Lowering My Grocery Bill

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
sailaway
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by sailaway » Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:53 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:42 pm
Los Angeles plus the GF-Requirement will mean that you will only be able to lower it by so much.
When we found out that my daughter; and then later my wife; required a Gluten-Free diet our grocery bills went up substantially - Gluten-Free foods cost more - I've just learned to accept it.
We spend about $850 monthly for a family of 4.
Gluten free alternatives to traditional American fare is expensive. Gluten free diets need not be.

SrGrumpy
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by SrGrumpy » Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:59 pm

Not sure why you consider Trader Joe's expensive, and I pay close attention to the Ralphs flyers, e.g. buy 4 boxes of Kellogg cereal for $1.49 each this week; they are usually 4.99 (?) each, I believe. I also find the display by the bathrooms with bread, etc. nearing expiration - 99 cents for a loaf of bread.

Theseus
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by Theseus » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:02 pm

Have you considered cutting down your portion sizes? It will save you money and may make you healthier.

I did that for health reasons. There was a time when I used to stuff myself when I liked something. Then I started to eat about 25% less. It took about two weeks to get used to it - you feel hungry during these two weeks. Apparently your stomach is elastic (doctors can comment) and shrink back.

But it worked great and I am healthier.

My family member that is a family doctor is specialized in the weight management. She is now advocating the fasting (She has some process she is using to get people to fast starting at 6 hrs then gradually to a full day). That seems to be a new trend. But again, that cuts down the food and can save you money on groceries.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by DaftInvestor » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:04 pm

sailaway wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:53 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:42 pm
Los Angeles plus the GF-Requirement will mean that you will only be able to lower it by so much.
When we found out that my daughter; and then later my wife; required a Gluten-Free diet our grocery bills went up substantially - Gluten-Free foods cost more - I've just learned to accept it.
We spend about $850 monthly for a family of 4.
Gluten free alternatives to traditional American fare is expensive. Gluten free diets need not be.
I don't know what you mean about your "Gluten free diets need not be". My daughter was very ill for 6 months until we learned she had Celiac disease and she went GF. When my wife then joined her on a GF diet all her stomach ailments (which she put up for years - she doesn't have Celiacs just NGCS) also passed.
I realize some people may do simply because they feel it is healthier but for others it is medically necessary.

livesoft
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by livesoft » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:06 pm

Re: GF, I think what was meant is that plenty of normal food is already GF, so one should not need to buy things like GF-cookies. That is, a cookie is traditional American fare.
Last edited by livesoft on Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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sailaway
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by sailaway » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:06 pm

SrGrumpy wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:59 pm
Not sure why you consider Trader Joe's expensive, and I pay close attention to the Ralphs flyers, e.g. buy 4 boxes of Kellogg cereal for $1.49 each this week; they are usually 4.99 (?) each, I believe. I also find the display by the bathrooms with bread, etc. nearing expiration - 99 cents for a loaf of bread.
I didn't say it was expensive, just not as cheap as Ralph's on a regular basis. And yes, the manager's specials are the only times that I get bread anymore. They haven't had any of the good stuff lately, though.

mouses
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by mouses » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:07 pm

HongKonger wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:10 pm
Chip wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:05 pm
squirm wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:59 pm
(You really keep track of cat food spending?)
You don't??? :D

$527 so far this year and counting....
I spend slightly more than that per month on cat food.
My human food spend per month is around $80.
My cat's food costs more than mine also, because he requires special food due to a medical problem.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by DaftInvestor » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:11 pm

livesoft wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:06 pm
Re: GF, I think what was meant is that plenty of normal food is already GF, so one should not need to buy things like GF-cookies. That is, a cookie is traditional American fare.
Ah - perhaps he meant to say "Gluten-Free substitute foods" or similar. But no matter how you slice it - it is still a more expensive diet overall even if you avoid GF-substitute foods :)
You can buy a box of pasta and pasta-sauce very cheaply. But if you buy gluten-free pasta or come up with an entirely different meal that avoids any Gluten it is going to cost more than a cheap box of pasta. I guess one could simply just eat rice and black-beans all the time (both gluten free) but one needs some variety. Most of the cheapest foods have Gluten (When I went to college I lived on Kraft-Mac-and-Cheese - also not GF :) ).

head gamez
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by head gamez » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:19 pm

I'll be honest in saying that we don't really track our grocery spending very much (at all). However, we have used Costco for our primary source of groceries for the last 10 years or so. Recently, a new store opened in our area... Lidl. It has since become our go to place for allot of the "staples". Their produce seems very good. Their frozen fruit (for Smoothies) is very good and priced very well. Their dairy products are priced great as well.

