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Frugality & Finances > $1000/ mo for groceries
MyLilPwny's Avatar MyLilPwny 04:12 PM 05-14-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
I don't do cloth tp, but it's because I'm lazy and not because I think it's gross.

You gals make me laugh. What do you think people did before the very RECENT invention of toilet paper? I really don't see how cloth tp is any more "gross" than cloth diapers.
Before toilet paper, I think usually people washed themselves with water. We've always had bidets at home, since I was a kid, and it dramatically reduces the need for toilet paper. Our bidet shoots out enough water pressure to get poop off. All you really need is a towel to dry off after that. Toilet paper becomes minimal to unnecessary. Everyone gets cleaner when using a bidet rather than dry-wiping with toilet paper. Prior to having bidets, I remember my mom would always bring a bowl of water with her to the toilet to wash herself off. For my daughter, when I change her diapers, I always change and wash her off in the sink. No wipes necessary.

BetsyS's Avatar BetsyS 04:20 PM 05-14-2009
The pasta sauce over veggies is a fabulous idea! I think I'm going to steal that idea for when the garden is crazy with squash and eggplant. I think a meaty red sauce over veggies will be awesome.
lolar2's Avatar lolar2 04:24 PM 05-14-2009
Oh yes, eggs are a good thought. Much cheaper than meat.
2xy's Avatar 2xy 04:38 PM 05-14-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThereseReich View Post
Before toilet paper, I think usually people washed themselves with water.
I'm sure it depends upon region and class. I can't imagine anyone wanting to take a mini bath in an outhouse in 20 degree weather.

I know that through time, people have used old catalog pages, newspaper, leaves, and dried corn cobs to take care of business back there. Cloth seems mild in comparison.

And even if they washed themselves with water, they probably used some sort of cloth rag while doing it. It doesn't seem that just dumping water down the crack of your behind would do much good without some scrubbin'.
chiromamma's Avatar chiromamma 04:38 PM 05-14-2009
I am trying to accomplish a similar goal. I'm the low carber and we don't have nut allergies, thank god.
OP, South Beach has plenty of vegetarian options. Beans, no rice, lentil soups, tofu. I'd also suggest DH have plain tuna on a salad for his lunch/dinner. That's what I eat a ton of.
I begin my grocery shopping at Costco where I can get lots of organic produce, regional eggs and even some organic or natural meats. I used to be about 90% organic in all my shopping but with our changing budget, I'm having to compromise that.
For what I can't get at Costco, I shop soley from sale fliers. Some weeks we stay on budget, other weeks we don't.
My suggestions
Check craigslist for local eggs. Raising chickens has become very popular. Lots of folks have extra eggs to give away, trade or sell cheap.
Ditto on the juice and single servings.
Do tuna for lunchbox sandwhiches.
Bake on Sundays...cookies, muffins, granola bars for lunch boxes.
Pop popcorn for the salty/crunchy portion of lunches. I always pack extra because my kids' friends love regular popcorn.
If you don't want to bake bread, get it day old from a bakery. My family's a little spoiled for good bread. They just don't care for homemade after the initial hot from the oven period.
Skip the breakfast meats. SB doesn't require them. Eggs alone are adequate protein.
Will DH eat the occasional spud? Get big bags of potatoes. My kids love baked potatoes for breakfast.
Cook pasta for everyone else and the low carber has spaghetti squash or just the meatballs.
mom0810's Avatar mom0810 04:41 PM 05-14-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by cristeen View Post
Wow. Talk about insulting. Gym memberships are not feasible for many people, and diet usually is a bigger contributor to weight issues than exercise. If he's having success with South Beach, then he should stick to what's working rather than going back to eating a way that made him sick to begin with.

And if you balk at $1000/mo for a family of 6, I hate to think what you'd say to my grocery budget for a family of 2, soon to be 3. Just because it's a huge amount where you are doesn't mean that it's so huge for other parts of the country.
Yes to that. I think we all spend what is feasible for our families, and to criticize one person's budget just because it's more than someone else's (or more than the "norm" on MDC) is so insulting. We all do what we can and if someone is TRYING to be frugal (out of wanting to just do better, not necessity) than that is great, too!

