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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 1:01 pm 
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fruitbat wrote:
lindsay t wrote:
made out our two week meal plan with 10 dinner recipes from vegan on the cheap and quick and easy low cal vegan comfort food plus our standard breakfast and lunches. spent $90 at trader joes and $25 at whole foods. still have a costco trip to factor in tomorrow but even so we will definitely be under budget!

Wow. I'm in awe. I'm struggling to commit to a one week meal plan!

I started the month off with a major shopping trip (ending at $60) so we'll see where I end up budgetwise. Considering that's how much I spent for the entire month last month (it was a ridiculous kind of month) I was out of pretty much everyting so a lot of what I bought will last a while. There were some non-food items like shampoo and conditioner plus knit gloves (because they had them and it's getting colder and my old ones are almost worn out). My biggest indulgence was a whole bunch of fruit, nectarines and grapes.


I am in awe of $60/mo!! Having three kids pretty much requires some level of meal planning not to mention the hell that shopping with children is, so I try to only go once every other week. Costco was painful at just under $200 but I also had razors, tampons, and other non food items added in there. We are set for 3 weeks though!


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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:21 pm 
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lavawitch wrote:
My goal for September is $0. ..


Yeek! Good luck!

I only soaked 1kg of chickpeas for the time-being and it still made a ton. I've got a 2.something litre tub full of cooked chickpeas, I think I might freeze those and just add them to things as needed, then I made a big tub of chilli-coriander-mint hummus (with mint from the garden).

To get the remains of the hummus out of the blender I added more water and broccoli and then poured it into a saucepan to heat up as soup and added some petit pois and some more seasoning and served it with a little dollop of cashew cream and it was really amazingly tasty! Yaaaay! I love this challenge because it forces me to be inventive.

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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:28 pm 
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lindsay t wrote:
I am in awe of $60/mo!! Having three kids pretty much requires some level of meal planning not to mention the hell that shopping with children is, so I try to only go once every other week. Costco was painful at just under $200 but I also had razors, tampons, and other non food items added in there. We are set for 3 weeks though!

Well, last month was a special case. I had no money to spend and had to rely mostly on my foodstash. Also, it's just me. A normal month for me is maybe $150.


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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:45 pm 
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september snuck up on me and i had a kind of lazy weekend, which is threatening my $50/week budget for food (both groceries and dining out). i'm not including drinks (in or out) or georgia's food. i think i have food for the week, though, and i get my CSA share on thursday, so i don't foresee having to spend much more this week. except maybe to buy coffee, but i think i will still come in around $50. that's my beginning goal, but i'd like to whittle it down closer to $40.


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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:30 pm 
Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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COUNT ME IN. i have overspent in general over the summer, so now I have a minus balance on my account that i want to get rid of as quicky as possible.

I am going to try to stick to 1000 dkr. or about 165 dollars (apparently there is no dollar-thingy on the keyboard on my new computer). This will include toilet paper, toothpaste, laundry detergent, dishwasher tablets etc.

So far I've spent about 27 dollars, so that leaves 138 dollars for the rest of the month. I'm pretty well stocked right now, so will try to avoid grocery shopping beyond vegetables or essentials for the next 3 days. I am going to do my best in challenging myself to spend as little as possible! will have to buy coffee next week, though.


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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:51 pm 
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dropscone wrote:
lavawitch wrote:
My goal for September is $0. ..


Yeek! Good luck!

I only soaked 1kg of chickpeas for the time-being and it still made a ton. I've got a 2.something litre tub full of cooked chickpeas, I think I might freeze those and just add them to things as needed, then I made a big tub of chilli-coriander-mint hummus (with mint from the garden).

To get the remains of the hummus out of the blender I added more water and broccoli and then poured it into a saucepan to heat up as soup and added some petit pois and some more seasoning and served it with a little dollop of cashew cream and it was really amazingly tasty! Yaaaay! I love this challenge because it forces me to be inventive.


I really do have a ton of pantry items. I'll miss fresh greens, but I've got onions, garlic, potatoes, etc. I have flatbreads in the freezer since zi get those from Costco. I can make bread. I need to do an inventory and see what I have. I've got loads of dried and canned beans, lots of grains. I also have quite a lot of tofu with expiry dates into October. I have a lot of nuts too since those are another item I get from Costco. Ditto almond and rice milk.

So really, this isn't so much a month of economizing as a month of appreciating the excess I've accumulated.

Although, I did discover something today that could turn into an emergency: ALMOST OUT OF NOOCH.

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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:01 am 
Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Today I will be making:
-Vegan Unadon (japanese rice bowl with marinated eggplant "eel" and nori.
-Rice noodle salad with julienned daikon, cucumber and shaved mango, with some vegan oyster sauce.

Hopefully this will make enough food for me to bring some to school tomorrow, as i have an 8 hour day with no cheap food options nearby.

