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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone, I'm new here... came across this site looking for recipes :) I seem to spend WAY too much on groceries. I spend about $125 a week for just 2 of us (one eats meat, one doesn't) and it seems like no matter how much I try to budget I ALWAYS go over. I don't buy many "extras" either so I don't know what I'm doing wrong :hmmm: I have recently started to make extra to freeze so I have a dinner on hand (stuffed peppers, stuffed shells) but I can't come up with enough of these either....
 

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Do you have a menu plan? Figure out what you're cooking for the week, and buy only the ingredients you don't already have. Leave some flex room, so you can take advantage of sales -- like when broccoli is $3.99 but asparagus is .99c.

Soups and stews are good as leftovers. Chili is an easy one, I make a big pot and freeze extra portions. Some vegetables, a nice broth, and cooked barley or noodles go a long way, too.


Dawn
 

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I buy very little over and above the loss leaders. If broccoli is on sale this week we eat broccoli. If tomatoes are on sale then our vegetable is tomatoes. If its not on the front page of the grocery ads then its not bought here unless it is necessary. We figured out that meals for us runs about 96 cents per meal for two people. thats meat and vegetables.
 

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PS
the extras such as bleach, tp, paper towels(very few of us use those here) we use cloth and wash, shampoos etc. could be alot of where your grocery money is going. be vigilant...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I buy very little over and above the loss leaders. If broccoli is on sale this week we eat broccoli. If tomatoes are on sale then our vegetable is tomatoes. If its not on the front page of the grocery ads then its not bought here unless it is necessary. We figured out that meals for us runs about 96 cents per meal for two people. thats meat and vegetables.

Wow I don't know how you do it, I usually make things such as tacos, stuffed shells, stir fry but have to get lunch items too.. :hmmm:
 

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It's just the two of us here and two cats we are doing pretty well right now with staying within our $200 grocery budget each month (that includes food, toiletries, cat food/litter/treats, and any cleaning supplies, plastic or paper products we need). I searched frugal recipes online and at this site to get ideas for how to make inexpensive meals that taste good. Under the blogs people post frugal recipes all the time. I like flybaby's cooking blog she posts links to the places she finds her recipes. I save a lot of money each month using coupons for only the things I buy brand name at the grocery store, I mostly buy generic foods. I also shop at Aldi for things like my baking supplies, canned goods, noodles, pasta sauce, cereals, cat food and litter, some toiletries, dishwasher detergent, and breads and bagels. Aldi saves me a ton of money each month on my overall groceries. A lot of the meals that I make frugally you could make a vegetarian version and one with real meat. I make a lot of casseroles with ground beef, but you could make a casserole with ground beef for the meat eater in the family and then make the same casserole with the vegetarian (meat like) crumbles. Any extras you could freeze for a dinner the next week and maybe have some left over for lunches. I buy the ground meat and chicken breasts in a family pack and then freeze portions that I will use for each meal, this saves us a lot of money too. We just had a crock pot mac & cheese last night and I made enough to freeze for a meal next week too. That could work for both of you, because it doesn't have any meat in it. We also like to have a soup night where we each have a can of our own soup that we like and I make some home made cheesy garlic biscuits. That recipe is here at frugal village too. We also have a homemade pizza night once a week, right now our favorite one is a deep dish pizza recipe I found on flybaby's cooking blog in February. I also find that making things from scratch saves a lot of money. I make choc. chip cookie dough and then make enough cookies for the two of us and freeze the rest into portions just right for us to thaw and use another time. I make homemade muffins for desserts and snacks. Good luck with your budgeting, I think this site will really help you reduce your grocery bill. I was spending around $300 each month until I found this site, and at the time I really thought $300 was as low as I could go :).
 

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I just thought of more that I do...:) We buy tp here, but we use cloth rags for cleaning and kitchen towels in the kitchen instead of paper towels. I use tp instead of tissue to blow my nose at home and we use cloth napkins instead of paper. Cleaning products are mostly homemade, I do keep pledge on hand for dusting and I buy the cheapest laundry detergent I can find. I have comet on hand too for cleaning the toilet and tub when they get so bad vinegar and water won't take care of it (doesn't happen often, I clean the bathroom a couple times a week). I also wash the plastic shower curtain liner in the washing machine to get it really clean several times a year (I have had my current one for almost 2 years.) I am even trying to buy inexpensive shampoo, V05 makes a shampoo that I can use on my color treated hair (I color it myself) and then I buy a good conditioner to keep my hair soft, my choice is a large bottle of pantene (it lasts the two of us for over 1 1/2 months).

