My Latest Shopping Trip to the Farmer's Market and Salvage Store

On Sunday, I needed to make a bunch of gluten free bread mix to bring to some friends in the city that evening, and to do that, I needed a whole bunch of risotto rice so that I could grind it into flour. I thought that I'd need to drag all the kids with me to the grocery store (a short bus ride away) to buy the risotto rice, since I was sure I didn't have any, but I was very reluctant to do so because that would just add a lot of stress to my day and I wasn't in the mood for that. Before I headed out with the gang to the bus stop, I quickly checked my stockpile to see if maybe, just maybe I had some risotto rice in there and I could save myself a trip.
At first, I thought I had none and then I looked more closely and discovered not 1 or 2, but 4 packages of the rice that I was sure I didn't have, and nearly made the trip to the store to get.
Which made me realize- I need to organize my stockpile.
It doesn't help to have a stockpile if I end up buying repeats of things I have in my stockpile because I don't realize I already have them there.

So that evening, I went into the city, and while I was there, I first went to the farmer's market where I stocked up on some past prime (and not past prime) produce at super awesome prices.

 photo IMG_2571_zps57e67f64.jpg

My family eats a lot of produce, and prices of produce locally have been going up more and more lately. It is important for me that my family be able to eat as much produce as they want and not feel limited there, but I want to keep our costs down, so I try to make the trip to the farmer's market at least every once every week or two, because there I am able to get the most bang for my buck and often get really great bargains.

This past trip was a successful trip, fortunately.

My usual past prime produce stall didn't have anything particularly nice there, so I scouted around and found a whole bunch of produce at super low prices at other stalls. For example, one stall had eggplant and potatoes for 13 cents a pound, so I bought 5.72 lbs of eggplant and 6.38 lbs of potatoes for a grand total of $1.57.

Another stall had great apples for 52 cents a pound. While that isn't a super low price and occasionally I can find past prime apples at my local grocery store for 39 cents a pound, I don't always find them (in fact, the last 3 or 4 times I was there I didn't find them), and I've been buying apples at 91 cents a pound instead. So I didn't mind stocking up on 12.5 lbs of apples for $3.42. I also found zucchini and persimmons (both not past prime) for 26 cents a pound instead of the usual 91 cents a pound I've seen them going for lately (bought 11.64 lbs of zucchini for $3 and 11 lbs of persimmons for $2.86), avocado for 36 cents a pound instead of the usual 78 cents a pound (bought 6 lbs for $2.14), and bananas for 45 cents (not significantly lower than our local price, but a smidgen, and I needed them anyhow for some recipes, so bought 12.54 lbs for $5.60).

In general, I try to stick with produce that is as cheap as possible, trying to set an upper limit on the price I'll pay for veggies (52 cents a pound) and fruit ($1.02), but trying to aim for as low as possible. However, as my daughter Rose grows, she is needing more and more solid foods to be content, but two of the things she eats best aren't always the cheapest- bananas and avocado. I do end up buying these even if they aren't such low prices, though... so I was happy to be able to get them for good prices, even if they were less of a "steal" than the other produce.

I also wanted craisins for a recipe, so scouted out the shops that had apple juice sweetened craisins and bought .44 lbs from the shop that sold them for significantly cheaper than all the other shops ($2.86), along with a drop of unsweetened dried pineapple as a treat for myself (.16 lbs for $1.40).

After that, I headed to the scratch and dent store near the market and I was in luck! Though I've never seen it being sold there before, I found risotto rice there being sold for 65 cents a pound, much cheaper than the $1 per pound it is at the grocery store! I bought 4.4 lbs! It worked out well that I didn't go to the grocery store that morning for risotto rice, since I not only saved the time and bus fare, but I also ended up buying it for cheaper than I would have otherwise!

I also found a can of tomato paste there for $1.14 instead of $1.60 I usually buy it (which worked out perfectly since I was out of tomato paste), and 3 cans of baby peas for $2.85, working out to 95 cents a can (they're usually minimum $1.50 or more per can).
I also bought 7 bottles of wine (a mix of white and red, dry and semi dry) for $3.40 per bottle (a great price round these parts) for a total of $23.80...
So altogether, this shop cost me me $51.93.
Not bad at all.

So, I come home and go to put my shop away... and what do I find?
I had craisins at home already in my stockpile! That I bought on sale a bit ago. For a much lower price than I paid for them this past shop!

Two cases of missing items in my stockpile... One leading to my nearly spending extra time and effort on buying more on something that I didn't realize I had... and the other leading to my actually more of the same item I already had, at a more expensive price.

Which made me decide that organizing my stockpile was top priority.

And what better time to do that and take inventory than right before the new year?

So this post really was supposed to be also about my shopping trip and also about my stockpile inventory... meant to time perfectly for New Year's Eve...
But my baby isn't sleeping well, and it's not so easy for me to find time to write and to do other things I need to get done around the house, so I'll have to leave it here for now.
And leave the stockpiling inventory for another day. Hopefully tomorrow.

But in the meantime- anyone want to guess how many pounds worth of stuff I have in my stockpile inventory?

Got any good deals lately that you want to share? 
Have you ever nearly gone to the store to buy something, only to discover that you had it at home already?

Penniless Parenting

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


Thank you for leaving a comment on your blog. Comments are moderated- please be patient to allow time for them to go through. Opposing opinions are permitted, discussion and disagreements are encouraged, but nasty comments for the sole purpose of being nasty without constructive criticisms will be deleted.
Just a note- I take my privacy seriously, and comments giving away my location or religion are automatically deleted too.

  1. You had a great shopping trip!

    Between your comments about missing things in your stockpile, and your comments the other day about not being able to find your cloth diapers, I'm wondering if you're considering a move to a slightly bigger place as your kids grow? If you had a kids room with a closet, then you could keep labeled boxes of kids clothes and items stacked and easily accessible. Same with your stockpile--enough room for a 12" deep pantry and you can keep an amazing number of items, without it being deep enough for them to get lost.

    Or do you think it's not so much a lack of space in your apartment as a lack of careful organization? I know I find it easier to be more organized when I have enough space to spread things out and organize them.

    1. Its less a lack of space (though of course, that contributes somewhat) than a lack of organization.
      The other contributing factors are that the homes here don't come with any storage space, no closets, no attics, etc... so everything that has to be stored has to be with your own storage solutions, not hidden away as easily...
      We've considered moving to a bigger place, but there isn't really much available locally somewhat bigger- only much bigger with a much bigger price range. We're hoping to stay in this smaller apartment until we no longer can, saving on the higher rent prices at least until we cannot live here anymore...

  2. Hi,

    May I ask how you able to stock up so many fruits as fruits may only last for few days (it will get rotten). For example, the banana.

    1. So first off, we eat a LOT of produce. This fruit will maybe last a week and a half, maybe less... And it lasts that long.
      Secondly, for the bananas- I specifically want them to go brown, since they taste sweeter that way, and I use these mainly for baking and cooking as a replacement for some or all of the sweetener. If I see the bananas are going too mushy, I freeze them. Same goes with most of the fruit- I freeze them if I see we won't be using them before they spoil, and then use them in smoothies.

  3. May I ask what you use to carry such a heavy shop? :)

    1. I have the exact same question. How do you manage to lift such heavy loads (without the help of a car)... while having young children (that I suppose also need to be hold or pushed in a stroller etc.). :S

    2. That is best answered with a pic...

      This was with my old stroller, before it died. I wear my baby in my baby carrier, and then leave my older kids at home with my hubby. Occasionally they do come along and walk.

Previous Post Next Post