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#1 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That is my budget and I have a hard time sticking to it...help!!!

We are a family of 6. I have one son with a peanut allergy and dh is a south beacher. I buy very little organic because simply we cannot afford it, so pretty much just apple juice and brown rice are organic. I do the bulk of my shopping at Aldis (don't know if they are national or not, so let me know if I need to explain). Then I go to a regular grocery store where I get the rest of my produce, and then I buy whats on sale for meats and sale/ generic for the items I can't get at Aldis.

I always shop from a list. In fact I have a master grocery list that I refer to each time I plan my shopping, and aside from milk, I rarely run out of anything because I try to buy ahead so that I don't have to pay extra because I ran out of something when it is not on sale.

We eat alot of soups. Some of my "meatier" soups I have cut down on the amt of meat and increased the amt of beans. When we don't have soup, we usually have chicken, pork or steak on the grill and veggies, sometimes with cottage cheese and/or applesauce. Rarely I do pasta dishes (they don't agree with dh's waist line even when they are whole wheat), 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. I do use canned beans because I haven't ever gotten the hang of planning far enough in advance to soak dry beans. 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. Kids have packed lunch every day...juice box, ham/turkey sandwich, bag of crackers or chips, fruit, cereal bar for snack.

Our grocery bill does include cleaners and paper products. I make my own spray cleaners for glass and surface with essential oils and vinegar, use whatever is on sale for laundry detergent, fab soft. I can't use anything but cascade for the dishwasher or the dishes come out dirtier than they went in. I try to use as little paper towel as possible. We use cloth napkins. Dh is pick about his toilet paper so I buy pricier brands, but only on sale.

I know this is alot but if anyone has any suggestions I am all ears.

Amanda
Mommy to Alonzo (11), Jacob (9), : Lucas (8) & Trinity (almost 2!!)
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#2 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 04:50 PM
 
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Sometimes it just comes down to spending too much.

How about making your own instead of packaged juice boxes and chips and cereal bars in their lunches? Fill small drink bottles with water or juice, buy a large packet of chips and give them a portion each, make your own granola bars/muffins/cookies.

Do you drink much of your grocery budget? How about rationing the juice?

Did I read it right that you have meat multiple times a day? That's got to be pretty expensive. Do you really need bacon for breakfast, ham or turkey for lunch and meat for dinner? Is it healthy, let alone economical?

Next time you go to make chicken patties try felafel instead. Make pasta, and if you husband won't eat it at least the rest of you can.
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#3 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 04:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luvourlives View Post
That is my budget and I have a hard time sticking to it...help!!!

We are a family of 6. I have one son with a peanut allergy and dh is a south beacher. I buy very little organic because simply we cannot afford it, so pretty much just apple juice and brown rice are organic. I do the bulk of my shopping at Aldis (don't know if they are national or not, so let me know if I need to explain). Then I go to a regular grocery store where I get the rest of my produce, and then I buy whats on sale for meats and sale/ generic for the items I can't get at Aldis.

I always shop from a list. In fact I have a master grocery list that I refer to each time I plan my shopping, and aside from milk, I rarely run out of anything because I try to buy ahead so that I don't have to pay extra because I ran out of something when it is not on sale.

We eat alot of soups. Some of my "meatier" soups I have cut down on the amt of meat and increased the amt of beans. When we don't have soup, we usually have chicken, pork or steak on the grill and veggies, sometimes with cottage cheese and/or applesauce. Rarely I do pasta dishes (they don't agree with dh's waist line even when they are whole wheat), 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. I do use canned beans because I haven't ever gotten the hang of planning far enough in advance to soak dry beans. 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. Kids have packed lunch every day...juice box, ham/turkey sandwich, bag of crackers or chips, fruit, cereal bar for snack.

Our grocery bill does include cleaners and paper products. I make my own spray cleaners for glass and surface with essential oils and vinegar, use whatever is on sale for laundry detergent, fab soft. I can't use anything but cascade for the dishwasher or the dishes come out dirtier than they went in. I try to use as little paper towel as possible. We use cloth napkins. Dh is pick about his toilet paper so I buy pricier brands, but only on sale.

I know this is alot but if anyone has any suggestions I am all ears.
A few ideas....Are you maling the soups from scratch?
Are the sandwichs the kids eating made from deli meat?
And do you make your own bread?

Scratch soups cost very little, and one way to make meat sandwiches, is to by a whole turkey, roast and shred it, and freeze it in daily portion sizes.
Homemade bread costs pennies per loaf.

You can make your own laundy detergent, that costs 2 cents per load, versus the 15+ of sotre bought.

And tp is easy.
Look for flannel on sale( or raid the rag bag, or cut up a flannel sheet), cut it up with pinking shears into 5" squares, get either a dry bag and or a small bucket, and put the squares in a basket on the back of the toilet.
A color system for each family member can be a good idea for the squeamish.

