Monday, March 25, 2013

The rest of the story

The above web address is for the USDA stats on food plans: Cost of food at home. It is the latest I can find. Note the bottom notes for the bottom line on your size of family. This is what they base food stamps on.

I have been averaging 56 percent of the thrifty plan and that is building a stock. The actual food eaten would be less. I would have an educated guess of 50 percent.

Some other notes. One of the tricks that was brought to my attention, was that when you buy produce in bags. Weigh a few bags. It is hard for them to get exactly measurement of a produce item in a bag. Often times, there are as much as 25 percent more in a bag.

My benchmark for diner is five bucks. 4+1+5. Four people, 1 meal, 5 bucks. This is an average. Some meals cost more, some cost less. By averaging, you can have some more fancy meals and not feel deprived. To do this, you need to try for as close to 2.00 a meal for meat. That pays for a pound of pork loin, almost a pound of hamburger, Sausage, chicken roasted at home. quiche with cheese, pizza with cheese and pepperoni from the dollar store. tuna cassarole, many soups.
I am sure there are more.

If a meal is low on protein, make a pudding or creme brulee for desert to boost the protein intake.

Planning your grocery trips to coinside with other errands keeps the gas bill down. We try to group stores in a tight circle to minimize gas , even though we get 50 miles per gallon on the highway in our car.

Retailers have tricks to entice you to buy more stuff. Read a previous post for more info.

Rock Bottoms:
This is for the Seattle area, and for the things that my family eats a lot of; your family dynamics may be different.

Diced tomatoes .48 is the lowest, Usually .67 cents is more realistic. I usually can get them for .67 when TOP has a sale. Sometimes, when Big Lots is having their 20 percent sale, I can get .48. Many times the .48 is with added bonus, just be sure the seasoning is what your family will eat. We like spicy; not everytone does. They also have mexican spices and italian.

Beans are also .67 when they are on a good sale at TOP.

Pasta sauce is .79 or so at Winco. I got it for .80 at Albertsons. I use Hunts in a can. They peel their tomatoes with steam, not chemicals. I have got it as low as .50.

Pasta is always .88 to a buck somewhere. I try to buy the good name brands, but sometimes get the store brand if it is cheap enough. Safeways had .75 a few weeks ago. Watch you package sizes, some are 12 ounces.

Refried beans ate anywhere from .50 to .78 on sale.

I want taco shells for under a buck. Ditto green chilies.

Sausage is running 7 bucks for three pounds at costco.

I want to pay 2.50 a pound for cheese or less. Grated cheese is less at business costco. Some at regular costco. Brick is harder to find. If you make sandwiches that are heated, you can use the grated kind and skip the bricks.

I want to pay a buck or under for black olives I got them for .88 at Winco.

Green beans are .33 at Winco. They are a smaller cut than some of the others. I buy fresh when they are in season and are less costly.

I want to pay a buck a pound for frozen mixed veggies.

I get high fiber bread for two bucks a loaf. The brown and serve bagettes are less than a buck at costco. Sometimes I find them at the bakery outlet.

I want to pay .75 or less for soups. I get tomato, cream of mushroom, and chicken noodle.

I want to pay 2.00 or so for the tomato, roasted red pepper soup in a box. It sometimes is about that price at costco when they have it.

Coffee is less than 7 bucks at Grocery Outlet. IT is NOT designer coffee. My husband doesn't like designer coffee.

Grocery Outlet has a wide variety of cheese , some at cheaper prices.

Multi coloured peppers are four bucks almost always at Grocery Outlet.

Catsup is always a buck at the dollar store, ditto mustard.

Salami and pepperoni are a buck at the dollar store. The same package is 3.50 at the regular stores.

Big lots has veggie chips for two dollars....less when they run their twenty per cent sales.

I get chicken for .88 sometimes at QFC. I want to pay a buck a pound or less.

I buy packets of instant mashed potatoes. They come in a variety of flavours. I get them for .80 on sale often. Winco is a good bet some of the time.

Hamburger buns are usually cheaper at winco than even the bakery outlet.

I buy some Nallys chili. I want less than a buck a can. Sometimes I get it for .50.

Tea is usually cheapest at Big Lots.

Green chilies are cheapest at Winco. .69

There is probably more, but its three in the morning and I can't remember any more.

I buy any non perishables when they are cheap. I don't buy them again until I find them cheap. If I underetimate the amounts, we use something else until I fnd a sale. Usually, I dont run out. I start looking when the shelf starts to look depleated.

I can average half price or less on most items. Tomates are 1.59 at the regular store. If I pay .48 I have saved over a buck a can. I use two cans in a soup.
I also use two cans of beans in a soup. Sausage bean soup is on an earlier post.

Please feel free to comment in the comment section as to what is on your target list. IF I can tell you where it is cheaper, I will.

Every store has loss leaders to bring you in the store. The trick is to buy the specials and whatever you have to have that never goes on sale, and get out.

Shopping wisely and keeping adhead of the fridge so things dont go bad are the keys to eating on the cheap.

If you save 75 dollars a week, thats about four THOUSAND dollars a year. What can You do with four thousand dollars. Now, I can remember when saving to buy something else was not an option. Saving meant the difference of whether I made it through the month and paid all the bills or not.

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