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Discussion Starter #1
My husband has recently taken a job change that will initially be taking a pay cut as well. In a couple of years he'll be making way more, but until then I need to find creative ways to cut corners. I thought my grocery shopping would probaby be a good place to start. Right now, for a family of three (DH, myself, and DSD) I spend *cringe* at LEAST a hundred a week. I think this is high...is it?

I don't know what to do...I make menu's, I heard that was the best way to cut down...and I make a shopping list. PLEASE help me.
 

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Wow $100 a week on food? I would say that's surely is alot, I dont even spend that in a month for a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 children).

Well, we need food to live but I would start cutting down on what I buy and if possibly dont buy the namebrand, store brand is just as good, try going for cheap meals, like pasta, chicken, rice, beans, etc...

Good luck and let us know how it goes!
 

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Yes, that is high. I live in a high cost of living area and still feed three adults for under that. Somethings you may want to try is stepping down some products. For instance, if you buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts, check and see if your store has boneless, skinless chicken thighs for a cheaper price. Or better yet buy either chicken leg quarters or thighs or drumsticks. If you buy fruits and veggies each week, buy only what is in season and make sure that you do not buy more than you can use before it goes bad. You could price match at Super WalMart for grocery and body care items. You can buy store brand or use a coupon for name brands. Don't buy single serve portions of items. Buy the larger ecnomy size and portion it out in ziplock bags or plastic containers at home. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Those are good ideas, thank you. I think one of my highest spending areas tends to be after-school and work (for dsd and dh) snacks. Recommendations on those areas? Keeping in mind I'm a full-time teacher so my work clock doesn't end at 3:15 but carries, unfortunately, over into home time.
 

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P.S. Besides spagetti, home-made hamburger helper, and white beans n ham, what else is good, inexpensive, quick recipes? Meals that will fill my 6'2 man's belly and not empty my pocket book. I'm really desperate for help, I'm quickly running out of ideas.
 

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Hummm for our family we eat chicken legs and thighs not skinless or boneless, once they are cooked te skin comes off easily anyways, I usually get them for no more than $3.50 for a family pack which lasts us a few days. We eat soup and sandwiches, pork and beans and hot dogs (cheap brand $1/pack of 8), spaghetti with sausage, white rice, potatoes, pink beans, store brand bread (69 cents a loaf), frozen veggies, etc... I normally dont shop with coupons either but I look around for the store ones that come out of those machines, I dont buy the sunday paper either but if I get hold of coupons our store doubles them up to $1 so that helps.

I would agree with getting fruits that are in season. OH! I sometimes buy the egg noodles, alfredo sauce and chicken (thighs - family pack) just cook them in a seasoning and some water to cook and easy to cut/peel then put them in the sauce and the cooked noodles and make chicken alfredo, it tastes yummy, if you use the whole bag of noodles this should last a couple days, my family loves this and it feeds us all for less than $1 a person per meal.

No one can understand how I feed so many for less than $75 a month but I do, we always have leftovers so this is a plus, kids love tuna fish and DH loves ham/turkey sandwiches so then I add some chicken noodle soup.

I am sure if you looked around the net you could find some cheap inexpensive meals to feed your family and DH too without going broke. I used to spend ALOT of money years ago on food but the kids learned that if they dont eat what I cook then they just dont eat.
 

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There have been some good frugal meals mentioned in the various forums here.

Also good snacks if they want a treat (sweet) are the Lil Debbie brand or the brand of cookies in the hispanic foods aisle. As far as chips buy a big bag and put one handful in each ziplock bag while you are on the telephone or while waiting for something to boil on the stove. Another good snack is hard-boiled eggs. Boil a dozen a week and that is several days of snacks there. Use a coupon and buy cheese sticks or buy the store brand. All of these are time and or money savers.

Visit crockpot sites for recipes. Crockpot cooking is essential for busy mom's.

If I think or more ideas, I will let you know.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow fabulous! Do you think if I thought up some menu ideas and posted them that ya'll could let me know what you think? Whether I'm headed in the right direction or not?
 