My grocery budget is at least $1000.00 if not more per month. I was spending like, $1400 a month but got it down a bit. I am proud of that. For me, it was a huge thing.

Some people (I don't know HOW) can get away with $300 a month. That's great. But some can't. I never could. Food is one luxury we give ourselves in this family, and I am so glad that we can.
Storm Bride's Avatar Storm Bride 04:54 PM 05-14-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Myboysmom View Post
Packing lunches is KILLER! I tried "refill and reuse" and it about broke me! I had three boys packing their lunch and they were more concerned about recess than bringing home their juice bottle, or lunch box!
I had that problem with ds1, too. I lost about half my spoons, and several refillable containers, before I gave up. But, ds1's lunches were pretty basic...he generally got a sandwich (we did a lot of peanut butter, but also some deli meats, and homemade egg salad), a few veggies sticks or a piece of fruit...and something else, depending what was available/cheap at the store. I never packed a drink of any kind - he just used the water fountain at school.
PaulaJoAnne's Avatar PaulaJoAnne 04:56 PM 05-14-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyS View Post
I think it's the idea of it? Also the smell. I recently used sposies for a week (my MIL came to help after I had surgery), and oh.my.word. The smell. Those things are awful.

With my diapers, the smell stays in the diaper pail only, so it seems so much better. I'm just imagining the used cloth t.p. in a bucket on the floor near the toilet. Ugh.
LOL!!!!: To clarify.....DH does not use it. I use it for #1. I have a covered pail that they go into.
For awhile, I did use them for both, and never had a problem with smell. Ever.
If you use them just for #1, its no different in the wash then underwear.

If you stop and think how much human waste goes into the landfills by way of diapers and pads, it is an easy leap to move into family cloth.
I eliminated 80% of our tp usage, just in making the switch.
Plus, its much better for our septic.
For a family with several females in it, think about how much that adds up to in a year, never mind a lifetime.
Storm Bride's Avatar Storm Bride 04:57 PM 05-14-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChetMC View Post
We don't buy a lot of cleaning supplies, but what we do buy we buy in jumbo quantities. They don't go bad. I can't believe that people buy 1 litre bottles of dishwashing liquid.
I'm a big believer in buying in large/bulk quantities. I don't do it with cleaners. DS2 spills them a lot and having more just means that more gets wasted. Plus, we don't really have a lot of storage space here, which is also a consideration. It's hard enough to find somewhere ds2 can't reach...

I don't know if any of that applies for the OP, though - her kids are older than ds2 (I think).
kay4's Avatar kay4 04:58 PM 05-14-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyS View Post
The pasta sauce over veggies is a fabulous idea! I think I'm going to steal that idea for when the garden is crazy with squash and eggplant. I think a meaty red sauce over veggies will be awesome.
It is My fave is sauteed zucchini w/meat sauce. Delish!!!
Storm Bride's Avatar Storm Bride 05:02 PM 05-14-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulaJoAnne View Post
And, I am guessing the whole family cloth thing freaked out a few LOL!!!!
Its not that weird at all.
I use cloth pads, and when we have babies, I will use cloth diapers and wipes!
I would much rather not throw my money down the septic tank.
And tp is not that cheap.
I like this saying. "If your not using cloth, you are using garbage."
I've been thinking about family cloth for a while, and watching the price of toilet paper creep up, together with ds2's infuriating habit of dropping whole rolls in the toilet, is putting it back into a priority spot for me. I know dh and ds1 won't go for it, so I'd still need tp, but it would still be worth it to cut back...
Storm Bride's Avatar Storm Bride 05:04 PM 05-14-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom0810 View Post
Eeew. Eeew. Eeew.

