Everyone finds their own way to save money and we found our own as well. We are a couple. We spend money in food ($320 e/month) because we consider food quality is important. And unfortunately, in US if you want quality food you have to spend because the commercial interest is for you to buy fast food that is loaded with fats and is easily available. We do not buy pantry items, just the basics, nothing canned, just rice, pasta, couscous, sugar, and fair-trade chocolate powder. We buy local-grown in-season fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, poultry, dairy (three different types of cheese, yoghurt, and milk) and baguettes that we freeze to have fresh bread every morning. We do french breakfast (orange juice, fruit, coffee and baguete) we snack fruits, we lunch leftovers and we dinner protein, salad/vegetables and some carbs (couscous, rice, pasta, potatoes). We don't buy fast food, we don't buy in Costco, Sam's, WalMart because we distrust their ethics, they drain their employees (here and abroad) and not take care of the quality for their customers (produce is just cheap and bad). We strongly believe you have to pay for good quality and save money in other things like leisure (no cinema ni malls if you always have the big outdoors), like bills (no car, instead walking or bicycling, no conditioning air, instead less clothes, more cold water!). We strongly believe costumers choose whom to give their money and we prefer to give it to local producers, fair-traders, local restaurants, instead of big multinationals. It's just a way to keep money closer and around.
7/16/2008 12:17:05 PM
Shop less, spend less. Buy all your staples [canned goods, nonfood stuff like soap, TP, etc., ingredients like flour, sugar, etc.] once a month or less. Buy all of this stuff in the cheapest store in your area. Then, cherry pick! Check newspaper for specials on things your family eats, go to that store for these items. Even "expensive" stores have sales. If you can't afford EVERYthing organic, remember you can wash produce -- save for organic meat, dairy, other animal products.
I save money on items like bread by buying the ingredients and making my loaves at home. It may sound like a lot of work, but the loaves are usually cheaper than the day old bread or cheapest loaves in the stores- and I know what ingredients are going into each loaf! It also helps if you can have a garden and grow your own fresh veggies- that cuts down on produce costs and you don't have to worry about residues, either!
7/15/2008 10:24:45 PM
I didn't see any mention of warehouse clubs as a way of saving money. I go once a month and stock up on what I need. I found that the large Quaker Old Fashioned oatmeal is cheaper than the bulk oatmeal at the supermarket (and it's packaged, not loose in a bulk container). Cheese is cheaper & use a vacuum sealer to package it once I bring it home. I've had cheese stay fresh for over 2 months this way. Paper and cleaning products are also cheaper - they're part of my grocery budget.
Also, some stores like Super Walmart will honor other stores' sale flyers on the same items. That saves gas driving around to get the best prices.
Another way to save money on meats is to buy whole instead of parts. E.g., a whole chicken is cheaper than the parts & when roasted, provides a meal for myself & my husband, plus leftovers & basis for soup. It's cheaper than buying a rotisserie chicken at the store & I know what's in it. I also buy whole turkey breast to cook instead of buying sliced turkey at the deli. Ham is cheaper when bought whole & cooked at home, then sliced for sandwiches. I buy it when it's on sale. The last time I bought one it was $1.99 a pound, versus $8.00 a pound for deli ham!
We check the grocery ads and plan our menu around what's marked down. We shop off the list that is planned around that menu. If there is a coupon available, so much the better. The Costco is a great place for Nature Valley granola bars (hubby's favorite mid-morning snack and salad produce. On Sunday I batch cook. Chicken breast and thighs cooked ahead can be put away for later in the week. Right now in the freezer we have single servings of at least three different kinds of soups, and vegi stir fry's for a light lunch to have with a salad, or a dinner for someone getting home late from work. We also make up a very large batch of vegetable salad and store in large ziplocs. Our only impulse purchases would be popcorn and pistachios, they're healthy snacks so I don't mind. Planning ahead is our one big salvation.
Since it's summer time, farmer's markets are an awesome place to buy great produce for less than at the store. It's great to know that my environmental impact is less and i'm supporting local family farms as opposed to big corporate ones.
I buy ramen in bulk, toss out (or put to the side for when I'm sick) the flavor packets (which have way too much sodium), and toss the noodles with spices, veggies (canned or frozen, whatever's on sale) , meat, or even fruits. That way I get a cheap meal with whatever I need for the day even on evenings when I can't bring myself to really cook! I also shop at the discount stores, and compare between walmart, the dollar store (which CAN and DOES overprice most of the time) and the discount grocery, which are all in the same shopping center.
My best gal pal and I have gotten into the habit of setting aside one day a month, doing a major bulk shopping trip, then prepping and freezing about 20 meals--each. We select some theme (like chicken) and choose several interesting recipes that uses our themed menu item. Most recipes stretch for 2-3 meals. This not only saves us money over time, it gives us a day to hang out and catch up, and saves time during the workweek when we're busy and trying to get dinner on the table for our families without exhausting ourselves.
Oh, and look in ethnic markets; prices may be less expensive for pantry staples such as beans and grains, as well as "exotic" foods. I purchase rice, seafood and duck at the Asian market. Red meat and chicken are less expensive at the local Mexican market. The Halal market has good prices on lamb. The local Indian market has good prices on dried legumes. I look for spices in bulk at ethnic markets as well. I use a variety of herbs and spices, and I go through a lot, so it makes sense for me to buy a couple ounces at a time. Most folks would be better off buying seasonings in small packets and jars, though.
I don't throw out any leftover vegetables, even if only a spoonful. I put them in a large container (about 1/2 gallon size) and when the container is fullwe make homemade soup. I also do this with cooked meat. I cut it up into small pieces and can add this to soups or other dishes, too.
Ok, there is book out there called Haley's Hints that has a bunch of money saving tips. There is a huge section for groceries and how to cut down. Go to your local library's website and search "Haley's Hints" and try it out. BOOYAH
I try shop along the outer walls of the grocery store, purchasing for the most part, fresh meat, dairy, and produce to cook "from scratch." I buy in-season produce (with the exception of lettuce) and I don't use coupons since they are usually for prepared foods. I also shop at the farmer's market. If I could work from home, I'd consider joining Community Supported Agriculture. (www.localharvest.org) I also grow my own vegetables (mostly herbs, greens and tomatoes) in the backyard in a square-foot garden.
7/15/2008 4:44:18 PM
I buy fresh veggies or meats, as much as they have, and only when on sale, prepare,cook, and freeze. If you're cooking anyway, a big batch takes as much energy and mess as a little batch. Save on electric or gas used to cook, not to mention preparation time and clean up time. I take out of freezer in the morning to thaw so it uses less energy to reheat in the microwave. I also make soups and casseroles and freeze in individual portions or for several people. Potatoes, pastas, rices and beans all freeze well. Freeze veggies in water they were cooked in, meats in the gravy.
We have gone "Green" and use simple homemade cleaning solutions and detergents. My laundry detergent costs $2.00 and last 4 weeks!!
7/15/2008 3:52:39 PM
Our family doesn't care for red meat so we fix turkey and chicken - alot of chicken. Since we only like white meat, I only buy skinless, boneless chicken breasts. I get them on sale and stock up. There is no waste and it goes far in the dishes we make. One shredded chicken breast added to veggies (zuchinni, mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots) and served over noodles or rice is a great meal.
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