Saturday, December 26, 2009

Is Angel Food Ministries A Good Deal?

This post is part of FAQ Friday. Yes, I know it's Saturday, but I really enjoy FAQ Friday, so I'm doing it anyway, because it's my blog and I can do what I want to.

Question:

Why don't you use Angel Food Ministries?

Answer:

First, to explain, Angel Foods Ministries sells boxes of food for $30 which are supposed to be worth $60, so that sounds like quite a bargain. It is not a handout, as you pay for the groceries, and it is not bound by income restrictions, as WIC, Food Stamps, and often food pantries are. Anyone of any income level can take advantage of it. I have been asked about it several times.

I don't use Angel Food for a simple reason: it's not a good deal.

I have some general food shopping rules:

Produce: I don't buy produce for more than $1.00 per pound. I sometimes stretch this rule to allow for $1.00 to be the average in a meal. This rule allows me to regularly purchase: oranges, apples, pears, bananas, berries, potatoes, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, and carrots along with a larger variety during various seasons when other items go on sale.

Meat: I don't pay more than $1.50 per pound for meat. Within that I can get chicken quarters, whole turkey, whole chickens, ground beef, brisket beef, beef ribs, ground turkey, pork shoulder, ham and eggs. I break this rule for bacon, like yesterday for Christmas, or tuna, which often goes on sale.

Grains and Spices: I have no rule for grains and spices, but I shop around for prices and buy in bulk if it saves. I count some produce as a spice, like ginger, chili peppers, and garlic.

I looked for the best prices for the Angel Food Ministries boxes. You have to buy a whole box, you can't just buy individual items. Angel Foods Ministries best price on meat, for example, in their December menu, is 10 pounds of poultry for $20, or $2.00 per pound. You can get whole chickens for $0.88 per pound without looking too hard, so you can get 10 pounds for $8.80.

Their fruit and veggie box, for $22.00 includes 3 pounds sweet potatoes ($0.75), four large russet potatoes ($0.50), 3 pound bag of onions ($1.20), 1 pound carrots ($0.45), 1 head cabbage ($0.80), one stalk celery ($1.30), four lemons ($1.20), six oranges ($2.00), four grapefruit ($3.00), 1 mango ($2.00), one avacado ($0.79), one pound kiwi ($2.00). It's been a while since I've priced kiwis, mangoes or grapefruits, so I guessed high for those. So, for $22.00, you can get $16.00 worth of produce. No one in my family likes grapefruit, so those might even go to waste. I would rather buy produce that I know we like for a reasonable price.


Even worse, the meat and produce boxes are additional boxes. You have to buy their $30 signature box to get the meat and produce box. Their signature box, in December, includes nutritional gems such as: chicken nuggets, fish sticks, french fries, shelf stable milk, white flour tortillas and a "dessert."

It's possible that in some areas, like maybe Hawaii, the prices of Angel Food Ministry boxes beat out shopping around. However, I use a price chart, find the best prices for the food my family eats the most of and get lower prices than Angel Food Ministries. I'm not going to say it is not worthwhile. For people who live in an area with a very high cost of living, and for the perpetually lazy who can't bother to make themselves a price chart*, this is a good deal.


* (A price chart, or price book, is made by listing the foods you most frequently buy and checking local stores to see where you can get the best price on each. I don't stop at every store every week. I buy a few week's worth of an item each time I go to the store.)

96 comments:

jen said...

actually, you do NOT need to buy the signature box to buy the specialty boxes. That is stated very clearly on the menu page.
Also, I think in most areas, the price of AF beats out shopping at hte regular grocery store. I use AF and live outside of Boston. Of course, I don't buy food at the Dollar Store or feed my family paper mache pasta. . Maybe that's my problem. Or according to you, maybe its because I'm lazy.

S said...

I have found the same- every few months I go and look thru the Angel Food box description and each time, my Aldi prices beat or are the same as, and you are right, the boxes usually include things we don't or can't eat. A price book is sooo helpful. To anyone reading- if you don't have one, make one! Even if it is just one page of prices for the most common things you eat- start with a list of the 20 things you most often eat... it is soooo worth it!

Emily- another topic but I am wondering if you do "PB swappers" or "Swapa CD"? I use these and actually scored some of our Christmas presents thru them.

MommaHarms said...

I do not use angel food mostly because there is always something that we would not eat, which makes the price savings quite less. However, I do resent being called "purpetually lazy" because I do not make a price list. I actually know my main purchases and what they cost at each store. Also, as a work-from-home mom who wears many hats, I find I do not have a lot of extra time or the organizational skill necessary to make a price book. Call me unorganized, fine, but perpetually lazy, I don't think so.

Lucy said...

I investigated Angel Food Ministries and came to the same conclusion as Emily. I could beat their prices by at least 40% by shopping local sales, which is how I shop anyway. I buy only on sale (I even got a side of beef below the usual price because the farmer couldn't get that last half sold during the holiday!) and stockpile sale items. The assortment on the checkout counter looks weird but the meals are balanced.

Anonymous said...

Hi Emily:

I've been reading your blog since you were linked to We Are THAT family. It is always an interesting read and I appreciate how you run your blog. You are willing to stand up for your point of view, yet you don't criticism in the comments section. I think that is why your blog is growing so quickly.

Anywho- I agree about AFM not being a frugal find. I tried it once and it wasn't for me, but I can see how it could work for others.

I don't see how calling people without a price chart/book "perpetually lazy is constructive. I have never heard of it before reading today and would be more inclined to learn more if it was presented in a "how to" fashion and not a belittling fashion. If it was done just to stir up comments, I am sure it will do that - but your blog and writing is good enough to generate interest without the use of name-calling tactics. If it was in jest, I apologize fr reading too far into it. You have a great blog and I will keep readjng! :)

merry (belated) Christmas!
Valley Girl

Emily said...

S, I haven't used those, or even heard of them, but I'll look into them.

MommaHarms, if you know what the cost of your food is at each store, that is a price book.

