there really are people who are shopping blind and spending themselves into a hole. People really do need to be reminded to spend less, shop around, buy generic, use coupons when they can. I can think of 5 people off the top of my head who shop and shop and shop -- food, clothes, tools, etc, etc, etc...people who simply spend money because they can and to whom the idea of budgeting or spending less is shocking and foreign.

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Old 04-28-2009, 02:44 PM
 
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It does seem so silly, but in reality not everyone does get that. I feel lucky enough to have a MIL who has raised 7 kids, plus their friends and girlfriends and now has a giant family. I have learned so much from her about buying things the season before like clothes, toys, etc and saving tons of money on presents. She is the queen of sales shopping.

I was just getting my hair cut yesterday and was talking about how I am super into couponing. My hairstylist was pretty amazed at my coupon stacking and sales shopping, plus making a stockpile. She was totally amazed at the deals I am getting and have gotten. She was saying that she always finds herself out of things when they aren't on sale. Her example was brown sugar, I told her that there is a cycle to sales and gave her the info to hotcouponworld to go check out the cycle of when things are on sale-they have a great month by month resource on there. It really does make a difference. Plus many people don't realize that you can stack store coupons, with manufacturer's coupons and possibly any other discounts that may be available. There are times when you can make money or barely spend a dime. I find the concept a challenge and a game that I completely enjoy.

I used to be the spontaneous shopper, I worked as a hairstylist pre-DD and found myself in the store many times wandering around wondering what to get, I could easily drop $50 bucks no problem. Now as a SAHM I have had to change my ways(of course) and I know am the queen of couponing, at least for me. I know how things work and how sales work, there actually is a science to it. IT does take a bit of work also, it's not just oh I'll find the flyer and go from there, you have to do a bit of work to make it work. At least that's what I find.

I guess for the general person watching the Today show it probably is a new concept, honestly for me most of the time when I watch any of those news stories I just cringe because the info is so inane, but for some people out there it is helpful.

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Old 04-28-2009, 02:49 PM
 
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I laugh at those articles too, but I like to remember that we are all at a different place in our journeys.
I try to remember this and be humble about how far I've come. I come from a family who shops without a list and buys whatever they want, whenever they want it. They're lucky - they make a lot of money and at this point, don't want for much. So, they really can do it this way, while still saving a lot of money.

But, I am a single mom with two kids. And I don't have that luxury. So, I had to learn quick and fast how to be more frugal and I screw up all the time. I'm not above over-spending or losing my head every now and then and buying something I just want that isn't on my need list.

I've come so far though. Seriously. I just marvel at my family and how they spend - I'm happy for them, that they have that ability. But, I also know that at the end of the day, I'm just at a different place in my journey and I've been given different cards.

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Old 04-28-2009, 02:55 PM
 
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I laugh at those articles too, but I like to remember that we are all at a different place in our journeys.
I agree, but I just wish for once there was an article where I wasn't already doing every single thing on the list!
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Old 04-28-2009, 03:24 PM
 
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I agree, but I just wish for once there was an article where I wasn't already doing every single thing on the list!
I do hear you. I agre with everything that has been said..i want to SCERAM at the tv about how "affordable" the $90 dress is when compared to the $600 one..uh...ok.....but $90 has to feed my family for 4 days and scrub my toilet, in addition to being a dress at least 2 family members can wear, LOL!!

I also want to be like..uh..duh at the suggestions to make a list or use coupons, etc...but honestly, i know so many people who don't have a clue. Heck...*I* go and just wander at least half the time, although I do usually have a general idea of what we're going to get.
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Old 04-28-2009, 04:17 PM
 
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One of the things that annoys the living crap out of me about stories like these are how they play it fast and loose with what "from scratch" means.
This makes me laugh also. I grew up with my mom making things from scratch. yum!

Please share your tofu recipe. MIL might be really impressed if I could make tofu.

For those of you who eat tofu and do not want to make it, a lot of the Asian groceries have tofu for much cheaper b/c it is more of a common ingredient. We also get a lot of veggies, fruit, and fish from there.

The other one that gets me is the wide definition of "homemade".
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Old 04-28-2009, 04:37 PM
 
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This is where I learned to make soymilk and tofu. (In case you didn't already know, you have to make soymilk first to make tofu. Just like you have to have dairy milk to make butter/cheese.)

I make my soymilk, then I add vanilla and barley malt, so it tastes like EdenSoy. Very yummy.

Homemade tofu is also head and shoulders above storebought.

There are also some good Youtube videos about this.

I can buy organic soybeans for $1.60/#. This makes a gallon of soymilk, which in turn makes a pound of tofu. So it is very cost effective.

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