They seem to be popping up everywhere in our area, so if you see one where you live, check it out.

livesoft
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by livesoft » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:25 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:11 pm
I guess one could simply just eat rice and black-beans all the time (both gluten free) but one needs some variety.
Yes, one needs variety, but I am happy to eat normal foods that are gluten-free as opposed to special GF prepared foods .... OTOH, it seems that everything is contaminated to one degree or another.
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likegarden
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by likegarden » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:30 pm

5 years ago I had compared prices from two local grocery chains against each other, and picked the lower priced grocery store. And then 3 years ago I did it again sparked by one chain suddenly raising the price of a little bag of prunes from $1.95 to $2.95. So I compared the better of those previous 2 against Walmart. I noticed that Walmart had exactly the same national brands than the other chain, but at lower prices.

3 years ago and over several weeks we bought groceries at both chains, and then made a (Excel) sheet of all those prices, and assembled our weekly grocery list with the number of items and prices. We were surprised that W was more than 10% less costly, and we started going there. We are retired and have absolutely no interest in clipping coupons, driving to several stores and reading the grocery pages of a local newspaper comparing weekly prices.

One of our chains reinvented itself in redoing stores, having a better restaurant, etc. But I know that money spent on newer stores has to come from somewhere, that is out of buyer's pockets, that's not for me. We stayed with W.

sailaway
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by sailaway » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:37 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:11 pm
livesoft wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:06 pm
Re: GF, I think what was meant is that plenty of normal food is already GF, so one should not need to buy things like GF-cookies. That is, a cookie is traditional American fare.
Ah - perhaps he meant to say "Gluten-Free substitute foods" or similar. But no matter how you slice it - it is still a more expensive diet overall even if you avoid GF-substitute foods :)
You can buy a box of pasta and pasta-sauce very cheaply. But if you buy gluten-free pasta or come up with an entirely different meal that avoids any Gluten it is going to cost more than a cheap box of pasta. I guess one could simply just eat rice and black-beans all the time (both gluten free) but one needs some variety. Most of the cheapest foods have Gluten (When I went to college I lived on Kraft-Mac-and-Cheese - also not GF :) ).
My point was that this isn't really true if you branch out. Rice tends to be the same or less than pasta (and very good with cheese!), corn tortillas are not any more expensive than bread (and also good with cheese!). I am not saying you shouldn't have the substitutes. I know I would be sad to ever give up pancakes and french toast and would probably make that spending a priority, but I do want folks to be aware that if they do need this kind of diet, there are reasonably priced alternatives.

Luckywon
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by Luckywon » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:39 pm

I live in Los Angeles too. You mention you are spending a lot on vegetables and I have saved a lot of money by only buying vegetables at Costco, Ranch 99 or local groceries (like Persian or Indian markets). These are sourced differently than the big chains and have much better fruits and vegetables at sometimes literally a fraction of the price at Ralphs. Example: green onions bunch at Ralphs usually around $1.29 at Ranch 99 usally around $0.39.

Your best bet is to find a Ranch 99 market to buy those vegetable and fruits that you either can't find at Costco or don't want to buy in the quantities sold at Costco.

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fishandgolf
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by fishandgolf » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:50 pm

I have not read many of the previous posts so if this was mentioned.....well then...my bad.

Tip# 1: I do all the grocery shopping. DW works full-time so she bequeathed me those duties. One of the things I finally learned (slow leaner here)is ....NEVER, NEVER, EVER, EVER go grocery shopping when you're hungry. I started out doing this then soon realized 1/2 the stuff in the cart were non-essentials.

