last night we had hamburgers, French fries and fruit salad and corn on the cob. My daughter substituted a veggie Berger. That was still close to a five dollar dinner.
Four people. One meal. Five bucks. Five dollars is my cost limit (-average ) for the four of us. That's a target amount in order to stick to a four dollar a day budget. We actually eat well on less than a four dollar a day budget. The trick is to pay 1/2 price for your food, it takes some work. I post my hauls and what I find to take some of the work out of it for some people in the Seattle area.
For the most part, I have concluded that the fresh food market is more expensive and lesser quality than Winco. Winco and Fred Meyers are the lowest price source seen.
Grocery outlet is more expensive on a lot of things-- you can still find a sleeper every now and then. Usually, I know that the sliced cheese is 2.39. Coffee is sometimes cheaper. They have date related mark downs -- really cheap. Check the dates. Sometimes it's a matter of changing meal plans to use it up. They had mayonaise for 3/97. It was really stale dated and I didn't know how long safe was. When in doubt, throw it out rules applied, we didn't get it. Coffee used to be cheaper,I check every time.
There are a few American brands of things at the dollar store. The dollar store takes coupons. Watch pull dates. Watch package sizes. Watch the product origin. ( China has a bar code starting with a 6, or 47 . Some prices are more than the grocery store. Their cheese isn't always real cheese.
Some of it is junk food and some of it is convenience food this better made scratch.
I go to Alberways if they have a bulk sale that makes sense--especially of it is enhanced with a basket coupon.
I hear the Asian market has good prices. We don't eat a lot of Asian food, but we are low on soy sauce, so I might do some price comparison. My husband makes beef jerky and uses a lot.
Costco is best for dairy unless there is a big sale , bananas, oatmeal, and bulk sausage.
No store has the best prices on everything. The best you can do is to pick the two chain stores that best suit your needs by carrying the items you buy most often. Do a SAMs club or Costco run for bulk items once a month or so. That should give you the most bang for your buck without spending an exorbitant amount of time shopping, plan your trips and go with a good idea (list) of what you are looking for-- even if that "list" is a vague.....stock meat, and veggies to go with meals.
I know when I'm walking into a store, what I angling to buy. Unless a real bargain gets up and jumps at me, or so,etching really looks nasty, I am probably going to stick to the list. Example-- by grouping like things in the fridge and freezer, I can tell at a glance what we need soon. I walked onto Winco, tater tots were 1.28 for two pounds. Anything under a dollar a pound for frozen veggies or potatoes is a bargain. I bought ine so we could try the out. They turned out tasting fine, they were just a little thinner than the name brand. I liked that because they cooked faster.
Get in a store, get what you need, amd get out. The more time you spend in a store, the more money you will spend.
Groceries on the cheap is looking at the "put the meal on the table train" from a different perspective.
The emphasis is on purchasing good shelf stable or frozen food for a RBP in quantity - enough to last you until ot goes on sale again or to keep a controlled non-perishable stock of the things you use on a weekly basis.
This means that instead of shopping daily or weekly for just the things you need to cook your meals for the week. You go to two stores and buy :
1) a protein that is a RBP - enough to make that meal for x number of days. (I.e.: if you eat it once a week, buy enough for 4 meals.)
2) produce and dairy you will need to fill in the meals for the week.
3) a stock item, if you need to and it is on a RBP - enough to fill in to your self imposed stock level.
You often are paying 1/2 price for your food. This allows you to put well-balanced meals on the table consistently on a four dollar a day per person budget. You spend more time on the locomotive ( planning and shopping ) end of the train, and less time in the caboose ( kitchen j) by cooking more efficiently.
Four dollars a day is the target amount for people on snap. My premise is that of you can do it on 4 dollars a day, spending more is not difficult and you still get more nutrition for your buck.