Things I have in the fridge when i'm done making this:
-Cucumber
-Daikon
-2 corn cobs
-lettuce
-san marzano tomatoes
-zucchini
-scallions
-onions
-garlic
-apples
-plums
-oranges

I am going to try to stick to not buying anything for the next 3 days, så planning on making:
-Pasta with tomato sauce
-apple butter (so i don't need to buy jam! and can be eaten on oats or whatever - might make some plum jam aswell).
-dhal (i have lentils, and i can make a simple version with just red lentils, tomato paste, onions, frozen cauliflower and leave it at that)
-Might make some more noodle salad, but this time soba noodles with cucumber and lots of sriricha and roasted sesame seeds.
-spelt salad with the rest of the veggies and some kidney beans - if i make a big batch, it will last me at least two days.

for breakfast i'm sticking to oatmeal with different topping.
for snacks i have sunflower seeds i might dry fry and add some soy sauce to, and i have some popcorn and nooch.

On the shopping list for next time i'm grocery shopping:
-3 packs of tofu (for scramble and tofu ricotta)
-Canned tomatoes
-Pasta
-Chickpea flour (for chickpea flour pancakes and frittata)
-Lots of frozen veggies and fresh veggies and fruit to make it fun to eat cheap!

Hopefully all of this planning will pay off in the other end :)

How are you all doing?


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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:18 am 
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i still haven't totted up all the totals for august but i know it was way more than i expected.
i'm sort of shocked that even economizing as much as possible, we still spent a shitload of money.
i'm talking baking all our bread, using only dried legumes, making our own juice, always taking our lunches, etc etc.

i need to find a cheaper alternative for beans. the prices have skyrocketed lately and i think i might need to try to find a bulk source/grower or something. (beans went from about $1/kg to $4/kg, and those are the cheap ones- chickpeas and lentils and white beans, etc etc are much more) north american peeps, you guys are soooooo lucky.

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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:35 am 
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I did horribly in August. My September goal is $400, including paper towel et al., occasional wine/beer, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:32 am 
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smoothie wrote:
Today I will be making:
-Vegan Unadon (japanese rice bowl with marinated eggplant "eel" and nori.

That sounds amazingly good.

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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:05 am 
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I decided to hold off shopping until the 10th, when food stamps come in. My first paycheck comes in tomorrow but I think I've got enough food until then.


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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:23 am 
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it appears that i have been spending $300 per month for groceries (minus eating out and household items) and today, we have $66 left for the next 2 weeks. on thursday, i was stupid and shopped for ingredients for 5 recipes, but i ALSO got kale and broccoli cause they were cheap. the broccoli is still in the fridge after 4 days. guh. i just have to force myself to make it as a side dish even if it doesn't go with the meal.

$10 per day seems a bit high for 2 people, doesn't it? (maybe i'm just still replenishing my pantry. maybe next month will be more reasonable)

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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:50 am 
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supercarrot wrote:
$10 per day seems a bit high for 2 people, doesn't it? (maybe i'm just still replenishing my pantry. maybe next month will be more reasonable)

That's the same as what we spend when we are good about not getting luxury items. I think many people in this thread spend about $5 per person a day. I know I've lived on $3 a day when I was a student and did not yet have a partner, but I hardly bought any convenience foods back then.

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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:58 am 
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I honestly think a lot of it depends on where you live and how much time you have. We can do $100/wk for two adults and a toddler, but that does include all household goods and any eating out. I stay at home though, so I'm able to cook a lot from scratch, including making my own breads. Last month we stayed within $75/wk, but of course some of that was using up pantry staples.

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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:41 pm 
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supercarrot wrote:
$10 per day seems a bit high for 2 people, doesn't it? (maybe i'm just still replenishing my pantry. maybe next month will be more reasonable)

To me that doesn't seem especially high, unless the takeout meals and non-food household items you're excluding make up an even larger portion of your overall household budget. Think about it this way: If you make an average of 2 meals at home per day, that works out to $2.50 per person per meal. Doesn't seem crazy to me, and is certainly much cheaper than buying lunch or dinner out.

Right now I really, really, really want to go to the Chinese market, but I am trying to be "good" and wait until next week. We have enough food to make it through most (or all) of the rest of this week, so it's not like we will be stuck eating plain rice or dirt from the cupboard if I don't go. Truthfully I only usually end up spending about $25 when I visit the Chinese market, but I figure the more I can spread out the spending the better. I can't help but think of the gloriously cheap tofu though....


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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:05 pm 
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Food prices have gone way, way up since the beginning of the summer. Molly's organic peppers are now $4 EACH instead of $5/lb. and they are small and miserable looking.

Produce is just so expensive it's pretty much a luxury item around here except for a few sale items. Strawberries have been cheap this summer. I went to buy cabbage for a recipe, and it was over $5 for a medium sized head.

I think my staples have gone up an average of 30% since May. Luckily, I can just cut the luxury items (assuming things like fresh spinach are luxury items) to make up the difference. I really feel for struggling families.