I think adult poop is way more gross than baby poop.
I honestly suspect that I'll wimp out and only use cloth when I pee...but it still cuts way back. I mean, how many more times do most people pee than poop in a day? (I don't count - I'm pregnant...the question is how many times do I pee in an hour.)
Storm Bride's Avatar Storm Bride 05:13 PM 05-14-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom0810 View Post
My grocery budget is at least $1000.00 if not more per month. I was spending like, $1400 a month but got it down a bit. I am proud of that. For me, it was a huge thing.

Some people (I don't know HOW) can get away with $300 a month. That's great. But some can't. I never could. Food is one luxury we give ourselves in this family, and I am so glad that we can.
I'm in awe of people who do the $300/month thing. It's not going to happen around here. We hit somewhere around $800-$900/month for a family of five (including one male teenager). I know I could trim about $100 off that without too much trouble, but we're not quite there yet, in terms of making that a priority. I do track where we're spending, and it's occasionally a shock. We spend a lot on cheese, and on snacking nuts...but not as much on meat or convenience foods as I'd thought (they're both big ticket items, but not as big as I thought). I do find my use of convenience "foods" varies wildly. It's been up through much of this pregnancy, because I'm so tired...but my personal consumption of real food is also up, because I'm trying to feed baby-under-construction properly. (When I'm really tired, I'm far more likely to buy snack-type indulgences for dh and ds1, in particular.)

I think we do okay, considering COL around here, and the fact that we mostly eat a fairly nutritious diet...and we're fairly heavy meat eaters.
Smithie's Avatar Smithie 05:13 PM 05-14-2009
"For a family with several females in it, think about how much that adds up to in a year, never mind a lifetime."

You know, this is an excellent point. DD#1 and I should probably start using cloth wipes for pee when the baby comes - there is going to be a cloth diaper pail right next to the toilet anyhow!
Storm Bride's Avatar Storm Bride 05:15 PM 05-14-2009
Smithie: I've been thinking I may make that my transition time, too. As you say, there will be a diaper pail, anyway, so it's a good time to get in the habit. DH and I have a trashed flannel sheet set that I need to do something with...and this would work.
Myboysmom's Avatar Myboysmom 05:36 PM 05-14-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I never packed a drink of any kind - he just used the water fountain at school.
HUGE issue in this school district! They can't GET OUT OF THEIR SEAT during lunch to get water!
Leta's Avatar Leta 05:51 PM 05-14-2009
About the $300/mo for groceries thing...

I hang out here a lot, and I've been known to brag a little : about our budget. It's $350 for groceries, including toiletries and pet food.

If I ever made anybody feel bad about their grocery spending, I am truly sorry.

There are several reasons why our grocery bill is so low.

1. No allergies.
2. DD and I don't eat meat other than fish.
3. DH gets a lot of the meat he eats for free (he cuts hunter's deer and makes bacon from pork bellies for a share of the bacon; his parents give him grass fed beef for free or at cost).
4. We get WIC.
5. We live in a breadbasket- lots of local farms, local fish, meats, tons of dairy, wild berries everywhere, etc.
6. We garden.
7. We do a ton from scratch- virtually all baked goods, lots of value added dairy, most of our condiments, soymilk etc.
8. Overall, the COL here is low.
9. I SAH and DH helps a ton- he is now a professional baker, but in the past has worked as a chef and a butcher, so he is highly skilled and I have the time to do stuff.
10. Good friends own a restaurant and hook us up- we get all kinds of stuff from them at cost+10%. Organic flours and dry beans, yummy local eggs, 5 gal containers of biodegradable dishwashing liquid, grosses of bread bags, etc.
11. We have a basement pantry, a large chest freezer, a chest fridge, and a very well equipped kitchen, including a canner and a Cusinart, a Kitchen Aid, food mill, big giant All Clad stock pots, a vacuum sealer, etc. The basement pantry came installed in the house, and everything else I listed (and a whole lot of stuff that I didn't) except for chest freezer- all that stuff was gifted to us. My family and DH's parents and grandparents know that we like to cook, and we have been on the recieving end of some great presents and really nice handmedowns.
12. We like it. It's fun for us, so easy it's to make it a priority- that is, eating local and organic and doing stuff from scratch. That said, this didn't happen overnight. It has been a progression over our entire marriage (5.5 years).

