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Old 12-10-2011, 12:43 PM   #41
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don't you think this is sad? work all those years to retire and have to skrimp on groceries instead of eating what we like? If you can't eat what you enjoy whats the point?
I tried to tighten my budget for a few years to see how much I can squeeze to save more, but after that (felt pretty deprived at times), I have decided that I really would like to eat what I want to eat when I want it. So I bought a freezer. I buy meats in bulk to lower the cost (1/4 grassfed beef and 1/2 pasture fed pork with a local group which lowers the price so much. I also have been buying about 30 lbs of sockye salmon along with 10 lbs of scallops from a fishery in WA via a local buying club. Whenever I see really good sales on crab/lobsters, I buy them and freeze.) I used to be a CSA member for organic produce, but it was quite expensive ($18 per week); now I just go to a local produce store (prices are amazing!!!) and half the stuff I pick up are organic, but the pricedifference between these local produce stores and WholeFoods or even Safeway are astronomical.

I now go out to lunch with friends without looking into my budget and that is rather liberating.

So I am saving maybe a couple of thousands dollars less than before, but I don't care.
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Old 12-10-2011, 12:52 PM   #42
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I had bison when stopping by Cheyenne, WY, on my RV trip. It's lean, and too dry. Healthy, for sure, but expensive and not good tasting compared to my everyday every-weekend beefsteak.

I never spent the time to study grass-fed beef vs. regular beef. It may be something to check into.
Once you get used to grassfed beef, regular beef feels very filmy/greasy. Not all grassfed beef are created equal either. Some taste quite gamy to me. They all tend to have more intense beef flavor compared to some of the feedlot flavorless cousins. I personally like feedlot filet (choice) better than the grassfed filet though.

To me, some grassfed cuts are really good, but it gets too lean (dry/tough) if you get round steak or even sirloin steak. I invested in Sous Vide which solves the problem (although it bothers me slightly that I have to use plastic bags although they say nothing toxic is reaching out.) I tried other methods (meat tenderizer with bromain and also with a piercing device.) The next best way is to marinate the meat in unfiltered olive oil for over 24 hours IMO. Grassfed beef has more CLA and Omega3 than the grainfed kind, but that' just what I read.

I don't mean to get off the track here, but Sous Vide is GREAT for cooking fish, especially lean fish like salmon (wild) because there seems to be such a narrow window of cooking temperature that cooks the salmon but not overcook it.
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Old 12-10-2011, 12:58 PM   #43
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don't you think this is sad? work all those years to retire and have to skrimp on groceries instead of eating what we like? If you can't eat what you enjoy whats the point?
We don't scrimp, and that's not what I'm taking away from most responses. We just buy smarter, getting what we want at a discount. And we waste less because we shop/use more efficiently. It's kinda fun, we definitely eat what we want. There's no sad involved for us...
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Old 12-10-2011, 01:44 PM   #44
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We eat tons of chicken and when I find good sales I stock up.
My favorite food is (boneless) chicken cutlets which I make myself, with help the last few years from my ladyfriend. The price of the raw boneless chicken varies a lot at my local supermarket and is often on sale. hen not on sale, it costs ~$4.50 a pound or more. But when it is on sale, it costs ~$2.50 a pound, so I load up on it, buying 4 three-pound packages and freeze what I don't cook so I can thaw it out later over the next several weeks. Saving $2 a pound when buying 12 pounds of it saves me $24 in a single supermarket visit, hardly trivial.
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Old 12-10-2011, 02:07 PM   #45
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don't you think this is sad? work all those years to retire and have to skrimp on groceries instead of eating what we like? If you can't eat what you enjoy whats the point?
Have to scrimp? Um, we always eat what we enjoy (and enjoy what we eat). We spend about $50/week for the two of us on food, but not because we're shopping by price.

We buy almost everything at Aldi because imho the quality is equal to any other grocery store. For produce we go to an ethnic grocery store because there's a greater variety. For meat we go to Whole Foods or a local butcher. We only buy what we need, easy to figure out for two people.

We budget another $200/mo for dining out, but rarely reach that level.