We do all the above, as well as quite a few other things, and our groceries and sundries run a little over $70 per person per month

Paula, wife to Steve, mother hen to 38 , busy doing : TTC after 6
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#4 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 05:11 PM
 
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You can make your own laundy detergent, that costs 2 cents per load, versus the 15+ of sotre bought.


what are you using for this :
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#5 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 05:24 PM
 
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If you spend, say, $100 a month on non-food items, that leaves about $30 per day for food. I think that focusing on the day-to-day might be an easier way to go. I think that focusing on reusable containers for the children's lunches, and not giving them as many pre-packaged items (expensive) but more healthful natural foods, might be surprisingly cheaper.

Start by making a meal plan for a week, then spend no more than $200 at a grocery store purchasing those items (less would be even better!). Change your meal plan according to what's on sale that week in the grocery store flyers. Keep an eye out for sales on meat, or go somewhere where you can buy the meat you usually buy, for cheap, like Costco. 2 for 1 deals at various grocery stores can really help you save money and stock up on the things you already purchase.

We also verge on the $1000 per month amount, but it's because we eat out way too often. Do you do that? When we are trying to eat out less, we often allow ourselves a night out say, once a week, but only at certain places that are less expensive, say, $50 in total, with tip, for our family of 4. But then we have to spend only $150 that week on groceries, or we go out once every two weeks, and have more for groceries.

I think that for your children, lunches with peanut butter, sunbutter or almond butter, at least half the time, would be much healthier and cheaper. [ETA: Sorry, forgot about the allergy part - having those butters around probably isn't worth it.] Deli meats have some really awful ingredients in them. Cream cheese is also an interesting option, even mixed with jam.

hth
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#6 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 05:25 PM
 
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With that much meat it is unlikely that you will be able to reduce it alot. One option might be if you can work it out is to buy a side of beef from a farmer. I do this and the cost of the meat is usually $2 a lb. for everything(ribs,ground beef,steaks,roast etc.) You have to have a freezer to store it in but it works out well for our family. Costco helps us a lot as well their eggs and bacon are usually less expensive since I am not good at shopping sales. But that said it is a lot you are spending. My family of 5 soon to be 6 spends about $350 a month on groceries and about $100 a month on toiletries and personal items(light bulbs,tooth paste etc.). My kids are younger(6,4,2) but they eat as much as I do..I find it truly shocking. Good luck. Have you checked out the website Hillbillyhousewife.com If has some great ideas.

.
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#7 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 05:27 PM
 
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Here is a thread from the Traditional Foods forum: $150 budget for a family of 4: https://www.mothering.com/discussion....php?t=1042440

Traditional & nutrient-dense foods/Weston A. Price Foundation advocate, Reiki II practitioner, EFT practitioner, past life & life between lives Hypnotherapist practitioner. Home birth with DD 2007 = never vaccinated, breastfed 3 years

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#8 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 05:32 PM
 
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Your kids lunches may be an easy spot to reduce costs. Eliminate all pre-packaged single servings. Instead of buying juice boxes uses refillable containers. Water is even cheaper. Pack a reusable container with portions of snack items. Also sandwiches with deli meat can be expensive. Consider at least sometimes alternating nut butters, leftovers, or other less expensive dishes.
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#9 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 06:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulaJoAnne View Post
And tp is easy.
Look for flannel on sale( or raid the rag bag, or cut up a flannel sheet), cut it up with pinking shears into 5" squares, get either a dry bag and or a small bucket, and put the squares in a basket on the back of the toilet.
Whoa..



So I only have a family of 3. I have no idea what it's like to have a family of 6, so take my suggestions as comming from someone with no idea where you're comming from!

Honestly that doesn't sound that bad to me. We spend $400/mo on groceries for 3 of us (including tp & everything)

Do you SAH? Sounds like your kiddos are in school?

My essentials & quantities are:

1lb Beans and 1lb lentils (1 type of bean, 1 pound lentils)
Popcorn (not microwave)
5lb whole grain flour
Yeast (have a big bag in the freezer... cant remember the last time I bought it!)
Rice/grain (1 pound of what's cheap - usually brown rice or bulger)
Pasta (1 pound of generic)
Canned tomatos/tomato sauce (I buy 10 for $10 generic when on sale)
Vegetable bullion (again, I have a huge box from the ethnic market..)
Oil (3 gallon f/ ethnic market)

White vinegar (1 gallon for cooking, salad dressing & cleaning)
Washing Soda
Borax
Baking Soda
Baking Powder
Dish soap
Dishwasher soap (I use only 1 Tbsp per load)

Corn tortillas (4#/$2.50 from ethnic market) [make chips, enceladas, w/butter for snack, quesodillas]
Eggs (usually by the case or 2 doz at grocery outlet)
Milk (1 gallon + 1/2 gallon for yogurt/yogurt cheese/whey)
Cheese (I only buy this when it's on sale for less than $3/lb & freeze)

Meat - whatever is cheap per pound, ground beef (someone always has this on sale) + bones for beans

That's pretty much it. I rotate which type of pasta & bean we have so we don't get too sick of it.