Not everybody lives in a low COL breadbasket. People have allergies and demanding careers and less generous relatives. We all have differing priorities. That's all okay.

That being said, getting your grocery bill down? It can be done. It's just a question of what you are comfortable doing in order to achieve that. I mean, gosh, I could feed my whole family for $0.70 to $1.00 a day if we ate nothing but Ramen. That would cut my grocery bill down by 80-90%. But I'm not okay with that. So I just do the best I can while sticking to strategies that I'm comfortable with.
PaulaJoAnne's Avatar PaulaJoAnne 06:17 PM 05-14-2009
Our budget is very small as well, but there are a couple of reasons for it, and they may not feasible for most.
But, I am more then willing to let others learn from our way of life, because it is possible that others may be able to use some of the info in their lives.

We hunt and fish for all our meat needs.
And, we garden. We are working towards a fully self sufficient way of living in this regard.
And, for things that we must buy, we buy in bulk, either through Azure or Costco and Sam's.

ETA: It is amazing how much less you can spend, when you are not purchasing processed foods.
Never mind the health benefits that occur, do to a whole foods diet.
We no longer have medical issues, and the few things that crop up, I have learned how to take care of them my self.
JTA Mom's Avatar JTA Mom 06:48 PM 05-14-2009
About cloth tp, why not use a perineal Irrigation bottle, you know, the ones they give you right after birth to cleanse that area after going to the bathroom? Like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Itm-Perineal-I.../dp/B000J5KOIE

I'm thinking any squeeze bottle with a tip (like condiment bottles at the dollar store, or the squeeze ones in Michaels or other craft stores) would work. I noticed that after using it, there really wasn't much there left to wipe, kwim? Just fill it with warm water, go to the bathroom, then spray yourself down & dry off with a cloth wipe or toilet paper. It would really cut down on tp usage, make for 'cleaner' cloth tp AND you'd get MUCH cleaner. I mean, if you think about it, we don't wipe baby's bottoms with dry tissue 'cuz it doesn't clean, so why should this be different with adults?

Ami
PlayaMama's Avatar PlayaMama 07:18 PM 05-14-2009
one possibility i didn't see mentioned was to make your own nut butter.

in a bulk buy from tierrafarms.com (a peanut free business) you can get a pound of organic cashew pieces for 3.85. mix in a few macadamia nuts in the blender and let it go and you have cashew butter.

we do have a vita-mix so i'm not sure if it will work with a regular blender but i think it works with a food processor.
dsaucone's Avatar dsaucone 07:42 PM 05-14-2009
Farmer's Market for fruits and veggies in the summer/fall.
celestialdreamer's Avatar celestialdreamer 07:43 PM 05-14-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by chiromamma View Post
I am trying to accomplish a similar goal. I'm the low carber and we don't have nut allergies, thank god.
OP, South Beach has plenty of vegetarian options. Beans, no rice, lentil soups, tofu. I'd also suggest DH have plain tuna on a salad for his lunch/dinner. That's what I eat a ton of.
I begin my grocery shopping at Costco where I can get lots of organic produce, regional eggs and even some organic or natural meats. I used to be about 90% organic in all my shopping but with our changing budget, I'm having to compromise that.
For what I can't get at Costco, I shop soley from sale fliers. Some weeks we stay on budget, other weeks we don't.
My suggestions
Check craigslist for local eggs. Raising chickens has become very popular. Lots of folks have extra eggs to give away, trade or sell cheap.
Ditto on the juice and single servings.
Do tuna for lunchbox sandwhiches.
Bake on Sundays...cookies, muffins, granola bars for lunch boxes.
Pop popcorn for the salty/crunchy portion of lunches. I always pack extra because my kids' friends love regular popcorn.
If you don't want to bake bread, get it day old from a bakery. My family's a little spoiled for good bread. They just don't care for homemade after the initial hot from the oven period.
Skip the breakfast meats. SB doesn't require them. Eggs alone are adequate protein.
Will DH eat the occasional spud? Get big bags of potatoes. My kids love baked potatoes for breakfast.
Cook pasta for everyone else and the low carber has spaghetti squash or just the meatballs.

