$1,000 a month on groceries! HELP!! - Page 4 - Mothering Forums
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#91 of 112 Old 01-08-2008, 07:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by boobybunny View Post
Adams pn butter 9.00 a month
How much PB does that $9 get you? I know that when I priced out PB vs. peanuts, it's cheaper for me to buy peanuts and make my own PB by about $1/lb.

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#92 of 112 Old 01-08-2008, 07:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ygle View Post
So that works out to be $8.57/person/day... for a family of five eaters, like the OP (a family of six, but one is bf), that would work out to be $1258/mo.
I never said it was cheaper... just that I'm spending that much in the same area, eating a completely different diet. If I ate grains and conventional produce, I'd be spending considerably less.

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#93 of 112 Old 01-08-2008, 07:29 PM
 
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I would really love to see an item by item every ingredient that goes into every meal and amounts everyone eats that does it on such a low budget... it seems whenever I talk to people that claim they spend way less than I do they are getting meals from elsewhere that aren't included (like school lunches or class snacks or a spouse that is getting lunch at work) or aren't including the cost of items from the pantry (even spices and dressings) or are actually buying a lot more processed foods or just aren't aware of what they are really spending. But it seems like people on this forum are really keeping track of everything so that makes me wonder if there really is some way I can get my bill down without sacrificing homemade, wholesome ingredients.
Okay, who can we talk into doing this? :
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#94 of 112 Old 01-08-2008, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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THANKS for all the ideas!

I will think more about canning by the time the grapes come in this year. The boys used to like my grandma's so I am sure they won't mind.

Apples make me more regular too -- full of fiber!

I was talking w/ DH about the shredding cheese thing and he reminded me that when we bought blocks of cheese we ate them even faster because we would cut huge chunks off the block for everyone as a snack. We love cheese

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Originally Posted by crayolaab View Post
For my chicken salad I like to use plain or greek yogurt instead of mayo...
Oh what a great idea! I hadn't thought of that.

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Originally Posted by mrmansmama View Post
Would the groceries on amazon be cheaper for you than local prices?
I've NEVER thought to look on Amazon.

I checked it out and with free shipping there were a few good deals like DH's Gluten free mixes were cheaper. Not a ton was cheaper unless it was on sale, but I definitely see it's worth shopping there. For instance, Nature Valley granola bars on sale to have as snacks when we're running around. On Amazon you can get 6 boxes for $16.06. The regular price around here is somewhere around $4 a box. I will have to see how that compares to the bulk boxes at Costco too.

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Originally Posted by Throkmorton View Post
Are you friendly with any of your neighbors? Could you make a deal where your boys go pick the fruit (under mom's watchful eye, of course) in exchange for some of it? That's what I do for apples and pears in the fall.
We will have to ask on Freecycle. The only bad thing is that a lot of the trees are not tended so the fruit is yucky with bugs and what not sometimes. We do get some baking worthy green apples and yummy persimmons from a friend's yard.

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Originally Posted by Throkmorton View Post
I sympathize with the $$ chicken. It's like that here too, though I shaved about 30% off my grocery bill by shopping ANYWHERE but Safeway.
That's actually the cheapest, believe me. I go to Trader Joes for certain things, then Safeway. I have tried Albertson's and paid more. Knob Hill and Valergas were super expensive.

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Originally Posted by Throkmorton View Post
I am shocked at how much your produce costs. Kind of funny, considering the amount of produce we buy that is Californian here. I don't understand why my romaine lettuce, grown in California, is 88c here, compared to what you pay.
Outrageous, huh? I guess because they can. This area likes to think it's super ritzy but most of the ppl who live here cannot afford it here. There's more to it of course... Weird cycle of living. You can't just move.

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Originally Posted by lmonter View Post
The fruit cups are for school lunches. Not sure how to replace peaches and pears in their lunch boxes yet. Suggestions for truly mess proof containers? If your kiddos can be trusted to bring stuff back home, Lock'n'Lock containers are fabulous. I've seen 'em at Target and Walmart. You can stick soup in 'em, and if they're closed, nothing's coming out.
I will check those out. Right now we're using a Fit and Fresh system I bought at Albertson's for under $8 each.