Discretions I buy only occasionally when they're on sale & I have the LEFTOVERS from my essentials budget are:

Canned anything (beans, tuna etc)
Peanutbutter
Seeds/nuts/raisins
Honey
Molasses
Cocoa powder
Baker's chocolate
Hot sauce
Anything else we feel like

What we make from scratch:

"Cereal" & milk (i.e. whatever cooked grain we have and milk/fruit)
Bread/baked goods (including granola bars, which are a special treat like cookies here, not a staple)
Jam
Salsa
Red sauce/ketscup
Yogurt / yogurt cheese
Cottage Cheese / whey (use in breads)
Ice cream (doesn't work out financially, but we don't have it every day either)
Chocolate milk/syrup
Candy
Soup
Beans

...pretty much everything. I make stuff as I feel like it. We don't have everything around all the time. I'd go crazy if we did!!! We go without & have one or two of these things around each week or two.

The whole bean soaking thing is easy. Just soak them over night & cook a pot the next day. If you're not going to use 1# beans that week, then freeze some flat in a bag so they're easy to thaw. You can freeze rice & stuff too.

1# beans is the cost of 1 can.

You don't need some meal plan to cook rice & beans, you just need to cook them once & have them around. When you've used them up, cook them again.

I cook a giant pot of beans & a giant pot of grains at some point about every week or so. We get creative with them. We always go through the grains.. breakfast, lunch, snacks & dinner. I keep lentils (which you don't need to soak) around for spontaneous lentil soup.

I don't know what Aldis is... is it a discount grocery store? I go to Grocery Outlet for quite a bit, especially paper products (we use them primarily for company & seriously gross messes)

Dh is a south beacher. How does this affect your grocery buying? Is he buying "South beach" products? Splenda/stevia? If so, cut that stuff out! It's terribly expensive & not worth the money!


Then I go to a regular grocery store where I get the rest of my produce, and then I buy whats on sale for meats and sale/ generic for the items I can't get at Aldis.


Do you have any ethnic markets or fruit stands? I've saved hundreds out of my grocery budget. I've heard Costco has great prices on produce too.

I always shop from a list. I rarely run out of anything because I try to buy ahead so that I don't have to pay extra because I ran out of something when it is not on sale.

What does your list look like?

When we don't have soup, we usually have chicken, pork or steak on the grill

So that's a big one. Meat is really, really expensive. What about dishes that aren't meat based so you can stretch it out? Meatloaf mixed with 1/2 meat 1/2 bulger? Enceladas with chicken and veggies? Tacos with meat and beans?

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

Now that's a bummer! Pasta's one of the cheapest meals out there!

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.

Are they prepared patties? Could you do something cheaper, like mac n cheese with macaroni & velveeta? Or scrambled eggs? Seriously, though. If you're tired it's probably worth the money to go prepared food & low key when you need to, you know?

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.

I don't know what it's like by you, but turkey bacon here (High COL Seattle) is way more expensive than good old pork bacon. There's no calorie difference between the two.

Cheese and sausage are also expensive here. I'd keep those omlettes to mostly eggs & stick with what's cheap.

Do you buy eggs by the case?

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

That's the bulk of your budget right there. You need to decide if spending the extra dough is neccessary for your headspace. With that many kiddos I can imagine that convenience food is... well... convenient & necessary to have around.

Can they have leftovers? Beans & rice? Fruit & rice "cereal?" Crackers or chips or cereal 2x/week or something instead of every day? Even cereal (which is another expensive food) is cheaper than cereal bars.

I make my own spray cleaners for glass and surface with essential oils and vinegar,

Ok, vinegar cleans the same without essential oils. You're basically dumping money down the drain just to make vinegar smell like lavender and vinegar.

I can't use anything but cascade for the dishwasher or the dishes come out dirtier than they went in.

Can you scrub the food off before you put them in? Or make it one of the kid's chores?

Dh is pick about his toilet paper so I buy pricier brands, but only on sale.

I don't blame him! That's one of our "Splurges" too!

I don't know if any of this novel helps (nap time = mommy internet time! ). Are you cutting grocery budget out of neccessity? 6 people with a husband & growin kiddos is a lot to feed!

Wife to my of 10 years, SAHM to my 2 beautiful homebirthed girls Sydney (4/29/2006) Kennedy (3/21/2010) & 1 super Newfoundland
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#10 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 07:00 PM
 
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As an FYI to others as I see a lot of responses that are of no use to the OP because of the south beach consideration.