A lot of the frugal meals that I make each night make enough for leftovers for lunch. Some days I eat the leftovers and some days I have a sandwich and the fiance takes the leftovers for his lunch. It evens out that leftovers get eaten for lunch and we each have been happy so far with that.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all of the replies, I'm going to keep searching and try to save some wasted money!! :)
 

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I first stumbled across this site when I was trying to figure out how to cut our food bill. We are a family of 6 with one pet and I was easily spending $300 to $400 a week on groceries. The truth is I wasn't spending that much on groceries, I did my shopping at the super store and yes I was spending alot there but after looking at some receipts I noticed not all of it was groceries. Is quite amazing how much other stuff makes it in the cart without us even realizing it. Like already mentioned I now buy the loss leaders only every week, I buy meat every couple of months in bulk and I try really hard not to look at the magazines by the register while standing in line. I was always buying 2-4 a week because of an article that sounded interesting. Here is a recipe for you to try, it is something that you can make cheaply and will meet both diet needs.
rice cooked (I do 12 servings so I can freeze a meal for another time)
pound ground beef (you can substitute black beans)
large can diced tomatoes
1 cup salsa
2 packages taco seasoning
cook rice, cook ground beef if using beans prepare those
after rice is cooked add all ingredients except meat and beans
split the rice mixture in half
had the meat to one half and the beans to the other half
you now have multiple meals for both of you that are very similar
serve it with some grated cheese and sourcream, we usually use corn chips to scoop it up with. Instead of groundbeef you could also use some cooked diced chicken.
 

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justpeachy--I tried that recipe, using the beans because that's what I was trying to use up lol! Very yummy and even the kids liked it. I made hm tortilla chips and they just scarfed it up!!

Tina--I was thinking about your menu, and am wondering. Maybe it's not the "menu" that's the problem, maybe you could find cheaper alternatives for the ingredients you're using. Like chicken thighs instead of boneless skinless chicken breasts. A big bag of regular rice instead of a small box. Etc. Just my two cents' worth.

Also(and I've just recently started this myself)--look to see how much of your bill is toiletries and see where you can cut down. We used to have three or four types of shampoo--dh's, mine, and the kids. Same with soaps and body washes. Now I buy a big bottle of liquid soap, put it in a pump dispenser, and we all use the same thing. For shampoo I buy baby shampoo--it's formulated for all hair types and works very well. I put that into a pretty pump, lol, so nosy people don't ask about it.

I make almost all my own cleaners--I was leary of this until I tried a few and they worked!! And we switched(mostly) from paper towels to cloth rags for cleaning. We gave up paper plates(this was a tough one haha).

Small changes can yield some really good results--just watch those receipts so you know where your money is going!!
 

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This may be repeated but my husband packs his lunch every day (well I pack it) and I was buying at least a pound of lunch meat a week ($5.99) I figure out that I can make just that much extra of meals and he has lunch. Meatloaf, chicken breasts, pulled pork, soup and salad. Once a week he gets pb and j or tuna. He enjoys the variety more then when he got turkey sandwiches everyday. Good luck.
 

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My SO is a chef, so we do buy some more expensive groceries than I would if I was by myself, but if that's the cost of having a personal chef, I'm more than willing to oblige, though I do most of the cooking for us.

In the mornings, I make oatmeal almost every day for breakfast. Oatmeal is one of those fantastic good-for-you foods: It's cheap as anything and it is basically a blank canvas -- you can put fruit in it, honey, molasses, peanut butter, jam, brown sugar, syrup, nuts, etc. etc. etc. -- whatever you wish can be mixed in with it once it's cooked. I usually put 1 c. oats into my rice cooker with 1 c. water and in 12 minutes, I have two bowls of oatmeal ready for us. I don't have to be standing over it making sure it doesn't burn, because the rice cooker automatically turns off after it's cooked enough.

Lunches are usually leftovers for both :smooch: and I. He works evenings, so usually he makes himself something before he goes to work, and I'll take leftovers from the night before in my lunch. He usually takes a light supper with him as well, and it usually is more leftovers.

I make stews, soups, casseroles, roasts, stir fries, hashes, sandwiches, etc. etc. etc. for supper. I usually work with whatever is onhand, and have come up with some great recipes. I rarely go out to buy some ingredient for a recipe. If it's not on hand, I will make due with something else, or I'll try another concoction. I find that Amy D.'s Universal recipes work pretty well for me.

Snacks for us are usually raw fruit, vegetables, yogurt or some form of baked good. I never buy pre-packaged anything unless it's a baked good on a discount rack that I can't make for the same price or cheaper, or is a really great deal on something I know we never get to enjoy (like a Delissio pizza, which I love).

Otherwise, our grocery carts are usually filled with discount meats and/or cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables, margarine or butter, eggs, powdered milk, yogurt (I haven't yet attempted making my own yogurt -- a bit nervous about it), spices and herbs (fresh or dried), peanut butter, honey, molasses, baking supplies or an item we find that is a great deal.

What we don't buy are candies, colas, microwave anything (we don't have a microwave), readymade pop-it-in-the-oven meals, liquid milk, most canned goods other than tuna and fruit (when the price is right),

A really good trick is to menu-plan and price book. If you write down what you eat for breakfasts, lunches and dinners for 30 days, you'll see what foods your family likes to eat and where it would be easiest to cut things out -- you may enjoy spaghetti with pasta sauce, but do you really need the gourmet fancy-pants kind when the generic discount stuff tastes just as good? Do you enjoy the lobster more than the chicken? Would you be just as happy with a cheaper roast cooked in the crockpot with the same herbs as a more expensive one cooked for three hours while you're waiting around the house?