Tip #2: Use dicipline when using coupons. I started using tons of coupons and ended up with more non-essentials. I was enamored with a $1.00 off coupon...then on double coupon day, I'd get another buck off. Soon realized that I had a whole bunch of $2.00 off widgets in the cart that I didn't need. I still use coupons ......but now very selectively. No more double coupon day either :oops:

AntsOnTheMarch
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by AntsOnTheMarch » Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:05 pm

Regarding all of dm200’s posts:
+1

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dm200
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by dm200 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:55 pm

Tip #2: Use dicipline when using coupons. I started using tons of coupons and ended up with more non-essentials. I was enamored with a $1.00 off coupon...then on double coupon day, I'd get another buck off. Soon realized that I had a whole bunch of $2.00 off widgets in the cart that I didn't need. I still use coupons ......but now very selectively. No more double coupon day either :oops:
Most (in my opinion) coupons are for expensive and unhealthful food. I resist buying anything with a coupon (unless FREE) that I would not ordinarily buy without a coupon.

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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by abuss368 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:09 pm

Our local grocery store started e coupons with their rewards card. We have to log on and load the coupons to our card before shopping.
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lthenderson
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by lthenderson » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:24 pm

We average about $400 a month for just groceries for our family of five. We eat and cook a lot of Asian food which consists of a lot of rice along with a mixture of veggies and meat cooked in a sauce. We also typically cook enough on the weekends and eat leftovers throughout the week.

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ClevrChico
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by ClevrChico » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:46 pm

Going on a diet seriously cut down on my food consumption. (Seriously) Taking advantage of employer provided meals is another option. Otherwise, $500/month sounds pretty good.

southpaw328
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by southpaw328 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:03 pm

Wow! First, I have to say thank you so much for all your responses. I did not expect to get this much feedback. Tremendous.

It sounds like I am doing ok for a family of 2 in Los Angeles then. I really thought I was spending too much and it appears the the biggest fix would be to actually just eat less food i.e. smaller portions.

My goal here wrt grocery bill was to save an extra $1-3 thousand/year in order to have more money for investing, or for our favorite thing: traveling. However, maybe I am being too much a penny pincher in that regard. I probably could find a few extra thousand dollars in our spending elsewhere. It's just when 42% of your take-home pay (that excludes any money that is sent to savings before we get our checks i.e. Employee Stock Purchase Plans, 401k/403b) is going to your god damn rent (almost $19k/year) I try to find savings wherever we can, though it's not as if we are struggling. Sometimes I think the best thing to do would be to move to somewhere like Iowa ... which might just have to happen in the next five years once we have a kid or two.


Luckywon wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:39 pm
I live in Los Angeles too. You mention you are spending a lot on vegetables and I have saved a lot of money by only buying vegetables at Costco, Ranch 99 or local groceries (like Persian or Indian markets). These are sourced differently than the big chains and have much better fruits and vegetables at sometimes literally a fraction of the price at Ralphs. Example: green onions bunch at Ralphs usually around $1.29 at Ranch 99 usally around $0.39.

Your best bet is to find a Ranch 99 market to buy those vegetable and fruits that you either can't find at Costco or don't want to buy in the quantities sold at Costco.
I have heard this before, actually. I just haven't followed through. I will definitely do this because there is a Ranch 99 not far from where I am. And it will have a bonus for me because a hobby of mine is learning to speak Mandarin. I can go there and ask for help finding x vegetable in Mandarin. Sweet.
SrGrumpy wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:59 pm
Not sure why you consider Trader Joe's expensive, and I pay close attention to the Ralphs flyers, e.g. buy 4 boxes of Kellogg cereal for $1.49 each this week; they are usually 4.99 (?) each, I believe. I also find the display by the bathrooms with bread, etc. nearing expiration - 99 cents for a loaf of bread.
We very rarely buy cereal and bread. I've compared my Aldi and TJ receipts and TJ is often higher. I think their veggies/chicken just cost more. Fun fact, those two companies are owned by the same parents company.
mouses wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:11 pm
Cooking from scratch is normally a lot cheaper than buying more processed items.
True and we almost never have pre-made meals. Majority of the time we cook from scratch. My wife even started making her own GF pizza dough. lol
squirm wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:59 pm
Sounds like your doing well. I don't listen to what others say we should spend on groceries since most people eat crap (ever look in their carts?). We generally buy fresh produce and quality foods, if we spend another $200 a month, so be it.