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Originally Posted by mamameg View Post
Oh, I just remembered! Have you seen these Laptop Lunch Systems?
I looked into those but there were so many negative reports about how the lids broke off, etc. So I wasn't sure the cost was worth it.

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#95 of 112 Old 01-08-2008, 08:53 PM
 
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I was talking w/ DH about the shredding cheese thing and he reminded me that when we bought blocks of cheese we ate them even faster because we would cut huge chunks off the block for everyone as a snack. We love cheese
What I do when I go shopping is come home, put everything away, shred cheese, freeze what I need and finish putting everything away. If you have a cuisinart, it's super easy.

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#96 of 112 Old 01-08-2008, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by *green*faery* View Post
Hey! I live in the Bay Area also & we spend a lot. Buying in bulk is helpful, but we also have limited space. In the winter I make a lot of soup and chillie.... For some reason frozen veggies tend to be cheaper then fresh ones... I don't know, but I'm glad I'm not the only one
Santa Cruz! We visited there this summer and my van died there. Aaaah memories

We're also buying lots of frozen right now except for a few faves. I know that YOU know how the Bay Area is with space issues... I left a 3,000 square foot house in upstate NY for one that might be 1100. I think it's less. No basement, no laundry room, tiny kitchen, etc.

We also make some bean soups when we're all stocked up with beans.

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Originally Posted by Chula View Post
We are really lucky to have two avocado trees in our yard. They are bearing right now, so they are definitely in season. The costs are high because of drought, fire and transportation costs.
DH wants to see if we can use an avacado pit and start our own tree here. That would be great. We should be able to start it in a container and move it to the new house when we buy in (maybe) 2 years.

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Originally Posted by Usually Curious View Post
Here's a chart for what's in season in northern CA:
http://www.cuesa.org/seasonality/charts/vegetable.php
Great!

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Originally Posted by sagewinna View Post
http://www.cafarmersmarkets.com/ to find the Farmer's Markets near you.
Prices are pretty high in Napa. All you can do is make little changes and they'll add up.
Great!
I'm getting that idea. I hadn't realized before we moved just what the cost would be here. Not that it would have stopped us because of all the reasons we moved...

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I just had to pop in and give you a huge and for all you're doing right now!!
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Can you put a cheap, used fridge in the garage? - maybe Freecycle or craigslist would have one free.
We're looking! But one of our concerns is paying more in energy than we're saving. I just heard there might be a scratch and dent place here in Napa, meaning you get new appliances much more cheaply because they have cosmetic damage. We're going to find out more...

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#97 of 112 Old 01-08-2008, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Crayola, your posts are so helpful, thank you.

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Originally Posted by beka1977 View Post
Honestly, I don't think that you are ready to make any changes. Until you are ready, and WANT to, then nothing that we are going to suggest is going to help. You are free to buy whatever you want, whenever you want, for whatever reason. You asked for help, but you don't really seem open to any suggestions of change.
Nope! I am bantering back and forth. Conversing. Thinking out loud about what's going to work. There are so many great ideas in here! I'm going to commit to some now and some later when the baby is older.

Sure, I am not ready to give up my avacados but I just learned today that I can freeze avacado and that's great. Also, I've shared a ton with my DH to formulate a plan to lower our bill by at least $200 a month by fall. And I'm even going to look at canning as an option. So keep 'em coming!! I am obsessed with this thread.

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Originally Posted by kijip View Post
I would look at the farmer's markets. When I visit SF, we are always amazed at the good prices on produce at the farmer's markets.
SF is 1-3 hours away depending on traffic. It's a totally different breed. I would give my pinky to be close enough to shop for anything in SF. We're pretty isolated here with shopping.

The local pumpkin patch sells produce and the prices were more expensive than Safeway because, again, they're catering to a perceived ritzy wine crowd.

BUT I am holding out hope for a cheaper Farmer's Market.. I think there's one right in town.