South Beach:
Limited carbs - no/ limited bread, pasta, potatoes and other grains. Some are okay like brown rice and can do other in moderation, but limited carbs. Possibly no or limited beans and lentils
No/ limited pork
More fish & chicken and likely limited beef as well
no/ limited dairy

Of course it gets tweaked but these are some of the general tenets of the SB program


Back to suggestions....

Ditch the single servings for kiddos, or only buy when they go on sale and stock up, just do without.
Eat more seasonally - buy the loss leaders and plan your meals around that
Can you go with more frozen/ canned veggies?

I know the key to my budget is shopping style, stockpiling. When turkey bacon or chicken or whatever goes on sale, I stock up. Stock up enough for 8-12 weeks and put the rest into the freezer.

Do you have a small freezer, or could you purchase a separte stand alone freezer to be able to stock up?

I do stock up on eggs as well, they are just fine for a few weeks in the refrigerator. I almost always have 2+ dozen at any given time.

Beans - you can make beans in a crockpot and then freezer extra portions. I soak my beans overnight, drain and add to crockpot with more fresh water and then add in some seasonings (no salt - no salt until they are done, salt can slow the process) and then let them cook for 7+ hours. When they are done, I let them cool and then freeze in more managable portions until I am ready for them. I will freeze in a cup cake pan and then once solid, pop them out and put into a larger storage container in the freezer. One cup cake of beans is approx a half of a can. I'll also mash them a bit for "refried" beans too.

Good luck
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#11 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 07:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Softmama View Post
what are you using for this :
Make your own... lots of threads on this on MDC, but basically equal parts of Borax, washing soda (different from baking soda) and a bar soap like Zote or Fels Naptha.
Grate soap in food processor, combine with powders. Tablespoon per load. Some will melt the soap in water and then add the powders to be more of a liquid gel and use 1/2 cup per load.

lots of videos on Youtube about this too if you want a tutorial
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#12 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 07:31 PM
 
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Here's a bit of a public service announcement to the gals suggesting that the OP switch from deli meat sandwiches for her kids lunches to peanut butter, almond butter or sunbutter.

Obviously, for a peanut allergic child, peanut butter is a no go.

Most varieties of almond butter are cross contaminated with peanuts, and are more expensive per oz than most peanut butter.

Sunbutter is a wonderful product that I myself use (I have 2 peanut and tree nut allergic kids), but it's not easy to find, nor is it cheap. The cheapest price I've found is about $4 per jar, but more often you're looking at $5-$6 for a 1 lb jar retail. Soynut butter (that is peanut free) isn't any cheaper.

Further, the OP may want to be careful with how often she's serving legumes, particularly things like peas, lentils and garbanzos, as they can have a tendency to cross react for people with other legume allergies.

You really can do deli meat on the cheap. I buy a 3 pack of honey ham from Costco for about $8-$9, and that lasts my horde for almost 2 weeks, with the occasional lunch of leftovers or chicken salad sandwiches thrown in.

I don't do many single servings either, unless I'm buying it on sale.

The thought of the "make your own detergent" is tempting, but I'm not sure it's a good idea for my family since 3 of us have eczema... so I just stock up on the "safe" laundry detergent when it's on sale.
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#13 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 07:32 PM
 
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As an FYI to others as I see a lot of responses that are of no use to the OP because of the south beach consideration.

South Beach:
Limited carbs - no/ limited bread, pasta, potatoes and other grains. Some are okay like brown rice and can do other in moderation, but limited carbs. Possibly no or limited beans and lentils
No/ limited pork
More fish & chicken and likely limited beef as well
no/ limited dairy

I know the key to my budget is shopping style, stockpiling. When turkey bacon or chicken or whatever goes on sale, I stock up. Stock up enough for 8-12 weeks and put the rest into the freezer.

Good luck


Whoa!! I didn't realize South Beach was another low carb program... I thought it was another branded diet program. No beans?? & only chicken & fish? Those are the two most expensive meats around here! You're really limited OP!

I don't think I even want to know why no grains but brown rice are ok (and why not pork? BEANS?) but jeeze!! All that in consideration, 1k for a family of 6 with one person on a specific diet program sounds totally reasonable. I know DINKS who spend WAY more than that in a month!



On that note, they key to my budget shopping is not stockpiling. Whatever it is, it's going to go back on sale. I keep a reasonable inventory (read: what will fit in my freezer) for about 2 weeks of meals.

I run my house like a business, and in a business you don't want a low turn on inventory. It also gives variety to our meals since our inventory is constantly rotating. I've seen these coupon sites that promote coupon shopping for 50 tubes of toothpaste just because there is a coupon for it etc. That is just not business smart.

On that note, I'd love an extra freezer strictly for garden produce & the chickens/ducks/buffalo we accumulate from friends & family. Anything else I think is pretty pointless to stockpile, unless it's an emergency food supply.

