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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:20 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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GraciaKai wrote:
We are in super savings mode because we are funding our way to Portland (you!) next year. So beside from the grocery savings thing we also cut out the following.

Cable - got a roku and accounts for hulu, netflix, and amazon prime
Refinanced our mortgage - saving us about 200 a month
No eating out
No movies
No new anything unless its needed to make the house better so we can sell it in the spring.
Got rid of a car, so now we are carpooling, less gas and insurance to pay for. I also lowered my auto insurance coverage to the basic.
I grew my hair out so I don't have to get it cut every month anymore.
Really we are just going without a ton of useless stuff in our lives for the sake of fulfilling a goal/dream. Sometimes it makes me annoyed when I want to run to starbucks with my co-workers and I can't. But I just keep telling myself that it's for a greater good and I just let it go. We started at the beginning of the year and so far I have almost 7k saved. Before cutting out everything and not paying attention to what I was spending I had no savings. Which just really tells me that I've been throwing money away for years because I'm still totally happy without all that crepe!

I will say that it's hard to be frugal though. Most of the time for me being frugal means I can't go out with friends and that does make me sad. No happy hour after work, no going out for dinners with friends or anything. Saying no to a lot of stuff!

If I weren't gluten free I'd be eating ramen for lunch everyday!


we do a lot of same stuff too. we canceled our tv subscription soooooo many years ago but kept internet so we just watch a few shows through hulu (or the network) for free.

we don't eat out either......

we cut our hair at home.

our soft spot is for books though. we splurge on books but we get really good savings with the coupon codes we get from bn.com since we are members.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:31 pm 
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i realize since being in the US that most of what I do (at home) is serious cheapo stuff.
the biggest money-saving thing is to buy certain things in certain places on certain days, and to deviate as little as possible from "the usual".

so for us here in NJ right now, for example:
chinese store monthly for tofu and soymilk, scallions, mushrooms.
fruit and veggies on friday when it's on sale at the local farmer stand (so all their stock is new for the weekend).
indian store monthly for dry beans and rice and spices, onions and potatoes.

also, making a large batch of sausages monthly and freezing them is good if you use a lot of them. it just takes one afternoon. same with good bread and muffins, if you eat them regularly for breakfast. and i'm making soy yogurt about monthly too.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:32 pm 
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Seagull of the PPK
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i realize since being in the US that most of what I do (at home) is serious cheapo stuff.
the biggest money-saving thing is to buy certain things in certain places on certain days, and to deviate as little as possible from "the usual".

so for us here in NJ right now, for example:
chinese store monthly for tofu and soymilk, scallions, mushrooms.
fruit and veggies on friday when it's on sale at the local farmer stand (so all their stock is new for the weekend).
indian store monthly for dry beans and rice and spices, onions and potatoes.

also, making a large batch of sausages monthly and freezing them is good if you use a lot of them. it just takes one afternoon. same with good bread and muffins, if you eat them regularly for breakfast. and i'm making soy yogurt about monthly too.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:41 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Oooh, Torque, those are good. I will have to try making an extra large batch of sausages. I saw you post elsewhere about how to make the soy yogurt, so I'm giving that a go next time I pick up soymilk. Awesome tips.

ETA:
We are starting to save seriously for a house, saving for the kids' education, and about to start extracurriculars for the little dude. I'm taking a TESOL course in the next couple of months as well. And we have to pay down some student loans too!

I have to quit buying coffee out (especially since I get free coffee beans I can brew at home), and work on the grocery bills. They're pretty good right now, particularly for the cost here (it's super expensive here!), but I need to get my partner into eating cheaper lunches. He often takes meat/cheese sandwiches which are pretty expensive compared to everything else we eat! But the coffee is harder! We like going out together to grab a coffee, and it's not the same at home. (Obviously! My job is to make going out for coffee desirable, and I'm good enough at it that it works on myself!) I think we're going to make a better budget for that. Actually, we are going to see our financial advisor in a week or so to make a new budget and tweak our bank stuff to work best for us. Yay, saving!

