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#172151 - 04/27/09 04:04 PM Re: Cheap food [Re: Mike_H]
Dan_McI Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 844
Loc: NYC
Originally Posted By: Mike_H
Buying in bulk definitely helped us with our food bill. We have a vacuum food saver, so it is easy to repackage and store.

Isn't bulk just abbout almost always the way to go, if you have room to store? For a couple, six months of food is going to weigh probably at least 500 lbs. and take up maybe 11 cubic feet of space. If you never eat the stored food, much of it will go to waste, as sooner or later it should need to be replaced. Buy in bulk, rotate stuff out of it. Just brought home 50 lbs of rice from Costco.

Sunchokes are one of my new favorites. Grow almost anywhere, look attractive (tall sunflowers) and most people would not know they have an edible tuber. My friend from the Ukraine refers to them as a "ground potato" fit for feeding to cattle. Wholefoods charges a couple bucks a pound.

#172161 - 04/27/09 04:54 PM Re: Cheap food [Re: Dan_McI]
benjammin Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4018
Loc: Anchorage AK
This weekend I got 10 lbs of stawberries at 80 cents a pound. We sliced them up and are dehydrating most of them.

Yes, bulk is the way to go unless you are seriously space challenged. It can require some planning.

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

#172226 - 04/27/09 11:13 PM Re: Cheap food [Re: benjammin]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Bulk foods from the food co-op or even the local grocery store is cheaper than packaged, usually about half the price or less. Spices are great - don't let the $22/lb on top scare you off. I just bought two heaping spoonfuls of ground nutmeg for $1.56 and barely got it all into the jar. (I use smaller spice jars and buy more frequently -- still not all that often -- so they don't go flat or stale.)

Cereals are cheap -- I just got farina for $1.29/lb. I didn't have to pay for the box that said Cream of Wheat. They also have rolled oats and grains and granola.

All the seeds I've bought in bulk sprout just fine except for the ones that say 'milled' (millet and white rice come to mind), which is where they take off the outside hull. Seeds that will sprout have increased protein, suitable for man, beast or hen, and they will grow if sown. Far cheaper than designer packages.

I have a store not too far away that seems to have sales on certain things about the same time every month. The difference between whole chickens at $0.79/lb and $1.69/lb is literally two for the price of one. Mark your calender and see if your stores do the same.

Call your most-local Cooperative Extension Service (all U.S. offices listed here by state: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/ ). If you have a small plot of dirt in sunlight, they can help you grow things. They can also tell you where to get info on a list of local U-Pick farms. Fruits and veg are at least half the price of store food, and of MUCH higher quality. Eat it fresh, can it, dry it, make jam.

Check out some of your local grocery stores about 5 a.m. Many of them put out boxes of discarded vegetables and fruit. You usually have to pick through all the lettuce and cabbage leaves, but a lot of it is still very edible (they don't want to mix fresh produce with the older produce). BE SURE to be neat about it, and don't leave a mess.

The neighborhood you described probably wouldn't be adverse to someone who has a few chickens or rabbits. They may have some of their own. Excess eggs distributed to immediate neighbors is a nice calling card and a good way to make friends.


#172278 - 04/28/09 02:58 PM Re: Cheap food [Re: Susan]
benjammin Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4018
Loc: Anchorage AK
Normally I wouldn't have an argument unsupportive of Co-ops, but the one I was working with just sent the wrong public message. Even so, I would probably still give them my business on at least a few items.

Sometimes I can afford to be political, not often, but sometimes...
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

#172520 - 04/30/09 09:45 PM Re: Cheap food [Re: Mike_H]
wchancey Offline

Registered: 04/30/09
Posts: 1
I worked in grocery stores for over forty years, and learned a lot about eating cheap and never paying the full retail price for any food. The real key to doing this spending as much as you can the first time to build up a supply of the foods that you eat most often.

Then start watching the grocery adds from the local stores that are around you. Grocery adds have a cycle and pretty much stay on that cycle, for instance if a store has can vegetables on sale 3 for $1.00 one week most likely in about four to six weeks those can vegetables are going to be on sale again at 3 for $1.00

So buy enough to last until they go on sale again, and you will never have to pay the 75 cents for the same vegetables again.
The same goes for ground chuck $1.79 on sale $2.49 not on sale, large eggs .89 on sale $1.29 regular price.

The idea being, just about all food that you buy will be on sale at some point and usually it will be about a four week cycle. The same applies for sodas or snack foods.

I drink Maxwell house coffee and usually pay about $5.49 for the largest can when it is on sale so I buy two or three, when it isn't on sale it is about $6.79.

Milk freezes, so I buy three or four at 1.89 and freeze it regular price is 3.59.

You get the idea, if you have a place to store it and a freezer
you will never have to pay full price for any of your foods again.

Also monitor the adds from all the stores in your area and shop the best prices, don't be afraid to shop at all the different stores, I always take advantage of the buy one get one free adds and buy as much of the item as I can afford that the time , if I have coupons that is when I use them.

Watch the adds for a few weeks and you will see what I mean about the sale cycles if you pay attention you really can eat at a much reduced cost.

#172540 - 05/01/09 05:59 AM Re: Cheap food [Re: Mike_H]
epirider Offline

Registered: 12/03/05
Posts: 232
Loc: Wyoming, USA
My family all get together a few times through out the year and "put up food". Last year we canned - peaches, applesauce, apple butter, strawberry jam, strawberry - rubarb jam, corn and something else that is eluding me. Anyway, the point being that including the cost of the lids, sugar, etc.. we saved about .20 - .50 cents a can compared to store bought canned foods. The intitial start up cost was moderate, but it payed for itself in the first year of doing this. The only thing you have to do is watch for low-acid foods. There is a risk of contracting botulism. Follow the canning cook books and there is not a problem.

We also make a trip down the baking eisle at the grocery store EVERY time we go. Last time I was there I found processed white flour (ya ya I know...) for $6 / 25lbs bag. We also look for rice, pastas, rolled oats, sugar, beans, and canned meats that are marked down or on a special. It is a crap shoot, sometimes you find good deals sometimes you end up just getting some exercise.

Long as we make it a family project, the cost is VERY low. Not only that but it is great family time together. It is also a great skill to pass on to younger generations.
A government big enough to give you everything you want,
is strong enough to take everything you have.
Thomas Jefferson

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