Post # 1
Being a new wife, I had this “great” idea to start cooking and I started my plan on July 1st. To put it quite frankly we can’t afford it anymore!!!
We used to eat out a lot or stick to the frozen dinners. Nothing fancy but we’d order in, pick something up, or go to a restaurant every week sometimes multiple times. We’d usually have leftovers that I’d eat the next day for lunch AND dinner. I’m a little shocked to find that my bank account seems to be dwindling thanks to my frequent trips to the grocery store. By no means am I buying the pricey stuff, I’m trying to bargin shop and plan meals that will use similar ingrediants but today standing in the meat section I started getting annoyed.
A package of chicken cost $8.45. Obviously we won’t just eat the chicken so once I added carrots and brown rice to the menu I was up to $11.00. Now I realize that doesn’t seem like a lot for 2 people but when I can get a chicken sandwhich (which I will only eat half of, saving the rest for my lunch the next day) with a side of fruit on my way home for 5 bucks and some change it kind of seems stupid to cook!!!
Am I missing something here? It seems to me like we can eat better and cheaper by NOT cooking at home! What am I doing wrong here?!
Post # 3
That $8 thing of chicken probably has like 4 breasts in it.
get a pack of buns for like $2.
there are your chicken sandwiches. Only it wil be for 4 days and a lot cheaper.
Add a box of pasta for a $1, cut up the chicken, can of rotel tomatoes for $1 and a box of frozen chopped spinach for $1. (you can also put in other veggies or more tomatoes if you want to up the $$)
$11, then freeze for another meal another week so you don’t have to buy at the grocery again. It should serve 8 and if you are only 2, that is 4 days of super or 2 days of lunch and dinner.
its cheaper and healtier.
Post # 3
There is something missing here
Say a lb of chicken is 3.99 so your 8.45 is more than two lbs of chicken, which should be 2 meals worth. You rice is 1.99 a bag, but that is enough rice for waaayyy more than one meal. so really thatg meal should cost you no more then $5 dollars. If you are buying a chicken sandwich for $5 you arent getting vegetables, its not as healthy and its not as much food as you could make
(and I can find chicken on sale for less than $2/ lb a lot!)
Also, where you shop makes a difference. Prices vary among different chains. If something is on sale buy extra and freeze.
Also, if something is more expensive to make vs buy (IE dollar menu) you have to put a value on your health. Most fast food places (where a sandwich is cheap) is not going to be healthy.
Post # 4
You have to watch the weekly ads. Stock up on things when they are on sale and throw them in the freezer. Plan out your meals so you are not running to the store every other day, that’s how you run into huge grocery bills.
ie Yes, boneless skinless chicken breast is VERY expensive. But when they go on sale for $1.99/lb we stock up. Every now and then they go on sale for $1.89 then we REALLY stock up.
It’s also knowing your grocery stores. There’s Grocery Store B that we buy all our produce from. We’ll spend $25 and leave with 5 bags of vegetables, produce, fruits. Grocery Store W is more organic stuff but we typically buy ground beef and paper towels and select items from them.
We buy lots of staples in bulk from BJs and save a ton by stacking coupons.
It’s never cheaper for us to eat out than to cook at home. I can usually make a meal for us for around $10 and that’s a big dinner (we both have big appetites!) for both us and lunch the next day. So 4 meals.
P.S. We never eat fast food. Seriously. I think it’s been 5 years since we’ve had fast food.
We might spend X dollars but a lot of it goes back into the pantry for another night.
Post # 5
It’s definitely cheaper for us to eat out… so we do, very often. Dollar menus rock!
Post # 6
sometimes here there is a store where the meat is sometimes buy one get one you have to look in ads like the pp said
Post # 7
I find the opposite – we always spend more when eating out.
I’d guess our homecooked meals usually come out to about $10 or so, give our take what exactly we’re eating. If we’re having steak, it might be more. But if it is a pasta night, it is less. And most meals we have leftovers for lunch the next day. If we were to go out to dinner, We’d probably spend at least $15-20 for the both of us.
