countrygirl

Spending way too much $$ on groceries!

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I visited my sister in Madison a few weeks ago and drooled at everything! I'm now living in podunk-ville, Alabama, but the co-op they took me to...oh man! A lot of it was processed food, but I could get gluten-free everything! And the breakfast place she took us to had sweet potato hash...mmm...........

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Please tell me where you found the sweet potato hash!  And yes, the co-ops around here are pretty sweet...  I'd be spoiled if I moved anywhere else!

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Monty's Blue Plate Diner. The Sweet Potato Hash has SP, peppers, onions, zucchini with two eggs any style.

 

I had a SP omelet (SP, bell pepper, zucchini, green onion, feta), and you could have them hold the feta if you were on a W30 (same with the spinach, mushroom, feta one, caponta/pesto one, or blue plate special). 

 

It was delicious. That's really all you can say about it!

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Honestly, in my experience and as always your mileage may vary, the key to keeping the grocery bill down is simply this.

 

Stop obsessing over the word "Organic".  By and large, if you are embarking on a Whole 30, your eating habits previously were fairly awful.  You have already been been exposing yourself to the worst foods/chemicals you could.  Frozen vegetables are fine.  Beef that isn't labeled "Grass Fed", or "Pastured" also won't cause your heart to spontaneously stop.  

 

Embrace that simple concept, and the Whole 30 is actually *significantly* less expensive than the current diets of those for whom it does the most good.  

 

Is grass fed, pastured, "certified" meat and produce healthier than the standard found at your local supermarket?  Sure.  I won't argue that point.  Is it something you should stress over with your Whole 30?  No.  The Whole 30 is a large enough change in ones habits that adding an additional stress is unnecessary.  I had a friend whom I introduced to the Whole 30 actually give up half way through because she couldn't find the meat and produce locally, and was having to drive an hour and a half to do her grocery shopping.  I tried to explain/convince her that it wasn't necessary, and she kept referring me back to these boards, and how she *needed* these things to make the whole 30 work.  We are talking about a single mom, who works two jobs.  Adding 3 hours of drive time to her week... it was just too much.  Maybe she wasn't committed enough.  Maybe if she saw more people advocating plain old supermarket beef/chicken/eggs and frozen vegetables, she would have just stopped by Wal-Mart where she normally shops, and she could have completed the Whole 30, and made those healthy changes.  

 

I love the Whole 30, it changed my life (Sadly it wasn't permanent, I fell back into old habits and am starting another whole 30 sept 1st), and these boards are an absolute wealth of information, and the people here are just wonderfully supportive.  That being said, I think sometimes we focus a little too narrowly on the minutiae, and forget about the overall benefits and goals the Whole 30 is helping us to achieve.

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I totally agree, jahx! 

 

For my shopping, I'm usually hitting Publix for the best selection near me. Wal-Mart, Winn-Dixie, Food Lion...I've managed to eat similarly while shopping there too.

 

If you don't get organic produce, wash it well. Last week, hubby ate a handful of snow peas that he hadn't washed and his hard palate was super sore from whatever it'd been treated with. I had a similar thing happen a few months ago.

 

That said, my half cow that I'm buying is grass-fed and, surprisingly, only costs $3.65/lb plus processing fees, so yay for that. Plus I get heart ground into my ground beef and half a liver to...do...something with to hide the flavor. Taco meat perhaps. And all of my bones for stock.

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Our largest household bill, aside from the mortgage, is groceries. It is very expensive to eat this way, but the way you have to view it is this: you are either going to spend it on the front end and stay healthy, or you are going to spend it on the back end paying for medical costs. Personally, I look at my 78 yo dad running circles around his friends, and I choose health.

We buy 1/2 a grass fed cow from a local farmer. If there is a sale on organic chicken I stock up. We buy farm eggs from local farmers. I feel like I forage for food. It's a huge process getting groceries. I put coolers in my car, and make the rounds. I don't shop the aisles very much....mostly the periphery. I buy online......Amazon prime, greenpolkadotbox, sea Snax,.....I buy at Costco....no Trader Joes where I live.

Decide what your budget will be, then stick to the budget. If you can put out a chunk of money for a quarter to half a cow, the meat is much cheaper that way. Once the budget is used up, it's used up. Your children have to learn they also can't eat all the "good" stuff. Once the "snacks" are gone, their gone.