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Originally Posted by mirlee View Post
I think it would be worth your while to make a list of what you regularly buy at the grocery store with their prices and compare with Costco.
Good idea.

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Originally Posted by boobybunny View Post
Here's the deal with big grocery bills. You do have some convenience foods, and you could save with buying in bulk, freezing and the like. But it does cost more to eat "right" I don't care what the experts say about fruits and veggies being cheaper, and buying non processed keeps the costs down. So tell me... Where do I cut back? On quality? Feed my children and my husband High fructose corn syrup? Processed snacks instead of fresh fruit? Where do you draw the line in nutrition???
It is SO much cheaper to buy a bag of chips than a bag of carrots. Like .99 cents for chips or $3-5.00 for carrots kind of difference!

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#98 of 112 Old 01-08-2008, 09:25 PM
 
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Try Steel Cut Oats in the crockpot overnight - YUM!

Here's the recipe I use:
2 C. Oats
5 C. Water
1-2 tsp. Cinnamon
1-2 peeled apples, cut in chunks
1/2 C. raisins (I add in the morning, I don't like bloated raisins.)
Can you do this with regular rolled oats?
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#99 of 112 Old 01-08-2008, 09:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by GinaRae View Post
DH wants to see if we can use an avacado pit and start our own tree here. That would be great. We should be able to start it in a container and move it to the new house when we buy in (maybe) 2 years.
We did that about 15 years ago and that tree is about ready to start setting fruit. It's a long process but it is really fun for the kids to watch.

Anything you grow in containers will help your bill. Tomatoes do well in containers.

How willing is your family to eat vegetarian meals? My expenses dropped when we cut meat.

I only have one 12 year old boy at home and it seems that he is just an eating machine. I can't imagine 3.

If you have a food processor that will make quick work of grating cheese.
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#100 of 112 Old 01-08-2008, 09:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mrmansmama View Post
Can you do this with regular rolled oats?
Not sure. I know steel cut oats take a lot longer to cook - 20 minutes or so on the stovetop, versus 5 or so for rolled. I think rolled oats would be way overdone if you cooked them all night long. Maybe a baked oatmeal recipe would be better?
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#101 of 112 Old 01-08-2008, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by skueppers View Post
You say that you don't eat a lot of things they have at Costco, but as far as I can tell, you do!
Cheddar Cheese, Breakfast Cereal, Margarine, Milk, Chicken, Packaged deli meats, Cottage Cheese, Bread, Packaged salad (organic at my Costco)
Costco also has good frozen veggies, hebrew national hot dogs, yogurt, tortillas, etc. from your secondary list.
We eat Barbara's Bakery, Enviro Kids, and other better-for-you cereals that Costco doesn't have. Also NO packaged deli meats.. we get them sliced at the deli counter.

BUT since starting the thread we're commiting to no deli meats and to cereals only 2 times per week. I'd fallen back on cereal when I was so sick during the pregnancy and couldn't monitor them as much. But we should get rid of the cereals and milk in favor of other, healthier options!

I have a specific type of supposedly healthier margarine, but not opposed to looking at others.

When I get an extra refrigerator/freezer we'll commit to going more often for what we do use like Foster Farms chicken that should be cheaper. Thanks for listing things

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Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post
Couldn't your oldest help you with it? I'd think a 12 year old could make oatmeal.
Other than being my messiest kid, yes he could help if I asked. Typically because of his mental needs and processes in the morning (he's special needs) and the time his school opens, he pops out of bed and is out the door with a banana in hand in 20 minutes. For his sanity and ours, that's what works.

If I can get the baby to more consistently go down at 10-11pm instead of 1am, I am going to just get up earlier and do oatmeal myself. If it works like I think it will, the baby will stay asleep while I shower and make oatmeal.

