Any Tightwad Singles?
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  1. #1
    Registered User fuzzybunny's Avatar
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    Default Any Tightwad Singles?

    Not that I'm trolling for a date

    I am curious to know about money saving strategies you use, particularly in the grocery area. I work full time, go to school part time and have about 2 hours worth of commute time a day. I live alone and have no children. My appartment is small and all I have is a standard freezer/fridge combo.

    I am curious to know:
    How low you can get your monthly grocery bill?

    How do you manage to have a reasonable amount of variety in your meals, rather than eating spagetti every meal for a week or falling back onto expensive convience foods?

    What do you buy in bulk? What will you not buy in bulk?

    Any links/hints about smaller batch cooking?

    I don't own a car and live in a studio apartment so overhead is not too bad but the food bill still needs some serious slashing. Between the eating out etc I am spending $300+ a month and I would like to half that or more if I can. Obviously eating out has to go but when I do that I alway seem to wind up eating spaghetti or chili for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week.

    The debt is almost gone (under $4,000) but I would like to start saving to get a place, not here in Oregon though... too expensive... West Virginia looks reasonable... but I digress. Any hints would be most greatly apprieciated.

  2. #2
    Registered User StaceyS's Avatar
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    Hi There! Single & living in a studio here too.
    The lowest I've gone is about $20/month - because that's all I had! Luckily I have great friends that shared meats with me. Other than that I can eat vegetarian with no problems. I dislike leftovers, and I have a tiny fridge/freezer combo, so I try not to have anything leftover, anyway. All I have are a single burner hotplate, microwave and crockpot. I'm a pretty creative cook, so I don't get bored often.
    We have a Dollar Tree here, so I stock up on different pastas, veges and cream soups (all 2/$1). I would love to be able to eat out, but at appx $10 a pop that's impossible!

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    Registered User Edna_E's Avatar
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    I actually do a lot of discount store canned foods, and then cook some things in normal sizes and freeze the leftovers as individual servings. I do not try to do balanced meals, but try to get a fair balance through the day.

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    Registered User savin4disney's Avatar
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    Single mom here. I live in a smaller apartment. If you want to see how small my kitchen is go here http://checkbounced.blogspot.com/

    One thing I did was remove the rack out of my freezer. That gave me more room. I now have a deep freezer in my bedroom. Only place to put it.

    I have one child who is a eating machine - 16 year old boy. I started buying in bulk. Right now I have a turkey to be cooked. Once we eat a meal or two. I will put the rest in the freezer - using my food saver. This will give us food later one.

    Monday I cooked up 5 pounds of ground beef. I made burgers (some are in the freezer) meatloaf (Sliced up and have 3 meals of that) and tacos. My son just had 2 tacos this morning.

    Using a foodsaver makes your "leftovers" taste like you just made them. It is awesome. Before the food saver I was throwing out a lot of food due to freezer burn.

    I have more space for storing than a studio but there is a link to alots of blogs and you may find storage ideas in your tight spaces.

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    I'm a single frugal woman & I try to use coupons as much as I can when I shop.
    I also try to buy sale items as much as possible.
    When it comes to buying meats I buy the valu packs and divide everything into meal sizes and freeze that way I only use what I need.
    When things are on sale & something I use a lot of I'll try to stock up {this is the best time to do this}

  7. #6
    Registered User tervsforme's Avatar
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    I'm single also. I spend about $200 per month on groceries. I eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies and they can be quite expensive. I try to stretch out everything else by serving it on rice to get more meals out of it. I like leftovers so I always cook extra. I work alot so the leftovers also help so I don't eat out. Usually when I cook up a batch of soup or spaghetti, etc, I eat half and freeze half so that I'm not eating it every day. Even if I only freeze 1 portion, that makes a quit meal sometime when I'm running late and don't want to eat out.

    I am going to plant a garden this year, actually this weekend, so hopefully that will cut down on my grocery bill. Every little bit helps!

    Even though I'm single, I do shop at Costco. I get rice, flour and sugar there as well as some meat. Lots cheaper than at the grocery store. Oh, I buy popcorn there also. I make popcorn a couple a times a week at night, then I take the rest for a snack at work the next day. Definitely cheaper than buying out of the vending machine.

    Cooking for one can definitely be boring but when all else fails, I have cereal for supper...

  8. #7
    Registered User fuzzybunny's Avatar
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    Default Any Tightwad Singles

    Thanks for all the good ideas! Particularly removing the freezer rack. I don't konw why I didn't think of that. Seems so obvious once it was "said".

