How to LC when you're not Wealthy?
There was a discussion on another thread that really made me think of this as a great topic for discussion--
I'd love to see folks talk about their strategies for LCrbing it when you're less than well-off-- or even poor! What do you do when you can't afford personal trainers, when food is sky-high, etc, etc, .
What are the thriftiest strategies y'all have come up with?
Is this more about what we value, such as cutting corners somewhere else in favor of healthy foods and activities? With the economy as it is -- is that enough? :stars:
Erica, this is a great post.
My husband just got laid off. His company was doing so poorly they laid off half the company and there weren't even any severance packages for the employees! I thank God I have a decent, secure job, still there's one less income in our family right now.
Any good ideas from budget minded low carbers is very much appreciated.
The first time I tried LC, I was living on my own and while I wasn't *destitute*, I certainly wasn't well off. I couldn't afford specialty products, or organic food, or anything like that. I'm in a 2-income household now, but we're certainly still not well off.
The way I did it the first time was by eating a lot of really cheap yet LC stuff. I ate lots of taco salads, tried to catch sales on stuff like ground beef and chicken, ate lots of tuna salad, bought store brand everything (I still do that). Steak (or nicer cuts of meat) was usually beyond my budget, so I didn't eat much of it. Eggs are not that expensive -- they have gone up recently, but still aren't that expensive. Cheese is always a little high when you don't have a lot of money... it's another thing I'd always buy the store brand of, and try to stock up on it when it's on sale. Be vigilant in reading the sales papers for your local supermarkets. Try to catch meat when it's on "manager's special" -- yeah, it's almost out of date, but it's totally fine if you take it home and freeze it. I used to eat a lot of that Kroger Carbmaster yogurt -- I know that it's not the greatest food choice, but it is cheap, tasty, and low in carbs. ALWAYS eat your leftovers! Waste not, want not. My dinner leftovers are generally my lunches for the week, and sometimes my breakfasts. :)
Girl, LCing on a budget is what i HAVE to do! I was out of work the first two months of this WOL and I'm so behind, i'm still trying to catch up!
I basically shop as simply as possible. Eggs, meat, frozen veggies, and cheese. Thats my basic grocery list. My local krogers often has sales on frozen veggies 10 for $10. So when those sales happen, i load up. I actually by my eggs from walgreens because they are cheaper there. $3 for 2 dozen. (I actually walk to my walgreens to get my exercise in as well). Meat is usually easy, I jus buy whatever's on sale (chicken thighs and ground beef mostly). If i'm really broke, i'll eat mostly eggs and veggies.
I bake casseroles and will eat it everyday or i'll cook up some veggies and bake chicken and put it into tupperware for my meals. Jus grab one and go.
As for personal trainers and gym memberships, I workout at home mostly. My gym membership has expired. My friend works at 24 hour fitness and will get me a good deal for new years. In the meantime, i use dvds at home. I bought about 4 of my dvds at walmart on sale in the $1 bin. So i have a lot of options (although i'm really using my callanetics video now for faster results...which cost more than my other dvds.). But i also choose options like walking to walgreens, walking around the neighborhood. I also bought a treadmill on craigslist from an older woman who sold it for me for 60 bucks. I need to replace the belt, but thats only 80 bucks, so what a great deal I got!
A tip from Home Ec class,
Write out your menus for the week, breakfasts, lunches and dinners and shop accordingly. Make sure you plan out the leftovers too. Nothing should go to waste.
Now if I could just live by my own advice.:rolleyes:
Check out this thread:
We primarily eat organic high omega three eggs for protein, and then soups with chicken and some beef. I do stretch for organic and grass fed beef, but I shop wisely for these, freeze the bargains and we do eat a lot of soups.
I also have the benefit of living fairly close to a Trader Joe's, so I can get almond butter and really nice frozen veges (their frozen carrots in yellow and orange carrots) are as cheap as anyone's just about and are soooo flavorfull (and I dump the sauce!) But I also shop simply for things like carrots, cabbage, and things like that, whatever is a good deal.
I don't use a lot of canned because we have sodium issues here and low sodium can be pricey.
I'm feeding two on less than what I was feeding just me, and I feel that my choices are better. Sam's has really good deals on bulk nuts, coffee, and things like that.