With a price book, as well, you will have a better idea of what your spending and are better able to capitalize on sales. I know that bananas at all four grocery stores in my area are $0.75 a pound. When one store has them on for $0.69, I know that's the cheapest place to go for bananas, so on my Sunday grocery shopping date with :smooch: (yes, that's our date -- I'm frugal and he's a chef -- grocery stores are one of our favorite places to go. :p) I will go to that grocery store to pick up bananas instead of another.

It's also a good idea to be aware of when things go on sale. Right now, lean ground beef is on for $1.99 a pound. I know that it's usually $3.99 a pound, and that this is a good deal, but we only picked up two packages -- one for cooking that night for :smooch:'s homemade spaghetti sauce, and 1 to freeze. Why? Because I know that ground beef goes on sale in at least one of my grocery stores almost every two weeks. So when we've used up all the ground beef, we know that it'll be on sale again soon. However, when peanut butter is on for $3.95 for a 2 kg. jar, I bought six. Why? Because I have yet to see peanut butter go on sale like that again, and it's been nearly a year.

Another good idea is to figure out what you're willing to spend on an item. For example, I refuse to buy toilet paper that costs more than $0.25 a roll. I can get cheap-o toilet paper at the dollar store for that price, so why would I bother going to the grocery store and buying packages for $0.38 a roll? Thus far the cheapest I've seen it, without a sale, is $0.21 a roll. So that's the kind I buy when I need to, otherwise I'll wait til I can buy a package on sale and stock up.

It takes time and it's a worthy hobby to pursue. I am constantly rewriting my price books and reorganizing my files and rerecording my flyer notes. But it's worth it in the end when I figure out I can bake fresh homemade bread for under $1.50 a loaf, or :smooch: and I enjoy a pot of leftover soup that he compliments me on.
 

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Tina, I noticed you mentioned that you like stir fry and stuffed shells and so do we.

I usually make stuffed shells around the holidays because the cheeses needed are always on sale. I also will make a huge batch of shells and freeze them in zip lock bags.
This is how I do it. I cook the shells and stuff them, I then put them on a cookie sheet in my freezer so that they freeze individually. After they are frozen I pop them in zip locks and when needed I can take out as many as I do need. I then add my sauce and any additional cheese. I cook them frozen for double the amount of time the recipe calls for.

As far as stir Fry's I do not always use fresh vegetables. Frozen work well and can be bought on sale a couple of bags at a time. Not to mention their shelf life.

Tacos can be expensive but not if everything again is bought on sale. I will also chop additional vegetables to put on them. For example celery and bell peppers, which really makes them healthier and stretches the meal at the same time.
 

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Dollar Store TP??

Another good idea is to figure out what you're willing to spend on an item. For example, I refuse to buy toilet paper that costs more than $0.25 a roll. I can get cheap-o toilet paper at the dollar store for that price, so why would I bother going to the grocery store and buying packages for $0.38 a roll? Thus far the cheapest I've seen it, without a sale, is $0.21 a roll. So that's the kind I buy when I need to, otherwise I'll wait til I can buy a package on sale and stock up. .
Ok - now when I've gone and purchased dollar store TP it hurts mah tush! Does your dollar store out there have a better brand? What name is the brand and what chain is your dollar store? I too stock up when brand name or a good lesser no name brand is $0.25/roll.
 

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Ok - now when I've gone and purchased dollar store TP it hurts mah tush! Does your dollar store out there have a better brand? What name is the brand and what chain is your dollar store? I too stock up when brand name or a good lesser no name brand is $0.25/roll.
I go to the Dollarama, but I can't remember the name brand of the toilet paper. :smooch: and I usually buy the 24 pk. of toilet paper from the Atlantic SuperStore's No Name brand. That comes out to about 20 to 21 cents a roll.

I never really understood the concept of buying "luxury" toilet paper. Maybe I'm just too practical but I don't see the point in spending money on a "luxury" you flush down the toilet. :p We buy the cheap-o stuff, and then spend our money on luxuries like going out with friends or buying a video game we both love. But to each their own! :p
 

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We use cloth wipes as toilet paper :) It's CHEAP (you can make flannel squares out of old sheets or shirts!) and reusable ;) Better for the environment too! So you can be a hippy tightwad like me. LOL
 

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Hahahaha - I finally tried the Dollarama TP - meh, its not the greatest but WAY better then I'd expected. I too would prefer to buy the No Name brand especially if its less then 25 cents/roll

:laugh: @ the radish being a hippy tightwad!
 

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In regards to the tp issue: I tried the cheapo stuff and hated it. Way too rough and yes, it caused a few "injuries"--being a diabetic I don't heal quickly, so I'm not going to buy something that is going to rub me raw, then have to wait for things to heal. That's a sensitive area lol! But the Dollar General here has 24-packs of Angel Soft for $5.50, and there's always a coupon in the paper. So when I get coupons, I stock up!! Hehe--I edged a few un-needed items out of the budget to allow for the "luxury" of good tp. No offense, Naderbug--not seeing the point of the "luxury" of paper towels is what got me started on a budget in the first place. Why buy something that you're going to throw away moments after using it??
 
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