Wife to my of 10 years, SAHM to my 2 beautiful homebirthed girls Sydney (4/29/2006) Kennedy (3/21/2010) & 1 super Newfoundland
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#14 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 07:33 PM
 
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You need to cut out a LOT of that meat. Go for meat only 3 times a week...look up some vegetarian recipes. It's not all rice and beans. There are very high protein options such as seitan, which is pretty easy to make, and cheap as well. It's pretty much no fat or carbs and about 35g protein per serving. You use it just like chicken.

Juice is crap. I'm sorry, but it is. Even 100% juice organic kind. It's all sugar and no fiber. I was sending DH to work with a drink as well, but we decided to nix that - not only for our budget, but health reasons as well. Single servings are a total rip off too. Make muffins, cookies, whatever. Or buy big bags of chips and divide into baggies (re-use the bags). Or how about carrot sticks? Celery with peanut butter? How about making peanut butter sammiches?

Just because you have one dc with peanut allergy doesn't mean you can't use peanuts does it? (unless he has it so bad if he smells it he goes into shock - obviously then you'd want to avoid it!). And just because your DH is on a diet doesn't mean the rest of your family is. You can make a seperate meaty thing for DH and you guys can eat pasta.

Good luck
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#15 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 07:39 PM
 
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What made the biggest difference for us was making a meal plan, if you don't already. I make a list of dinners, list the ingredients, make a shopping list, and STICK TO IT. Then I put the meal list on the fridge so when I'm in the "crap, what for dinner??" panic of the day, I just look at that and pick one. That seriously cut our bill in half.

CPST & mom

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#16 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 07:44 PM
 
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Ok, a few suggestions:

For the south beach diet:

Buy whole chickens instead of chicken breast. Roast the chicken the first night. Cut up the rest of the meat, and there should be enough for one other meal and lunch meat for chicken salad sandwiches!

If your dh can eat fish, what about canned tuna? It's pretty cheap and goes on sale often, so you could alternate that and egg salad with the lunch meat. Also, instead of buying lunch meat I buy a huge ham and slice it thin. This is saving us a TON!

Bake your own bread. Check out www.breadtopia.com to get started with no knead super easy no fuss bread. Delicious, and cheap.

Oh and those bones and stuff left over from your chicken? Make stock!!! Now your soups are way cheaper! No more cartons of stock!

I would just ditch the juice boxes completely. Buy your kids a metal water bottle and freeze it half way. Pour in water in the morning and they will have ice cold refreshing water at lunch time. I also think buying your chips in bulk and portioning would be a good idea. Or maybe you could swap those out for veggies and dip? (I know, I know, you didn't ask for nutrition tips! )

I am not crunchy enough for this forum. Everyday I get a little crunchier though! :
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#17 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 07:54 PM
 
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Just because you have one dc with peanut allergy doesn't mean you can't use peanuts does it? (unless he has it so bad if he smells it he goes into shock - obviously then you'd want to avoid it!).
Not the OP, but we've been living with peanut allergy for 9 years, and we figured out pretty early on that it's easier and safer for everyone involved to just keep the peanuts out of the house.

Even if you don't react to the smell, the peanut proteins still hang out in the residual oils that get left behind on plates, hands, door knobs, lips, utensils, cutting boards, etc.

Keeping peanuts out of our house is still cheaper than the ER copays and medication costs involved with an allergic reaction.
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#18 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 08:01 PM
 
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OP, my dh has done the Atkins/South Beach thing in the past, so I feel your pain. Eating cheaply is so much easier when you can go vegetarian most of the week!

With the amount of meat your household consumes, I think you might do well getting a Costco or Sam's Club membership and buying your chicken breasts and other meats in bulk. My local Costco even has decent frozen tilapia etc.! Then dh (or you and dh) can have meat nightly, while the kids eat pasta dishes etc. more frequently.

Egg Beaters can also be purchased in bulk at warehouse stores, so the mounds of scrambled eggs you make each morning won't cost so much. High-fiber lower-cost whole wheat bread (Nature's Own) is less than 1/2 the grocery store price at Costco. South-Beach friendly sides are also available in bulk.

Cutting out individually wrapped ANYTHINGS was a necessity for us. I have little glass containers with plastic for applesauce/yogurt, Sigg bottlers for water, etc. to go in lunchboxes. The only portioned thing I buy is cheese sticks - in bulk at Costco

Soups - crock pot! You CAN manage to remember to soak dried beans! I just put them right in the pot to soak the day before I want to make soup.

Try to shop three times/month instead of four. That in itself might fix your problem! If you run out to replenish milk twice a week, fine, but actual SHOPPING, where you give yourself permission to buy more than the 2-3 perishables you've just run out of, can be knocked down to less than 1x/week for almost any family, and it often seems to help a lot!
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#19 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 08:17 PM
 
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Grocery List is good! Do you meal plan? I am not good at that but I keep a stocked pantry and by "fresh stuff" weekly (well, now more but that is a Special Needs Child thread). I make sure I always have a couple of meals in the pantry and a couple in the freezer. Then I plan for several.

