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Posted: 8/3/2009 10:34:34 PM EST

With the recession, living frugally and keeping costs low is a big part of our fiscal survival plan, so I thought I'd share a few things Mrs bionic monkey and I are doing to survive the crappy economy - please post your tips too...

We never used to do this but now we watch the supermarket fliers like a hawk.. theres the weekly specials, and then theres the really good specials that happen 2-3 times a year. when those happen its time to pounce. In our example, we like the 5 star angus 93/7 ground beef, usually $4.79 /lb. ouch! At costco we can get hamburger (80/10) (and not nearly as tasty) for 2.50 a lb, any day of the week. Living cheap doesnt mean eating bad, so when the real special hits, its 2.99 a lb at the supermarket in the value pack - we dont get a value pack, we get all the value packs. Its time to save some $$

Tools we use: Foodsaver and cheapo digital scale:

Sorry for the crappy pics, using a cell phone - kinda spur of the moment.

Value packs chilling in the fridge - this batch has 5 but I only had time to proces 2 tonight.



Next we get out the scale and measure the portions. This is key



At first we started packing 1 lb packs, but we soon realized that for the recipes we make, we dont really need that much meat, so I began packing up 14 oz packs. Really I think 12 would work for most things, but 14 seems to be a happy medium.

The other packs I make are hamburger patties - 2 per vacuum bag - 40z each exactly. It works well for the bbq, because they are pre-shaped and formed, and its so easy to grab a pack and throw them on the grill. If we're short on 1 lb packs (er. 14 oz), then we can always grab 2 packs of patties = 1lb exactly.

I drop the portion into the foodsaver bag



and then *very important* squish it down into a relatively flat rectangle. This makes it very easy to fry right from frozen.



Sucked, packed, and dated, this batch goes off to the freezer.



another thing that goes on sale a lot is hamburger helper.. usually 2-3 bucks, it'll hit $1 at least twice per year. That means approximately $3.75 for dinner or lunch for two, plus some leftovers for lunch at work the next day, and very convenient too, just reach into the freezer and grab a pack, fry and add the noodles, etc from the hamburger helper.

Here's a bunch of pork chops from costco sealed, trimmed and portioned. same thing, grab a per-loaded portion and go.





Link Posted: 8/3/2009 10:55:18 PM EST
At costco we can get hamburger (80/10) (and not nearly as tasty) for 2.50 a lb, any day of the week



Do I dare ask what the remaining 20% was??
Link Posted: 8/3/2009 11:43:34 PM EST
Originally Posted By FrankSymptoms:
At costco we can get hamburger (80/10) (and not nearly as tasty) for 2.50 a lb, any day of the week


Do I dare ask what the remaining 20% was??


Oh, the fail is strong in this post.
Link Posted: 8/4/2009 12:50:02 AM EST
Link Posted: 8/4/2009 1:20:03 AM EST

Originally Posted By FrankSymptoms:
At costco we can get hamburger (80/10) (and not nearly as tasty) for 2.50 a lb, any day of the week



Do I dare ask what the remaining 20% was??


fat iirc the rating is lean vs fatty meat. 80% lean 20 % fat( junk/crap etc)

as to thrifty eatig. we coupon shop hard, shop at places like aldi's and other discount places.
Meats we get when sales are on ( winn dixie buy get one free deals) or from what i killed/caught.
Link Posted: 8/4/2009 2:41:03 AM EST
For pork chops we us whole pork loin. It can be had for as low as $1.49 on sale every 4-6weeks. There is no bone to pay for and throw away and very little fat to trim off=no waste.
Link Posted: 8/4/2009 4:39:56 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/4/2009 4:41:49 AM EST by elokoman]
Survived college on the most frugal of budgets...while paying child support

ate mainly; peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
brand x instant coffee
macaroni and cheese....sometimes would splurge and add a can of tuna for tuna casserole
spaghetti
and worked in the evenings a few days a week as a pizza cook where they would let us eat all we wanted

not recommmended for long term nutrition, but survival...pasta is cheap, and there is a reason Moms across the USA feed their kids PB&J
Link Posted: 8/4/2009 5:00:38 AM EST
I love my chest freezer!