As far as being lazy, to believe someone when they tell you that they are giving the best price may be better described as naive than lazy. Still a price chart or book is the best solution and doesn't take too long to put together. I wrote about here:

http://under1000permonth.blogspot.com/2009/09/best-prices.html

Also, I think you can frequently beat AFM prices without a price book. The prices I used to calculate for this article were mostly from one store.

Moderate Means said...

We sometimes buy a box (usually the signature but I have purchased a meat-only box before) and sometimes don't. I didn't order a December box because I wasn't seeing the savings. With my stores, I was able to exactly match the listed foods for less than $20, which left $10 for meat. By eliminating the things we don't eat and subbing items, I would be able to get it for $15. At that point, I would rather buy my own food.

I do think that Angel Food is useful, however, as it gives people a decent amount of food for $30 - if you aren't picky about what you eat/serve. We gift my mother-in-law with a box every month because she will use every bit of it and it reduces her out-of-pocket grocery costs. She is on a small fixed income and can't physically 'shop around' so I love Angel Food for her.

It has it's place but you're right - it's certainly not the most frugal food option out there.

As to the price book - I was really intimidated by the idea for some reason. Once I set it up, however, and realized how easy it was, I couldn't believe I waited so long! Price books are fantastic and I can't imagine shopping without it now!

Stacy

Melissa said...

I have never heard of a price book until today. I've decided to try it out! Thanks for the tip!

Melissa

Amber said...

I completely agree with you here (except where you called AF users perpetually lazy). I do not like AF and I think that the prices are high. We shop around, stock up, and freeze meats so that we can buy them when they are on ridiculously good sales. I shop at normal grocery stores and we still get healthier food for cheaper than the AF boxes.

However, it is important to think about the weight of bones. Boneless skinless chicken breast at 1.39/lb (cheapest I've found it recently), is a BETTER DEAL than split chicken breasts for 1.00/lb or a whole chicken for .89/lb because there is no bone weight. If you buy 5 lbs of split chicken breasts for an even 5.00 and 5lbs of boneless skinless for 1.39/lb at $6.95, you're probably getting a better deal with the boneless skinless. I hope that makes sense... I'm really sick right now and it's hard to think lol!

Clisby said...

Moderate Means makes a point I think some of you are overlooking. There are people who can't really shop around. They don't have cars, so they have to walk or take a bus to the store (assuming they're not incapacitated, and assuming the bus line runs somewhere reasonably close to a store). If they're lucky, that store is at least a large chain grocery store like a Kroger or Publix. If they're unlucky, it's a mom 'n pop store where the prices are considerably higher and there's a lot less choice in what you can buy. People who can benefit from AF are not necessarily lazy or naive - they might simply be in far worse circumstances than you.

Emily said...

Amber, I agree, you need to factor in the weight of the bones and skins. We eat the skin and fat on meat (and LOVE it) and the bones can be used to make broth, so neither is a throw-away, but they are not meat, either.

Clisby, yes, some people CAN benefit from AFM, but many who use it aren't looking at alternatives, but just think they are getting the best deal when they aren't. The AFM site boasts feeding 500,000 people each month. I would imagine that not ALL of those are special needs situations.

The Prudent Homemaker said...

I looked at the prices and I thought they were high as well. We alo don't eat fish sticks, chicken nuggets, or french fries.

I can see that it is convienent for some people.

For my family of 7, though, it doesn't work.

I can buy carrots for .35 a pound, and potatoes for .20 a pound, most all of the time (and frying your own potatoes is cheap and easy; you can fry them in a quarter inch of oil and flip them over; they don't hae to be deep fried).

My price per pound limit on meats $2; however, I prefer to buy for much less. I bought 80lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.20 a pound in September (unusual price for here; they are usually $1.79-$1.98). I bought boneless pork loin roast for $1.39 a pound (usually $1.88 a pound here), and ham (bone-in) for .77 a pound.

We eat a lot of potatoes at my house; we can eat 20 lbs or more in an average week. That's a whoping total of $2-$4 at my house, depending on sales.

A price book is a wonderful thing. I have an example of how to do one here:

http://theprudenthomemaker.com/pricebook.aspx

It takes a few months of following the sales to get to know the lowest prices in your area, so that you'll know what constitutes a good deal and what doesn't. You can compare a few things or lots of things.

Purplelizard said...

Here's a question that maybe you could tackle on another FAQ day - how do you plan to deal with inflation? I know food prices around here just keep climbing. And for some things, the package sizes are shrinking. Like I have a policy about how much I'm willing to spend on cheese, but recently they've shrunk the package sizes on the big blocks, which is very frustrating because now the cheese doesn't last as long. I've been dealing with it by using less cheese, but I can't keep doing that indefinitely.

Will you revise you price per pound at some point as costs climb?

Angie Gail said...

Hi Emily! Love your blog! This is off subject and has probably already been addressed. If so, I apologize. I thought I saw a previous post of a tour of your apartment. Has the title changed or has it been deleted? I would love to see it, as I am very interested in all you have to say. Hope you and yours have a blessed holiday seasonn!

Anonymous said...

I think that you might underestimate the amount of work shopping around involves for lots of people. Such as those mentioned above by moderate means, and even lower income 2 working parent families. All of these together are not a small number of people.

Then there's those of us who are not lazy, but prefer to spend our time doing other things. I have made pasta and tortillas and regularly make bread. But, I also realize how much time making tortillas for a family of 6 can take and I'll happily keep buying packages of tortillas when I can find them for $1, and continue making them the rest of the time. I find there often needs to be tradeoffs between time and money and emotional well being. Cheapest isn't always better, especially when the $ trade off is minor compared to the amount of work or stress involved.

liveoncejuicy said...

I had never heard of Angel Food Ministries before. I just took a look. I don't think it's something we would do, mainly because there are things in the box we wouldn't eat. But I thought I'd point out that this would actually probably be a good deal for me, if we would eat all the food. I live in a very remote, rural area. I'm 250 miles from the nearest town where I could shop at anywhere besides our local family-owned grocery store. I don't get to price shop. As a result, my 'rules' for meat and produce have to be different from Emily's. I don't pay more than $2.25 for meat or $1.50 for produce. This is very frugal here and limits what we can buy--so it's not just that I'm willing to be spendier than she is.