    I think maybe I need to make a freezer inventory sheet so I know what is there. The leftovers I freeze tend to get forgotten. If I just tacked a sheet to the door then I would be able to use it when I plan for my shopping trip.

    Thanks again!

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    Registered User StaceyS's Avatar
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    Popcorn is a GREAT snack! If you make it on the stove, it costs just a fraction of a bag of chips. I don't like the chemical taste of thebuttered microwave popcorn, so I pop my own and usually just add salt, but sometimes I add parmesan or cinnamon & sugar. I read in another post about adding chili powder. That sounds great so I'm going to try that next.

    Since I live in a studio, I don't even have a patio for potted plants, so since I work at a seed farm, I asked my boss if I could "borrow" a small patch of land for a tiny garden. I LOVE zucchini, and I hate paying $1 or more a pound for them. I also make my pickles out of zucchini instead of cucumbers. They taste great!

    I love to can, but have to borrow someone's kitchen in order to do that. I'm planning to do this over the Memorial Day weekend (I'm house/dog sitting for a friend). I should be able to can several months worth of food (soups, stews, meats) for around $50. I can't wait!

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    Great ideas! I am a single mom with two teenage boys and it's hard keeping that grocery bill down but I've worked out a system that works great for me.

    I buy almost everything when it's on sale.

    I use coupons and rebates but only for items I'd buy anyway.

    I keep a log of the coupons I have...just jotting down any additions each week and removing any I've used or that have expired.

    I watch for sales on chicken, pork and other cuts of meat...and use my slow cooker a lot and always freeze extras in meal size portions.

    I almost always have rice cooked and in the fridge for when someone gets the hungries...it's cheap, healthy, and a good inexpensive filler upper .

    Every Sunday morning I set aside a bit of time to check sundaysaver.com to compare the sales for all the stores in my area and create shopping lists for each store. This lets me compare prices from one store to another.

    I don't limit myself to the grocery stores. Sometimes Kmart will have the best price on paper towels.

    I am a huge CVS'er...CVS Pharmacy practically gives their stuff away!! All the rebates and so many don't take advantage. I don't think I've paid cash for a gallon of milk in ages!!

    When I see something on sale at a store and want to buy I will take a moment on the way home from work and buy the item. When you buy a bit of extra when they're on sale you usually don't run out of much at home.

    It takes just a bit of extra time and you can save so much!! Last month I fed those two boys, myself, a dog, and my sons friends on $282!!! That includes paper, cleaning products and health & beauty items.

    Just a few more ideas!! Good luck and happy sales shopping!

  11. #10

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    I am not a single mom, but we live on one income. I shop the clearance bins and try to stick to Save A Lot or Aldi's for groceries. The Dollar Stores too.

    Don't be picky about trying off brands and always check coupons. Get them onluine too. Check out spam! It is better fried than typedspam! It is better fried than typedspam! It is better fried than typedspam! It is better fried than typedspam! It is better fried than typedspam! It is better fried than typedspam! It is better fried than typedspam! It is better fried than typedspam! It is better fried than typedspam! It is better fried than typedspam! It is better fried than typedspam! It is better fried than typedspam! It is better fried than typedspam! It is better fried than typedspam! It is better fried than typedspam! It is better fried than typedspam! It is better fried than typedspam! It is better fried than typed.com she has meal plans for dirt cheap. I have a frugal living site and also a place to turn for those in need. I try to list resources as I come acroos them. Write for Associated content. Do it ! you can trust me if I can! I am a dork and boring and they take almost every thing I write! It's easy and they pay about 5-10 dollars in my experiance. (I hear they pay more for good stuff) anyway good luck to you. My mom was always single there are three of us and it was tough!

  12. #11
    Registered User wanderlusting's Avatar
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    I have been geographically single many times (DH is military). What I did was made regular meals and then froze leftovers in single meal portions. This way I could eat several different meals a week and later on I could choose my meals from the freezer w/out it being spaghetti each time.

    I'd buy my staples in bulk-flour, sugar, rice, coffee, etc because those are things I always use.

    I'd buy meat on sale, cook it up and freeze it in individual portions. Example: I buy 5 lbs of ground beef. I cook it and portion it out into individual bags and then later on, if I want tacos, I already have the meat cooked. This is how I'd combat expensive convenience foods.

  13. #12

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    A lot of great tips here! I'm single also, but rarely cook small meals. Since commuting is often an issue for me, I cook and buy in bulk to make things easier for me. I also follow the "Slow Food" lifestyle, so I spend a bit more than other folks, but it rarely gets expensive.

