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#31 of 44 Old 02-07-2011, 07:52 AM
 
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I planted a garden last summer which has helped a lot. It was my first, so I'm still learning how much to plant of what. The biggest items that saved the most were:

potatoes -lasted 5 months but now I've started buying store potatoes again to save the last bit of small garden potatoes as seed potatoes. Seed potatoes are expensive!

tomatoes-I made a whole lot of pasta sauce and froze it all. I have a couple meals worth left then I'll need to buy sauce again. Next year I'll make more sauce. 

green and yellow beans-easy to grow, easy to harvest and freeze. A quick veggie to add to almost any meal.

zucchini- this one is borderline. It's not really used as a meal, but as filler. I grated a lot of zucchini to freeze. I use it in cakes, as filler in pasta sauce, soups, stews etc. 

 

I bought fruits and veggies when they were in season and priced cheaply.

Apples- I sliced up and froze them in bags which are used in apple crisps/cobblers, muffins etc. I also made applesauce (delish!) and froze them in small portions. Good as snack, on pancakes etc. 

Carrots/turnip/onion-bought on sale, prepared, sliced in chunks and then froze in mixed veggie bags. Quick and easy to open a bag for stews or soups. A lot of work last fall but it becomes my cheap convenient food in winter. 

Strawberries, blueberries etc-I made some into jam, froze the rest to use in winter for the occasional treat. Next year I'll do more!

 

I try to shop less. Going to store equals less impulse buys. 

I try to eat less (been tracking calorie intake on Sparkpeople-Yikes!)

I try to eat less packaged foods.

I would like to buy meat in bulk, maybe next year.

Meat is used as a seasoning, not a main dish.

 

I rely on our freezer too much. I did a lot of 'firsts' last year so gave myself permission to freeze everything. This year I'd like to learn how to can and to get a dehydrator. 

Milk and cheese are an expensive problem area (I find).

 

 


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#32 of 44 Old 02-08-2011, 09:32 AM
 
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Amen to all that has already been said. We have a large freezer. We buy a full pig and a 1/2 of beef every year. So right now, its filled to the rim so no feeding the freezer for me for a few months. But check out the thread I started in meal planning literally years ago that is still there regarding feed the freezer.

 

I also budget a part of my grocery $$ for stocking up. Things go on sale seasonally. Such as Nov/Dec, baking supplies are dirt cheap. Chicken goes on a great sale every 6 weeks or so. Stock up on what your family eats. I make my own stock out of whatever we have. Such as the turkey carcuss from thanksgiving made a super stock.

 

I like the idea of the 4th week, eat what you have on hand. We have several meals for just that purpose such as a big salad, pizza, grilled meat and whatever veggie over noodles...


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#33 of 44 Old 02-09-2011, 02:13 PM
 
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The other thing I try not to do is buy much in the way of convenience foods. It costs pennies and takes about 5 minutes to make a pie crust for chicken pot pie. It would cost me $3 to buy premade frozen ones. I can make 4 loaves of good quality bread for the price of one loaf in the bakery. I can make a litre of plain gelatin free yogurt for about 1/3 to 1/4 of the price to buy it and then we can flavour it w honey and frozen berries. Salad dressings are so fast and easy to make and cheap if you have bought the oil on sale.

hope this helps

Karen


 


Thanks so much for all of your advice, Karen! I will try to implement many of your ideas and will def. check out the five dollar dinner site. Sorry to bug you for one more thing --- but could you share the pie crust, bread loaf, yogurt, and salad dressing recipes/how to. I have tried to make some of these on my own before but would love your recipes if you have time to share.....especially bread and yogurt since I have no idea how to make those on my own


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#34 of 44 Old 02-09-2011, 04:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youngspiritmom View Post

The other thing I try not to do is buy much in the way of convenience foods. It costs pennies and takes about 5 minutes to make a pie crust for chicken pot pie. It would cost me $3 to buy premade frozen ones. I can make 4 loaves of good quality bread for the price of one loaf in the bakery. I can make a litre of plain gelatin free yogurt for about 1/3 to 1/4 of the price to buy it and then we can flavour it w honey and frozen berries. Salad dressings are so fast and easy to make and cheap if you have bought the oil on sale.

hope this helps

Karen


 


Thanks so much for all of your advice, Karen! I will try to implement many of your ideas and will def. check out the five dollar dinner site. Sorry to bug you for one more thing --- but could you share the pie crust, bread loaf, yogurt, and salad dressing recipes/how to. I have tried to make some of these on my own before but would love your recipes if you have time to share.....especially bread and yogurt since I have no idea how to make those on my own


I'm not Karen, but I've been making bread from the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes method and I simply love it.  It can stay in your 'fridge up to 2 weeks, but our dough never lasts that long. I put some in a loaf pan for sandwich bread.  I make pizza from it.  I make pita bread.  I make cinnamon buns.  I love it. :)

 

I use their basic boule recipe, but use 2-1/2 cups of whole wheat flour and the rest unbleached all purpose.  http://www.breadin5minutes.com/


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#35 of 44 Old 02-10-2011, 07:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by wrenb View Post

We eat vegetarian 95% of the time to save money. Instead of meat we eat tofu, beans, eggs, and cheese. When I do buy meat it's usually a whole chicken which can then be at least 3 meals: roast chicken, chicken pot pie, and chicken soup.


