countrygirl

Spending way too much $$ on groceries!

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Wow im lucky that all our local meat is grassfed and i dont have to source it specially.Everything else though really adds up, especially coconut products, nuts etc beacause their all imported

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Fresh fruit and veggies that are locally grown and in season can be a little cheaper than the out-of-season imports here. Local free range eggs cost more (instead of $2.50, they are $3-4 a dozen, but boy are they worth it! Local, grain-fed meats are not cheap, but again worth it for the awesome flavour alone. Being on the coast, we do pretty well with catch-of-the-day prices.

Overall, I figure I'm at least breaking even for what I'm saving on ice cream. :lol:

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The first time I did a Whole30, my monthly grocery budget increased by 50%. I almost had a heart attack. But, I'm finding ways around it to continue to eat well and as organic/grass-fed as I can. I still eat out a bit, though not as much and I don't have drinks w/my meal so that budget has gone down.

I have a meat CSA - I get a box of grass-fed meat every month for $75 - I think it averages to about 14 pounds/month. I get delicious cuts like ribeyes, pork shoulders, and NY strip steaks, lamb, and delicious GF ground beef. I can also get whatever else I want from them at a 10% discount. I'm sure I'd be better off buying a partial cow, but I don't have the storage to do it so this seems to be like a good compromise. After having such great quality meat from there, it's hard to go back to the typical stuff you find in the grocery store.

I also just signed up for an organic CSA - starts up in 2 weeks. I think it averages out to about $35 every other week for 9-20 pounds of veg. So I don't have a huge up-front cost, the farm allows you to cut them three checks, two of which are post-dated. Works perfect. I just hope I don't let a lot of it go to waste. It'll really challenge me to eat my veg! I suspect my grocery bill will go down considerably as well.

I buy organic coconut oil by the gallon from Tropical Traditions. It lasts me maybe 4-5 months. You can search for free shipping coupons online to offset the cost a bit.

We have a lovely farmer's market here and I try to go every week. Some things are pretty inexpensive, but some are pretty over-priced, like meat. I try to get some good, organic veg there. For everything else, I start at Trader Joe's to stock up on the basics, then head over to my co-op for any other meat/fish I need or any specialty items.

As others have mentioned, though, I'd much rather spend my $ on food than medical expenses. My medical expenses rival my grocery bill at the moment and put a strain on the finances, but I know it won't always be this way. I have an awesome doc that's helping me help my body heal instead of just covering up symptoms so I consider my grocery bill an investment in a healthier future, and it's already paying off!

(PamH - based on your post, I have a sneaking suspicion we live in the same area.)

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I just can't do grass-fed or "happy" eggs. In downtown SF, food is just outrageous expensive. I can't do $8.99 for grass fed beef when conventional is $2.99. Someday when I'm rich and famous I'll be able to, but that is not today.

 

I blew up our food budget when I started. Mostly on "fancy" cuts of meat like huge roasts. My advice is the more simple, the better. Now I stick to ground beef, chicken, and eggs for protein. Stock up on the frozen veggies. I do olive oil for most of my fats, maybe with some nuts or avocados here and there. I do splurge on coconut oil because I love it. It takes some trial and error, but you'll dial it in :)

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Here is what I learned from what I have read here...

Cheaper cuts of meat can become tender and delicious thanks to the crockpot.

Not all fruits and veggies have to be organic. For example, if there is a peel that is not consumed as part of it, I don't go organic.

Tuna and sardines are delicious, compliant and cheap :).

You are so lucky to have Farmer's markets available!

have you ever heard of the dirt dozen  if not google it its the top 12 organic food you should eat organic  

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I am getting a fair amount of my food for the Whole 30 at my local food co-op. There are often bins of half off produce that's on its way out and sometimes it's even free. One thing I imagine one could do in a co-op is actually order directly from the supplier - place a special request for x quantity of y.

