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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:12 pm 
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I'm following the blog Ashley, hopefully you will inspire me to be a bit more frugal in 2014. I will definitely be trying the Banana Walnut Oatmeal :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:22 pm 
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Star wrote:
I'm following the blog Ashley, hopefully you will inspire me to be a bit more frugal in 2014. I will definitely be trying the Banana Walnut Oatmeal :-)

Yay, thanks! I'm so happy there's interest in this. Gives me motivation to stick to it.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:29 pm 
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This isn't really an online resource, but I learned a lot about budget cooking through working with the local Food Not Bombs group. The food we made was always amazing, and done on the cheap.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:31 am 
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I'm also following the blog ashley. It's an awesome idea for a challenge!

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:31 am 
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I love your blog Ashley! You have a fun to read writing style, and a great idea. Keep writing, I'll be reading!

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:54 am 
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I keep reading this thread as "big budget blogs" and clicking on it excitedly for the inevitable eye-rolls.

Anyway, we've been finding bowls really cheap. As much as I love and worship my many cookbooks, I go way over budget when I follow them to a T because I end up buying a whole bunch of stuff I don't really need, but with bowls I can just make a sauce work with whatever we had, which lately has been the bags of soy curls in my freezer, a grain, roasted squash, onion, garlic, and whatever other veggies we happen to have. It makes going to the grocery store to shop for ingredients much less painful because the stuff I need for a recipe I'm eyeing is almost never on sale at the right time, so I can let the sales dictate my meals, which has become much easier given the lessons learned by the CSA to love what you got, even if it is a lifetime supply of celery, choy, and lettuce. I'm also rediscovering what I dumped in my freezer in the summer (smart me! I froze a bunch of late season cherry tomatoes!) and getting my fruit in that way since fruit is mostly out of season and kind of expensive in the winter.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:47 am 
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I know everyone says 'do meal plans' to save money, but I really do find that it helps. I guess maybe if you check the sales flyer and base your whole week on the produce on sale and/or repeat the main ingredients, but I really don't like doing that. Since i'm in a small town where the vegan things don't exactly fly off of the shelves, a lot of times they'll be on Manager's Special (aka, about to hit their sell by date and half off), so that's how I get my specialty drinks (Silk coffee drinks, always on MS) and the Wholly Guacamole and Wholly Salsa, both which you can freeze. During the warmer months, the Wholly company puts out a lot of coupons so if i'm lucky I can get guac for a dollar and salsa for free (!!!), and I really like their guac so I have no problem eating lots of it on toast.

Since I don't really have a number to keep under, I don't really pay much attention to produce prices except for the obvious stuff like not buying tomatoes in the winter, I just pick up whatever I feel like eating that week and spinach for smoothies.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:52 pm 
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Rhizopus Oligosporus wrote:
I love your blog Ashley! You have a fun to read writing style, and a great idea. Keep writing, I'll be reading!

Cornelie wrote:
I'm also following the blog ashley. It's an awesome idea for a challenge!


Thanks guys!!

vijita, I'm with you on cookbooks. They are fun and I love to read them, but I almost never cook from them because I very rarely have everything I need (or a suitable sub) to make a recipe. I use them mostly for inspiration, and then just cook with what I have or buy for cheap.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:35 am 
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VeganinBerlin wrote:
Do you guys have bulk bins in normal supermarkets? I have seen them once in an organic food store but they were obviously more expensive than in a regular store.


Really old reply here. . . But I'm at the US west coast and WinCo is a god-send. It's cheaper than most stores in the area (with exception of Close-Out type stores like Grocery Outlet) AND has bulk bins.

Also. . . I've never exactly calculated whether bulk per pound is cheaper than packaged. I can tell from one glance that the spices are. The only dry goods I DON'T buy in bulk are (active) yeast and ground flax seed, because these both should be refrigerated after opening. I sincerely doubt they rotate the stock every day.

As for vegan-y things like nooch and gluten, I definitely notice the savings. Neither of these things are sold by Bob's Red Mill in their package, if you're at WinCo. I find them both in bulk even in the "smaller" stores. They're definitely cheaper than Walmart, Whole Foods, Raley's, etc. . . But I guess I don't have a fair price to compare them to.

I whole-heartedly agree with the general suggestion to meal plan. Don't buy convenience foods unless it's on sale, or completely necessary (who has time to make soy milk?). Etc. I guess I don't have anything new to offer. Also, this is a new discovery to me: some things are cheaper at expensive stores. Stores that are known for being vegan-friendly, like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, will have things like plant milk, tofu, etc. MUCH cheaper than the local grocer. Definitely worth a monthly trip (in my opinion). Just buy Trader Joe's or 365 Daily. . . I'm not here to say Earth Balance and Silk are cheap at health food stores. Ha.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:54 pm 
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I've become super-budget gal lately, and the thing that's helping the most is simply not shopping, and making sure I'm using a base of pantry ingredients with all of my cooking. That, and like you guys said, bowls. Everything can be a bowl!

