Well, I do low-carb cheaply, but hubby does not low-carb at all, so the post is only partially about low-carbing frugally. I am *extremely* cheap when I shop. I went shopping today as a matter of fact. I shop about every 10-12 days or so. Here's where I went... Store #1 (Karn's). This store is on the other side of Carlisle from me. So I don't go there every time, only if they have sales that make it worthwhile as it's about 15 minutes away and there has to be deals worth the gas for me to go there. They had whole pork loins for $1.38/lb, so it was a no-brainer to go today. Store #2 (Weis) and store #3 (Giant). These stores are in Carlisle. I live about 4 miles from Carlisle, so hit these stores nearly every time, but sometimes just one or the other. Store #4 (Shurfine) - This is on my way home, on this side of Carlisle, so often in the regular rotation too. I also go to Aldi's about every 2 months or so. It's a good half hour away, in either Harribsurg or Chambersburg, so I only go when I have an errand in either place. Aldi's has really, really good prices on a lot of stuff... I have cases of canned fruit for hubby and get most of his junk food there and most of my non-food products like aluminum foil, toilet paper, etc. But I didn't do Aldi's today. What I bought today... a whole pork loin - cut into 2 huge roasts and 27 chops 4 quarts heavy cream pack of Mission low-carb tortillas 4 green bell peppers 1 honeydew melon 5 lbs zucchini 1.5 lbs yellow summer squash 2 Bartlett pears 7 lbs vidalia onions (for canning - I make a great sweet onion relish) 2 cucumbers 3 tomatoes 4 large packs of batteries 1/2 lb catnip (for... the cats, of course!) 2 12-packs of soda (for hubby to take on the road) 2 2-liters of diet sode 2 boxes of saltine crackers 3 lbs red bell peppers 1/2 watermelon head of Boston lettuce head of radicchio 3 large cartons of cottage cheese 2 loaves of whole wheat bread (for hubby... was buy one, get one free) 8 boxes Pasta Roni (for my sister-in-law, apparently they can't get the same flavors in Canada... also on sale buy one, get one free) lb of baby bella mushrooms container of sour cream bulk package of dried parsley pack of baby carrots (for hubby to take on the road) marked-down easter cake from the bakery (in the freezer for hubby) container of Parmesan cheese 2 12-packs of off-brand Pop Tarts (hubby loves them for some inexplicable reason) Most of these items were on sale. I stock up at sales. We have a freezer, huge pantry, root cellar, etc. My overall goal is to buy everything on sale. I don't always make it, some stuff never goes on sale, and sometimes in spite of all my planning and organizing, we run out of something critical. I spent $111 today. I'll probably wind up spending around $250 total this month on food, including all the meals my husband eats on the road (he's a truck driver), eating out and pet food. I send frozen meals with hubby that he can reheat in an electric lunchbox thingy (ham and scalloped potatoes, roast and mashed potatoes with mixed veggies, hamburger/cabbage stiryfry, chicken & rice, etc.). I also can other meals for him too (chili, split pea soup, baked beans, etc). He generally only eats one actual meal a day, and otherwise snacks. I send some junk food, about half store-bought stuff and half home-baked stuff. But I send a lot of "good" snacks he can eat when driving - carrots, fruit, nuts, raisins, crackers, trail mix, etc. And I usually send sandwich fixings too. He probably eats better than 90% of the drivers out there - both healtheir and yummier. My daughter doesn't live here, but nearby. She is young and poor... and therefore sometimes does her "grocery shopping" at my house when she's broke. She takes piles of stuff out of here semi-regularly. We've got enough pork for the next 4 months easy. In fact, my freezer is entirely full of meat after putting the loin in, about a year's worth overall - I bought a whole beef round a month or so ago, a whole ham the month before that and 40 lbs of chicken a few months earlier - plus there's random stuff bought on sale in smaller quantities: italian sausage, polish sausage, smoked sausage, breakfast sausage, ground chuck, corned beef, mozzarella, cheddar, colby, monterey jack, about 10 packs of various frozen veggies, couple packs of ravioli, lunch meats, butter, etc. My pantry is a bunch of shelves 8 foot high by 8 foot wide by 4 foot deep. It's always full. Home-canned pickles, relishes, soups, beans, broths and meats fill probably half of it. There's a good bit of home-dehydrated foods too, though they don't take up any space to speak of - lotsa food in little space: carrots, swiss chard,tomatoes, celery, onions, garlic, etc. The rest is store-bought stuff: cases of peaches, pears, pineapple, pumpkin, peanut butter, black olives and spaghetti sauce; dried goods like pasta, dried beans and peas, whole grains of all sorts, crackers; bottles of various wines, vinegars and oils; canned meats; condiments (soy sauce, salad dressings, mayo, aspartame, etc.); and bulk baking supplies of every imaginable sort. My root cellar is low... we finished the piles of cabbage I got on