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Old 05-26-2013, 12:01 PM   #1
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Do you eat less to be thrifty/cut grocery bill?

I've been wondering about this lately. DH and I eat healthy, but not extravagantly. We do live in a higher COL area, but it seems like maybe we eat more than other people. DH is tall, and I am nursing, but neither of us is overweight. We are fit and healthy, but we just seem to eat a lot of food. (I can see this is subjective, but I don't know how else to describe it).

Well, things are tight, and I would love to cut the grocery bill, but I'm not sure how much more I could cut it. We eat oatmeal for breakfasts, things like apples and nuts for snacks, and dinners vary, but feature a lot of veggies. The last few months I've taken out $400 cash at the beginning of the month, and it seems to only get us through three weeks of the month. (No eating out or prepared foods. Just big bags of frozen veggies, meat, eggs, rice & beans, and some fresh fruit). I do meal plan, but lunches seem to do us in. DH works from home, and will make a big lunch most days (he does use leftovers). He might make an egg omlettee with leftover lentils, for example. All this food usage adds up quick. But since he's fit and healthy, I feel bad asking him (or me), to eat less.

Do any of you eat less to make your food money last longer? I know for me, I actually find it easier to eat less the more food we have around because I know it's there if I get hungry later. But if we don't have food around, I want to eat more now to sock it away.

So ladies... I'm curious if you ever eat less when times are lean. How do you handle it? Please chime in!

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Old 05-26-2013, 12:21 PM   #2
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Re: Do you eat less to be thrifty/cut grocery bill?

How many people are you feeding on that $400? How much are you needing to stretch out that extra week (ie would $450 get you to the end?)

You said you meal plan, do you plan all three meals each day, or just dinner. I have found that for us, I need to plan all three meals. Even if I am not actually cooking them.
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Old 05-26-2013, 12:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happysmileylady View Post
How many people are you feeding on that $400? How much are you needing to stretch out that extra week (ie would $450 get you to the end?)

You said you meal plan, do you plan all three meals each day, or just dinner. I have found that for us, I need to plan all three meals. Even if I am not actually cooking them.
More like $500 to get us to the end... That's for 2.5 people (2 adults and 1 toddler). And I think you are on to something with meal planning ALL meals. I plan for breakfasts and dinners, but my "plan" for lunches was leftovers; which isn't cutting it. I think I need to better plan snacks and lunches.
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Old 05-26-2013, 01:01 PM   #4
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I've also started stocking up on things that don't go bad when they are cheap. And cocooning helps a ton with things we eat regularly but are non perishable. Condiments, etc.
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Old 05-26-2013, 01:20 PM   #5
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Re: Do you eat less to be thrifty/cut grocery bill?

Yep I have actually started meal planning all 3 meals recently, and it helps SO much!
Do you live in a high COL area? $500 a month for 3 people seems a little steep unless you are all organic.
We live in a high COL area and my grocery budget is $400 a month for 5 people. We mostly eat whole foods/organic with a few "treats" thrown in Do you have a Costco around? They have HUGE bags of organic frozen veggies for great prices...just make sure to go there with a list and stick to it...or it can get a little pricey
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Old 05-26-2013, 01:38 PM   #6
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Re: Do you eat less to be thrifty/cut grocery bill?

I have in the past or times when money is short like recently when I was not working at all and DH was out of work for 5 weeks unexpectedly. Without MILs help we would not have eaten at all!! OK extreme but really she helped us with groceries so we didn't starve or eat noodles/pasta every meal!!

I really haven't kept track of how much we spend a month but we are a family of three and easily spend 4 to 5 hundred, but that include diapers and other extras. We live in a HCOL area or so I think. I have a heart attack when i go grocery shopping! We do buy some prepared foods, like frozen pizza and DH lunch stuff. I have tried to get him to eat healthier but he still likes his frozen stuff and will eat both!!

I am underweight and anemic so I have been trying to not worry so much about our grocery budget. We have gone months without buying meat in the past and my general health suffers. I need the protein and don't eat beans!! EVER!!

DS eats pretty good but we try to stick to organic for him. I worry about GMOs too and it is so hard bc not everything is labeled and a lot is hidden or withheld or just hard to find and remember what companies do what!! We don't have a Trader Joes or Whole Foods anywhere close enough to shop there.
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:06 PM   #7
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Thankfully, I haven't been in the position where I've needed to consider it. Now, I have recently been watching our budget a lot closer as I am now a SAHM.

The other day, I made enchiladas. There were more than enough for one meal in the pan, but not quite enough for two meals if I let everyone just have at it. So I told everyone what their limit was and then after that they could have more rice/beans/salad. While we probably all would have eaten a little more, no one left the table hungry. Just not disgustingly stuffed.

Before I started sacrificing food leaving anyone in the family actually hungry, I would try anything else. Do you ever throw food away? Any leftover veggies, I put in a gallon ziploc in the freezer, even if its just a tiny amount. When I can get some beef stew meat on sale, I make a big pot of beef and veggie stew.

Do you buy all organic? Maybe just switch to the dirty dozen.

Do you meal plan based on what you want or what is on sale? Follow the sale paper! When things you use often that are non perishable or can be frozen go on sale, stock up! Pasta was on sale at our local store this week. With my coupon, it was free. What they had left wasn't my favorite shape, but who cares really.

I'm mobile so not sure where you are, but check and see if there is a Bountiful Baskets in your area. If you're picky this won't help, but you can get a ton of fruits and veggies that way for cheap. And it helped us expand our palates.
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Old 05-26-2013, 04:46 PM   #8
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Re: Do you eat less to be thrifty/cut grocery bill?

I've done it. North Americans eat way too much anyway. Neither DH or I are even close to starving.

Personally, I would rather eat less really good food if the budget is tight. If people are hungry around the house there is always the bread I make or cut up veggies in the fridge. I find the kids are claiming to be hungry but if I offer a carrot they aren't really that hungry... DH too for that matter!
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Old 05-26-2013, 07:20 PM   #9
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Ditch the meat and swap in beans and eggs. Even if you buy organic dried beans (soak overnight and cook in crock pot all day) or fancy eggs (great for a quick protein) you will still save money.
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:30 PM   #10
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Re: Do you eat less to be thrifty/cut grocery bill?

I will in that if we buy some berries and some pears, I'll eat the pears myself and save the berries for dd since they're more expensive and I don't buy a ton. We can all eat as much fruit as we want, but adults do have to ration themselves a bit with the more expensive ones. We don't eat meat, but if we did, I'd probably do similarly, like only make a small amount and try to let children have most of it and adults focus on cheaper carbs and veg. I couldn't ask anyone to be hungry unless it was literally the only option, though.
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