Grocery Shopping on a tight budget

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  • #607776

    mra01385
    Member

    Can anyone offer any grocery shopping tips for a very tight budget. For example, where do many people shop for most groceries in NYC-jewish or non jewish chain store? Where do people get kitchen essentials such as towel paper, dish soap, foil etc. Where do people buy paper goods such as disposable cups, plates and cutlery? What other shopping advice can the coffee room offer?

    #920168

    downandin
    Member

    I’ve tried to wean myself off of paper goods because of the expense, but when I have the cash, I try to go to Cosco or Amazing Savings. I just bought 420 good quality plastic cups at Amazing Savings for $10 – I thought that was pretty good.

    #920169

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    HaLeVia here.

    KRM in Boro Park has excellent prices. Many large families do a lot of Costco shopping.

    The local groceries get plenty of use as well because of convenience and great service, so I don’t feel one bit guilty about pursuing good deals in bigger stores.

    A good resource you might not happen to hear about is Rosner’s in either BP or Kensington. They use various cost-cutting means to keep their prices very low.

    To save even more, you might want to consider alternatives to disposable goods. I use almost no paper towels (rags are free and can be reused indefinitely) and very few disposable cups. Cups are easy to rinse, and Ikea’s rainbow set of kiddie cups are excellent. We’ve designated colors for milchigs and fleishigs. For ten dollars you get two dozen cups and a free one-way ferry ride. (So consider saving that Ikea trip for chol hamoed or someone’s birthday.)

    #920170

    anon1m0us
    Participant

    We like to shop at Shoprite since when they have sales they really have great prices. I know this is blasphemy, but if you clip coupons and go to ShopRite on weeks they either double or triple your coupon value then you really save a lot of money. I hung a receipt from Shoprite that showed my wife spent $140 and after the sales and coupons it went down to $60. We also call the manufacturer and tell them we love their products and they also send high value coupons.

    Kosher stuff, like chicken and meats are cheaper in Kosher Stores, except when Costco puts their chicken on sale for $1.29Lb.

    The key is only shop for sales and stock up. Also always make a list what you need and NEVER deviate from it.

    #920171

    avhaben
    Participant

    If you need to save money on groceries, there is a strong possibility you qualify for food stamps. You should apply to get it.

    #920172

    rebdoniel
    Member

    I recommend buying things like beans, canned veggies, pasta, rice, cereal, spices, etc. in chain stores, especially when they offer double coupons, as above.

    Costco in Brooklyn, Hackensack (Serves Teaneck) and Five Towns each have a kosher bakery, and offer kosher meat and cheeses at good prices.

    The only things I typically need to buy from a kosher store are cheese and meat and deli. I do my own baking and cooking on most things, and save a lot like this.

    Pic n Pay has cheese at very low prices, and I don’t know if you eat from the hashgacha of Rabbi Gavrielov (a Chabad hasid), but they’re meat is also cheap. They sell Marvid and Empire, as well as Jacks Gourmet, Tirat Zvi, etc.

    #920173

    MorahRach
    Member

    I usually can’t afford to go to Costco because I end up spending too much on things I don’t need BUT.. Costco is great for paper plates and definitely flatware. I usually get paper towels etc at Costco once or twice a year and just stock up. I go to Aron’s kissena farms for most of my grocery needs. Sometimes they have such amazing sales on meat/ chicken and dairy. As a teacher I get a discount.. Always see what you qualify for. Shop rite has great prices for canned goods, soda, milk, bottled water, baby food, raw fruit and veggies. Cvs surprisingly sells pareve Dunkin Heinz cake and cookie mixes at $1 a box which is amazing!!!

    #920174

    Poster
    Member

    I find costco too expensive as some have mentioned. You can never walk out of there with just a few items bec everything seems like such a bargain!

    Paperific in BP also has great prices and is very convenient.

    I live in Israel and save by knowing prices an getting items where they are chepa. I try to shop on sale but since we dont have a car I am limited to the three or four local supermarkets in walking distance.

    I also dont buy in bulk unless there is an amazing special, I buy for the week what we need.

    #920175

    Sometimes, you can go to stores that aren’t exactly grocery stores and they could have coupons for junk food, like walgreens, target, and walmart.