We do this too. We do not make meat a main thing we buy but instead it is special. For instance we do have a meat meal on the meal plan this week because we could afford it. I don't buy cheap meat in bargain bins but since we don't buy a lot of meat, the cost doesn't bother me. I don't really even know what meat in the grocery costs so I don't know how much more I am spending. We buy a whole chicken about once a month. We make it stretch and then I boil down the bones for broth.

I really believe that the best way to save money in a budget is to stop buying meat. We do a lot of bean. We have a curry night once a week. There is always consdierable amounts of leftovers for lunches or other dinners. Thsi week we did a sweet potato, chickpea and spinach curry with brown rice. Inexpensive, healthy, so delicious and SO MUCH FOOD!

DS is allergic to eggs, but dh and I eat them on the weekends. I also make ds pancakes in bulk and freeze them. he loves that so he get s a special breakfast. Lots of people frown at tofu but I am fine with putting into our meal plan once week, we do tofu sticks, scrambles, cubed and marinated with rice and veggies.
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#36 of 44 Old 02-10-2011, 02:02 PM
 
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Use spices! If you can get them in bulk, get a little bit of several kinds- not very expensive- and it will add Tons of flavor- so that you can have chicken (or whatever) several times in a row (or in a week, or month) and it can be very different each time, depending on the spice theme. One time, use rosemary, another time, try curry... variety goes a long way in making our family enjoy meal time.

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#37 of 44 Old 02-10-2011, 02:05 PM
 
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I realize this costs money up front, but my biggest way to slash my grocery budget is to buy in bulk.  I but a half-cow at a time, and that reallllllly helps.  I bought a 25-pound bag of (expensive, gluten--free) steel-cut oats from Bob's Red Mill and even with the shipping, it beat the pants off of the local store's price.  If you have a local HFS, go to the customer service desk and ask them to price a 25 pound bag of a particular item for you, they sometimes give 10% off the regular price, then compare that to what you can get it for online and see if that helps you out.  That 25-pound bag of oats is almost gone, we'll finish it off within the next two weeks.

 

Try to deal directly with the farmer or go to a farmer's market anywhere you can.  I can buy potatoes in bulk at the farmer's market for about half per pound of what the grocery store wants for a 10-pound bag, and then store them.  Ditto for apples.  Find some friends to go in on it with you if you can.

 

Know what's in season and when.  Look up your state Ag website and see if they post wholesale prices daily.  Ours does in NC- http://www.ncagr.gov/markets/mktnews/RA_FV001.txt  Look at it daily as part of your morning routine and compare it to a chart of what is in season so you know when prices are bottoming out and you can buy it cheap.  If you get a good deal, even if some of it goes to waste or you have to give it away, you've still saved money.  Last year, my husband swung by the farmer's market on a whim near closing time and came home with 35-pound boxes of tomatoes that were close to going bad.  He got them for $5 a box and he could have gotten much more had I had time to process them.  I went to work and was able to can most of them, each box just had one or two tomatoes going mushy.

 

We dropped meat for breakfast and lunch, unless we're eating leftovers.  We do a LOT of soup and bone broths.  If you order that side of beef, talk to the butcher about the bones.  Tell him you want A-L-L of them and emphasize that you really do mean all.  Our butcher puts them in 5-pound bags and I can make enough stock to keep us in rich, gelatinous stock for the entire year.  Good stock is protein-sparring and is a valuable way to get nutrients.

 

Keep a list of what's in the fridge (produce, dairy, etc...) on the fridge, including the leftovers and the date they need to be tossed.  Make sure you use it up before it goes bad.


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#38 of 44 Old 02-10-2011, 02:18 PM
 
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We are vegetarians so we save a lot on not buying meat.  But produce can get a bit pricey, especially since I buy mostly organic.  I've just recently started cutting back on my organic produce because I just can't afford it anymore.  We also buy a lot of all natural products.  I refuse to buy crap or products with a ton of ingredients I can't pronounce so that adds more to our bill.  When I went on maternity leave I started doing meal plans, which does help, but I seem to be spending more now and I don't know why.