I've always thought it was VERY possible to eat low carb on very little. But I also think your first free bit of money should go to good quality food to keep you out of the doctor's office.
eggs, cottage cheese, yoghurt.. DONE!
Cant afford any extras right now!
I've never had much money and can always manage to eat LC.
Cutting out all the expensive processed food helps as does buying things on sale and shopping places like Save A Lot or other discount grocery stores. Buy in bulk if you have a freezer.
how about lesser known cheap cuts of pork and beef such as pork neckbones, boston butt, country style ribs, beef short ribs, oxtail, and stuff like that? Also, look for chicken quarters on sale. About .39 - .49/lb for 10lbs on the chicken leg quarters.
Also people always say "eggs" are cheap but are they? I eat 3 eggs to make a meal. I now pay about $2.25/doz for free range eggs. That's about .19 cents per egg or $0.57 per meal for my "protein" portion.
But I can get Boston Butt and make pulled pork for .99 - 1.29/lb on sale sometimes and that's only .08 cents per ounce. So for the same 3oz serving of protein, I've only paid $0.24 per meal for an equivalent amount of protein!!!!! So it makes me laugh sometimes when people say stuff like this cuz it means they haven't done the math.
I also know how people are struggling but saying you can't afford to lc is a cop out. Sorry but my feelings, unless your meat prices are drastically different than mine (some exceptions might be the uk, canada, europe and nyc). But seriously, if I concentrate, I can make meals for under $2.00 per meal - closer to $1.00 - $1.50. I have and do feed us often for around $3.00/day per person when necessary.
It does take planning. And that includes only necessities like cheap meat, oil or fat for sauteeing and veggies from the farm stand (cheaper than grocery stores). It doesn't include any protein drinks, products, fancy things, etc.
We all can do it with a little ingenuity!!!!
I searched for it but did not remember the name correctly so came up empty.
Glad you are amused, and also very glad that you are able to eat well, but I also have a committment to myself and my family to eat very high quality protein. Once it became clear that we essentially created mad cow disease by feeding cows cow meat, then I became very wary of a lot of meat 'bargains'. Now, I do think that eating the very cuts you discuss from very safe sources is a good idea. But I try to not get sucked into eating questionable meats, so the eggs are very much so a good bargain.
So, yes, there are a lot of deals out there that many folks don't see, but don't assume that any of us haven't done the math. I have and we are doing pretty well using eggs. I usually post like I did earlier in the thread just because I see people push what I consider to be less healthy alternatives and call them frugal. But you have to balance the cost of food and the cost of health to have a complete equation.
Here's another thing-- food costs have gone Waaaaaaay up, in the last couple of months!
A couple of approaches I've been thinking about; once a month cooking-- (in order to capitalize on good bargains, particularly with ground meats, or chix.
This is an article I found a couple of years ago on Low Carb Luxury. It's more about saving time-- but I thought it was a good way to save money, too.
Time Saver Cooking
If you're willing to spend a few hours in the kitchen, you can have 54 servings of tasty, low carb food stashed in the freezer, just minutes away from being ready to serve. We've provided a shopping list, an equipment list, and recipes with carb counts and serving tips. You make the time investment now...and you'll be enjoying quick, delicious meals for weeks to come.
8 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 pounds onions
1 bunch celery
4 large red bell peppers
2 pounds zucchini
1 jar minced or finely chopped garlic
4 cans (28 oz each) crushed tomatoes in puree (no sugar added, check ingredients)
2 8 oz cans no sugar added tomato sauce
3 cans Eden black soy beans
64 ounces chicken broth
3 cups of your favorite low carb brown gravy
1 package La Tortilla Factory low carb whole wheat tortillas
1 tablespoon granulated Splenda
Beef bullion granules
1 bag (16 oz) frozen cut leaf spinach
10 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
2 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Large pots (8 quart or larger)
2 or 3 large bowls
Colander or strainer
Two 8 inch round baking dishes
Two 11x 7 inch baking pans or heavy duty foil pans
Measuring spoons and cups
Heavy duty zip top food storage bags
Begin by chopping and cooking the Savory Low Carb Vegetables. These vegetables will be used to add flavor to each of the recipes.