Minn said...

I've checked AFM before, too and I did find their prices were more than what I usually paid at the store.

I don't think a person can categorized as perpetually lazy if she/he didn't have a price chart. Sometimes, it's just as easy for a person to go through the weekly ads, and know what she wanted to get. Besides, the prices of things changes all the time. It could be a useful tool, though.

Kimber said...

My mom & I tried AFM a few months ago. When we picked up the boxs of food we were not very happy. I could find the food for a much cheaper price & have a better quality of meats. Most of the meats were prosessed & not very good at all. I accually posted on Free Cycle & gave that stuff away to who ever wanted it. The couple who picked it up were very greatful & happy to have it. So, in the long run it did do some good for someone. Just not our cup of tea as my mom always says LOL!

Bree Anna Bell said...

Jen- In some states you do HAVE to buy the main box in order to buy the specials. In Ga where my in laws purchase boxes each month they can choose to only buy special purchases but here in NC you Have to purchase the main one.

Emily- I no longer keep up with my written price book because I have most ingredient prices stuck in my head now. But on the occasion that we are running out of a bulk item or if I'm going to try a new recipe I will keep track of those prices for a few weeks before purchasing

As for AFM it is a blessing for many people in my area. Locally we do not have a grocery store within a 15-20 min drive of our home. For people like 2 of my neighbors who are elderly, do not drive and dont have family near the AFM (and meals on wheels program) really help them to eat some sort of "balanced" meal. For myself who can drive, shop ads and coupon I can beat the AFM prices and get healthier foods. If I were to go into the store and buy all the processed foods with coupons I could buy the same items for pennies on the dollar compared to AFM. But I am still thankful that the program exists for those who truly need it and for those who are lazy enough to use it when they could be feeding themselves and their families healthier foods.

mary bailey said...

Ouch. Emily, that "perpetually lazy" comment sounds harsh, especially in this season of goodwill toward all.

My family does NOT use Angel Food ministry but I think we might give it a try at least once because my parents' church is a distribution site and I'm curious about what's being offered for $30. I'll check the menus online and order when we will use most of it. What we don't use, I can give to others.

There are many, many people who are in "special" situations that make something like Angel Food a blessing for them. It's sounds like a good bargain for people who can't drive around to different stores, scouting out the best deals. It also sounds like a good deal for people who are tired, overworked, frazzled, sick, or elderly.

Ria said...

The only thing I have to add to this is in regards to the meat. Buying whole chickens is definitely cheaper than buying prepackaged meat, but one also has to consider just how much meat is coming with those whole chickens. For the price of meat alone, sometimes it may actually be more cost-efficient to buy the meat in a package and cut out having to deal with the bones and skin.

Of course, you can use those bones and skin to make a soup stock, along with the little scraps of meat that don't come off the bones easily, and make your food stretch that much further, but that's not what everybody does.

Just thought I'd throw in that consideration. (I know it was mentioned by somebody else, but I'm always one to throw in my two cents. :p) Myself, I prefer getting the whole bird, but I like soup and I've recently learned how to properly make a pretty decent one, so even those "leftovers" don't get throw away without being used for all they're worth.

Emily said...

Ria, AFM used a lot of bone-in chinken and skin-on chicken, so whole chickens were comparable to what they were offering.

mrs. c said...

i also think afm is not the right choice for my family of six kids,two of them being teenage boys! i do enjoy the tips on your blog, but you do seem to be touchy about other points of view..bordering on aggression. i get that you like to live as frugally as possible, as do i...i'm the nut in front of you on the checkout line with 30 bazillion coupons, however, it seems as though you havent really thought out all your choices maturely. there are people that can teach you things about frugality, without deprivation. you mentioned that your family seems disappointed with some of your choices, if i read it right. life is to be enjoyed, our Father in heaven does not consider it a sin to live life to the fullest, just a thought...

Emily said...

mrs c, I'm not sure which of my thoughts you think I haven't thought out, since you didn't say. Feel free to eloborate.

My family members who don't approve of my lifestyle disapprove because they think that happiness is tied to spending. I don't think that. I think it is sad that so many people cannot imagine someone having a happy and full life without spending a lot of money.

Clisby said...

Emily - "The AFM site boasts feeding 500,000 people each month. I would imagine that not ALL of those are special needs situations."

I imagine that, also. Since the U.S. Census estimated that more than 8 million families in the US were living in poverty in 2008, there's nothing all that special about it.

Me said...

I have looked into the AF boxes even though my husband makes within the top 3-5% in the country. We are careful with our money because we don't believe that we must up our lifestyle to match our income. I don't care about keeping up with the Jones, Smiths, etc.

I digress. Anywho, we don't buy the boxes for some of the same reasons you don't. My family will not eat quite a bit of the things that are included. We buy our beef, eggs, honey, fruit and veggies from local organic farmers because I like to know where my food comes from and I support local businesses. I know that this costs more and not everyone can do this but I would recommend it if possible.

If I were in a bind (and have been before and know it could happen again) I would look into AF as a source but I also coupon and teach coupon classes and normally can beat all of AF prices at any store.

Love the blog!

Kathryn

Anonymous said...

Emily- you are a housewife. It is not fair to compare the amount of time you have to spend on frugality with, for example, the amount of time a single mom might have. In that case, she's paying the bills and managing the house: a packaged, discounted meal like AFM may be a product of necessity, not laziness.

In addition, you seem to have not studied the concept of opportunity cost. For some people, the amount of time involved with making a price chart may not be offset, in monetary terms, by the price savings. That doesn't make those people lazy, it either makes their time more valuable than yours or it makes them better money managers overall (assuming your time is not so valuable that comparison shopping ceases to be a good use of it, which, objectively speaking, is probably not the case given your educational background and lack of work experience).

Terri said...