 

Rest of my stuff is coming from Costco, also smaller ethnic groceries - near my mom's house I found plantains at a street vendor, 10 for $1! amazing although I should probably be eating less of those. Anyway. Considering I would usually go out for dinner/drinks at least 3 times a week to the tune of $10-20 a pop... I imagine I'm definitely saving money.

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It has stunned me this month how expensive our Whole30 has been -- we DOUBLED our usual grocery budget, which is already quite generous. I thought not eating out, not buying treats or snacks or dairy, and not buying alcohol would really help even it out, but it has NOT been the case. I'm feeling really disappointed because we very much want to continue eating this way, but I'm afraid it's just not sustainable.

I think the biggest change has just been the sheer quantity of food we're consuming, with no cheap fillers like white potatoes, pasta, rice, or bread. We used to buy a box of cereal or instant oatmeal and that was breakfast for a week -- now breakfast is a full-on meal just like lunch and dinner.

My estimate is that our Whole30 meals cost about $10 each for two of us... Do the math... That's pretty ugly for a whole month.

I know I have to make some changes like lower quality eggs, meat, and veg going into July, but I'm afraid it still won't be enough. I'm a bit at a loss. I already meal plan and only buy what we need for that week, we eat mostly eggs, ground meat, chicken breasts (steaks or fish 1-2 times a week), and I am always seeking out the cheapest options -- farmers markets, Costco, etc. I'm so frustrated! Suggestions welcome.

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It has stunned me this month how expensive our Whole30 has been -- we DOUBLED our usual grocery budget, which is already quite generous. I thought not eating out, not buying treats or snacks or dairy, and not buying alcohol would really help even it out, but it has NOT been the case. I'm feeling really disappointed because we very much want to continue eating this way, but I'm afraid it's just not sustainable.

I think the biggest change has just been the sheer quantity of food we're consuming, with no cheap fillers like white potatoes, pasta, rice, or bread. We used to buy a box of cereal or instant oatmeal and that was breakfast for a week -- now breakfast is a full-on meal just like lunch and dinner.

My estimate is that our Whole30 meals cost about $10 each for two of us... Do the math... That's pretty ugly for a whole month.

I know I have to make some changes like lower quality eggs, meat, and veg going into July, but I'm afraid it still won't be enough. I'm a bit at a loss. I already meal plan and only buy what we need for that week, we eat mostly eggs, ground meat, chicken breasts (steaks or fish 1-2 times a week), and I am always seeking out the cheapest options -- farmers markets, Costco, etc. I'm so frustrated! Suggestions welcome.

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Are you cooking each meal individually, or are you cooking in bulk and making meals where leftovers can be stored and used for multiple meals?  It's just me and my husband and my grocery bill is nowhere near yours is, in meal costs.

 

For example, breakfast.  I've been rotating through various frittata recipes that I bake.  I bake most of them in a 13x9 inch pan, which gives me 12 slices. If 1-2 slices are a meal, I get at least 6 servings out of that.

How about making meatloaf, chili, or meatballs?  I get 5-6 servings out of the morrocan meatballs recipe at the Mellissa Joulwan's website: http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/2009/03/05/mmmmm-moroccan-meatballs/

 

Other thoughts:

Sardines are very inexpensive protein for lunch and snacks.

The Whole9 Basic Farmers Market Gazpacho has been my go-to lunch with a protein: http://whole9life.com/2012/07/summer-soups/

I get several lunches from one batch.

 

Make your own paleo mayo and use it to make paleo tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, etc for a meal.

Do you have a Trader Joe's near you?  They have a package of 4 frozen turkey burgers for $2.99.

Buy whatever fish, poultry or beef is on sale at your local supermarket and create a meal around that.  Same comment for vegetables. Reduce or eliminate the organic, pastured, grass-fed, etc. if you need to, to eat within a budget that works for you.

Hope that's helpful.

