Lets cut our monthly grocery bill - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 110 Old 01-11-2006, 03:17 PM
 
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I wonder if you subbed some white flour for some of the whole wheat or bran, it might make them lighter. ( ? )
The yummy one has a lot of sugar... maybe a bit moe sugar? (or honey or something sweet?)
It sounds good! Thanks

H

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#62 of 110 Old 01-11-2006, 06:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaofthree
I wonder if you subbed some white flour for some of the whole wheat or bran, it might make them lighter. ( ? )
The yummy one has a lot of sugar... maybe a bit moe sugar? (or honey or something sweet?)
It sounds good! Thanks

H
I had a similar thought- I was going to add the shorting and a little more honey to the recipe.
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#63 of 110 Old 01-11-2006, 07:05 PM
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dharmamama wanted the recipe for my blackbean burgers and veggie burgers... as I stated in the previous thread, I am a "throw together and see what happens" kind of girl so I rarely use recipes but I will try!

Blackbean burgers...

I usually use a cup or 2 or cooked blackbeans (from dry)
spices (whatever is on hand...garlic, chili powder, etc)
a bit of oil (we use olive oil)
a bit of salsa or diced tomatoes or I have used ketchup in a pinch
an egg (you can do without the egg but it helps it stick together when cooking)

I mash it all together with a potato masher... the consistency should be of mashed potatoes...really thick.. if it is a bit more liquidy I add cornflour bit by bit to get it thick...then form into patties and *fry* in a bit of oil (just so they won't stick to the pan) .... Also, they seem to cook better when the patties are refrigerated beforehand (they stick together better)

A morningstar farms blackbean burger pack of 4 is about $3-4 -- I don't know what this equals out to but it is a heck of a lot cheaper than $3-4 and makes a lot more than 4 patties...

The veggie patties:

A box of gluten (about $3)
leftover veggies, mashed
vegetable stock (or water with spices)

mix that all together... I think it is about 1-1 1/2 water or stock for the box of gluten but you can add more if you need to...

Then let sit...

form into patties and bake in the oven at about 300 for about 2 hours (you can make them ahead of time and just heat them up when you want) .... be sure to check on them and also cook them in the oven in a *bit* of stock and turn about part way through... otherwise you will get what consists of hard bread balls LOL

...it takes a bit of tweaking but man once you *get it* they are SO freaking yummy... it makes a lot of them too!
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#64 of 110 Old 01-11-2006, 07:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaofthree
I wonder if you subbed some white flour for some of the whole wheat or bran, it might make them lighter. ( ? )
The yummy one has a lot of sugar... maybe a bit moe sugar? (or honey or something sweet?)


H
Hmm. Maybe - I can't remember if I tried that or not. Well, I do know I tried more white flour for the wheat (didn't help a lot), but maybe the bran is more the thing that needs replacing.... More sugar is probably what's needed (isn't it always? ) I know I probably underestimate the obscene amount of sugar in the cold cereal. If you try tinkering with it, you might want to cut the recipe by 5 or 6. The first time I made it, I made a whole batch, and forced my family to eat every one of those damn rocks! Now that I only make the cakey good (slightly more expensive) kind, the kids have gone down on their milk requests, so I figure it all comes out even costwise!
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#65 of 110 Old 01-12-2006, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am also a throw together and see how it is recipe kind of lady too! It does save some money on my food budget when I can throw together a salad or pizza with all kinds of toppings in it or on it.

So far this month- We have done both cash and credit card to phase in the system and its working pretty well. We are also only buying what we need and thats it. also having a meal from the freezer at least once a week helps and we also fed it once a week to keep it going. So our new "take out" is taking it out of the freezer. DH coined that in 2005 when we started it!

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#66 of 110 Old 01-12-2006, 08:43 PM
 
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So this week I spent $70. It was mostly produce. Since I cut out sugar we are all going through the veggies and fruit. Tonight, dd turned her nose up at the spaghetti and ate mostly raw carrots and mushrooms

Still sticking to planning it out week by week and having one "special" meal a week. Next week it's lasagna.
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#67 of 110 Old 01-13-2006, 01:43 AM
 
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Well the whole clan had a dinner meeting tonight. DH want's to cut out almost all the meat, except salmon, and eat more tofu, and beans. I am going to make a bunch of veggie burgers and toss those up in the freezer. I will probably spend a bit this week to stock up the pantry. I have nothing in there but a box of organic chicken broth. I want to get into the habit of doing my baking on Sundays when DH is home (make granola, granola bars, beans, muffins, cookies, whatever).
Anyway, this thread has me thinking. Thank you so much mamas!

