Need to cut my food budget - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 05-05-2011, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
rhianna813's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Oregon's green valley
Posts: 855
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

We need to decrease our food budget to ugh, pay bills L We have 2 adults and one picky 7 year old. DS is vegetarian and only eats a limited list of items so not much leeway there. 

 

DH and I are (former veggies) meat eaters to lean towards TF. We’ve been on and off grain free for a year. DH has had ongoing health issues and just 2 weeks ago we went Gluten Free. We’ve bought some GF flour so occasional use and weeded a lot of processed foods out last week.

 

We are also in that season where we’ve eaten all the preserved food from last years garden and this garden has just been planted.

 

I am hoping for a $250 a month budget, with $125 for every two week pay check. I think we are in the $150-160 range now and it already feels as tight as it can get. That is why I am posting for advice J

 

Some dinners we currently eat:

Cauliflower, chicken and cheese casserole

Spaghetti squash, beef and marinara

Taco beef salad

Chicken veggie soup

Pork loins, grilled beets and onions

One issue seems to be we don’t have much leftovers. With just eating meat and veg – we eat most of it for dinner. I am thinking by adding cheaper carbs back in we can stretch the food more.

 

So far my ideas are:

 

Add 2 bean (no meat) meals in each week. Should I add more?

Add brown rice, some cornmeal/tortillas, quinoa other GF grains in. Is this worth the money?

Increase the potatoes. Need recipes J

Decrease/remove recipes that use spendy ingredients like mushrooms,  coconut milk, bottled sauces and use cheese sparingly.

 

Be the food police….

 

Things like yogurt, cheese and fruit gets eaten in 3 days because suddenly everyone needs 2-3 servings a day. Then DH will just buy more.

 

Preportion out the lunch serving so not all the food gets eaten for dinner.

Plan ALL meals before shopping. That is usually 2 weeks worth.

Have only 1 person (me) do the shopping so there is not double buying, impulse spending. DH isn’t going to like this though L

 

We shop at a place called Winco which has the cheapest prices in town and a great bulk food section. We don’t normally do coupons, buy brand names or shop all over town.

 

I have a coworker with a CostCo card and it’s near our office for a lunchtime trip. I can get a large bag of chopped broccoli for $4 and 1 LB organic lettuce for $4. Seems like a good deal.

 

We need to avoid gluten and cannot afford much fancy GF products. So recipes cant have pasta, bread, canned soups, and many other processed items. I’ve been making our own condiments and ranch dressing. I also make our own chicken stock.

 

If you have frugal recipes or ideas for how I can cut the budget – please share J

 

Thanks so much!

 

Rhianna

rhianna813 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 05-06-2011, 12:23 PM
 
leighbra's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: SW FL
Posts: 4
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

You must check out grocerycartchallenge.blogspot.com.  It is an amazing blog about a family of 6 who spend less than $60 a week.  I believe the key is planning.  I plan weekly once the sale flyers come out and try hard to plan around what we already have. 

 

I also think you need to make a pot of beans every weekend and use them for at least two meals a week and freeze the rest. Feeding the freezer is also a time and budget saver. When it comes to costco and other warehouse stores, pay close attention to the prices.  I have a list of the prices of my usual bulk purchases (ground beef, chicken, eggs, milk, honey, evoo) and compare them to my grocery store and sale flyers. Sometimes the average price at my grocery store is cheaper, I may have a coupon, and I don't have to buy in bulk.

 

Good Luck,

 

Leigh

 

 

leighbra is offline  
Old 05-06-2011, 07:26 PM
 
Magelet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 2,697
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
"Add 2 bean (no meat) meals in each week. Should I add more?"
Why not? Or add bean meals to which you and your DP eat a small amount of meat with lots of beans. We like bean soups (though hard to do as a veggie and non-veggie option), particularly with broth, bean salads (a three bean salad with black beans, black eyed peas, chickpeas (green beans in season) and lentil salad with feta or chedder (just a little, and lots of seasonal veggies. carrots, celery, when in season tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers)


"Add brown rice, some cornmeal/tortillas, quinoa other GF grains in. Is this worth the money?"
Rice, definitely. And we've found that keeping tortillas on hand has been great, because a little bit of cheese, a tortilla, and some hot sauce makes a good snack, and it's hard for me to find snacks. We can get some decent enough corn tortillas that don't have any crap in them. We rarely buy quinoa, because it is quite expensive. But for your veggie son, it might be a good idea. I'd eat lots of rice and a little quinoa though.