Clean and chop 2 pounds onions (about 6 cups), 1 bunch of celery (about 6 cups), 4 red bell peppers (about 3 cups). Clean and slice 2 pounds (about 7 cups) zucchini. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in 8 qt. pot. Add vegetables and cook over medium high heat about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir occasionally until vegetables are almost tender. Transfer to large bowl.
Prepare Basic Low Carb Meat Sauce.
The meat sauce recipe will make about 22 cups of sauce, which will be divided and used three different ways.
Basic Low Carb Meat Sauce
* 3 pounds ground beef
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 6 cups Savory Low Carb Vegetables
* Four 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes in puree
* Two 8 oz cans tomato sauce
* 2 teaspoons salt
Basic Low Carb Meat Sauce Put ground beef and garlic in large (8 qt) pot. Cook 7 to 10 minutes over medium high heat, stirring often to break up large lumps. When beef is no longer pink, add vegetables, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes to allow flavors to develop.
Remove 7 cups of sauce to be used as meat sauce for low carb pasta, pizza, etc. Pour into zip top freezer bags or freezer containers in individual portions, or whatever portions meet your family's needs and freeze for up to 4 months. Or the sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days in airtight containers. Each 1 cup serving will have 11 g carbohydrate, 4g dietary fiber.
Remove 8 cups of sauce to be used for the Low Carb Picadillo Casseroles, place in large bowl and reserve for later use.
The 7 cups of sauce that remain in the pot will be used to make Zesty Low Carb Chili.
Zesty Low Carb Chili
Delicious on its own, this chili can also be served over hot dogs and hamburgers with a little shredded Cheddar cheese.
Zesty Low Carb Chili
* 7 cups Basic Low Carb Meat Sauce
* 3 cans Eden Black Soy Beans
* 2 tablespoons chili powder (more or less to taste)
Drain black soy beans in colander and rinse. Stir beans into 7 cups Basic Low Carb Meat Sauce, still simmering in large pot. Stir in chili powder.
Cool chili and pack into freezer containers for up to 4 months. Or refrigerate in airtight containers for up to 5 days.
To prepare, reheat in covered saucepan or microwave safe dish. Top with shredded Cheddar cheese and/or sour cream and chopped onion.
This recipe makes about 7 servings. Each serving (not including garnish) will have 22 g carbohydrate, 13g dietary fiber.
Low Carb Picadillo Casseroles
Don't let the unusual seasonings fool you, these sweet, slightly spicy casseroles will quickly become a family favorite. Serve with a tossed salad on the side. Perfect!
Low Carb Picadillo Casseroles
* 8 cups Basic Low Carb Meat Sauce
* 1 tablespoon granulated Splenda
* 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
* 2 teaspoons chili powder
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 10 La Tortilla Factory low carb
whole wheat tortillas
* 10 oz shredded Cheddar cheese
Lightly grease two 8" round shallow baking dishes with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, mix 8 cups Basic Low Carb Meat Sauce, Splenda, red wine vinegar, chili powder and ground cinnamon. Spread 2/3 cup sauce in bottom of each baking dish. Cover each with a tortilla, spread each tortilla with 2/3 cup sauce and sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese. Top with another tortilla, 2/3 cup sauce and 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat these layers three more times, ending with a layer of cheese.
Cover each casserole with heavy duty foil, then slide into large zip top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 4 months. To reheat, remove from freezer bag and bake frozen casserole in 350 degree oven for 1 hour, 45 minutes.
If you choose not to freeze the casserole, it will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 375 degrees, or until bubbly.
This recipe makes 2 casseroles, 6 servings each. Each serving will have 19g carbohydrate, 10 g dietary fiber.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare the Low Carb Salisbury Steaks with Vegetable Gravy.
Low Carb Salisbury Steaks with Vegetable Gravy
Serve with a helping of your favorite mashed fauxtato recipe and some saut�ed green peppers and you've got a low carb Blue Plate Special! Delicious!