Our food/dining budgets/expenses do not include alcohol, since we rarely drink.
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Old 12-10-2011, 03:28 PM   #46
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Truth be told, my taste is such that the cuts of meat that I like are not at all expensive. Again, I was just joking about fancy food like spanish ham.

Here's an example. I can get an entire filet from a local store, or even Costco, for a good price. But filet is so lean and does not taste as good as other cuts. And then, I used to eat calf liver, as in Venetian liver, or in the form of pâté. Or roasted beef marrow. FIREd here also likes the latter.

All that stuff is good for my palate, but definitely not for my vascular system, so I have stopped. So, you see that money is not the problem, because I can be happy eating without spending a lot. For a while, I was really into food. From either some shows on the FoodNetwork or some books that I read, one by Ruhlman perhaps, I learned that real chefs like to cook with cheaper cuts and turn them into tasty morsels. That is more challenging to them. I wholeheartedly agree. Beef bourguignon or hungarian goulash do not require expensive cuts, for another example.

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Once you get used to grassfed beef, regular beef feels very filmy/greasy...

I don't mean to get off the track here, but Sous Vide is GREAT for cooking fish, especially lean fish like salmon (wild) because there seems to be such a narrow window of cooking temperature that cooks the salmon but not overcook it.
Maybe I need to seriously look into grassfed beef and see if I like it. I have been thinking that I would just stick to what I like, and eat less of it.

Have seen sous vide on TV, but have not tried that.

And here, by the way, is another thing my wife tried recently. She bought a thermos cooker, a big one of 4.5L, and has been using it to simmer beef bone and also chicken bone to make homemade stock. She has been making broth for my daily soup by simmering, but the thermos cooker makes it a lot more convenient and carefree. While the electricity used for simmering is not that much and a thermos cooker is expensive, the convenience is worth the cost to us.

PS. My wife just said that it is an 8L cooker, not 4.5L.
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Old 12-10-2011, 04:05 PM   #47
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I buy groceries in small lots, when I am downtown for another reason. I carry a short shopping list in my pocketbook and stick to it.
I frequent the dollar stores for name brand or generic canned and dry goods and bulk paper products. I will go to a local mom-n-pop meat market when there is a very good sale on meats. I buy in bulk and separate/wrap it for freezing in 2 person portions.
Mr B scans the flyers for meat sale deals from Aldi's or local grocers and will go on his own to get the deals.
We place meat orders with a local Legion when they do their monthly ordering. There is a minimum order amount that we and other veterans help them achieve to get free delivery. We commit to buy half a case and someone else will do the same for the other half case. We are still eating meat from an order we made during the summer.
A local rural convenience store offers a Milk Club, buy 10 half gallons, get 1 free. The milk and egg prices are better than the chain grocery stores.
I have no idea what we spend on a monthly basis. I use my cashback credit card (2% on groceries), accumulate the receipts and split the cost 50-50.
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Old 12-10-2011, 06:17 PM   #48
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DW was away for a week and a half nursing her sister, pre and post Thyroid removal. Saved lots on groceries with my caveman cooking skills.

Really prefer DW's gourmet kitchen fare. Don't care about the cost.
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:22 PM   #49
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don't you think this is sad? work all those years to retire and have to skrimp on groceries instead of eating what we like? If you can't eat what you enjoy whats the point?
Blasphemy!
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Old 12-10-2011, 08:15 PM   #50
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don't you think this is sad? work all those years to retire and have to skrimp on groceries instead of eating what we like? If you can't eat what you enjoy whats the point?
We don't skimp on groceries . I am just an excellent food shopper !
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Old 02-20-2012, 12:56 PM   #51
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Agree with you cooking bison. It looks the same and leads many to cook the same way, which ends badly. Bison at Costco - that's something I've never seen. It would drive down the price around here, which is sorely lacking competition.

Our Costco is about 45 minutes away. I believe it costs about $55.00 to join. Does anyone know how much one saves at Costco - percentage wise. I am thinking of stocking up on necessities, and am looking at my options. For example, we would use a case of pasta sauce - or, coffee, etc.

