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Old 08-12-2005, 10:41 AM   #11
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Buy a turkey..the bigger the better. Turkey has the least fat and highest protein per dollar of any other meat. The larger the turkey, the more you save. You can freeze extra meat in little packages for casseroles and soups later, and you can boil the carcass for some great broth.

Don't buy beef stew meat...find chuck or arm roast on sale and cut it yourself. Same way with chicken...buy the whole thing and cut it up yourself. Any parts you don't use then, can go in a bag in the freezer for boiling later. Find whole boneless pork loin on sale, and cut it into chops or chunks yourself. You'll have meat for roast, crock-pot BBQ, stir-fry, or chops at a fraction of the cost of buying these things already cut.

Eat breakfast for supper...pancakes, French toast and the like are cheap, tasty and filling. Eggs are an inexpensive source of protein, and fritatas are a great way to use up leftovers. My guys can make a meal off of biscuits and sausage gravy.

Shop the ads in the paper, and save your coupons. Some stores give double or even triple off for coupons. Take advantage of it. Plan your week's meals around what's on sale.

Make a list before you shop, and stick with it. Impulse items add a lot to your bill.

Don't buy junk food. Chips, Oreos and the like are very pricy, and not good for you anyway. Snack on things like popcorn, oven-toasted tortillas (brush with a little olive oil and season to taste, cut into wedges), raw vegies with homemade dips, jello, box puddings, and things like Apple or Cherry crisp that you make yourself.

Drink iced tea instead of sodas. You'd be surprised how much money that saves.

Don't throw away your stale bread...freeze it before it molds to use for bread pudding, bread-crumbs or croutons.

Don't be ashamed to have a meal of chicken noodle or cream of potato soup with toasted cheese sandwiches once in a while. It tastes good, and gives you a night off from cooking.

Waste not, want not. If you have leftovers, utilize them. Be creative and not afraid to experiment.

Hope I helped! I have been on a very tight budget many times, but I always kept my family well fed. Maybe TOO well...LOL!

We get by with a little help from our friends
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Old 08-12-2005, 10:45 AM   #12
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Some of my fondest memories of comfort food as a child were the "cheap" meals that Mom cobbled together using the least expensive ingredients and most abundant from our garden.

If you have a farmer's market in your area, shop there instead of at the supermarket for fresh fruits and vegetables. You can make an entire meal of vegetables. As kids, we grew pole beans in vast quantities and often the fresh string beans with stewed tomatos, bacon bits and grated parmesan cheese made an entire dinner (sort of like using the string beans in lieu of pasta).

Eggs are also very inexpensive. Try building your meal around eggs instead of meat as the protein. The American Egg Board (http://www.aeb.org/recipes/index.html) has lots of ideas for meals based on eggs for all courses.

Dried beans, legumes (lentils & split peas) and rice are also great basics for meals. They are cheap and with spices and sauces can be very satisfying. They can also provide great left overs for more than one meal.

Best wishes. You'll remember the good old days when all you had to eat was beans with fond memories.

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Old 08-12-2005, 10:47 AM   #13
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Thanks for the link gwkr36a, I'm always looking for "on a dime" recipes, to help stretch the shoe string

While this might not please everyone in your house, I'm often happy with a big apple and some slices of good quality cheddar (or other) cheese. Or chow mein noodles cooked up with a hint of soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions and topped with sesame seeds.

"The most indispensable ingredient of all good home cooking: love, for those you are cooking for" ~ Sophia Loren
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Old 08-12-2005, 03:07 PM   #14
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I agree with Constance - if you have a big freezer then you can buy loads of cheap turkeys at Thanksgiving (many stores round here only charge $5 for a 20-25lb turkey, but limit you to 1 turkey per customer, or 1 turkey per trip...so you have to shop several stores and get a turkey from each!).

Watch out for special offers and shop at the end of the day when many fresh meats are marked down...you can always freeze them.

Personally, I would rather go vegetarian than eat cheap ground beef - but you can buy cheap steak instead, trim off any excess fat and grind it yourself in a food processor. At least you know what's in it!

Any meat that has had 'extra work' done on it (like boned, skinless chicken breasts) will be more expensive than if you buy it in a more natural state and do the work yourself - plus you will have the extra bits left over for making soups and stocks.

It's much cheaper to buy meat in bulk and then bag it up into meal-sized portions yourself and freeze it.

Cut down on meat and bulk-out meals with veggies and/or pulses (healthier as well as cheaper).

If you have a grocery store very nearby (as I do - have to drive right near it to pick DD up from school anyway), then it can be cheaper NOT to plan meals, but just go into the store every day and look to see what's on special offer and build a meal around that.

