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  1. #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by red mares View Post

    Ethnic markets, in general, are more expensive than regular grocery stores, especially for non-ethnic food.
    Interesting - around here the ethnic markets tend to be cheaper for many items.



  2. #142
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    May. 28, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
    Ack!
    Neither of these will do much to save money on meals.
    Around here Centrella is a chain that has decent prices and different levels of outlet.
    Their PayLow here is bag-your-own and carries many of the same labels as their pricier Strack & Van Til stores for less including their house brand.
    Ohhh ok.

    We have a Sam's and a Costco. We have a costco membership, but I haven't bought a lot of food from there yet. I guess I've been a little scared of the quality, and a little overwhelmed as to how to shop there. I'm definitely going to give it a better chance now, though.

    As for normal groceries, we have Publix, WinnDixie, obviously Walmart...Publix is way too expensive for me, but I'll go if they're having sales.

    Anyone familiar with IGA's? We have one and I always get sale fliers with CHEAP meat, but once again I'm a little nervous buying meat from them...



  3. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by talkofthetown View Post
    Ohhh ok.

    We have a Sam's and a Costco. We have a costco membership, but I haven't bought a lot of food from there yet. I guess I've been a little scared of the quality, and a little overwhelmed as to how to shop there. I'm definitely going to give it a better chance now, though.

    As for normal groceries, we have Publix, WinnDixie, obviously Walmart...Publix is way too expensive for me, but I'll go if they're having sales.

    Anyone familiar with IGA's? We have one and I always get sale fliers with CHEAP meat, but once again I'm a little nervous buying meat from them...
    look around a little.

    We have a Winn Dixie which is in most things much more expensive than Walmart. They do offer some good deals on meat some times.

    But we also have what's called 'Food Outlet' here, they sell for cost plus 10 percent. While their stores are usually old, small and smelly, they do offer some really great deal on meat and still have a butcher on sight.

    Big Lots has sometimes great deals on stuff, of course not fresh.
    Then we have safe a lot, great in canned goods, plus they carry the Knorr boullion powder Walmart doesn't (beef) produce is soso, but not bad.
    Aldi. The produce section is not very big, but the staples are cheap! You can get the colored bell peppers at ours for a song, when you pay that much or more for a single one at the other store, and those are mostly shriveled up, too...
    I don't go to Aldi a lot, I have to cut down on the chocolate intake and the rest is too americanized for me. They could open a whole nother venue selling the real German foods. alas, they are very affordable.

    But the best deal is to buy fresh produce locally when it is in season. Have a cooler in the car, when you run errants and come across a little stand by the road...Of course, many of those don't produce locally either, but generally their stuff is fresher and better.

    But hunting season is just around the corner. If you can find either somebody who hunts or somebody who processes, you can get a whole deer for cost. You simply can't beat that. We get ours usually ground and cubed, works like a dream to replace beef in most dishes. It's very lean, too! You might be able to get last year's meet for free when they clean out the freezer, too. It pays to know people.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
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  4. #144
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    Mar. 26, 2005
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    I find Walmart prices pretty good on packaged goods & produce.
    The Super Walmart near me has decent produce, good variety too.
    their meat - despite all the recent ads touting their steaks - is iffy at best.
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  5. #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
    their meat - despite all the recent ads touting their steaks - is iffy at best.
    icky is more like it....and I am not picky by any means!
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.



  6. #146
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    Dec. 21, 2008
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    We are lucky to raise all our own meat and while that isn't cheap either with grain prices it is way better than the store. If you eat meat I would suggest getting a 1/4 beef or 1/2 hog, chickens and putting it in the freezer.

    As far as vegetables and fruits they are a killer to the wallet, that is for sure. If it is just the 2 of you try just cooking what you will eat at that certain meal and make your meals pretty simple with just 3 dishes ( main, side , vegetable).

    We have a huge garden and I can't keep up with it all even with canning, freezing and 5 people eating it. When it is gone I will have to buy produce at the store again and it will be a shock.



  7. #147
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    May. 2, 2001
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    Actually, on the "Food Outlets" or "Sav-A-Lot" stores, the cost + 10% is not nearly as good a deal as you might think. DH used to manage grocery stores, and he can wax eloquent (and for quite a longer time that you might think it would be interesting!) on the pricing policies of grocery stores.

    He came out of a Piggly Wiggly (that is cost + 10%) the other day and went through the receipt, line by line, showing where they had actually charged more than the wal-mart would have.

