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Pampered Chef: HELP! I'm on a food budget.

  1. lisasfuncooking

    lisasfuncooking Member

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    I know I had recently seen a link someone posted on how to save $$ grocery shopping. I have a family of 6 and swear I would be rich if we did not eat. But being that is not possible, and let's face it we all love food, I have to do something to cut my bill. I do cut coupons. Mostly, I shop at our local Stop & Shop. I go through the flyer and look through my coupons. I wil buy something if it is a good sale, even if I don't need to use it right away. I also go to BJ's to stock up on things that are in bulk. But still I spent over $300 :cry: last week, just on some food and needed household items. I cut out alot of snacky foods too. Down to breakfast lunch dinner, few snacks. And I almost always make things myself, unless it's cheaper to buy it pre-made. I know we spend more at times when we have to stock up on laundry det, tp, ect..... I do try to find budget friendly meals, but I also like to try new recipes that may have ingredients that I normally wouldn't stock. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am sure I am not the only one who could use a few tips.
     
  2. etteluap70PC

    etteluap70PC Legacy Member Gold Member

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    first.. go here BeCentsAble: BeCentsAble's Original Grocery Gathering! you can find links to shopping lists for local stores. They sort it out by the best deals and partner with coupons.

    Check out the Angel food network to see if they have local food distribution sites. You get wholesale prices on food. I have heard it is very good and I know a local family who is feeding a family of 7 for 200$ a month using co ops like this.

    Also... Hot Coupon World seems pretty cool and had some regional forums.

    Oh yeah these sites are FREE!!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
    Jan 11, 2010
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  3. NooraK

    NooraK Legend Member Gold Member

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    Here's the link to the post from last week:

    http://www.chefsuccess.com/f18/ot-save-loads-savings-angel-58538/

    I use a blog called Southern Savers (it's local to me) to get lists with which I buy my groceries. It's a part of the Grocery Gathering Paulette mentioned above. I don't have to worry abotu remembering to keep track of prices because they'll tell me what to buy and when, and which coupons to use. Best of all, it's free!
     
    Jan 11, 2010
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  4. RCKmom

    RCKmom Member

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    I feel your pain. I have a family of 5. I joke and tell them all the time that if they didn't have the bad habit of eating, then we would be rich!!
     
    Jan 11, 2010
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  5. Sheila

    Sheila Legend Member Gold Member

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    I had a millionaire once tell me that if people would stop cutting coupons and utilize that time toward their business (in this case, making customer care calls), before you know it, you won't NEED to clip coupons. LOL It was a theory that he tested & PROVED works!!! ;)

    But I'll still give you my recipe:

    Chicken Spaghetti

    1 box of Past Roni
    1 can chicken

    Boil water, stir in packet of sauce & drop in pasta. Lay a bamboo spoon across the top of the pan so it doesn't boil over while you are distracted. Use your handy dandy can opener to get to the chicken, then your strainer to drain off the water from the chicken. Pour it out on the cutting board & use your food chopper to chop it into fine pieces. Dump it in the pot & stir. The pasta is ready in 5 min's. Serve with your favorite veggies. For my hubby, it's a can of LeSeur Peas. If I'm in a really good mood, I'll pop some heat & serve rolls or crescent rolls in the oven before I start & they are done about the time I'm done. A cheap meal in under 10 min's. ;)

    You might want to double the recipe for a family of 6, but it's still dirt cheap & goooood.
     
    Jan 11, 2010
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  6. ChefBeckyD

    ChefBeckyD Legend Member Gold Member

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    I'm not a couponer. I just don't have the time or patience for it.

    Some tricks I've learned in my area:

    Go grocery shopping early Monday morning - both of the grocery stores closest to me have drastic markdowns on meat, poultry, and refrigerated foods then. This morning, I bought boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.24 lb, and pork loin chops for $1.49 lb. Also, good, thick sliced bacon for $1.79 a package. Yes, all of it was nearing it's expiration date, but I just bring it home a stick it in the freezer.

