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Saturday, January 18, 2020

My Latest Frugal Shop



On Thursday, I realized that I needed to go grocery shopping. I had some spare time so I could do some comparison shopping, but I wanted to stay local as much as I could. There are two stores close to me that are walkable, and one has better prices for certain things, and the other has better prices for other items. Though I don't usually hit up both at once, this time I decided to do so.

First off, I went to the grocery store that has better prices on meat. They had a sale that many of the meat items would be discounted if you spent more than $60 on non sale items, but only 3 kilograms/6.6 lbs would be at that lower sale price.

I wasn't sure what to get, because lots of the items in the store that I wanted to get specifically were sale items, and what wasn't officially a sale item was low priced enough that I didn't think I'd manage to reach $60, but I looked around and tried to find items that I needed and would buy soon anyhow and use that to reach the $60.


So first of all (ok, honestly, last of all, since its breakable and went on my grocery cart last, but writing it first) I got eggs, which are cheapest there.
30 medium eggs at $6.82 (or $2.73 per dozen), which probably doesn't sound that cheap to you Americans, but this is dirt cheap locally. I got 2 trays of 30 each.

Though I specifically needed proteins (the reason I came shopping was because my supply of chicken was going really down), I knew that this store often had great price for produce.

And they did for some of the stuff.

Clementines, beets, and eggplants were all 26 cents a pound. I still had one eggplant at home, but decided to buy more, because at that price, why not? The beets weren't in the best condition so I decided to buy enough for one batch of beet salad, and then I got a large bag of clementines.

They also had butternut squash for 39 cents a pound, so I bought 2 large ones.
Apples were 65 cents a pound, which isn't super cheap, but I knew it was a decent price, and would be cheaper than the other store (and I was right) so I decided to get a bag filled with them.
I got a few hot peppers for $1 a pound, but honestly they weigh so little that the price I pay for them is negligible even if they aren't so cheap per pound (it was 22 cents for what I got).
I got a package of bean sprouts for $1.42, a package of parsley for $1.29 and a pack of garlic for $1.86.

Ok, but because those were low prices, I knew I probably still didn't hit the $60 mark.

So I looked around to see what I could find.

Frozen ground chicken was being sold for $2.82 per half kilo (approx 1 lb) pack because its expiration date was nearing. This is a great price for pure protein (I made sure it wasn't filled with additives) so I bought 4 packages, all they had.
Their price for chicken breast was higher than it had been; they were now charging $3.10 a lb for it instead of the $2.46 it used to cost, but it still was worth it, based on my calculations, because they are in individual packages, which means I can just defrost one for a meal and use it in stir fry and it stretches far, but I'm still a bit said that they no longer have the lower prices on them. I bought 3 packages.
I got two small packages of quark cheese, not particularly on sale, but not bad priced either.

Since I was having guests, I decided to buy 4 bottles of drinks for $5.70 (the sale was only if you bought 4).
I got two bottles of grape juice for $3.70 each, and two bottles of white wine for $5.40 each.
I bought 2 loaves of sliced bread for school lunches, $1.69 per loaf.
I got a kilo package of basmati rice on sale for $2.25, and a kilo package of brown short grain rice for $2.82.

So now that I definitely was over the $60 mark, I saw that both frozen and fresh whole chickens were $1.29 a pound instead of their usual price of twice that, but there was a limit of 3 kilos/6.6 lbs for each of those with the sale price, so I got 2 fresh and one frozen one at that price. The two fresh ones combined were slightly more than 3 kilos, so they charged me 3 kilos at the sale price and the last .15 kilos they charged the full price for. Then with the frozen chicken they were trying to argue that I already got the sale price for the whole chickens, but I pointed out to them that frozen chicken and fresh chicken are two different grocery items, and I should get the 3 kilo max for each of them. Finally they saw what I was saying and gave me them both at the discount.
I got 3 kilos of fresh chicken wings at 69 cents a pound. I looked on the shelf where the sale was written and it didn't say limited to 3 kilos, so I took a bunch of packages since that was a great price. However, at the register they told me about the limit, and I tried arguing with them that if the limit isn't written they can't impose it at the register. But then I went back to look, and it did have a sign saying that on the fridge itself, even if not on the shelf, so I stuck to the 3 kilos.
Lastly, they had hunks of beef on sale for for $3.49, so I bought one, because they were large and it was the only one I could get under 3 kilos.