Great suggestions for the OP! While many of the mamas on this forum (myself included) choose to go to great lengths to make our grocery budget as frugal as possible, that is not always desired by all of us. I'm that way in some respects of our grocery budget as well. I think this poster definitely has some great applicable suggestions for the OP.

With that said I've done a modified low carb/grain free diet at times and I have one child that does not tolerate any grains except corn, and my family has numerous food allergies. My suggestion from my experience would to be to cook a meal that your dh to can choose to leave out the carbs to adapt to his diet. I frequently would saute up some extra veggies instead of eating (gluten free) spaghetti with my family and eat the sauce on top of the veggies. You can think of more inexpensive meals this way and cut down slightly on your meat purchases. I would definitely look into buying your meat in bulk, it saves our family dramatically and allows us to eat more of it when we want. I would also suggest like others have mentioned to cut out the processed items such as juice and chips which have little nutritional value yet cost quite a bit.

Don't worry too much about some of the posters giving you extreme suggestions if they aren't something you are interested in. I do want you to know it *is* possible to have a tasty, healthy menu that works for your family's needs with a lower budget even in a high cost of living area. I live in a high cost of living area and despite numerous things we must avoid (dairy, gluten, nuts, etc) we keep to a modest budget while having a well stocked pantry and eating mostly organic. I hope you haven't been scared off by some of the responses, if you give more info on what you are willing to do you can get great help here
WC_hapamama's Avatar WC_hapamama 08:08 PM 05-14-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by cristeen View Post
Wow. Talk about insulting. Gym memberships are not feasible for many people, and diet usually is a bigger contributor to weight issues than exercise. If he's having success with South Beach, then he should stick to what's working rather than going back to eating a way that made him sick to begin with.

And if you balk at $1000/mo for a family of 6, I hate to think what you'd say to my grocery budget for a family of 2, soon to be 3. Just because it's a huge amount where you are doesn't mean that it's so huge for other parts of the country.
I agree. Gym memberships do not come cheaply in my area.

I have a family of 6, live in a high COL area, and spend $1000/month on groceries most months. That includes paper products, cleaning supplies and personal care items such as shampoo, soap and toothpaste.

I've got two kids with food allergies... between the two they're allergic to shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, coconut, shellfish and milk.

Allergies alone limit us quite a bit. There are literally only a handful of store bought cookies I can buy my kids and they're all name brand. There are only 2 safe brands of pretzels. I get a little more leeway with things like potato chips, but not so much with things like ice cream or cereal/granola bars.
Delicateflower's Avatar Delicateflower 12:28 PM 05-15-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyS View Post
The pasta sauce over veggies is a fabulous idea! I think I'm going to steal that idea for when the garden is crazy with squash and eggplant. I think a meaty red sauce over veggies will be awesome.
It's great over julienned green beans
mom0810's Avatar mom0810 01:01 PM 05-15-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by WC_hapamama View Post
I agree. Gym memberships do not come cheaply in my area.

I have a family of 6, live in a high COL area, and spend $1000/month on groceries most months. That includes paper products, cleaning supplies and personal care items such as shampoo, soap and toothpaste.

I've got two kids with food allergies... between the two they're allergic to shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, coconut, shellfish and milk.

Allergies alone limit us quite a bit. There are literally only a handful of store bought cookies I can buy my kids and they're all name brand. There are only 2 safe brands of pretzels. I get a little more leeway with things like potato chips, but not so much with things like ice cream or cereal/granola bars.
Yes, people without food allergies don't realize how brand-loyal you have to become. Certain brands are "safe" from x-contamination, and some aren't. So yes, it does cost a lot more sometimes. Someone with peanut allergies, especially, has to watch so carefully. Some companies are more than willing to "call out" possible x-contam, some aren't. So you have to stick with what you are safe with. People who don't have to do that have no idea how hard that is.