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 don't like contributing to the dump but would stock up on juice bags with no calories. Not nutritional but met my budget and caloric intake requirement! I also stuck with "fillers" and loaded up on fruits and veggies at home where I had more control over "waste". BOYS EAT A LOT! At least mine did/DO!

Flannel TP is out of the question. I recycled cloth diapers and only bought 8 rolls of paper towels one year. HM laundry detergent was great but now time is an essence. Vinegar is a GREAT water softener! I use it in the laundry and dish washer.

Just a couple of ideas. Hope they help!
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#20 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 08:28 PM
 
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I totally feel for you momma! Cutting the grocery bill can be tough business! We are also a family of 6, and I've been sucessful at going from $1400+ a month down to $500 monthly. (this includes dinners out, but not toiletries etc., just food).

The biggest tip I've learned:
~Buy when items are a their lowest price only. If you aren't familiar with what the lowest possible price is on items, keep a price book. Then over time, you will learn what the lowest price is on items, and where to get them. This is when I stock up. Grocery stores usually have items on sale for their lowest sale price about every 3 months or so, and I try to buy enough of the item to last until it is due to go on sale again. This goes for everything. From meat to pantry staples, cereals, canned goods, beans, pasta, toilet paper etc.This way you are never a slave to the grocery store, buying items because you've run out and need them then. This can take a while to accomplish becuase A: you must learn when the item is at a super low price, and them B: waiting for items to reach that price before stocking up. We don't always get our weekly flyers, but they are available online. I check my 2-3 favorite stores flyers online weekly. Sales usually start here on fridays or saturdays. This only takes about 20min/week.

This really isn't that expensive, as stocking up happens over time. I'm in Canada, and live in a mid/high cost of living area.
Prices I pay (just some examples):

lean ground beef: $1.99lb
whole fryer chickens: $5 each
bacon:$1.49lb
ham (bone in shoulder): .99lb
cheddar cheese 750g $4
flour (white and whole wheat) $6
sugar 5lbs $2
coffee, brand name 2.2lbs $4
apples .50 pound
canned fruit .69
margerine, name brand $1/lb
toilet paper, name brand $3.50 for 12 double rolls

~use coupons. I wish we had more available to us up here, but I do use them when I have them.
~bake my own bread, buns, bagels, cookies, muffins etc. (when I have time, I'm a very busy mama!)
~get OUT of the habit of eating out. Eating at home is usually so much more nutritious and cheaper. Especially for those family members who have diet restrictions. We've gone to eating out 1-2 times a week, down to 1-2 times a month. When my kids have sports games etc, instead of picking up fast food on the way, I pack us a picnic supper. The kids love it! and it's about $20 cheaper.
~I do supper meal plans weekly. This is soo much easier on my tired brain than trying to figure out what I'm cooking for supper an hour before mealtime. Also I made up a list of over 30 common meals I normally cook for supper, and keep it handy. I add to it and it continues to grow. This way, when meal planning, if I'm brain dead that day, I can refer to the list if needed.
~cook fun, convenient things to put in the kids lunches. It's much cheaper than pizza pops/burritos etc. Don't get me wrong, I still default to those items sometimes too, but making your own is way cheaper and usually more healthy. Today I made corndog muffins (cornbread, chopped hotdogs, grated cheese), wrapped individually and froze for future school lunches.

Anyways, I'm probably boring you and could go on and on, but I hoped I helped some! Gotta go cook supper.

Rachelle
momma to 4 wonderful blessings. #5 due Feb 14, 2010:
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#21 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 08:36 PM
 
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I agree about ditching paper products, or cutting way back. We use mostly cloth. We go through about one roll of paper towel every two months (for wiping up things that can't go in the compost like acrylic paint). We still buy toilet paper, but cutting out paper towels, tissues and napkins helps a lot.

Consider shopping at a restaurant supply store. We're a family of five, but although our kids are young and don't eat much, it's still worth the trip for us. Most things are either the same as a good grocery store price, or a lot cheaper. We started buying giant bags of precooked, frozen chicken breast cubes there because they were the same price as than raw chicken breast at Costco, but it was easy to use them for fast meals like wraps or to add to pasta or salad, We eat a lot of cheese, and there is no smokin' deal on cheese, but it's a bit cheaper in large quantities and you can freeze it.

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 have a heart attack every time I see the price on them at the grocery store. The same with Cascade. Buy the JUMBO box, and dump a small amount into a container of a manageable size.