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 4:02 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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torque, when you make your own soy yogurt are you able to "add" the live cultures and stuff? that's the main reason i consume soy yogurt is for the good-for-the-belly live cultures.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 5:22 pm 
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i started it from a "boughten" cup of active-culture vanilla super-sweet soy yogurt, which was all i could get (now, i make a new batch using a half-gallon of unsweetened soymilk and half a cup of the previous batch). those probiotics are what culture the yogurt, so yes! there are a couple of threads about it, it's super easy. and CHEAP!

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 5:23 pm 
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dp, sorry, but wanted to apologize for using the word probiotics, which i hate. i would rather say biota, but i guess it's cultures.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:25 am 
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So, we decided we're going to try and spend $150 every two weeks. We planned our dinners for the week and went grocery shopping, and spent $82, leaving us $68 for the coming two weeks. I suspended our CSA box (sadness!), and I'm buying a slow cooker today so that we can make big batches of tasty dried beans, as well as stews and things for dinners. Here's hoping we can stick to it, because we will save a LOT of money if we can!

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:55 am 
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If you have Asian or other ethnic markets, generally you can buy a lot of things there cheaper including beans, rice, spices and vegetables. Frozen vegetables and fruits can often be cheaper than fresh and are usually frozen shortly after being picked so win-win? We do use a lot of dried beans although I keep canned beans for some convenience.

We do also have a lot of the lifestyle things like we haven't had cable in years but we recently started subscribing to Netflix which is $7.99/month. We don't do Hulu but then again we don't care about recent shows.

We bundle a lot of our errands together so that when we do drive, we do it on one day.

And there are a lot of things that I think save us money like we don't drink, we don't buy sodas, we don't go to the movies, or plays. Lots of our entertainment is pretty cheap like going to visit a museum in DC or go for a hike or stay at home and read outside or stay at home and watch a movie.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:59 am 
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yeah., that slow cooker will be so great! passive cooking that saves money and has more complex flavors from being cooked so slowly? yes please!

torque wrote:
dp, sorry, but wanted to apologize for using the word probiotics, which i hate. i would rather say biota, but i guess it's cultures.

i don't mind "probiotics" as a word. (after all, bad biota exist. or at least biota that are bad for us, i should say. "pro" just points out the beneficial ones.)

linanil wrote:
We bundle a lot of our errands together so that when we do drive, we do it on one day.

oh! yeah, i tend to do this too. (and it tends to inadvertantly save us money because i'm not running out to catch a sale on something i didn't necessarily need right away.)
i've read that it's best on the car to drive to the farthest errand and make your way back, since a car runs more efficiently when it's warmer. (barring of course the need to keep something frozen)

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:31 am 
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linanil wrote:
If you have Asian or other ethnic markets, generally you can buy a lot of things there cheaper including beans, rice, spices and vegetables. Frozen vegetables and fruits can often be cheaper than fresh and are usually frozen shortly after being picked so win-win? We do use a lot of dried beans although I keep canned beans for some convenience.

We do also have a lot of the lifestyle things like we haven't had cable in years but we recently started subscribing to Netflix which is $7.99/month. We don't do Hulu but then again we don't care about recent shows.

We bundle a lot of our errands together so that when we do drive, we do it on one day.

And there are a lot of things that I think save us money like we don't drink, we don't buy sodas, we don't go to the movies, or plays. Lots of our entertainment is pretty cheap like going to visit a museum in DC or go for a hike or stay at home and read outside or stay at home and watch a movie.


Yeah, our lifestyle is already pretty pared down. We don't have a tv. We have an old truck that gets driven rarely. We ride our bikes pretty much everywhere. We don't go out drinking, really. We don't shop. We don't get fancy haircuts or any kind of aesthetic stuff. We use the library a lot, drink cheaper beers we get from D's work. We buy things used as much as possible.

