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In Response to groceries by mack59
My fave in grocery savings in my area is the 99 cents only store. They have wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables, all for 99 cents. For example, last time I got a package of snow peas, a broccoflower, a big bunch of broccoli, a package of 5 peaches, a bunch of bananas, a package of three romaine lettuces, a package of celery, two medium-large zuchinnis in a package, 2 medium-large green summer squash, a nice package of mushrooms, all for 99 cents for each item or package. Oh yes, and a box of large eggs for 99 cents - perfectly yummy eggs. Then I got two frozen packages of Edame shelled soybeans. These things are all really healthy, and Edame in the grocery store is $4.95 a package!!! All the other things except the bananas are minimally $1.69 a pound, and generally around $1.99 a pound. A package of mushrooms in the grocery store runs $2.69 and up.
They have frozen foods, grated and sliced cheeses, lunchmeat, and other kinds of frozen meats like Italian sausages. Sometimes they get in a bunch of well-known brand name special foods like turkey sausages for breakfast. Brand names are most often known name brands. Another great buy is the yogurt. Many types - all the expensive ones at the stores. I also get packages of sugarless cookies there - many different flavors, and I get any bags of chips or pretzels for snacks. I got 4 boxes of cereal - two oat bran and two high-fiber twigs (like another famous brand of cereal) in the regular sizes, 99 cents each.
I mix my cereals and then fill the rest of the bowl with fresh fruits - I can get some grated coconut on sale for 99 cents, the bananas, strawberries and peaches (when available, which is generally thru the summer), and I watch for frozen blueberries to be on sale. They go a long way when you are sprinkling some blueberries on top of your other fruits. One 1lb. package lasts me for weeks, and I don't have to worry about spoilage. A breakfast like this with low or reduced fat milk is probably one of the best daily breakfasts you can eat, and certainly not expensive. It holds me very well thru breakfast, and this kind of breakfast keeps my blood sugar (I am type II diabetic) in check, helps me maintain a steady weight without dieting, and helps all my other bodily functions to work really well.
Staples like spaghetti and beans are always a good buy, and you can make them go a long way cooked in the crockpot. The beans usually can be made into good soups with a little meat like the inexpensive sausages, and I do those in the spaghetti too. I add cheap things like the mushrooms, onions, and sometimes things like celery and zucchinis, and then I have a really healthy meal.
Although not food, I got lots of other things that were good values too. For example, I bought two packages of Murine "Tears" to add moisture to the eyes. I live in an area where we get really dry weather, so we are subject to dry eyes. 99 cents a bottle compared to the drugstore prices is excellent. I get things there too like ear buds, which I use not only for ears, but for lots of little tiny cleaning jobs like the keyboard, my sewing machine, etc. Lotions, shampoos, shower gels, etc. are great buys too. They might not be the big name brands, but if you try different ones, you find that they all work equally well.
Big Lots is another favorite and I get things like the good heavy plastic yard trash bags - the kind you pay $11 a bag for, and these cost $4 for the same quality. Laundry detergent is a big buy for $3.00 for a brand that has no additives in a large container that lasts me months. Other cleaning products are also good, and there are often specials for things like potting soil that are way cheaper than in the big name stores. I can buy a pound of good coffee too for $3.00. Jellies and jams, and even the sugarless ones are generally around $2.50 or less a jar, and they are the really good ones.
Big Lots also has good breads that run about $1, but then again, I like the day old bread places too. My mom ALWAYS used to buy all our bread at the day old bread place. Put into the freezer when you get home and when you get it out, it is just like fresh-baked bread.
The local farmer's market is another favorite place to shop cheaply. I go through the whole place before I buy, taking careful note of the prices of different vegetables and fruits. I will sometimes buy fruit that might have a little brown area or perhaps some other minor flaw, but it still yummy. Some other nice things about the farmer's market is that 1) you are out getting fresh air and exercise, 2) If you sit at one of the tables for people to eat their snacks, you will make friends easily while you drink your coffee or other drink and eat your prepared food that is available in some booths, 3) There is always some free and good entertainment, 4) All the booths have free samples of their fruits and other goodies, so you can try new things without having to buy a bunch of anything, 5) Sometimes there is a drawing for a free bag of vegetables and fruits, etc., and 6) In attending the farmer's market, you will buy good food and likely learn some new and healthier (and less expensive) eating habits.
I just want to mention too that many of the Hispanic markets, the East Indian markets, Japanese markets, etc. are very good to buy cheap and interesting foods. I have purchased bags of rice from Japanese markets that had some 15 kinds of rice and other starch things like yams in them and they are so tasty, you could probably make a meal of them. It is a wonderful learning experience, and very fun to find food items you have never seen or heard of. And again, you can make friends by asking the native people about the foods and how they prepare and eat those things. I love trying new foods.
Years ago, I was in a good co-op, and that was a wonderful learning experience and very fun to get up at 3 AM and go where the grocery stores, etc. go to do "the buy." It is a whole other world, and amazing how cheaply you can buy large amounts of excellent foods of all kinds. You learn which places to buy from and which are the best values.
I am embarking on a new aspect of obtaining food. After many years without the book (it had gotten lost), I happened on the book, Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons, and it is all about finding, gathering and preparing wild plants as food items. It is a healthy, fun and definitely inexpensive hobby, and you might get into a group that does this regularly so that you too can learn and have some good friends at the same time. In my mind, no one should ever be going hungry if they just use their imagination and look in places they might not have considered before. You can learn a lot from the Internet too about wild foods, and also find recipes for cooking cheaply whether you buy it at a grocery store or an alternative place.
For me, I will always choose the alternative places to buy or gather food, and rarely go in a grocery store unless I have to. They have their place for a lot of folks, but I am definitely not one of them except for a few things like pet food. Even then, I will look at swap meets where there is always some entrepreneur selling pet food, the same stuff in the stores, only very cheaply. I don't need to read ads to be sure to get the best prices - they are consistently low, and the choices are wonderful. It is actually fun to shop for your food and supplies - it is the great societal leveler. Suddenly you no longer feel poor when you can eat decently and adequately, and you can get other household items you need. And suddenly, getting your groceries is no longer a chore, but an adventure you will look forward to.