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#68 of 110 Old 01-13-2006, 11:36 AM
 
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Wow, you guys have so many GREAT ideas. I feel inspired! When my husband and I got married, we read a book for young married couples by Larry Burkett. He also suggested the envelope method to keep spending under control. We used it for a year or two and then stopped. I am going to start using that system again next week. Currently, the amount of money that we spend on food, take out or eating out is astronomical! I had no idea that it was even possible to grocery shop for $50 a week. I just assumed the $150 a week I spent was right in line with what everybody else spends. We are a family of 5 and I must say, the amount of snacking that I allow is just out of control. I think you are right when you say that if the meals are nutritious and filling, there will be less of a need for snacking. Plus, if I don't buy it, they won't eat it. What I really would love to do is just shop the parameter of the grocery store - fresh fruit and veggies, milk, eggs, cheese, and meat. Most of what is in the inner aisles of grocery stores is just JUNK. Thanks again for inspiring me with your great ideas.
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#69 of 110 Old 01-14-2006, 04:23 PM
 
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I just want to say thank you for this thread. I have been reading it and we do a lot of what other people wrote to try to save money. But what I really need is support and reading this thread has really helped me stay on target. It can be hard to work all day and come home and try to figure out dinner. We ate a lot of beans and soup this week, but we didn't go out or do take out all week!
Thanks everyone!
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#70 of 110 Old 01-14-2006, 05:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KimberMama

Stick to cheaper legumes. Organic pinto beans are cheaper than most other varieties of beans. I bought a package of Anazasi beans because DH asked for them, but told him I wouldn't do it again, because they were $3 a pound vs. 1.19 a pound for pintos.
You need to see if Azure delivers to your area. They deliver down to to San Diego.

The price you mention for Pinto beans is pricey IMO. Azure has organic 5lbs for $4.25.

They have many other organic items for good prices IMO.
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#71 of 110 Old 01-17-2006, 11:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Got back from San Diego just tonight. We found a great organic co-op and bought tons of fruit that lasted the whole duration and even brought some back w us!

We did take out tonight- take out from the freezer.

So much easier on the wallet. We also ate granola from TJs every morning in our room since we are not big breakfast eaters. Luckily they have such great selections of produce and organics out there. It seems so much easier and better tasting than eating out every meal.

Haven't checked what we need yet, but I think I should be ok for a day or so before hitting the grocery.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#72 of 110 Old 01-19-2006, 03:53 PM
 
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Well, so far this week I went shopping on Saturday and then I had to go Tuesday for more Milk and bananas, but that is it. Saturday was a big shopping day, BUT I should be ok with bulk stuff for at least 6 weeks or more (some stuff for months I am sure. )
Feels good, but weird. I am almost always at the store.
I baked bread yesterday love that smell.

H

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#73 of 110 Old 01-19-2006, 04:28 PM
 
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So today's groceries were $67, not bad. This is for a week. Given what we've spent so far and estimating next week, I estimate that we will spend $260 for the month.
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#74 of 110 Old 01-20-2006, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ok- so far this month about $170 on groceries. We were gone for a few days and purchased things at groceries there, but we count that under vacation expenses. We ate breakfast every morning in our room- milk, fruit and granola and that saved plenty not going out every morning!

So now that dh gets paid today, we will take out $175 cash for groceries that has to last until the 5th- the next payday. But right now we are fully stocked w fruit, frozen premade meals, veggies, lettuce, plus anything in the pantry if need be. I do need chicken and its on sale so we will get that in the next few days. We always buy that in bulk and freeze individual breasts in the freezer.

This thread I started has helped me a lot and I am glad we could be an inspiration to others as well. Keep the ideas and stories coming!

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#75 of 110 Old 01-21-2006, 03:07 PM
 
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Ok I have been lurking on here and I need some encouragement if there is any to be had.

My DH and I graduated from college in May 2004 and since then, it has been the first time in our lives our parents have not provided for us financially. We were *so* not smart with our money from then until about a month ago. We blew it. We didn't make any huge purchases, just small ones here and there but we blew through an enormous amount of money. Now we barely have enough to pay the bills (we can't even afford to make the last few payments on my son's preschool) and we only have about $50/week to spend on food for him, me, our 3-year-old son, our 15-month-old daughter (and I'm pregnant.) I seriously don't know if I can do this. The kids and I have spent the last few weeks hungry. We don't buy *any* processed food... just milk, eggs, bread, rice, fruits and vegetables and cheese and meat. No juice or anything. We drink water. I think either I'm doing something wrong, because I just can't seem to buy enough food on this amount of money, or it is actually not possible because of where we live (cost of living here is pretty high.) We aren't buying organic/free-range/natural *anything* because we *really* can't afford it. I have continued to buy whole wheat bread, because I really think white bread is just absolutely disgusting and I can't deal with the lack of nutrients. Somebody please tell me what they have done to live on $50 or so a week (and is it possible in NY?? We don't live in the city, but we're close and food seems to be expensive here compared to other parts of the country.)