(You really keep track of cat food spending?)
Yup, I try to keep track of where all our money goes. I recently found that Aldi sells wet cat food for $0.35/can whereas the TJ cat food I was buying is $0.79/can. :D
livesoft wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:12 pm
dm200 wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:57 pm
Reducing or eliminating "food waste" can be an important way to save money. ....
This is so true. One way to see waste is to look at your garbage and composting for the week.
We try our very best to not waste any food. We always keep and eat leftovers. Even the parts of vegetables we don't use (i.e. ends of celery etc) go into our vermicomposting bin (worms) which my wife actually uses for science lessons at her school (5th grade).
MI_bogle wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:09 pm

Hmm. The usual suspects (alcohol, red meat, household supplies lumped into groceries, going out to eat included in food costs) are not there. Given your description, it does sound like things are a tad high, especially if you are doing most of your shopping at costco/aldi

Are you buying lots of organic food? Lots of prepared dishes? Do you throw out leftovers routinely?

Do you have a freezer and utilize sales to take advantage of good meat prices?
I used to do the organic food thing but after reading about it extensively it sounded like a waste of $ so we don't really do it anymore unless we are going to the farmers market in Monrovia. No prepared dishes whatsoever.

Thanks for all the input everybody. Much appreciated.

livesoft
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by livesoft » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:52 pm

Dinner in a restaurant tonight was $18.14 with tax & tip included. Carnitas fritas with 4 chunks of pork, so one chunk eaten in the restaurant and 3 chunks and 3/4ths of veggies taken home to eat later this week as 3 separate meals. That's about $4.50 per meal and no cooking for me.

Image

The tortillas could have been corn instead of flour, so this might also be a suitable gluten-free meal.

The meal could have been cheaper if it was all take-out, thus saving the tip. Chinese take-out is even less expensive on a 4-meal basis. But say $4.50 a meal or about $135 a month to eat a restaurant meal each day for 30 days.

Money for nothing and the chips are free!

PS: And for baconavocado, the carnitas is sort of bacon and the avocado is avocado.
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Hug401k
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by Hug401k » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:34 pm

Look at your grocery receipts. Circle the most expensive items that are not necessities. You pick 2 to stop buying. Your wife picks 2 to stop buying. Try that out for a few weeks, see if you forget those items exist. Add a broth based soup to the dinner/leftover lunch menu once a week (Is it ever cold enough in LA for that?)

This should get you down $20 a week or so..x 52...

Next: Feed cats dry food.

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baconavocado
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by baconavocado » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:39 pm

livesoft wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:52 pm
Dinner in a restaurant tonight was $18.14 with tax & tip included. Carnitas fritas with 4 chunks of pork, so one chunk eaten in the restaurant and 3 chunks and 3/4ths of veggies taken home to eat later this week as 3 separate meals. That's about $4.50 per meal and no cooking for me.

Image

The tortillas could have been corn instead of flour, so this might also be a suitable gluten-free meal.

The meal could have been cheaper if it was all take-out, thus saving the tip. Chinese take-out is even less expensive on a 4-meal basis. But say $4.50 a meal or about $135 a month to eat a restaurant meal each day for 30 days.

Money for nothing and the chips are free!

PS: And for baconavocado, the carnitas is sort of bacon and the avocado is avocado.
livesoft, it's great to eat out occasionally but you are neither going to save money or stay healthy by eating in restaurants. Think about it, do restaurants care about your health? No, they care about making food taste good and making you buy and eat more of it. That meal you pictured is full of salt and fat.

Eat like this: put fresh vegetables first, then whole grains, a small glass of wine, a small piece of meat or fish (NOT fried). Eat vegetarian a couple times a week: veggie chili, meals with rice and beans or potatoes and beans (think Indian).

That's my 2c.

OTOH, avocados are both tasty and nutritious so eat plenty of those.

jmk
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by jmk » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:50 pm

The closer you buy to generic items rather than processed the cheaper. For instance, if you buy dry pintos and tortillas and make them in the pressure cooker your burritos will cost much lower than if you buy burritos. Buy cheap cuts of meat like chuck or whole cut up chicken too.

