How much do you spend? Great food at reasonable prices?
I just cam back from the grocery store, and once again I am appalled at the high price of food in Fairfield County, especially organic fruits and vegetables and of meat. How much are you willing to spend to eat well? Do you have any tips to save $$$?
I don;'t always follow this advice but I've noticed a trend (at least with the three grocery stores in Eastchester) They basically rotate their sale item. Basically if you're willing to go to three different grocery stores, you can pretty much get everything on sale. I usually go to the closest one and let's say my bill is $100 before deductions. After It's about $88. If I was willing to make a list and hit every store and get their sales, I'd probably knock that down to about $65-70. That being said, with today's gas prices, if you're not close this doesn't really work. But if you have the time and patience, it is well worth it.
It really does take time and gas, but you are right. That is a way to save. I guess part of my question is: what are you willing to compromise on (by buying less of, or less often, or substituting a less expensive brand etc.) and what will you not compromise on. For example, I refuse to buy anything other than Lavazza italian coffee beans. I don't care what the price is. On the other hand, I will buy filet less often braising cuts more. I also will forego some organic produce if it is much more expensive (for example, I put back a $6 head of lettuce and replaced it with a nonorganic head for $1.50.
There is someone in this world that would spend 6.00 on an organic head of lettuce? I need their name and address. Have a bridge to sell them in NY. That is the most amazing thing I have heard in about 5 years. Guess you can't blame the store. I'd gouge the town that would support something like this. I would be appalled by 1.50 head of regular lettuce too. I have paid 99 cents a head for lettuce, and 1.50 if I'm on vacation somewhere, and need it, but in my area, 99c is a stretch. 2 heads for a buck is more like it. If I didn't live where I live, I'd be spending WAY more on groceries, I guess.
I randomly checked a website of a grocer I go to every so often. Here is their on-line weekly ad page. Someone posted that they think I live in the land of 1970's grocery prices when I mentioned that I pay 2.99/lb for choice grade skirts. This is 2008 pricing:
1.69 boneless skinless chicken breasts. Decent price. Got them for 1.49 a few weeks ago. And not those tiny little frozen bags, eiother, these things weigh about 1lb each for the whole (boneless) breast.
Here's another one. lettuce 79c/ head. BS chicken breast 1.59 /lb.
We've moved this thread to the General Topics board, as it seemed a topic that many hounds would have feedback on. But, if the original poster is interested in specific places in his/her area with good prices, a thread on that subject can posted on Tristate.
We recently instituted an envelope system at our house to help with budgeting. Because of this, I only have $100 a week for two people, typically providing 3 meals daily. This may seem reasonable to some, but previously we would spend that on produce alone. The biggest change is in planning. Now my husband and i will sit down and discuss the grocery list agreeing on things like what kind of cereal will we both eat rather than getting two kinds etc. I have also started making a lot of things myself rather than spending more on prepared foods. Canned chickpeas much less expensive than pre-made hummus and it turns out tastier too. Bags of sugar and flour last awhile and again provide a less expensive alternative to buying a $3 muffin on the way to work, a storebought cake, or boxed cookies. Produce is the one thing we won't compromise on because of budget. We love it and we eat a lot. My husband requires a mango every single day, IMO apples are oxygen, and if I do not have fresh pineapple at least weekly the world doesn't feel right. The high prices irk me, but in the case of my household, it hasn't been a total negative because it has definitely sparked creativity and led us to eating more wholesome foods and almost no processed stuff.
When I retired nearly 5 years back, we had to make some cutbacks. But no way were we giving up quality food. The best savings have come from planning. We work out a week's meals and shop just for that. The only "extras" put in the trolley are when the supermarket has deal on something that we use regularly.
We also buy mail order meat from an organic farm. It's cheaper than supermarket organic and, often , no more expensive than supermarket "standard" meat. We also buy most of our fruit and veg from the village greengrocer - more seasonal, cheaper and not paying out to The Man.
Having a weekly meal plan, which may take into account on sale items, helps cut down on my grocery costs. I like to prepare new meals for my family - not always the usually casseroles, chicken dishes, etc. If I plan out at least 5 meals a week, I can control how much I spend. If I don't have a plan, my spending goes way up with multiple trips to the store during the week.