    It is interesting. Sometimes.

    TOTT -- Costco is more than fine for meats and other things -- DH frequently chooses that over Sams and then divides the packages up. You've had meat from there, since *all* of the stuff he cooked for our wedding was from Costco!

    We are getting a Whole Foods on Thomasville Road where the Miracle 5 used to be -- I am excited about it, but not because it will be cheap! It is close to my office, and a good place to get lunch. The IGA where you are, I'm not sure about. Ours closed some time ago and had gotten sketchy before it did. Used to be *the* grocery store when I was younger, but now, not so much.
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  8. #148
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    Feb. 25, 2011
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    Some tips:
    If you are leaving the store with NO prepared foods, frivolous purchases, or unhealthy choices, you will be surprised at how low your total bill is, even if a few items seemed expensive.

    - Use dish towels instead of paper towels.

    - Use storage containers with lids instead of plastic wrap and aluminum foil.

    - For the foil and plastic you do need, buy it in large sizes from Costco or Sam's

    - If you use sandwich bags, get the folding rather than ziploc

    - Do not buy new magazines. Get them used for a quarter from whoever sells them -- in my town, the Friends of the Library sells them for fundraising in their store inside the library.

    - No prepared foods!!! This includes breakfast items like hot pockets, Lean Cuisine and other tv dinners, precut salad greens, packages of instant anything, canned beans and soups, soda, fruit juices, drink mixes like hot cocoa which you can make from scratch. Instead of bouillon cubes, save broth from boiled or roasted meats, freeze it in ice cube trays, and put cubes in a plastic freezer bag or freezer container.

    - Eat beans (from dried beans, not canned) and rice, split peas, lentils, etc. at least once a week.

    - Have soup as your main dish at least once a week, and design it around the leftovers of another meal.

    - Have salad as a main course once a week. One of my favorites is a nicoise salad, with greens, potatoes, egg wedges, tuna, capers, green onions, cooked green beans, maybe tomatoes and a viniagrette or aioli. It is beautiful if you serve it on a large platter with some ingredients separated out in rows next to each other.

    - Don't waste, but buy beans, rice, carrots, potatoes, oatmeal, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, corn meal, salt, etc. in the largest, most economical size you will be able to use before it spoils. Ditto potatoes, onions, and cabbage. Don't buy large amounts of baking soda or baking powder since you want it fresh.

    - Read the label on liquid laundry soap. Mine comes with a measuring cup that holds twice the amount you should use for the largest load, and the marks on the cap are hard to see, so they are tricking you into doubling the amount of detergent you use.

    - Buy liquid soap, dishwasher soap, laundry soap and toilet paper in the largest sizes that get you the best deal, or use coupons if that works for you.

    - use less hamburger by extending it with eggs and oatmeal in dishes that will allow it. I feed five, including two boys over six feet tall, with a pound of hamburger when I make certain dishes like meatballs.

    - have multiple side dishes: two starches and two vegetables. So the above-mentioned meatballs would be served with spaghetti (w/sauce of course) and bread, and broccoli or green beans and salad.

    - use very finely chopped carrots in red sauces. I started putting it in my
    spaghetti sauce as a sweetener and extra vegetable, and people kept thinking the sauce was a meat sauce. I think it is due to the texture of the carrots.

    - use individual spices and flavorings, rather than buying the mixes. I do this to avoid all the MSG and chemicals, to keep my cabinet uncluttered, and for enhanced flavor, rather than as a money saver, but it saves money as well. For instance, taco flavorings are mostly cumin, red pepper, black pepper, salt, onion, garlic (I use fresh onion and garlic), and annato for coloring (I usually use turmeric because of the health benefits, although I do have annato as well). They also contain a thickener such as corn starch, which I omit.

    - Use your freezer. Buy bread, milk, butter, and shredded cheese in bulk from Costco and freeze them. Before the holidays, buy the frozen sale turkey, usually $5 or less, and ask the butcher to saw it in half or quarters. Some stores will do this and some won't. Hams are also on sale.

    - Find great recipes for unusual and inexpensive cuts of meat, and have the expensive cut once a month, or whenever it fits into your budget.

    After you've done all your due diligence to shop carefully, buy at least one fresh item that is a luxury, like fresh salmon, or a cut of meat you like, or exotic fruits, and only buy the best cheeses.