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:45 pm 
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I second WinCo! Their prices and bulk selection are great. Plus, they are employee owned. I worked there for a while and was earning $11 plus health benefits as a cashier, which is better than most entry-level retail. You also get stock in the company after a certain amount of time there. In general, they treat their people well.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:32 am 
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I don't know what the selection is like where you are at, but dumpstering works well in certian stores that don't have compactors. Suprisingly save-a-lot and aldi are bountiful near me, aldi normally for breads, bananas, and bags of apples, oranges and potatoes. The save-a-lot normally has whole boxes of one type of thing, like tomatoes, jalapeños, corn, pineapples, etc. When I lived in florida we didn't grocery shop ever really, since the dumpster produce was much more plentiful and we had spots to get hummus, pizza dough, flatbreads, melons, potatoes, pineapples, and pretty much every vegetable. Look at trader joes and whole foods first, and then look at the selection at smaller chains, and discount stores. They don't normally have trash compactors and discount stores will often have packaged food that went past the sell by date but that will still be fine to eat, like cereals, chips, crackers, etc. It cut our bills from like $70 a week to nothing except for things we "really want" about once a week, like earth balance to go on the bread, or avocados, nutritional yeast, that kind of thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:43 am 
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jdfunks wrote:
I've become super-budget gal lately, and the thing that's helping the most is simply not shopping, and making sure I'm using a base of pantry ingredients with all of my cooking. That, and like you guys said, bowls. Everything can be a bowl!


Definitely, I went shopping today and spent $180 - which is twice what I normally spend, but I normally go once a week and hadn't gone since before Christmas, and was really stocking up to make sure I don't have to go back out again if it snows more! I've accumulated a decent pantry via finding deals and the occasional score at Big Lots, so when the weather sucks I don't feel pushed into going to the store.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:33 am 
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vegetable_assassin wrote:
I don't know what the selection is like where you are at, but dumpstering works well in certian stores that don't have compactors. Suprisingly save-a-lot and aldi are bountiful near me, aldi normally for breads, bananas, and bags of apples, oranges and potatoes. The save-a-lot normally has whole boxes of one type of thing, like tomatoes, jalapeños, corn, pineapples, etc. When I lived in florida we didn't grocery shop ever really, since the dumpster produce was much more plentiful and we had spots to get hummus, pizza dough, flatbreads, melons, potatoes, pineapples, and pretty much every vegetable. Look at trader joes and whole foods first, and then look at the selection at smaller chains, and discount stores. They don't normally have trash compactors and discount stores will often have packaged food that went past the sell by date but that will still be fine to eat, like cereals, chips, crackers, etc. It cut our bills from like $70 a week to nothing except for things we "really want" about once a week, like earth balance to go on the bread, or avocados, nutritional yeast, that kind of thing.


In Germany Aldi and most cheap stores forbid you to dumpsterdive. They lock their containers so you pretty much can't get to the trash without committing a crime.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:49 am 
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To contradict a bit...I intentionally DON'T menu plan before shopping because that means I'll be buying certain items regardless of what they cost. (And there's no circular for the shuk (open market) where I buy all my food, so I won't know what's affordable ahead of time. Instead, I go to the market with a certain amount of cash, and I buy whatever is at the best prices that week --- and then cook/menu plan based on what I bring home. This just means exercising restraint --- I may want 6 flavors of olives, but I know I don't need them.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:08 am 
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jerusalemboheme6 wrote:
To contradict a bit...I intentionally DON'T menu plan before shopping because that means I'll be buying certain items regardless of what they cost.

Yeah, I do my 'menu planning' after the shopping trip. I make sure to keep my staples stocked and buy 4-5 different types of veg that are in season/on sale. After I get home I make a list of meals with the ingredients I bought (curries, stir fries, bowls, casseroles etc.). I need that list, or I'll end up clueless at the end of the workday and forget to use what I have before it goes bad.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:19 pm 
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I just ran across a new blog that looks like a good frugal vegan food resource. The blog isn't completely vegan, but due to health restrictions and cost, a majority of the food is vegan. There's lots of recipes for things like vegan omelets and mayo. Photos aren't great. And despite the name, it's mostly a food blog.

http://www.pennilessparenting.com


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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 2:00 pm 
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My problem is buying groceries and then saying it "fork it I'm buying lunch." The past couple of weeks I've been doing:
-basic tofu scramble burrito for breakfast
-peanutbutter and jelly or peanut butter and banana with some nuts. fruit, carrots/hummus etc for lunch
-some kind of soup or chili for dinner

and it's been really good for my budget. My biggest budget problem is coffee! My office coffee is TERRIBLE and I get in so early and absolutely love having a good cup with soy creamer when I get in so I buy the Starbucks Vias which end up being almost $10 a week...(so if anyone knows any good instant coffee please let me know!)