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Malie: Another suggestion for lowering the cost of your meat would be to switch to cheaper cuts or buy whole. For example I almost never get chicken breasts anymore because thighs and legs are cheaper and they are more filling and I can save the bones to make broth. Or I buy a whole chicken which gives me enough meat for 5-6 meals usually and a lot of bone broth. Do you have a deep freezer (or room for one) so that you could buy a portion of a whole cow, pig, lamb, etc and eat off that for a while? The up front cost is a lot but it ends up being much cheaper in the long run. I can't wait until I have that option. For eggs, have you looked to see if you might be able to get eggs from someone who has backyard chickens? 

 

For produce have you thought about joining a CSA? I get a box every week and try to not buy too much produce above and beyond that. Makes me try new things, supports local farmers, and the cost is a bit lower. If you go to the farmers market go towards the end. A lot of vendors will give you a better price to avoid having to take things with them.

 

Are there any things you are buying that you can DIY? I know a large portion of my money is going towards Kombucha and Sauerkraut so I'm trying to get to a place where I can make my own.

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My estimate is that our Whole30 meals cost about $10 each for two of us... Do the math... That's pretty ugly for a whole month.

 

++++++++++++++++++++

 

Yikes, that does seem high!  I just crunched the numbers and I average out to about $5 meal per month.  And I splurge on grass fed and/or organic meats and organic fruit/veg most of the time!  I have to admit, though, the first time I did a Whole30 I bought a bunch of things that I could have done without, like compliant hot dogs at $6/pack, nut butters at $8/jar, olives at $3/can (I went through a lot of them...), etc.  I realized I can do without those things and can just eat real food.  My CSAs help considerably with that.

 

Might be worthwhile giving your grocery bill a close look and see if there are any big ticket items like that that you're going through quickly.  Maybe not, but worth a shot!  The other suggestions are great, too!  

 

Now I'm curious - how much does everyone average out per meal per month?  

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For myself and my partner, I spend almost $200 a week at the grocery store, we live in Baltimore. It works out to about $5 per person per meal. We rarely eat out anymore because eating at home is so much yummier. In the past when we would buy bagels and coffee from the local joint we would pay $17 after tips just for breakfast. So I definitely feel like I spend less on food than I used to. It's still one of my largest expenses, but we have to eat!

Simplification over time has reduced my grocery bill. Especially this week, it's so hot outside that all I want to eat is salad! So I did a huge cook up on Saturday: ground turkey sweet potato hash for a week of breakfast (heat, crack eggs over the top, add salsa=yummy filling fast and cheap), chopped veggie salad and chicken and hamburgers for lunch for a week. For dinner we've been opening a bag of spinach or arugula, chopping some other veggies, and adding a handful of shredded chicken or a hamburger.

Also I have noticed it takes less food to fuel my body. I've been eating this way for about 3 months and have stopped buying nut butters and doing fancy recipes. I've also stopped making meals so complicated. Instead of a steak with roasted sweet potato and mushrooms and a salad and fruit, I will just have a steak with one big veggie portion and maybe some tea. I think this is a result of my body's needs/expectations changing over time with consistent nutrient-rich food as fuel.

All this being said, I would still like my grocery bill to be lower than it is :) and i try to buy seasonal and on sale when possible. I'm going to look into buying coconut oil online. Currently my coconut oil habit is $10 per week for 10 oz of oil. Looking forward to growing veggies on my balcony after I move next month! Especially lettuce and salad greens!

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We got together with several families and ordered a cow together from a local organic farm. In a week or so I'm getting 50 pounds of grass fed beef in a variety of cuts that I will be spending $160 for. There are two of us, so 50 pounds of beef will last a good while combined with other things. I've been eating almost Whole30 for about nine months now (the only thing on my 'active elimination' list is dairy--everything else is already gone). I'm hoping this plus the temporary suspension of my cheese budget will balance things out a bit. It does seem like I drop a lot of money at the store these days (usually $100-125 a week for two) but when I consider all the stuff I'm not buying that I used to eat, I think I'm still ahead of the game. 

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'm going to look into buying coconut oil online. Currently my coconut oil habit is $10 per week for 10 oz of oil.

