Shopping Trip- April 12, 2011

I did a massive shop today. More massive than I've done in a long while, but no regrets whatsoever. I had planned already for the past few months to do a big shopping now, and that was part of the impetus for my no shopping challenge the past 2 months.
I stocked up on lots of things that I found tremendously on sale, and plan on preserving a good portion of even the perishables, for future use. Not my most frugal shopping ever, but I bought what I needed, plus some splurges, and some things that are more expensive than my usual shopping items, but this is the cheapest I can ever find them, so I'm stocking up.

How much did I spend?
265 dollars.
I know.
I can hear your gasp from a mile away.
But this expense was planned.
And budgeted for.
And paid for in cash, not credit.
So no regrets.

What did I buy?
A HUGE amount of food.

Looky look! I had a hard time fitting it all on the table; I needed to pile things on top of each other in order to get it all into the picture.

And now for specifics, what did I get, and why.

Golden Delicious Apples- 9 lbs
Red Delicious Apples- 9 lbs. Apples were the cheapest I've seen in a long, long time. I plan on preserving these in a few ways.
Bananas- 10 lbs. Had a little tummy bug here lately, as well as some recipes I wanted to make with bananas.
Lemons- 6.5 lbs. They cost 13 cents a pound. No way I'd pass that up! I plan on squeezing and freezing for later use.
Oranges- 10.5 lbs. These were very cheap, and I had a few recipes I wanted to make with them. 
Avocado- 1 lb.  I plan on making sushi soon and wanted to include this.
Organic potatoes- 30 lbs. I wanted to buy potatoes, and then saw that organic potatoes cost only 5 cents more per pound! Organics is important to me, but I can't afford it, so this was a good compromise- I think I can afford 5 cents more per pound. It was the first time I saw them at the store, so I stocked up and got tons! Potatoes last a while when stored in a cool, dark place, but I also plan on preserving them somehow.
Butternut squash- 1. I was going to buy pumpkin for a recipe I'm making, but since butternut squash was a quarter the price, we're using that instead.
Kohlrabi- 6 lbs. On sale as a loss leader for 13 cents a pound.
Beets- 6.5 lbs. Also loss leaders at 13 cents a pound.
Sweet Potato- .5 lb. This wasn't so cheap, but a recipe I was making called for one, so I just bought 1.
Cucumbers- 8.5 lbs. At 5 cents a pound, there was no way I'd get just a little. I plan on making fermented pickles and vinegar pickles, in addition to having some fresh.
Tomatoes- 15 lbs. 5 cents a pound loss leader-  buy as many as you can possibly fit in your house! I am making homemade tomato paste with this- I've got an experiment coming up, determining if it's actually cheaper to make your own tomato paste from fresh tomatoes, but at 5 cents a pound, I think the answer is clear.
Eggplant- 2 lbs. Not dirt cheap, but was planning on making something that came with it, so I only got 2.
Celery- 1 head. Again, not dirt cheap, but not expensive either, and I needed it for a certain recipe. I plan on preserving a bunch, as well as using it fresh.
Radish- 4.5 lbs. As a 12 cents a pound loss leader, I stocked up.
Turnip- 4.5 lbs. Also a 12 cents a pound loss leader. Would love recipe ideas for this.
Carrots- 7.5 lbs. A 12 cents a pound loss leader, and fortunately, these stay good for a long time.
Green Cabbage- 5 lbs. (2 decently sized heads.) A 12 cents a pound loss leader, and also has a long shelf life.
Purple Cabbage- 6.25 lbs (2 large heads.) Same as green cabbage.
Fennel- 6.5 lbs. A 12 cents a pound loss leader that my kids absolutely love!
Peppers- 1.5 lbs. Not so cheap, but I have something in my freezer that I want to use up, and the best way to make it involves peppers.
Horseradish- 2 lbs. I'll be using this in my homemade mustard, as well as a few other dishes. This should last a while.
Hot Peppers- 2 medium sized. Not so cheap, but these are sold by weight and weigh so little that they cost barely anything.
Scallions- 1 bunch. I needed these for a recipe I plan on making, and the price was right.
Parsley- 1 bunch. Chopped up and frozen for later use, so I can get the good taste of fresh, but don't need to worry about spoilage.
Coriander- 1 bunch. Same as parsley, but I have a specific fish recipe in mind (Moroccan style perch) that I plan on making with the coriander. 