We do spend a lot on food and stuff at the grocery store, but that is really a convenience thing for now, too. I buy almost everything at one store for convenience, because I don't have a lot of time to run errands. I get an hour, maybe two days a week. So if I have to run a bunch of places like the video store, the paint store, and then get groceries... I only have time for Jewel. And they do have everything I need there, although certainly more pricey than Costco, which is a half hour drive away from me. Jewel is less than 10 minutes.
Magpie1972's Avatar Magpie1972 01:48 PM 05-15-2009
...dh is a south beacher

We do a variation of South Beach - which is basically whole good for you foods. We started actual portion control peices of meat, and I usually slice them on the bias like you would get in a restaurant, if that makes sense, and it really helps with making the portion go down. Also, we really, truly eat a whole lotta salad and crudite - I just add it right there on the table, and there is a bowl of little red apples or bananas that people can grab if they need more food.

That's not so much for cost control to begin with for us as it is making healthier choices. But it is an added benefit.

...where I get the rest of my produce...

If you can make it to the farmer's market, do it. You get the same amount of produce usually organic around here for $20 that wou,d cost you $40 in the store. And if you eat veggies like we do, it really will help. Especially in the tomato department. I can get a whole case for $10 in season and can if I have time which I haven't. However, we eat a lot of salad and our kids like sliced tomatoes so we easily spend $10 for 5 lbs at the store a week. We can get the same amount at the FM for $4, etc. It pays to go midweek I find. Better quality, lower prices.

We eat alot of soups... we usually have chicken, pork or steak on the grill and veggies... sometimes with cottage cheese and/or applesauce...

Buy bug containers of applesauce and cottage cheese... I have a BJ's membership and it has really paid for itself in bulk yeast and yohoos alone.

Rarely I do pasta dishes (they don't agree with dh's waist line even when they are whole wheat)...

Maybe you can work in a little bit of whole grain extra fiber pasta - like a penne - in a primavera and chicken medly. Maybe half a seving and a salad. The added fiber pasta really works for us as far as not gaining and still enjoying the pasta.

and I about once a week I will make something less than ideal (usually chicken patties) for the kids because I am lazy or dh and I want to eat something really spicy or otherwise kid unfriendly...

If you go with a BJ's/Costco membership you get a huge case of patties for $10 - we do tenders, but the patties are hella cheaper. Witht he tenders, it saves us easily $20 a week on buying deli made tenders which heat in the time it took to stop and wait in line to get them @ 7.99 a lb.

I do use canned beans because I haven't ever gotten the hang of planning far enough in advance to soak dry beans...

Aldis canned beans are really cheap... and don't feel bad for using the canned.

Eggs and turkey bacon is a pretty much every day menu item, primarily because of dh's diet, and on weekends, everyone has an omlet, bacon, sometimes sausage...

Our Save a Lot has really, really cheap frozen turkey bacon and sauage. Maybe Aldis' does, too? Checkj there. And, you may be better off swapping out sausage for bacon a few times a week. It's cheaper and less labor intensive for a couple of links. Also, make an omlette using leftover veggies and 1 sausage link, plus 1 oz cheese.

Have you considered making your own bread or muffins? Bulk flour or just bags of wheat flour... you really will help stretch your breakfast dollar. We spend a lot on breakfast becasue all 6 of us eat it daily and it's always hot. I thank my dp fort that becasue he got them all hooked.

Kids have packed lunch every day...juice box, ham/turkey sandwich, bag of crackers or chips, fruit, cereal bar for snack.

This is a whole cash cow for us. I always have such great intentions but my kids are crazy picky and I want them to enjoy their lunches.

