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Old 02-03-2009, 07:14 PM   #61
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Seems like some are amazed by the amount that we spend on blueberries. However unlike some others, we only buy what we like to eat, we don't tend to buy something because it is on sale. We like the taste of blueberries and add in that they are one of the top 5 foods for antioxidants which is a bonus. I guess I am just as puzzled that people would buy something based on price rather than on what they like.

Olive oil and spices are not that cheap. Olive olive must be close to $10 a bottle and spices are usually close to $4, some quite a bit more, some less with discounts. Seems like every recipes calls for a different spice which is why I have a selection of 20+ spices in my cupboard, most of which I use regularly.

I am not certain why just because we eat what we like and choose organic produce we are labelled as being extravagant. I see it more as we are making a choice as to what we put into our bodies. We only eat free range eggs because I don't think chickens need to be locked in a cage to lay an egg. I eat organic produce because the produce normally tastes better. I drink organic milk because the hormones that may be in the regular milk concern me. We eat imported cheese because it tastes better than Tillamook.

All things considered my diet must play some part in my health. I need to lose a bit of weight but have to say the last time I had a cold was in 1997 when we lived in the UK and I never get the flu. With a strong history of cancer in my family I believe it is important to fuel my body with the best that I can provide.
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:31 PM   #62
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:38 PM   #63
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I was brought up in a middle class family with three siblings . So I got to watch my Mom make the most of her food budget and she taught me well . I've always been able to feed my family well . Our current food expenditure is $350 to $370 a month for two adults ( One who is a big eater and that is not me ) . This includes all cleaning and paper products and wine . I do not scrimp . I read the circulars and plan my menu according to the sales . A lot of the food stamp recipients seem to need education on meal planning and nutrition from what I've seen in their grocery carts .
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:49 PM   #64
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I'm right there with you DangerMouse.
Me too.

Although I do buy frozen organic blueberries more often during the winter for smoothies and pancakes, that saves a bit of money.

My grandmother has three blueberry bushes. It is one of the most cost effective things to grow!
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:05 PM   #65
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That would be difficult, however you are assuming that the recipient is living alone which is usually not the case.
Resources get pooled in order to make ends meet.
Actually, rather than an assumption on my part, I believe the subject being single and receiving the maximum amount of food stamps of $174 was part of the original premise.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:21 PM   #66
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I don't think you can use food stamps for paper and cleaning products--I'm seeing this federal info repeated for several states in a google search:

"Benefits may be used to purchase most foods at participating stores. They may not be used to purchase tobacco, pet food, paper products, soap products, or alcoholic beverages."
I believe that's correct. It sure would help, however, to have a few basics on hand.
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I don't include those in our food budget, which is well below $176/mo/person.
That's excellent. DW and I spent almost that much dining out last month. Not typical for us, but easy to do especially if you enjoy a cocktail before and wine with dinner.......
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I think the biggest problem for people receiving food stamps might be just getting to well-stocked grocery stores. I have a lot of sympathy for people who must rely on food stamps.
That could be, but my point in an earlier post is that people who are extremely poor are often carrying a lot of additional baggage beyond just long term zero income. Physical disabilities, mental disabilities, poor education, negative life experiences in youth, etc. It really is silly to compare how folks with the personal resources to accumulate enough assets to FIRE would survive on $174/mo for food (and no other income in the example we're discussing here) with a person who is unable to hold even a menial job, for whatever reason.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:30 PM   #67
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What I don't do is go to Costco
And therein lies your grocery budget problem. You could cut your costs by 10-15% if you made the rounds at the senior citizen buffet a couple times a week.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:37 PM   #68
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I thought the pupose of this thread was to demonstrate our eating well on a shoestring chops. All it does for me is make me wonder how to find the hole to enter into this alternate universe of tasty and nutritious but cheap food.

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Old 02-03-2009, 08:39 PM   #69
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I've always been able to feed my family well . Our current food expenditure is $350 to $370 a month for two adults ( One who is a big eater and that is not me ) . This includes all cleaning and paper products and wine .
Assuming $50 - $70 for household products and (more importantly) wine , that leaves $300 for food or $75/wk. 21 meals a week would be $1.78 per person per meal. I'd say you have it down to the nubbin there Moemg...... Certainly not much room for dining out (ever!) or having any sort of special treat.

