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We seriously need to slash our grocery bill, but I'm at a loss. Coupons tend to be for packaged foods, and local supermarkets with sales tend to sell mostly conventional and packaged stuff. By the time I factor in the cost of making four trips to four different stores, I don't save anything.

We pretty much just buy beans, grains, organic eggs and dairy, organic produce, and organic or AB-free meat (along with a few specialty packaged products like Silk creamer and Applegate's organic hotdogs.) If there are places to save on these things, I'd love love love to know about them!

Thank you!
Jude
 

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I don't know how you would find one, but I have a source for local organic produce from a store that pretty much only sells produce. We use that store for produce, and trader joes for package goods (milk, tofu, cheese, etc. all organic), we Use Whole foods for their bulk bins (all organic grains very reasonable) such as organic Oats for .69 lb. We're vegetarian and so don't have the meat costs. This is my main rotation as far as shopping goes.
 

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My suggestion works best during the summer, but here goes. A lot fo farmers' markets have plenty of organics. Even if it's not certified organic, you can generally find out exactly what has been used on the veggies and when and you less likely to be stuck with modern hybrids developed for supermarkets (super-thick skinned tomatoes for example).

Also if you poke aroudn on the internet or ask around most areas have a farm or three that will sell you AB free meat, cage-free chickens and turkey, etc.

Or go hunting. AB free, better quality of life for the animal than on any farm, factory or otherwise, and if you live in a suburban or semi-rural, help prevent over-population and the resulting starvation that is caused by the human presence driving out other natural predators. (Do not mean to give offense to the veggie-folks, but this is a traditinal way of maintaining a meat diet on serious budget constraints).
 

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I'm sorry but I am probably no help to you here. I just wanted to vent with you. At our local natural foods store, I have to buy everything by the case to get it because I am the only one who will buy it. I now have an entire box of Tofutti mozzarella slices in my fridge that I spent $37 on. My dd is allergic to dairy, so I like to get replacements for her sometimes, but jeez!!!
 

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We have saved tons of money by using a price book. I got the idea from the Tightwad gazette. I made a list of all of the foods we regularly eat and keep in our pantry. I made a page in a notebook for each and looked at old grocery receipts to figure out the costs. Now when I go to the store I know which items are the lowest price at the store I am shopping at. Also when there are sales I know how good the sale is. A sale one place may still be higher than the regular price somewhere else. I have a four store rotation- a natural foods grocery outlet, whole foods market, trader joes, and the mainstream supermarket. I go to one store each week and buy a one month supply of the stuff that is cheapest at that store. I stock up even more on stuff that is on a super good sale. For fresh produce we often buy a supply of hearty things that keep well in cold storage (potatoes, carrots, onions, squash, apples, etc.) at the cheapest place we can get them. If you think about something like apples- they are picked in summer and fall and kept in cold storage for release to the store all year round. When something goes on sale we will buy a bunch and freeze or can it. I got 20# of bananas the other day for $2, so I made banana chips, put some in the freezer, baked some in recipes, etc. During the summer and fall we grow some veggies and do a CSA, in the winter we eat a lot of basics over and over again. It is so easy to grow kale- we are growing it in containers and it is still producing in November.
 

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I got 40lbs of long grain brown rice for $5.00


This might not help much but thought I would share the story anyway.
I was doing my usual grocery shopping last week when, I grabbed a bag of rice off the shelf and noticed that instead of the usual $1.08 for a 2lb. bag, it was on sale for 2 bags for a dollar. Score! Of course I decided to stock up . I bought 10 bags. When I got home I poured it all in a big bin. What did I find? A $.50 off coupon in every bag! So I went back to the store yesterday and bought 10 more bags and only paid $.12 tax! So technically I paid $5.24 for 40 lbs of brown rice.
I know it was mostly dumb luck, but still ,it pays to keep your eyes open
 