I track my expenditures on mint.com, and the things we spend money on are 1) food, and 2) bike racing stuff. The food was the biggest source of wasted money, since we were lazy about planning, which resulted in us spending hundreds of dollars on non-essential and convenience foods and snacks. Cutting that down is going to make a big difference for us.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:37 am 
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Oh and I should say I don't slow cook but I do pressure cook, I usually don't soak my beans but you can. I can go from dried unsoaked beans to eating within an hour.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:43 am 
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i think with food the real thing is time and/or organization. my family here in the US is like "oh my god you're always involved with some food." yes, soaking and cooking beans, making bread, yogurt, etc. plan it out and it takes almost no time at all. the kitchen is now my office, so it's convenient. but it is really nice to have frozen chickpeas and loaves of bread, sausages, yogurt, etc and not have to go to the market all the time.
[ha, supercarrot. i think "probiotics" is so overused it's become silly (saw it on parrot food the other day. couldn't identify what that ingredient was), so i try not to contribute. be the change you want to see and all that...]

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:30 pm 
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Jordan, do you have a loyalty card for Fred Meyer? That's one of the easiest ways to save money on groceries. Fred Meyer is owned by Kroger, which is where I do all of our grocery shopping, they can have pretty high everyday prices but those are immediately slashed by using a reward card. Kroger has digital coupons that you can add to your card too, and those often coincide with an already existing sale. Fred Meyer appears to have something similar:

http://www.fredmeyer.com/in_store/pages ... nding.aspx

If you have a printer, despite what people think, there are a ton of great coupons out there for vegans. Not surprisingly Silk puts out a ton of coupons, but Blue Diamond and So Delicious do too, and the Dream brand, Cascadian Farms, Arrowhead Mills, sometimes Bobs Red Mill, Amy's, Tofurky, I even got a coupon for Wildwood tofu a few weeks ago and you'd think they wouldn't do coupons. I have no problem keeping us in a fair amount of specialty foods on a budget because of this. I also get coupons for cleaning stuff (Method) and body/hair/face care (Yes To Carrots, Kiss My Face, Tom's of Maine)

There are bigger coupon sites, but for one that's less overwhelming and has a higher ratio of vegan coupons:

http://www.mambosprouts.com/coupons

Another tip is to not grocery shop unless you can take your time. I find a lot of great deals in my store just by keeping a casual pace around the store, because they will often slash the price of an item so they can make room for new items. Justin's fancy nut butters for 1/2 off? Hells yeah.

You mentioned having room for bulk, and that's good! If you see a really good deal and it's not something super perishable or that can't be frozen, stock up. It's one of those 'you have to spend money to make money' things. If spending an extra $40 on groceries this week because I found such good deals means that we have enough in the pantry to where I only need to buy like, produce and bread for the next two weeks, it's worth it. As long as you will use it before it goes bad (or it's something you can freeze), get a bunch of it.

No spur-of-the-moment trips! Don't go to the store without at least checking the ad online and saying, "Okay, these things are for sale so this is what i'm getting." This is especially true if you do use coupons, either the ones you can load on your card or print out (or paper I guess, I don't get the paper because as a vegan, it doesn't seem worth it).

It can be kind of hard to get into the swing of it, but like a lot of things, it becomes second nature. Even Brian, who at first was like 'dear god you're going to become one of those toilet paper hoarding weirdos' now tells me stuff like, "I kind of need new underwear so if you find a deal this week, please get me some.", whereas before he'd just walk into a store and buy everything at full price. He even checks unit prices to see which size of an item is a better deal.

I could write more but this is already a mini-novel. Saving money is basically my job.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:00 pm 
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the wildwood tofu/crumbles coupon is still around. it's on coupons.com (but i tend to go through allyou.com because they still use the old (better) interface, not to mention the bonus coupons.) i checked yesterday, and it was on the very last page. and had an expiration date of 12/31 (!!! that's so rare on coupons.com) they also had an agave in the raw coupon and the cascadian farms coupon.

the only bad thing about my chromebook is that it doesn't work with the coupon printing sites, so it's not as convenient for me to print a coupon these days. (but i had to get it, the macbook was turning itself off every 20 minutes, and the chromebook doesn't become an inferno on my thigh. we actually duct taped the battery, because it had been slowly falling apart.) we saved $25 because i had a best buy amex sync coupon. w00t!