How much chicken do you get for $8? That has to be AT LEAST two dinners worth. Use enough for the dinner then freeze the rest for next time. Meals like pasta are very cheap, have one of those once a week.
And the suggestions about splitting your shopping at different stores is great too. I prefer to get our produce and meats from a local grocery store. However, the dry goods are always cheaper at Walmart.
One thing to note is that it usually takes more money upfront when you first start cooking a lot. Recipes may call for different herbs/sauces/whatever that you need to get. But once you have those in your kitchen you probably won’t have to get them for a while.
Post # 8
Okay I am not a bargain shopper, and hate cooking at home. But for Fiance and I to eat healthy when we go out, we end up spending over $15 at Baja Fresh. We try to only do that twice a week.
What I’ve been doing, is stocking up on frozen foods at Trader Joes. Seriously, it’s heaven in a plastic bag.
I will stock up on their ‘Beans so green’ and their roasted red potatoes, pastas and their fish & chicken. I spend maybe $40 a week on this stuff. I split a bag of the potatoes/veggies, grill up 2 chicken breasts, and we’re good for dinner.
i don’t know if you have a TJs near you, but it saves our budget.
Post # 9
@MrsPinkPeony: What type of chicken are you buying? Don’t even both with boneless, the stores charge so much more for boneless.
For example, I went grocery shopping yesterday. Instead of buying 2 bonless chicken breasts for $6 and change, I bought 4 bone-in breats for about $4. I just de-bone them myself when I get home. It’s really not hard at all, I can do it in just 2 cuts now.
It’s little things like that that really make a difference.
Post # 10
I think its possible to eat cheaper at home… but honestly we wouldn’t really like what I was making. A lot of what I make WOULD be cheaper to just order out… which is why I haven’t remade certain recipes. Like trying to make lettuce wraps? There are like 10 ingredients that I never use otherwise and what we could get for $8 at pei wei costs $20 to make.
But other things… even though its maybe cheaper to eat out we still make at home because it is healthier. Like homemade pizza. Yes I can make homemade crust– but we don’t like it. Store bought crust is 4.50. I get a .75lb package of chicken for about $4 (its 5.50/lb here). Then I need an onion– maybe 1.50. Some sauce, another 2.50. Cheese? Another 2.75. Peppers? Another 2.50. So all said and done I’ve spent about $20 on what would be a medium pizza if we ordered in… maybe $10. But its healthier… so we do it anyways.
I agree with you though— it can be really frustrating how much everything costs!
Post # 11
The other item is you are just starting to cook, which means it takes time to accumulate ingredients that you wont have to buy later.
So if you are making a lot of stuff for the first time, you will have to buy it all this month, but next month you wont have to buy it all at the same time- making your trips and meals cheaper.
I dont buy rice, spices, eggs, pasta, canned beans, etc etc everytime I go. Most of my trips are meat and veggie shopping trips.
Post # 12
Um yeah – 1 lb of chicken in NYC costs around $8 unless you buy the scary clear looking no-name brand. And fresh produce – forget about it. It can also be way cheaper here to order food than to cook, but I feel like cooking itself is so theraputic and I like the idea of KNOWING what I’m putting into my body (not comparing to fine dining, just like a deli sandwhich or takeout or something) so I prefer to spend more and cook. But I’m definitely in the minority, this is a take-out eat-out city for sure.
Post # 13
I’m thinking you’re cooking too much??? A package of chicken can last Darling Husband and I all week. Even if I cook it all in one night, we’ll eat the leftovers the next day. Either way, 2lbs of chicken (what it sounds like you got for the price you paid) should last you way more than one meal!
Post # 14
ie Like CorgiTales lettuce wraps. That to me is THE cheapest meal for us because we have all those staples already. It’s practically free lunch when I make spring rolls because a packet of like 30 rice paper is a $1 that we always have stocked. Then I usually take leftover meat from dinner the night before to make spring rolls. Rotisserie chicken is great for that.
Chinatown = cheap!
I love cooking too so I prefer cooking than paying for crappy food outside.
Post # 15
Red beans and rice is SUPER cheap and SUPER good, but it is a regional thing. it makes SO much you could have it for weeks