My Latest Giant, But Frugal, Grocery Shop (Part 1)

So today I had a dilemma. My fruit and vegetable drawers were empty. The produce I had at home amounted to a few potatoes, onions, celery, 2 fennel bulbs, some carrots, and half a butternut squash. Zero fruit, and no quick to eat produce either. But it was 2 days until the end of December, and I had 42 dollars left in my grocery budget for the month (out of the original $714) and that included having used my regular grocery budget while shopping in Bulgaria on vacation with the family. (We only ate out once on our 10 day trip.)

I had a few options of what to do- I could go to a local store that is more expensive and buy produce with those 42 dollars, I could take a short bus to a nearby cheaper supermarket and buy 42 dollars worth of produce... Or I could just go to the further cheap supermarket and just do a regular shop, using part of my January budget for this.

As a single mom who is working and quite busy, and as someone who knows that the more trips you make to the supermarket the more you end up spending overall, I decided that instead of being a stickler for rules and missing the forest for the trees, it would make most sense from a logical and even a frugal perspective for me to just go to the cheaper grocery store and do a shop there using my grocery budget from January.

And shop I did. Because I decided to pay for a delivery from the store, and figured that if I'm anyhow paying for a delivery, I might as well make my life easier and get all the heavy things I need from that store, where it is cheaper anyhow, and have it all delivered at once. I mean, I could go back to the supermarket again to do smaller shops, but time.

Basically, I went from "Should I just do bare minimum, or a regular shop?" to "Lets do a massive shop and stockpile". Because you gotta work with what's in your life, and being a stickler for rules that don't make sense for the situation isn't the best thing to do. For the record, I wasn't spending money I didn't have, I just decided to spend some of the money allocated for the January grocery budget, because lets face it, there's just one more day of December, this food will be for January (and probably beyond as well).

So I started off in the produce section, therefore I'll start with that here in this post as well.

The first thing I saw was red bell peppers being sold for a great price- for 49 cents a pound- its usually around twice that, and the yellow and orange peppers right nearby were not nearly this cheap. My kids love bell peppers of all types (as long as its not green) and they don't care what color, so might as well go with the cheaper. I got 3.3 lbs for $1.65.
I also got 2 eggplants for 35 cents a pound, for $2.10.
Got a head of cabbage for 36 cents a pound, for 88 cents.
Zucchini wasn't as cheap as I can get it in some places, but it wasn't bad either, at 62 cents a pound, so I got 3.5 lbs for $2.17.
Tomatoes were decently priced at 35 cents a pound, I got $1.22 worth.
Cucumbers were the same price, I got 79 cents worth.
And, forgetting I already had 3 bags of carrots at home, got a bag of carrots at 35 cents a pound, for a total of $1.04.
Potatoes were also 35 cents a pound (have you noticed how much this grocery store likes that pricing?!?!?), I got a bag for $3.
Onions were 31 cents a pound, I got $1.07 worth.
I got 2 purple onions for a specific recipe, 61 cents a pound, for a total of $1.15.
I nearly forgot to get hot peppers, but I'm glad I did, since I needed them for a recipe. They were $1.01 per pound which isn't so cheap, but honestly, they go really far and weigh so little, so the bag that I got was only 45 cents.

Fruit was something we needed desperately (we had absolutely none in the house) so then, of course, apples.
None of them were terrifically priced, all of them were 87 cents a pound, so I didn't want to get a bunch, but still wanted some in the house for quick snacks. I bought 6.2 lbs for $5.40.
Oranges in a bag and clementines were nearly the same price, at 48 cents a pound, so I decided to go with the oranges, 2 bags for $5.23.
I saw avocado in a bag being sold for $1.01 a lb, which was between 1/3 and 1/4 of the price of avocados not in a bag, so of course I got a bag for $6.63.
Lemons were something on my to buy list because I wanted to make quick pickled lemons for a dish I'm making. They were 62 cents a pound, so I bought $1.79 worth.
I got a few sweeties for 88 cents a pound, not so cheap, but hey, I like them. Total $3.23.
I love that bananas are in season; I got 2 bunches at 48 cents a pound for a total of $3.64!

I just love mushrooms and saw them being sold by the pound in addition to by the package. In the past when it was by the pound, it ended up being more expensive than buying packaged. However, this time I thought they were less per pound than the last time I checked. So I took the packaged stuff over to the scale and saw that it ended up being much more per pound than the loose mushrooms, so went with those this time, and got portobello instead of just button mushrooms! Yay! These were being sold for $2.58 a pound, while the packaged were $4 for a double pack. I got $4.60 worth.

I wanted to get cilantro, and I saw that 3 bags of greens, if bought together, were on sale for $3.40, so I bought a package of lettuce, a package of cilantro, and a package of dill for that price.
Last but not least, I got a package of bok choy which isn't so cheap, but is one of my favorites for making "Chinese takeout at home" so I bought it for a total of $3.69.

Total for all my produce?


Yes, my trip was originally going to be for produce, and what I got was 11 dollars more than what I had budgeted for the rest of December.

Totally cool.

I think I got an amazing price for the amount of produce I got.

I was going to write up my entire shop in one post, but do you know my receipt is 3.5 feet long? I think this is enough for this post, I'll be writing more about the rest of the shop in another post. (And no, its not just the bottles in the picture, I have two other pictures. It didn't nearly fit in one picture!

Got any good deals lately? The produce that I got, how much does it cost where you live?
If you'd had 40 dollars left of your monthly budget 2 days before the month was up, what would you do?

Penniless Parenting

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


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  1. Thanks for the great post. I'm in Georgia (US) and avocado's are going for 77 cents each (for New Years Guacamole), Strawberries are $2.50 a lb but not in season so I won't be getting those. Cherries are in right now at $4.99 lb but they always try to sell them in 2 to 3 lb bags that I have to remove a bunch to get it to an amount I can live with and not waste.

    I wish I could get the prices you are getting. 48 cents a lb for red bell pepper? Here the cheapest they get is $1 for one non-green bell pepper. I did get a 10lb bag of potatoes recently for $3 and a 2lb bag of yellow onions for 99cents and zucchini for 99cents a lb. Asparagus bunch is going for $3 which is a good price. Apples, cabbage and avocados are what's on sale recently. Guess I'll make a ham, serve it with some cabbage and an apple pie. LOL. Can't wait to read your next installment.

    Oh the $40 question. Ummm, since I'm in a permanent state of pantry challenge, I'd buy some fresh veggies and fruits. Then the regular stuff: milk, bread, eggs, coffee creamer, bagged spinach.

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