Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Do better than McDonalds - Food can be cheap and healthy

I spend very little on groceries for myself and my three kids (who are around only 3 days per week). My monthly budget is $150, and that is very adequate for some frivolity and luxuries.
My secrets are:

-Keep written notes and know where the good deals are, then buy good deals in bulk. No store has the best deals on everything, and some prices can vary as much as 400% (really!). I don't go to more than one or two of these places on the average week. But when the sales circulars come out, I review them quickly and decide if I need to visit a store that week.

-Cook in bulk and refrigerate or freeze. My pots (traditional and pressure) are 8 qt., and I fill them when I cook dinner food once or twice per week.

-Have some basic equipment. I have a Back To Basics smoothie blender, an 8-qt stainless steel pressure cooker, and a thermometer. You may need special items for your tastes. I save $4 dollars vs. Jamba Juice every time I make a smoothie in my blender!

Here are examples of deals I have found. Superstition Ranch Market in Mesa, AZ has broccoli often for 0.25/lb (!!!) vs. 1.25 elsewhere. Blueberries for 0.10/oz. or less vs. 0.18/oz frozen at Walmart. Blackberries and avocados cheap too. Pro's Ranch mexican market has had 10 lb. potatoes for $1 often this summer vs. 2.50 at other stores. Sprouts Farmer's Market has had cantaloupes 3 for $1, and steel cut oats for 0.50/lb. Vietnamese market has brown rice for $0.60/lb in 20lb bags. Walmart has milk and Totino's pizzas cheap. Nuts are cheapest at Costco.

Today I bought 12 cantaloupes for $4. Last week I bought gallons of blueberries and blackberries at Superstition Ranch Market for 1/2 what they cost frozen at Walmart. The week before I bought 10 lb potatoes for $1. The week before that I bought 30 lb steel cut oats for $15. Beat that at Taco Bell or McDonalds? No way! Cheap eating feels great coming and going!


kdhaws said...

$150 per month is really good!

Thomas Stewart said...

Thanks for the tip! I live in the City of Maricopa. I will take the drive to Superstition Ranch Market this weekend. We've been spending too much on food and its not making any sense to me.

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Thanks for your nice comments!