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fortfun
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by fortfun » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:59 pm

squirm wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:17 pm
Chip wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:05 pm
squirm wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:59 pm
(You really keep track of cat food spending?)
You don't??? :D

$527 so far this year and counting....
Two of our cats eat half food and half critter. Meaning they'll eat the rodents outside, one even catches the jack rabbits around here (came home the other month to find a half eaten rabbit on the driveway), etc. Our indoor cat eats plan cat food.
Thanks for the laugh squirm. I haven't laughed that hard for a while now. Guess I should let my cats out from now on :)

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by jabberwockOG » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:25 pm

We budget and spend about 800 per month for two of us on groceries but that also includes most household items and paper products, detergent, beer/wine, misc household supplies. We focus on quality rather than lowest cost so I'm sure we could spend less.

We go to Costco once a week and almost always get one of their giant rotisserie chickens for $4.99. These chickens are huge and pretty tasty. They can be used for at least 3-4 meals for two of us, the last one usually being a chicken soup or chicken and dumplings style recipe. Then freeze the bare carcasses and when we have 3-4, turn into amazing homemade chicken stock - freeze it in baggies to use for other recipes. We also have a decent size garden and grow some of the produce we eat. In the mild climate where we live we can almost always have something producing.

southpaw328
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by southpaw328 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:03 am

Hug401k wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:34 pm


Next: Feed cats dry food.
My cats get a mixture of both dry and wet. They have had urniary issues when on the dry food only diet. Bad news.

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Pajamas
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by Pajamas » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:09 am

southpaw328 wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:03 pm


I've compared my Aldi and TJ receipts and TJ is often higher. I think their veggies/chicken just cost more. Fun fact, those two companies are owned by the same parents company.
No, they are owned by two separate companies split from a single company when two brothers could not agree on whether or not to sell cigarettes in the 1960s.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldi

Germany and the U.S. are the only two countries where they both sell groceries. In Germany, they divided the country so there is almost no overlap.

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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by HongKonger » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:26 am

mouses wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:07 pm
HongKonger wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:10 pm
Chip wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:05 pm
squirm wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:59 pm
(You really keep track of cat food spending?)
You don't??? :D

$527 so far this year and counting....
I spend slightly more than that per month on cat food.
My human food spend per month is around $80.
My cat's food costs more than mine also, because he requires special food due to a medical problem.
I feed 40 cats hence monthly cat food bill of around $550. I would be very wealthy if irresponsible owners stopped dumping unwanted kittens in my garden :(

UncleBen
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by UncleBen » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:24 am

We eat a mostly plant based diet which costs $350/month for 2. I shop mainly at Aldi's and Costco/BJ's too. These are some of the ways I get what we want at the best prices:

-Plan meals around weekly specials.
-Buy a few extra items when they are on sale. I buy fruit in bulk in the summer and freeze for smoothies all year long. Just bought a bunch of avocados @ $.69 and made guacamole frozen like the individual servings of Wholly Guacamole.
-Cook from scratch.
-Buy items online if they are cheaper. (Examples for us are vitamins, curry paste, stevia, vanilla beans, tic tacs). Amazon, Vitacost, Iherbs, even Ebay.
-Watch drugstores for the Unilever deals if you use Lipton tea/mayo/pasta sauce.
-Replace paper napkins with linen and paper towels with microfiber cloths.
-Minimize cleaning supplies. I clean with a steam cleaner when possible. Use basics like castille soap in the shower, a bottle lasts forever. You can make some cleaning supplies with basics like vinegar, baking soda, washing soda, Dawn, and essential oils but don't bother if the effort doesn't merit the savings or the DIY is inferior like (laundry detergent). The Dollar Tree is good for things like Comet and their LA laundry spot spray.

(When we lived in LA, I could regularly find great deals at Winco (especially the bulk bins) and Vallarta (especially produce).)

mouses
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by mouses » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:34 am

Hug401k wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:34 pm

Next: Feed cats dry food.
This isn't necessarily a good idea. Check with your vet first. Cats fed exclusively dry food are more prone to urinary tract problems. Cats fed exclusively canned food are more prone to thyroid problems.

