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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay - I used to coupon like mad and have a huge stockpile of loads of stuff that actually lasted over two years! However, things in life changed and we changed the way we eat and quit couponing. Now we eat mainly whole foods and shop the perimeter of the grocery (produce, meats, deli, little processed or prepared foods) and we also buy our cheese, butter and milk from a local Amish Store. Our grocery budget for 2 adults, 1 almost 5 year old, 1 almost 1 year old is OUTRAGEOUS! We try not to waste and only buy what we will eat and try to limit our trips to the grocery to once a week, but we need to make some changes! I do try to use coupons on coffee, cleaning supplies, and the few boxed/canned items we use.
I have thought of trying to find some middle ground since our grocery budget for the four of us is out of control - $500 a month to include H&B, cleaning, plus cat food. I use cloth diapers and buy our wipes from Amazon and I buy paper towels every 6 months since we use kitchen cloth for eating and cleaning. I really want us to keep eating well - but that is such a vast amount of money. Is there another forum I should post my question in? FV has grown so much in the past couple of years, but I fear that I am a little lost now.
Thank you in advance for your help!
 

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As far as H&BA, I find I spend next to nothing when using coupons at places like Target, RiteAid and CVS. If you participate in their rebate (ExtraCare Bucks, OneCheckRebate and $5GC deals) programs, it really adds up. As for foods, we have been trying to eat more health-conscious, but we are also on an extreme budget. You can find coupons for things we still eat, like frozen veggies, pastas, rice, oatmeal, etc that help offset the cost of the more expensive. I also find coupons every so often for vinegar, which I use as a cleaning agent when I don't find sales on cleaner. Another thing you can do is make your own laundry and dishwasher detergents when you haven't found them on sale.
If you have more questions, feel free to ask!
 

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The less money you spend on HBA and cleaning supplies means more money for the type of food you want. So it still helps to use the coupons.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for your replies so far.... I made a mistake on what we budget for - it's actually $850 every month for grocery and HBA. It seems like so much money :nerv2: I also do a lot of scratch cooking when I can, but my recipes are pretty simple. I don't know, maybe I need reevaluate....
 

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We eat only whole foods too. We buy in bulk through a couple of co-ops and the food is SO much cheaper. One is Something Better Natural Foods. I don't know if they deliver to TN or not but you could call the phone number on their web site or email them and ask.

I budget $100 every two months for this co-op and $50 per month for the other one, UNFI. Then I spend around $60-100 per month on produce, H & B, household stuff, dog food, wild bird seed and anything else we need from Walmart, etc. We are four adults and 1 dog.

We also grow most of our vegetables and either can, freeze, or dry them so that helps keep our cost low. During the summer, we buy bulk nectarines, apples, etc to can and freeze also.
 

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$850 seems outrageous. I also try to shop the outskirts of the store and go to a year-round farmers' market every 2 weeks or so. I supplement with frozen veggies. Of course, DH is a carnivore, so a lot of meat is also purchased. With diapers, wipes and HBA included (and a small dog who's kibble costs under 10/month) - I spend around $400/month.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
We eat only whole foods too. We buy in bulk through a couple of co-ops and the food is SO much cheaper. One is Something Better Natural Foods. I don't know if they deliver to TN or not but you could call the phone number on their web site or email them and ask.

I budget $100 every two months for this co-op and $50 per month for the other one, UNFI. Then I spend around $60-100 per month on produce, H & B, household stuff, dog food, wild bird seed and anything else we need from Walmart, etc. We are four adults and 1 dog.

We also grow most of our vegetables and either can, freeze, or dry them so that helps keep our cost low. During the summer, we buy bulk nectarines, apples, etc to can and freeze also.
Thank you! I will check out the link. I know UNFI delivers about an hour from where we live. I would love to have a garden, but I have been a gardening fail with our yard placement. I think I will def give a go again this year though and we also have a dehydrator.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
$850 seems outrageous. I also try to shop the outskirts of the store and go to a year-round farmers' market every 2 weeks or so. I supplement with frozen veggies. Of course, DH is a carnivore, so a lot of meat is also purchased. With diapers, wipes and HBA included (and a small dog who's kibble costs under 10/month) - I spend around $400/month.
I know it's insane! But we go to the commissary and spend no less than $160 per visit - once a week and then sometimes have to supplement with another visit for salad, greens, etc... I should have also mentioned that do not eat out - okay maybe occasionally, but it's not a weekly event. DH has been in college for the last 19 months, so he is home for every meal right now. He loves sandwiches for lunch and lunch meat usually cost us $15-$17 a week plus fufu bread and fixings to go on it (spinach, onion, British mustard, cheese, etc...).
I think we are just going to have to get our acts together and make sure we are eating every single item we buy with NO waste and no extras. If I let DH, he would go to the grocery 2-3 times a week. Oh and we also eat loads of Greek Yogurt which is $1.20 a pop, I do have a yogurt maker, but I am struggling on getting it right.... I might not get the milk hot enough or something. It's easy to strain after I get it cooked and set right... but that would save us over $20 a week.
 