 

 

Check out Tropical Traditions, their prices are very good and they have sales all the time. My last purchase was a BOGOF for 32 ounce jars and it wasn't more than $20 for 64 ounces of CO. :)

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You are being robbed! I buy CO by the gallon from Tropical Traditions! Maybe $50 or $60, depending on coupons and free shipping offers? Well worth it! (They even sell it in 5 gallon buckets...)

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Mrs Robinson, I am being robbed! :) $20 for 64oz!! Thanks for the tip!

This is what I buy...and those 32 oz jars were the ones that were BOGOF. 

Edited to add: This is the same company Karen mentioned. They are wonderful to work with! And also, they have sales constantly, if you get on their email list you'll get notification when they are having them. 

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Thank you for the thoughtful and helpful replies, all! There is plenty of good stuff here for me to learn from.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Are you cooking each meal individually, or are you cooking in bulk and making meals where leftovers can be stored and used for multiple meals?  It's just me and my husband and my grocery bill is nowhere near yours is, in meal costs.

Do you have a Trader Joe's near you?  They have a package of 4 frozen turkey burgers for $2.99.

 

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You are right. While I have been cooking with leftovers in mind, I can certainly do better. I need to make use of my slow cooker and buy bigger cuts of meat.

 

Closest Trader Joe's is about an hour away across the border (I'm in Canada). Reasonable to go maybe once a month, but not every week. There are also limitations as to what we can bring back across the border.

 

Malie: Another suggestion for lowering the cost of your meat would be to switch to cheaper cuts or buy whole. For example I almost never get chicken breasts anymore because thighs and legs are cheaper and they are more filling and I can save the bones to make broth. Or I buy a whole chicken which gives me enough meat for 5-6 meals usually and a lot of bone broth. Do you have a deep freezer (or room for one) so that you could buy a portion of a whole cow, pig, lamb, etc and eat off that for a while? The up front cost is a lot but it ends up being much cheaper in the long run. I can't wait until I have that option. For eggs, have you looked to see if you might be able to get eggs from someone who has backyard chickens? 

 

For produce have you thought about joining a CSA? I get a box every week and try to not buy too much produce above and beyond that. Makes me try new things, supports local farmers, and the cost is a bit lower. If you go to the farmers market go towards the end. A lot of vendors will give you a better price to avoid having to take things with them.

 

Are there any things you are buying that you can DIY? I know a large portion of my money is going towards Kombucha and Sauerkraut so I'm trying to get to a place where I can make my own.

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Thanks, I definitely think I will look into buying whole. We don't have a deep freeze or room for one, but I think we might work on getting a bigger fridge (with a bigger freezer) in the next few months.

 

Re eggs, they are in HIGH demand around here. Even the cheapest local "farms" I've found are selling for $5/doz. Farmer's market sellers are min. $5.50/doz. Grocery store about the same for free run. Costco is $7.99 for 18 free-run eggs. I am going to switch to regular brown eggs ($6.99 for 30) with the occasional free run purchase for making homemade mayo.

 

I am working on the idea of a CSA. There seem to be lots around here. I guess I am skeptical of not having control over my weekly produce, and thus needing to buy a lot over and above what I'm already spending on the CSA.

 

I think I do OK with DIY-ing what I can. I have to take into account how much my time is worth, too. :)

 



I just crunched the numbers and I average out to about $5 meal per month.
 
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Is that for one person? If so, then you are about the same as us! :)

 

 

For myself and my partner, I spend almost $200 a week at the grocery store, we live in Baltimore. It works out to about $5 per person per meal. We rarely eat out anymore because eating at home is so much yummier. In the past when we would buy bagels and coffee from the local joint we would pay $17 after tips just for breakfast. So I definitely feel like I spend less on food than I used to. It's still one of my largest expenses, but we have to eat!

Simplification over time has reduced my grocery bill. ..... Also I have noticed it takes less food to fuel my body.

