Pondering the grocery budget . How low per person is reasonable? - Page 3
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  1. #31
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    Joyofsix,

    I'm in the same boat as you, and spending about the same amount. I have six children at home 24/7. We homeschool so all meals are at home and I send lunch with my husband every day. I find I can grow the stockpile a bit at $180, but below that is just keeping up. I used to really do the coupon thing, but mostly now just stick to basic ingredients. I buy most of our bread at the bakery thrift store, and really shop for markdowns on produce and meat at Kroger. I usually buy one big meat item every week. This becomes dinner one night, then is divided up into sandwiches for lunches and cooked meat for casserole, etc., then I cook the bones for broth and make soup. If ground beef is on sale or marked down, I buy 5-10 pounds to cook at once and divide and freeze. This week I bought whole milk instead of lowfat and am stretching it with some water. I really have to ration milk and cheese or it will be gone in nothing flat. With the cooler weather I've quit buying cold cereal.

    I've been mulling over getting a Sam's membership again, but I don't know. Sure would be nice to just go stock up, but I don't think I could do it within my normal budget. It's not easy, but I feel like we eat pretty well...it just takes a lot of work!

    Becky

  2. #32
    Registered User joyofsix's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the tidbits. I finally (duh) figured out that at $3/day (3 meals, we eat or pack all meals from home) x 9 people x7 days=$189 so I guess I'm at a reasonable budget. I went today and spent $134 on groceries and used $20 for stockpiling things. To answer Grainlady's excellent post

    Quote Originally Posted by Grainlady View Post

    - Are you ready?
    **Do you have a well-stocked pantry/refrigerator/freezer that is stocked with ingredients with which you rely on to cook from scratch?
    All 'treats' from scratch, snacks from scratch or popcorn, one $.99 bag pretzels/week and 2 loaves bread for sandwiches (dh prefers) for all lunches in the week

    **Can you avoid store-bought convenience, which may not always be within that easy reach on a low food-budget.
    I don't buy convenience or boxed products. I do make some of my own mixes (master mix, etc) for my own convenience

    **Can you make enough basic foods from scratch to not depend on higher-priced convenience foods? See above, cooking I do know

    **When fresh veggies are not really "fresh" at all, and VERY expensive, can you supplement them at home with fresh herbs, leaf lettuce and spinach growing in your sunny south window? Or how about making fresh bean and seed sprouts (your little garden-in-a-jar).
    Veggies are from our garden, canned an frozen accordingly. I buy apples from the orchard and glean some as I can. I also get pears free from a neighbor's tree for the picking. The same with apples for applesauce from the neighbor's transparent apple tree. I do buy oranges in season and grapes if on sale in the winter because I feel they are healthy for my kids and go well in lunches.

    -Wasted food. Using leftovers in creative ways is almost an art. OR, all the reasons I have a lot of Mexican dishes we use, dinner salads on the weekend, and a large number of favorite soup recipes (LOL).
    Wasted food? LOL, I can't even get any leftovers going. My family eats any leftovers for snacks in the evening (teens) or for lunch the following day.

    **When there isn't very much meat, shred it and it will appear to be more. Increase the protein if there isn't enough shredded meat to equal a serving by also adding some beans, eggs, or cheese - either in combination with the meat, or elsewhere in the meal.
    I do make lots of casseroles and soups to make the meat not be the centerpiece of the meal, ex. stir fry not steak

    **Shredded raw cabbage makes equally as good a base for a tossed salad as those bags of fancy greens, and for a fraction of the price. Shredded raw cabbage will also work as a topping on a sandwich - great on that bbq beef. A salad combination of shredded raw cabbage, shredded carrots and chopped celery can also be added to a stir-fry or added to soup.
    Not big salad eaters, I cook cabbage and serve sauerkraut though.

    **Make use of the salad bar at the grocery store for small amounts of ingredients. Instead of a crisper drawer full of foods that tend to die of loneliness, when you need small amounts of ingredients for a recipe, get them at the salad bar. Great place to get toppings for your homemade pizza and not have all those leftover veggies. Need a small amount of sliced mushrooms or 1/4 c. chopped bell peppers for a recipe? Never seem to be able to use a whole bunch of celery before it goes limp? Buy what you need at the salad bar.

    **Turn those veggies/fruits/yogurt in the refrigerator into dehydrated foods if you can't get them used before they "die". You can make fruit leather from slightly over-ripe fruit for snacks, or to use as a base for a fruit sauce when you use dehydrated fruit leather and water/juice. Veggie leather can also be used added to soup. I dehydrate frozen veggies when I find a sale. They take up a lot less space on a pantry shelf, dehydrated, when you have limited freezer space.
    Again, I guess I'm lucky in that at least nothing is wasted here. Literally nothing to waste.

    -Scratch cooking.
    **Learn how to make a loaf of bread (the same dough can also be made into dinner rolls, hamburger buns, hot dog buns, cinnamon rolls, bread sticks, etc...).
    http://extension.usu.edu/files/publi...ad_2006-01.pdf
    I make my own breads, rolls, biscuits, muffins etc, except for 2 loaves /week for sandwiches.

    **Make Angel Biscuits, which can be frozen after they are cut-out, instead of using Poppin' Fresh. Ready-to-bake from the freezer. Use whole wheat flour, or add flaxmeal, or even some oat flour (grind oatmeal in a blender or food processor), to increase the nutrition.
    http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,184,...250197,00.html
    I'm a country girl. Biscuits are quick 'cause I don't even need a recipe.

    **Learn how to make tortillas at home.
    http://www.kswheat.com/recipes.php?id=117
    Yep, I do and they're darn good.

    **Make your own muffins, pancakes/waffles, quick breads, cookies.... You can control the ingredients and increase the nutrition, and control the portion sizes.
    See above, and all from scratch

    **Learn how to use wheat. It's the lowest costing cereal. You can make your own bulgar. Add cooked wheat to salads, soups, stews... Wheat sprouts. Wheat grass...
    http://hubpages.com/hub/Cheap-Meals-Wheat-Berries
    We don't do this. I might try it.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by MommyinTX View Post
    Joyofsix,

    I'm in the same boat as you, and spending about the same amount. I have six children at home 24/7.
    Yep, 3 are home with me and the other four take lunches so I'm feeding us all 3x day 7 days/week. I feel your pain, lol.


    I really have to ration milk and cheese or it will be gone in nothing flat. With the cooler weather I've quit buying cold cereal.
    Yes, I have to put my teen boys on 3 glasses/ day and you're done. I really watch the cheese too. They'd eat that all day if I let them.

    It's not easy, but I feel like we eat pretty well...it just takes a lot of work!
    Yes, I think we eat healthily, it's just hard to stay ahead of the game as you said.

    Becky
    It is good to know I'm not alone in feeling like they are locusts and not children.

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