UpperNwGuy
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by UpperNwGuy » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:39 am

southpaw328 wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:52 am
from a lot of the reading I've done over at the MrMoneyMustache Forums we appear to be in the higher tier of spending whereas other families of two are spending half as much as we do.
In addition to the other advice you have gotten here, I would suggest that you stop reading MrMoneyMustache Forums unless you plan to follow their advice on how to save money. While I admire their commitment to frugal living, I consider them to take some good ideas to an extreme. The folk here at Bogleheads tend not to live the MrMoneyMustache lifestyle.

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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by stoptothink » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:15 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:42 pm
Los Angeles plus the GF-Requirement will mean that you will only be able to lower it by so much.
When we found out that my daughter; and then later my wife; required a Gluten-Free diet our grocery bills went up substantially - Gluten-Free foods cost more - I've just learned to accept it.
We spend about $850 monthly for a family of 4.
Or just eliminate foods which generally have gluten in them from the diet completely. Not only save a lot of money, but likely be healthier as well. I always found it quite interesting how my celiac SIL will complain about $5 for a loaf of bread; you know, you can just not eat bread. Again, this whole conversation comes down to how willing someone is to change their eating habits and preferences, otherwise, shopping at Aldi they are probably getting the food (that they want) about as cheaply as possible.

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dm200
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by dm200 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:18 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:15 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:42 pm
Los Angeles plus the GF-Requirement will mean that you will only be able to lower it by so much.
When we found out that my daughter; and then later my wife; required a Gluten-Free diet our grocery bills went up substantially - Gluten-Free foods cost more - I've just learned to accept it.
We spend about $850 monthly for a family of 4.
Or just eliminate foods which generally have gluten in them from the diet completely. Not only save a lot of money, but likely be healthier as well. I always found it quite interesting how my celiac SIL will complain about $5 for a loaf of bread; you know, you can just not eat bread. Again, this whole conversation comes down to how willing someone is to change their eating habits and preferences, otherwise, shopping at Aldi they are probably getting the food (that they want) about as cheaply as possible.
Certainly not an expert - but I question that gluten free food always costs more. Oatmeal and Cherios (made from oats) are gluten free and are inexpensive. I eat them - even though I have no gluten problem.

livesoft
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by livesoft » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:26 pm

And it is always possible to eat a gluten-free diet that is not healthy. :twisted:
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dm200
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by dm200 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:50 pm

livesoft wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:26 pm
And it is always possible to eat a gluten-free diet that is not healthy. :twisted:
Oh, yes -- this is, unfortunately, very common...

stoptothink
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by stoptothink » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:54 pm

dm200 wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:18 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:15 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:42 pm
Los Angeles plus the GF-Requirement will mean that you will only be able to lower it by so much.
When we found out that my daughter; and then later my wife; required a Gluten-Free diet our grocery bills went up substantially - Gluten-Free foods cost more - I've just learned to accept it.
We spend about $850 monthly for a family of 4.
Or just eliminate foods which generally have gluten in them from the diet completely. Not only save a lot of money, but likely be healthier as well. I always found it quite interesting how my celiac SIL will complain about $5 for a loaf of bread; you know, you can just not eat bread. Again, this whole conversation comes down to how willing someone is to change their eating habits and preferences, otherwise, shopping at Aldi they are probably getting the food (that they want) about as cheaply as possible.
Certainly not an expert - but I question that gluten free food always costs more. Oatmeal and Cherios (made from oats) are gluten free and are inexpensive. I eat them - even though I have no gluten problem.
It isn't that foods which do not contain gluten are more expensive, it is that foods that normally do but are processed to not have gluten are more expensive than their conventional counterparts. Gluten-free bread and other baked goods are expensive. I eat virtually gluten-free, but it is not because I am celiac or believe gluten is inherently bad, it is that the foods that are most nutrient dense, cost-efficient, and I do better with just happen to contain no gluten.

david
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by david » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:40 pm

Right now, for 2 people, and with roughly 30 days in a month, are running about $2.77/meal/person, assuming you eat every meal at home. That isn't terribly crazy, especially in a HCOL area.

The idea then would be to calculate where you are spending more than the 2.77/meal.