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Oh, there are TONS of bread recipes on the 'net - you can make his fufu bread :) Lunch meat freezes, buy on sale and freeze, take out when needed. Also, if you make a roast, chicken breast, etc and you have leftover, slice it thin and call it lunch meat :) Sometimes you can buy cheese in bulk and slice it yourself - another way to save.

As far as no waste - it's possible. Any leftovers get re-evaluated for lunch the next day, or if there's enough of them, they get repurposed for dinner in a day or two. I won't go to the store more than 1x a week, and I won't buy something if we have a replacement unless it's on sale. Greek yogurt - you already know you can make that, I think the key is the timing. I have made it sucessfully and unsuccessfully, and I think it comes out better when I time it rather than "wing it".

I hope that any of these tips help! Oh, and I know the commisary's prices are usually lower, but check the sales fliers. Sometimes the sales at the grocery store are cheaper than the commisary's base prices.
 

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Your costs do seem high. I feed 2 adults on ~$300 a month, so I think perhaps there are some savings to be had.

1. shop around. Maybe the commissary isn't the cheapest place for everything. Look at your local sale ads.

2. do you stockpile sale/coupon items? This ads up in the long run.

3. do you buy markdowns or damaged items? I have stopped paying full price for meat because a local chain marks it half price the day before it "expires" and I freeze it. They also mark down dented cans and damaged boxes -- I cleaned up on instant oatmeal and cocoa packets for .59c a box last week. Is there a day-old-bread place near you?

4. Buy generic or store brand. Many items are just as good as national brands. You just have to try them to find ones that are acceptable to you. They can be cheaper than using a coupon on a name brand.

5. make sacrifices. Look at your most expensive items and ask yourself if you really *need* to be buying that or if a cheaper item will do. The bread and cold cuts come to mind. A $2 loaf of bread makes just as nutritious as sandwich as the fancy stuff. $17 for lunch meat tells me you are either buying 8lbs of it every week or you aren't buying what is on sale.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
5. make sacrifices. Look at your most expensive items and ask yourself if you really *need* to be buying that or if a cheaper item will do. The bread and cold cuts come to mind. A $2 loaf of bread makes just as nutritious as sandwich as the fancy stuff. $17 for lunch meat tells me you are either buying 8lbs of it every week or you aren't buying what is on sale.

Yes this kills us - that's about 1 lbs of Rosemary Ham and 1 lb of special salami. I think I will speak to DH about switching brands. He is on board with us reducing our grocery budget, but to be honest, we both have acquired some expensive eating in taste when we went whole foods.

Here is a link to my blog - I actually just updated it today to add my hopes of eating good on a budget Our Whole Food Journey
 

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I have been eating non-processed for a while now (and trying to get the S.O. to...) I have found that Target (for one) does good sales on meat and also regularly have the coupons on the packages (from $1-$3 off).
My rule is that I only buy what's on sale each time I go and freeze it until I need it. Target also does good sales/coupons on frozen veggies and canned things that we'll eat (soups, veggies, beans) and pasta/rice as well as lunchmeat for my S.O. and real bread.
Produce comes from produce stand/farmers market/what's on sale at Whole Foods
I have found that the key is to be flexible about your list. Like instead of saying "apples" I'll just get "fruit". Hope this helps!
 

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We get coupons from mambo sprouts.. it isn't a huge savings but if you have a store that doubles, it is good. We buy through a co-op also and alot of the stuff is much cheaper (although some stuff like bread flour is more expensive). We have a cash-and-carry near us and we go there for a 50 lb bag of King Arthur flour for $18. It is $34 for the exact same through our co-op. We go to Trader Joe's for some stuff and I have been shopping around for soymilk (Silk is $3.00 at Target for a half gallon, but $3.99 at the regular grocery store). I try to stock up on non-perishable stuff as much as I can. We also go for minimally processed foods when we can- we have oatmeal for breakfast, pasta or natural peanut butter and homemade jam on homemade bread for lunch, etc. We try to keep it on the cheap when we can, but still keep it healthy.