For meat we've started buying whole hogs and quarter beef from a local farmer. The hog works out to $2.15/pound processed and the quality is light-years ahead of the grocery store, though if I had any ham or bacon made it would be a lot more. The quarter beef is 1.63/lb vacuum-sealed and frozen, and includes some very nice steaks and roasts as well as super-lean ground meat. DH also gets a couple of deer every year. Chicken and turkey get purchased in bulk when they're on sale at the store, usually for around 49 cents a pound.

I expanded my garden this year and will be freezing and vacuum sealing as much as I can. I've also started prepping the ground for an even bigger one next year (though DH has made me promise not to plant more squash). I need more cucumbers and bell peppers, and want to try planting some carrots and radishes.

The local sweet corn has just come in so it's uber-cheap, and I'm buying that fresh in bulk direct from a farm for half the grocery store price, and putting it in the freezer.

I get my local supermarket flyers and "online coupons" emailed to me once a week, and go through them before going to the store. Since DH is one of the few SAHD's in the area, the managers have kind of taken pity on him when he shops during the day with all the women and retirees, and they let him know what's coming up for sale in the next week or two.

Buy it cheap, stack it deep!

For a slightly different spin on hamburger helper, get a pound of pork sausage and use that in place of the hamburger with the hash browns or one of the 'cheesy' versions. We throw some sliced tomatoes and green peppers in with it as well just before serving.
Link Posted: 8/4/2009 5:51:43 AM EST
Originally Posted By DUX4LIFE:
For pork chops we us whole pork loin. It can be had for as low as $1.49 on sale every 4-6weeks. There is no bone to pay for and throw away and very little fat to trim off=no waste.


I bought nearly 100lbs of this at sams, couldn't believe the price
Im going to try the canidian bacon thing with some of it
Link Posted: 8/4/2009 6:37:27 AM EST
For those in the south, both WinnDixie and Sweet Bay run loss leader business models.


WinnDixie: Many loss leaders at good prices, lots of BOGOs.

Sweet Bay: Few loss leaders as super discounted prices.

There are also Publix and SaveALot.

Publix occationally has good prices, but not many. Check week flyers online.

SaveALot as the best regular prices, but some products are low quality.

In a month, I will usually shop WinnDixie, SaveALot, Walmart. Every now and then it is worth a trip to Sweet Bay and occationally Publix.


Watch those Flyers!
Link Posted: 8/4/2009 10:26:25 AM EST
Originally Posted By AR-TRVLR:
Originally Posted By FrankSymptoms:
At costco we can get hamburger (80/10) (and not nearly as tasty) for 2.50 a lb, any day of the week


Do I dare ask what the remaining 20% was??


Oh, the fail is strong in this post.


Probably sawdust... heh

I'm going to apply for a little slack based on the TOD.

Posted: Today 3:34:34 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/4/2009 10:53:43 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/4/2009 10:54:32 AM EST by KillyMcGee]
Kroger + coupons for me.
SoutherSavers.Com
Link Posted: 8/4/2009 12:11:37 PM EST
Sams club has chicken breasts at about $2.16lbs I just bought 26 lbs of it today. I think I might buy some more to make another 100 tamales.
Link Posted: 8/4/2009 12:19:19 PM EST
Nice thread. Around here we’ve learned to use leftovers in more creative ways. So far I’ve set my record for 3 resurrections. Sometimes we do that so as to not waste time/money cooking again as well.
Meat and potatoes (cooked in the oven) leftovers can become sandwiches, and what’s left over of that gets all thrown in a pot (meat cut into small pieces, as well as the potatoes) with some rice and lentils.
What’s left of the lentil stew can go along with some other dinner. Guess that's four.
FerFAL
Link Posted: 8/4/2009 12:22:05 PM EST
Originally Posted By bionicmonkey:
Originally Posted By AR-TRVLR:
Originally Posted By FrankSymptoms:
At costco we can get hamburger (80/10) (and not nearly as tasty) for 2.50 a lb, any day of the week


Do I dare ask what the remaining 20% was??


Oh, the fail is strong in this post.


Probably sawdust... heh

I'm going to apply for a little slack based on the TOD.

Posted: Today 3:34:34 AM EDT


Sometimes they use flour as filling. Makes the burger more compact and it stays together better, and its cheaper than meat of course.