I have, once in my past, bought AFM for my parents and the food was CRAP. The Senior box is frozen dinners and they are just plain gross. Way worse than Banquet brand and cost more! The main box (required here) wasn't much better. Third rate meat at best.
Won't buy AFM ever again.
From comments, it sounds like AFM delivers in some areas?!?
They do not deliver in my neck of the woods.

Anonymous said...

I find your perpetually lazy comment to be downright rude. Step outside the box for a moment and consider someone elses view and why they may not keep a price book. I find it even more insulting that you have yet to address the comment.

Bubblej said...

because it's my blog and I can do what I want to.
Was that strictly necessary? We know what day of the week it is (Its actually Sunday where I live)and we know that Friday was christmas so most people would understand that you were just delaying FAQ Friday, I doubt anyone would have commented... You are 25(If I remember correctly), but that line made you sound 12

To the topic of the post. I think AFM sounds like a good idea. I had never heard of it before today, as I don't live in North America. I think that single working mothers would probably benefit from the service, as would older people and people with disabilities. Not everyone can shop around, as already mentioned.

Emily said...

Anon, I don't expect people who think their time is too valuable to save money to read my blog. They would obviously have more important things to do with their time.

I have thoroughy studied opportunity cost and conclude that very few jobs pay more per hour than the return on the time investment of making a price chart. We are talking about a one time investment of 2-3 hours saving around $50 per month or more on groceries every month.

Amber said...

Opportunity cost works for some, like me, but if you don't have the money to spend then the extra spent to save time really isn't worth it. Sure, I'll gladly buy pre-made pasta because I don't feel like making it. But if I didn't have that extra .50c to buy a box, it's obviously better for me to make it for cheaper.

But as someone who was a stay-at-home-mom for a long time and is now a working mom, I can understand how Emily might only be able to see things from one perspective.

MommaHarms said...

Ok, so perhaps "perpetually disorganized" or "perpetually uneducated" would be appropriate, but "perpetually lazy" is quite rude. I'm done with this discussion, however, because my paying work is waiting.

Amber said...

At some point after grocery shopping a little while the "price chart" is more in your head than anything else and consulting it is unnecessary. I know off the top of my head what a good price for our most used items are, and I rarely grocery shop. My husband is a grocery store manager so he does the majority of the shopping/coupons/sale hunting... but even so, a price chart shouldn't be difficult if you pay attention to prices for a little bit when you shop.

Bubblej said...

Like Amber said, a lot of people have the best price in their head. I know that chicken breasts are usually $20 for 4, skin on, so if they are $15 or less I will grab some. I know that a bag of potatoes costs $7, so if it is less then that I know we are having potatoes that week. This works for me, however if I were forgetful I would probably write it down.

Amber said...

Wow Bubblej $20.00 for four skin-on chicken breasts is quite high in this area, as is a $7.00 bag of potatoes! Do you live in a high cost of living area?

Mary Ann said...

We purchased Angel Food boxes for a few months several years ago to try them out. At that time, the main boxes were $25 each. We never did purchase any of the meat boxes since they were a bit higher than what I would pay for sale-priced meat but other folks told me that the separate meat boxes had much better quality meat than the main grocery boxes.

It was a good deal for us then as I didn't do as much couponing and shopping around as I do now. After a few months, I realized that I could do just as good or better at the grocery store and buy better quality and healthier foods. I used all the breaded chicken tenders and other "fast foods" for when I didn't want to cook. It was certainly cheaper than eating out and probably about the same health-wise as fast food.

I do think that purchasing a box of groceries for $30 can be an easy way to help others going through a hard time. Especially those who aren't as particular about what they eat. My husband's grandmother would buy a box and it would feed her(with a few extra groceries added in to make complete meals) for almost a month.

Also one place I worked would post the menu for the employees and then on the pick-up day, one person would go and pick up all the boxes and bring them back to work. It was a great deal for the working moms: a decent price for food and not having to go to the grocery store after work!

crabcakes said...

I agree. I do not buy from Angel Food Ministries because aside from the processed food box, prices are not a good value. Period. You don't even have to try hard at all to find better deals on meat and produce.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you crack me up, Emily. You call people who don't shop with a price book "naive", yet you are the one that thinks you're going to be able to fit 10 kids into a 300 sq. ft house and feed them for less than $500 per month.

Anonymous said...

For the person who said that in NC you have to purchase the main box, that is no longer true. We do use the AFM, and last month I just got the fruit and veggie box. For me, after I factor in my time and all the gas used to drive around and find sales, it does save me money. I go shopping once a month since I live in a rural area. It would cost a ton of money in gas for me to drive around each week looking for sales.

Deidra said...

"for the perpetually lazy who can't bother to make themselves a price chart*, this is a good deal."

Okay...either you are incredibly rude or just so socially backwards that do not know how to treat people...or maybe you do it intentionally (as others have suggested before) to create more controversy so that you will get more traffic on your blog. Whatever the reason, the novelty has worn off and I won't be back.

Anonymous said...

"fot the perpetually lazy who can't bother to make themselves a price chart*, this is a good deal."

i take great exception to this. i am disabled and someone from my church picks up any of the boxes i need. i am not lazy. i just do not expect others to cart me around.

you have your reasons for not taking food stamps, i have my reasons for not being a burden to others.

that said, i have never fed anyone half-eaten or rotten fruit. i hope you don't kill off your family "accidentally". you aren't frugal, just nasty and using your children as pawns against those you hold bitterness toward. stick that in your crockpot and bake it on high all day!

i won't be back, so you won't get to make 1/2 a penny off me every day.

Elizabeth said...

I tried Angel Food Ministries once. I realized I could have gotten the exact same food from Aldis for much cheaper, and a lot ended up being food I wouldn't have bought in the first place.

But, for those who are housebound or don't shop sales, or various other reasons, it may be a good thing for them.

Stacy L. said...

Wow, this is a circus here. By the way, I'm not the "Stacy" above, but the one who has participated here for a few months...I'll call myself "Stacy L." for clarity's sake.