Total for this shop? $132.85.

I brought this home and walked back to the grocery store (since after the first shop my wagon was full, and fortunately each are less than a five minute walk from my place) and decided to see if they had cheaper produce than the first store had.
I price compared and saw that tomatoes, cucumbers, fennel, and bananas were all on sale and cheaper than they cost at the original store, so I bought some of those, which were the veggies I still needed at home.

I got another thing of quark cheese, since my kids like it on sandwiches and I liked the price there better than the original store.

They had whole green beans on sale for cheaper than I usually find it, and cheaper than cut green beans, and I like them whole better, so I bought 2 packages.

And then I saw the fish. I bought fish recently at a cheap price thinking that it would be a great, cheap protein, thinking that all white fish are the same, but after trying to make it the first time, realized that it wasn't good fillets but rather disintegrated when cooking. I'm still cooking it up in various recipes, such as fish curry, but it isn't going to work for the general meal ideas I had for it. Fortunately, a higher quality white fish, St Peter's fish, that usually sells for $4.80 per pound for fillet was on sale for $3.24 per pound if you bought exactly 4 kilos of it, so I did that. Fortunately the cashier was paying attention and realized that I was charged full price which I didn't notice until after I paid, so she gave me a refund via my debit card, so all was good. Hats off to cashiers who notice their mistakes and fix them!

Total for this shop? $50.18.

You might be wondering, since I did a big shop on the last day of last month out of this month's budget, and this shop wasn't too cheap, how much I actually have left of my monthly budget? I still have $120 of my monthly grocery budget and there's 13 days left of the month, so we'll see if I manage to stick to that. My house is pretty full, I think I should be fine, but if not, I am ok with going a bit over budget this month. We'll see, and I'll let you know at the end of the month how I did.

How much of an effort do you make to do comparison shopping and getting the lowest prices for everything? Or do you just pick a cheap store and say this is all the shopping I'm doing today, and I'll do another cheap store a different time, but never split between two stores the same day getting the cheapest in each one?

6 comments:

  1. Have you ever considered making your own bean sprouts? Much cheaper than buying, and you can vary the type of bean. Basically, put a cup of dried beans in a large jar, cover with water, and place on it's side in a window. Drain and replace the water each day. It about a week, you will have fresh bean sprouts!

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  2. I just paid 48 cents for a dozen eggs! But your produce prices are all better than mine - so we are even! :)

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  3. PS - regarding the life insurance post - just an FYI that there are types that do not accumulate cash value at all (term and some whole life) so the options you listed wouldn't work for those. But awesome post as a lot of people do not know about these things!

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  4. A super frugal idea! Lentil sprouts are fast rowing and tasty too.

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  5. In our town there's an Aldi, a Lidl, and two supermarkets, all within easy cycling distance of each other. So I always go the Aldi for dog food and cat food (it's not the absolute cheapest, but the difference is literally two cents and the cats like it but not the Lidl's), yogurt, and eggs. If they have meat on sale, I'll get it from there. The Lidl has decent produce but it's always a crapshoot if they'll have what you're looking for. The other two supermarkets are similar enough in price for non-sale items, but I get personal discounts for things like whole chickens from one so that's where I go. I use the other supermarket during the week if I forget to get something or if I need something basic that's never on sale (like vinegar).

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  6. I have an app that I use for keeping track of the best prices for food and groceries that I buy regularly. It has been very helpful. I am a homebody, so I usually just go to my low cost grocery store in one day. Occasionally I will go to a specialty store next door if I need something there the same day I do my main shopping. Then I do my warehouse store trip on a different day.

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