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November 12, 2008


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We've been stockpiling our favorite food items as an inflation hedge. We bought a chest freezer and a couple of storage cabinets and have been keeping an eye out for bargains. For example, if we see that our brand of coffee is on sale, we buy 6 or 8 packages of it and store them for later use. Right now we're eating frozen corn that we bought at 79 cents a package two months ago (current price is $1.09). Over the last three months, we've trimmed our relative food budget down a little less than $50 a month; we'll have the freezer and storage paid for by next year.

I buy meat in large quantities when it is on sale. Then I divide them up into meal sized portions and go ahead and marinate them in seasonings and freeze. Then I have a plan of what to do with any leftovers. That way none is wasted!

Check out and on saving money at the grocery store. If it's not on sale (and a good sale) and I don't have a coupon, I don't buy it unless it is something I really need!

Rod - Now that is frugal! Impressive!

SAHM - I am always afraid to sign up for things like that because of SPAM. Have you had any problem with them selling your email?

beans are cheap

Yes, I agree - beans are inexpensive. They are a much more nutritious source of protein than meat, and are high on fiber also. Dry beans can be bought in bulk and store well. Canned beans are also inexpensive. About 70 cents per can at Walmart. Frozen veggies are also inexpensive.

When we're trying to save money, aside from planning our dinner for two weeks at a time, we buy things that we use often (rice, olive oil, pastas) at places like Smart and Final in bulk. We also stock up on things like soups, boxed dinners and frozen dinners when they're on sale to take for lunches.
Whenever we find a sale on things like ground beef or chicken we'll buy a lot at once and freeze it, then plan meals around what we have.
We've also become big fans of coupons. Signing up for sites like and checking our local grocery store deals helps a lot. Sometimes it takes a little longer to get everything done, but the money saved in the long run always makes a difference.
We've also found that Trader Joe's and our local Farmers Markets have great, well priced produce and usually better deals on other items as well.

We do the Costco trick as well. They have good samples! Also if we are near a Costco and need lunch/dinner the hot dogs are good and I can feed my family of 4 for about $10 bucks including shared churro's!

We try to have at least to meatless dinners a week. This is when we usually have either a bean or egg dish. Even with the Omega3 eggs it is still cheaper than eating out.

Protein is not that important and carbs and fat are not going to nourish you throughout the day? I don't get it, aren't all calories from either protein, fat, or carbs?

We go shopping at Costco with friends, and split bulk purchases on items that would be too much for one household to use (meats, veggies, canned foods)

We've also gotten much better at setting our meal plan around what's on sale: Recently at Costco we got 2 whole chickens for about $10 - veggies (potatoes, carrots, onion) about another $10 - I roasted the chicken with the veggies, that fed us for DAYS, then made chicken soup with the leftovers. That $20 bought us at least 14-16 meals. And it was healthy and tasty too!

Another trick I do is add a cup of Northern Beans to any hamburger-based meal. I usually double the recipe, so instead of using two pounds of hamburger, I use one pound of hamburger and a cup (or can) of Northern Beans. I specify Northern Beans because they have a very light texture so they don't get in the way of the taste of the meal. Plus, they fill the meal so well that we end up eating less.

I forgot to add the other trick I do with beans. I buy the cheapest can of salsa available, a can of corn, and a can of black beans. I mix them all together in a bowl, and we eat it with chips as a meal. The salsa tastes like gourmet and I usually have enough salsa left after our meal to put back into the jar, full.

my favorite is goulash. The way I make it is about 2 cups macaroni elbows, 3/4 - 1 lb of meat, 2 cans of assorted favorite beans, 2 cans tomato sauce and 1 can stewed tomatoes. Olives and cheese optional. spice to suit. If you buy generic everything it yeilds about 8 meals for about 19 cents a meal. I make this about once a month divide it into meal portions and freeze whenever I need a quick meal I just pop it in the microwave!

I'm a big fan of using a price book. It's been very educational for me. Thanks to using it, I've discovered that Whole Foods is actually cheaper than Safeway and other local supermarkets for organic dairy products. Example, single organic blueberry yoghurt at Whole Foods is $1.09 and at Safeway is $1,79 (exact same brand!). And the Whole Foods own brand one is only $0.99.

Between monitoring the weekly circulars for deals, the price book and planning meals, I've been achieving some good savings. We're also starting to have one meatless meal a week and one soup and bread meal. It's healthier for us too.

I will shop at multiple supermarkets to save a few cents. (I don't have a car so no gas is wasted.) For example, bulk rice at my 'usual' supermarket went from 51 to 81 cents per lb, so now I buy rice elsewhere at $1.99 for a 3-lb bag. It seems that most groceries I buy are NOT cheaper in the large economy size.

Also, I always check unit pricing. That 3 lb bag of rice currently has the lowest unit pricing I can find. (The same store sells a 10 lb bag for $7.99.)


Does anyone know of any estimate of a spending point at which a Costco membership is cost-effective? Or, put another way, how much would someone half to spend annually for a Costco membership to be profitable?

I personally am a huge fan of the eggs as protein. Right now I can get a dozen for $1.39. Figure two a meal a person that is $.23 a meal. But even better they are quick and easy to cook. (In fact they were dinner tonight)

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