Right now, i shop at the local food co-op, a discount grocery store, and a regular super-market (most expensive). We do have a garden and orchard during summer months. Thanks for any feedback
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Old 02-20-2012, 01:02 PM   #52
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Our Costco is about 45 minutes away. I believe it costs about $55.00 to join. Does anyone know how much one saves at Costco - percentage wise.
No idea of any percentage amount but you should be able to pay a visit to your local Costco with a guest pass (ask at the door - they'll send to to the service desk). Walk around and compare prices for yourself to see what you think about the available product selection and price saving.
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Old 02-20-2012, 01:08 PM   #53
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don't you think this is sad? work all those years to retire and have to skrimp on groceries instead of eating what we like? If you can't eat what you enjoy whats the point?
I couldn't agree more. Some people enjoy spending time looking for bargain groceries that are still what they want to eat. If they are able to save money without depriving themselves of healthy, enjoyable food, then more power to them. They may prefer to use their savings to permit additional travel, for example. But all in all, it's kind of sad when others just can't afford to eat what they want to eat in retirement.

Luckily most of us have the financial resources to spend as much, or as little, as we might like for the food category in our retirement budget, and don't have to eat catfood. As we grow older, many of us (including me) eat less than we did when we were in our 30's so it costs less.
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Old 02-20-2012, 01:28 PM   #54
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I think it's fun to shop at the local bargain grocery. They play music from the 60's as we groove down the isles There is a wide assortment of organic fare, including (Alvarado Street organic bread). I am a slow cooking fan, so I do get bulk oatmeal, nuts, etc. at the co-op. It would be nice, though to be able to find toilet paper, tissues, toothpaste, foil, (mainstays) for a lower price.

We donate to the local food bank, especially in the summertime when the fruit and tomatoes ripen. I feel for those who can't afford to buy the food they want.
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Old 02-20-2012, 02:18 PM   #55
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Here's why my food budget is so low. There is a good buffet style restaurant close to where I live. If you dine in, I believe it's $7 plus the cost of a drink. Takeout trays they weigh and charge a price per pound. Yesterday I piled up one to go tray(serve yourself) and it cost close to $9, no drink. That fed my mom and myself a nice Sunday lunch with leftovers for both of us today. So roughly $2.25 per meal. And this is healthy food. I don't ask what they season it all with.

No way I can go buy stuff to prepare that will taste this good, not to mention the convenience and price. I go there 3 times a week which will pretty much take care of one meal per day for the week. Breakfast foods are cheap, serve up a salad or sandwich at night and you have a very reasonable daily food budget. Of course I do go out to eat with friends here and there, but it's usually to places like Outback. Not many high price fine dining establishments where I live.
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Old 02-20-2012, 02:47 PM   #56
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Our Costco is about 45 minutes away. I believe it costs about $55.00 to join. Does anyone know how much one saves at Costco - percentage wise. I am thinking of stocking up on necessities, and am looking at my options. For example, we would use a case of pasta sauce - or, coffee, etc.

Right now, i shop at the local food co-op, a discount grocery store, and a regular super-market (most expensive). We do have a garden and orchard during summer months. Thanks for any feedback
Do you go to the one on Wabash street?

I've analyzed this, and we save money even with the annual fee. It's not a slam dunk, but we have definitely come out ahead each year. Things we buy: butter eggs bacon macadamias sour cream cheese pecans almonds toilet paper paper towel hearing aids.
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:11 PM   #57
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I had bison when stopping by Cheyenne, WY, on my RV trip. It's lean, and too dry. Healthy, for sure, but expensive and not good tasting compared to my everyday every-weekend beefsteak.

I never spent the time to study grass-fed beef vs. regular beef. It may be something to check into.
Try grilling a bison rib-eye one of these days. Truly awesome. Not cheap though!!!!!
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:16 PM   #58
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I do not skimp on groceries. I love to cook and I love to eat well. And I get the best results from my time and effort when I use the better ingredients.

But I have to admit I was pretty shocked when the (US raised) rack of lamb I usually buy went from $16 a pound to $22 a pound last year!!!!! Decided I could live with leg of lamb. That went up too, but not nearly as much.