Low Carb Salisbury Steaks with Vegetable Gravy
* 4 pounds ground beef
* 2 cups finely crushed pork rinds
* 2 tablespoons beef bullion granules
* 2 large eggs
* 1/2 cup water
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 2 cups Savory Low Carb Vegetables (divided)
* 3 cups of your favorite low carb brown gravy
In a large bowl, put ground beef, crushed pork rinds, bullion granules, eggs, water, minced garlic and 1/2 cup Savory Low Carb Vegetables and mix until blended. Pack mixture into two ungreased 11 x 7 inch baking pans. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until firm to the touch and no longer pink in center. Cool.
Meanwhile in a medium saucepan, mix remaining Savory Low Carb Vegetables with about 3 cups of your favorite low carb brown gravy (the brand I used had 3g of carbohydrate per 1/4 cup serving) thinned slightly with some additional water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes for flavors to blend. Cool, then pour into two freezer containers.
Wrap the uncut Low Carb Salisbury Steak (in pans) with plastic wrap, then heavy duty foil and freeze. To prepare, unwrap, cover with foil and reheat at 350 for 35 to 45 minutes until heated through.
Or the pans can be refrigerated, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for up to 3 days. To prepare, reheat, covered, 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
Cut into 8 portions before serving and top with vegetable gravy. This recipe makes 2 pans, 8 servings each. Each serving (without gravy) will have only a trace of carbohydrate and trace amounts of dietary fiber.
While the Low Carb Salisbury Steaks are baking, you can being preparing the Low Carb Vegetable Soup with Meatballs.
Low Carb Vegetable Soup with Meatballs
Excellent for a quick lunch or a light dinner. The low carb count makes it an excellent choice for those still on Induction!
Low Carb Vegetable Soup with Meatballs
* 8 cups chicken broth
* 8 cups water
* 16 ounce bag frozen cut-leaf spinach
* 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
* 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
* 1 teaspoon minced garlic
* 3 cups Savory Low Carb Vegetables
Bring 8 cups chicken broth and 8 cups water to a boil in a 6 qt (or larger) pot. Add 16 ounce bag of frozen cut-leaf spinach. Simmer 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in large bowl, mix the ground beef, Parmesan cheese and minced garlic until blended. Form rounded teaspoonfuls of meat mixture into tiny meatballs and stir into soup. Simmer 5 to 7 minutes or until meat is no longer pink in center. Stir in Savory Low Carb Vegetables and heat through.
Cool soup, pack into freezer containers or zip top freezer bags and freeze for up to 4 months. Or refrigerate in airtight containers for up to 4 days. To prepare, reheat in a covered saucepan over medium heat or heat in a microwave safe bowl.
This recipe makes 12 servings. Each serving will have 2 g of carbohydrate and 1g of dietary fiber.
Then I was thinking about food preservation...
Food savers, dehydration, and then also making as much stuff from scratch as possible-- including things like bake mix.
I hear SPAM sales are on the rise!
Eggs and yogurt would be my staples too.
Doesn't Safeway have buy one get one free specials on their 18 packs still?
Safeway has had some outrageous prices this last month! But I'm in Seattle.
Is Spam okay to eat?
But MAN, I LOVE fried Spam.... so I do indulge occasionally... and everyone thinks I'm a weirdo because I seriously, seriously love to eat Spam.
I'd also like to know is there any way to can and preserve meat (so you know what's in it?)
Yes, I do this. We get local venison and we either freeze it or can it. To can it, we cut it into cubes or grind it into ground meat. We use a pressure canner to can our meats and they are shelf-stable for up to 2 years.
You can google canning meats and get a lot of info, but this is a very frugal, healthy, old-fashioned was to preserve meats.
Before I switched over to grass-fed, I was the queen of "manager's special" meats at the QFC on Pike & Broadway, & the Safeway up on 15th. The QFC was on my way home from work; I stopped in most days. And if I saw meat for a good deal, I bought all of it on the spot and took it home and cooked or froze it. My target price was usually $1 per pound for chicken, under $3 for beef or pork. At Safeway, the real deals are often in the family packs, which I'd break down into Melissa-sized portions and freeze.
