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I would have rec'd Astro's post twice if I could have. Those are all excellent points.

COSTCO I use for certain things only: buying replacement checks, tires, certain things in bulk but it's SO EASY to rack up huge bills on things that seem wonderful (I'm talking about YOU, chocolate covered mangos!) but really break the budget.

A few things that can help, beyond the previous post, are to have a small garden---even a pot or two---for the things that you use a lot, like herbs or lettuce. Many cities now allow a chicken or three; eggs are cheap protein, and if you feed your hens leftovers, veggie peelings, etc, the cost of feed is minimal. Plus, fresh eggs from hens that eat bugs and grass are wonderful!

Learning to have a leftover sequence is helpful: whole roast chicken becomes chicken salad, enchiladas, pot pie, etc. Same for a pork roast or roast beef. The most expensive food is food that is wasted. We do eat meat, usually the first meal features that prominently, but the next ones are meat as seasoning: diced pork in fried rice; shredded chicken in a quiche, etc. That way a little bit of leftovers can still feed a family. If you don't know how to cook, there are lots of resources online; there is even a cooking board here at the fool.

I buy mostly generic, although over time I have found a few things that are worth the brand name. Most chefs apparently buy generic. I buy loss leaders and create my menu based on what's on sale. I do the quick online survey weekly which takes no time and adds fuel points; by the end of the month, I often save .60 a gallon at the pump. I use my military discount where I can, like Lowe's, etc. although we are now diverting from grocery spending.

I track my expenses and know that I could easily knock several hundred off a monthly bill if I were willing to forgo ice cream, booze, and chocolate.
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