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 4:45 pm 
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jordanpattern wrote:
We do have bulk bins at our local "normal" grocery, Fred Meyers, but I feel like some of the bulk goods aren't actually all that much cheaper than just buying a regular container. Maybe I'm wrong, but I get the impression that many bulk items are intended for folks who want to customize the quantities of things they buy, rather than as a money-saver, if that makes sense? Maybe I'm just insane. Anyway, I'm looking into buying some big (like 20 lb) bags of stuff like ww flour, rice, chickpeas, etc. We have a truck to haul them home, and we have pest-free space to store them, and I think that will be cheaper than bulk bin stuff?


this makes sense to me, and it's the case at our local natural foods store. i remember filling up a bag of organic brown rice, weighed it out and turns out it was something like fifty cents more per pound than the prebagged organic brown rice they had elsewhere in the store. their bulk spices are a deal though, saves us a bunch!

we like to be as earthly-friendly and budget-friendly as possible, so we order recycled toilet paper online from amazon. marcal has a box of two-ply toilet paper that's pretty great, ships in a big box of 48 for $28 (58 cents/roll). they have recycled facial tissues wicked cheap as well. i keep wanting to make handkerchiefs, but i think my spouse would be totally grossed out by the idea and want to stick with tissues.

but back to food....salvage grocery stores can be great if you have some around you. we keep a list of everything we have in the freezer so we don't forget about stuff, and for a while i created a spread sheet and checked costs for our usual grocery items at several local stores. this way i knew for sure who had the lowest prices and when i'd find something on sale i could see if it really was a deal or not.

mrsbadmouth wrote:
I could write more but this is already a mini-novel. Saving money is basically my job.

i will totally encourage you to write more, you've got some great tips and i second grocery shopping when you can take your time. i always find the best deals then.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:31 pm 
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happyfaced wrote:
we like to be as earthly-friendly and budget-friendly as possible, so we order recycled toilet paper online from amazon. marcal has a box of two-ply toilet paper that's pretty great, ships in a big box of 48 for $28 (58 cents/roll). they have recycled facial tissues wicked cheap as well.

i wait until the grocery store has the 20 roll packs for $8 and stock up then. i usually try to keep a full 20 pack in store at all times, so i'll buy 2 or 3 during the sales. (it's not the 2-ply, but i don't mind making my own 2-ply by pulling out more and folding over.) also, i'm pretty sure the 1-ply has more paper overall than the 2-ply.
also marcal's facial tissues are horrid. (but i do admit to not having purchased any in a few years, so that might have changed. i got cut up pretty bad during one cold season. ouchies. my grudges run deep. especially for paper products. don't get me started on charmin TP.)

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:26 am 
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Dried beans, grains, tofu, and cheap local, organic produce.

Making everything myself is kind of a drag, but freezing half or making a batch to stretch makes things easier. I end up saving quite a bit of money by making my own bread, soups, salad dressing, etc. That's pretty much what I live on - soup, salad, and bread! Baked potatoes are also cheap and easy once the weather gets cold. Banana soft serve is also a staple, as vegan ice cream is definitely a treat.

As for homemade milk, ever tried a cheaper nut/seed? I'm giving sunflower seeds a shot, and pumpkin for the omega-3's. Sunflower seeds are great for creamy things (sauce, dressing) or "tuna" salad, and are even cheaper than tofu. Not as nice as cashews, but still versatile.

Living next door to the library, I don't need to have internet at my own place. Sure, it would be nice sometimes, but my job doesn't require it so I don't need constant access. I don't have cable, so I also rent plenty of movies there.

Checking the newspaper for free events, or cheap ones. $5 yoga classes keep me sane(r).