    I make my own Laundry detergent, and use vinegar for softener. Both work GREAT. I buy the vinegar in 3 gallon bottles at Costco.
    Making Homemade Laundry Soap

    I don't know about BJ's as we don't have one here, but at Costco, I can get 5 lb bags of grated cheese (cheddar, colby/jack, mozzarella, etc...) for less than $10 a bag. I repackage it and freeze it. I spending $1 per bag of cheese, when even the store brand is $2.99 for the same size. (Kraft is on sale in the area 2 for $4 this week - mine's still half the price!)

    I am very conscious of prices and know where I can get the best deal. We don't eat many processed foods - I've chosen not to for health reasons, but have also found that we save a ton of money by doing so. If we want cookies - I bake them (other than the mint triangles!:D), if we want muffins, same thing.

    I make my own cream soup (don't buy the canned). I found a recipe on Allrecipes.com for a mix you can make, and have whatever kind of cream soup you want for pennies compared to the boughten stuff, and it's much healthier for you too!


    I also use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning alot - and then don't have to buy all of the expensive cleaners. They work great, and I'm cleaning without harsh chemicals!
     
    Jan 11, 2010
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  7. Liquid Sky

    Liquid Sky Advanced Member

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    I am a HUGE couponer. I use www.pinchingyourpennies.com. It's FREE and there are state forums. If you want to slash your grocery bill by 75-90% (this includes TP, razors, makeup, household cleaners, toothpaste, lotions...etc) then it does take a little work. Nothing comes easy. Once you get your system down you will spend 10 mins a week sorting coupons, 15 mins a week cutting coupons and organizing them to go to the store and then your actual grocery shopping.

    It's funny how some people thinks it takes sooooooooo long to be a couponer when actually it doesn't. It's always fun to have the jaws drop to the ground when people in the check-out line behind you hear that you only owe $3 (or whatever) for a grocery cart absolutely FULL of groceries. Savings like that on a weekly basis is worth it to me to spend the 30 mins a week on coupons :)
     
    Jan 11, 2010
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  8. munkee41182

    munkee41182 Member

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    I don't know what other stores you have around you, but I know where I live, Stop and Shop is bloody expensive. The store that I normally shop at literally cut my bill in half without using coupons. Anyway you can check out another grocery store to see their prices?
     
    Jan 11, 2010
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  9. DebbieJ

    DebbieJ Legend Member

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    know your prices and stock up when things you eat often are on sale.

    For example, one store around here has 93% lean ground beef on sale for 1.99/lb every so often. When it hits that price, I buy 10 lbs, bring it home and brown most of it and then freeze it in 1# servings. That way I've already done some of the prep work.

    I also buy lots of chicken breasts when they hit rock bottom price and freeze 3-4 breasts together in a freezer bag.

    Those are some easy things you can do to start slashing your budget right away.

    I also do a lot of shopping at Aldi, which doesn't take coupons, but is BY FAR the cheapest store around.
     
    Jan 11, 2010
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  10. babywings76

    babywings76 Legend Member Gold Member

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    Every time I take the time to clip coupons, I go to the store only to find out that even with the sale price and the coupon...the store brand or other brand are cheaper. I shop the store sales. I don't have the time (well, my kids don't have the patience) to go store hopping. The amount of time and gas I spend driving all over in my area to the different store eats up the amount I'd save sometimes!

    One thing I do is buy in bulk when I can and bag up and freeze things. Before I shop, I look through my freezer, check my produce drawer in the fridge, and my pantry. I plan my meals for the week based on what I find there. We do plain ol' spaghetti w/ meat sauce, pizza, and pancakes (or other breakfast like food), usually every week. That's 3 meals taken care of really inexpensively.

    Where we spend the most money is on meat, snacks, cereal, and MILK! We go through at least 6 gallons in a week! It's insane! And for some reason, in our area milk is a lot more expensive than I've heard it's at in other areas.

    One other thing I'm going to go back to doing is measuring my chicken breasts and cutting them into 4 to 6 oz/serving and bag them up that way. It's a good way to stretch the amount of chicken, because sometimes the breasts are quite large and I really don't need to prepare that increased amount for our meal.
     
    Jan 11, 2010
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  11. ChefBeckyD

    ChefBeckyD Legend Member Gold Member

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    the other thing that I've found is that most food coupons (I'm not saying all - just most) are for processed foods, and like I said before, we just don't eat alot of processed foods - so coupons don't do me a lot of good.