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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:30 pm 
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jerusalemboheme6 wrote:
To contradict a bit...I intentionally DON'T menu plan before shopping because that means I'll be buying certain items regardless of what they cost. (And there's no circular for the shuk (open market) where I buy all my food, so I won't know what's affordable ahead of time. Instead, I go to the market with a certain amount of cash, and I buy whatever is at the best prices that week --- and then cook/menu plan based on what I bring home. This just means exercising restraint --- I may want 6 flavors of olives, but I know I don't need them.


Oops, I mistyped because that's what I meant. For me, meal planning is a plan to say 'fork it, I don't feel like making this'. Being less picky about exactly what you're going to eat, along with letting go of brand loyalty, are key for saving money on food.

veggiepalooza wrote:
My biggest budget problem is coffee! My office coffee is TERRIBLE and I get in so early and absolutely love having a good cup with soy creamer when I get in so I buy the Starbucks Vias which end up being almost $10 a week...(so if anyone knows any good instant coffee please let me know!)


Cold brewed coffee!

http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/201 ... offee.html

It keeps for a really long time.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 5:37 pm 
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Yes, cold brew! I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but it even reheats well if you want hot coffee. I always have coffee brewing overnight in the french press in the fridge, and then I just fill up a mason jar in the morning to take to work.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:19 pm 
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I am so excited to find this thread! I'm about to switch jobs and it's going to only be part time for 3-4 months until I can move up to full time. Plus, I'm losing some added bonuses, like a discounted metrocard and phone bill (at least, pretty sure I am) and health insurance so I'm going to have to cut back some frivolous spending for awhile. (I do also have another part time job two nights a week, but that doesn't give me insurance/transportation either - just a little extra money and cool coworkers!) The plus side is that I'll be moving from a chaotic retail setting to a much saner, more creative office job that doesn't make me want to hide in the bathroom all day.

Ashley: I like your quote about sanity being worth a few months of beans and rice - YES. Yes it is. At least I hope it will be. I'm going to keep checking in on your budget adventures.

I'm trying to buy some staples this month while I still have the dough and I'm already taking stock of the fridge every few days to figure out what I can re-invent into another dish or freeze, rather than going to the grocery store just because I want something. Maybe it's counter-intuitive, but I'm also revisiting my big ol' stack of cookbooks for cheap recipes I may have overlooked. I always end up buying things like baked tofu, seitan, granola, and salad dressing even though I'm sure I have some basic recipes for all of those things tucked away in books.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:22 pm 
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I am so excited to find this thread! I'm about to switch jobs and it's going to only be part time for 3-4 months until I can move up to full time. Plus, I'm losing some added bonuses, like a discounted metrocard and phone bill (at least, pretty sure I am) and health insurance so I'm going to have to cut back some frivolous spending for awhile. (I do also have another part time job two nights a week, but that doesn't give me insurance/transportation either - just a little extra money and cool coworkers!) The plus side is that I'll be moving from a chaotic retail setting to a much saner, more creative office job that doesn't make me want to hide in the bathroom all day.

Ashley: I like your quote about sanity being worth a few months of beans and rice - YES. Yes it is. At least I hope it will be. I'm going to keep checking in on your budget adventures.

I'm trying to buy some staples this month while I still have the dough and I'm already taking stock of the fridge every few days to figure out what I can re-invent into another dish or freeze, rather than going to the grocery store just because I want something. Maybe it's counter-intuitive, but I'm also revisiting my big ol' stack of cookbooks for cheap recipes I may have overlooked. I always end up buying things like baked tofu, seitan, granola, and salad dressing even though I'm sure I have some basic recipes for all of those things tucked away in books.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:47 pm 
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That sounds like an exciting opportunity, Raven! Congratulations and good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:40 am 
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Thanks ashley! It will be an exciting adventure, for sure.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:05 pm 
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well! the CSA subscription was keeping us from buying much at the grocery store, and we were doing phenomenal this month... UNTIL i went to the opening day of the new wholefoods store... on an empty stomach. woops!

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