Great points! We do similarly...! I also am a big believer in saving money through big batch cooking at home...much healthier and cheaper at the same time as you steer further astray from the world of processed "food-like substances" as Michael Pollan would call 'em! :-)
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I ate very well on food stamps and usually had money left at the end of the month. What I need to do is plan my trips. There is a $ store near the bank as well as one of the larger chain groceries. I can get some things at the $ store - they now accept the stamps at about 1/2 the cost of the other stores. There is another store on the way home where I can get bread at about 75% off - not stuff they already pulled off the shelves! I get seafood (mostly fish) as well as chicken at another store on the way to work. There is another discount grocer near work where I can get great deals on produce and yogurt. The flavors are limited there so I watch for sales at other stores and stock up on other yogurt flavors I like then.
Creativity and a little planning work with cooking as well. Also, I think you need to know what's available and maybe explore the stores a little. The area you live in will affect prices as well as what discount grocers are available.
I would cut up and clean all produce the day I buy it so I am more apt to use it.
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