    I went through the coupon booklets in Sunday's paper, and there were 4 coupons that I would use:

    1. Kotex feminine products
    2. Hersheys Extra Dark chocolate! :D
    3. Aunt Millie's Bread
    4. Dole Fruit Bowls (if they have them in fruit juice, and not a sugar syrup.)

    So, I guess it's all in how you shop and what you eat. I buy most paper products and hygiene products, etc...in bulk at Costco - and often I do use Costco Coupons for those.

    I have to 2nd Aldi's for certain items too. They have some great frozen veggies, and their frozen fish is better than any I've bought at other local grocery stores - plus I can get Mahi Mahi, Orange Roughy, and Flounder there at a decent price. Oh - and often they have Fontina, Gruyere, and other deli cheeses there for an EXCELLENT price, along with Jarred Artichoke Hearts.
     
    Jan 11, 2010
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  12. NooraK

    NooraK Legend Member Gold Member

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    What I've found with the blog I follow, the best coupons are printed from the internet. There are lots of printable coupons for organic and healthier foods out there. I don't have time to find them myself, that's why I love the fact that the blog finds them for me (well, her readers also give her lots of tips). If the coupon is a printable item, there's a link right there for me to click on.

    I like the fact that I can just take her list for the week and delete the items we don't use, and I have an almost complete grocery list ready for me. It covers the meat and poultry items that are on sale as well, and I am pretty good at figuring out something to make with what's in my fridge.
     
    Jan 11, 2010
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  13. raebates

    raebates Legend Member Staff Member

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    My biggest problem is I have difficulty printing coupons from online sources. They're blocked by my filters and I can't figure out how to unblock just those sources.
     
    Jan 11, 2010
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  14. ChefBeckyD

    ChefBeckyD Legend Member Gold Member

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    Me too, Rae - except I think part of my problem is because I have a Mac...probably if I cared enough, I could figure it out. :rolleyes:
     
    Jan 11, 2010
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  15. raebates

    raebates Legend Member Staff Member

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    I'm like you, Becky. I don't buy a lot of processed foods, so many of the coupons that come in thew newspaper aren't ones I use. I like that the loyalty program at the grocery where I do the majority of my shopping. They send me coupons for fresh produce, dairy products, meats, and such based on my purchase history. Those come in handy. They also come in the mail. :)

    Because I live in a rural area a lot of the great websites that my more urban and suburban friends love don't really work for me.
     
    Jan 11, 2010
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  16. etteluap70PC

    etteluap70PC Legacy Member Gold Member

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    You ladies are right it's all about what works for you. I never used to worry about the coupons and these shopping sites much because the ones on the list are a 30 minute drive. I need to have more than 1 place to stop to make this kind of trip worth it. Well Now my DS is in Speech therapy once a week in this larger town so that is my shopping day. I use the lists for more than coupons, overall it saves me time because i know they have done the research for me as to what is a "Best price". I also have found out about Many free online deals (I got 50 FREE photo greeting cards, I designed them myself and only paid 3$ for shipping) not to mention many other freebies.

    Again like everything life is full of choices. We all should do what is best for our families.
     
    Jan 11, 2010
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  17. jwpamp

    jwpamp Veteran Member

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    Jan 11, 2010
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  18. etteluap70PC

    etteluap70PC Legacy Member Gold Member

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    Jan 11, 2010
    #18
  19. lisasfuncooking

    lisasfuncooking Member

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    Thank you all for some great ideas. I am brainstorming what works for me and have been researching online. I am coming up with a plan and will share it with you all tomorrow.
    TTFN!
     