I've been eating the blog sunflower Mac all week. That is super cheap, filling, and pretty nutritious. It's my favorite comfort food recipe these days. How much that costs per serving depends on the sunflower seeds since it uses a cup. I think those are cheaper than another source of protein though.

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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:12 pm 
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I'm aiming for £75 a week ($120) for five of us (2 big, 3 small), including all household incidentals like washing up liquid and toilet paper. I'm meal planning very strictly but there's room for some treats and snacks... Meal planning is really cool, you can keep pulling these big dinners out of apparently empty cupboards!


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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:47 pm 
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lavawitch wrote:
Food prices have gone way, way up since the beginning of the summer. Molly's organic peppers are now $4 EACH instead of $5/lb. and they are small and miserable looking.

Produce is just so expensive it's pretty much a luxury item around here except for a few sale items. Strawberries have been cheap this summer. I went to buy cabbage for a recipe, and it was over $5 for a medium sized head.

I think my staples have gone up an average of 30% since May. Luckily, I can just cut the luxury items (assuming things like fresh spinach are luxury items) to make up the difference. I really feel for struggling families.

I've been eating the blog sunflower Mac all week. That is super cheap, filling, and pretty nutritious. It's my favorite comfort food recipe these days. How much that costs per serving depends on the sunflower seeds since it uses a cup. I think those are cheaper than another source of protein though.


Cabbage is still cheap here in TX - I've seen it in stores for as little as $1 a head. I guess it depends on where you live. I mostly buy frozen vegetables for stuff like broccoli and cauliflower. The only fresh vegetables I buy are carrots, onions, potatoes, and sometimes spinach.

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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:54 pm 
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Limone wrote:
supercarrot wrote:
$10 per day seems a bit high for 2 people, doesn't it? (maybe i'm just still replenishing my pantry. maybe next month will be more reasonable)

To me that doesn't seem especially high, unless the takeout meals and non-food household items you're excluding make up an even larger portion of your overall household budget.

no, we are limiting eating out to $75/month (right now we're at $80.) and household to $100. we have an unreasonably large amount of credit card debt, so the interest we're losing each month takes up even more than food+household combined. we're in the middle of getting a home equity loan to pay off about half of the credit card debt, so until we pay it off, we'll be accruing appx 5% in interest/year (...as long as we have a steady supply of balance transfer offers, that is) the loan is for 5 years, and i hope we'll be able to pay off the other half on the cards in the same amount of time. it's the high interest that's holding us back. we've made progress, but it's been slow going. hopefully by next month we can start picking up the pace.

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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:19 pm 
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Finished the shopping for this week and I'm at $94, but that's only because my husband went and bought crisps and a bottle of wine (argh). Oh well, just under budget anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:21 pm 
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I spend way too much on food, with buying things that I just don't need, so this is something that I need to do. It might stop me from buying things like buying those bottles of truffle oil that I *really* needed at the time and have only used twice since buying it 6 months ago.

I've spent £80 already this week, but, that was doing an online grocery shop and that's all of my store cupboard things like chickpeas, all other tinned goods, tofu, soy milk etc to last the month. So in theory, the only things that I should have to buy for the rest of the month is fresh veggies. Hopefully this will actually work because I seriously need to start budgeting.


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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:59 pm 
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My mom just bought me gardein, a pizza, spinach, and greens. Argh! I told her to help me stick to my budget, not enable me.

On the other hand, a spinach and arugula chickpea wrap for lunch tomorrow makes me happy.

Re: the cabbage. icant figure it out. Heads are like precious metal, but the bags of shredded are still $1.50. Weird...

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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:00 am 
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I'm not setting an amount for myself yet this month, but I'm keeping track of what I spend. Since I'm living alone now more of my money is going to bills... so yeah.

I have a lot of things in my pantry, so it shouldn't be that bad. I got a smaller veg & fruit subscription than before (€ 54,50 instead of € 81 a month), and depending on how good I am at using up my stuff, I might change to a bi-weekly one instead of a weekly one.

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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:51 am 
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I'm having to re-build my pantry as I just moved so I'm not going to count that in the spending challenge. I think I'm pretty much done with that. I'd like to stay under $45/week for just me myself and I. I think I'll be able to manage it, as I spent $160-175 in July before my budget went all to hell for the month of august (moving/two vacations).

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 Post subject: Re: September Food Spending Challenge!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:46 am 
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So far so good. Should be able to make it until friday with no food shopping, and if that happens, that means that i've made it though the first week for 27 dollars! which would be pretty amazing.

Thinking about going on a big, planned grocery shopping trip friday, and then spend some of my saturday making big batches of cheap, freezerfriendly things like pancakes, muffins, soups and stews, so i know that i always have things on hand. and then i will be stocking up on frozen goods and tofu, because you can always make magic happen from those two things. right now i'm cooking a roasted tomato soup with pasta salad on the side, and some roasted cauliflower and might make a big pot of onion risotto, to use up some of the insane amounts of risotto rice i've got in my cupboard. also, risotto is cheap and delicious and filling!


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