My Recent Incredibly Frugal Grocery Shop

Y'all know how much I love a frugal bargain, and I usually am successful at getting them, but sometimes my frugal shops are even more frugal than my usual ones, and they excite me so much that I want to share them with you! This shop of mine was no exception. Unfortunately I lost my receipts so some of it will have to be from memory, but I do know the exact total because I track my grocery totals to know how much I spend per month. 
So everything pictured below- $127.85 dollars. And that was with stocking up on a lot of stuff. I can't even begin to imagine how much it all would have cost if I paid full price.

So where did I buy these?

First thing I did was go to my favorite store- the scratch and dent store. It is hit or miss there, but it's always worth popping in to see what they have- I might just be very thrilled, and believe me, this time I certainly was.
They had shelves and shelves and shelves of gluten free items at rock bottom prices.

Let's start off with the pasta.
I usually pay $2.57 per bag of Sam's Mills gluten free corn pasta. When I can find it on sale, I buy it for $2 a bag, and sales are rare. This time they were selling this pasta for 71 cents a bag. I think I got 10 bags. (That was literally all they had on the shelves. If they had more I would have taken more.) One time I bought gluten free pasta from the scratch and dent store and discovered it was buggy. (They gave me a full refund, of course.) Fortunately I've figured out how to tell if pasta is buggy before buying it, and I checked all these bags and all were good to go.
I also buy rice pasta a lot- it's great for Asian dishes, and doesn't need any cooking- just pour boiling water over it and let it sit- and I can typically get the rice vermicelli for $1.11 a bag, but my kids prefer the wider linguini rice noodles, which cost $2.57 a bag and never go on sale. The scratch and dent store was selling it for 71 cents a bag, so I bought 6 or 7 packages.
They had lots of other specialty gluten free pasta like gluten free lasagna noodles, and black bean noodles, but I decided to skip those, because the lasagna noodles were still pricier than other noodles, I can make gluten free lasagna noodles easily enough (it's the easiest type of homemade pasta to make because it just involves rolling out a whole sheet, no cutting it, no pre-boiling it, etc...) and I didn't think my kids would like the other specialty pastas.

My kids prefer either basmati rice or sticky rice, not the cheaper Persian rice that I can buy at $1.40 per 2.2 lb package, or 64 cents a pound. Basmati rice generally costs $2.85-$3.42 per 2.2 lb package or $1.30-$1.56 per pound. Occasionally I can find it on sale for $2.28 per 2.2 lb package or $1.04 per pound, and I try to stock up then. Imagine my excitement therefore at finding basmati rice also for 71 cents per 2.2 lb package- or 32 cents a pound! I literally bought all the packages they had of the basmati rice- 4, and would have bought more if they had more.

I really enjoy canned hearts of palm. When I'm trying to lose weight, I love them even more, as they're a great snack food, low carb, low fat, and it still feels like I'm eating a treat. Usually I can find them at $2.85 a can, and if on sale, anywhere from $1.71 to $2.28 per can. The scratch and dent store had them for 95 cents a can, so I bought 6. 
Canned corn, another family favorite, usually sells for $1.71 per can, and they were selling them for 71 cents a can, so I bought 4.
Additionally they had a giant 1 kilogram- 2.2 lb container of tahini for $2.85. Usually I buy a container half that size for $2.85, so that was an awesome price for that.

Lastly, they had a nutella spread knock off, for only $2.14 per jar, which seemed like a good price to me. Yes, it's junk but the oils in it weren't hydrogenated, so that's already a big plus for me. I also bought 12 packages of gum for $2.85, or 23 cents a package.

That whole shop cost me 35 dollars. 

Something I didn't mention is that when I'd left the house, I hadn't actually planned on going to the scratch and dent store, so I didn't even have a backpack with me, let alone my typical stainless steel foldable shopping cart. Getting all this home was going to be a challenge, so I decided to buy a small foldable cart from the store to carry it home. They had more expensive options, but the one with the store brand on it only cost $7.14, and even though I spent that much on carrying it home, it was worth the investment, because of how much I bought and how cheap it was compared to its usual prices.