  20. pampered1224

    pampered1224 Legacy Member Silver Member

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    Something else to check. Pull out the receipt from the bulk items you bought and break them down by unit. A roll of toilet paper, one box of detergent and so on. Even a single can of soda cost. I started doing that over a year ago. You know what I found? I was actually paying MORE per item in bulk at Sam's Club than if I had caught a sale at Target, of which toilet paper and such always seem to be on sale, or the grocery store! Not kidding! AND NEVER USE A CREDIT CARD THAT IS NOT ATTACHED TO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT! When you do, you never figure in the interest and you end up spending three times the amount! The 99 cent White Rain shampoo works as well as the $1.99 Sauve shampoo. And the 89 cent store brand frozen veggies are as good as the $1.49 ones by the cheaper brand names. And get this, if you serve something to your family that is considered a generic, don't tell them. If you keep serving it, they will get used to it. Like the 29 cent mac and cheese instead of Kraft at $2.09 for the same sized box.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
    Jan 11, 2010
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  21. lockhartkitchen

    lockhartkitchen Senior Member

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    We have a family of 5. We make a menu for the week. This keeps us focused and organized. Dollar tree is where we get paper products, and dish soap. I buy bulk of the chicken breasts and hamburger when on sale. It helps if you have a sealer, to freeze in the amounts you use: 1 pound, 2 pounds, 4 pork chops, etc. We have a bread machine, and make our own bread to have with meals, rather than buying the french bread. Breakfasts: oatmeal, eggs, waffles (we make ourselves and freeze- so kids just put in the toaster in the morning). cold boxed cereal only on the weekends, or when we get on sale. When you make things yourself, it's a lot cheaper. It really doesn't take that much time to do it.

    Summer- we make our own jam next year we're going to can.
     
  22. susanr613

    susanr613 Senior Member Gold Member

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    Paulette thank you so much for the recommendation for the Angel Food Network! I confirmed with some coupon divas that their Signature Box is a really good deal...so I ordered one.
     
    Jan 12, 2010
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  23. etteluap70PC

    etteluap70PC Legacy Member Gold Member

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    Wonderful! Let us know how you like it!
     
    Jan 12, 2010
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  24. lisasfuncooking

    lisasfuncooking Member

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    Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. I did some research. There are some coupons that are automatically loaded of your savings card for the store you shop at. This did not work for me because the store that are available to me are not linked to this. Of course that are many websites that are easy to view and print out coupons that I can choose. Not a big deal to do. I didn't like the websites that plans your meals for you and gives you coupons to help buy those meals. I like planning my meals. I did like the savingangels, but really need to think about it because the only store that participates around here is walmart. I am about 30 minutes from them, I really have to figure out if I would use it. I am not a walmart fan at all.
    What I did find during my search were some websites that I signed up for a free product. Example... pads, coffee, toothpaste. It took me directly to the manufactures website and just requested a free sample. No it's not going to help, but I figured if it was free, I would take advantage of it.
    I will continue to use coupons and check the flyers for sales. In the mean time, I am keeping a list of things that I buy regularly. Laundry det, toliet paper, paper towels, soap. I am going to keep track of how much I spend monthly on it, this way at least I know aprox how much $ I need for my food budget. I find it is cheaper to buy this at BJ's.
    I really thank you all for your ideas and hope some of this helped you.
     
  25. legacypc46

    legacypc46 Senior Member Gold Member

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    This suggestion won't save you money up front, but it will at tax time:

    - you can deduct the groceries you buy for 'recipe testing.' While some PC recipes are expensive, most aren't. My accountant's recommendation was to claim a recipe no more than twice.

    - you can also deduct your mileage to and from the grocery store if you are buying ingredients for test recipes. (Just put them on a separate receipt.)

    P.S. - I am a couponeer....despite eating very little processed foods. The big savings come in when you have coupons for items that are 'buy one, get one free'. I stock up a lot during the holiday baking season when everything seems to go on sale.
     
    Jan 15, 2010
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  26. lovescooking

    lovescooking Member Gold Member

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    I just ordered Angel Food for the first time this month and I couldn't believe how much you get for $30...I even order a fresh veggie and fruit package for $22! Pick up is next Saturday so we will see how it goes.
    Want to check it out for yourself...
    WelcomeĀ - Angel Food Ministries

    I buy household supplies at Dollar General, Target, Big Lots, etc. Wherever I can save a dollar I do.

    My family does not eat many processed foods so the coupons do not benefit me much. I do love the BOGO sales though. My kids love it when I make pita chips with our parmesan oil dipping seasoning on them. Wonton chips are really good too.
    A bread machine is next on my wish list to help save money.

    Grocery shopping is something you have to fine tune for your family and find out what works best.
     
    Jan 15, 2010
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