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Hey there - The Budget Gourmet

Ophelia posting in The Budget Gourmet
User: budget_gourmet (posted by starrynight)
Date: 2013-01-10 15:23
Subject: Hey there
Security: Public
I have a simple question. My grocery budget for the month is $174. I know I can get really cheap things like ramen and whatever, but I try really hard to eat healthy. I know what's good for me and what isn't, but it sucks have such a limited budget. I know that it may sound like a lot of money to some people, but I live in an expensive area unfortunately.

My question is, does anyone know where I can get printable coupons online for food? I'm thinking that coupons would make things a little easier. Or if anyone has ideas on healthy, yet cheap foods, let me know.
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Follow me... I'm a GEOGRAPHER!: Nom nom nom
User: elyssa
Date: 2013-01-11 17:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Nom nom nom
If you're looking to eat somewhat healthier on a budget, I have a few suggestions that have brought our grocery bill for two down to about $130-140/month. We live in Phoenix so ymmv here, but for reference we were purchasing about $300/month in groceries and eating less healthy food.

First, check and see if there is a fruit and vegetable co-op in your local area. We use Bountiful Baskets. It's not locally grown, but for $15/week (it's a buy-in at your discretion, so you don't need to purchase each week if you don't want to) we get a laundry basket full of fruit and one of vegetables. It's nice because there's a lot of produce and it changes with the seasons so we're constantly getting new and sometimes unusual things. It doesn't look like they've grown out to where you are, but I'm sure there's something similar in your area.

Through the co-op, we discovered that the grocery distributor for the Phoenix Metro area is actually open to the public for produce purchases. It is not the same incredibly good deal that the baskets are, but the distributor will sell direct to the public at a massively discounted rate from what you'll pay for fresh food at a grocery store. Ours does not force us to buy bulk; they are nice, happy to help, and will literally rip open a bulk package to let you have part of it.

We also found a local butcher and started purchasing meat exclusively through them. While there was a lot of sticker shock at first, we soon discovered that a pound of ground beef cost less than twice as much but would go twice as far because it was much higher quality and we were more conscious about how we were using it. We also found that we were eating less meat and feeling more full for the same reasons.

Finally, we have a grocery store within walking distance that has bulk bins we use liberally. Learn to do some cooking with beans. I think I made a post in this very community a few months ago when I was first starting out, and the texture is so much better than canned. We invested in a pressure cooker since we were using our slow cooker so frequently, and honestly cooking at home is cheaper, healthier, and faster now.

Thanks to those changes, we only go to the regular grocery store these days for milk products and bread, and to raid the bulk bins. Like I said, our bills went down a lot! We aren't going to stores where we can do a lot of impulse food shopping anymore, which is really nice and has been very good for our wallets :)

My husband doesn't really care for bread except for buns so we don't buy a lot of that any more. I don't know how much longer we'll be in the Phoenix area, but I'm curious whether purchasing better milk products will be a similar overall savings that we experienced with meat.
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Ophelia
User: starrynight
Date: 2013-01-11 18:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yeah, I don't buy produce at my local supermarket because it rots quickly. I found out the hard way after buy a pound of strawberries for $5, only for them to go back two days later. Learned my lesson after that.

I don't eat meat, thankfully. I know meat can really drive up the price of grocery bills.

If you were into bread, I'd say get a bread machine. I use mine for making pizza dough, but I've also made bread in there as well.
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Follow me... I'm a GEOGRAPHER!: Hopeful Rydia
User: elyssa
Date: 2013-01-11 18:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Hopeful Rydia
I'm a grad student so the amount of time I have really fluctuates. I enjoy making my own bread whenever possible (the whole process is very relaxing to me), but when we tried using a bread machine all of the magic kind of went out of it for me :(
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Ophelia
User: starrynight
Date: 2013-01-11 18:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I like to bake my hand sometimes but it's sooo much easier for me to use a bread machine because it's a set it and forget it type of thing. No worrying about dough drying out or making sure it rises properly. But if it's cathartic to you to do it by hand, then I totally understand.

At least flour and yeast are cheap, either way.
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