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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Kitchen Slacker and High Grocery Bills

Has any one else noticed food prices rising? As if the gas prices aren't high enough, we get to enjoy the "trickle down effect" and pay more for EVERYTHING.
So here's the deal. Each week I usually spend about $100 at my major grocery shopping "adventure". That doesn't include little stops for milk, or other things we may have run out of, or going out to eat (which we do once a week or so).
For the last two months, I haven't been able to get it under $130... and it's often been MUCH higher. No I haven't suddenly started adding halibut and fine wine to the menu. Same stuff as always.
That leaves me in a predicament. Find ways to cut grocery costs, or "gasp" take money out of the "fun money fund". NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
I thought about knocking out our healthy convenience foods (salad in a bag, sprouted wheat bread, ETC....) BUT, in reality I never have time to make these things from scratch and we end up eating fast food. That costs us more AND I get fat. Totally not the point. I just don't get it, but lettuce pre-washed in a little plastic bag gets eaten right up around here... but if it's in it's "natural" lettuce state, it just rots in my fridge.
SO, I need tips. I don't have time to cook all my meals from scratch, and we like to eat healthy (OK, maybe we don't like to, but we try to).What are your best grocery saving tips?

14 comments:

javamamma said...

No tips from me. But I'm gonna check back to see what other's say.

Rachelle said...

I wish I could say I'd found the secret. Other than meal planning, buying on sale, and buying bulk items that are cheaper (flour, laundry soap etc.) I don't know what to tell you. Nothing original. I'm really interested in everyone's replies though.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I tried to wash, dry and tear my lettuce to save money. It rotted much faster. I wondered if there were preservatives sprayed on the bag or the actual lettuce from the prewashed bag~? I dunno, but I still buy it.
I know that there is a cheap grocery list somewhere on www.lainesletters.com (I think that's it) However, my family is not willing to eat hamburger and beans all week.
I'm right there with ya on the expensive grocery thing. Then, if you "shop the sales" and drive from store to store you end up spending it all in $3.20+ per gallon of gas.
Sigh.....
~KatherineJ

Cindy said...

My top 3 tricks I use for our fam...

1. I simply don't go to the store and I see how long I can stretch the things in my pantry and freezer. Sort of a challenge to me. :)

2. We have a store here called Aldi's, maybe you have one or something similar where EVERYTHING is cheaper b/c they have virtually no employees, you bag your own stuff, rent your cart, etc. I spend about 1/2 what I do at a regular store.

3. I do "freezer cooking" with 4 friends. We meet once to plan our menu; plan 15 dishes. Divide those up, everyone makes 3 of the recipes, and ten of each of those. So for example, I might make 10 lasagnas, 10 bags of marinated pork chops, and 10 bags of chicken parmesan. Then we meet up and swap. That allows us to really buy in bulk, simplifies cooking for months, I always have something for a family with a new baby or a sick mom, and I get to see my friends. It's the BEST thing I've found for this kitchen slacker.

Cindy said...

Got your msg. :) If you decide you do want to do the freezer cooking thing, let me know... There are lots of little ways to make it easier that sometimes takes time to figure out! I have lots of good recipes that freeze well, too. Although most things do, really. Just not things with mayo or veggies if you like them crispy. :)

Anonymous said...

One thing that has helped me is to plan a menu for the week. When I go to the store I try to stick to just what is on the menu, unless I end up with extra money. It has helped me stay on budget.

midwifemom

reallyniceday said...

Actually, I'd opt for the lettuce in it's true form. The bagged lettuce lasts because it has formaldihyde on it. Yum....

We're up in the $150's for groceries every week...and we don't eat or buy meat. I'd hate to find out what it would be if we bought meat.

call*me*kate said...

About the only tip I can think of at the moment is to be sure and check the unit pricing. Fred Meyer is famous for charging more per unit when you buy the larger of a product. (Like it costs more per unit to buy a 12-roll of a famous brand name of paper towels than if you bought the 8-roll.) It doesn't make sense and I think it's bad business. But stores are in business to make money, right? We like to buy natural foods and some organics, even though they cost more, so I watch for sales. We are of the non-bagged lettuce segment of society, so we do save a bit there :)

Kate

Michelle said...

Ohhh, I love Cindy's freezer and dinner swap idea! But, then I think of the kitchen mess...I have no tips. I feel the same way you do. I have started using the crock pot more and have joined the Yahoo! crockpot group. It's amazing what you can dig up in the pantry, throw into the crockpot and a few hours later it tastes good.

We were at 100/week too, with some trips for incidentals, but it has been creeping up. I was buying salad in a bag, but it tastes funny and then smells funny after a few days. I splurge and buy the organic romaine hearts. Salad is a must every night, so it's the one thing I do indulge on...the right lettuce for us.

Halfmoon Girl said...

I too am thinking of ways to cut down our grocery bill and still eat healthy. Now that we are in gardening season, that will help. I am trying to do big shops on discount days only.

reallyniceday said...

Oh I forgot to tell you. Don't wash all your veggies right away when you get them home because it's the moist that starts to mildew and mold. Wash it as you use it.

Enough tips from the rice a roni mom.

Halfmoon Girl said...

HI, I just found where you asked me a while ago if you could add me to your sidebar. Did I answer that? I don't think I did- that would be great and I will add you to mine as I like reading your blog too! Happy Mother's Day!

Trina said...

OH good golly Miss Molly that is a tough one. I have to say your grocery bill seems rather reasonable to me, but I guess I have 5 boys who eat like HORSES...no really clydesdales (sp?) hehehe I am a scratch kind of girl mainly. I mean I have handy stuff, but I dont buy a lot of premade stuff. It really does cut back. You could take your lettuce, wash it, wrap it in paper towels and baggie it yourself...Cuz you have sooooo much time right? LOL

nitromomof6 said...

I love all the ideas, I will add that I cut and wash regular lettuce in water and a splash of regular white distilled vinegar then I spin it really well and store in a ziploc bag. It keeps really well for at least a week, it kills the bacteria naturally, by the way, it will even bring limp lettuce back to life. With a big bowl of water and a healthy splash you really don't taste any after taste. Beware the nasty water will make you ill, it is really gross.