I also started buying produce on the "reduced" rack at the grocery store. It is at least half price- I either use it right away, make soup out of it, blanch it and freeze it, etc. We do occasionally buy bagged cereals (I think malto-meal) or the generic (we live in New England and Stop and Shop has store brand cereal, 10/$10) - I can't see spending $4.29 on raisin bran if I can get bran flakes for a buck and just throw some raisins in.

Good luck! I will be lurking to see what else comes up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Due to some fantastic insight received here, I have been couponing again and saving lots of money on non-food items and items that are food like coffee, olive oil, frozen blueberries, etc... I used to stock pile like mad and loved having everything we needed in the garage and on the cheap!
So - soon our trips to the grocery store will consist of juice, yogurt, fruit, veg, rice, chicken (we have local beef in the freezer) and any frozen stuff we may need!
 

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Thank you for your replies so far.... I made a mistake on what we budget for - it's actually $850 every month for grocery and HBA. It seems like so much money :nerv2: I also do a lot of scratch cooking when I can, but my recipes are pretty simple. I don't know, maybe I need reevaluate....

I do the same as you pretty much, could have wrote your original post. I budget 500.00 a month for four of us , we cook from scratch for health and eat lots of organics. I buy most of my organic whole grains, organic sugar, honey etc in bulk and save tons. Is there a place you can purchase in bulk? I am able to stock up on this amount.
 

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Boy this is a timely post. Just decided that we need to eat better then we have been, and yesterday was my first grocery store trip. I spent 3X's more. :yikes: That's not even an option in our world, I used Christmas money to make up the difference.

Everyone says how much menu planning saves them on their food bill, so I searched out healthy recipes and then went through all the sales flyers. I was able to get almost every item I needed on sale and it still was 3X's as much! And that's without anything else!

This trip was unsuccessful, Not sure how to proceed for my next shopping trip. I felt the recipes I had chosen were quite frugal, but I guess not frugal enough. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I do the same as you pretty much, could have wrote your original post. I budget 500.00 a month for four of us , we cook from scratch for health and eat lots of organics. I buy most of my organic whole grains, organic sugar, honey etc in bulk and save tons. Is there a place you can purchase in bulk? I am able to stock up on this amount.
Sometimes I can buy in bulk at the Amish Store, but usually it's about the same in cost.
We are trying to get better with and mainly cut down our other cost to make up for what we spend in whole foods. The closest year round farmers market is an hour away, so not the best option for a weekly shop. We might have to go to frozen for some stuff to help save, but we are sticking to less processed foods (whole grain brown rice - not quick cook). Even Trader Joes is full of pre-processed foods. So, we just have to try to be a little more creative.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Boy this is a timely post. Just decided that we need to eat better then we have been, and yesterday was my first grocery store trip. I spent 3X's more. :yikes: That's not even an option in our world, I used Christmas money to make up the difference.

Everyone says how much menu planning saves them on their food bill, so I searched out healthy recipes and then went through all the sales flyers. I was able to get almost every item I needed on sale and it still was 3X's as much! And that's without anything else!

This trip was unsuccessful, Not sure how to proceed for my next shopping trip. I felt the recipes I had chosen were quite frugal, but I guess not frugal enough. :(
((HUGS)) I am sorry :( It's tough when you try to make the most positive changes and it still ends up not being cost effective. I wish I had some better answers, but I too am struggling.
 

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Sometimes I can buy in bulk at the Amish Store, but usually it's about the same in cost.
We are trying to get better with and mainly cut down our other cost to make up for what we spend in whole foods. The closest year round farmers market is an hour away, so not the best option for a weekly shop. We might have to go to frozen for some stuff to help save, but we are sticking to less processed foods (whole grain brown rice - not quick cook). Even Trader Joes is full of pre-processed foods. So, we just have to try to be a little more creative.
I just bought 50 pounds of organic brown rice for 58.00 , will be keeping some in freezer but I use it to cook with and use in my recipe for healthy homemade dog food.
 
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That's a great deal HappyMama!
 
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