    Since I eat mostly locally produced foods, I don't really use coupons. Prepackaged foods, even with coupons, just aren't worth it in my opinion (taste, cost, nutritional value, etc.) Ok, except for the mini-quiche at Trader Joe's. Anyhoo, my main tactics:

    1. Use a price book (there is an entry on my blog, which is noted in my signature, about how to make a price book if you aren't a "Tightwad Gazette" fan) so that I can buy frequently used items on sale in bulk.

    2. Cook in batches, particularly soups. They're cheap & an easy way to get nutrients in. Every week, I make a big batch of veggie & bean soup and eat it with salad and canned (bought on sale, in bulk) tuna or some yummy bread. Other things I make in batches I freeze (clever you with the list idea! I'm totally borrowing that idea).

    3. Make meatless meals frequently.

    4. Cook from scratch, using simple ingredients. My most frequent meals: soups galore, baked ziti, chicken with veggies, oatmeal & turkey bacon, chicken with veggies in a thai curry or korma sauce...

    Asleep yet?

    Thanks for the list idea!

    xo,
    CF

  14. #13
    Registered User MessyKat's Avatar
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    How low you can get your monthly grocery bill?

    So far this month my grocery bill has been around $75...and and good deal of that has been for pepsi mmmmmm (Kroger had a special where you could get 5 twelve packs for $11, so far I have bought 10...and I may go get 5 more today so I can stockpile...

    You might want to check out thegrocerygame.com I did this once before and really saved some money...since i'm not working right now i dropped out.

    How do you manage to have a reasonable amount of variety in your meals, rather than eating spagetti every meal for a week or falling back onto expensive convience foods?

    I really love to cook...and I don't know how much time you have with working, being a student and commuting the way you do. One thing you could do is on a day off cook everything for the upcoming week.

    In my opinion, one of the best ways to keep the food budget down is to plan your meals in advance. I write out what I am going to eat for the entire week, then I go shopping.

    Right now in my area I am shopping at Food City because with every $10 you spend on their brand of items you get a coupon for $1.00 off of gas. Last week I earned $4 and the next time I went to fill up my tank it cost $24 as opposed to the usual $28...Once they stop doing this I will probably go back to Kroger because I tend to get good deals there, and if you spend $100 in a month, you can get .10 off of every gallon of gas, so I would be paying around 2.70 as opposed to the 2.80...or however high it gets in the next few weeks...

    What do you buy in bulk? What will you not buy in bulk?

    Paper Towels...if there is a particular product I use and it goes on sale, I try to stockpile (as in the pepsi). I do this sometimes with Mayo (check the date first...) I will buy cereal and pasta in bulk...The way I eat cheese it only looks like I buy it in bulk.


    Any links/hints about smaller batch cooking?

    I don't know of any links but I get google can find them. Like I said, I plan my meals, and am finally getting it down to cooking for 1 (hey, it only took 42 years!). For instance, last week Food City had fresh shrimp on sale...eventhough it was on sale, I only bought 1/2 pound because that's all I would need. I did the same thing with some fresh fish and got excellent deals and ate really well!!!

  15. #14
    Registered User MessyKat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StaceyS View Post
    I also make my pickles out of zucchini instead of cucumbers. They taste great!

    I love to can, but have to borrow someone's kitchen in order to do that. I'm planning to do this over the Memorial Day weekend (I'm house/dog sitting for a friend). I should be able to can several months worth of food (soups, stews, meats) for around $50. I can't wait!
    The zucchini pickles sound wonderful....

    Any way you can tell some of the rest of us how to can? I have no clue and would like to do that....

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    Hi
    I am also single without children. I have a one bedroom apartment. I purchase the family pack of meat (I only eat chicken or turkey) and freeze it into single servings containers. I eat alot of beans. I very rarely eat out preferring instead to once weekly eat at our hospital cafeteria (you can get a full meal for $4.50 including your drink). I avoid fast food places like the plague (they are not healthy for me). I do not drink soda.

    I only purchase clothing at the thrift stores and since I wear a size 6 I can find lots of stuff. I also sew which helps with my clothing budget as I can make alterations to an outfit which make it look brand new and updated.

    I do my own hair including cutting and coloring it on a monthly basis (I have some gray

    I do not have expensive hobbies prefering reading and sewing. I purchase all fabric on sale. My car is paid off and I keep it in good condition.

    I am currently working on paying off student loans and I am able to contribute 65% of my net income to my goal which I hope to attain within 3 years.
    Last edited by joshuagracemercy; 07-08-2007 at 10:23 PM.

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