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    #16
    I just checked my Mint account and we spent $544 at the grocery store last month and $54 on carryout. Family of 3. We all make our lunches and do breakfast at home as well. Admittedly, we also drink a lot lol and I don't break that out of my grocery bill so its actually a bit less. Over 3 months grocery spending was $1,450. Feel like I've mentioned it here before but my ultimate time and cost savings on groceries is using a meal plan subscription. They put out a weekly menu with 4 meals, I choose which ones I want to add, it generates a grocery list and then I can export it to instacart and have my groceries delivered. Weekly meal planning takes me about 15 minutes and we eat such a great variety and generally healthy food. I also watch our local grocery ads and stock up on meat when its on sale which is far cheaper than buying in bulk. I get 80% ground beef when its $1.88/lb. Chicken thighs or breasts when they are $2/lb or less. Pork around the same. We also have an excellent meat counter with some pre-prepped dinner options that are great to freeze for nights I don't feel like cooking like stuffed pork chops and marinated chicken.

    Re frozen or canned veggies... I think probably its a little cheaper but the taste just isn't the same. I almost always opt for fresh and occasionally frozen if its out of season.

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      #17
      Originally posted by HundredK View Post

      No, people who have led privileged lives like to tell poor people they're not trying hard enough.
      No one can buy a 10lb bag of rice quite inexpensively.

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        #18
        Originally posted by Snicks View Post

        No one can buy a 10lb bag of rice quite inexpensively.
        So first you say poor folks should buy apples instead of Doritos. Now you say they should be loading up on cheap rice. Which is it? Are you concerned with nutrition or calories or bulk or what?

        As for that 10-lb bag of rice, that's not what they sell at the corner bodega where folks do their shopping. Those places sell overpriced convenience food items. Buying that big economy bag of rice means getting to the supermarket in the good neighborhood. Since they don't have a car, that means taking a couple of buses and hauling that bag and anything else home. And that "quick" trip to the store might take a few hours due to the bus schedule.
        Steve

        * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
        * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
        * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

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          #19
          Originally posted by disneysteve View Post

          So first you say poor folks should buy apples instead of Doritos. Now you say they should be loading up on cheap rice. Which is it? Are you concerned with nutrition or calories or bulk or what?

          As for that 10-lb bag of rice, that's not what they sell at the corner bodega where folks do their shopping. Those places sell overpriced convenience food items. Buying that big economy bag of rice means getting to the supermarket in the good neighborhood. Since they don't have a car, that means taking a couple of buses and hauling that bag and anything else home. And that "quick" trip to the store might take a few hours due to the bus schedule.
          I dont think you compare rice to Doritos. I eat rice on a regular basis.
          As for a "good neighborhood", I can get rice and DO get rice at times at Dollar General

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            #20
            Originally posted by Snicks View Post

            No one can buy a 10lb bag of rice quite inexpensively.
            The issue is that you're assuming everyone else is just like you. So it's great if that is what you do, but it's not helpful to assume everyone has access to the same things you do in the same way you do. Generally not the best idea to declare what people should be doing or to proclaim that they're not trying hard enough until you've lived a year in their shoes, ya know? You'd probably come out of that year with a strikingly different opinion.

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              #21
              You might save 2/3 of the cost of ghee if you make it yourself. https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/...recipe-2103328 Make sure to read the comments after the recipe to help you find how to make the kind of ghee you are accustomed to, or at least to find out that there is more than one ghee outcome that is considered good.

              Then, how about the salsa? Make that at home, too? Especially if your family eats it frequently? Try making it from canned tomatoes and you might find it tastier than if you make it from fresh supermarket tomatoes. Tomatoes that are canned are often riper, more flavorful ones than you pick up in the produce sections. If you like an acid salsa, experiment with lemon juice, apple vinegar, and white vinegar, even other fruit vinegars to see which one or two you like best in salsa.
              "There is some ontological doubt as to whether it may even be possible in principle to nail down these things in the universe we're given to study." --text msg from my kid

              "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." --Frederick Douglass

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                #22
                Oops, forgot to say, that, yes, we are seeing food prices rising! However, due to our ages and health conditions, the two of us are staying out of stores as much as possible. This means we really are eating more soups, stews, beans, rice, barley, oats and peasant food generally than ever. Cheap, storeable foods. But we have canned and dried vegetables and fruits from our garden, and our new staple since harvest in October is butternut squash. We had 250 pounds, gave away about 30 pounds and are now down to 90 pounds left. We pop butternut into so many dishes!