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#39 of 44 Old 02-10-2011, 02:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youngspiritmom View Post

The other thing I try not to do is buy much in the way of convenience foods. It costs pennies and takes about 5 minutes to make a pie crust for chicken pot pie. It would cost me $3 to buy premade frozen ones. I can make 4 loaves of good quality bread for the price of one loaf in the bakery. I can make a litre of plain gelatin free yogurt for about 1/3 to 1/4 of the price to buy it and then we can flavour it w honey and frozen berries. Salad dressings are so fast and easy to make and cheap if you have bought the oil on sale.

hope this helps

Karen


 


Thanks so much for all of your advice, Karen! I will try to implement many of your ideas and will def. check out the five dollar dinner site. Sorry to bug you for one more thing --- but could you share the pie crust, bread loaf, yogurt, and salad dressing recipes/how to. I have tried to make some of these on my own before but would love your recipes if you have time to share.....especially bread and yogurt since I have no idea how to make those on my own



Sure!

My pie crust recipe is the same as this one. The key is to chill the shortening and the water.  There are lots of online video tutorials about how to make it - there's a good one on all recipes I think.

Your best bet for yogurt is to buy a starter from the health food store and follow the directions there til you get the hang of it. The basic idea is that you heat milk to a certain temp - I think it's 88 degrees F, let it cool  to 44 degrees and stir in your starter and then incubate it.  I use a small hardsided cooler, put the unset yogurt in a large mason jar w a lid and then fill the cooler with hot water (about 140 degrees) put the lid on and cover it with towels over night. I think Soulemama had a tutorial on her blog to show the steps and if you google there are lots.

 

Salad dressings I make on the fly depending on whats in the salad and I don't really measure. I aim for 1/2 oil 1/2 vinegar plus whatever flavourings we are adding. My kids love a poppy seed one and I can dig out the recipe and post it for you and I have a nice creamy italian one as well. We also like maple basalmic which is 1/2 cup oil/ 1/2 cup basalmic vinegar, 1/4 cup maple syrup.

 

Bread - My kids love this recipe.  Again tonnes of good tutorials on line. A friend of mine has a tutorial that is a good one and I will dig it out and post but I am on the fly

Sorry - more later.

Karen


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#40 of 44 Old 02-10-2011, 04:26 PM
 
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Read the grocery store circulars. I find them particularly useful for finding deals at stores I don't normally shop at. Coupons, coupons, coupons. Coupons used during 1 big shopping trip will pay for the year subscription to the newspaper containing the coupons. Most stores are doubling coupons less than $1. Be smart. Only cut out those you know you'll use. Watch out for coupons requiring you to buy two or more items -- make sure you really need that quantity. Make sure your grocery cards are linked to your correct address. You can register at grocery stores online to make sure this is the case. Grocery stores send out valuable coupons in the mail for things they know you buy. Don't ignore the coupons that come out with your receipt. Sometimes there some good ones -- $2 off your next visit, etc. These add up and pay for the lattes I need to get through dreaded meal planning, grocery store fiascos! Also, Walmart and stores like that are carrying more quality, specialty foods. I try to go to Walmart first before the grocery store. Keep in mind, though, that a grocery store special usually is going to be cheaper that Walmart's every day low price.

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#41 of 44 Old 02-10-2011, 05:18 PM
 
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My weekly bill for a home of 3 is $60-$80. I got it down by doing a few tricks. I list these tips on my blog

 

I started by making my own bread, pancake mix, pasta, muffins and cakes. With a $5.00  10lb bag of flour, I can make 20 loaves of bread for about 50 cents a loaf.

My family also uses alo of cheese and I was spending about $12.00 a week on sliced, shredded, cream and sticks. Now I just buy a 1lb block for $5.99.

 

I also make my own laundry detergent and dishwasher soap.

 

I always buy dented cans and reduced produce. We eat meat once a week and my husband hunts pheasant. Gardening saves alot as well as you can freeze and can. I also try to make meals that can be made into something else later like if I have a rice and bean dish with veggies, I turn it into a enchilada or quesdillas.

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#42 of 44 Old 02-10-2011, 07:18 PM
 
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How do you make your own laundry detergent, nebulamommy?


CDing, BFing, co-sleeping, combination of BWing and stroller-using mama to DD, 05/2010. Pursuing a back to nature lifestyle.
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#43 of 44 Old 02-11-2011, 09:35 AM
 
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this is what I've been using for abotu the last year or so.  Scroll down obviously.

 

http://www.duggarfamily.com/recipes.html 

 

 

I use whatever soap is cheap and available.  Recently I made a batch with Kiss My Face Lavendar and Olive Oil soap because it was on a super sale at whole foods.


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#44 of 44 Old 02-12-2011, 08:43 PM
 
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Try adding beans.  They're cheap, and a great source of protein, fiber, and lots of good phytochemicals.  They can help fill the family up, and they can be put in soup, salads, with rice, in casseroles - I've even put a layer of beans on home-made pizza and in spaghetti sauce!  There are lots of varieties.  Red lentil soup and split pea soup are two of my favorite soups.  Garbanzos go great in salads. 

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