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So, after my previous panic I've decided to stay on track (it's gotten a bit easier). However, I'm looking at our grocery bills after just the first week and getting very worried that we'll be able to afford to finish the month this way. We're a single income home, I'm a graduate student and only contribute a couple hundred dollars a month. My husband makes a decent salary, but we live in a very expensive area (Portland, OR), and out dog ended up having unexpected vet expenses this month. 

We're definitely not eating extravagantly, all our proteins are either ground meats, chicken thighs, or compliant sausages. Part of how I usually keep our grocery bill down is by buying things like oatmeal, rice, and baking ingredients in bulk. We used to do a lot of whole grain baked goods and oatmeal for breakfasts, so having to utilize dinner leftovers or cook proteins has been a big hit to the budget. Pre-Whole 30 we also tried to go meatless a couple times a week for dinner. 

Does anyone have any recommendations for making the money go further? We're already shopping at Costco, Trader Joe's, and Winco quite a bit... Oh, and we only eat out once a week for date night. No buying lunch or coffee out either. 

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On ‎9‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 4:33 PM, howellymatrimony said:

So, after my previous panic I've decided to stay on track (it's gotten a bit easier). However, I'm looking at our grocery bills after just the first week and getting very worried that we'll be able to afford to finish the month this way. We're a single income home, I'm a graduate student and only contribute a couple hundred dollars a month. My husband makes a decent salary, but we live in a very expensive area (Portland, OR), and out dog ended up having unexpected vet expenses this month. 

We're definitely not eating extravagantly, all our proteins are either ground meats, chicken thighs, or compliant sausages. Part of how I usually keep our grocery bill down is by buying things like oatmeal, rice, and baking ingredients in bulk. We used to do a lot of whole grain baked goods and oatmeal for breakfasts, so having to utilize dinner leftovers or cook proteins has been a big hit to the budget. Pre-Whole 30 we also tried to go meatless a couple times a week for dinner. 

Does anyone have any recommendations for making the money go further? We're already shopping at Costco, Trader Joe's, and Winco quite a bit... Oh, and we only eat out once a week for date night. No buying lunch or coffee out either. 

Buy meat and produce that is on sale and then base your meals around that! We also buy Costco brand canned tuna (not the best quality, but it's what fits into our budget) and mixing a can of that with homemade mayo and a bunch of veggies is such a simple and cheap meal!

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Eggs (organic) $3-4 a dozen 

Ground beef (organic): $6 lb 

Chicken thighs (organic): $4 lb

Chicken breasts (conventional): $4 lb 

Compliant sausage: $13.49 3lbs 

Coconut milk: $2 a can 

Then just your typical produce prices, I don't generally buy organic produce. Avocados have been a bitch though, $1-2 for small. 

I do things like RX bars maybe 2-3 times a week because I'm so busy and often don't have access to a fridge to store perishable snacks. 

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4 minutes ago, howellymatrimony said:

Eggs (organic) $3-4 a dozen 

Ground beef (organic): $6 lb 

Chicken thighs (organic): $4 lb

Chicken breasts (conventional): $4 lb 

Compliant sausage: $13.49 3lbs 

Coconut milk: $2 a can 

Then just your typical produce prices, I don't generally buy organic produce. Avocados have been a bitch though, $1-2 for small. 

I know you're supposed to shop organically/grassfed for the best possible results, but if it doesn't fit your budget, you don't have to. We typically only buy organic chicken because we eat SO much of it, but the other stuff is just regular, often store brand because of our budget.

Try making your own sausage patties! Ground pork is pretty inexpensive and there are tons of spice blend recipes out there. Buy them in bulk at Costco or on Amazon to save even more.

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1 minute ago, racheleats said:

I know you're supposed to shop organically/grassfed for the best possible results, but if it doesn't fit your budget, you don't have to. We typically only buy organic chicken because we eat SO much of it, but the other stuff is just regular, often store brand because of our budget.

Try making your own sausage patties! Ground pork is pretty inexpensive and there are tons of spice blend recipes out there. Buy them in bulk at Costco or on Amazon to save even more.

Usually we do sausage patties for the sake of a quick and minimal prep meal. Making our own pretty much defeats the purpose. My husband doesn't cook at all, so all food prep responsibility falls on me. And unfortunately he's a picky eater. 

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11 minutes ago, howellymatrimony said:

Usually we do sausage patties for the sake of a quick and minimal prep meal. Making our own pretty much defeats the purpose. My husband doesn't cook at all, so all food prep responsibility falls on me. And unfortunately he's a picky eater. 

Yeah the pre-made convenience foods will kill your budget unfortunately.

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1 hour ago, racheleats said:

Yeah the pre-made convenience foods will kill your budget unfortunately.

This really just may be the wrong season of life for me to be doing this then. Not being able to eat out, and not being able to prepare easy meals is just more than I can handle at the moment. Don't get me wrong, I truly enjoy cooking. This is just probably the busiest and most stressed I've ever been and a few minimal prep meals a week is something I can't give up at this point. 

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If feeling the financial pinch then absolutely skip all the organic grass-fed stuff.  $4/lb isn't bad, but I buy chicken thighs on sale routinely for $1.19/lb, and sometimes as low as $0.59/lb.  Trim some of the fat if you're worried about it, but still, meat is meat.

re: easy meals, there's not much easier than sauteeing veggies & ground beef in a pan.
Also Melissa Joulwan has a good tip for keeping lots of veggies on hand ready to go: http://meljoulwan.com/2010/10/13/the-secret-of-veggies-steam-saute/

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15 hours ago, howellymatrimony said:

This really just may be the wrong season of life for me to be doing this then. Not being able to eat out, and not being able to prepare easy meals is just more than I can handle at the moment. Don't get me wrong, I truly enjoy cooking. This is just probably the busiest and most stressed I've ever been and a few minimal prep meals a week is something I can't give up at this point. 

That definitely could be the case! Try googling tips for quick cheap whole30 tips, you might be able to find some good stuff out there.

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Have you thought about organ meat? I often buy beef heart from my butcher - he preps it into cubes for me and I make a spiced beef & apricot stew with it in my slow cooker, with minimal prep time & zero supervision. It comes in at about a quarter of the price of steak pieces and comes out just as tender - plus it's a nutritional power house!

Other slow cooker ideas I use on a weekly basis would be NNP's kahlua pig, large pieces of brisket and/or shin cooked with cinnamon & all spice, and whole chickens.... all of which you can serve with non compliant sides fro your fussy teens.

I'm a single mum of two boys, working full time & dealing with my own early morning training, their extra curricular activities, & a semblance of a social life so time & money are of the essence in my household!
 

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On 9/12/2017 at 5:55 AM, jmcbn said:

Have you thought about organ meat? I often buy beef heart from my butcher - he preps it into cubes for me and I make a spiced beef & apricot stew with it in my slow cooker, with minimal prep time & zero supervision. It comes in at about a quarter of the price of steak pieces and comes out just as tender - plus it's a nutritional power house!

Other slow cooker ideas I use on a weekly basis would be NNP's kahlua pig, large pieces of brisket and/or shin cooked with cinnamon & all spice, and whole chickens.... all of which you can serve with non compliant sides fro your fussy teens.

I'm a single mum of two boys, working full time & dealing with my own early morning training, their extra curricular activities, & a semblance of a social life so time & money are of the essence in my household!
 

Definitely going to move away from the organic meats. Which makes me really sad because it's definitely something I want to invest in, both for my health and environmental reasons. But, it's just not in the budget right now. Except maybe with ground beef, we used conventional last night and both my husband and I could taste the difference. 

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