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Old 09-12-2007, 09:01 AM   #11
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Re: How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

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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.
We live on several acres so we plan to do a garden. The first year I tried it did not work out so well. LOL

So please tell me what the menus looked like with the $40 grocery bill! I would love to learn how to cook meals for so many on $40 for the week.

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Old 09-12-2007, 09:02 AM   #12
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Re: How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

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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.
I cannot imagine how many we would go through. I have not used paper towels in years, we use the kitchen cloth mentioned above and they go through those like crazy! We have about 40+ and we wash every other day at the very least.
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Old 09-12-2007, 09:03 AM   #13
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Re: How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

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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.
I have not ever canned/frozen stuff before so that is something I would love to get in the habit of doing. So, talk to me like I am 5...what are some fruits that you can freeze and how do you go about doing that? Thanks!
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Old 09-12-2007, 09:34 AM   #14
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Re: How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

Prioritize your organic. I buy NOTHING organic because I can't afford it. Not everyone is in my situation but prioritize what you do buy that's organic.

Use 1/2 or less of the amt of meat in a recipe. My family doesn't even notice.


Try making soups with all the small extra portions of veggies and meats and pastas that wont' make more than one serving.

Eat rice a beans at least once a week, it's SOOOO cheap!

Breakfast for dinner. SEriously, pancakes are super cheap.

Reuse your coffee grounds for a second day adding half the amt of new ones. For example, if you usually use 4 scoops of grounds, the second day keep the used grounds in the pot but add 2 more. Coffee tastes the same, honestly! I swear!

Leftovers are great for lunches or one leftovers night per week where everyone has a leftover from previous dinners.

Make your own popsicles with juice and water.

Water and lemonade are pretyt cheap. Drink them instead of soda.

Make your own snacks like cookies, muffins, crackers, chips, etc.

No individually packaged fruit cups, snacks, etc.

Apply for free or reduced lunches at your child's school. They have come a long way.

Think about applying for WIC if you qualify.
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Old 09-12-2007, 09:36 AM   #15
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Re: How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

check out this site for freezing information ... and canning, too.

http://www.freshpreserving.com/pages...eezing/104.php

freezing fruits is pretty easy - just slice and freeze. with the juicy ones, it's best to freeze on a cookie sheet before bagging so you don't get a clump of frozen fruit. veggies, though, you may have to blanch before you freeze (a few minutes in boiling water, depending on the veggie).
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Old 09-12-2007, 09:41 AM   #16
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Re: How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

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I have not ever canned/frozen stuff before so that is something I would love to get in the habit of doing. So, talk to me like I am 5...what are some fruits that you can freeze and how do you go about doing that? Thanks!


Silly mama!

So far I've frozen:
green peppers(only for soups, chili, cooking, etc. they get mushy when you thaw them)

milk(leave a TON of room for expansion when you freeze it. like half the gallon)

yogurt

peaches

strawberries

cheese(shred it first and only use for cooking and melting on soups and pizzas because it's very crumbly when you thaw it.

zucchini

blueberries

bananas(only overripe ones I plan to use in a banana bread because they get sorta mushy and watery and icky but they are still delish in bread. And they are cheap and the price doesn't fluctuate anyway really)

all sorts of casseroles, breads, cookies, etc. fully cooked.

butter

meats(bought in the giant family packs and frozen individually in plastic bags or wrapped in foil.


For the fruits and veggies I wash them, cut them up, and then lay them on cookie sheets in the freezer to freeze and then when done, I put them in plastic bags. Otherwise they stick together and become nearly unusable until they thaw and then you can waste a huge portion that you dont' need to use. I buy corn, peas, carrots, etc already frozen because they are cheaper than canned or fresh(with the exception of baby carrots for snacking and corn on the cob when it's cheap and like $.16 each!)
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Old 09-12-2007, 10:57 AM   #17
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Re: How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

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Originally Posted by faerybugmady View Post


Silly mama!

So far I've frozen:
green peppers(only for soups, chili, cooking, etc. they get mushy when you thaw them)

milk(leave a TON of room for expansion when you freeze it. like half the gallon)

yogurt

peaches

strawberries

cheese(shred it first and only use for cooking and melting on soups and pizzas because it's very crumbly when you thaw it.

zucchini

blueberries

bananas(only overripe ones I plan to use in a banana bread because they get sorta mushy and watery and icky but they are still delish in bread. And they are cheap and the price doesn't fluctuate anyway really)

all sorts of casseroles, breads, cookies, etc. fully cooked.

butter

meats(bought in the giant family packs and frozen individually in plastic bags or wrapped in foil.


For the fruits and veggies I wash them, cut them up, and then lay them on cookie sheets in the freezer to freeze and then when done, I put them in plastic bags. Otherwise they stick together and become nearly unusable until they thaw and then you can waste a huge portion that you dont' need to use. I buy corn, peas, carrots, etc already frozen because they are cheaper than canned or fresh(with the exception of baby carrots for snacking and corn on the cob when it's cheap and like $.16 each!)
What she said! I also freeze blackberries in addition to the blueberries. I use my frozen peaches, berries and apples for cobblers in the winter. I love me some homemade cobbler, it's super easy and DH loves it too. They are mushy once thawed. I also make my own babyfood using frozen stuff or I make it in advance and freeze it in ice trays. I did this with #1 and when #2 is ready, I'll do the same.

For peppers, they work great in stews, jazzing up jarred spaghetti and they're completely perfect for fajitas.

I never freeze bananas b/c we go through them so darn fast! But I lots of people who buy them fresh and put them in there for a couple of days to make banana bread. OH! And I saw on Sandra Lee's show the other day...frozen bananas on a stick and then rolling them in melted chocolate, carmel, etc and then sprinkles! They looked GOODDDDD! I am going to try this next week.

A friend told me about putting those individual goburts in the freezer for a yummy kid snack. I take 1 tube and cut it in half for 2! And they last forever cutting them in half for DS and I. I'm thinking about making ice cubes of yogurt with toothpicks in them. Will that work, I wonder?

Last year I also froze cooked squashes for babyfood but I bet you freeze them with the sole intention of using them for casseroles. )

Good luck!!!
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Old 09-12-2007, 11:27 AM   #18
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Re: How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

This might help: the top ten foods to buy organically and then ones that you might want to purchase in the traditional manner (which is so sad that organic isn't traditional)

http://money.cnn.com/2006/01/09/pf/o...food/index.htm
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Old 09-12-2007, 11:30 AM   #19
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Re: How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

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We live on several acres so we plan to do a garden. The first year I tried it did not work out so well. LOL

So please tell me what the menus looked like with the $40 grocery bill! I would love to learn how to cook meals for so many on $40 for the week.
I have a couple menus posted on my blog, keep in mind, I cook from the pantry first and try to use less meat or cheaper cuts. I also do a lot of scratch cooking, probably more than most people want to do

For the garden, I have gotten rather lazy in the past couple years. Now when I want a new bed, I put down several layers of cardboard where I want the new bed to be. On top of that I spread bagged garden soil(organic) and compost. I plant right in that, the cardboard breaks down and the soil underneath becomes usable. More pricey to start, but saves you soooo much time, that I think it's worth it. I mulch with a heavy layer of grass clippings, so the weeds are a minimum. Here is a pic of a new bed made this spring, keep in mind the grass you see is not in the bed, my dh didn't want to mow over any plants, so he left a wide swath. sigh
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Old 09-12-2007, 11:37 AM   #20
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Re: How to get the grocery bill down from $200 a week?

what are you growing on the fencing? is that squash/pumpkin? I've grown cukes that way, on a trellis. Good space saver.

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