My Latest Super Frugal Grocery Shopping Trips!

This morning I went into the city to teach a private foraging class- very short on produce. I think I literally had no fruit in the house other than frozen bananas and cherries, and the only fresh veggies half a butternut squash, a few carrots, and a few beets.
I needed some produce pronto!

While teaching about wild edibles I foraged a bundle of Asiatic dayflower and purslane but needed much more produce than that.

So, of course, that meant a visit to the market, because that's where I can buy so many reduced rack type produce (and often even high quality produce) for rock bottom prices.

Because I didn't have the kids with me, I was able to do my rounds and check out all the best prices before buying anything so that allowed me to keep down the cost of my shop.

I set myself a goal to only spend 28 dollars on my produce and guess what? I did! I came in exactly 3 cents under my goal!

The first thing I bought were two punnets with pears, apples, and mangoes for 33 cents a pound for a total of $2.22 for 6.7 lbs.
At another stall I saw bell peppers and beets being sold for 26 cents a pound so I bought 5.2 lbs and fennel for 52 cents a pound so I bought 3.1 lbs for a total of $2.86 for that shop.

A stall that generally has a large variety of cheap reduced rack produce had prices that seemed too high for what they had, so I only bought onions at 23 cents a pound and garlic heads for $1.70 per package and pumpkin (not reduced rack) at 62 cents a pound for a total of $5.20.

Then I went to another stall that usually has a large variety of grade b produce cheaply but I tend to avoid since the owner can be grouchy, doesn't label prices, and gets difficult if you ask prices... But since I was looking for good prices and wasn't finding the ones I wanted, I headed over there to get some staples- zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, but only found a few tomatoes that I liked so that's all I took. He threw in a few bananas, so the total for that stall was $7.14.

I then discovered a stall selling cucumbers for 19 cents a pound, and at that price and since my kids love cucumbers, I bought 7.6 more pounds of cucumbers, plus a package of radishes for $1, for a total of $2.49.

Even though I already bought some zucchini, I wasn't in love with how they look, and since zucchini is a staple in my diet I decided to buy some more better looking zucchini- 7.2 lbs at 45 cents per pound, for a total of $3.25.

At this point I realized I only had $5.70 until I reached my limit of how much I wanted to spend on produce but I still wanted to buy some apples and more tomatoes, so I walked up to the stand where I planned to buy apples. I was going to spend $4.29 on apples and then $ 1.41 on tomatoes. I picked out the apples that I liked and asked the vendor if it was more, less, or equal to $4.29. It was $3.65. More money to spend on tomatoes then!

I asked the vendor with the cheap tomatoes, at 39 cents a pound, if he could give me $1.41 worth of tomatoes, but he said he was only selling them by the punnet. I asked him how much the punnet would cost, and... $2!

Bringing my grand total of the shop to $27.97 and 3 cents short of my goal. (P.S. If you're doing the math with me and seeing that it doesn't add up exactly to what I wrote... it's because I'm converting it all to dollars per pound, so rounding up and down here and there.)

Oh- and after I bought my last produce, I ended up getting some free- a few cucumbers, a few tomatoes, a few kohlrabi, and a few hot peppers. 

In addition to going to the market for produce, I hit up another grocery store for things that I can't get at the market as cheaply.

Total shop there: $41.60.

I went for the gluten free bread- $1.40 per package, cheaper than I can make my (admittedly, healthier) gluten free homemade bread, and a lot less work, so a convenience food I rely on. I bought 6 packages of bread.

I bought Mike 3 bottles of beer for $1.11 each- beer usually is twice that for a small bottle, and these were big bottles for that price. No, the beers weren't a need, but since we drink alcohol together, I figured at this price, beer is much cheaper than any of the other alcohol options (until we make some more homemade alcohol).

I bought a package of gouda cheese- 2.2 lbs for $8.54, which is a decent price for cheese locally. 

I bought 2 mayo jars, which, I know, I can make at home. But, did I mention I'm feeling a bit lazy lately? I don't feel like making my own mayo and then needing to wash out the food processor, so just bought 2 jars. I didn't even price compare these- they were $2.57 per jar. My husband said that's more or less what he generally buys them for. So at least I didn't overpay, even if it wasn't frugal.

Last but not least, I also bought 3 large cans of tuna. I calculated price per pound strained of these cans of tuna, which works out to be $5,08 a pound vs the $6.62 per pound I generally buy tuna at, so it was worth it, in my opinion, to buy these cans for $4.25 each. When I open them, since they're enough for two meals for us (we generally just use 2 cans per meal, and this is the equivalent of 4), I plan on freezing half for a later date.

Total cost for today's shop? $69.60! I think I did very well!

What have you bought lately? Any deals you're especially proud of?

Penniless Parenting

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


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  1. Good work! I enjoyed reading about your shopping trip!

  2. I didnt know you can freeze a can of tuna! I learn so many tricks from this blog

    1. Most canned things freeze fine, because with freezing you're worried about it ruining the texture from the cold, but canning anyhow changes the texture.

  3. I wish I can shop at the open market for fruits and veggies. Its very far for me so I need to buy in the regular shops. vegies are a little high but I get what I need. the fruits are very high in price, why?? even apples for cooking!! they are about 2.5 $ a kilo. we need the fruit as we try not to eat sweets like cake during the week and need something sweet. I have been sticking with pears and nectarines which is slightly lower. I love to read about your great deals!

    1. It's not so close or easy for me to get to the open market, but I do it anyhow, once every week or two, for cheap produce. It's a fraction of the price there for what I need to buy, so I find it is worth the time and hassle of the trip.

  4. I don't blame you for not wanting to undertake the laborious task of washing the food processor after making mayo! I would never make mayo if I didn't have my trusty immersion blender that I swear by. I got it from Amazon and I just noticed that one can be had for under $30 US:
    This is exactly the one I have and it's so easy to make mayo with it (with so little cleanup) that I make it all the time. And I'm not one for laborious tasks! What I do is put all the ingredients into the glass jar I'll be storing the mayo in,then stick the immersion blender in and turn it on,them drizzle in the oil (I don't even bother to do it very slowly or anything). Works like a charm every time and the only cleanup is a quick rinse of the head of the blender. I highly recommend it!

    1. I've tried making mayo with a blender stick before, and to be honest, i dont find it works as well, and its also a pain to clean my blender stick. Lol. On top of that, I cant eat mayo made with egg, so when i make mayo, it also involves my grinder, a pot, and a spoon (to make my flax egg), in addition to all the rest... So more work. I could make them with egg, but then I can't eat it, so its, again, harder to be motivated to make it.

  5. can you drink beer? It typically contains gluten.

    1. I can't drink beer, because, as you said, gluten. (Typically. Gluten free beer isn't sold locally, as far as I've seen.) I bought this for my husband who does eat gluten.

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