Food shopping

By jangel407 Latest Reply 2012-02-18 00:26:05 -0600
Started 2012-02-06 08:10:23 -0600

What can you do when your family only consists of you and your spouse and you can't afford to buy a lot of fresh food items for the week. My husband and I lost our home about 4 years ago and had to file bankruptcy and we are still trying to crawl out from under the fallout. Because my husband is the only one able to work (I'm perm. disabled from a work related injury 32 yrs. ago this year)and because our combined incomes is higher than the amounts allowed we don't have much for food every week. We also can't afford many of our diabetic supplies or meds because of the prescription plan his job offers and once again our yearly income prevents us from getting much help there too. We are blessed that our family doctor tries to help when he has medications from pharmaceutical reps. but sometimes that doesn't happen either. I have gone to all of the websites for our medications but the companies also go along with the income levels and have been refused by each of them for help and so most months I have to play "Russian Roulette" with both our meals and meds. We don't qualify for anything in the way of assistance so when it comes to food shopping every week I try to buy fresh but most of the time I end up buying microwave meals for eating a majority of the time during the day. I am just so depressed that I can't provide healthier meals for my husband and me so I'm coming here to see if anyone has any suggestions. Life shouldn't be this difficult when trying to stay healthy. Thanks for any suggestins

17 replies

Armourer 2012-02-09 20:20:51 -0600 Report

You are not alone. I too have this same problem, the only way I have found a make do is to go generic meds as much as possible, stop the meds that are only "feel good." I only have $50 a month for my food budget. I cook seperately then my wife, for she hates what I eat, and much of what she eats I can't have. So most days it is only one meal a day. I cut out all eating out, going to movies or getting DVDs. When I go somewhere it is multiple stops so as not to waist gas on unneeded extra trips. Good luck.

jangel407 2012-02-10 15:53:31 -0600 Report

Wow. I know where you are coming from. I too might only eat 1 meal a day but with Type 2 we can't afford to miss a meal. I have found that out the hard way so I make sure I have maybe a light yogurt for breakfast and also sometimes for lunch because they are about the cheapest items I can get or I might get a box of low sugar or sugar free protein type bars. You must be pretty creative when cooking a meal. I do use generic whenever I can for both of us but I can't afford to miss any of my supplements because of my gastric bypass. Thanks to everyone who have sent me suggestions. I appreciate each and every one of them. Have a Blessed weekend in case I don't get on again until Monday.

pixsidust 2012-02-07 23:47:21 -0600 Report

Your local food pantries will still help you
You do not have to qualify
Call around to find one that has refrigerated food
Then you will get some fresh food along with the canned goods
Tell them you are diabetic.
Mine gives me sugar free pies and fiber one bars
I get fresh bagged salads, fruit and sometimes eggs
Reach out, there is still help and there is a way

jangel407 2012-02-08 10:18:55 -0600 Report

Thank you very much. I will search my area. I know the Angel Food Network no longer exists and that would have been perfect for us but God has his reasons for me to search out whatever I am seeking so that I will continue to do. God Bless.

pixsidust 2012-02-18 00:26:05 -0600 Report

Angel food sold food. Food pantries give it for free.
I worked at ours Wednesday.

People all got a bagged salad, fresh cauliflower, carrots, tomato and radishes.
They also got fresh apples and peaches
canned green beans, carrots and corn
eggs, cream cheese and half gallon of milk
They gave shredded wheat, sugar free pies and whole grain bread.
They also got hotdogs, deli sandwiches,
and frozen food bar cooked veggies and dinners.

Thats why I say to look for one that gives out refrigerated items
Its once a month pick up usually but we load the carts full for FREE

red flower lady
red flower lady 2012-02-07 20:36:39 -0600 Report

I used to work for a large grocery store and the store manager would help families out, he did this privately. I would set up a meeting with one and explain your situation. Our store also donated all the foods that would be going out of date soon. Since the stores usually work with schools and churches, the manager may can guide you there as well.

jangel407 2012-02-08 10:19:36 -0600 Report

Thank you for your response too. I will search to see what is available in my area. Have a Blessed week.

jangel407 2012-02-07 10:22:56 -0600 Report

Thanks everyone. The tips were helpful. I do usually plant a few veggies each year and this year I am thinking of doing another square foot garden like I did many many years ago. Some things just grow in my yard so I will be going to a flea market near me which usually opens in April to scout out the produce vendors. I will keep you all posted on how everything works out. It's great to have a group of people who are in similar situations that I can bounce questions off of. Have a Blessed week all!!