Anyway, Emily, you goofed, in my opinion, by making the "lazy" comment, and you should own up to that and apologise. You don't understand all of the situations people live within, so you should not make judgmental statements that hurt people. It's not right. Instead of getting into this fight by showing all of these angry comments, I think you should wipe all of them out and issue an apology for being insensitive and hurtful in the way you worded your original post. Maybe you didn't mean it that way, but that's how it was taken, and it's not in the spirit of your new goal to be a positive resource for people. That's what I think.

I was interested to check back here to see if you had any good tips for today, and I'm feeling disappointed by all of this ugliness that I think you brought on yourself, and that is now polluting the emotions of others who really, deep down, just want to enjoy their holidays (or at least most do, I would guess). If you actually DID try to be hurtful to inspire web traffic and to make money, I think that's shamefully ugly. However, if it was an inadvertant poor word choice, I feel an apology is due and that all of this fighting should be deleted.

Obviously you can do whatever you want, but that's my opinion. Take the more mature, humble and kind road--apologise and move on.

Sarah said...

Thank you for the good review of AFM. It'd be nice if we could all get local ministries going to teach those in financially tight circumstances how to be more frugal. Teach a man to fish instead of giving him a fish sort of thing.

Just a thought: the last sentence could have easily been written without the "perpetually lazy" comment and still have had the same message with maybe a bit more tact?

"and for those who won't bother to make..."

Emily said...

Stacy, if someone is told that they are getting a good deal and believes the sales pitch without verifying it, THAT IS LAZY.

I'm not talking about the disabled and elderly, but I would assume people are smart enough to not assume that I am not. I have been asked about AFM several times, implying that people think I should be taking advantage of it. That makes me think that people are viewing AFM as for more than the disabled and elderly.

Anonymous said...

And yet... you still don't recognize your comment as abrasive. For someone so smart...

Anonymous said...

“for the perpetually lazy who can't bother to make themselves a price chart”

“I have thoroughy studied opportunity cost and conclude that very few jobs pay more per hour than the return on the time investment of making a price chart. We are talking about a one time investment of 2-3 hours saving around $50 per month or more on groceries every month.”

Many might say that your husband is “perpetually lazy” because he has obviously not considered the opportunity cost involved in forgoing an accredited education with further job opportunities in exchange for one that he plans to earn him less than his current low-paying job.

We’re talking about a one-time investment of 2-4 years (depending on how many credits from his “college” transfer), giving you an average $29,105 per year above the average salary of a high school graduate (a given average that already far exceeds your husband’s earnings).

Yeah, you know how that was impolite and probably stung a little? Now think about how those readers without price books feel.

But considering your time is worth, at best, minimum wage, go ahead and continue writing your sanctimonious, small-minded drivel. After all, it's your blog and you do what you want.

Stacy L. said...

Emily,

I'm sorry to say this, but I just don't feel good about this blog anymore. I may come back from time to time, but I don't plan to participate as I have been. I kept hoping you would get past this type of approach. I love the interesting tips, but there are other blogs out there that have those. My true feeling is that you are probably a very caring and nice person, in person. You also seem very intelligent. However, the combative attitude and disregard for others' feelings brought out in the blog forum is just too negative in my opinion. I really do wish you well, but I'm moving on.

Nota said...

Emily, your comment about having studied the 'opportunity cost of time' is short-sighted. Making a price-book is not just a one-time investment. It requires maintenance as stores update their prices with changing manufacturing costs, shipping costs, and labor costs. Once a price book is made, it has to be kept up to date. That requires time.

Next, if you need a specific ingredient, it requires shopping around. Maybe store #1 doesn't meet your price-book threshold in a week, but store #2 does. So you make an extra trip - which costs time, gas & energy. The actual time spent chasing down $0.10 cheaper cans of black beans over the course of a year may end up costing you far more that just buying the black beans at the store you regularly go to which is already on your way home from work.

That being said, I will tell you personally, as an economist, that I do have a price book. A book which I made based off of the costs of regularly priced items at the grocery store I usually shop at, which is most convenient to me. I set up an email notification for that flyer to come to my email once a week. Because I know the prices where I shop, I can identify a real deal from what they are just advertising to spotlight a particuluar item. (Not everything highlighted in a flyer is actually on sale. For sale, yes. On sale, no.) I do know when to stock up and when to let a recipe wait for a week or two.

The 'because it's my blog' and the 'perpetually lazy' comments make you sound like a petulant child. And for as thoroughly as you speak about people doing their research, your claim to know about 'opportunity cost' is surface-level internet educated naievete. I am thoroughly disappointed in this post - you are usually much better than that.

Captain Cleavage said...

emily I agree with other posters about the lazy comment. Although I do undrstand why you said it and what you ment there was definantly a better way to phrase this. i would hate to think you said it this way simply to get people all riled up...because i am pretty sure your better than that. It is easy to say that what people take out of your blog is their problem but it takes a good person to apologize for the way their words affect others.

Keziah said...

Well done with the back pedal there, one minute it is being perpetually lazy to not have a price book and now it is if someone believes the sales pitch without verifying it?

I have noticed a lot of your recent posts have been quite critical and defensive but this has just crossed the line. I live in a different country so there is no AFM where I am, however this sounds like something I could well use. I have three children, a disabled partner, and work as well as struggling with my own health issues. I simply do not have the time to trek around a lot of different stores to get what we need. Of course what I think we need would be a lot different to what you do as I would never feed my children half eaten apples and 'pasta' made with flour and water with no egg or oil added.
You will not be getting any more money from me as a regular reader of this blog.

liveoncejuicy said...

Out of curiosity...is the $50 a month savings over just paying full price for everything? Because you obviously don't need a price book to know when something is on sale.

I don't use a price book myself. Mostly because I don't have the opportunity to go to more than one store each week. We only have one. When something goes on sale, it's always the same sale price or very similar. If something is a spectacular sale, I don't need a book to tell me so.

I think that AFM might actually be a good deal to someone who is struggling to get their spending under control. It's a set, regular price. And no chance of buying $50 of treats.

Anonymous said...

Oh Emily, looks like you opened a can of worms on this one.

If AFM works for some and not others so be it, it looks like it doesn't work for Emily. :)

Bubblej said...