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Wow fabulous! Do you think if I thought up some menu ideas and posted them that ya'll could let me know what you think? Whether I'm headed in the right direction or not?
Yeah we could do that. However, I suggest that you keep track of what you are using for a week (I mean meals and snacks and drinks and all things related to food), and then post that, and then it might be easier to respond with specific changes. Also, some knowledge of what you a;; enjoy might help. I probably don't spend $100 a month on food, so that's not usually a target for me to reduce spending. My $15 electric bill last month - now THAT was progress for me!

Incidentally, with a kid around, name-brand cereals can put quite a hole in some family budgets. Careful shopping for similar tastes can help noticeably.
 

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It would help if you could cut out junk food out of your groceries. Do you really need all those potato chips, cookies, and colas? You could maybe make some of your own homemade cleaning supplies. A good book to read would be The Tightwad Gazette series of books.
 

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We feed 4 plus drop-ins for about $300 a month!!

I have introduced the group to beans and recently introduced myself to lentils. A huge crockpot of black bean soup Monday was under $5 (.75 for beans, $2 for sausage, .60 for veggies/tomatoes, .25 for rice, .20 spices/etc.). I make crockpot lentils and rice for about $2. They're wonderful on flour tortillas.

I buy ground turkey for .79 cents/lb compared to ground beef for $1.79/lb (on sale). I buy chicken leg quarters when on sale... I can get them for as cheap as .25/lb in 10 lb bags. Pork butt roasts for .99/lb, country style pork ribs for $1.19/lb. I buy ALLl meats on sale... nothing ever over $2/lb. If it's that expensive I don't need it.

I shop at Save-A-Lot and Aldi's for most of staple foods. For example two things we really go through a lot is crackers.... saltines at Aldi's is .69 compared to $1+ at the grocery and graham crackers are .79 compared to $1.50 at grocery. If those stores aren't convenient for you, do a once a month shop there and buy what you think you will use for the month.

You mentioned that after school snacks really get you. It's those convenient snack cakes and chips that really get you, isn't it? Resist the urge to buy the snack cakes and make your own muffins, brownies, cupcakes, quick breads, cookies. Even mixes are cheaper than the prepackaged snack cakes. Chips at Aldi's and Save-A-Lot are usually under $1 a bag... they're smaller bags but limit them. Substitute popcorn or veggies and dip for chips... not only are they cheaper, they're better for you.

Just a few suggestions. I hope they help.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Wow, these are great ideas! It's taking me a while to write them all down. Ok, a typal menu/shopping list for me.

Milk, Bread, Dt. Mountain Dew, Iams Cat food, Tidy Cat Litter (it smells fresher), Bologna, Polish Sausage, Tortilla Chips, Salsa, Ground Beef, Boneless-Skinless Chicken Breasts, Shampoo-Conditioner, Fruit Cups, Corn Dogs, Burritos, Egg Noodles, Tomoto Sauce, Dog Food, Bananas

and whatever else I need for a recipe, which I admit sometimes that stuff ends up going bad cause I'm worn out after contending with my kids and end up picking something up or heating up a burrito (however, this is no longer an option)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So, spending more than $2 a lb on meat is high? That's great to know (my mother calls me shopping-challenged and my husband and bf cringe if I go to the store by myself). And, do you think if I made some muffins and cookies on Saturday or Sunday that they would store well for treats during the week?
 

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I can understand the extra expense with the Iams cat food, but I guarantee if you buy a no-brand kitty litter and a box of baking soda, the catbox will smell just as 'sweet' (if a litter box can? LOL).

Last time I bought chicken breasts I only paid $1.49/lb in 3 lb pkgs. I bought 8 pkgs. 24 lbs sounds like a lot of meat, but it'll last me couple of months.
Also, if you plan on making casseroles or soups with the chicken, use the leg quarters, boil with some garlic cloves and large-chop carrots, celery, green peppers, onions (even the not so pretty looking ones make wonderful broth), pick off the bones and freeze in 1lb or 2lb pkgs. Save the broth in containers or bags too. Homemade broth makes wonderful last minute gravy and tastes really good in quickie homemade soup.

