Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Latest Shopping Trip

Sunday evening I went to the grocery store and I had an amazing shopping trip- for more reasons than one- and I just really wanted to share my scores with you. Since I've been trying to lose weight and have changed my diet up a bit (very minimal grains, lower carbs, and more animal proteins), my grocery bills have understandably gone up somewhat, especially since the prices of produce lately have gone up and I can no longer shop at many of the places I used to buy... so when I am able to get great prices for the foods I am eating, I just get really excited.
On top of that, I was able to pay for this shopping trip exclusively with money I earned doing something extra, so it didn't even come out of our regular budget, so that was awesome.

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Here's what I bought- at 2 shops on Sunday night- the local large chain grocery store and the local health food store. I paid a total of $139.46 for this shop.

The way I've been going shopping is heading straight for the reduced rack, seeing what's available, stocking up on what I can find, and only buying produce not from the reduced rack if I can't find enough of the reduced rack stuff. This time I was lucky and I was able to find a ton of reduced rack produce, ranging in price from 19 cents a pound to 38 cents a pound depending on what it was.
The produce I got was cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, sweet potatoes, grape fruits, beets, pears, carrots, and a pomela. I got a total of 42.8 lbs of produce for a total of $14.75, averaging out to 34 cents a pound. I didn't end up buying any produce not from the reduced rack other than a banana for Anneliese to eat while we were at the store.

I stocked up on whole grain tahini- 2.2 lbs, and 4.4 lbs of pure all natural peanut butter. These are generally my protein sources in the morning, and the tahini was nearly half its usual price.
I bought a large package of rice cakes since it's my back up carbs/starches for my kids when I don't have anything else prepared.
I also bought some baking paper, found the cheapest package.
I've been finding goat or sheep cheese to be another great filling lower carb protein source for breakfast, but it is oh so expensive. So I bought a little bit of the cheapest type I can buy locally for myself, and bought some cheaper cow's milk cheese for my kids for the inevitable time that they get jealous of my expensive cheese- they appreciate the standard cow's milk cheese just as much as the more expensive stuff.

I bought a bunch of salt, because I want to make some weights for myself, and salt is the most compact heavy cheap thing I can find locally.

I also bought some short grain brown rice at a great price, since I'm trying to stick to whole grains now. I always shied away from brown rice before in favor of white because of phytic acid, but I've been good about soaking/fermenting my rice to minimize phytic acid, and I especially love the flavor and texture of this short grain brown rice.

Last but not least- I found cans of tuna for the cheapest I've ever seen since I moved to this country, I think. We already had a decent amount of tuna in the house from the last time I bought on sale, but at such a low price I couldn't pass up, so I bought another 8 cans.

At the health food store, not on sale I only bought xanthan gum (1 package for $12.54- super expensive but the cheapest I can find locally, and that is factoring in how much it would cost to buy it from iherb), which I need for gluten free baking, and everything else I just bought if there was a great sale and it's something I'd be buying anyhow in the near future.

I bought 2.86 lbs of banana chips- a treat for my kids- which I'll occasionally indulge in- at $1.96 per pound it was more than half off its usual price.
I bought 4 bottles of rice/almond milk- they were buy 3 get one free, so their price worked out to be $3.14 per bottle when the going rate is $4.42 per bottle. To be honest, fake milks are something I can easily make at home, and generally do, since they're so much cheaper and healthier homemade- however, sometimes I am traveling and need to bring something along, and these are shelf stable. And they also are good for when I need a non dairy milk and I don't have the energy or time to make my own...
I got 1.32 lbs apple juice sweetened craisins for $7.42, typically it would be $11.14 for that same amount.
I saw this giant 11 lbs box of medjool dates for $28.57, at $2.59 a pound and I decided to buy it. In retrospect I'm not sure it was the absolute best decision, because I can usually get lower quality medjool dates for $2.59 per pound, but at least these were higher quality ones whose usual going rate is $3.89 a pound.