I agree that deli meat doesn't need to be super expensive. I've also bought the large packages at Costco, and they freeze well.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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#22 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 09:17 PM
 
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honestly, the south beach diet is soooo expensive. I bet we spent almost $800 a month when I was doing the whole south beach thing and we have one less person than you and no allergies to contend with.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#23 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 09:33 PM
 
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Man, these ad banners must be queued by key words. All of a sudden I'm seeing 3 banners of Anna miraculously losing 20 lbs over and over! If only it weren't too good to be true... I'd be all up in it!!!


caj'smommy you totally inspire me!!! $1400+ a month down to $500 is freaking amazing! We average $400/month & there's just 2 adults & one monster of a 3y/o! I LOVE your suggestions!

Price books are definitely the way to go. I keep track of the lowest price on everything .


Also, if you want to get real geeky... I keep track of all expenses on Quicken (groceries, mortgage, etc) but I also keep my own seperate old fashioned Triple Function Check Register with 15 CR & DR distribution columns.

I break down everything here... Eggs, Milk, Produce, Fruit, Pork products, Beef products, Cheese, Gas... everything I buy. Then I can see what my trends are & better plan my shopping trips to stay within my budget.

e.g. if I spent $20 last month on beef & it worked, when I'm at the store & there are those lowest prices from my price book I use my calculator & buy around $20 of beef knowing I can make it last for a month.

I use the CR distribution to alot myself spending money for misc discretions, Sydney discretions & other specific things I'm saving up for (fruit trees, vacations, etc).

I don't go by my "real" balance in my account, I go by the balance I have leftover after I distribute my Credits & subtract my estimated Debits for the month. Then I have a "real" idea of what my spending looks like.

Wife to my of 10 years, SAHM to my 2 beautiful homebirthed girls Sydney (4/29/2006) Kennedy (3/21/2010) & 1 super Newfoundland
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#24 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 09:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by WC_hapamama View Post
You really can do deli meat on the cheap. I buy a 3 pack of honey ham from Costco for about $8-$9, and that lasts my horde for almost 2 weeks, with the occasional lunch of leftovers or chicken salad sandwiches thrown in.
In that case, then she can cut out the meat at breakfast and dinner.
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#25 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 10:24 PM
 
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I presume that you are unable/willing to make radical dietary changes. Thus, these are my suggestions.

-It sounds like you eat a lot of meat and eggs. Therefore, I would throw my energy into finding inexpensive sources of these items.

Even if it is far away, it might be worth your while to go to someplace like Costco or BJs just to buy things like IQF chix breasts, lunch meat and turkey bacon. If one is far away, you'll probably need to buy a chest freezer. Plan on going every few months and spending a few hundred dollars. Take a cooler with ice and some cold bags. Most all deli meat freezes, some better than others. Salami and bologna tend to freeze the best.

Do you guys eat beef? Does DH? I would strongly suggest investigating buying an entire steer, if so. DH's parents do this (organic grass fed Texas longhorn, no less), and the quality of the beef is far superior to store bought as well as being far cheaper. Again, you'll need a freezer. Considering a large chest freezer costs about 40% of one month of groceries for your family, I'd consider it an investment.

I don't know if you eat conventional eggs, or if you can find better quality eggs... but we buy our eggs from a local producer, and it's very inexpensive, and the eggs are much nicer. I would look into this. Even if you have to drive and pick up a few dozen eggs at a time, eggs can also be frozen. Crack, lightly beat, a little salt. Perfect for omlettes and scrambled. You may be able to take advantage of a bulk discount this way, too.

-Try to make condiments. These are high value added foods. In a weekend, we can make and can enough ketchup, pizza sauce, jam, pickles, marinara, and applesauce to last an entire year.

-You are going to need to meal plan. Try to just do it 24 hours in advance. Think about tomorrow's dinner while you are doing the dinner dishes. You know what you have, what you need, what needs to be thawed or soaked...
You don't have to meal plan weeks or months in advance.

-Try to bake more. My secret is soy flour as an egg replacement and dry buttermilk instead of regular milk. The buttermilk makes everything nice and high, and takes years to go bad. Soy flour lasts forever, too, and is very cheap. Both these items can be found at almost any MegaloMart in the baking aisle.

-We don't soak beans. We cook dry beans in 1.5 parts water to beans in the oven in a covered casserole, on the stovetop in a covered pot, or in the crockpot on high for three hours. Granted, it still takes awhile, but if you think about it at lunch time, you still have plenty of time to cook dinner.

-About homemade laundry soap, a caveat: I made my own for years. In many ways, I miss it- I think it smells really good, for starters. However, I found it to be more cost effective for me to use coldwater Tide because the homemade stuff needed hot water to work well. I now wash everything in cold, using 1 oz. Tide per load, and have noticed a very significant energy savings. In the event that we install a solar hot water system, I'll go back to homemade, but in the meantime, this works for me.

Trying to turn hearts and minds toward universal healthcare, one post at a time.
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#26 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 10:37 PM
 
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Just because you have one dc with peanut allergy doesn't mean you can't use peanuts does it? (unless he has it so bad if he smells it he goes into shock - obviously then you'd want to avoid it!).