Watch for the Mt Dew to go on sale... it very often goes on sale for 3/$10 around here.

I don't see any reason why muffins can't be made on the weekends. Recruit the kids to pick out what kind they want and have them help. Most kids are dying to get in the kitchen and help. Save half out for the first part of the week and freeze the rest. When they're gone, thaw the rest. You could even make two or three kinds and that way they won't become bored with them and they won't feel like that's all they're getting. One thing with muffins is that they make a good quickie breakfast.

As far as the meat over $2...
Once in a blue moon we will splurge on a good steak (but I would really rather really splurge and go out to dinner and be waited on... LOL). One example I can think of is beef stew meat... why spend over $2.50/lb when you can buy a chuck roast for $1.79/lb on sale and trim, cut and freeze into 1lb/2lb pkgs yourself?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Wow, that chicken broth sounds really good. I'm not a very good cook, in fact i've been out-lawed from cooking pancakes and microwave popcorn. I really want and need to learn how to cook these things ya'll are talking about...but have no clue. And what makes it worse is DH's mama is like the cannin' gardenin' cookin' frugal queen and now here I am asking what a weed is and how to make chicken broth.
 

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Everyone has to learn some time.... your MIL wasn't born with that knowledge! ;)

Another area I would cut down.... stockpile shampoo & other toiletry items. I find they're cheaper at WalMart or Target than at the grocery store. I can't remember the last time I paid full price for that stuff. I'm not brand loyal, either... there are some I prefer more than others, but basically I use whatever I get the best deal on. I haven't paid more than $.27 for Colgate toothpaste in a few years now, between double coupons and sales. Do you have a Walgreen's in your area? They have a few free things each month, and often one of those things is shampoo or conditioner. (It's very easy-- buy the items on the list, mail in the receipt, get your refund!)

I'm also feeding a 6'2" man, and my DH has to have meat at every meal, so I can't use many of the great bean recipes that people here talk about. I do use a lot of casseroles, and I'll stretch hamburger with oatmeal if I'm making meatloaf or hamburgers. I also buy most of my meat in bulk (Sam's) and repackage it myself... it comes out a little cheaper that way. Here's one of the many threads we've had on cheap meals: http://www.frugalvillage.com/forums/showthread.php?t=78413&highlight=cheap+meals


Another trick I had to learn the hard way... don't buy ingredients for new recipes, instead, pick recipes based on what you already have on hand. That was hard for me, but now I make it into a game for myself to see what new dish I can come up with based on the usual ingredients in my pantry. Sites such as www.recipezaar.com will let you search by ingredient, and, on that site you can also reduce your search to "simple, beginner" recipes if you're not too confident in your cooking skills.

Good luck! And feel free to keep asking questions here... there are a lot of people here with great advice- I know I've learned a lot here at the village!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yea, I'm begining to figure out the thing about not buying food for new recipes. I can't count the times I've thrown away ingredient items gone bad. I've gotten a lot of great recipes from one of the other threads. It's the shopping thing that gets me.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Is it better to just get all of my shopping done at Super-Walmart or should I go to the different stores like C&A (a dented can store), fred's (kinda like a dollar store), and the grocery store all individually?
 

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Is it better to just get all of my shopping done at Super-Walmart or should I go to the different stores like C&A (a dented can store), fred's (kinda like a dollar store), and the grocery store all individually?
I think that depends on your situation.... how many trips that would require (gas money) and how much time you have.

For me, I am better off to do most of my shopping at one store that doubles coupons, simply because I am hauling two kids with me, and going in and out of multiple stores is nearly impossible. I do make a seperate trip to the discount bread store, and I pick up grocery items at the Dollar Tree and Big Lots whenever I can.

I'm sure others can offer more advice...
 

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I try to use the crock pot once in a while so when I come home from work it is done and ready just to make up rice or whatever is going with it. I find that if I plan dinner early around 4:30, that it decreases the amount of snacking the girls want to do. My bill is high I think for a family of 6 but I am trying to get it down. I usually spend 100.00 a week including paper products, toiletries etc., pet food. Good luck.
 
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