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A place for Get Rich Slowly readers to ask questions
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It is currently Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:23 pm




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 Post subject: Little things I'm doing to save money on food
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:44 am 

Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:21 am
Posts: 95
Location: New York
This too is an offshoot of my fiscal fitness journal here, and of my blog linked to in my signature, but it's also a neat external discussion.

Here's what I've done this year to save money on food:

Limiting myself to eating out for dinner to five times per month. I check out the menu online beforehand and bring the exact amount of cash as I'll need for the meal, tax, and 18% tip, so that I'm not tempted to order more, and to keep from getting shortchanged when splitting a group bill.

For breakfast, I've started buying in bulk on Amazon through their Subscribe 'n' Save specials on Amazon for cereal and almond milk.

For lunch on work days, I take advantage of the employee discount in our cafeteria and cap myself to $5 a day. The food is effectively all-you-can-eat (not literally a buffet, but I'm stuffed afterward), so this isn't as bad as it could be (I hope :) Let me hear your thoughts)

For meals made at home, I:
(1) Eat tofu and garbanzo beans instead of meat
(2) Buy vegetables and fruit more frequently
(3) Gave up on Trader Joe's
(4) Quit dairy

Any other suggestions?

_________________
http://debtblag.com

Track my fiscal fitness with $0.5 million in debt: http://getrichslowly.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=61052 Latest update: As of April 16, I've paid off $21,400 in credit card debt this year (after starting with $35k)


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 Post subject: Re: Little things I'm doing to save money on food
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:56 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:05 pm
Posts: 1321
We eat out maybe twice a month, which saves a lot. When eating out, we will sometimes have a glass of wine, but never a bottle, in order to avoid the typical 300% markup. We also almost never eat dessert when eating out; restaurants make a lot of money on their desserts. Instead we'll have dessert at home after the meal, if we even feel like having dessert.

For breakfast, I stopped eating prepared cereals about 10 years ago; I make our own bread, which I have with a little almond butter and jam. The bread is just wheat flour (about 1/3 whole wheat), yeast, salt, and water -- no sugar or anything else, and it takes about 7 minutes of effort to make using the no-knead technique. It probably costs me $1 per loaf including the energy to heat the oven, and a loaf lasts us 3 days.

Even with that, we still spend a lot of money on food, but that's because I mostly buy organic and refuse to buy factory-farmed meat, chicken, or eggs. We don't eat much meat...red meat maybe 5-6 times per year, chicken once or twice a month, fish once a week.


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 Post subject: Re: Little things I'm doing to save money on food
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:02 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:21 am
Posts: 95
Location: New York
Very nice. When I've saved up a bit, I'd love to get a bread-maker.

Also, I've started making my own milk. Am always on the hunt for ways to make more foods.

_________________
http://debtblag.com

Track my fiscal fitness with $0.5 million in debt: http://getrichslowly.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=61052 Latest update: As of April 16, I've paid off $21,400 in credit card debt this year (after starting with $35k)


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 Post subject: Re: Little things I'm doing to save money on food
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:13 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:05 pm
Posts: 1321
Mario wrote:
Very nice. When I've saved up a bit, I'd love to get a bread-maker.


Actually no bread maker needed; in fact this bread is much better than anything you'd get from a bread-maker, because you can't get a real artisanal-style crust in a bread baker. For that you need a very hot oven (450-500 Fahrenheit), a wet dough, and a cast-iron lidded pot.

In case you're interested, here are the instructions:

This is a sort of hybrid of the no-knead approach by Jim Lahey (popularized by Mark Bittman of the NY Times) and another no-knead recipe by Jeff Hertzberg. It takes about six minutes of total effort and the results are superior to anything I've eaten from a bread machine.

The secret is the gooey dough; if you're an experienced breadmaker you will want to stiffen it with more flour. That's a big mistake. The water evaporates inside the lidded cast-iron pot as the bread cooks at high temperature, giving it a perfect, shattering crust.

Makes two loaves; I usually make one and put the other half of the dough in the fridge until I'm ready to make the next loaf. It'll keep well for 3-4 days.

Note that oven temps are in Fahrenheit.

6.5 cups of flour (I usually use 2.5 cups whole wheat bread flour, 4 cups hard red-wheat bread flour).
1.5 tablespoons instant yeast
1.5 tablespoons salt
3 cups cool water

Mix the flour, yeast, and salt together well in a big bowl or pot, then pour in the 3 cups of lukewarm water and stir until there aren't any dry spots. The dough will be sticky. Cover the bowl or pot but not airtight (ie, don't cover it with plastic wrap) and let it sit for 2 hours or as long as 5 hours.

Divide the dough in half (pull it apart with your hands, it will be wet and sticky), and keep half in the refrigerator for your next loaf of bread -- it will keep for 3-4 days.

Sprinkle some flour on the half you're using now and shape it into a ball. Resist the urge to knead: it'll destroy this bread. Sprinkle flour on a table, put the dough ball on it and cover with a towel, let it sit to rise for about 30 minutes.

About 15 minutes into the rise, put a cast-iron pot with a lid into the oven and turn the heat to 450-475 Fahrenheit. (Note: if you're using a Le Creuset pot or something similar with a bakelite handle on the lid, remove the handle as it will melt at that temperature. If you remove the handle, keep the screw in the hole so the cover is airtight).

When the 30 minutes are up, take the pot and its lid out of the oven and put the dough into the pot.

Put the lid on the pot and put the pot back in the oven for 30 minutes with the lid on, still at 450.

After 30 minutes, take off the lid and let it bake another 20 minutes with the lid off, this gives it a beautiful dark brown color. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

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 Post subject: Re: Little things I'm doing to save money on food
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:52 am 

Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:21 am
Posts: 95
Location: New York
Great! Will give that a try this weekend. Thanks!

_________________
http://debtblag.com

Track my fiscal fitness with $0.5 million in debt: http://getrichslowly.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=61052 Latest update: As of April 16, I've paid off $21,400 in credit card debt this year (after starting with $35k)


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