I have a son who is ANA allergic to many things also including peanuts. He is oral and contact allergic. ANY item that has peanuts/treenuts (including all chocolate, most candy, store breads, boxed cereals, etc...) are not allowed in the house because his LIFE is in danger. Peanut proteins can stick around for months and if my other kids ate a PB&J and wiped their finger on their pants or under the table and then my allergic son were to brush againt it, if I were to eat a contaminated cookie and kiss him, the dishwasher cannot always get off all the proteins, etc... he could have an anaphylactic reaction that will ensure the hospital and always run the risk of death.

Savin $1 on a jar of cheaper peanut butter is NEVER worth risking your child's life just to make the parent's job easier!








Quote:
Originally Posted by WC_hapamama View Post
Not the OP, but we've been living with peanut allergy for 9 years, and we figured out pretty early on that it's easier and safer for everyone involved to just keep the peanuts out of the house.

Even if you don't react to the smell, the peanut proteins still hang out in the residual oils that get left behind on plates, hands, door knobs, lips, utensils, cutting boards, etc.

Keeping peanuts out of our house is still cheaper than the ER copays and medication costs involved with an allergic reaction.











What percentage of money do you spend on household items? Want to post what you buy? I agree that crock pot beans are SUPER easy!!!

Resistance is futile Matey
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#27 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 11:45 PM
 
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-About homemade laundry soap, a caveat: I made my own for years. In many ways, I miss it- I think it smells really good, for starters. However, I found it to be more cost effective for me to use coldwater Tide because the homemade stuff needed hot water to work well. I now wash everything in cold, using 1 oz. Tide per load, and have noticed a very significant energy savings. In the event that we install a solar hot water system, I'll go back to homemade, but in the meantime, this works for me.
The other benefit of a cold water wash is that prolongs the life of the clothing, particularly cottons. Hot water washes hasten fading and pilling... really hard on the fabric.
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#28 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 11:51 PM
 
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I just thought of another couple of things:

About lunches- check out Hillbilly Housewife's lunch page.

Also, I cannot say enough good stuff about the HBHW Custard Style Yogurt recipe. Great lunchbox food.

Buy your kids reusable lunch EVERYTHING- box or insulated bag, drink bottle, containers, WrapNMat, Happy Sacks, napkins, silverware, EVERYTHING. That's what my mom did for us, and that way, all stuff gets brought home. Otherwise, you end up with kids throwing containers and napkins away.

We have a rule in our house about fruit juice- it only comes from concentrate (boxes and bottles are ridiculously priced) and it has to be mixed with something 50-50 (after it's been reconstituted with water). We mix ours with iced tea, V8 (from the tall cans, much cheaper than bottles), and, our kids's favorite, club soda. Iced tea is made for pennies, and club soda is $1 for a gallon. Store brand in-the-can V8 is kind of expensive, but nutritious (and this is far cheaper than V8 Fusion in plastic bottles, I'll tell you that).

We do this for reasons of health and economy. First of all, juice is just fruit sugar- yummy, for sure, but not exactly a health food. It gets you addicted to sweet tastes. Also, it is far cheaper to mix it with other stuff. Basically, we treat the juice like it's flavored liquid sugar... which it more or less is.

Note: if you do mix juice and club soda, it's just like pop, it needs a bottle with a top. The first time you make it, plan to have the kids there to drink half of it right away, and then put the other half back in the club soda bottle. Save this bottle, and the next time you make it, fill both club soda bottles. One 12 oz can of juice concentrate makes about a liter of juice, and club soda comes in liter bottles, so 1 can of concentrate+water+a bottle of club soda= approx 2 liters or 1 gallon.

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#29 of 120 Old 05-13-2009, 11:52 PM
 
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Okay, I just read thru that last post, and we mix juice with tea OR V8, OR club soda. Not all three at the same time. Yeesh, that'd be kinda gross.

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#30 of 120 Old 05-14-2009, 12:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Thystle View Post
I have a son who is ANA allergic to many things also including peanuts. He is oral and contact allergic. ANY item that has peanuts/treenuts (including all chocolate, most candy, store breads, boxed cereals, etc...) are not allowed in the house because his LIFE is in danger. Peanut proteins can stick around for months and if my other kids ate a PB&J and wiped their finger on their pants or under the table and then my allergic son were to brush againt it, if I were to eat a contaminated cookie and kiss him, the dishwasher cannot always get off all the proteins, etc... he could have an anaphylactic reaction that will ensure the hospital and always run the risk of death.

Savin $1 on a jar of cheaper peanut butter is NEVER worth risking your child's life just to make the parent's job easier!
While your child might be severely allergic, her son may not... just a thought.

But - if you can find it - i hear golden peabutter is an excellent alternative to nut butters

~Kris mama to Alexis (15), Elizabeth (10), Andrew (7), and 1 angel
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