    #920176

    rebdoniel
    Member

    I definitely find things cheap like Bimbo bread (Kof K Parve), parve Duncan Hines cake mix and parve Pillsbury frosting, etc. at drug stores.

    I also recently purchased leftover Kretchmas candy at Duane Reade for insanely low prices- OU-D Hershey items like Snickers and Reese’s, star-shaped Stouffer cookies coated in chocolate (OU-D), etc. that I will use for shalach manos (in all honesty, many Valentines chocolates are also OU-D and will be very cheap post-chag).

    Paperific has good sales, too.

    As I said above, though, the only things I typically purchase from davka kosher stores are cheese, meats, deli, etc. I buy Acme lox and herring and other appetizing at the factory Friday mornings for very good prices, I bake my own challah and make desserts from mixes. I also recently got 2 ice cream makers (one for year-round and one for Pesach) that I use to make parve ice cream and sorbets, although I have a weak-spot for Trader Joe’s parve ice cream and Sharon’s Sorbet, which I get on sale and stock up on.

    I find that not buying “heimishe brands” saves me a fortune. I love having a copy of the Chodosh guide, and coordinate my purchases of yashan items accordingly.

    I also make my own ravioli. Yoni’s and Unger’s are a fortune, and it is fun to make the dough with eggs, olive oil, flour, salt, and I buy Polly-O ricotta on sale and The Cheese Guy pecorino to make the filling. Delicious.

    A caveat: There is a brand of cheese sold in Pic-n-Pay, Holon, and other stores in Flatbush called The Good Life.

    They look nice and have a hechsher on them, but I looked on their website, and they claim their cheeses are supervised by Rabbi Dovid Katz of Flatbush. They have an article from Rabbi Sholom Klass, zt”l, saying that their cheese is made from all kosher ingredients, but the issue is that their cheese is not gevinat yisrael according to how the Rambam understands it.

    OU cheeses actually involve a Jew pouring the rennet in the cheese. Tosafot (Avodah Zarah 35) say that in Narvonne, they ate cheese made by goyim using vegetarian rennet because they felt that the gezera was made by Hazal because goyim then used animal rennet. Nobody uses animal rennet anymore, but those of you who are familiar with my approach to halakha know that I don’t deviate from the simple halakha of the Talmud and Rambam. Since I believe that we don’t have the right to overturn codified halakha decided by a Sanhedrin, and because I believe sof hora’ah Ravina u’Rav Ashi, I cannot possibly eat cheese that would be okay according to Tosafot, who happen to believe that changing social realities are doche Talmudic law, which is why they allow clapping on shabbat, not washing mayim achronim, etc. I am therefore more than happy to spend the extra dollars on cheese that is truly halakhic. The flip side to this is that if a person (incorrectly to my mind) claps on shabbos and doesn’t wash mayim acharonim, there is no reason logically why they couldn’t eat cheese made by Cabot or The Good Life.

    #920177

    yaakov doe
    Participant

    Shoprite sale items can’t be beat and the same for a lesser extent Waldbaums and Pathmark. Weekly sales circulars can be viewd on line Thursday morning. Stop and Shop doubles coupons up to $.99 as does the Waldbaums on Cross Bay Blvd.

    KRM and Moishes for meat and case items as well as weekly sale items. Paperific for sale items. Rosners on 14th Ave or Ave F has great prices on closeouts at times.

    For produce the stores on Ft Hamilton at 60th and 65th Streets.

    Edited

    #920178

    mra01385
    Member

    Avhaben: I already get foodstamps, but for some reason it seems to be not enough.

    #920179

    yehudayona
    Participant

    The OP doesn’t say where he or she lives, so it’s kind of hard to tell what to recommend. I think the warehouse membership places like Costco and BJ’s are overrated. For most items, you can do better by shopping sales at supermarkets. For the rest, I don’t think it’s worth the membership fee.

    Double coupons can be worthwhile, but you’ve still got to be selective. King Kullen is the only store in the NY area that I know of that doubles dollar coupons (other stores only go up to 99 cents), but their prices are usually so high that it’s not worth it. I can sometimes get coupons on eBay and make a killing. For example, I got 20 $1 coupons on cereals that I use for $1.35 on eBay. Waldbaum’s had those cereals on sale for $2, so I got 20 boxes for a total of $21.35.

    #920180

    mra01385
    Member

    Yehuda yona: I live in queens.

