But lately, the prices in my "cheap" grocery store have been through the roof, especially for vegetables. I assume this has something to do with a terrible really long heatwave that has ruined lots of crops, but who knows. (I hope its that, because then it means that hopefully prices will go down again.)
Because of the high pricing, I decided that I needed to do something different in terms of produce- I can't just keep on buying produce at the same place for 5 or 6 times the price, especially now that that store is not having loss leader sales on produce.
I decided that I'll be foraging whatever produce I can now, revving it up a notch, and fortunately, I've discovered a whole bunch of new types of wild edibles growing here, which I've been using frequently.
On top of that, my shopping is being spread out a little more, buying in a few different places and not just the two or three stores I was purchasing things in before.
Today, I went to the city to go to the farmer's market, a place known locally for cheap produce. I've never shopped there regularly because with sales, my local grocery store was cheaper for produce, but now that the sales are on hiatus, I've decided to see what shopping I can do at the farmer's market.
I've also been going on an elimination diet to try to clear up my daughter's rash (at the recommendation of my doctor), so aside from being off gluten and dairy and soy, I'm also (hopefully temporarily) being off eggs and corn, which makes me have to diversify a bit in the food department, experimenting and trying new foods, recipes, and cooking methods. I paid a trip to the health food store near the farmer's market that has a bulk foods section, as they have the best prices around for some of these specialty items.
Here's what I got.
Total cost- 45 dollars.
Not everything was frugal, but most stuff, at least, there was something frugal I was planning on doing with it.
What I got all fell within a few categories:
- Relatively frugal special diet foods
- Really cheap produce
- Produce for a frugal experiment I'm doing
- Produce that will be used in frugal ways
- A treat
So, what did I get and why?
- 2.5 pounds of millet. I can't just eat rice and potatoes and rice and potatoes and rice and potatoes as my starches, so I'm trying out some millet recipes to spice things up a bit. These were $0.78 per pound, for a total of $1.97. That's the cheapest price I can find millet around these parts.
- 4.5 pounds of tapioca starch. I use this to make my gluten free flour mix, and both my local stores lately haven't been carrying it, so I picked it up at the health food store for as good of a price as I can find locally- $1.68 a pound, for a total of $7.35.
- 2.25 pounds of chickpea flour. I've been using a lot of this lately, and its only $1.68 a pound here as opposed to the $2.25 per pound it is in the store near me, for a total of $3.75.
- 1.85 pounds of mung beans. I know most people probably will assume this is for sprouting, but I didn't get it for that. I have this really terrific vegan mung bean recipe I've been making, and bought these at the health food store instead of my local store, as they're much cheaper there. I think they were $1.45 a pound for a grand total of $2.65but its possible they were cheaper.
- 1 package of nori. For making sushi. Because its a special treat, and when I make it at home its much cheaper than eating out, not to mention sure to be free from contaminants. At $1.97 for a package of ten sheets, its cheaper than buying it at my local store.
I then bought a few more expensive items for my "figuring out the true cost" experiments. I already made a chart to help you make a true price comparison for different fruits and vegetables, but I didn't include any exotic fruit on the regular chart. Now I'm in the middle of making a chart including exotic fruit, so I spent $1.97 on 1 dragon fruit/pitaya (!! what I do for you readers!!!) and $0.39 on a pomegranate for that chart.
- Pineapples locally are outrageously expensive- usually 5 dollars for one small pineapple. I saw them on sale today, two for $2.50, so I got two for my family as a treat, because they love them so much.
- 7 limes- I rarely see these being sold as the growing season for them in my country is very small. I use limes in a few select recipes, so I got some to juice and freeze for when needed. Fortunately they weren't too expensive- I paid only $0.94 for the lot.
I found a terrific deal on some fruit and stocked up.
- 2.85 pounds of plums- at $0.45 a pound, I stocked up, for a grand total of $1.28, assuming that that was the cheapest fruit I'd find.
- 8.8 pounds pears. But then I found pears for only 35 cents a pound, so I only paid $2.96 for the lot. I may end up freezing some.
- 5 mangos- Mango has got to be a favorite food in our house, but it usually isn't so cheap. I found mango for $0.56 per pound, for a grand total of $1.35 being spent on this delicious fruit.
Speaking of good deals, I found some decently priced veggies as well.
- 6.6 pounds of string beans. These aren't the cheapest veggie, but I use frozen string beans as a backup meal, especially as they contain protein. I figured out with my chart that buying fresh green beans at a low price and freezing them is cheaper than buying frozen green beans, at least with my local prices. I plan on freezing the lot.
- 2.85 pounds of zucchini- We love zucchini, and $0.34 per pound for this veggie is terrific, making a grand total of $0.96 being spent on zucchini.
Because of my success with growing my own celery from a celery base from a store bought plant, I decided to experiment more with my "Brown thumb garden" and try growing a few more things.
- 1 head of romaine lettuce for $0.49
- 1 small sweet potato for $0.74 cents. (Sweet potatoes are at a ridiculous $1.68 per pound, down from the $2.80 they were 2 weeks ago, making me all the more eager to grow my own.)
And, the most expensive treat of all, 2.2 pounds of dates, one of my favorite things to snack on. And while they are ridiculously expensive at $2.24 per pound, at least they're cheaper than at the local store, where dates now are being sold at $4.25 per pound.
But, while dates are so expensive, the question begs asking- are dates really more expensive than other snacks, like sugar free gluten free baked goods, what with all their specialty ingredients....
So, there you have it. What I bought today for 44 dollars and 97 cents.
Was it worth it?
You tell me.