I buy big packs of cheese crackers which I use a 1/2 cup measure to bag out and then put back in the box. I can't stand doling out servings each day with 4 lunches to pack.
I do juice boxes, which are 40/$8.49 @ BJ's or we do yohoos ($3.99/10 at the grocery so I buy at BJ's 32/$8.99).
I will buy a box of chips but it lasts me a few weeks @ 40/$10.xx so that is helpful in dropping costs.
Where I struggle is the deli. My dp will only eat Boar's Head and the kids only doo beef thick cut bologna. My kindergardeners (twin 6yo girls) will only eat a 1/2 sandwich - so I just make a 1/2 sandwich now. I try and make sure they don't have too much to eat. I was packing a whole sandwich plus chips/crackers, fruit or veg and snacky item and drink. Now I but the crunchy bars in bulk at BJ's (again with BJ's) and put one bar in each kid's box. I just do a 1/2 sand, chips/crackers, snack like the cereal bar or fruit rollup (they make a mini rollup that is 18ct/$2.49 int he grocery) and they eat a snack when they get home between lunch & dinner.

Just make sure you aern't overpacking.

Hope that helped! I am struggling to get us down to $200 a week.
Storm Bride's Avatar Storm Bride 05:20 PM 05-15-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Myboysmom View Post
HUGE issue in this school district! They can't GET OUT OF THEIR SEAT during lunch to get water!
I can't even begin to imagine how angry that would have made me. Not letting kids drink water is really irresponsible, imo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leta View Post
About the $300/mo for groceries thing...

I hang out here a lot, and I've been known to brag a little : about our budget. It's $350 for groceries, including toiletries and pet food.

If I ever made anybody feel bad about their grocery spending, I am truly sorry.
FWIW, I don't feel bad. I'm just in awe. I think it's awesome that people can do that.

Quote:
1. No allergies.
2. DD and I don't eat meat other than fish.
3. DH gets a lot of the meat he eats for free (he cuts hunter's deer and makes bacon from pork bellies for a share of the bacon; his parents give him grass fed beef for free or at cost).
4. We get WIC.
5. We live in a breadbasket- lots of local farms, local fish, meats, tons of dairy, wild berries everywhere, etc.
6. We garden.
7. We do a ton from scratch- virtually all baked goods, lots of value added dairy, most of our condiments, soymilk etc.
8. Overall, the COL here is low.
9. I SAH and DH helps a ton- he is now a professional baker, but in the past has worked as a chef and a butcher, so he is highly skilled and I have the time to do stuff.
10. Good friends own a restaurant and hook us up- we get all kinds of stuff from them at cost+10%. Organic flours and dry beans, yummy local eggs, 5 gal containers of biodegradable dishwashing liquid, grosses of bread bags, etc.
11. We have a basement pantry, a large chest freezer, a chest fridge, and a very well equipped kitchen, including a canner and a Cusinart, a Kitchen Aid, food mill, big giant All Clad stock pots, a vacuum sealer, etc. The basement pantry came installed in the house, and everything else I listed (and a whole lot of stuff that I didn't) except for chest freezer- all that stuff was gifted to us. My family and DH's parents and grandparents know that we like to cook, and we have been on the recieving end of some great presents and really nice handmedowns.
12. We like it. It's fun for us, so easy it's to make it a priority- that is, eating local and organic and doing stuff from scratch. That said, this didn't happen overnight. It has been a progression over our entire marriage (5.5 years).

Not everybody lives in a low COL breadbasket. People have allergies and demanding careers and less generous relatives. We all have differing priorities. That's all okay.
There are parts of that I'm working on. Storage space is an issue here, and we have nowhere to garden. There's a possibility we'll be moving into a house with a large yard in the next couple of years, and I definitely plan to start learning to garden at that time. DD would love it!! Depending how I recover from my section, I may go there this year. It's my mom's house, and it's been horribly overgrown for a long time...but my stepdad just retired, so they're getting the yard in shape a bit. If she replants her veggie garden, she may give me and dd a plot to work with. That would be great.

I'd love to eat more fish, but it's more expensive than most meat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulaJoAnne View Post
Our budget is very small as well, but there are a couple of reasons for it, and they may not feasible for most.
But, I am more then willing to let others learn from our way of life, because it is possible that others may be able to use some of the info in their lives.