First thing I would look at is food wastage. What are you throwing out unused? Are you buying too many apples, ground beef, milk etc? Buying less, smaller packages (even if it costs more per unit), make sense and are a painless way to cut back. Pre-planning meals before going to the store can help with this. As well as having a day or so where you kind of go through the remnants of your pantry and fridge and find a way to use things that are on the way out.

Typically, packaged foods are where you are going to find the most savings by eliminating packaged foods (prepackaged meals or meal items, soups, TV dinners, breads, baked goods, etc). The closer to nature (i.e., less value add by the middle men), the better. Then fish, cheeses, meat, and expensive vegetables.

That said, if you aren't eating every meal at home (or at least home prepared) it is substantially easier to cut some of that out for savings than lowering a 500/month food spend at home.

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dm200
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by dm200 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:57 pm

It isn't that foods which do not contain gluten are more expensive, it is that foods that normally do but are processed to not have gluten are more expensive than their conventional counterparts. Gluten-free bread and other baked goods are expensive. I eat virtually gluten-free, but it is not because I am celiac or believe gluten is inherently bad, it is that the foods that are most nutrient dense, cost-efficient, and I do better with just happen to contain no gluten.
Regarding "gluten" - there are degrees of "gluten free" (my terminology). Oats, for example, do not contain gluten -- BUT some foods made with Oats might not be 100% "gluten free" because they are processed where foods with other grains containing gluten are processed.

Da5id
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by Da5id » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:04 pm

Some interesting thoughts here: http://rootofgood.com/costco-costs-more-bulk-buying/

If your spending on food is compromising your future, it is a problem to be dealt with. If it is where you choose to spend your elective dollars after taking care of savings at a prudent rate, there is no real problem. As you say, you can have more rice and beans, but you don't really need to do that.

MMM isn't gospel, and you don't need to live the way hard core MMM followers choose to if you can reasonably afford more. There are some good ideas on MMM, some that seem to me over the top. Pick and choose from there (and from bogleheads) and carve your own path.

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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by minesweep » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:09 pm

HongKonger wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:26 am
mouses wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:07 pm
HongKonger wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:10 pm
Chip wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:05 pm
squirm wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:59 pm
(You really keep track of cat food spending?)
You don't??? :D

$527 so far this year and counting....
I spend slightly more than that per month on cat food.
My human food spend per month is around $80.
My cat's food costs more than mine also, because he requires special food due to a medical problem.
I feed 40 cats hence monthly cat food bill of around $550. I would be very wealthy if irresponsible owners stopped dumping unwanted kittens in my garden :(
it seems like you got the whole kitten caboodle. :happy

NJdad6
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by NJdad6 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:10 pm

I spend about $400 a week for a family of four between Costco and Wegmans. A portion of that is non-food or wine/beer. Food is the one thing I do not budget. We rarely go out with our crazy schedules but we enjoy cooking and eat well. Lots of quality meats and seafood, tons of fresh fruit and veggies (I spend about $25 a week on apples alone). Also speciality items like good olive oil, vinegar, coffee, etc. With 2 active teenagers we by frozen prepared food as snacks. Good quality and healthy items are more expensive.

I do by in bulk and buy store brands when it makes sense. In most cases I prefer Kirkland brand or Wegman's brand above name brands.

I don't drive a luxury car (although I could afford one) but I do buy Filet Mignon, ribeye steaks, sushi grade tuna and king crab regularly without a second though.

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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by minesweep » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:25 pm

What Consumer Reports says about gluten:
Unless you are among the 1 percent of Americans who have celiac disease, going gluten-free might actually harm you. In fact, gluten may be good for you by reducing blood pressure and inflammation. Gluten-free doesn't necessarily mean healthier. Gluten-free foods often have more fat, more sugar and are more expensive than other foods.