So that's all from Sunday's shop.

That was gonna be all I would post about, except today I went to a local weekly sale that they'd stopped over the summer, and just started up again last week, but I missed that one. However, I went today and the prices were beyond amazing, so I have to share what I got:

7 lb of chicken wings at 79 cents a pound. (Standard price here is $1.27/lb, standard sale price $1.03/lb.)
6.6 lbs of ground beef at $3.24 per pound. (Standard here is $5.19/lb, standard sale price is $3.89.)
6 lbs of frozen okra at $1.42 per pound. (Standard price here is $2.60/lb.)
4 liters of milk at $1.14 per liter. (Standard here is $1.51 per liter.)
4 lbs of clementines at 38 cents a pound. (The cheap grocery store price is currently 64 cents a pound.)
5 containers of cottage cheese at 85 cents per container. (They generally go for $1.80 per container, and $1.28 per container on sale.)
Romaine lettuce, cilantro, parsley, celery for $4.50. (Don't remember their standard going rate exactly, but its more than this cost me.)
Today's total- $50.

In short... I need to stop shopping!

My freezer is packed. I can't fit another single thing in there. Packed with sale ground chicken, sale ground beef, sale chicken wings, sale fish, salmon heads, sale beef roast, sale frozen veggies, frozen milk, etc.... And I got all the dry goods I need as well...
I'm going to set a challenge for myself and not buy anything other than fresh produce, possibly cereal and milk for the kids if I run out, and maybe possibly goat cheese... for at least another 2 weeks.  Because, quite frankly, there's no need for anything else, let alone room for it... Think I can manage?

 How have your shopping trips been lately? Got any great deals? Have you ever gotten to a situation like I have where you have had to simply quit shopping since you have no more room to store anything, no matter how great the price?


  1. What is your method for soaking/fermenting brown rice to reduce phytic acid? I have just started looking into this whole concept, and would love tips from someone whose been doing it for a while.

    1. I wish I could say I was very experienced with this but I'm not. I put 1/4 cup kombucha vinegar in place of 1/4 cup of the water in 2 cups of brown rice, and left it to soak for 12 hours or so before cooking it up. (Water plus kombucha vinegar plus brown rice to soak.)

  2. I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out why on earth a frugalista extraordinare like yourself would go and buy apple juice?!?! Hello??? Anybody home?? You bought Apples with your produce! Last time I checked, Apples makes Apple Juice!! Your slipping! I'm Not impressed!

    1. I was sitting here trying to figure out where the comment on apple juice came from since I didn't buy any (this trip, anyhow), and then I realized- I wrote I bought apple juice sweetened craisins. This is like raisins made from cranberries, but they are naturally super tart so instead of being sweetened with sugar as the less healthy ones are, these are sweetened by apple juice. Is that what you're referring to?

      That said, I do actually buy apple juice. Concentrate, that is, not apple juice. Because from the non white sugar sweeteners, that actually is the cheapest sweetener available locally, and yes, it is cheaper than making my own from cheap apples, not to mention much easier, since it means I don't have to juice the apples then boil them down until I get a substance that's honey like in consistency.

    2. Wow...just amazes me that some folks who read your blog are just waiting to pounce if they feel you have "slipped"...wow. Thanks for your tips, Penny. Continue doing what is best for you and your family. ♥

  3. Hello Penny, I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now and I really enjoy it! I have become more focused on frugal living over the past year or so but I am no where near the expert that you are! You do an amazing job to parent little people and be so dedicated to frugal living. You come across as very real and put so much detail into your posts. Thanks so much.

  4. I'm very impressed! I've also been cutting carbs for weight loss, and my grocery bills have been going up too.

    And I miss bread.

    1. Thanks Marcia! Good luck with that!
      If you're able to eat eggs, there are a lot of low carb homemade bread recipes out there. Not exactly cheap, but...


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