We hunt and fish for all our meat needs.
And, we garden. We are working towards a fully self sufficient way of living in this regard.
And, for things that we must buy, we buy in bulk, either through Azure or Costco and Sam's.

ETA: It is amazing how much less you can spend, when you are not purchasing processed foods.
Never mind the health benefits that occur, do to a whole foods diet.
We no longer have medical issues, and the few things that crop up, I have learned how to take care of them my self.
I love it when everyone posts what they do to keep their grocery costs low. A lot of it doesn't apply for us, but I often find that I get spin-off ideas.

I've definitely noticed a huge plummet in our costs as we've cut back more and more on processed foods. I never thought I bought that many, and compared to a lot of people, I didn't...but I bought more than I realized. I still have things to work on (we buy prepared salad dressing, for one thing - I just haven't worked up the "oomph" to deal with making and storing my own), but I figure every baby step is a good thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JTA Mom View Post
About cloth tp, why not use a perineal Irrigation bottle, you know, the ones they give you right after birth to cleanse that area after going to the bathroom? Like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Itm-Perineal-I.../dp/B000J5KOIE

I'm thinking any squeeze bottle with a tip (like condiment bottles at the dollar store, or the squeeze ones in Michaels or other craft stores) would work. I noticed that after using it, there really wasn't much there left to wipe, kwim? Just fill it with warm water, go to the bathroom, then spray yourself down & dry off with a cloth wipe or toilet paper. It would really cut down on tp usage, make for 'cleaner' cloth tp AND you'd get MUCH cleaner. I mean, if you think about it, we don't wipe baby's bottoms with dry tissue 'cuz it doesn't clean, so why should this be different with adults?
Good reminder. I'd thought of that before, and forgot. I want to do that when I switch to cloth. It sounds much cleaner (both for me and the wipes) and much more pleasant than TP.
amynbebes's Avatar amynbebes 08:50 PM 05-15-2009
I haven't read every single response so I apologize if this is a repeat. I'm not sure about cost of living where you are as opposed to myself but we're a family of 7, one is a baby, and we average 600 per month on groceries and household products.
I've noticed that even if I go in with a list that if I shop mindlessly without really thinking about money that I tend to grab extra things here and there and spend more than I'd like. Ideally I shop alone and have a set amount of money in my mind that I'd like to spend that week. I then go through the store and get the basics, bfast, lunch and dinner and toiletries that are necessary. I keep a running tally in my head and round up every other time or so. If I have money left over in my budget after that then I go back and get the not so necessary stuff, snacks that we don't *really* need, the more expensive juices, prepackaged stuff that's just more convenient, such as that. 9 out of 10 times I am able to go back and get extra stuff with some wiggle room left.
Norasmomma's Avatar Norasmomma 10:20 PM 05-15-2009
My only advice would be get a Costco membership, so much of your items could be bought for so much cheaper there.

They have name brand TP, HUGE cases of it for cheap. Juice boxes if I remember correctly 9.00 for a case of 36.

I have to say though many times Costco is not going to be the cheapest for meat, chicken, fish-it goes on sale at a regular store for better prices IMO. Brown rice-cheap for a HUGE bag.

Also for me I disagree about making bread, unless your family really will eat it, my Dh loves it out of the oven as a treat, otherwise he will not eat it. He doesn't like it for sandwiches, he wants soft bread for that, so we buy bread.

I am someone who does believe in coupon use, I also believe in a stockpile. It is so frustrating to have to go buy something at twice the price I'd normally pay because I ran out. I hate that. I don't believe in having 50 tubes of toothpaste, but by golly I do have 4 bottles of shampoo and conditioner that I bought for pennies(and that is the good stuff).

I think a Costco membership is in your future.
kay4's Avatar kay4 10:39 PM 05-15-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norasmomma View Post

Also for me I disagree about making bread, unless your family really will eat it, my Dh loves it out of the oven as a treat, otherwise he will not eat it. He doesn't like it for sandwiches, he wants soft bread for that, so we buy bread.
Ditto!! Same with my kids..they love to snack on bread but when it comes to sandwiches they want 'reg' bread.
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