Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Stocking Up At An Incredible Sale

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My groceries. I had no energy to lay them out
pretty for a picture- so here are the filled bags!
Anneliese REFUSED to leave the picture's frame..
A few days ago, when I was waiting for the bus, I saw this poster announcing this sale on groceries by a certain local organization that tries to provide cheap food and groceries to the area. In memory of someone that passed away, they said that today they'd be having a sale with even better prices than usual, and I took a photo of the sign, to study and see if it was really worth it to shop there. We're tighter on cash at the moment, so even if its cheap stuff, unless it is incredible pricing, I can't just stock up on things and use up our cash on that.
At the same time, I am due relatively soon, and I'm honest with myself that I need to take it easy after I give birth, that I need to be able to feed myself and my family without too much stress, and reduce the amount of housework I have to do... even if it means spending more money on groceries than I would usually. Since this sale was selling things that would make my life easier after birth, at amazingly low prices compared to their typical prices, even compared to the incredible prices that they usually offer, I decided that I would stock up on certain things, all the while trying to be frugal about it.

I hadn't particularly planned on blogging about my shop, but I bumped into a local blog reader who was also at the sale, and she said she looked forward to reading about what I bought and why. So Ruth, here it is. In your honor! And I hope other people appreciate this post as well.


So, at this sale, ALL the produce was approximately 30 cents a pound. Amazing prices. They had avocado, sweet potatoes, pears, persimmons, bananas lemon, pomelas, sweeties, all types of apples, cabbage, cucumber, beets, tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, radish, kohlrabi, zucchini, fennel, corn, potatoes, onions, carrots, clementines. All for that price. And good quality produce- not "reduced rack" quality. Keep in mind that in general, produce locally is generally between 65 cents and $1.16 per pound. Lately I've been going to the "reduced rack" store at my local farmer's market for produce, and have been buying a bunch of produce, not just "cheaper stuff" like carrots, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc... but even more expensive things like broccoli, cauliflower, fruit, swiss chard, etc... and it works out to be roughly 32 cents a pound- which is terrific.
But this sale was even cheaper- approximately 30 cents a pound! So, I decided to stock up on produce that tends to be more expensive, and then just buy the cheaper stuff- onions, potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, citrus fruit... from the farmer's market- where I can find them on the reduced rack for as little as 12 cents a pound. I bought a TON of produce- at least pounds total, and paid $26.75. I would have bought more of some stuff, but some of the stuff had limits on how much you could buy. (I am not 100% sure how many pounds I bought, because my scale was being funny, so the weights aren't exact.)

Specifically, I bought 12 pounds of apples, 6 pounds of radishes, 12 pounds of eggplants, 6 pounds of pears, 12 pounds of bananas, 3 pounds of zucchini, 5 pounds of persimmons, 15 pounds of fennel, 12 pounds of sweet potatoes, 6.5 pounds of avocados... I bought larger quantities of things that either last a while (such as apples and sweet potatoes) as well as things like bananas, fennel, and eggplant which I plan on chopping and freezing. This stuff was less for after birth, and more just because it was great prices.

The other thing that I got because it is simply a great price- tomato paste for 95 cents a can. Usually it's between $1.28 and $1.71 per can locally, and that is for tomato paste that has sugar in it. (Tomato paste without sugar in it is nearly impossible to find!) This tomato paste is sugar free- it's just pure tomatoes, and only 95 cents a can. I bought 9 cans, but should have bought more. (Didn't realize it was sugar free until I got home...)

The rest of the stuff- are they frugal per se? Well, it's more frugal to simply do without them. But as I said, I'm being honest with myself about what I need for after birth for my sanity, and to help me recuperate. I will be using disposables- simple fact, so I don't have to spend the time and energy washing dishes. I will be serving fewer legume meals and more animal proteins, simply because they're easier to make without energy, without having to think about how to spice them and add extra ingredients to make them tasty... I will be serving my kids cereal and milk for breakfast instead of some homemade stuff like pancakes or muffins or porridge. But, at the very least, if I will be doing all this, at least I want to do it as cheaply as possible.
The challenge for me is to make sure that I don't just use these things now that I have in my house, but to actually leave them until I give birth, and only then use them.

Usually beef goulash meat is between $3.90 and $5.20 per pound, and at this organization's weekly sale it costs $3.24. Today, it was $2.60 per pound, so I bought 11 pounds, for a total of $28.60. I plan on using this more sparingly, for special occasions, since it's the most expensive of the stuff that I bought.
Ground beef locally usually costs $3.89-$4.55 per pound. At this sale it usually costs $3.24. Today it cost $2.58 per pound, so I bought 6.6 pounds for $17 dollars.
Ground turkey usually costs about $3.24 per pound. At this sale it usually costs $2.60 per pound. Today it cost only $2.07 per pound, so I bought 13.2 pounds of ground turkey, for a total of $27.32.
Tuna fish locally usually has been $1.71 per can. Today it was only $1.33 per can, so I bought 12 cans for $15.96.