  9. #149
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    Jul. 19, 2007
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    Michigan
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    Quote Originally Posted by talkofthetown View Post
    Never heard of Aldi, but I have heard rumors that we're getting a Trader Joe's or a Whole Foods.
    Whole Paycheck? Remember, most of it's exactly what you can buy everywhere else, just in a shinier display and priced accordingly. Pray for Trader Joe's, they're not nearly as slick as WF, but they're cheap overall.

    I don't buy much food at Costco, mostly bulk goods like paper towels (my small-business Amex gives rewards as a check for Costco so I do all of my major paper-goods buying with that-haven't had to buy paper towels or TP at the grocery store in a long time) but at least the ones I've been to have a great meat counter with a lot more variety than even Meijer. The prices are decent, too (I mean, you're going to PAY for lamb, no matter where you buy it.) I can break the big packs down, freeze smaller lots, and use it slowly.

    They also have cheap pet food that's actually pretty good, especially the tinned dog food. Pet stuff REALLY jacks up a grocery-store trip! (Today's Wal-Mart run would have been short except for needing PetArmor for the dog and one of the cats...yeah, it's still cheaper per dose than Frontline, but ouch.)



  10. #150
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    Feb. 25, 2011
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    So California
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    Quote Originally Posted by talkofthetown View Post
    Ohhh ok.

    We have a Sam's and a Costco. We have a costco membership, but I haven't bought a lot of food from there yet. I guess I've been a little scared of the quality, and a little overwhelmed as to how to shop there. I'm definitely going to give it a better chance now, though.
    The quality of Costco products is excellent. I make a point of buying fresh fish, meats, bakery items, and the Costco branded items (Kirkland) which are impressively excellent. They make a point of using the best vendors, like the Posh Pantry cakes, Waterford crystal, Starbucks coffee, etc.

    I have been disappointed with fish from Sam's Club as well as the local supermarkets, having had to return smelly fish. The Branola bread I buy from Costco comes in larger loaves than the same brand from Sam's, and the fresh-baked items, like the croissants from Costco, are made with butter, rather than shortening like those from Sam's. The difference in flavor and texture is marked. I do shop at Sam's, but the only Sam's food that I think is better than that at Costco is the fresh pizza. Sam's pizza has a thinner crust.

    The only caveat has been mentioned in this thread by others: don't buy what you can't use. Some things, like the package of six or eight heads of romaine lettuce, is so cheap here that I save money even if I only use half. Ditto the tomatoes and garlic. I give half to my neighbors or friends and still come out ahead.



  11. #151
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    Feb. 13, 2005
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    Columbus, OH
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteyPie View Post
    Some things, like the package of six or eight heads of romaine lettuce, is so cheap here that I save money even if I only use half. Ditto the tomatoes and garlic. I give half to my neighbors or friends and still come out ahead.
    Giving to neighbors or friends is awesome of you, but if the OP doesn't have anyone to share the food with, there are tricks to make the bulk food stretch further. There are storage methods that keep romaine lettuce fresh in the fridge for up to 4 weeks, and even chopped romaine can be kept fresh with no browning for 7 to 9 days. And tomatoes and garlic both freeze well (well, a caveat here: whole garlic tends to get mushy when it's defrosted, but chopped or minced garlic freezes well and doesn't taste mushy when you add it to recipes. It also freezes well as a puree with oil.)

    Wilted lettuce (meaning not slimy or brown, just kind of dry and limp) os good when you saute them with garlic. It's like sauteing any other green at that point.
    Last edited by jn4jenny; Sep. 5, 2012 at 10:35 PM.
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  12. #152
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    Apr. 17, 2002
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    The 'Mexican' markets are a ton cheaper on cilantro, onions, lemons, etc. Check it out.

    Whole Foods should named Whole Paycheck. I won't even go in there. It's ridiculously expensive. But, organic bulgar wheat from Ethopia tended by people over age 18 who can read, should be.



  13. #153
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    Aug. 12, 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by RainyDayRide View Post
    Interesting - around here the ethnic markets tend to be cheaper for many items.
    Same here, except for very obscure items that are shipped super long distance, which can be expensive, but they aren't even available elsewhere. There is an H-Mart (Korean SUPER market) near my office, I get lots of nice produce and fish there for less than at conventional groceries. I also get my dog bones there...MUCH less expensive and they have interesting cuts that you don't find in the regular store.

