Monday, September 5, 2016

Some Amazing Bargains I Got and an Exciting Deal I Made

Yesterday, I went into town to do some much needed produce shopping (other than picking up a head of lettuce, a cabbage, 4 red peppers, 6 cucumbers, and a bag of carrots on Thursday, I hadn't bought any produce for 10 days); as a family that goes through a lot of produce, pickings were very slim this morning, so I needed to buy some fruits and veggies pronto. I left the littler kids with my husband, and took just my biggest son, Lee, who turned 9 today, for some mother son bonding time over shopping... And, of course, he is a big help when he comes along, so that was just terrific.

Since I didn't have the younger ones with me, I wasn't in such a rush because I wasn't trying to finish before they got too cranky, so I was able to take my time and stop at the scratch and dent store. Even though the purpose of the trip was produce, I rarely get a chance to stop at the scratch and dent store, which is an amazing place and one of my favorite places to shop for great deals.

This particular scratch and dent store is relatively new, but it is perfect for someone like myself, as they have so many gluten free and often even paleo items for as low as you can possibly imagine. Today I was not disappointed at all!

The coolest thing I saw was palm oil being sold super cheaply. My main cooking oils are palm oil and coconut oil, and I buy them in bulk by weight, not volume, but as far as I know, it works out to be something like $2.28 per liter. And it involves arranging a bulk order, not always so easy to do. I'm actually running low on oil, so when I saw palm oil being sold, 3 liter bottles for $2.85, or 95 cents a liter, I was amazed. Unfortunately I had a lot more shopping to do so I couldn't buy a lot, just three bottles, but, more on that in a little bit.

Hearts of palm were being sold at 95 cents each, so I got 6 of them, since I love them and they're healthy and low carb and a good snack, and this is about half the price they go for in my local grocery store.
Packages of roasted and peeled chestnuts were the same price, 95 cents each. While not as much of a steal as the hearts of palm were at that price, it is something I buy regularly at approximately $1.50 per package and never see on sale, so I bought 6 packages.

While I'd like to pretend that the rest of the food I bought was healthy and nutritious, it wasn't, but what it was, was gluten free and very cheap and convenient.
I love "oyster cracker" type things and gluten free ones are a fortune. They were being sold for 55 cents a package- I bought 15 packages each. Oh, and did I mention that while not exactly low carb or low fat, it is actually grain free and without any ingredients I want my family to be avoiding (potato starch, palm oil, egg, salt, baking powder, and natural food coloring. That's it!)

My second son, Ike, started school on Thursday, a school for high functioning autistic kids (loving it so far, for the record!) and while I would prefer they don't give junk and treats as incentives, they do and I can't get them to stop, so I bought 2 packages of individually wrapped gluten free wafers to give the teachers to give him instead of glutenous alternatives. The two packages, with a bunch of individual wafers in each, altogether cost $2.85.
I got convinced by the shop keeper to buy 4 packages of gluten free wafers for a total of $2.85, or $0.70 each,, because it was such a good price, which I'll use at home as treats instead of buying junkier ones (not that I'm kidding that these are remotely healthy, but at least they have no food coloring in them.)
Lastly, I bought 4 packages of gluten free, grain free, packaged cakes, for a total of $2.85, or $0.70 each. I must admit I've been tempted to buy ready made gluten free desserts sometimes when I'm just too tired to be bothered, but the price tag on them is enormous. At least these were dirt cheap.
Total for that shop was $34, which was amazing for what I got.

But then the amazing part happened. At the checkout, I was talking with the manager and owner about how much I love the store, with their gluten free products and other items I regularly use, at such low prices. I mentioned how I run a few local frugal Facebook groups, and I've posted about their store there before, since I love the store so much and love sharing a good bargain and helping people save money. They told me they know, they remember me, and people have come in to the store, telling them that they heard about that store on Facebook groups, that I brought them a lot of customers. They asked me details about the size of the groups, and then took my number because they had a proposition for me. Next week, they told me they want me to come to the store, and they wanted me to post about the store in these Facebook groups, and in return, they'd give me $60 worth of free groceries (including a lot of palm oil, they said, since we'd talked about why I use palm oil instead of canola or soy)! This is an amazing deal for so many reasons, number one since $60 worth of groceries from them is really the equivalent of $200 worth of groceries. And number 2, because I love the store so much and the deals from there so much that I'd be sharing about it anyhow, only now I'd be getting paid in groceries for what I anyhow would be doing. And I wouldn't feel like a sellout, since I wouldn't be advertising something that goes against my values, but rather something I love and helps people save money! We exchanged phone numbers and information, and we'll be making a date for next week to complete our exciting deal that works out very beneficially for both parties.