And my frozen Dungeness crab (you would not believe how good the quality is) has gone from $8.98 to $10.98 a pound.

I am looking forward to the local Costco opening. I haven't had a membership before, but I am hoping the lamb is less expensive (as I have heard). Fine with me if the lamb is imported from NZ or AUS.

Audrey

P.S. I am already retired and food is a priority. I think folks who are still saving for retirement are a bit more careful with their grocery budgets.
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:23 PM   #59
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Once you get used to grassfed beef, regular beef feels very filmy/greasy. Not all grassfed beef are created equal either. Some taste quite gamy to me. They all tend to have more intense beef flavor compared to some of the feedlot flavorless cousins. I personally like feedlot filet (choice) better than the grassfed filet though.
I once grilled a ribeye then wondered where all the flavor had gone. Was somethign wrong with my rub? It was tasteless. Next time I went to the store I realized that I had accidently bought the higher-priced "prime" instead of the store brand "natural angus" which is much less marbled. What a difference in flavor!
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Old 02-20-2012, 04:07 PM   #60
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For a family of 4 plus a cat, we spend around $500/month on total groceries and household items, so probably $300-400/month just on food alone. I don't track household items separate from grocery (since most comes from walmart), but that is a rough approximation looking at recent receipts.

We eat well at home (a wide variety of good stuff), since it is typically way cheaper to cook well at home than go to a restaurant, and you know what is going into your food health wise.

Like you, OP, we mostly shop at walmart and buy mostly store brands there (as long as the quality is not compromised which it rarely is). But we also shop at the local grocery store a couple times a month to take advantage of sales prices (if we can save enough to justify a trip). And we shop at Aldi's, a deep discount grocer. Lately I bought a bunch of high quality low price fresh fruits, veggies, plus dairy items there. The ethnic stores make an infrequent appearance, and provide higher quality ethnic ingredients than walmart, but at lower prices than walmart, plus fresh veggies and fruits at cheaper prices typically.

Fresh fish is about the only thing we have a hard time getting at these combos of stores, and usually settle for whatever the local supermarket has (which occasionally means paying full price around $8-10/lb - typically for sushi which is still way cheaper than eating sushi at a restaurant).

Right now we don't shop at Sams/Costco/BJs because we don't want large quantities of a lot of things (not a ton of pantry space, no deep freeze, smallish fridge, etc). The warehouse club may be an option as the kids get older and we need larger quantities of 1 item.

We buy a bunch of fresh fruits and vegetables weekly or more often. Some are more expensive than others, so we focus on buying the most quantity of the cheapest items (apples, oranges, bananas typically for fruit, and carrots, celery, green peppers, onions, frozen peas, frozen broccoli, zucchini, and squash). We don't have a real hard time getting these for $0.50 to $1 per pound, but will pay more if we really want them or for convenience (to save a trip to another store for example).

For meat, we usually buy when on sale and freeze for later. Luckily for our budget, we like cheap meat. I like london broil, top round roast, and the like (lean meats), chicken breast, pork loins, etc. These are typically available around $2-2.50 per pound. Ground beef or ground turkey is also around $2/lb when on sale or close to sell by date.

DW likes some of the fattier cuts of meat, which in her case means cheaper meat. Chicken thighs/legs are $0.40-$0.50 on sale, and pork shoulders are under $2 all the time.

If we are cooking fish, frozen fish is ok. Salmon, flounder, tilapia, etc are usually $2-4 lb on sale and taste just fine to us.

Bottom line is that most fruits and veggies are $1/lb or less, and meats are around $2/lb on average.

Edit: about to go throw some carrots, celery, squash, zucchini, onions, green peppers, green peas and fresh sliced up steak into a stir fry and serve with rice and lo mein (made from $0.18 ramen and $5 sesame oil imported from japan! - the good $hit ). Mmmm good eatin!

You say chicken thighs/legs are $.40 to $.50 on sale!!! Around here they are $1.29 on sale. I should move to your neck of the woods, wherever that is.
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