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I was so excited about my rice I forgot to mention the other stuff.
We go to an orchard and pick our own apples. This year we got a 100lbs. of Braeburns at $.50 per lb. Next year they will be free. Our new place has lots of mature fruit trees but they hadn't been taken care so were quite buggy. But we did get a bushel of pears!
We also are raising chickens. And DH has been trying to get a deer.
(the ones that have gotten fat on our buggy apples)
 

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Not much help at this time of year, but in the spring and summer our family makes trips to the country and picks wild food. Starting in the spring we get wild greens such as fiddle heads, faulse solomans seal, dandylion greens, chicory greens, cattail soots ect. In the summer we pick berries. And in Fall we get mushrooms. We freeze, can and dry as we go. It's all free and totaly organic! Plus I think plants growing where Mother Nature put them are going to be healthier, that's just me.

Also it's a nice way to spend a Saterday with the kids. We pack a picknick, wander in the woods, the kids learn about the natural world. It's an alround great thing to do.

I do recomend finding someone who knows about wild plants to take you out the first few times if you have never done this kind of thing before though. You don't want to get mixed up with toxic look alikes.
 

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I refuse to run around from store to store. we get meat from a local farm once a month. It isn't oganic but it is cage free, grass fed and finished, humanely butched in a small local plant (I will not even eat organic meat from a large meat processor. yeah right its organic). local farm will deliver or my friends and I take turns picking up. Our local grocery store sells a lot of organics including generic (and thier store brand stuff rocks, often better and more natrual than nation wide brands) and brands like ragu and prego and othe rfamiliar brands in organic form. and twice a month we go to the co-op and bread store (conviently next door to each other and across the street from our business. I never went when it was down town because it was too much of a hassle.) I get whatever is on sale at the co-op and any bulk itemsdwe need (grains etc .. ) we were able to go from no organic to almost 90% organic and only raised our grocery bill about $100 a month. I should add though that we have almopst entirely given up meat because even with the great pices we get from the farm it is still the most expensive thing we buy.
 

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be a nerd and unashamedly start asking everyone you know. that is how I found out how to get it. Do you have a farmers market where you live? there were several vendors there. the one we buy from goes to Bible study ad gideon meetings with some of my best friends which was a good enough referal for me. but i found them in the unlikliest place. So just start asking. I am also surprised by how many of my friends have cheap range free.flax supplimented eggs. usually at about $1 per dozen. tons of people here keep just a few animals to qualify as farm land for tax breaks. they range feed them to avoid feed cost and then kill them off when winter comes. So my point is there are lots of people with an abundance of very good meat and eggs that they are willing to get rid of for cheap because all they have into it is a few dollars.
 

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The cost of living in our area is very high. About 60% over the national average, so it's tough on us to eat well on a budget.

Almost everythng we eat is organic. I'm hard pressed to think of something we buy that isn't organic ... maybe kettle chips on occasion?

Organic is expensive, not to mention that I have a gluten intolerance and so we can't buy cheap wheat-based foods.

We help minimize the food costs in a couple of ways:
1. We joined a buying club, so we can buy food by the case. This saves us about 40 - 50% from what our store would charge us (they charge well above the MSRP). We buy almost all of our food this way except for dairy and produce. Routinely we buy frozen salmon, grains like rice and oats, spaghetti, chicken stock, dried fruits and nuts, and 1 treat like white chocolate bars.

2. We volunteer at our local organic farm and get produce in return. DH helps at our local farm with harvesting, weeding, planting, mowing and, in return, he's able to take home lots and lots of delicious, freshly picked organic produce. We eat with the seasons: berries in June, kale and collards, garlic and potatoes and lots of tomatoes. Occasionally, we come home with a few eggs from the farm. It costs us just our time, and it's a privelege to work out there since we're stuck in a tiny condo anyway.

4. We grow at home. We live in a tiny condo and can't have a garden. In the summertime we plant container-friendly fruits and veggies in terra cotta pots on the patio. During the winter, we clear out one of our closets and set up full spectrum lights and we grow salad greens, tomatoes, berries and basil. Sure, we use more electricty but it's still more cost effective than heading to the store and buying half rotten produce for exhorbitant prices.