GabbyPA 2012-02-06 15:39:05 -0600 Report

Your story is just like mine and it is so frustrating. I feel your pain in that. We had started going to the local church food banks. The ones I used had fresh fruits and veggies as well as simple meat, not the processed box stuff. That was about $62 for a two week supply of basics. It helped a lot. Unfortunately they closed, but there is a comparable one that is called Angel Food Ministries.

Ooops! Well, they too have closed down. Oh my! Well, I would say to investigate your local area for food banks from churches or other organizations and find out how they work. That really pulled us through some tough times.

Yesterday I got another blow of the financial kind and was up all night. I know how hard it can be. Like Nick was saying, the farmers market is a good route to go. Specially if you go at the end of the weekend or the day. They will almost give their products away. Make friends with a few vendors and they will help as well. I always get something free in my bag from a vendor that I use all the time. I never asked, they just appreciate my business.

What we finally started to do to take more control is to grow our own veggies. It helps a lot. Gives me something to focus on and enjoy. The thrill of seeing a little seed grow into a beautiful plant that feeds the bees and produces fruits for the family is very gratifying. You can start small with just a couple of potted tomatoes, lettuce or pepper plants. You will have enough from that to set aside for future use or barter for other things.

If you can avoid the purchase of the cheap junk foods and stick to better choices, you will make it.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-02-06 13:34:15 -0600 Report

Jan welcome to DC you have joined a wonderful family.

I am currently unemployed and my sisters salary cannot support both of us and out pet. I am able to get assistance for food and energy. Here are some tips that I use.

If you are able to garden you can do this in pots. My sister is a Master Gardener and a friend of ours does gardening in pots in her yard. You can do this if you are in an apartment with a balcony also. Seeds are cheap. We grew peppers, tomatoes, strawberries and lima beans in the yard in pots. My sister has a plot in our community garden and grows veggies there also. You can also grow herbs in pots. Find out if your community or if there is a community garden in your area. Go to the farmers they may give away veggies they don't want and take them a tool or seeds. They can always use them. Veggies are cheaper in season.

Go to farmers markets and buy veggies in bulk. You can cook and freeze them. Try going to farms in your area. Farmers may give you or sell you veggies at a lower rate because you are buying from them.

Cut Coupons and join coupon sites on the net. I joined Coupon Suzy and one other site.

Go to local bakeries for day old bread. We have a bakery here that has it's own store and they sell loaves of bread in bulk. I buy sourdough bread and rolls and freeze them.

I don't know what area you are in but we no longer have a Weis food market near us. If there is a Shoppers or Safeway near you, they offer items at 10 for $10.00 which is great for stocking up on canned goods or frozen food items.

If you drink milk, save a container and buy a gallon and freeze half. Make large pots of soups, chili and spaghetti and freeze them in serving size containers for one or two meals. You can also buy bulk Ground Beef, Chicken or Turkey and make hamburger patties and meat loafs and freeze them also. I also buy butter and freeze it when it is on sale. I don't use a lot of it but it goes a long way. If you see turkey on sale have them cut it in half and freeze it. Whole chickens are cheaper that cut up. You can cut it up yourself or you can cut it in half and freeze it. The key to freezing is to make sure you know the shelf life of the meats you are freezing. If you bake, make fruit pies in their own natural juices and freeze them also.

Look for Food Banks and contact Catholic Charities. They can direct you to services you may need. As for meds look for prescription cards. Some pharmacies will let you fill half of your prescribed meds. I get mine in 90 day increments and get them filled at Wal-Mart. Good Luck to you.