 

------

 

That's about the same as us. It's encouraging to know I'm not alone! I would love to get it down to $120-$140 per week, which would be much more affordable for us. We live outside Vancouver, BC, notoriously one of the most expensive places to live in North America, sigh. However, unlike you, I have not found that not eating out has cut down on our food spending. We didn't eat out much to begin with—maybe once a week, and then usually Subway or quick Asian food (sushi, noodle box places, etc.). Maybe once a month we would go out for a ~$70 dinner.

 

I am hoping that as we settle into this, we will both need to consume less food, which will help. Sometimes I think it's just the sheer quantity of food I'm buying that's really doing us in.

 

I will definitely be looking at cheaper quality, bigger quantity cuts of meat, and potentially buying freezer packs from local butchers or farms (the smaller types would work for our freezer).

 

Thanks again, all! Would love more suggestions from others too!! 2 heads are better than 1, and 10 or 20 are even better. ;)

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You are getting a far better price on free run eggs than I am. I buy soy free pastured eggs at $7.99 a dozen. Eggs is one of those things I don't want to skimp on because you really don't get the health benefits of eggs unless they have had sunshine and free scrounging. I personally would rather go cheap on my meat than on my eggs.

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Malie, I just did the maths and we're averaging about $8 a meal, Australian $.  Australia already has a pretty high cost of living and Perth is the worst, due to being so isolated.

 

I'm still learning how to streamline the shopping and cooking, but our weekly grocery shop is definitely starting to come down.  Here's what I've found ...

 

I buy whole chickens more often (and use EVERYTHING like Beth said), fewer breasts, occasionally thighs.  I started out meal planning but now I have enough knowledge and confidence in my cooking to go without a plan and select meat based on what's on special.  I buy free-range chickens, but I just buy my other meats from the supermarket selection.  Grass-fed is the best option, but you'll do better eating this way with lower quality meat than just eating SAD.  Pick your battles/priorities.

 

I buy my fruit and veggies at the local markets instead of at the supermarket.  I spend about the same - but that's because the selection is so good and I get overexcited and buy heaps.  Quality is better too.

 

Tinned tuna, salmon and sardines are your friends.

 

If you can stomach it, try cooking organ meats.  They are so cheap and absolutely packed with goodness.  I made chicken liver pate and loved it.  Cooked lamb liver and while I can't say I loved it, I could definitely eat it and it grew on me.  A $4 package of liver covered me for four breakfasts.  If it's too scary, try Nadia's trick and sneak ground liver into meatballs.

 

Slow cooker is amazing.  If pork shoulder is on special, buy a big chunk and make pulled pork.  First time we did that, it was the dish that kept on giving.  Couldn't believe how many meals we got out of it.  Buy cheap cuts of meat (chuck, gravy beef etc) and you can make them tender and delicious.

 

It gets easier, I promise.  

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Thanks for the encouragement, percypat!!

 

Tinned tuna, salmon and sardines are your friends.

 

If you can stomach it, try cooking organ meats. 

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Unfortunately neither of those options will go over well with my husband. He would likely run away screaming and never come back. :D

 

Whole chickens and pork shoulders I can do, though!

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Salmon cakes?  Not as aggressively fishy, and a little bit sweet if you use sweet potato as a binder.  Oily fish are a great way to get omega 3, especially if your meat isn't grass fed.  I use this recipe, swapping sweet potato in for the potato:

 

http://www.jensnaturalkitchen.com/paleo-salmon-cakes/

 

Hee hee, boys are fraidy cats.  My hubby will try a bite of things but you can tell he's pretty much decided it's not going to fly before the fork gets to his mouth.  Having said that, he's not a canned fish fan and last time I made them he said they smelt delicious.  But he'd already eaten the dinner I'd made for him because I thought there was no way he'd try them.  Next time!

 

In any case, chicken and pork are always winners.  I used this recipe and it was delicious.  The BBQ sauce is to die for.

 

http://civilizedcavemancooking.com/crockpot/crockpot-pulled-pork/

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