Plus, eating out is a whole lot more expensive. Do with less in other areas so that you don't have to skimp on the grocery bill.

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Hey Jahx! I am in Naples woot woot hey neighbor! I totally agree with you though on all of it, at first I obsessed about buying the best of the best and it made the Whole30 miserable. I buy most of my good from Costco and a little from Publix. I do the best I can and I really looked deep into our budget and there is just not room, at least not right now.. We are saving to buy a new car and I want to either have a huge down payment or enough to buy it outright. No car= no work=no money for food. Priorities!

 

So please, new people, don't feel bullied or pressured by others to always buy the absolute best, buy what you can afford and keep an eye out for sales.

 

Some people here can afford the best of the best, but some of us can not, I figure I am doing good just getting off the processed merry go round, so please be careful with your words because it can be a turn off and drive some people away, it almost drove me away..

 

:)

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I appreciate the past few comments. While I do buy grass fed beef, I can't afford to buy organic produce that much. And I'm trying to convince my mom to give whole 30 a try, but she lives in a remote area and isn't sure about finding some of these products that are very different to her. She's used to shopping at Walmart and buying what's cheapest. I think that this would be more approachable for her if I just get her on whole foods and label reading, without having to worry about making perfect choices for everything.

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I just discovered the Farmer's Market. Sure, it's a 35 mile drive, but the food and prices are incredible. I'd love to shop here all the time, but maybe once a month or so.

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Hi, so I'm trying to educate myself and prepare to embark on the whole30 this upcoming Friday...but I'm having trouble really planning out how to eat. Does anyone have a good 7day meal plan for one person? P.S. I work at whole foods, so if possible provide related options

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Hi, so I'm trying to educate myself and prepare to embark on the whole30 this upcoming Friday...but I'm having trouble really planning out how to eat. Does anyone have a good 7day meal plan for one person? P.S. I work at whole foods, so if possible provide related options

There isn't really a meal plan per se, but you just need to follow the template. Get yourself your protein, fat sources and plenty of vegies and mix and match! You can do big cook ups of protein so you've got a weeks worth - we do this and use it in lunches for work during the week along with a big salad and our fat.

We love eggs and have eggs every breakfast - usually an omelette with lots of vegies, or pre made frittata for "on the run" days.

Make 2-3 meals worth when you cook and have leftovers for a couple of meals.

Have you got the template, and shopping list?

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I do, the problem I suppose I'm having is figuring out how to budget and make the best of whatever I buy throughout the week. Perhaps I could compile recipes from pinterest and try to group protein specific meals to their own week.

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I do, the problem I suppose I'm having is figuring out how to budget and make the best of whatever I buy throughout the week. Perhaps I could compile recipes from pinterest and try to group protein specific meals to their own week.

To make the best of what you buy, keep it simple. Have the same meal regularly, you don't need to buy lots of ingredients or produce that may end up sitting in the fridge unused. Get used to weird combos! :)

you could make a big pot of chilli or curry or stew and eat that for dinner or lunch every day.

I tend to buy vegies through the week - out fridge isn't big enough to hold more than a few days worth!

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From living in London for many years I got used to the idea that food is expensive.  Cheap food - and getting used to it being so - is partly what has got us into this condition as a culture (imho).  In this country we have now gotten 'used' to the fact that gas (petrol) is expensive.  You have to adjust the whole of your budget based on the priorities.  I am freaked out by how much I spent this month on the whole30, but I also know that I can relatively quickly adjust and get better at spending less now that i've established the essentials.  Soon (I hope!) the fact that my eating out budget (coffee and lunches mostly) has dwindled to nearly nothing will help rebalance the budget. 

 

I also recommend keepign an old fashioned 'price book'.  Where I live there is a HUGE selection of food vendors before you even get to the farmers markets - which are always more expensive but I like the warm and fuzzy feeling of buying from the farm -  (DC metro area - Safeway, Giant, WF, Shoppers, Wegmans, TJ, Costco... and on and on and on) and prices vary widely on all shelf products. I live in a very small apartment with a very small kitchen so warehouse type bulk buying isn't my thing - plus i"m convinced it makes me buy more on impulse (a years supply of body lotion - you bet!)  and isn't 'always' the least expensive per unit.  Discovering that I could get Coconut Aminos, Oil, and Milk at Wegmans cheaper then I could on the internet (without buying a vat that I cannot put anywhere in my kitchen) was a huge win - and worth the longer drive to get there.  I just plan a 'wegmans run' the way other people shop the warehouses.