Nick1962 2012-02-06 12:12:45 -0600 Report

Welcome from me too!
In addition to whats already been posted, I'll add farmer's markets. They may be seasonal where you are, but in season you can get real bargains and can freeze or can for the rest of the year. You may also find a co-op or buyers group in your area where several folks get together and buy a bulk lot directly from a distributor. I shared a whole pig that way. After it was all processed it came out to about $2.50/lb.
Also, BIOUSA has good prices on supplies, shipping costs get lower if you're willing to wait for an item.

Young1s 2012-02-06 10:54:27 -0600 Report

Welcome to DC. Jangle407. Here's something that I recently posted in another discussion that may be of some help. It's in parenthesis because I had to cut and paste. Some of this has been mofified to fit your situation.

"Collect as many coupons as you can. And not just from circulars, find printable ones from available stores in your area.

Before going shopping, come up with a meal plan for the week. Decide what foods will be prepared for breakfast, lunch, dinner and shop for those items only. That way you can make the list simple and aren't shopping blind or just grabbing things that may or may not be used.

If transportation isn't a problem, try shopping for sales all over. A lot of times I shop at several stores. I look through circulars from Stop n Shop, Shaws, Walgreens, CVS, you name, and compare sales items. But also be aware of the fact that just because something is on sale, that doesn't mean it's the lowest price offered. And the buy one get one free sales aren't always the best deal, especially if you don't necessarily need two.

Buying store brand items is useful if you have a discount card for that particular store. Their products are generally just as good and there might be a store brand discount for items that aren't part of that week's sale. If you're uncomfortable with people seeing the store brand containers in your fridge or cupboards, save the named brand empties and refill them with the store brand contents.

Buying items in bulk (such as TP, detergent, etc..) is another great option. I know their not food items, but when making your list for the following week, that's one or two less items that need to be bought. I also buy my herbs and spices in bulk. That way I just refill the small containers as needed and don't have to bring the large bottle to the stove."

Also, one of our members (Hughsbayou) started a discussion about finding affordable test strips online. Amazon to be exact. I checked it out and found some great bargains for my particular brand of strips, as well. Maybe you will be able to do the same for your supplies. Here's a link to the discussion. There were other sites and suggestions mentioned that might be useful.

jangel407 2012-02-06 09:47:37 -0600 Report

Thanks for the advice. I have tried the churches and most of them now follow the rules for income and I will never lie to get food. I do go to Sam's Club but only when I have over 200.00 to purchase stuff with because anything less just doesn't work. The local Weis Market usually will gather all of their close to expiration dates bakery items and I have been giving them out to the struggling families in my neighborhood and I do use some of the sugar free items when they have them so that helps a bit. I would just like to see some sort of change in the income rules across the board now that they consider anyone making 48,000.00 middle class and because we have a family of 2 that becomes a challenge too. I guess once the elections take place this year and I see who gets into office both Federally, State and locally I will push to see what we would have to do to begin the process. I appreciate the responses by everyone. I will read them all and maybe something will stand out that I haven't considered before. It's great to have a support system out there. God Bless

Jeanae 2012-02-06 08:26:09 -0600 Report

Check your local churches for food pantries. Some of the stuff is not diabetic friendly but once you get to know the people they will try and set things aside for you. Usually large churches have food pantries and it is not hard to qualify. Also contact your local food bank. Food banks will have fresh produce, depending upon where you live and fresh meat like chicken pieces as well. I agree with berrykins0 and all her advice. Also when buying staples like brown rice or whole wheat pasta or bread… buy generic or store brands and check out the coupons. When whole grain bread is on sale, buy extra and freeze. When my husband and I were first married we were so poor we only had $30.00 every two weeks for groceries. Also- ask the local store if they have food that they would normally toss- like produce that is fine but maybe a little spotted or fruit that has a blemish. Usually they would be happy to give that to you instead of tossing it out. My Dad rasied rabbits and every tuesday and friday he would go to the large grocery store in the town near ours and they would give him tons of lettuce, cabbage, carrots, etc that were great but maybe not as "pretty". I will be praying for you! Good luck.

berrykins0 2012-02-06 08:18:28 -0600 Report

i try to buy at least the cheapest veggies i can and buy stuff in bulk little cheaper this you have any thift stores were you can buy stuff or discount stores .places like samsclub were you can buy things in bulk.this is the best i can tell you to help you out.