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Old 09-11-2007, 07:29 AM   #1
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How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

So, I have menus, we don't eat junk food, shop around the outer and don't get really anything from the inner isles and spend $200 easily a week at the grocery. This includes everything, meat, any cleaning products, household products, etc....but from everything I have read that is still high.

We eat a lot of fresh fruit and veggies, meat and eat organic as much as possible. How do I cut this bill and still eat healthy and without everyone feeling deprived of fresh fruit and veggies and good meats?

I do cut coupons but we don't buy most of the stuff that is advertised anyway...

Suggestions?

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Old 09-11-2007, 07:34 AM   #2
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Re: How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

Do you have any produce stands/farmer's markets nearby? You can save a lot on produce there. I actually rarely buy produce in the store. (i.e. tomatoes were $1.49/lb at the market yesterday, they are 2 lbs/$1.50 at the produce mart)

Can you cut down on the cleaners you buy? Make your own, use vinegar/baking soda?

Cut down on paper products? (I'm trying to do that one myself!)

Go vegetarian a few nights a week? Beans are a yummy and cheap protein source!
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:39 AM   #3
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Re: How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

We do have farmers markets and we live in the country next to a farm but this year the drought has killed the local produce.

I make all my own cleaners....the only thing I buy is toilet cleaner, dishwasher detergent, clothes detergent and vinegar to make all the other stuff.

We don't use paper towels, only toilet paper and trash bags. My friend makes the best kitchen towels out of 15 oz sherpa.

I just don't get it...(obviously )
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:39 AM   #4
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Re: How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

Unfortunately organic stuff drives it up- but I had the same problem as you until we started using only cash for groceries. I have a set amount of cash I take with me and I can only use that. I buy all generic stuff (besides meat of course) and when I've used up my money- that's it. We just have to get creative. Using less meat in recipes REALLY helps. Use 1/2 the meat in things. Casseroles are generally cheap to make (although often have a lot of fat). Soups make a lot (sometimes 2 meals worth) and are usually cheap also. Fresh fruit and veggies are SO EXPENSIVE! At least around here. I've started trying to use more frozen veggies and things to cut costs. HTH...It's so hard mama! GL
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Old 09-11-2007, 09:33 AM   #5
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Re: How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

Wow, that's about what I spend every 2 weeks.

Meat gets expensive. We eat plenty of pork chops/loin and steak once and a while, but limit it.
We eat a lot of hamburger. Meatloaf, meatballs, casseroles, hamburgers, spaghetti, ziti, tacos........
Ground pork and turkey make a great alternative to ground beef when you're sick of eating that!
Chicken breasts go a long way. Chicken strips, chicken and noodles, grilled chicken, chicken echiladas, bacon wrapped chicken.......
I do roast, then use the left over the next day for beef and noodles. Same with chicken.

If I make bacon wrapped chicken, I make baked potato soup the next day (cheese soup with potatoes, bacon, veggies).

I buy frozen veggies most of the time. Eat lots of rice, noodles, potatoes. Those things are all cheap and you can make tons of side dishes with them.

I don't buy brand name! Generic may taste a bit different, but I get used to it.

I buy generic cleaning supplys, and use old towels instead of paper towels to dust with. I hardly ever buy paper plates because dh will use them even though I've got a sink full of dishes.
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:45 AM   #6
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Re: How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

maybe try buying bulk, but i dont know if you can do that with organic.

im not a thrifty expert so i cant say, but i know if you buy a bag of bulk chicken at Kroger- you can split that up and make several meals out of it. If you buy frozen fruits and veggies- its cheaper than fresh.

Some ideas::::

dont buy pop-- buy water/juice (frozen or canned)/kool-aid, etc
buy bulk
make your own from scratch (bread, muffins, cookies, etc)
Buy milk in bulk and then freeze some AND buy at least 1 box of powder to always keep on hand, cause you can use it for baking or anything really
see if your grocery has discounted meats (kroger does i know)
Dont buy lunch meat (get the actual meat and use leftovers)

MOST IMPORTANT: Limit yourself. take a certain amount of money to the store and FORCE yourself to budget. If you cant buy everything you NEED with X amount of dollars- you most likely dont need what you cant afford. (this will cause you to learn to budget, get whats on sale, get only what you need)
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:28 AM   #7
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Re: How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

hmm ... that's about what we spend monthly ... BUT, we're vegetarian, it's just the two of us (DS is just starting solids) and we don't buy organic. Our most costly staple, though, is cheese!