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Originally Posted by beka1977 View Post
This is a different issue than the OP. Perhaps this is your lowest possible grocery bill for the style of eating you wish to enjoy. Making your own bread and jelly (as suggested previously) is not nutritionally inferior! If you are baking, buying in bulk, shopping sales, buying local, buying in season, buying off the hoof, etc... than you are doing all of the things you can to lower your bill. This is not the position that the OP is in.
I think boobybunny's issues are very similar to mine actually. I think my charms just don't work on you

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Originally Posted by savithny View Post
See, I just don't get this -- its not that I don't believe you! But you live so much closer to where the food is grown! Why is it that the food can be shipped all the way across the country (or even, in the case of my grocery, flown from Holland or South America) and be cheaper here?
It's frickin' maddening, huh? Gas is more expensive here than just a few miles away too. I think it's the "image" they want projected here more than anything. We're a rich wine area so they ignore the fact that the majority are NOT tourists or winery owners

Oh! Thanks for all the egg ideas.

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Originally Posted by savithny View Post
Nutritionists agree that since they're frozen straight from teh field, frozen veggies can often retain more nutrients than fresh. Frozen spinach, carrots, broccoli, corn, and cauliflower all fill out our winter meals.
Good to know! We do eat a lot of frozen veggies for price, convenience, less waste, etc... We get fresh favorites though. I may have to try frozen asparagus.

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#102 of 112 Old 01-08-2008, 10:04 PM
 
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Nope! I am bantering back and forth. Conversing. Thinking out loud about what's going to work. There are so many great ideas in here! I'm going to commit to some now and some later when the baby is older.

Sure, I am not ready to give up my avacados but I just learned today that I can freeze avacado and that's great. Also, I've shared a ton with my DH to formulate a plan to lower our bill by at least $200 a month by fall. And I'm even going to look at canning as an option. So keep 'em coming!! I am obsessed with this thread.


Gotcha. I take it back.

Have you checked out the ethnic markets? There should be a couple of good hispanic markets by you - they would have good deals on things like corn tortillas.

What about Azure Standard orders?
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#103 of 112 Old 01-08-2008, 10:10 PM
 
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Not sure. I know steel cut oats take a lot longer to cook - 20 minutes or so on the stovetop, versus 5 or so for rolled. I think rolled oats would be way overdone if you cooked them all night long. Maybe a baked oatmeal recipe would be better?
Thanks..I think I will get the steel cut and try it out. I really like the idea of having it all hot and waiting for me when I get up in the morning!
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#104 of 112 Old 01-08-2008, 10:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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At 12, your oldest should be able to help out a bit in the kitchen.
SOUNDS like he should, yes, and during the weekends when DH is home I may be able to use him more in the kitchen, but otherwise he has a pretty full schedule of school, homework, sports, self-care, chores like garbage and cleaning, and just being a kid.

He does a lot for me. You should see the way he handles the baby when the baby is frantic because he has too much gas but still wants to be on the breast. The kid is absolutely amazing with Lachlan. We have our trials with his special needs, but I really am blessed.

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What I didn't see anywhere in your food was beans.
Oh my, do we eat beans. White beans and red beans and chickpeas, and black eyed peas and refried beans, and beans beans beans! Huge staple here. Never heard of putting them in the meat though - great idea!

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#105 of 112 Old 01-08-2008, 10:19 PM
 
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Before you even consider generic oatmeal for your DH, STOP! For a Celiac, the generic stuff, or even Quaker, is no good. Major wheat cross contamination issues.

I spend about the same per month on groceries as you, and I live in Central Contra Costa County (my numbers include cleaning supplies, paper goods and personal care items). I'm buying for a family of 6. I'm not even buying a lot of organic stuff either.

Definitely check out ethnic markets, and shop for your veggies according to seasons.

For your cereal, check with Amazon.com's grocery department... they have the Envirokids cereal for $19 for 6 boxes.