My husband's lunch, when I have no energy to actually prepare anything, is cottage cheese and rice cakes... Cottage cheese usually costs $1.70 a container or more, and at this sale usually $1.28. Today it was $1.14 each, so I bought 12 for $13.70. (I froze most of them.)

Milk usually costs $1.28-$1.42 for a liter. Today it cost $1.14 per liter, so I bought 6 liters (and froze them) for $6.84.

One of my super lazy suppers is pressure cooker white rice and frozen green beans. Usually, locally, they cost $2.85-$3.40 per pound. At this sale they generally cost $2.28 , and today they were only $1.42 per pound so I bought $5.70.

In terms of disposables... I bought 7 packages disposable cups for $5.70- usually it would be $8 for that. Bought 7 packages of disposable bowls for $5.70- usually it would be $8 for that. I also got 5 packages of disposable plates for $5.70- usually it is $7.15 for that.

For my entire shop, I paid approximately $170. (If you're seeing the numbers don't add up perfectly, it's because I didn't get an itemized bill from the sale, and the weights of the produce and consequently the final price for the produce that I listed weren't exact...)

I am pretty pleased with my shop.

In order to fit everything in my freezer and fridge, I had to majorly organize my freezer, as well as cleaning out my fridge and freezer. The odds and ends that I cleared out my of freezer and fridge ended up going into a delicious soup for supper tonight.

How much cheaper than the typical price does something need to be for you to feel that it's worthwhile to stock up? What do you tend to spend more on, after you give birth?

9 comments:

  1. How did you get all of that home? Would love to know if you had help! Looks an awful lot (and for those prices, I'd do the same).

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    1. My stroller. Lay down the seat, piled up the seat high, used the hood to hold stuff in. Filled the basket under the stroller, and tied a bunch of bags to the handlebars. :-D And then walk very slowly and carefully so stuff don't fall off...

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  2. what will you do with all those radiches?

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    Replies
    1. I like slicing radishes and just eating them with salt sprinkled on top.

      But here are some great radish recipes-
      http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2011/01/raw-radish-beet-and-fennel-salad.html
      http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2011/01/russian-radish-salad.html
      http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2012/03/mu-sangchae-korean-turnip-salad-recipe.html <-- This recipe can be made with radishes instead of turnips.

      Enjoy!

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  3. I love radishes like that also...They are also good with salt,pepper and lime juice!
    Great job on the shopping haul. Us moms gotta do what we gotta do when we are pregnant and about to have a baby...and after too..You do a great job...and you should never feel guilty for trying to make your life a little easier. I am jealous at how little all that produce cost..but your meat prices are so expensive..and tomatoe paste is so expensive there. I wish I could mail you a bunch...its so cheap in the states! Ive been checking your blog a couple times a day..LOL when you didnt post for a couple days, I thought for sure you had the baby. Do you know if its a boy or a girl yet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea, each location has different prices for different things. Locally, chicken and meat is REALLY expensive, fish is sometimes even more expensive than meat... Which is why I tend to lean towards vegan meals. Dairy is also really expensive here. Even beans aren't so cheap, but at least they are cheaper than animal proteins. Eggs are pretty expensive too comparatively. Frozen and canned stuff are very expensive, as are things like cereal.
      Produce, on the other hand, is relatively cheap year round for most things. You win some, you lose some....

      Yea, I know what I'm having... but it's a surprise. :-D Didn't have the baby yet- don't worry, I'll post when I do. Last time I posted an announcement within a few hours. My midwife told me to go to sleep, and instead I was updating my blog... Lol.

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  4. I would love to hear how you store all the fresh produce so that you can still use it after two weeks (or does it not last that long?). With the exception of apples and potatoes, that's about as long as I can manage to store food. Of course I know that you're expecting--and good luck with the delivery!--so maybe it would be a good post in a month or three?

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    Replies
    1. I try to time how I use my produce, based on how long it would last. The avocados that I bought were rock hard, so I am storing them in the refrigerator, and taking them out a few at a time to ripen when I want them to. The pears also are hard, and will take a long time to soften before they go off, while being stored in the fridge. The eggplant I am slicing and freezing, and am also slicing and freezing a lot of the fennel. The bananas I want to brown to be able to use them as sweeteners, so i'm keeping them out until they go all brown, and then i'll freeze them. Sweet potatoes I'm keeping out of the fridge, and will use them before they go bad. Apples and radishes and persimmons last a while in the fridge....

      When I buy tomatoes and cucumbers, I try to get tomatoes greener, and then they last longer in the fridge. And I try to use up cucumbers as soon as possible because they're some of the quickest things to spoil. Same with greens like chard and lettuce, etc....

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    2. Carrots and onions and apples and potatoes and sweet potatoes and other root veggies can last a month or longer in the fridge.

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