I shop the sales and meal plan around those. One time, I said screw it & meal planned what I wanted and my grocery bill was $30-40 higher. I have noticed that super simple is usually cheaper. Like omelets, potatoes & fruit for a meal. Or rice & bean burritoes w/ salad & potatoes. Usually, I make enough for a day or two of leftover lunches.

I also stock up on sale items ... like this week, it was 69c/can spaghetti sauce (which I also use as pizza sauce and can stretch for two meals) and $1.00/can 30oz chili beans (that's two meals/can). I also buy just enough produce for the week so it doesn't spoil. We're darn good at using everything so it doesn't go bad.

I don't know ... that's what works for me. I grocery shopped w/ cash & a strict list this past week and it worked - my first try. In store, I had some things I had to nix or substitute to fit into my cash limit.
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Old 09-12-2007, 07:02 AM   #8
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Re: How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

My only suggestion would be to look at what you buy organic. Many organic products don't have a huge benefit to you or the environment. There are several lists out there that tell you what to buy organic and what not to buy organic if you are on a budget and still want to go as green as possible. It breaks it down in the fruits/veggies and then the more processed stuff. I try to buy the fresh stuff organic whenever I can but when it's 5.99/lb, I just can't always afford it. So, I try to be stragetic in what I buy.

I think, in health food stores, if you buy in bulk you have to watch for sales. Some stuff is cheaper and some isn't. But, I think the key is to steer clear of the "mixes." I mean, they LOOK and SMELL good(!) but they can be kind of high. JMHO.

I tend to stockpile as well. I also freeze a lot of fresh products in season (when I know they freeze well) so that I don't pay ridiculous prices when they're not in season and being shipped from further away. Right now, I can get peaches for .99/lb whereas in the fall/winter they're closer to $2/lb. Same with green/red peppers. Right now, they're 0.33 each whereas in the fall/winter, they're 1.29 EACH sometimes! So, I buy, slice, put on a cookie sheet and freeze them. Then I bag them so I can pull out what I want when I'm cooking.

Don't know if this was of any value to you! I just firmly believe that my "planning" saves me money in the long run, even if DH thinks I'm nuts sometimes.
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Old 09-12-2007, 08:13 AM   #9
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Re: How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

Can you grow any of your own produce? That would give you organic veggies without the high price. Tomatoes can be grown in 5gal buckets on the porch, if you have no yard space. Broccoli and carrots are both super simple to grow, as is cabbage and onions if you do have some space. Check into square foot gardening if space is limited. If you do have a good sized yard, think about planting a fruit tree that is suitable for your climate, apple for northern, oranges for southern, etc.

Consider baking your own breads and buy the yeast in bulk at a hfs. Never buy those over-priced packets at the grocery store Once upon a time, store bought bread was cheaper, but no more. Prices are climbing all the time and it really is cheaper to make your own most of the time.

Budgeting and meal planning are both very helpful though. I have my budget down to $60/week for a family of six. We do eat meat and love fresh fruits. Last week I only spent $40 of my budget, so I get to put away the other $20

Also, others have talked about a produce program with local farmers for fresh produce. You pay a membership and get a box of produce weekly. Can't remember what it's called, someone else chime in.
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Old 09-12-2007, 08:36 AM   #10
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Re: How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

I don't use Paper towels, ( I would go through them like crazy) Or my oldest DD would use a whole roll to clean up a tiny spill LOL . I use MF and washcloths instead.
I'm growing my own tomatoe plant but it hasn't produced yet . Has the flowers but no fruit yet . I'm going to start buying my veggies/ fruits from produce stands as well.
Buying in bulk really saves a lot also. I also don't buy babywipes , I use cloth and make my wipes solution.
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