Anyway, sorry for the rant. I'm just starting to panic a little bit. We used to have $200/week to spend on food when our parents payed for everything, and before we realized we had no money, I was spending about $80/week and was comfortable with that. We make way too much money to qualify for any sort of public assistance unfortunately or I would jump on that. *sigh*
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#76 of 110 Old 01-21-2006, 04:36 PM
 
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For a family of four with you pregnant, I don't think that $80 a week is at all outrageous. I think that's a good "frugal" amount. Trying to feed you all on $50 is going to be difficult.

First of all, if you and the kids actually are hungry, go to a food pantry. Tell them that you are hungry. They will help you find food.

Next, stop buying bread. Make your own. Store-bought whole-wheat bread is outrageously expensive ($2.19 a loaf at the absolute lowest here, unless you go to a bakery outlet). You can make your own loaves for pennies.

Stop buying gallons of milk. Buy powdered milk. As long as it's been well-refrigerated, the taste is not that different. Limit everyone in the house to one glass of milk per day.

Go vegetarian. It doesn't have to be a long-term change, but for now, use dried beans instead of meat.

If you have a restaurant supply store around, buy your cheese there. I buy 2-lb blocks of cheese for $4.99. The same amount of cheese at the grocery would cost around $8.

Right before you go shopping, make a big pot of soup with all your leftovers and veggies that are on the verge of going bad. I use water as the base. Sometimes I throw in a bouillon cube, often I just season it. It gets better every day as all the floavors mix. I have been able to stretch one pot of soup over five meals by just adding in the leftovers of every meal. Eat the soup until it's gone and start over.

Good luck.

Namaste!
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#77 of 110 Old 01-21-2006, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think $80 a week can be done. I agree with everything said and to start doing what is being said. Making bread and pizza dough is pennies to the dollar when you think about it and easier. Start small and rebuild what you need to to get on track and it all should fall into place.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#78 of 110 Old 01-21-2006, 06:03 PM
 
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we only have about $50/week to spend on food for him, me, our 3-year-old son, our 15-month-old daughter (and I'm pregnant.) I seriously don't know if I can do this. The kids and I have spent the last few weeks hungry.
My heart goes out to you, please check out WIC!!! You need help and it is a great program. You and both of your kids will receive WIC checks and it will REALLY help with your food budget.
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#79 of 110 Old 01-21-2006, 06:30 PM
 
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I had a great find at the store today... bananas that were ready to go. They were less than 20 cents a pound and I can make them into banana bread today (i got enough for a couple loaves). They also had apples, carrots, celery, and some lettuces. If I had it in me I could have bought the apples to make apple sauce, and the veggies would have been great for soup.

Which is something to look into eldadeedlit, and also a lot of people have said to buy a whole chicken, roast it eat it and use the bones and leftovers for soup, which can last a few days, and can be very hearty, just add potatoes, carrots, onion, celery, corn etc. Plus some herbs you have around (garlic, bay, salt, pepper) and add some dumplings (which are filling too). We have only one meat meal a week now, and the rest is tofu, beans or something like that. Also, making your own pasta/pizza sauce is really cheap and you can make alot. I made recently enough sauce for 3 pizzas and two pasta dishes for about the price of one can of ready made sauce.

So for this week I spent $75.00. Which is better, but I would still like it to be around $60.00. Even buying non-organic I can't seem to get us below that. That maybe all I can do. There are 6 of us.

H

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#80 of 110 Old 01-21-2006, 06:40 PM
 
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subscribing

Trying to be more frugal lately.
I have to go organic though. We do eat meat as well, but most dishes are also good as vegetarian dishes(can't get it out of my system after 7 years of vegetarianism )

I heard about a veggie coop from a friend. We are most likely going to start getting our veggies from a local coop farm for about $18 a week. Plus whatever fruit we need to buy, or fresh herbs.

I saw a woman at Whiole foods recently who bought a HUUUUUUGE bag of bulk oats. Supposedly, you can buy bulk bags!it was about half her size!She was a thin asian woman, very petite. So, I will look into buying spelt flour bulk like that.

Also, i am going to make it a point to order more from Azure Standard this year, for healthy bulk items. It is a coop with drop off points on the west coast.(oregon based) Azurestandard.com they have bulk flours, cheese, milk, turkeys, frozen stuf, EVERYTHING!

Due with number 5 in August. We do all that crunchy stuff.
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#81 of 110 Old 01-23-2006, 10:54 AM
 
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Subscribing as well.