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Monty's Blue Plate Diner. The Sweet Potato Hash has SP, peppers, onions, zucchini with two eggs any style.

 

I had a SP omelet (SP, bell pepper, zucchini, green onion, feta), and you could have them hold the feta if you were on a W30 (same with the spinach, mushroom, feta one, caponta/pesto one, or blue plate special). 

 

It was delicious. That's really all you can say about it!

I went there today and had the SP hash!  It was good, but would have been better if I could have eggs...  I have to admit, though - I like my version better!  But it's REALLY nice to know where I can find some breakfast food I can eat when company is in town, so thanks for the tip!  :)

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I definitely believe in supporting local agriculture but my budget just can't handle it right now. And im way too overwhelmed with life to shop around and look for deals. But I am finding that I'm getting a lot of mileage out of stuff by prepping ahead. A big thing of spaghetti squash that I've been doing in stir-fry with frozen veg. I've been getting sick of spaghetti squash actually but this latest stir-fry worked out pretty well and it goes so far. Plus a huge thing of chili with sweet potatoes. I made a ton of plantain tostadas which are my favorite thing on the planet right now. They freeze really well. And then I made a big batch of chicken fajitas. That's making lunch my favorite part of the day.

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I have spent $300 this week alone on groceries and I'm out of avocados, mushrooms, peppers, and onions. I am going CRAZY I cannot afford to spend this much money on groceries. I live in rural Nome, Alaska where everything has to be shipped or flown here. Fresh produce is outrageously expensive, as is everything else. Its winter and no one here grows their own food as far as I know, because the ground is frozen most months out of the year. I don't know what to do! I really want to continue my whole30 and maybe even turn it into a whole60 but I'm a single woman with a less than fantastic salary and a dog; oh and the cost of housing here is out of control also. $1500 for a two bedroom apartment that includes heat; not water, electricity, cable, internet. I need help! I don't know what to do!

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Is frozen produce any cheaper? If so, you should be able to find plenty of compliant stuff (NO SAUCE/SEASONING - check your labels). 

 

In my stores in all the places I've lived, I've been able to find compliant of the following:

 

Peppers/onions (usually labelled as fajita veggies or stir fry - check to be sure there's no baby corn)

Carrot/cauliflower/broccoli mix (usually labelled as spring mixed veggies - make sure no corn)

Green beans

Carrots

Cauli

Broccoli

Spinach

 

You can also look into canned veggies, but look at the ingredients carefully. Green beans, mushrooms, carrots, and spinach can all usually be found in compliant cans. Steer clear of any crazy ingredients without making sure they're safe first, though.

 

Basically, if you're going to cook the veggies anyways, you can probably get them frozen or canned. The texture shouldn't be too much of a problem (they can sometimes have a not-so-great texture but cooking them usually covers it up) and, if fresh is as expensive as you say, you can maybe save money. Where I'm at, it's cheaper to get fresh, so I keep a bag of frozen veggies as a last resort sort of thing. 

 

Also, look for cheaper cuts of meat. I finally accepted (and convinced hubby) that in order to save money, boneless/skinless chicken breasts aren't for us. I can get (again, this is where I live) B/S chicken for $4-ish a pound, or I can get drumsticks/thighs or leg quarters for less than $1 per pound (whole chickens can be even cheaper - just 60-80 cents a pound). Look at your price per pound more than the overall price of the package. If you get more for the same amount of money or slightly more...do it! Plus if you have chicken bones you can make chicken stock (carrot peelings, celery ends/leaves, sacrifice an onion, and whatever else you have just lying around) that you can use for making soup - all out of things you would've thrown away (and now you don't have to buy more ingredients to make soup! Saving money!). Same with beef bones, but I haven't tried making beef stock yet. I know that it is a little different than making chicken stock.

 

Long story short - see what's cheapest (and compliant) in your area. Eat that. Buy that. When it goes on sale, stock up like a doomsday prepper. My parents aren't Whole30, but they have a store in their area that will occasionally run a "10 for $10" sale. My parents bought $150 worth of stuff this last time. It was mostly pasta, pasta sauce, etc., but there were a bunch of canned veggies too. Even if they're just 10 cents off, picking up a few cans extra will save you money in the long run.

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