British ex-pat living in Colorado, USA
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Old 08-12-2005, 04:05 PM   #15
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Number 1 Rule: Don't go to the grocery store hungry. That's when you tend to spend more and buy things you really don't need and can't afford.


1 box macaroni and cheese (Made according to package directions)
2 Cans of your favorite tuna, drained
2 cans cream of muchroom soup
1 soup can milk
Desired amount of potato chips, crushed (any kind or flavor). About half a larg bag

Mix well all ingredients and put in casserole dish and bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, uncovered.


1-pound hamburger meat
1/2-pound ground pork
2 eggs
1/2 cup ketchup
1 onion, diced
1 pkg. dried onion soup mix
1 single pkg. saltine crackers
1 cup oats, dry
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and put in baking dish. Cook in 350 degree oven 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

This is a stew that I came up with for supper last night and it was really good.

Whatever you wan't to call it stew

2-pounds ground beef fried with diced onion. Add 1 pkg. frozen mixed vegetables, 1/2 box of leftover macaroni and cheese from the day before, 1 can tomato sauce, 1 jar spaghetti sauce, 1 can of bean sptouts, 1 (8-oz) glass of water and salt and pepper to taste. Cook all ingredients in pot until frozen vegetables are tender and food is hot to the liking.


4 to 6 chicken pieces (legs, wings or thighs)
1 cup white rice
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 soup can water
Desited amount lemon herb seasoning

Mix rice, cream of chicken soup, and water and place in baking dish. Arrange chicken pieces on top of rice and sprinkle with lemon herb seasoning. Bake in 350 degree oven 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

You can also make the dish above using egg noodles instead of rice and it turns out just as good.


2 cans tuna, mixed with the desired amount of the following ingredients. Mayonnaise, onion (finely diced), celery (thinly sliced), and 2 boiled eggs (shelled and diced). Pud desired amount of salad on bread or roll up in a large leaf of lettuce and enjoy.
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Old 08-12-2005, 08:50 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Haggis
Number one rule for anything, do not by fresh produce or meat from a supermarket. Always more expensive, without fail.
I try to do most of our produce shopping from the local farmer's market and limit us to $20 a visit. I find it is a great way to get cheap and delicious produce with only a $20 bill in my pocket and no credit card machines to be found. Our market is twice a week, but I usually only get to one of them, so trips to the grocery store do happen to get one or two things. What will I do when the farmer's market is over for the season and produce prices go sky high?

As far as meat goes, we are costco shoppers and buy our meat there. My husband doesn't like seafood and we can't really afford steaks or things like that, we end up eating quite a bit of

Thanks for all your ideas so far, they have been helpful!
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Old 08-12-2005, 11:43 PM   #17
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A couple of us made up a co-op and went to a chicken farm which had a shopfront and bought bulk chicken pieces then divided it amongst us all. We saved heaps of money and didn't have to spend a lot at once. I have friends who do this with vegetables every week, one family at a time goes to the vegie markets then the bulk bags are divided evenly.
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Old 08-13-2005, 01:00 PM   #18
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Wow you got some great responses. Check out the previous links to other posts regarding this topic there were some great ideas on that also.

I just recently purchased a bone in ham for 7 dollars and odd cents. I was able to get 3 + meals out of that bugger. Baked ham was the first......then ham & beans......hobo hash......plus slices of ham for breakfast and sandwiches.

Research ways to use turkey or ham and purchase whole hams and turkeys when they are on sale and you'll save a lot when it comes to your meat budget. Ground Beef is another meat that goes a long way.

Also rice, pasta, and potatoes are very reasonable for side dishes and can be jazzed up in all sorts of ways.

Research your grocery ads from the newspaper and see whats on sale regarding meats and vegs and plan your menus on those items.

Be sure to make out your grocery list prior to going and stick to it. Oh and don't do like I do occasionally and go shopping on an empty stomach.........huge mistake

And finally, see if there is a store in your area that will match competitors prices.........that'll save you gas so that you don't have to hop from one store to another. Because lets face it if we have to drive a ways to get to the other store we're not really saving because of the gas we're using to get to the other store.
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Old 08-13-2005, 01:06 PM   #19
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This isn't something you may want to do often, but I buy pizza from Domino's 3 for $5 each. We can eat lunch for several days. Also on Tuesday they have large = buy one get one free for $14.00. For about $15 we can have good pizza about 6 meals for the two of us. We eat what we want the first day and I package the rest in 4 pieces each in freezer bags. It is just as good reheated and we can have it when we want it or when I don't want to cook.
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Old 08-13-2005, 03:42 PM   #20
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Spam with french toast for breakfast
Creamed Spam on biscuits for lunch
Fried Spam and onion sandwich for dinner

You are not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.
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