Amber, I live in New Zealand, we have little selection and the exchange rates are different. I probably should have mentioned that in my post. It seems pretty high, but its about average here.

Emily said...

Nota, I don't regularly update my price chart. Some do, I don't. I know what a generally good price is and have rules for produce and meat to follow if I need a product I haven't investigated. I'm not going to run around to four different stores to find the ingredient in a one-time dish. If it's something I want to do again, I'll check on it over the course of time as I regularly shop at each store. It doesn't take much time.

Keziah, that was the point of the whole post, that the AFM sales pitch is misleading, to say the very least. This is actually my toned-down version of this post. I took out the words: scam, fraud, and FBI investigation.

liveoncejuicy, Most weeks, sale prices in the flyers are higher than what I pay with my price book. I save beyond shopping sales.

Anonymous said...

It just amazes me how many nasty comments you get. I think most of these comments and the snarky web sites really show women in the worst possible light. Why are we allowing the nastiest part of ourselves to sit on the internet for the world to see? Most of these women blog so they aren't exactly anonymous. Really, women want to prove how rough and tough and rude we can be, enough already!! I think the goal has been achieved.

Anonymous said...

In Canada, we don't have Angel Food Ministries, but I am sure that for some families that it's the only way they can afford food and it's a valuable resource to tap into.

I don't keep a price book, but I work cash at a grocery store, so I pretty much know in my head what is and is not a good price.

I don't make a list either when I grocery shop, since I pretty much buy the same items every week, my bill stays consistent, and food here is so expensive, plus our taxes on top of non basic groceries yikes.

I feed my family of four, including toiletries etc., on $170.00 a week, last week I spent only $135.00 and I was pretty proud of myself, I would like to cut back more, but I am not willing to be cheap on the veggies and fruit that my kids so dearly love :)

Mom in Canada

Angie said...

I was trying to remember, Emily, your reply when I emailed you about the difference between its and it's. I believe it was something along the lines of "it doesn't make sense to me so i'm not following that rule".

When I explained the reasoning behind that rule, which is completely sensible, you agreed.

To perhaps broaden the scope... would you consider your attitude with the language usage along the same lines as someone who has yet to see the benefits of making a price book?

You may not, but it strikes me as similar, and that perpetually lazy comment was harsh!

I think you would benefit from trying to enlighten people in a more inspiring way, because I think you are full of good ideas. I want to learn from you, but honestly, ouch!

Stephanie said...

I read a lot of blogs and their are so many like yours, Christian stay-at-home moms trying to live a frugal and natural life style. It's kinda sad when as a Christian myself I rather read the Atheist Homemaker's blog over yours! You all have similar opinions, tips, tricks, advice and struggles. The difference is the others are a lot nicer, kinder, gentler and act A LOT more CHRIST-like than you. Christ would not name-call and would avoid petty arguments. I know you can't control others comments but you certainly give them reason to be upset and offended instead of it being accidental you seem to do it deliberately. You can make your points and tips without all the negative and defensive attitude. You have much spiritual growing to do. I won't be reading this blog anymore either. Your information is not really that novel and the way it is presented is very offensive and rude. I can go to other blogs to get great information from wonderful Christian mothers. Just a suggestion, maybe you should pray over your posts before you post them to make sure your words are representative of the Christ you claim to serve.

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog. Amazed at the cranky commenters. :D

Anyhoo, I'm so glad to see someone else decided Angel Food isn't as great as it sounds. I think for people who are used to spending top dollar on groceries and then have some financial disaster, it might be useful. Or, if the only shopping options are overpriced places like Giant Eagle.

But I tried it for several months and just couldn't stick with it. A lot of the food was highly processed, or stuff we don't even eat. Some of it was just icky, and I could have gotten something better for cheaper. There was a whole lot of meat in the boxes, and meat is not the base of our meals. And you are so right, buying a bunch of whole chickens at .88c/lb is actually much cheaper.

mrs. c said...

it seems as though most readers here expressed some(not all)of my sentiments. i definately think you have a 'pie in the sky' attitude about what it takes to raise a family. i do actually enjoy the challenge of living below my means..if at all possible.that said, the choices are not only yours/husbands only. when the kids come, you have to take into account THEIR wants, needs, and happiness quotients. yes, we teach and guide, but they are people in their own right, and deserve to be treated as such. i specifically refer to the small house thing.. they may NOT want whatyou do for their lives. i know it's YOUR blog, you can rightly so say what you want, but it seems as though you come off 'one sided', and i guess it puts peoples noses out of joint.

Anonymous said...

I should add, I don't have a pricebook. So I disagree with your assessment of those who don't have one, but it's your blog and I didn't take offense at your lazy comment. :)

Niki said...

Wow Emily... you're immaturity is showing.

Although I was directed to your blog from quite negative sources (forums re: the "craziness" of your lifestyle choice) I stuck around thinking it was quite interesting and had a few good tips.

Lately though, your holier than thou attitude has really pushed the line. I think the fact that you chose to begin an "adult" lifestyle with an adolescent maturity level is really beginning to become apparent.

Grow up a bit Emily... open your eyes. All your readers, though most disagree with your lifestyle, read and are interested in seeing/ hearing different viewpoints. Learn something from them.

Cate said...

I love how you insult your readers to make money off of them. I think it's really funny, especially since it's totally what Jesus would do, right?

Emily said...

I am pretty tired of being accused of stirring up controversy for money. Just because I freely disclose how much I make does not give you the right to assume that I am trying to piss off my readers for money. This is the TONED DOWN version of this post so that I could AVOID controversy. What's the point of me trying to avoid controversy? You're all going to find something to be mad at me about anyway. I stand by the statement that people who don't shop around are being lazy. It's what I believe. Could I have said it more sweetly? Possibly, but I didn't and that doesn't make it untrue.

Cate said...