sale around St. Patrick's Day had lots of corned beef and cabbage, hamburger/cabbage stirfry and cole slaw for a while. There's only maybe 10 lbs each of potatoes and onions in there. I'll replenish from the garden shortly. I also have giant containers of dry goods on top of my fridge: nuts, chocolate and butterscotch chips, oatmeal, soft wheatm hard wheat, other grains, powdered milk, etc. Most of these are replenished from giant buckets on my porch cause I buy in bulk. Since the garden will be producing soon, my costs will be cut in half. In summer, it only costs me around $100-150/month to feed us rather than the extravagant $250/month I spend in winter. Sugar snap peas and lettuces will be ready shortly... We eat out rarely. Sometimes, hubby will have a break in town, but have to deliver nearby before coming home, so we'll meet at a truckstop for dinner, share a shower, and watch a movie in the truck. And I take my daughter out to lunch or dinner maybe once a month or so. But... even including the cost of eating out, gardening supplies, food for the cats (one of which drinks half of the cream I buy!) and chicken feed, I average under $200/month year round to feed us. Tonight, I had to wrap the meat to freeze when I got home. I also cut up a lot of the fruit and veggies ahead of time so I can make salads fast. I'm lazy, so stuff will go bad unless it's prepped right away. If it's prepped, I munch on veggies all day... I plan my meals based on produce because everything else will keep. Plus, frankly, produce is what I most like, most crave, most think about when it comes to food. I'll pick the protein based on what goes with the produce. My breakfasts for the next 10 days or so will be cottage cheese and melon. I have a big batch of turkey salad in the fridge, so along with the garden salad ingredients, that will be my lunches for a while. Over the next week or so... I'll bake and freeze a couple butterscotch zucchini cakes for hubby, can up some sugar-free onion relish (I love the stuff with sausage), fry up a mess of bell peppers with onion and garlic with some Italian sausage out of the freezer, steam a bunch of zucchini and yellow squash with herbs with a thick ham slice, probably do quiche with the mushrooms and some mozzarella cheese (as the hens are laying like crazy and I've got a lot of eggs here). I don't cook daily. I keep a lot of foods like ricotta, cottage cheese and yogurt around. I always have protein powder and fixings for a fast snack/meal. I keep fresh produce already cut up so salads and such are easy. For actual cooked meals, I cook when I'm in the mood to cook, usually cook 2 or 3 meals at once, and then nuke when I'm in the mood to eat. So... there's nothing to do for breakfast or lunch, and often dinner, but open containers, and usually if dinner is more complex, it just involves nuking. There's prep work, of course, but I consider that leisure time rather than work. Tonight, while I was chopping melons and veggies and wrapping meat, I was watching the latest arrival from Netflix. Usually when I'm working in the kitchen, I have a DVD or audiobook going - I don't like just sitting and watching/listening. I cook when I feel like it, not because I have to. Actual meals take about 2 minutes to prepare here. But you do have to *like* cooking and baking to be this frugal. You also have to like the "game" of doing it on the cheap. I don't bother with coupons - they're almost always for name-brand prepared foods that cost too much even on sale. I just browse the ads that come in the mail and hit several stores and mostly buy loss-leader items. And I buy a few things in bulk - sometimes at the health food store downtown and sometimes online. I once figured it out and concluded I "earn" around $40/hour for the time I spend planning and doing my shopping this way. But it's not just about saivngs, it's about the "score" of hauling home a giant pile of food for the elast amount of money possible. I get real satisfaction from that. While I raise a good bit of food, it is definetly not work at ALL. Gardening is *absolutely* leisure time for me. I should count gardening costs under entertainment... or therapy... rather than as a food cost. Looking at the Medifast site due to Caorl Ann's post got me thinking about all this. They want like $300 to sell one month's worth of food for a diabetic... for *one* person... and you still have to make a meat-and-veggie meal every day on your own dime on top of that. So that $300 didn't even cover one person's food for a month since you still have to buy groceries! I feed me and my husband full-time, my daughter part-time, four cats, 6 hens and maintain over a year's worth of food storage here for significantly less than what they charge for a *partial* diet for one person! What a great racket the weight-loss industry is. You get to charge people *more* money for *less* food. Really, when you think about it... that's what all these programs do... sell you a safe "weight-loss" portion of food at an outrageous price. It's sort of the opposite of an all-you-can-eat-buffet... it's an all-we-can-charge method of selling food.