Grocery Budget Extreme Makeover Part X

Level 2: Dollar Diva

Challenge Yourself

Look at the three most expensive items on your grocery receipt and find less expensive alternatives. Click here and here to see how others answer the question, “What’s your most expensive grocery item?”

Every month I reevaluate all of my grocery expenditures and search for lower cost alternatives. Here are a few items where I have found less expensive options.

For me, the most costly items are specialty foods for my younger daughter who is on the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet). Once I finally learned to cook some simple meats for her (twenty three years of being a vegetarian meant my meat cooking skills were nil), I replaced the Applegate Farms hot dogs, which were $7.99 per pack at the only store that carried them, with local organic meats from the farmer’s market for between $3.50 and $6.00 per pound. In a pinch, when I couldn’t find local, organic meat—or couldn’t stomach the cost at Whole Foods—I did buy grocery store chicken, but those of you with kids on the SCD know how potentially dangerous that can be given the possible additives.

I also stopped buying cheese, another food of which we eat a lot, at the grocery store. Now, I buy it in five-pound blocks at the restaurant supply store, where they slice it for free. This means that I can make provolone taco shells, SCD cheese “crackers,” toppings for spaghetti squash, and so on without feeling guilty at the cost of the small packages. Earlier this month I paid $2.59 per pound for provolone, and $2.99 per pound for Swiss purchased this way. Another additional benefit is that they slice it extra thin, which extends the number of servings, and makes it easier to melt when we use it as toppings for pizza, etc. Just in case you’re wondering, when I get it home from the store, I separate it into four or five quart-sized freezer bags and store it in the freezer until we need it.

Convenience foods, specialty items, meat/seafood, dairy, and out-of-season produce are often the most expensive purchases for American consumers. How about you? What are your three most expensive food items?



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About LivingLaVidaMama

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Formerly, I've worked in publishing and been a medical student. Currently, I'm a freelance writer and copy editor, and full-time mom with two exceptional daughters. LivingLaVidaMama focuses on intentional frugality and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet that has dramatically improved my younger daughter's autistic-like symptoms. Contact me at MadForWriting at