After that, I went to the open air market. Bear in mind I had very minimal room to carry things by this point, but I was looking for fruit. My only stop was to my favorite shopkeeper, Gideon. He gave me 2 punnets of star fruit and 1 of apples for $2.85, and 3 perfect purple cabbages for $1.42. The apples all had stuff that had to be cut out- they were a little yuckier than the standard apples I buy from the reduced rack, but at this price it was worth it, and I cleaned them and froze them to use for desserts.

After that, I went to a large chain grocery store that is known for having cheap prices on gluten free bread. My kids take sandwiches to school every day for snack, and we go through a lot of bread. At the prices I pay for the stuff from the store, it's not worth the money or time to make bread from scratch for them. (And yes, that's what the nutella spread was for. Their snack. Not healthy, but we switch it up. Sometimes cheese sandwiches, sometimes peanut butter, and sometimes nutella.)

At that store, I paid a total of $88.57. 
What did I buy?
I bought a bag of oranges, I don't know how many pounds, for 38 cents a pound. 
I bought a bag of zucchinis and a bag of cucumbers, I don't remember how much they cost or how much I bought.
I bought 2 large butternut squash at 38 cents a pound- an amazing price no matter where. 
I bought 3 large bags of frozen green beans at $3.11 per 2.2 lb bag- this is a standard price at this grocery store but much lower than any other store. 
For my kids' school sandwiches, I bought 2 2.2 lb packages of cheese for $8.54 each. This is a pretty standard pricing for this store, but much cheaper than buying locally.
I also bought 2 4 packs of msg free hot dogs. Typically the 4 packs go for $6.85 each or $1.71 a package, but they were selling them for $5.68 for the 4 packs so $1.42 a pack.
I got 2 giant packages of rice cakes for $4 each, the lowest price anywhere I can pay for rice cakes.
And I bought 10 packages of gluten free bread for $1.40 each.

Just as I went to the checkout, I saw a display filled with bubbly pear and apple cider as well as bubbly pineapple apple cider. The bottles were the size of a standard wine bottle, and cost only $1.40 each! I bought 6!

Now, can I remind you that I went grocery shopping without a backpack and without my regular shopping cart? Yes, this is all without a car either, all traveling via public transportation. When I got to this store, I already had my new small cart filled to the brim with heavy things, and 2 shopping bags filled with the lighter pastas and such. 

I then had everything I bought at this store, and to be able to take it home, I purchased 3 strong bags for $2.85, and packed them and 2 more shopping bags...

And then I was in trouble.

Because there was no way on earth I could carry all my stuff at the same time. 

I got a little too carried away with the good prices, and the logic of how I'd get it all home escaped me.

Fortunately the bus stop was only 500 feet away from the store, so I ended up moving my cart and a few shopping bags a 100 feet, then going back to get the other bags, in 2 more shifts, moving 100 feet or so at a time this way. Eventually I made it to the bus stop, then got directly onto the bus there, and took it to a stop where I could catch my bus home directly from there, so no more lugging heavy things.

Once I got off the bus near my house, I had people who were in my house come out to help me get my stuff home.

Remind me never to do that again, even if I get great sales! Because I have a limit to how much my body can carry at once, even if I am strong.

Penniless Parenting

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


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  1. When I started reading this, I was like, "Why didn't she get more at the scratch and dent store?" Now I see why. This reminds me of the time, a long time ago, when I went grocery shopping with my hand carts and ended up buying so much that I literally couldn't carry it to the bus stop. I ended up taking one of the illegal taxis that frequented this store (literally just random men with their cars offering people rides for money). I was scared I would get murdered.

    1. Haha yes, the reason I didnt get more was because of not having a way to get it home. I look at the picture above and I'm in shock that I managed...

  2. Black bean noodles are very tasty, your kids might like them plus they're gluten free. Also, they have bags that can be easily folded then stashed into your purse and they're quite strong. They're good to hand on hand in a case like yours. Just a thought.

  3. I admire you approach but many of the food items shown (in this post and others) are processed and loaded with unhealthy Carbs.

    1. Hey, I'm not perfect. This is what it is, when I'm pressed for money and time, and with kids who are getting increasingly pickier by the day. I use this stuff combined with lots of healthy produce and proteins.

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