"Increase the potatoes. Need recipes J"
Curried potatos, potatoes in soup. I don't know, I throw them into all sorts of soups and curries.

"Decrease/remove recipes that use spendy ingredients like mushrooms, coconut milk, bottled sauces and use cheese sparingly."
I disagree with this to an extent. I would say use them sparingly, but don't cut them out. A meal with a few (2-4) mushrooms thrown in, along with a tiny bit of meat or chicken feels much more meaty and substantial than without those mushrooms. We find coconut milk made into hearty curries to be very useful. A rich curry, with lots of veggies, (particularly filling veggies like potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, etc, though good with greens too), and optionally a little meat, a big bowl of rice, and a little salted yogurt makes a great meal. We love curried potatoes. It's just potatos and onions in a curry sauce. But nixing the bottled sauces and going light on the cheese for sure.


"I have a coworker with a CostCo card and it’s near our office for a lunchtime trip. I can get a large bag of chopped broccoli for $4 and 1 LB organic lettuce for $4. Seems like a good deal."
If you can avoid the impulse buys, and getting more than what is on your list, which is very hard at costco, because everything seems like a great deal, it's probably worth it. If you can't then it's not. Costco is also a great place to get cheese (at least at our place). I buy the 3ish pound block of medium cheddar, and let it "age" for two months in the fridge, which turns it into sharp cheddar, which is more expensive otherwise.

I would lean away from dishes like pork loin, where there is a big chunk of meat on your plate, and some veggies based dishes like stir fry (cook the meat seperate, pull some out for your son, then add the (small amount) of meat), and curries over rice. Lots of veggies, lots of rice, lots of yummy sauce, and a little meat. With taco beef salad, either mix the beef with lentils, or do lots of beans (black or chickpea) on the salad, and just a bit of meat.

I'm very much a TFer, and love meat, but it's just not affordable to eat lots of meat and no/low grains. Gluten-free is doable, but grain-free, it's hard to not pay a ton. Rely on lots and lots of veggies though, particularly starchy ones. (Potatoes, sweet potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, turnips, carrots)

Caroline, partner to J, post partum doula, kitchen manager, aspiring midwife, soon to be nursing student, mama to my furbaby, someday a mama to not so furry munchkins, G-d willing
Magelet is offline  
Old 05-09-2011, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
rhianna813's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Oregon's green valley
Posts: 855
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Thanks Caroline! That is a good tip on sticking with rice over other more spendy grains. And I am going to see how I can add beans/lentils to more meat dishes like taco salad.

 

We used to have a CostCo card ourselves but it was not worh the yearly fee when we were only buying a few items. I don't have a problem over shopping there, especially when I only bring exact cash for the 1-2 items I am buying. I just hope she doesn't mind taking me 2-3 times a month :-)

 

I can't wait until our garden has fresh lettuce - that seems to make a big difference!

 

Rhianna

rhianna813 is offline  
Old 05-17-2011, 05:11 PM
 
Kaitlyn811's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: West Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 255
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

You have the right ideas! beans are cheap and low fat with high protein. It's been my experience that it's cheaper (but more of a pain in the butt) to buy in bulk and cut and freeze the meat yourself for when you do buy meat. Also, USE COUPONS! But be weary of how much running around town you do to get the best deal on something, you could end up using more gas than savings in coupons to get the best deal. As far as potatoes..rosemary potatoes are a favorite in my family. Cut the potatoes into chunks (skin on), about 2-3 tablespoons of oil (canola, veggie, whichever), chopped garlic, salt, and rosemary of course..put them on a baking sheet and cook at 350 for an hour? Or so..check them (: Or mashed potatoes..I make mine usually without gravy. I'll mash them up and use cheese, chives, sauteed onion, bacon, garlic, any mix of those variations in them to spice them up and they turn out well (:


Kaitlyn - 21, single mother to an adorable baby girl born 1/18/2012 (:

Kaitlyn811 is offline  
Old 07-28-2011, 06:23 PM
 
Pookietooth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 5,016
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I would love to find a way to sneak beans into my kids' diets. Neither one of them (8 and 1) will eat them much at all -- the older one will eat baked beans as a side if they are super sweet, but only about a tablespoons's worth. Are there any good recipes that make beans not so bean-like for picky eaters with texture issues?