    #920181

    yehudayona
    Participant

    There’s lots of good shopping in Queens.

    Seasons often has meat at very reasonable prices and sometimes has incredible bargains on other things (they had cholov yisrael milk for 99 cents the other week). Main Glatt has very good prices on chicken bones for soup (as low as 39 cents in recent weeks). Aron’s Kissena Farms sometimes has good sale prices. You can check their websites to see if it’s worth the trip. You can sign up for emails from Seasons.

    Do you have a deep freeze? I think you can get a chest freezer for less than $200. Then you can stock up on meats when they’re on sale. You can also bake challah in large quantities (if you use 6 pounds of flour, you get the mitzvah of taking challah with a bracha, and you’ll have challah for a few weeks for less than you’d pay for two store-bought challahs).

    Fruits and vegetables are a little more challenging in Queens. There’s nothing like the Brooklyn stores 3 Guys and Circus Fruits. There’s a store on Main Street near Valley National Bank that sometimes has bargains (they also sell allegedly kosher meat, but I’m not sure whose hashgacha, and it looks very unappetizing). Kissena Farms has had some good fruit and veggie prices, somewhat reminiscent of the pre-Arons days when the place was a dump, but they had bargain prices on produce.

    #920182

    rebdoniel
    Member

    Get flour in bulk and a good sifter to make homemade bread (you can be assured it’s pat yisrael like that).

    Chicken wings are often as cheap as 99 cents a pound. You can bread and fry them and put different sauces on them, like buffalo sauce or bbq sauce, for a cheap fleshig treat.

    Soups are always a good idea- Osem bases, veggies, barley, beans are cheap.

    I’ve had to cut back in recent weeks.

    This shabbos, we ate out Friday night, but for Shabbos morning, we had homemade challah, tuna salad, and hamin made from beans, barley, potatoes, bbq sauce, ketchup, garlic, onions, oil, spices, and cut up franks and a package of cheap chulent meat. On the side, we had parve kishka (homemade and very cheap), homemade potato kugel (very cheap), salt and pepper kugel with fried onions, an apple kugel made cheaply, and some deli slices.

    #920183

    mra01385
    Member

    i already bake my own challah every other week. Also, where do I find coupons? Lastly, do people buy frozen veggies like bodek spinach and or brocolli in jewish stores? Are those considered expensive?

    I also don’t like duncin hienz. I bake cakes and cookies from scratch.

    #920184

    MorahRach
    Member

    I also live in Queens and think that I do a pretty good job shopping on a budget. I don’t have food stamps or assistance, I’m not sure what you are able to spend but ill try to give some tips!

    Sign up for Aron’s and seasons daily circulars. Seasons has a reputation for being super expensive. The seasons in the town I grew up sells most of their briskets Etc for 16.99 a pound, and in queens you can find for 6.99. Aron’s send coupons almost everyday. Te other day they had chicken cutlets for $1.99 a pound. Often I download the entire circular so that I am prepared when I get to the store. Aron’s has an outer area that contains some fruits and veges I’m sure you know. I found that they are much cheaper than the ones inside! A few weeks ago I decided to compare. The peppers are over $1 cheaper outside as are the onions and bagged potatoes.

    Seasons sometimes has half off deli prices. You pick why you want and they weigh it, then cut the price in half. This doesn’t happen so often but when it does, if you have the room it’s wise to freeze chicken, prepared meats Etc.

    Do you like sushi? I do! Main glatt on Main Street has excellent sushi for around $3.95 a roll. Sometimes I will pick up 5 rolls for dinner or my husband and me and its delicious and not expensive.

    Meal Mart on main also has great prices that are sometimes overlooked. Their fried chicken is amazing and really inexpensive and they have huge portions. Good luck!

    #920185

    rebdoniel
    Member

    No reason to buy Bodek. Any frozen vegetable with a hechsher (I’ve even seen without a hechsher in frum stores) should be fine.

    Another suggestion is that many stores offer half off on prepared foods a couple of hours before closing on erev shabbos. I know that Kosher Palace and Moisha’s do this, maybe also Kosher Corner.

    I find that the roast chicken specials in frum take out stores are also a good deal- a chicken and a side for 10 dollars is a modest meal for 2.

    #920186

    yehudayona
    Participant

    rebdoniel, are you saying Birdseye broccoli doesn’t have bugs?

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