Having to shop with a special diet in mind isn't terribly helpful to saving money. I have 2 food allergic kids, and it makes cost cutting difficult. For some things I have to be brand loyal, whether they're on sale or not.
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#106 of 112 Old 01-08-2008, 10:28 PM
 
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Gina, I'm down in Southern California (San Diego) and I've seen a HUGE increase in my grocery bill in the past year or so - so much that it's really disheartening sometimes. I used to spend 500-600 a month, and I haven't had the fortitude to track it lately, but I'd say it's at least 800 or so.
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#107 of 112 Old 01-08-2008, 11:38 PM
 
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Really? I'm in SF, and I think the farmer's market is really expensive! For organic, of course - the regular stuff is a decent price. But we stopped making the trip because the cost was no different than at the local health food store down the street.
Well, I am from Seattle and may be comparing our high store prices to the prices we found for fresh, ready the eat today type stuff in SF? SF is pricey so I know there are no easy answers and like I said, I disagree that a primarily fresh, leaning to natural/organic diet in an expensive area like SF is easily doable on the super cheap...it is not. All in all, the OP can save a bit but not a HUGE amount, IMO.

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#108 of 112 Old 01-09-2008, 12:14 AM
 
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I looked into those but there were so many negative reports about how the lids broke off, etc. So I wasn't sure the cost was worth it.
You were talking about the Laptop Lunch box....my oldest ds is on his 3rd school year with his. No problems, and we haven't even lost any of the pieces that fit inside. Amazing! I would heartily recommend it for school lunches.
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#109 of 112 Old 01-09-2008, 12:19 AM
 
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You were talking about the Laptop Lunch box....my oldest ds is on his 3rd school year with his. No problems, and we haven't even lost any of the pieces that fit inside. Amazing! I would heartily recommend it for school lunches.
Yeah, I've never heard anything bad about them. Several children in my DD's school have them and everyone loves em!

And even if you did have a kid who is rough with it and you had to buy a replacement container set once a year ($16 I think) it's still cheaper in the long run than buying those fruit cups and all that deli meat.
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#110 of 112 Old 01-09-2008, 04:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by WC_hapamama View Post
Before you even consider generic oatmeal for your DH, STOP! For a Celiac, the generic stuff, or even Quaker, is no good. Major wheat cross contamination issues.

For your cereal, check with Amazon.com's grocery department... they have the Envirokids cereal for $19 for 6 boxes.
Oh don't worry! He only gets McCann's steel cut oats. The other stuff is for the kids.

The Enviro Kids is even cheaper at Trader Joes (just not all of them are available) so I will be watching the sales!

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#111 of 112 Old 01-09-2008, 10:00 AM
 
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Yeah, I've never heard anything bad about them. Several children in my DD's school have them and everyone loves em!

And even if you did have a kid who is rough with it and you had to buy a replacement container set once a year ($16 I think) it's still cheaper in the long run than buying those fruit cups and all that deli meat.
Let me tell you straight from the horse's mouth. I hate mine. They don't close properly, lids have broken easily.

In fact, I hate them so much that (I'm probably not allowed to say here what I want to say). PM me if you really like the idea of having a Laptop Lunch that only costs you shipping from Canada. I also had to pay exchange (at that time) and shipping from the US which was rediculous.

4 kids under 10
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#112 of 112 Old 01-09-2008, 01:32 PM
 
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Just as a tip for your DH who is GF... TVP or TSP in granule form can be cooked and seasoned just like oatmeal. Oatmeal is a big no no in our GF house...this is a wonderful, inexpensive alternative. All verisions of Rice and potatoes are great for GF households.

We also cut our ground meats with TVP to cut cost and increase fiber and decrease cholesterol/animal fat.

We make our own yogurt and GF bread. Bobs Red Mill has a celiac's sourdough starter bread recipe that is the BOMB! Just feed the starter and make your bread any ole time you want. So much cheaper than buying it.

I can see where it might be tough to cut things out of your grocery budget because organics and good meats are important to you. All I can tell you is that, for us, we eventually realized that some of those had become a luxury and not a necessity. We buy nitrate free hot dogs but get chicken quarters for 39 Cents a pound from a local store when it goes on sale. We simply could not *afford* to be all organic anymore Good news is, our budget is showing improvements!

Buying local has become much cheaper than buying "organic" at the local health food store.

Please let us know what works for you! good luck
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