                I friend of mine who lives rural on the northwest coast told me that food prices there had skyrocketed. I wish I could remember what item she mentioned in particular, but there was something common (might have been tomatoes) that was something like ten times the price of a year ago. Brutal.
                "There is some ontological doubt as to whether it may even be possible in principle to nail down these things in the universe we're given to study." --text msg from my kid

                "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." --Frederick Douglass

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                  #23
                  HundredK thanks for the target suggestion! I am going to start looking there for stuff. If i can throw it in the basket, realizing it is not a superstore the closest target. The milk good and gather from is $3.49 per 1/2 gallon Lactose free at the target near by according to online and no gallon size for lactose free. So $3.31 per half gallon but I get 2% back from costco CC and 2% executive membership. Not giving up costco like i said 1.2 miles and has gas station. Gas alone saves us 30 cents on the gallon, i drove 329 gallons last year and DH drove 273 gallons = 602 gallons with 30 cents savings = $180. That pays for my membership and the super cheap costco auto and home insurance at about $200 savings. I call and price out auto and home annually. Any food savings is gravy but it might not be a real savings. I need to look at the savings more carefully. Milk at costco last year was $7.99 for 3 half gallons of lactose free and this years it's up to $9.99. Realize it blew target savings out of the way before. I was always like that. But I think costco is having trouble keeping prices down because the factories themselves are struggling with price increases.

                  That said River what meal plan subscription do you use? $54 on carryout is how many meals? 1? Again this is where the geolocation probably plays a role. But I am thinking I need to watching the grocery sales to stock up on cheap meat. I don't think I've seen $1.88 anytime recently (a few years), but I thought it was due to food price increases. I can definitely tell the food price increases on fresh fruit and veggies.

                  Fishing what sort of veggies and how big a space do you recommend? We have a small yard and small house and space. No freezer for beef or deer. No space for it either unless i never want to park in my garage again. But I do have a small veggie garden. We did beans, tomatos, lettuce heads. Not a ton but something. It was so good.

                  Joan thank you very very much. for the tips. I am unsure about the ghee, but I could do the salsa. Thank you very much i am going to look into it. These are great tips. The price of eggs, veggies appear to have doubled. Fruits too. I recall a year ago we could get apples for $1/lb. Now it's hard to find any under $1.99/lb. Apples i used to buy tons and organic for $2/lb now it's closer to $4.

                  Snicks you need to have a dollar general nearby. Haven't got one. Again I have a car, but I can see how some people where i live without much money couldn't afford to really be picky and choosy. Where we once lived I can honestly say the food produce looked like leftover produce and meat from the suburbs. Fortunately in that area of the city we happened to live in we had cars and drove to the suburbs/costco/etc to shop once a week. And it does make a big deal. Couple of the neighbors told me to stop walking my little white dog "nice" girl like you shouldn't be out. I was young and dumb and had chosen our temporary rental on craigslist. We stuck out very much so, and while i had lived in a not so nice city area before (actually just moved from one), this area I ethnically didn't fit in. The one I left i did so walking solo I was not out of the norm. And there was only one grocery store close to our place and bodegas the rest of the way. Bodegas were rip offs and no way in hell could i have survived on $200/month groceries cooking. There was basically nothing to cook but instant and processed foods. So it's not an apples to apples comparison.

                  And no I usually don't budget so stringently. Never have. But I feel like now I really need to get a handle on our spending.
                  Last edited by LivingAlmostLarge; 02-19-2021, 11:00 AM.
                  LivingAlmostLarge Blog

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                    #24
                    Originally posted by LivingAlmostLarge View Post

                    That said River what meal plan subscription do you use? $54 on carryout is how many meals? 1? Again this is where the geolocation probably plays a role. But I am thinking I need to watching the grocery sales to stock up on cheap meat. I don't think I've seen $1.88 anytime recently (a few years), but I thought it was due to food price increases. I can definitely tell the food price increases on fresh fruit and veggies.
                    I use Cook Smarts. Referral code if you're interested in trying it. We also have a facebook group called Cook Smarts kitchen heros which is nice for last minute substitutions, dietary accommodations (although they do have several diets to choose from built in already), etc. I've been using it for a few years and don't know how I functioned without it. Yes $54 was 1 meal last month. Looks like we did carry out 9 times over the last 3 months for $309 so average of $34... usually when we get carryout its just two of us though so that's part of why its so low.