Dry Goods
Sugar- 13 lbs
Salt- 4 lbs
Brown Sugar- 2.5 lb. 
Baking Powder- 1 large package.
Cocoa Powder- 1 lb. We're out.
Quinoa- 2.5 lbs.
Dried Coconut- 3.5 lbs. For homemade granola and a whole bunch of other stuff, including homemade coconut milk, homemade coconut cream and homemade coconut flour. Cheapest I've seen it in a long time, so I stocked up.
Potato Starch. 3.5 lbs. A good GMO free alternative to corn starch, and I saw it at a great price. Also works well for gluten free diets in cake making and as a flour replacement.
Black tea bags. 1 large package. For kombucha and iced tea making, because we're completely out. 
Dried mushrooms- oyster and shitake mushrooms. 2 packages. For a dish I'm making for company. I only plan on using a bit and saving the rest of the package for other times.
Raisins- 2 lbs. For homemade granola. 
Craisins- 2 lbs. Also for homemade granola.
Dates- .75 lbs. A good, healthy sweet, bought for a cheap price. I need it for a specific recipe as well.
Dried Figs- .1 lb, 2 figs. Needed for a specific recipe.
Almonds- .75 lb. For homemade nut flours and homemade granola.
Walnuts- .75 lbs. Same as almonds.

Canned mushrooms- 3 cans, on sale.
Tomato paste- 4 cans, lowest price I've seen in a while and I wanted to take advantage and stock up.

Hazelnut oil- 10 bottles. It's not soy oil, its not canola oil, it's not corn oil, it's not oil made from a genetically modified plant and over processed to make it "edible". And according to the Nourishing Traditions type diet, its a healthy oil. Since the prices of oil are skyrocketing where I live, and I found this oil for relatively cheap (still more than I used to pay for sunflower oil, but less than sunflower oil costs now), I stocked up.
Wine Vinegar- 1 bottle
Balsamic Vinegar- 1 bottle. Both vinegars were splurges, but I'd wanted a healthy vinegar other than my homemade kombucha vinegar that I've been using, and I know these will last me a while. Fortunately, they were definitely not very expensive. 
Grape Juice- 2 bottles. On sale for 22 cents a bottle. Couldn't pass that up!

Animal Products
Milk- 6 liters. Usually I wouldn't buy this because I have bulk powdered milk, but I'm making some recipes that don't work with powdered milk.
Butter- 2 sticks.
Yogurt- 1. Starter for some more batches of yogurt.
Sour Cream- 3 containers. For making homemade cream cheese.
Cheese Slices- 1 lb. Decent price, and a good chunk is going in the freezer for later.
Chicken Wings- 2.5 lbs. Great price!
Chicken Gizzards- 2.5 lbs. As always where I live, the cheapest type of animal protein. 
Perch- 2.75 lbs. We're having company this weekend, so was planning on making this.

Chocolate spread, 1 container. It cost 28 cents, and even though I was cringing when buying it, I know my husband likes it and would have been disappointed if I passed up that sale.
Ketchup- 1 container. Decent price and its my husband's vice.

Turmeric- 1 tiny package
Paprika- 1 small package
Garlic Powder- 1 small package
Ginger- 1 small package
Nutmeg- 1 small package.
All these I bought by weight from a store that lets you buy however much you want instead of predetermined sizes. In addition to being cheaper per pound this way, it also allows me to not overbuy spices that I rarely use- I can buy as little as a teaspoon or tablespoon of spices this way.

Non Food Items
Sponges- 6 pack. We're out.
Parchment Paper- Pack of 50. We're out.
Aluminum Foil- 2 pack. We're out.
Laundry Detergent- 13 lb package. I could make my own, but I'm out of my homemade soap to make my detergent, and don't have good commercial soaps available for making the detergent. And we're out.
Dish Soap- 3 pack. We're out.

In summation- I got-
165 lbs of produce!
38 lbs of dry goods!
6.5 lbs of cans cans!
3.5 gallons of shelf stable liquids!
1.5 gallons of milk!
3.5 lbs of other dairy!
17 lbs of other animal products.
2.5 lbs of condiments.
A variety of spices.
And a large amount of non food items.

232.5 lbs of food, and 5 gallons of liquid, plus a bunch of non food items.
I calculated out how much I ended up paying per pound, and it was a minimal 97 cents per pound on average. Not a bad price at all.
So yes, a ton of food. Wasted money though? Only if this stuff spoils, but as I'm preserving much of it, and much of it will last a while, I would say that even though I spent a huge amount of money, this definitely was a frugal, if large, shopping trip.

For the record, I plan on making a bulk foods order again at the end of April, so we'll have tons more food coming in, like oats, coconut oil, and whole wheat flour.

Would you consider a large shopping trip like this frugal, if you purchased a ton of food? Does your definition of frugal mean a lot for your money, or as little money spent as possible?
What's the largest food shopping you've ever done? Would you have room for 165 lbs of produce in your house?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Wow I am jealous that you can buy that amount of food for that price!! I am in Australia, and we pay sky high prices for food, especially fresh produce. Eg at the moment due to floods etc bananas are around $13 a kg. Insane!!

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