Jen 47 DS C 2/03  angel.gif04/29/08/ DD S 10/28/09 DH Bill '97.

mighty-mama and her sister Kundalini-Mamacandle.gif

Pookietooth is offline  
Old 07-29-2011, 11:15 AM
 
Chicky2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: North Texas
Posts: 2,855
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookietooth View Post

I would love to find a way to sneak beans into my kids' diets. Neither one of them (8 and 1) will eat them much at all -- the older one will eat baked beans as a side if they are super sweet, but only about a tablespoons's worth. Are there any good recipes that make beans not so bean-like for picky eaters with texture issues?



Mash them and add to your fav. taco meat recipe.  Makes the meat stay on the shell/in tortilla easier anyway.  Or do the same and add to casseroles.  Do they like hummus?  Bean dip of any sort?  Any bean can make an awesome dip.  Black bean brownies.  I just add mashed black beans to any brownie recipe.  MMMM.  In soups?


Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

Chicky2 is offline  
Old 08-02-2011, 09:42 AM
 
RStelle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Vermont
Posts: 190
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Do you go to a health food store? Bulk is great! I would go for cutting down on the meat and eating a lot of bulk food. Bean and rice, quinoa, lentils. etc. Then you would have more $ for extras & veggies. Do you have a garden?  Or can you get a plot in a community garden if you don't have space? We have a 15' x 20' community garden and it gives us almost all our veggies for the whole summer, and enough for a winter supply of green beans, peas, carrots, kale and pickles. We are pretty busy & have a 4 month old, and our garden has a lot more weeds this year, but overall it's been pretty easy to maintain. It's late for it now but for next year--$10-$20 in seeds saves literally hundreds and hundreds of dollars and you have a great kid-friendly project.

RStelle is offline  
Old 08-08-2011, 11:13 AM
 
Delilah83's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 24
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Try and make your own sauces and dressings and see if that will save you money.

Delilah83 is offline  
Old 08-09-2011, 10:53 PM
 
Pookietooth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 5,016
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicky2 View Post





Mash them and add to your fav. taco meat recipe.  Makes the meat stay on the shell/in tortilla easier anyway.  Or do the same and add to casseroles.  Do they like hummus?  Bean dip of any sort?  Any bean can make an awesome dip.  Black bean brownies.  I just add mashed black beans to any brownie recipe.  MMMM.  In soups?

Maybe soups. Believe it or not, they don't like brownies, especially the 8 year old who pretty much hates chocolate anything except plain. Can you hide beans in chicken taco meat? Mine won't eat ground meat in tacos. i don't think I've made a casserole in years. And no, they won't eat hummus or bean dip.



 


Jen 47 DS C 2/03  angel.gif04/29/08/ DD S 10/28/09 DH Bill '97.

mighty-mama and her sister Kundalini-Mamacandle.gif

Pookietooth is offline  
Old 08-10-2011, 12:02 PM
 
Chicky2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: North Texas
Posts: 2,855
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Pinkietooth, in chicken tacos I'd use canellini (sp?) beans or some other soft white bean.  I'd just mash them well and stir into the meat.

 

This is making me glad my kids are garbage disposals, lol.  There's nothing they won't try.

 

You could use a soft white bean in cupcakes or muffins.  No dips, eh?  What about salads?  You could puree white beans and use in the dressing for a pasta or potato salad.  Using tahini is a good way to get some good stuff into them, too.

 

Do they eat burgers?  Mash and add lentils or just about any type of bean or legume to the meat and they likely will never notice. 

 

 


Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

Chicky2 is offline  
Old 08-14-2011, 03:24 PM
 
ZahMah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 10
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Although I no longer live in the states and food prices where I live are much different... we still have a VERY low budget for food.

 

Ways we keep our food expenditure low:

  • we grow a lot of our own food, including herbs 
  • make everything from scratch, including vinegar, sauerkraut, hot sauces, yogurt, dressings, etc
  • snacks are usually bananas or other in-season fruits... sometimes smoothies
  • we keep chickens for our eggs, we feed our chickens our food scraps
  • dry fruit when there is an abundance and save for later
  • beans 3-4 x a week, big pot that is used for 2-3 meals in a row
  • popcorn!
  • homemade tortillas
  • roots- sweet potato, potato, yuca, taro, etc

 

 

ZahMah is offline  
 

Tags
Meal Planning , Budget , Child , Vegetarian , Frugality
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off