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                      #25
                      Originally posted by riverwed070707 View Post

                      I use Cook Smarts. Referral code if you're interested in trying it. We also have a facebook group called Cook Smarts kitchen heros which is nice for last minute substitutions, dietary accommodations (although they do have several diets to choose from built in already), etc. I've been using it for a few years and don't know how I functioned without it. Yes $54 was 1 meal last month. Looks like we did carry out 9 times over the last 3 months for $309 so average of $34... usually when we get carryout its just two of us though so that's part of why its so low.
                      Do you get to pick your meals? Looks amazing to try. I find take out I can't get below $75 for a family of 4 and usually that's asian. Hamburgers are still running us family of 4 $50 or $30 at mcdonalds
                      LivingAlmostLarge Blog

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                        #26
                        Originally posted by LivingAlmostLarge View Post

                        I find take out I can't get below $75 for a family of 4 and usually that's asian. Hamburgers are still running us family of 4 $50 or $30 at mcdonalds
                        I love eating out, but it is so much more expensive than cooking at home, even if you do use some convenience foods in the process. And home cooking is almost always better for you as well.

                        I'm visiting a family member this week. Wednesday night, we went to a local Italian place for dinner. I had chicken cacciatore. He had a veal parm sandwich. No apps. No desserts. No extra sides. Two sodas, no alcohol. Pretty simple. With tax and tip we were right around $40.

                        Last night, I cooked dinner. Baked fresh tilapia, baked potatoes, and sauteed fresh mixed vegetables. Total cost for all ingredients $7.86 and we still have half an onion and 1/2 a green pepper left over.

                        Take out is cheaper since you avoid the tip, but it's still expensive, especially when you're feeding 4. It's hard to come in under $10/person and usually more like $15.
                        Steve

                        * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                        * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                        * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                        Comment


                          #27
                          Originally posted by LivingAlmostLarge View Post

                          Do you get to pick your meals? Looks amazing to try. I find take out I can't get below $75 for a family of 4 and usually that's asian. Hamburgers are still running us family of 4 $50 or $30 at mcdonalds
                          Yes you get to pick your meals! They give a weekly plan with 4 meals but you choose to “add” them to your week skipping any you aren’t interested in. You can also mark what you’ve made, favorite ones you really loved and supplement your weekly plan with any meal from the archives. Then when you get your grocery list you can check off anything you already have. It’s a really slick user interface and easy to use and customize, plus the meals are creative and rarely take more than 30 minutes

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                            #28
                            I try to keep shopping simple. Most of the the healthier stuff is on the outer aisles of the store. Veggies, meats, dairy, etc. The more you get to the center of the store, the more processed stuff is in there. Frozen veggies are very economical . Some veggies I don't buy fresh as they don't hold up and I don't use them fast enough. But, I can always have some frozen broccoli on hand. For the fresh veg I do buy, when i buy a bag of carrots, I bring them home, peel them , cut off the ends and then put them in a baggie. They hold up well and are easy to grab. When i buy grapes, i destem them and have them available to eat easily. Harder cheeses last a long time. I always have some parmesan on hand, a small amount of freshly grated cheese really ramps up the flavor of a lot of things. I have rice and pasta on hand. And most of my baking is from scratch as well. For meats, I like to have some steaks on hand and boneless chicken breasts. Very easy to quickly saute a nice meal.

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                              #29
                              Originally posted by LivingAlmostLarge View Post
                              Fishing what sort of veggies and how big a space do you recommend? We have a small yard and small house and space. No freezer for beef or deer. No space for it either unless i never want to park in my garage again. But I do have a small veggie garden. We did beans, tomatos, lettuce heads. Not a ton but something. It was so good.
                              Our little garden is four raised beds, totaling approx. 220 SF. We get all the tomatoes, green beans, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce and radishes we can eat while in season, plus give away plenty.
                              In addition we preserve a whole bunch of green beans and tomatoes for later use. You don't need much space.

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                                #30
                                Originally posted by riverwed070707 View Post

                                I use Cook Smarts. Referral code if you're interested in trying it.
                                Thank you for this!! I’d never heard of this service, going to give it a try.

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