Oh, I was more talking about your interactions in the comment section than the actual post. We have the right to assume whatever we want about you. I think you choose to say things in order to get comments. It's what I believe. Could I have said it more sweetly? Possibly, but that wouldn't make it untrue. Just like you have the right to believe I'm lazy. :)

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't use AFM or buy the foods Emily buys. I think it is a disturbing way to feed children when you can do better. Emily is so concerned with keeping her meals under a certain level that she doesn't care what damage is done with her disgusting recipes and lack of nutrition. She is playing house. One would assume Emily is much younger than she actually is. Keep on buying all that low gade tubed meat Emily! Millions of cats love it too!

Anonymous said...

You say you aren't trying to stir up controversy for money. I don't know or care really if you are or aren't. And I don't think that was really the point anyone was trying to make. And of course you can state your opinion regarding whom you believe to be lazy or not but what's the point of even calling someone lazy? Generally it's only to make others feel bad or to make yourself look good. It does not add to the quality of your information, or help others. The problem I have with that comment and others is that it serves no true purpose other than to upset people or make yourself look good. I know you can state your opinion but we don't really read your blog for your opinion on who you think is lazy or not. You can state how important you view a price book and talk about the ways it helps you and others and how you couldn't imagine being able to get the deals without it or how necessary you feel it is WITHOUT calling the rest of us lazy for not having one! Comments like that and others in your posts just do no good. Aren't Christians suppose to be an encouragement to others? Why not encourage others to have a price book without encouraging them to stop reading your blog.

Clisby said...

" I stand by the statement that people who don't shop around are being lazy."

Emily, you can stand by it all you like, but it's a silly statement. There are all kinds of reasons people might not shop around, and laziness is only one of them. Perhaps what you really meant was: "Stay-at-home parents who aren't bringing in any income to contribute to their families' financial stability should shop around unless it's completely unfeasible. To do less is lazy." That would be far more defensible.

Anonymous said...

Emily, sweetheart,

I like you. But an apology is in order for the "lazy" comment.

Really, truly. Back-track, own-up, admit to speaking/writing carelessly . . .

That comment was just wrong. Young, immature, arrogant, stupid, careless . . . Whatever.

I give you a whole heck of a lot of rope on your frugal discovery journey. You are me 25 years ago. But that does not give you the right to be insulting.

Actually, if you were not quite so defensive, I'd be giving you more hints on safe, sensible frugality . . .

But I think you would be offended if I tried, and that grieves me.

Helen

Amber said...

I agree with Clisby's statement:

"Stay-at-home parents who aren't bringing in any income to contribute to their families' financial stability should shop around unless it's completely unfeasible. To do less is lazy."

You are not a working mother. Your husband does not work full time. There is no way for you to possibly understand the time investment that can go into shopping around if you are not in the circumstances that so many people are. We do shop around, but that's because dh drives past five different grocery stores on his way home from work. I'm already at work and have taken the kids to daycare before he gets home in the morning, so it's not cutting into family time.

If we both worked the same shift there is absolutely no way that we would cut into family at home time to go to five different grocery stores or to go to the grocery store every night (each night to a different store).

Amber said...

Oh... Emily you don't have to publish this, but did you read your husband's recent twitter? Do your posts here have to be sanctioned by him?? Why would he throw you under the bus like that... just because you've gotten quite a bit of negative feedback on the "lazy" comment??

Anonymous said...

Dan's twitter is a great source of amusement for www.sybermoms.com. Dan is not pastor material.

Guinevere said...

I actually agree about AFM, even though I know you wouldn't consider me frugal. It isn't a good deal for us because we choose not to eat the convenience-type foods that are included.

Happily Frugal Mama said...

Maybe the "lazy" comment was a little off... but come on, people! Blogs are online diaries... no one forces you to read them. Emily was making a point that a price chart/book is rather simple and can save you a great deal of $ with a minimal time investment.

I had never heard of AFM before... and after looking at this months box offerings, it definitely would not be a good deal for us! I can buy local, free range, organic foods for less.

I'm also still laughing over the whole pasta = paste scenerio some have latched onto here. Really? Whole Wheat is chock full of nutrition (and home paste is made from white flour which has nearly no nutritional value). I made pizza crust tonight without eggs... does that mean I'm feeding my family paste in a dough form? I think not. Adding 1-2 eggs per batch of noodles would provide 1/4-1/2 serving of protein per person. Here, I can get fresh, local eggs free (or very inexpensively) so it might be worth the trade... but it sounds like prices (esp. cheese and dairy) are more where Emily lives.

And of course she's not going to feed 10 children on the same $ as she does now... as time goes by, they will make more money... they will also likely move into a home with some yard which would allow for a great deal of veggie growing (and even a few laying chickens).

Anonymous said...

Uh, have you even READ some of Emily's past posts, Happily Frugal Mama? She and her husband intend for him to gain a pastorship in rural Maine where they intend to try to live on about $500 per month since that is all they anticipate they will be paid. She plans on living in a micro-house and raising 10 children in it. This stuff is in her back blog posts. She has no intentions of actually bettering the situation for her children.

Anonymous said...

See, I think it would be wasteful of both money and time for me to stick my two kids in the car and drive around a couple of times a week trying to find cheap deals. Now, I used to do that, and when I quit, we ended up saving money since I wasn't using as much gas. We shop once the first of the month at Sam's Club and then we get the AFM box in the middle of the month. Sometimes, depending on how much meat I was able to get at Sam's we only get the fresh fruit and veggie box. I hate that you think I'm lazy for using AFM, but I'm not going to waste money driving around every week trying to find deals. Emily, life isn't black and white, and your way doesn't work for everyone just like my way wouldn't work for everyone. This whole thing has turned me off of your blog and I don't think I will be back. I like reading frugal blogs, but I don't like reading blogs where the authors are hateful, mean, and unchrist like.

Marcy

Anonymous said...

Dan does not seem pleased that he does not have a say in what gets published on your blog Emily. He sure does seem to enjoy the things that the extra money from your blog provides though.

What are those marks on your childs arms?

Does Dan still lust after men?

Anonymous said...

Emily clearly took on a feeble minded pet of a husband when she realized that she would need a male to effectively play house.

Honey, people that can barely spell their own names should not be trying to guide others. What, are you going to write his sermons too?