I think we could do it at your frugal level. But, our problem would be never making exceptions. Example: DW loves a shimp/asparagus pasta dish I make. A pound of peeled shrimp, a pound of asparagus, a tomato, a cup of 1/2 & 1/2, pasta, EVOO to saute, spices, and you're up to $12 or so with everything purchased at good prices. (Getting the shrimp on sale usually triggers the process.) Add garlic bread and an inexpensive bottle of wine and we're over $20. On your budget, we'd be eating bread and water for a couple of days to compensate!

When you need to average $1.78 per person per meal over the month, you're really getting into the nitty gritty when you need to go well below that to make up for an occassional extravagence!
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:41 PM   #70
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That could be, but my point in an earlier post is that people who are extremely poor are often carrying a lot of additional baggage beyond just long term zero income. Physical disabilities, mental disabilities, poor education, negative life experiences in youth, etc. It really is silly to compare how folks with the personal resources to accumulate enough assets to FIRE would survive on $174/mo for food (and no other income in the example we're discussing here) with a person who is unable to hold even a menial job, for whatever reason.
It's difficult to prepare healthy meals from scratch when you're living in someone's basement with maybe a hot plate.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:44 PM   #71
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It's difficult to prepare healthy meals from scratch when you're living in someone's basement with maybe a hot plate.
This may be the case for some old man or woman. But many younger welfare recipients have other sources of income.

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Old 02-03-2009, 08:54 PM   #72
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Assuming $50 - $70 for household products and (more importantly) wine , that leaves $300 for food or $75/wk. 21 meals a week would be $1.78 per person per meal. I'd say you have it down to the nubbin there Moemg...... Certainly not much room for dining out (ever!) or having any sort of special treat.

I think we could do it at your frugal level. But, our problem would be never making exceptions. Example: DW wive loves a shrimp/asparagus pasta dish I make. A pound of peeled shrimp, a pound of asparagus, a tomato, pasta, EVOO to saute, spices, and you're up to $12 or so with everything purchased at good prices. (Getting the shrimp on sale usually triggers the process.) Add garlic bread and an inexpensive bottle of wine and we're over $20. On your budget, we'd be eating bread and water for a couple of days to compensate!

When you need to average $1.78 per person per meal over the month, you're really getting into the nitty gritty when you need to go well below that to make up for an occassional extravagence!

Dining out is in a separate budget . We have shrimp or salmon almost every week . I budget $400 for groceries but most months it comes in under that amount . Believe me we do not scrimp or eat beans and rice ( unless they are black beans with a little chicken ). I think I 've just been doing it so long it just comes naturally . Last week we had beef stew , chicken piccata , whole wheat pasta with mushrooms and shrimp , sausage sandwiches and salmon on the grill .
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:02 PM   #73
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Dining out is in a separate budget .
That's kind of cheating there. If you ate out every meal you would have just given us your cleaning supplies budget and passed it off as your grocery budget.
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:25 PM   #74
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Dining out is in a separate budget ..
There's the key to your success...... If all 21 meals are eaten at home, it's tough to average under $4.00 per meal for two people if you enjoy something nice, a treat, every once in a while. If you dine out from time to time, it's easier to tolerate a steady diet of <$4/2 people meals at home.

Thinking about it.... I can't prepare DW's lunch for $2. She's does some part time and voluntary work over at the local school district and is there at lunch time 4 days a week most weeks. I make her lunch in exchange for her allowing me to live here with no additional beatings. A sandwich, a yogurt or cup of fruit, a few cookies, a can of fruit juice. That pretty much consumes a $4 lunch budget right there. Looks like I better start skipping lunch!
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:36 PM   #75
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That's kind of cheating there. If you ate out every meal you would have just given us your cleaning supplies budget and passed it off as your grocery budget.

We dine out once a week . It is usually $30 to $40.00. You guys are brutal !
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:46 PM   #76
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You guys are brutal !
No, we're just jealous that we can't figure out how to dine that inexpensively over the long haul....

The toughest expense for me to overcome in the food budget is when we eat fish we've caught ourselves. By the time we drive back and forth to northern Minnesota, stay at a motel and dine out going and coming, pay for a week at an American plan resort, wreck or lose $100+ worth of fishing gear and lures....... Why, those fish are worth at least $50/pound. Drives our food bill right through the roof!
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:00 PM   #77
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Seems like some are amazed by the amount that we spend on blueberries.
Please note I wasn't judging you for your food choices, I think it's great that you have the resources and the wisdom to make healthy choices.

It was just surprising to me because I've never been an organic shopper nor have I ever considered a diet so heavy in a relatively expensive fruit, so wrapping my mind around spending more on blueberries per month than I currently do on things like car insurance for two cars, or property taxes, etc. is a little jarring.