5. We clip coupons. We signed up with Organic Valley and receive lots of coupons every couple of months.
 

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I wanted to pipe in and also recommend a farmer's market. They are sometimes a bit hard to find - but a search on the internet (Google) might turn some up for your area. At least around here the farmers market is way cheaper than the stores, often organic, and fresh fresh fresh. A vegetable garden of your own is also great. If you don't have space for one at home you might check into the availablitiy of community garden space. Basically you pay a fee (like $10 or so for the year) and get a plot, access to water, tilling, etc.

Can you make your own bread? I find that organic flour (now available at my regular grocery store) is WAY cheaper than any bread that I can buy. I bake 6 to 8 loaves at a time, once a month or so. I have done it enough to have a production line approach. With the food processor to do the kneading the actual work time for me (including measuring, washing up, etc.) is well under an hour, not including waiting for the dough to rise. For about $5.00 I get about 10 loaves of great oatmeal whole wheat organic bread that can't be beat. Yum and way cheap.
 

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We started making our own bread and saved a ton of money too. When we buy flour in bulk, we pay 59cents a pound for organic WW flour. Also, we have a natural foods grocery outlet store not too far away from us and we can buy flour there for as low as 40cents per pound. When we make our own, our weekly bread cost is about $1 a week. That’s about $6 less than we were spending on bread at the store. Plus, we have been eating more because its so good right out of the oven… so if we were really to buy as much bread as we eat we are saving probably close to $10 a week.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by annekevdbroek
I wanted to pipe in and also recommend a farmer's market. They are sometimes a bit hard to find - but a search on the internet (Google) might turn some up for your area. At least around here the farmers market is way cheaper than the stores, often organic, and fresh fresh fresh. A vegetable garden of your own is also great. If you don't have space for one at home you might check into the availablitiy of community garden space. Basically you pay a fee (like $10 or so for the year) and get a plot, access to water, tilling, etc.

Can you make your own bread? I find that organic flour (now available at my regular grocery store) is WAY cheaper than any bread that I can buy. I bake 6 to 8 loaves at a time, once a month or so. I have done it enough to have a production line approach. With the food processor to do the kneading the actual work time for me (including measuring, washing up, etc.) is well under an hour, not including waiting for the dough to rise. For about $5.00 I get about 10 loaves of great oatmeal whole wheat organic bread that can't be beat. Yum and way cheap.
I have been trying to make my own bread at home too. Do you care to share your recipe? Oatmeal WW sounds so good to me. Please?

Thanks,

Nancy
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by G&B'sMama
We started making our own bread and saved a ton of money too. When we buy flour in bulk, we pay 59cents a pound for organic WW flour. Also, we have a natural foods grocery outlet store not too far away from us and we can buy flour there for as low as 40cents per pound. When we make our own, our weekly bread cost is about $1 a week. That's about $6 less than we were spending on bread at the store. Plus, we have been eating more because its so good right out of the oven… so if we were really to buy as much bread as we eat we are saving probably close to $10 a week.
Sorry to hijack, but where do you buy your flour? We live in Canada near the border and I would love to shop where you shop. It cost way more over here.

Thanks,

Nancy
 

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Interesting thread. Thanks. I, too, have noticed that most coupons I find in the newspaper are for "foods" that often don't even really qualify as foods IMO.

We're not as crunchy as I would like, but we're moving toward more organics. The cost can be a bit prohibitive, so it's good find find advice from more experienced organic shoppers.

I will probably be signing up with a locally run company that delivers organic produce each week, from local farms whenever possible. My friend has used them and been very happy with them.

I like Whole Foods, but they're rather inconvenient to where we live. Love Trader Joes for the rice milk and stuff. (I can't do dairy either.)

It sounds like if I can get a bit more organized, then I can save some money, have my organics and eat them, too.


Thanks for all the great info.
 
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