After that, I headed to my original destination, the market.
You know, there's a well known "idea" locally that the best time to go to the market for good deals is at the end of the day, when most things are closing, and vendors are eager to get rid of their wares and lower the prices. To be honest, I'm not sure I buy that theory. I've found so many shops that have amazing deals throughout the day, and yesterday, when I arrived at 6:15 pm, most of the stalls where I usually shop to get the best deals were closed. It's not that I found no deals, but it really was much harder to get enough variety and the prices I wanted at that time of day- I get many more deals at 11 am or 3 pm even. There were a few stalls that had their rock bottom reduced rack type deals that I hadn't seen offering that at other times of the day, but overall, I don't think I'll be shopping there again at that time. (Even an hour earlier would have been preferable.)

So, what did I get?
Grade B bananas were being sold at 39 cents a pound; I bought 8 lbs for $3.12, which I thought was a great deal... but later on I found many more places selling grade A bananas for the same price. Oh well.

I saw a vendor with some reduced rack apples listed at 25 cents a pound, and I was going to buy 2 punnets of them, but he told me that if I bought all 4, he'll give it to me for even cheaper. So altogether I bought 15.5 lbs of green apples for $3.43, working out to be 22 cents a pound, which is much cheaper than I usually buy my grade B apples. And these were nice and big, juicy apples.
That vendor saw that I loved a good deal, so he offered me a few more bargains- 2.85 lbs of bananas for 57 cents, or 20 cents a pound! And a mixture of some other fruit, mostly pears, but a few apples and nectarines thrown in too- 5.1 lbs for $2, or 39 cents a pound. Pears were being sold regularly at that stall for $1.40 per pound, so 39 cents was terrific. Originally he'd offered to sell it to me for 52 cents a pound, but when I told him I wasn't interested, he went down to 39 cents. So total at that stall was $6 for approximately 23.5 lbs of fruit, averaging out to 25 cents a pound.

I got 5 ears of corn free (they each need a drop cut off them before cooking, but eh, free is free!) as well as a huge amount of cucumbers, where the only thing wrong with them was they had funny shapes.

A stall was selling grapes for 39 cents a pound, which as it is was a great price. But then they wanted to close a deal with me already, so while I intended to buy one punnet at that price, they said that if I take two, which worked out to 11.5 lbs, they'd charge me only $2.85 for the lot, which was 25 cents a pound, an amazing deal, especially for something my kids really, really love.

Another stall had hot peppers, onions, potatoes, and eggplants all being sold for 13 cents a pound- I only took red potatoes and hot peppers, and paid $2 for 15.4 lbs!

I had wanted to buy zucchinis, as it is one of my staple vegetables on my paleo diet, but all the places were insanely overpriced, between $0.90 and $1.81 per pound, and I won't pay above 65 cents per pound for vegetables unless I have no other options, since I can get so many other vegetables cheaper at the market. So when I found one stall selling them for 45 cents a pound, I decided to buy that. I also bought some tomatoes from him, which were being sold for 65 cents a pound, which wasn't exactly a great price but so few places were selling tomatoes at that time of night that that seemed like the best deal I was going to be getting. Lastly, limes are very hard to get in my country, and the season for them is super short, so when I saw limes being sold for $1 per pound, I decided to get some there as well, to freeze.
Altogether for that shop I paid $10.54, but I don't know how many pounds that was.

Altogether for my shop at the market? $24.50 for all that produce. I know it would have been at least two, if not three times or more for that same amount in any of the local stores, even the cheaper local stores.

(The only down side is my cart got filled too fast with my shops from the scratch and dent store that I couldn't fit more produce into it, so I do think I may need to make a trip to the market sooner than I would have otherwise, but we'll see.)

Total for my shopping trip yesterday? $58.50!!

Last but not least, we also picked out a birthday present for him- 3 Star Wars 7 themed knock off Lego sets for a total of $25 which he has been busy assembling since he got up this morning, and is really excited by.
And right before we went home, I stopped at a bargain cafe that sells everything for $1.25, and got him a little birthday treat- a frosted cupcake.
Lee had a great time, and I enjoyed our mother son one on one bonding time, which we don't get to do so often. Yikes- I have a 9 year old! He's huge!!! And on top of that, got some sweet bargains and made an exciting deal, so all in all, yesterday couldn't have been more perfect!

Have you gotten any really amazing bargains recently? What were they?
Would you make a deal with a store you love to barter groceries in exchange for advertising for them, or no?

Those of you who are local, what time of day have you personally experienced as being the best time to get great deals at the market? 


  1. As far as I can tell, you've been 100% upfront that you have found good bargains at this place all along. You not ever expected a fee for your endorsement, so I'd say, "Go for it!" Disclose that you are being reimbursed for your recommendation though... (although I think that your honest comments about what things are/are not good deals there MORE than balance out the publicity you're being asked to give).
    To me, it seems win-win-win..... you and the owner and your readers all benefit!

  2. how do freeze limes??
    will it work for lemons too??

  3. How wonderful! You did really really really good! :)

  4. They opened a new farmers market near me and before I went I asked some co-workers what they thought. $6 for a watermelon that sells for $5 at Walmart, old fish, and it smells horrible. So that's a no-go. Instead I took advantage of the sales at Kroger and saved 42% overall on each trip. I feel like I did real good for Kroger. I'll never score like you do but I love reading about it.


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