I buy blueberries but it's for $1.50 at Sprouts, I guess along with whatever toxins I'm getting for them not being organic. They've got blackberries for same price I love those too but they have a small window where they taste just right and not too sour. What I'd love to find is raspberries for that price.

Back on topic though, are basic spices in powdered form really that expensive? I don't mean buying fresh spices or the kind in bottles I mean the plastic bags. Heck if you wanted it's pretty easy to grow things like chives, basil, etc. for cheap.

Off topic again I was recently traveling through SE France and saw both eggs and cheeses on shelves unrefrigerated. Weird.
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:02 PM   #78
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Also - for really cheap fresh spices you can find many (garlic chives, coriander, Thai basil, ginger root, mint) at Asian markets for 1/4 of what you'd pay at Kroger. I probably preach to the choir.
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:33 PM   #79
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That could be, but my point in an earlier post is that people who are extremely poor are often carrying a lot of additional baggage beyond just long term zero income. Physical disabilities, mental disabilities, poor education, negative life experiences in youth, etc. It really is silly to compare how folks with the personal resources to accumulate enough assets to FIRE would survive on $174/mo for food (and no other income in the example we're discussing here) with a person who is unable to hold even a menial job, for whatever reason.
This is so true, but there are no easy answers. We give people food stamps and they sell them for booze,tobacco & crack. We provide shelters and they refuse to come. We try to set up institutions and are challenged in court and by politicians seeking votes. And when we succeed in a program the costs (after all special interests are satisfied) are $100,000 per year per person helped. So we give people $176/mo. Have a nice day.
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:36 PM   #80
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Ok I have to admit I find this living off of $176/ mo in groceries a challenge. As a exercise I just want through the circular for this week from my local market. I am leaving the name off because I don't think I can post it but here is the list and the prices that I will be paying. The meat I buy is usually 3-5 pounds but in the case of the roast it could be larger. I can get several meals out of those cuts. This list totals $100.64 so I have about $75.00 left over. I agree with the person re. spices. If you stay away from the jars and buy them in the bag you save a lot. Milk is also a big expense. Growing up we used powdered and that is what I would do in this case. I would also need sugar which does come on sale but rarely. I also keep rice and an assortment of dried beans on hand.

As you can see I caught some sales like the 10 for 10 specials that I can put away for future months. Caught a break on cold cereal but I can usually get store brand Oat Meal for 1.99 per large box at this store so I keep this on hand. If you have a way of storing food and can "scratch cook" I beleive you can make it on the amount the blogger is working with.


Shopping List Prices are shown for items on sale 2/1 to 2/7 unless otherwise noted.
WEEKLY SPECIAL ITEMS
BAKERY
(2) ShopRite White Bread - 99˘
BEVERAGES
ShopRite Tea Bags - $1.99
BREAKFAST
(3) Kellogg’s or Quaker Cereal - $1.99
CANNED & PACKAGED
Ace of Diamonds Tuna - 10 FOR $10
Campbell’s Tomato Soup - 4 FOR $3
(2) ShopRite Vegetables - 5 FOR $3
CONDIMENT & SAUCES
Francesco Rinaldi Pasta Sauce - 10 FOR $10
Peter Pan Peanut Butter - $1.88
DAIRY
ShopRite Singles - 2 FOR $5
FROZEN
ShopRite Vegetables - 3 FOR $5
INGREDIENTS
ShopRite Flour - $1.88
ShopRite Vegetable Oil - $5.99
MEAT & SEAFOOD
Beef Round Stew Meat - $2.99 LB.
Bottom Round Roast - FINAL COST $1.89 LB. MFR
Perdue Oven Stuffer Roaster - 79˘ LB.
Readington Farms Whole Chicken Fryer - $1.69 LB.
MEAT & SEAFOOD cont.
Whole Boneless Pork Loin - FINAL COST 99˘ LB. MFR
Whole Fresh Picnic - 99˘ LB.
PASTA, SAUCES, GRAIN
Luigi Vitelli Pasta - 4 FOR $3
PRODUCE
Collard Greens - 99˘ LB.
Eastern White Potatoes 5-lb. Bag - $2.99 EA.
Empire Apples - $2.99 EA.
Florida Oranges - $2.99 EA.
Green Cabbage - 2 LBS. FOR 99˘
Red Potatoes 5-lb. Bag - $4.99 EA.
Yellow Onions 3-lb. Bag - $1.99 EA.
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