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After making my successful and what I thought cheap menu (spaghetti, rice and beans and chicken casserole were the dinners) I went to the store. For all the items on my list except the salad I forgot. For ONE week, for an adult and a 15 month old it cost me 98.43. I have a 200.00 mo budget. I dont know how to cut corners and still get nutritious food. I'm so upset.
 

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There are a lot of good threads in this forum on budget meals. Use the search feature and you will find some.

You might also post your shopping list and the cost of the items if you have time. edited: though $200/mo is tough regardless
 

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Could you type in your grocery receipt? Listing items and price paid?

Did you make your list with the weekly sale flyer? I choose which fruits, meats, etc. I'll get each week based on what is on sale. My kids love grapes but I'm not going to pay $8 for a bunch of grapes. They can have apples that week, and I'll buy grapes the week after when they go on sale.

I try to buy only what is on sale unless we really are completely out of it and use it all the time.

I also go through my pantry and see what I have that I can just buy one or two items and make a meal.
 

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Can you buy in bulk? Things like brown rice, dry beans, quinoa, etc. are always cheaper from the bulk bins than they are in boxes or cans. Oatmeal is a wonderfully nutritious grain and is always cheaper when you buy it in bulk or at least in canisters and will be cheaper than breakfast cereal. Eggs are usually cheap and a great source of protein.

Do you have a local farmer's market? Check out the price of fruits and veggies there and see if you can get anything cheaper while it's in season. Farmers will often sell bruised tomatoes, peaches, etc. cheap and you can cook/can them. It doesn't take a lot of money to do canning, when you do the water bath method, and you can reuse the jars.

Do you have more than one supermarket? Do some detailed comparison shopping, make sure you're signed up for all the bonus cards, get the sale flyers, and clip coupons.

Do you qualify for WIC or public assistance? Don't be shy, get whatever help you're entitled to. Also, if you and your child need the food, please do not hesitate to contact local foodbanks and churches for help. You and your child need to eat.
 

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Is there a participating Angel Food Ministries church in your area? That's another place to get quality(ish) food at a good price, regardless of income. You don't have to apply for anything or qualify, in any way (financially, or even in the sense of being a churchgoer), to receive the food. You show up, pay $25 per unit of food, and take home a medium sized box of food. You can purchase more than one unit, even. Here's a list of what is in the August box:

(4) 4 oz. Bacon-Wrapped Beef Fillets
(4) 6 oz. Pork Chops
(1) 2lbs. Chicken Nuggets
(1) 4lbs. I.Q.F Thighs
(1) 6ct. Corn Dogs
(1) 26 oz. Banquet Chicken & Stuffing Bake
(1) 16 oz. Fully-Cooked Meatballs
(1) 16 oz. Ground Turkey

(1) 15 oz. Pork & Beans
(1) 16 oz. Pasta
(1) 26 oz. Pasta Sauce
(2) Cans Marie Callendar's Chicken Gourmet Soup
(1) 7.5 oz. Pancake Mix
(1) 16 oz. Rice
(1) Dessert Item
(1) Dozen Eggs

You can also purchase additional "monthly specials" boxes. In August, for example, there's a 4lb. box of Sirloin strip steaks available for $17. (That's 8, 8oz. steaks. Each steak would give you two servings of meat. A very good deal.) There are other specials this month, too, that's just the one I chose to highlight.

Also, they accept food stamps. If that's an option for you, as a PP mentioned, please do not hesitate to take it! You need to eat in order to be a good mother to your child.

One more thing I might mention. A lot of grocery stores just throw away produce that is a bit past it's prime. You might approach the produce manager of your local grocery about taking some of it off their hands, rather than have it go into the skip. You may want to say that it is for your pets/animals, as I believe there are some health department issues there, but I know there was a similar recommendation in the finances & frugality forum awhile ago. You could do a search there to see the post I'm referring to.
 

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I'm so sorry. That sounds very upsetting. It shouldn't have to be a trade off between healthy and affordable.

s

One thing to consider is you probably won't consume all you bought for the week within that week. There will probably be some leftovers. You could freeze up meal size portions maybe to have during another week. Also, was some of what you bought sort of stocking the pantry basics, like flour?

~Tracy
 

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I plan my menu around what's on sale. So if I'm planning a chicken dish and a veggie pasta sauce, but when I get to the store beef is cheap and chicken is pricey, I switch things around so I make a meat pasta sauce and substitute something else for the chicken. Or if I wanted spinach, but it's 2.49 and green beans are 69 cents, then we are having green beans. I also sit down with the sales circular (they're online too) and plan around what's on sale.

I also stock up on basic items when on sale and only by some things like cereal or juice if it's on sale (although that can be harder with a little one). So if we need cereal, but its not on sale, we eat eggs and toast, leftovers, or oatmeal until it does go on sale.

I also watch the cost of lunch foods and do stuff like make a big pot of soup to have for lunch for a few days running, rather than eating a turkey sandwitch, yogurt and granola bar-all foods that seem healthy and reasonable to me, but which can really add up (especially those little yogurts).

Also at home we usually only drink water or milk (for the kids) , juice, seltzer and other stuff are a treat. And we do buy beer for the adults sometimes.

For snacks we have whatever fruit and veggies were on sale, toast with peanut butter or cinnamon sugar, a slice of cheese, a homemade cookie, muffin or biscuit.

Really, I cant wait until i have more grocery money, but this does work for now.

Mary
 

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is there any possibility you could go veggie? cutting out meat will cut down your grocery bill
 

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i've been living on that little for a while, and i've gotten used to it. i've even gotten good enough at it that we hardly ever have meals of mac 'n cheese or peanut butter any more

first, buy in bulk, never in cans. dried beans, chickpeas, rice, oatmeal... i buy those things in the biggest quantities i can, and they are CHEAP!!!
second, go as vegan as possible. dh can't live without milk for his cereal (non-name brand) so we got bulk dried milk powder. it's a lot cheaper than regular milk and never goes bad. meat is expensive and you don't need it. cheese is pricey and we get it sometimes, as a treat. eggs are the exception. they're cheap, healthy and if i keep a few boiled ones in the fridge it's good 'fast food', either in an egg salad sandwich or just plain, with salt.
fresh veggies and fruit can be expensive, but you need at least some. frozen veggies are cheaper. less healthy, but it's about striking a balance that's do-able for you.
bread can be expensive, if you eat enough of it. it's better all around to bake your own.
if you have more specific questions you should post them. a lot of people know a lot about frugal living here.
 

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My husband and I eat for about twice what your budget is. What your weekly purchase was, is what we spend a week. So, if I need to cut back, what do I do:

1) I change to the cheaper grocery store.
2) Bulk - dry beans, rice, ...
3) no processed food, I make everything from scatch (bread, bagels, ice
cream, yogurt (if we are eating it), smoothies, cookies, pizza, granola, pasta...)
4) Take your lunch and do not use processed foods.
5) Oatmeal for breakfast, one pound of organic oatmeal at $.89 a pound
can feed you for breakfast for a week, especially if you add in seasonal
fruit and a few nuts. You can also change it to granola simply with a
little butter and sugar.

Have I mentioned do not buy processed foods and bulk?


We are almost completely vegetarian at home due to food allergies. So, be aware of that as well.

The mindful living thread on finances and frugality as well as the menu planning thread also have good ideas.
 

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So glad I saw this! We are trying to convert to veg*n (mostly) and I have been astounded at how much our groceries were. Thanks to the OP for asking - this helps a LOT!

 
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