    Bulk bins at Whole Foods and the like can be a bargain too, I can get a 1 lb bag of steel cuts oats considerably less expensively than buying a 1 lb can somewhere else.



  14. #154
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    Feb. 28, 2008
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    Can you really freeze milk???? Like... a jug of milk??? What about cream?????? Does it separate when it defrosts?

    I can vouch for the freezability of tomatoes I have billions and billions of delicious golden grape tomatoes, but there is no way in heck I'm going to blanch and skin them so I can can them. I freeze them washed and whole by the gallon bagful. When I want to make a tomato gravy I just defrost them and pop each one out of its skin. I use them more for adding a rich sweet deep flavor than for the actual quantity of the gravy.

    During the course of the summer, we eat tons of sliced tomatoes. The big knobby shoulders are tough to manage but still taste great, so I core them and pop the entire knobby tomato ring into gallon freezer bags and freeze them. Same thing, defrost and peel off skin and cook down for a gravy.

    Fresh bread freezes surprisingly well too! I came across some great Challah breads the other week, bought a bunch and froze them. Have been having a good time making that breakfast Cher made on Moonstruck (thats always a fun one to serve someone not expecting it) and divine french toast!

    I find ethnic markets to have great prices on fresh stuff, but horrendous on packaged items. I never pay more than $3.69 a lb for any cut of pork, but G-d forbid I need a sack of sugar, it'll run me $6

    I heart H Mart, I get a lot of great shopping done there.

    Whole Foods is lovely seductive marketing, and very convenient when I need truffles but I never set foot in the place (unless I want to study some packaging), rip off city. I've never seen these bulk bins everyone speaks of, I'll have to check this out.

    I don't like Sams Club at all for meats and produce, I don't think the prices are that great per lb and I don't care for the quality.

    Costco does have good food though, the Kirkland brand is reliably good. Its been a long time though since I've been to one, I can't recall how the pricing was.

    Thing I discovered about Sams club is they seem to play a little game with pricing vs Walmart. Not everything, just sneaky things here and there. For example, you would think buying a stack of 3 million paper plates at Sams would be the cheapest *per piece* price going, but no... Walmart's dinky little 100 pack paper plates is actually the cheaper buy. And you don't have to clear out half the pantry to make room for stack of paper plates so large you could use them for a mounting block

    They're very sneaky, they have buyers figured out quite nicely and know that sometimes we're just too tired to care as much.
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  15. #155
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    Jan. 4, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by RainyDayRide View Post
    Interesting - around here the ethnic markets tend to be cheaper for many items.
    Your post is the first one on this page and I keep reading "around here the ETHIC markets tend to be cheaper ..."



  16. #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by buck22 View Post
    Can you really freeze milk???? Like... a jug of milk???
    Yep, I do it all the time.

    What about cream?????? Does it separate when it defrosts?
    Cream doesn't freeze well. It separates and picks up flavors in the freezer, even if you vacuum pack it. Better to become a master of using up the extra as whipped cream, ice cream, homemade butter, thickening sauces, put it in your coffee, make custard or panna cotta, creme brulee, chocolate mousse, creme fraiche (a classy version of sour cream), homemade ricotta made with cream, you name it.

    I find ethnic markets to have great prices on fresh stuff, but horrendous on packaged items. I never pay more than $3.69 a lb for any cut of pork, but G-d forbid I need a sack of sugar, it'll run me $6
    Speaking of ethnic markets, if anyone ever takes an interest in making homemade bacon and isn't an organic type, ethnic markets have killer prices on pork belly. That's especially true at Asian markets.
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  17. #157
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    Tomatoes in gravy?
    Quarry Rat



  18. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mosey_2003 View Post
    Tomatoes in gravy?
    I know you weren't talking to me, but tomato gravy is awesome. It's a poor-person food extraordinaire. For that matter, everything at Hillbilly Housewife is poor people food extraordinaire:
    http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/tomatogravy.htm

    Another highly underrated cheap gravy: bean broth gravy. Black bean or pinto bean broth makes an excellent brown gravy, and chickpea broth makes a wonderful chicken-like gravy. (And I say this as someone who makes homemade chicken stock from leftover roast chicken carcasses.)
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  19. #159
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    Milk freezes best in small containers.
    When you defrost, you don't have to hurry to use the whole big carton full.



  20. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    Your post is the first one on this page and I keep reading "around here the ETHIC markets tend to be cheaper ..."

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