Monday, November 03, 2008

Cheap Food

I am trying to do my part to help with tightening up our budget, and I've really been rather stumped when it comes to the groceries. For whatever reason, I've had a hard time trimming it down! I think I just like variety too much, so it's hard to plan otherwise. I already save pretty well on meat because I buy so little (we eat a lot of eggs, PB, tuna, beans, etc).

So thrifty friends -- what do are your helpful hints for saving $ on the grocery bill? I'd love some feedback so I don't feel like I'm only eating starch! I mean, Ramen noodles bring back that college spirit like nothing else, but it probably is not the healthiest staple out there. :)

PLEASE post some of your favorite cheap foods/meals for all of us to benefit from!

14 comments:

Rachel W said...

Gretchen,
One cheap food that I love is oatmeal. I don't mean the instant stuff with all of the sugar and fake flavorings added, I mean the old-fashioned, cook-it-yourself oatmeal that comes in the big canister. When my grocery budget was $70 for two weeks (that had to include paper products and cleaning products as well), oatmeal was our staple breakfast food. It does take a few minutes to cook in the morning but I thought it was totally worth it for a nice hot breakfast that filled me up for the whole morning. My favorite way to eat it was with plump raisins and some brown sugar, no milk, but of course you could vary this as you like.

Give it a try!

Rachel

Caitlin said...

Hey Mrs. Gretchen, have you heard of The Grocery Game? My mom does it and so do alot of people at church. Basically, it's just cutting coupons and using them at Kroger, Walmart, etc. We have quite a big grocery bill every week since we have 8 people in our family, but my mom usually saves about $50 to $80 dolllars every time! It really helps. You should give it a try! See you Wednesday!
Caitlin

Sarah said...

Biscuits and soup (both homemade!)--if you make a hearty enough soup, it can be an entire meal; beans and rice dishes; breakfast for dinner; tortillas are pretty cheap and can be made into tacos, quesadillas, sandwich wraps, etc.

I buy alot of the staples in bulk--if you can afford a Sam's card, it does save in the long run. Or buy one with a friend....

Eggs, tortillas, bread, milk, tomato sauce, rice, p.b., etc. are all cheaper in bulk there! I only buy the stuff that I know we use up really fast.

Good luck! I am trying to cut ours down too. It is hard when my family eats like refugees who just got off the boat! :-)

Gretchen said...

Rach -- I think I remember you telling me that many moons ago at our outside lunch here at SBTS. I love me some oatmeal, too (so does Josh). I think I can commit to going oatmeal all the time for breakfast!

Caitlin -- I think I need to talk to your mama about that! Where does she get the coupons? The newspaper?

Sar -- you were just the girl I was hoping to hear from, as I KNOW you know my plight. Homemade biscuits sounds AMAZING! Can you post your recipe? Or e-mail or facebook it to me? We do soups from time to time, but Josh is just not the biggest leftover guy. He can only eat it for a couple days. I guess I can do a soup I love and just eat the leftovers myself. I think as far as the buying in bulk goes, I just need to take more time to PLAN, and then I can do more Aldi and more Sam's (I have friends who are members, and they take orders sometimes) instead of Kroger. Thanks!

alongtheroadramblings said...

Gretchen, I echo many of your friends' sentiments. My hubby has oatmeal every morning, and G and I have cream of wheat too. I also do breakfast for dinner at least once a week, use tortillas for wraps and quesadillas, and try to buy much used items in bulk, though there are only three of us, so I don't do that too often. I have a food budget of $115.00 for every two weeks, so that's about $230.00 per month. My family is well fed and has a variety (my husband is not a big leftover eater either). Having a master grocery list is a huge help for me. I'd be happy to share any recipes I have with you. BTW, long story, but I have a new blog now. Brenna

Anonymous said...

I have to comment because I love food, but I am the absolute WORST about cheap food. :( ...what about frozen pizza? cheap! You and Josh are too skinny. HAHA! My only thing I know how to make is soup, so if Josh doesn't like it, then that's all I've got. Poor Bob, unless he grills, he just eats soup and frozen pizza.

~Anna

Gretchen said...

Brenna -- I love your new blog! I'm thinking that a master grocery list is JUST what I need. That way I can buy bulk the stuff I really do need more of. Also I think I need to compare prices at different places instead of just going where it's convenient.

Anna -- we are not too skinny. I've got a couple of frozen pizzas sitting in my freezer that I got at Kroger's "Moonlight Madness Sale" the night before Halloween -- they were REALLY cheap. I try not to eat more than 2 a week, you know. :) What kind of soup do you make? Tortilini soup is sounding KILLER right now. I've recently made chili and cheddar chowder and I'm kind of getting ICK on those right now. I need to make a kind of soup I can freeze.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I have a very limited food budget but I find the best way I cook the cheapest is by seeing what is on sale at the four or five grocery stores nearest me.

I buy for the pantry and then "shop from" the pantry when I'm cooking.

I only buy meat when it is on sale and then stock up for the freezer. I also followed Laine's advice (Laine's Letters) and stopped by the grocery store in the morning to see what meat has been discounted.

I also always check the yogurt section of my grocery store and health food store to see if any has been discounted. It is good LONG past the sell by date.

Jana said...

Hey gretchen,
I just started using couponclippers.com for coupons. each coupon is around 3 cents to 20 cents (i know, they are free in the paper) but I find that items that we use don't usually have coupons. Anyways, they tell you when stores are having double coupon days. Really cool!

Julie said...

I love soups when it is cold out. Try this for a change. For a different take on grill cheese and tomato soup, try tortilla brushed with a little e.v.o.l. (olive oil), layer different cheeses the top with another tortilla. Grill you can top with sour cream, salsa, or jalepeno. Also make the tomato soup with jalepeno and some chunck tomatos. You have a mexican version of grill cheese and tomato soup! and it's quick.

jillybean said...

This is kind of repeating what others have said, but the most helpful thing for me is writing out my meal plan for a week or two or a month. Sometimes trying to do the whole month is overwhelming, but anything is better than nothing. Then I have a list of meals and I can write a grocery list off of that. This keeps me from buying random things that don't go with anything else. Plus, if you want to get a specialty item, you can think of how it might work in more than one meal. This also keeps us from eating out if I already have a list of meals in my pantry/freezer.

Last, Aldi's-Aldi's-Aldi's. Every once in a while in our area, Kroger will have sales on things that make them cheaper than Aldi's every day prices (milk, eggs, fruits/veggies) so I try to go online and view Kroger's add before I shop, but for the most part Aldi's is consistently cheaper than any other place around here. Especially canned goods. They are very cheap there. They even have artichokes/black beans/garbanzo beans - lots of specialty things that I know you would love. So, that's my 2 cents. :)

Anonymous said...

I make tortellini soup, and potato soup. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

~Anna

Grammy Reese said...

I know you are going to think this odd, but I believe in oatmeal once a day. I see that I'm not alone as I read the other blogs. It is great on cholesterol watchers, filling, warming, and you can fix it up with just a tiny bit of brown sugar. Enjoy........

Steph said...

Totally support Aldi's - you just can't beat 'em! Do you have a few other girlfriends (maybe in apartments next to you) that you can swap suppers with? So if you make something that would have "left overs" it could actually be put in a pan and traded with someone else. You can freeze what they bring.
We haven't done that at church but I would LOVE to get a bunch of girls together to cook their meal and then trade so we can take various things home.
As far as soups go - I like broccoli cheese soup and it freezes pretty well too. Then, you can pour it over potatoes to make a different supper with it.