Bacon "ends and pieces" cuts is a nice cheap flavoring for vegetables :)
For vegetables, I stick to high-nutrition, low-cost ones like cabbage, turnips, greens, broccoli & cauliflower when they're cheap, etc. Frozen veg is often cheaper in the winter - I stick to whatever is priced lowest per lb. Currently, I'm using the Full Circle Farms CSA service & getting a box of veg every other week for $30 a box. I've used them before and liked them, but this last delivery had some quality issues. I'm giving them one more try this week, but if it's not good, forget it! I'll go back to Madison Market.
(I live on Capitol Hill, too., if you haven't already guessed :))
Speaking of canned meat...I also love the canned corned beef. Of course, like Spam it's not the best overall choice but sometimes I like to have some. It's yummy mixed with scrambled eggs, green chiles and cheese. I see it at the dollar stores all the time though I haven't had it in ages!
I do think low carbing can get a little expensive but I also have to throw out there that I am not spending money on a bunch of junk, either! It looks like most of the good points are up but I always make sure I make a few cassaroles on Sunday so I have lunch for my 5 days and dinner once or twice if we are busy one night.
$0.19/oz x 16 (ounces to the pound) = $3.04/lb of meat
I don't know where you live but I can buy all SORTS of nutritious beef cuts for under $3.04/lb especially shopping sales. And mad cow?????? What mad cow!?! If you don't want to eat any type of bone don't eat oxtails (unless from grassfed, which by the way are less than $3.00/lb from my meat guy grassfed). But you can eat all day on ground meat for under $3.00/lb. So again, your argument does not hold water. And since when are such "bargain meats" as pork butt, country style ribs (from pork butt), neck bones (pork = not associated with mad cow disease), short ribs, etc considered unhealthy or questionable?????????????????????????????????????? ????????????????????? Cube steaks are under $3.04/lb here. Top round is under $3.04/lb, Chuck Roast under $3.04/lb here...dayum.
I'm up on 17th and Howell, just down the street from Trader Joe's. I'm on my way to work-- I'm on Pike and Boylston, so I hear you about QFC and Safeway. I'm seriously thinking of trying to put together a Capitol Hill buying club for Thundering Hooves-- so folks wouldn't have to buy in such huge quantities... and could maybe get a better price break. Feel free to PM me, if you want to...:)
Mad Market-- well, the first time I saw some Turnip greens for 6.99 a pound :stars:, I almost fainted , right in the store. Yikes!
I'm going to give this a try.
Soups .. I make alot of soup and it always goes for several meals.
LC Clam Chowder
Turkey soup (made with 2 turkey thighs), celery, carrots, onions, and 2 cups of dreamfields elbows)
Linda's Southwestern Taco Soup
All winners in our house !
For a while I only bought split chicken breast or bone in thighs. at home I'd cut the meat off and use that for dinner and boil up the bones for broth to make soups. water is free. and If I got wings, since no one really likes eating the tips, I cut those off and stash them in the freezer to make broth also.
I bought the re-worked veggies, since it was cheaper per pound usually, and i used it the same or the next few days.
I kept a price journal also. I found it a few days ago, and It was crazy. I had the four different stores that I often frequent and the most common foods I buy, all in columns and rows. I had the prices per pound and weights (for packages) and when the last sale was. I tried to not buy something from a store if it were regularly lower priced at another. I just waited till I was in that store to get it.
I planned my driving route to go past the stores without wasting a trip. For example, my bank is in Piggly Wiggly, so I made my bank runs on the same day the store has 5% off. Drop off the recycling on the way and a right turn takes me by the Food Lion and Dollar general (for discount items), and the Kroger for anything else.
Big Lots is my friend.
Making my own yogurt saved a lot of money. and using my food dehydrator was great. I dehydrated everything from squash to brocolli, and used them in btothy soups when I didn't feel like cooking or shopping.
I need to get back to that way of living. I've become spoiled lately, with convenience. but I've found that sometimes convenience costs more but helps me waste less. Example Bag Lettuce and spinach. I HATE CLEANING SPINACH. Even the freshesh it seems so many leaves are mush and wilted so that I throw a lot a way and get frustrated. I buy the bag and use the whole thing. Less time, less waste for me. and less cleanup.
I also tend to hoard, which is not a thing to be proud of. but when mackeral went on sale for 60 cents a can . . . well the top of my fridge is half covered with canned mackeral :laugh: *(which is great considering the current price for half as much tuna these days is twice that now)
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