FerFAL
Link Posted: 8/4/2009 12:28:16 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/4/2009 12:30:22 PM EST by Fuggit]
I bought a simple electric grinder for $100Grinder You can go even cheaper and get a manual one. Here in TX we get briskets on sale for $.79 a pound. Cubed it up and grind it. You control the fat content. I add a couple slices of bacon to a pound or two for flavor for the hamburgers. After a couple of briskets, I paid for the grinder. If I don't use all the fat in the grinder, I render the rest for the wife to use.
Link Posted: 8/4/2009 1:00:52 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/4/2009 1:06:05 PM EST by ag04blast]
I havent bought any meat since last years hunting season!!!

I will probably be giving some away after this season, I cant eat it fast enough.
Link Posted: 8/4/2009 4:54:14 PM EST
Trying to use up all the wild game that I stored over the last year, mostly deer, tukeys, ducks, fish, and even one alligator. Hamburger helper made with ground venison. Soups, sauces, and chili. Hitting the local farmers markets for veggies. Cutting out most of the eating out. I'm keeping a ledger and I'm tracking where every cent is going this month and I'm already seeing a lot of areas where money can be saved. Do I really need a three dollar Red Bull every day? Crap like that has got to go.
Link Posted: 8/4/2009 6:52:42 PM EST
How do you like that Foodsaver vacume sealer. Im thinking about buying one.
Link Posted: 8/4/2009 7:27:15 PM EST
Originally Posted By Mid-Tenn:
Trying to use up all the wild game that I stored over the last year, mostly deer, tukeys, ducks, fish, and even one alligator. Hamburger helper made with ground venison. Soups, sauces, and chili. Hitting the local farmers markets for veggies. Cutting out most of the eating out. I'm keeping a ledger and I'm tracking where every cent is going this month and I'm already seeing a lot of areas where money can be saved. Do I really need a three dollar Red Bull every day? Crap like that has got to go.



Thats exactly it.. learning again how to live without all the expensive fru fru crap that we dont really need. Growing up in the 80's I was always taught to throw something away once it was dirty and buy/consume/dispose.. now that im older and have a family, its all about less waste. doing more with less. Those that arent doing this are getting their butts kicked in this economy.



m60forever:
got the unit at costco, I think its a v28somehting.. love it! before the vacuum sealer, we could only store limited amounts, now we can store and save whenever the prices are good, or supplies are good.. we love having our own sized portions in the freezer ready to go. cant recommend it enough.
Link Posted: 8/4/2009 7:55:26 PM EST
350lbs of beef from local guy, cut and wrap=$650.00...(beef was 440.00, cut and wrap was 210.00 or so)

That comes out to 1.85 a lb..thats burger (whatever fat content you want, we do 85/15)..steaks(tbones, Rib, flank, round, etc)roasts, stew meat, ribs. Meat tastes better than store bought.....no hormone, no anti-biotics...

Farmers market for veggies/fruit...we also glean during harvest, Onions, Potatoes...harveting wheat now....cost 20 bucks to fill a truck plus full of wheat for chickens etc...
Link Posted: 8/5/2009 7:51:24 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/5/2009 7:52:11 AM EST by Pav56C]
I find that hotdogs are very cheap, however they have high salt content.
Recently my dad was unemployed for over a year so we were practically living on them.
You can make a nice meal with 2 hotdogs, a tortilla wrap, cheese, and what ever else you prefer

Peanutbutter,
Quick Oats in the big tub are great. less than $2 for a couple weeks worth of breakfasts, I like to mix in a spoon of peanut butter for flavor.

And cans of tuna seem to be cheap for the nutrition yielded



Link Posted: 8/5/2009 8:04:49 AM EST
Originally Posted By ferfal308:
Originally Posted By bionicmonkey:
Originally Posted By AR-TRVLR:
Originally Posted By FrankSymptoms:
At costco we can get hamburger (80/10) (and not nearly as tasty) for 2.50 a lb, any day of the week


Do I dare ask what the remaining 20% was??


Oh, the fail is strong in this post.


Probably sawdust... heh

I'm going to apply for a little slack based on the TOD.

Posted: Today 3:34:34 AM EDT


Sometimes they use flour as filling. Makes the burger more compact and it stays together better, and its cheaper than meat of course.

FerFAL



i see. i wasnt aware that you could use flower to boost it up to 110%
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