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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:14 pm 
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Groceries are expensive here, and coupons are few and far between (and don't stack) but it's still possible to eat well on a small budget. I found that my local co-operative is actually the best deal in town, especially for bulk purchasing - if there's one vaguely near you it might be worth asking what discounts they offer for bigger orders. Mine works out cheaper than the discount supermarkets (and for organic/fairtrade).
After that, a lot of our groceries including noodles, rice, tofu and frozen or chilled stuff come from the Asian or Turkish market. Super fresh and super cheap.

The thing that made the biggest difference to us was for one full month writing down every single penny that we spent, from rent to groceries to a pack of gum. It was really obvious where all our "extra" cash was going. A takeout sandwich here, a fancy coffee there, Monday night "can't be bothered cooking" Chinese food, snacks while waiting for trains or busses if we were running late. We're really good about brown bagging now, and keeping thermal mugs at work to take advantage of the free coffee provided instead of going out to buy one. Saved us a fortune.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:22 pm 
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Thank you guys. I really do appreciate all the advice!

BUT. I'm more looking for blogs or resources that you've found helpful. I'm pretty good on the "buy dried beans" and "don't have cable" front. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:33 pm 
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I've been thinking about starting a blog about eating cheaply since my take-home income is less than a thousand a month right now so the hundred bucks of food stamps I get a month is all I can really put toward food, but I'm pretty good at eating well in spite of it. Maybe soon!

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:43 pm 
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TupeloHoney wrote:
Dried beans, grains, tofu, and cheap local, organic produce.



Do you actually find organic local produce that's cheaper than conventional grocery store stuff? In know in theory local stuff should be cheaper, but the farmers market is always more expensive than the grocery store for me. It wasn't that way when I lived in California, but on the east coast a trip to the farmer's market is more like a special treat for me.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:15 pm 
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ijustdiedinside wrote:
TupeloHoney wrote:
Dried beans, grains, tofu, and cheap local, organic produce.



Do you actually find organic local produce that's cheaper than conventional grocery store stuff? In know in theory local stuff should be cheaper, but the farmers market is always more expensive than the grocery store for me. It wasn't that way when I lived in California, but on the east coast a trip to the farmer's market is more like a special treat for me.


Our farmers markets are always cheaper than in stores, even the local foods market (where farmers put things in by consignment and everything is by weight, which jacks up the price). The thing about getting organic around here is that a lot of places are organic without being certified because it's such a rigamarole to get the certification...but that also means that just anyone could say they are and not be. Still. Cheap produce.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:33 pm 
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Location: 5 mi east of philly
the farmers markets around here are always more expensive. :-/ (you'd figure that wouldn't be the case in the garden state, but i guess being so close to philly, nearby farms are kinda rare.)

the only exception to this are the people who sell produce out of the backs of their trucks. (as opposed to the people who actually have a space at the farmers market that happens once a week) some of these people are farmers, but i think the majority buy from the big wholesale place and resell.

the one good thing is that we have places called produce junction which are similar to the wholesale places and often have lower prices than the grocery store, but more reasonable quantities than the wholesale place (but still usually a lot in each bag.)

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 Post subject: Re: Best Budget Blogs/Books/Resources
PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:22 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:49 pm
Posts: 4111
Location: Toronto, ON
ijustdiedinside wrote:
TupeloHoney wrote:
Dried beans, grains, tofu, and cheap local, organic produce.



Do you actually find organic local produce that's cheaper than conventional grocery store stuff? In know in theory local stuff should be cheaper, but the farmers market is always more expensive than the grocery store for me. It wasn't that way when I lived in California, but on the east coast a trip to the farmer's market is more like a special treat for me.


That's the case for me, too. "Cheap, local, organic produce" is pretty much an oxymoron here. There is one market that has okay prices, but nothing is organic and if I catch a sale at a standard grocery store it is often cheaper.

I try to buy organic spinach and other things that are on the "dirty dozen" list, but when I see a killer sale on non-organic apples or something it's hard to pass up.

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