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for all the wonderful ideas. It's going to make a big difference to us.
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#82 of 110 Old 01-23-2006, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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: One hurdle I am up against is price increases.

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

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

Anyone else notice this?

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#83 of 110 Old 01-23-2006, 12:03 PM
 
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I think my number one step to reducing our monthly grocery bill has been to use our bread machine. I buy flour and yeast on sale and use the machine just about every day. We make our daily loaf of whole wheat bread most days, and also pizza dough, cinnamon rolls (yum!), any kind of sandwich roll, and several other recipes for just a fraction of the cost of buying the items at the bakery or supermarket.

Right now our bill is around $70 a week to feed a family of three. Although I think I could reduce it further by buying dried and not canned beans, and by finding one of those discount food stores for some of our basic items.

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#84 of 110 Old 01-23-2006, 12:26 PM
 
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One thing I do that reduces my grocery bills has to do with store policies. At Price Chopper they have a policy that if a customer finds something expired in the dairy they get that identical item for free. So if you find one of their "At least 10 lbs!" blocks of mozzerella cheese expired you get 10 lbs of cheese for free. You get free food, other people don't buy the expired item thinking it's good, and the store learns not to try to sell expired food to customers. It's only one item per customer per visit though.

**Thought I'd add, my local WIC just started a pilot program where anyone who has an appointment in the next month or two gets $5 fruits and veggies a month. I'm so excited! You have to spend all $5 at once, and can get canned, frozen, or fresh veggies. I hope the program goes well and we can get more fruits and veggies next time I go in.

Kerry, loving wife to Pete, mama to DD (14) DS1 (9) DS2 (3) & Expecting someone new Jan 2013

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#85 of 110 Old 01-23-2006, 12:37 PM
 
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Thanks for the suggestions, those who gave them. I love this thread by the way. It has been helpful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Veronica
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#86 of 110 Old 01-23-2006, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Subscribing as well.

I I've been buying almost no snack foods except for popcorn and tortilla chips (DD loves to take them for lunch with salsa, sour cream and veggies).
How do you buy your popcorn? Do you pop it yourself or in the microwave?

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#87 of 110 Old 01-23-2006, 01:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by eldadeedlit
Does making your own bread really save that much money? We eat a LOT of bread and if it would be that much cheaper to make our own, I will definitely do that.
Well, around here I can get Wonder whole wheat bread at the bakery outlet for 95 cents a loaf. I just bought a 50-lb sack of flour for $16. For the price of a 50-lb sack of flour I could buy 16.8 loaves of bread. 50 pounds of flour will make WAY WAY WAY more than 16.8 loaves of bread. Even with the cost of the other ingedients, you are paying literally pennies for a homemade loaf of bread. I could also buy 5 lbs of flour for $2.59 at the grocery. That amount of flour will make at least 10 loaves of bread, so once again, you would come out WAY ahead.

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

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#88 of 110 Old 01-23-2006, 01:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Amys1st
How do you buy your popcorn? Do you pop it yourself or in the microwave?
I pop what we eat at home myself (just started) but I do still buy microwave bags for dd to take with her. She goes to an afterschool program for 3 hours every afternoon while I'm working and she likes to share with her friend. Her friend brings it some days and mine the others. It's cute.


It's such a moneysaver to pop ourselves. I was spending $3.49 for 6 bags (enough for a big bowl) at least once a week and now I'm spending $4.99 for a jar of kernels that will last us about 2 months. I buy the packages of 12 snack bags for dd for $3.49 and it lasts about a month alternating with her little friend. So I'm saving $7 to $10 a month just on popcorn. That's hard to believe!
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#89 of 110 Old 01-23-2006, 04:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by eldadeedlit

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

But I really enjoy knowing that our daily bread is wholesome and fresh. Also, it gives the illusion of having a more bountiful menu when the smell of fresh bread is in the air, even if you are just eating a "peasant's lunch" (or dinner) of fresh bread and thin soup.

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#90 of 110 Old 01-24-2006, 03:59 PM
 
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Thanks for an inspiring thread! I wanted to add a couple of tips I use. To the pp that buys microwave popcorn for your dd's snack, did you know that you can pop corn in a paper lunch bag in the microwave and then season it when it comes out? I was amazed when DH demonstrated this for me. No oil or anything is needed!

Also, we are not vegans, but I routinely use a product called Egg Replacer that costs about 5.50 for a box that is the equivilant of 113 eggs. I use this in most of my baking and never notice a difference. Since we eat free range eggs, this saves me money using them all up in muffins etc. Cost is about 5 cents an egg replacer egg vs. 25 cents for a real egg (free range, organic)
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