Rebecca said...

Wow! What a supportive husband you have! This was posted on his Twitter about an hour ago:

i dont like angel food ministry it was not right to call people lazzy. its hard to keep tract of evrything
about 1 hour ago from web

amulbunny said...

I used Angel Food about 10 years ago when we were both out of jobs and needed food. My mom and I both did. We got a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner out of it. I didn't use it more than a couple of times, because our unemployment ended. But it fed us.

I can shop at a number of markets because we live in a major population area. I read the ads and decide where I am going, as I'd rather not spend the money on gas bopping from store to store. We don't have a super WalMart or Target SuperCenter near us.

I buy my large meat purchases at Sam's and parcel them and freeze them in our chest freezer. Fresh vegetables even though they are more expensive, I get at our weekly farmers market, organic and local. My family expects good food and I give it to them. If I made your pasta they'd kick me out of the house.

I wish you peace.

Erin T. said...

How do you all even know what Dan's twitters are? I'm just curious. And what marks on the kids' arms? I'm missing something. Emily, sorry so many are angry with you, that's no good for a nursing mama, who is probably lacking sleep like myself. But it was worded harshly. Maybe just pray about your post next time, like pp's have said. Take care, Erin

Anonymous said...

Erin T- google "Ghostdp twitter" and you can read all of Dans 1st grade level musings too!

Honestly, I fear for the future of those poor children.

Anonymous said...

Haha, I love that Dans blog posts go from absolutely terrible spelling and grammar to suspiciously Emily sounding depending on the day. Either he is taking a lot of drugs or alcohol while trying to escape this hell of a life that his challenged brain let him get trapped in, or he is just merely mentally challenged.

Either way, he's not going to be preachin' to anyone except for his own captive flock.

Anonymous said...

Wow, there are a lot of harsh people out there. Emily, while I am not particularly religious and don't live as frugal a life as you do, I do respect your intelligence and resourcefulness and think you have a lot of interesting stuff to say. I also like that you seem more honest and open about your opinions than some people out there who are afraid of offending others. I think some people here are kind of overreacting to one comment.

Anonymous said...

where is dan's twitter?

Anonymous said...

omg at his twitter. they're going to homeschool? dan is probably at a first grade reading/writing level!

Anonymous said...

Emily, when someone decides to share what they have learned that makes them a teacher. As such you have a responsibility to communicate clearly AND kindly to your audience. I was very disappointed in your choice of words describing people who do not use a price book, and even more disappointed in your refusal so far to apologize for your phrasing. Yes, I am sure there are lazy people who don't use price books but it is unkind, inaccurate and not Christlike to casually throw a comment such as that out. Besides, you are still a young woman, and frankly there are a lot of things you still do not know about life in general and moneysaving in particular, so some humility would certainly go a long way here.
Also you need to bear in mind that unlike in-person communication, none of us can "hear your tone of voice" or judge your words by facial expressions, etc so I suspect you came off as a lot harsher than you perhaps intended. But when people are telling you they feel hurt or offended, it would be wise of you to take that into consideration. You could be the most frugal woman on the planet, but without love that profits you nothing.

I speak plainly here but hopefully not unkindly. Your blog clearly has a lot of value but I'd hate to see people feel uncomfortable or unwelcome here when that would be so unnecessary.
-connie r.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you that Angel Food Ministries isn't that great of a deal. I've looked into it and considered trying it, but we don't eat things like fish sticks very often either. I definitely do frugal living, but unlike you, my children eat A LOT (they are older, therefore bigger.) So there's no way I could do it for 200 per month, although when it was just me, hubby and babies I did it for about 300. I don't think that AFM is a scam though, because most people actually DO eat things like fish sticks on a regular basis. I would love to see your recipes using Stevia, I have some but don't use it much due to the flavor.

Hopewell said...

I agree with you 100%!! I used to volunteer in the program. The food was often just plain AWFUL. I never, ever buy a frozen pie [yuck] and the "fresh veggies" were marble-sized potatos and some over-the-hill carrots. Gray meat? Meatless "meaty ribs" ?? Ick.....

She woke up FAT said...

HI I found your blog while hopping from link to link today.

I totally agree 100% that Angle food is not a bargain. It's often unhealthy food, half of it I would not eat at all and I could do much better with my 30bucks. BUT that's because I am a savvy shopper who takes the time to plan.

Hopewell said...

Question: Does your family eat liver? Chicken livers and frozen beef liver are both very inexpensive. Beef liver, sliced like bacon, tossed with seasoned flour and fried crisp is one of my teenager son's most requested foods. Since cholesteral is not a problem at his age I often fix it for him. Just curios--it's such good source of iron and soft enough for little guys to eat.

Anonymous said...

I used Angel Food almost every month. I don't have a problem with it. I think it all depends on what you eat and where you are located. I have a Save-a-lot, IGA, and a supper walmart. Aldi's and Krogers left. So there is not a lot of sales. To me AFM helps us keep food on the table. All I say is don't judge unless you have been in that persons shoes and Tried the food. For you ones that didn't like the food I am sorry. Knot every one eats the same food.

Anonymous said...

Food in Ontario is VERY expensive, unless you're going for dollar store items or UTILITY meat.

Fruit & Vegetables are often at least $1.50/lb and up, depending on the season…

Making a price book is a great idea…

Mary said...

A friend of mine did the Angel Food thing occasionally for her daughter who is on SSI.

They found they weren't using a lot of the items and either gave them away or threw them away.

For example...a bag of "chunk chicken". She offered it to me for my dog. Honestly, I fed my dog Beneful because of an itchy coat which Labs are known for - I wouldn't have eaten that chicken myself (it was 1/2 fat) and I sure didn't want to feed it to my 16 yr old Lab. LOL Gross.

And she'd offer me the tortillas because they got so many with their box they'd go stale before they'd get used.

Nope, I do much better knowing my sale prices and buying fresh.

Keep up the blog - stick to your guns. I gotta laugh at the people who make the disparaging comments yet continue to read you every day. :)
Takes all kinds, my momma said.

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