Frugal Grocer took a major step away from the blog world when peak training reached 20-25 hours per week. After that came taper and my repertoire of eating was either veggie tacos or stir fry. Not a lot of cooking unless you count spreading homemade almond/peanut butter on rice cakes with sliced banana and honey. I figured you didn’t want to see that and it wasn’t much of a recipe so I chose not to write about it.
All that being said the Frugal Grocer is making a comeback and it starts today. I went to the grocery store because I needed some thing and when I was there I saw that Lundberg Farms Rice Cakes were on sale. They were 2 for $6 which is a bargain for them, but then I noticed the flavors. I could not wait to get them into the cart. I bought 6 total or spent $18 on rice cakes which doesn’t sound frugal but these packages will last me a good 2-3 weeks. By the way my total bill for the shopping I did today was just under $54, so 1/3 of my total budget went to rice cakes. Oh, and the flavors that I got were Organic Brown Rice No Salt Added, Organic Brown Rice Lightly Salted, Organic Caramel Corn, Organic Koku Seaweed, Organic Sesame Tamari, Organic Tamari With Seaweed. Yes, I lead an exciting life when Rice Cakes gets me fired up.
Anyhow, this piece is not about what I bought but about how to shop and save money. I was on The Kitchen Daily section of the Huffington Post when I saw the title 9 Ways Your Wasting Your Money At The Supermarket. I felt it fit perfectly within the Frugal Grocer mindset.
The presentation on Huffington Post is a slideshow so I’ll break it down for you here:
- Pre-Packaged Salad: This already washed and ready to go salad costs up to 3x as much as buying the salad yourself and washing it on your own. Now, seriously is it really inconvenient to wash salad? Run it under cold water and you are done. Save your money.
- Canned Beans: Not a huge difference between the can and dried beans but over the course of time the savings will add up. Are you afraid to make your own beans from the bag instead of the can? It is easy, just soak them in water over night and the next day put them in a pot and bring to a boil and then simmer. Canned beans need to be washed and then the same process begins.
- Bottled Water: This industry is over a Billion dollars. Is it that much work to put a Brita in your fridge and pour into a water bottle? Speaking of fridges, maybe yours has a water filter built-in. You’ve already paid for the bottled water taste so why not use it.
- Spice Mix: You know the kind for rubbing onto meat that you are going to grill. Why not buy the pieces and parts that make up that spice mix and make your own. Typically the best spices you need are salt and pepper and nothing else but if you do just create your own and forget the one already made.
- Microwaveable Popcorn: We learned this lesson quickly. Karen loves popcorn and has some every night and was originally getting the 100 calorie packs for the microwave. After reading the ingredients list I said to her why not just get your own kernels and pop on the stove. Ingredients: CORN. Add some salt when you are done popping and voila popcorn. She has saved a ton of money going this route.
- Exotic Spices: I do not get these spices so I don’t know too much about them but according to the article you are better off going to an international market to get them because you will save nearly 10x the price of the grocery store. What I do know is that you can purchase all sorts of different foods to try out at the international market. We have an Asian market near our house and the prices are astronomically lower and I can get foods I never heard of before.
- Out-Of-Season-Produce: This one kills me. Why would you pay for the transportation of something that is most likely to be lacking the original nutrition because it was shipped from Chile or Argentina. Purchase what is in season and enjoy the robust flavor and savings.
- Fresh Herbs: I am an offender here. I could and should be growing my own herbs and I just keep pushing it off. After reading this that will no longer be the case. Rosemary and Basil coming right up.
- Pre-Cut Fruit: This is so true. I look at pre-cut pineapple and think to myself what a waste of money. Not to say I haven’t done it but it is a huge waste of money. Buy the pineapple whole and cut it yourself. You’ll get more for less.