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dm200
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by dm200 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:30 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:04 pm
$500 seems quite reasonable for CA. If you want to lower the bill, then you have to look at what you are buying.
Eat less meat. Don't pay for things you drink (soda, water, beer). Don't buy it if it is not something that is in your healthy zone of foods. Buy in bulk more. Cook from scratch. You can find substitutes for cream of chicken soups and related.
It really comes down to how much more you want to lower it when the amount is probably already reasonable. Now, if your dining out budget is also $500/month, then you may have other directions to look.
Yes ---

stoptothink
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by stoptothink » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:40 pm

minesweep wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:25 pm
What Consumer Reports says about gluten:
Unless you are among the 1 percent of Americans who have celiac disease, going gluten-free might actually harm you. In fact, gluten may be good for you by reducing blood pressure and inflammation. Gluten-free doesn't necessarily mean healthier. Gluten-free foods often have more fat, more sugar and are more expensive than other foods.
I hate that going "gluten-free" has come to mean still eating foods which conventionally contain gluten, but processed in a way to eliminate it. The vilification of gluten in-and-of-itself is no different than cholesterol, streetlamp pseudo-science. The problem isn't the gluten (for the majority of people). Yes, "gluten-free" bread very regularly has more added sugar and/or processed fats than their conventional counterparts, just as "fat-free" cookies often have way more sugar than a normal cookies. A novel idea: don't eat cookies.

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fishandgolf
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by fishandgolf » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:43 pm

minesweep wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:25 pm
What Consumer Reports says about gluten:
Unless you are among the 1 percent of Americans who have celiac disease, going gluten-free might actually harm you. In fact, gluten may be good for you by reducing blood pressure and inflammation. Gluten-free doesn't necessarily mean healthier. Gluten-free foods often have more fat, more sugar and are more expensive than other foods.
+1
My daughter was not feeling well for a long period of time so she went gluten free; she felt good for a week or so....then got really sick. Stopped the GF immediately.

boglegirl
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by boglegirl » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:53 pm

Luckywon wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:39 pm
I live in Los Angeles too. You mention you are spending a lot on vegetables and I have saved a lot of money by only buying vegetables at Costco, Ranch 99 or local groceries (like Persian or Indian markets). These are sourced differently than the big chains and have much better fruits and vegetables at sometimes literally a fraction of the price at Ralphs. Example: green onions bunch at Ralphs usually around $1.29 at Ranch 99 usally around $0.39.

Your best bet is to find a Ranch 99 market to buy those vegetable and fruits that you either can't find at Costco or don't want to buy in the quantities sold at Costco.
Check out the Mexican supermarkets, too (Northgate, Superior, or whatever's convenient). Crazy-low prices on produce, and packaged items such as canned beans, pasta, etc., are much cheaper than Ralph's.

dcabler
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by dcabler » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:56 pm

baconavocado wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:18 pm
We spend about $550/month on groceries for 2 people. This calculation is also affected by how much we eat out (relatively infrequently), how much we're on vacation or traveling, and how much we get from our garden because those costs go under a different category. We buy most of our groceries at the local grocery store and some at Costco, and eat little red meat but probably spend more than average on fish and fresh fruit and vegetables.

By the way, do you know what fleshy fat-filled fruit goes well with bacon?
Love your name - I've always said that an avocado is the plant equivalent of bacon - makes everything better!

Gary Guss
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by Gary Guss » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:10 pm

Aldis has a Gluten free line thats economical, we go there a lot mostly for the Moser Roth Chocolate, but we always buy stuff in there. I east Merkts cheese spread on toast for breakfast and Aldis has some ersatz Mertz that is great and about 1/2 price. The container looks like they copied Merkts container almost down to the tee, the stuff inside is a great copy as well. Some of the stuff isn't as good as Kroger, but a lot of it is very good. Also like the Deutch Kuchen things that are actually German and pretty good.

MJW
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Re: Lowering My Grocery Bill

Post by MJW » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:56 pm

livesoft wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:52 pm
Dinner in a restaurant tonight was $18.14 with tax & tip included. Carnitas fritas with 4 chunks of pork, so one chunk eaten in the restaurant and 3 chunks and 3/4ths of veggies taken home to eat later this week as 3 separate meals. That's about $4.50 per meal and no cooking for me.
That's some discipline. I most likely would have demolished that meal in one sitting and then helped my wife finish her plate. We try to limit our eating out to be an occasional treat. At home I'm a model of restraint but I'm a glutton for punishment when eating out. :|


p.s. I got a chuckle from the "Money for Nothing" reference.

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