Prices and Portions

by Beth - Budget Bytes
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Not everyone will have the same prices or recipe cost as me—that would be impossible. Grocery prices vary quite a bit from region to region, store to store, and even day to day. The point of posting my price information is to give a reference point. It is possible your cost will be higher but it is equally possible for your cost to be lower. Your individual cost will depend on your local market, product availability, current sales, purchasing preferences and willingness to find the best deal in town.

I shop at a variety of stores, depending on my mood, needs, schedule, and sometimes my level of laziness. If I am super lazy I will get all of my shopping done at one store which usually means there are a few ingredients that I could have paid less for somewhere else. C’est la vie. The important part is that because of my menu planning, I am still shopping and cooking for super cheap, or at least far less than eating out or winging it with no plan at all.

So, just be aware that the prices for my ingredients and recipe totals are going to be general. Your recipe may cost you less, it may cost you more. If you prefer all-natural or all organic, your recipe will cost you more. If you are dedicated to only shopping at small local grocers, then your cost will be more. If you have the time to sift through weekly sales flyers and tool around town buying the lowest price on everything, then your cost will be lower. I’m somewhere in the middle.

The portions I have listed are also fairly general. I know that a man twice my size will eat larger portion sizes. If you feel like you eat a lot, I would go ahead and assume double portion sizes and therefore double the portion price from what I have listed. I base my portions on two things: I am a small woman and I feel that as Americans our portion sizes are way out of control already.

Always keep in mind that controlling your portions will also control your spending. Eating more than you need = spending more than you need. Although I don’t always follow this concept, I appreciate the philosophy of only eating until you are no longer hungry, not until you are “full.” We live in a culture of excess and that habit can be hard to break.

My information is just a guide to show you what is possible. If you are having a hard time getting the same results that I do, just ask for help! You may not realize there is a less expensive, good quality substitute for an ingredient you are currently using.

It IS possible to eat for a whole day on less that what one person normally spends on lunch!

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    1. For most of the 12 years that I’ve been doing this blog, I’ve just been cooking for one person. But instead of scaling down recipes to feed one, I still make regular-sized recipes and just eat the leftovers for the next few days, or freeze single-serving portions for later. I find this method to be much more efficient for both my time and money than cooking smaller portions every day. :)

  1. My sister and I would talk about what we’re going to eat for that week. If we have certain ingredients-such as beef and chicken, we’re saving some money. Things like ground turkey, pork, and chicken is an inexpensive ingredient. Pork chops and pork loin is something that we would purchase occasionally. Best of all, leftovers are extremely economical for the both us-since we don’t have to worry about cooking again, so we would try our best to stretch out the leftovers.

    I discovered the blog through a Google search engine last year, and I did tell my sister about this blog. So far, I have cooked six recipes. I’m going to continue to utilize this blog to my advantage, and my sister and I are trying to save money on food.

    Thank you for creating this blog, Beth!!! Mad props to you!!!! :-)

  2. Hi Beth.. I like your blog so much.. Very helpful yet entertaining.
    I live in Indonesia and I’m amaze that your eating cost somehow cheaper than mine. I learn a lot from this blog

  3. Love the blog, Beth. I think it’s geared for us perfectly, and the cooking directions are great!

    We tend to get everything from one store due to where we are, and also that it would cost more time/gas to go to others than it would be worth.

    Your mileage may vary!

  4. I just started mapping out my family meals (to save time originally) then grouped together like minded meat meals to figure out how much of each thing I needed to make the meals…then trippled the recipie. I got the first 9wks down to $400 but after my last haul of big meat sales, I have 8mths of food bought for a total less than $1000. I think that’s pretty good (considering it also includes the snacks, soft drinks, and energy drinks my husband is addicted to).

    Finding new recipies to switch up the meal plan without needing to buy anything else is great! Breaking down the recipie to price per meal is fantastic (as I do this in my head often…which makes me giddy when I get a meal down to $5 or less!).

    Great blog, glad I found you.

  5. OMG – I am so glad I found this site. YOU ARE MY HERO!!! THANK YOU!!! I, too, am a number cruncher and spend a lot of time looking up recipes and then calculating costs per meal. I appreciate having a WONDERFUL and DELICIOUS resource with SO MANY more ideas than I would have ever thought! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

  6. You can use to pull up a list of your local store’s sale items for the week, and they list if there’s a printable coupon or manufacturer’s coupon to put with the sale item, saving you more money. And no I’m in no way affiliated with the site, I just love that site and find it super helpful :)

  7. Amazing site! I have found numerous recipes that are simple/cheap and delicious. There is no reason to spend a fortune on groceries just to get a decent meal and this site can help you whether you are new to cooking or an experienced cook. I will definitely be back!