Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Frugal Tips #2 Shopping
I watch the local ads very carefully and know who is offering specials. I first went by the produce section to see if there were any fresh veggies or fruit being offered at good prices and did not find anything. I know apples are on sale elsewhere. I was shocked to see cucumbers for $2.49 a piece! I wondered how many miles they were shipped and how much fuel was used to get them there. This year I am working on buying local produce and shopping seasonally.
Seasonal shopping means purchasing what is being harvested in the local area now. It reduces the amount of fuel consumption and gives a message to markets to purchase locally. As consumers we have been quietly hypnotized and seduced over the years to think we are a super society who can have any kind of food at will. We have not stopped to think what it does to our footprint on the earth. Yes, it is nice to have cucumbers in our salad all year round but at what cost? Does shipping them from Central America, supporting cheap agricultural labor practices and countries that traffic in drug trade make a cucumber worth it? Not to mention buying produce that is hybridized, coated with pesticides and probably irradiated. I have come a long way to even think these things when I make a choice at the market.
I next stopped at the meat aisle. Again I did not immediately see any prices within my budget. I looked a little closer and found ground pork and Italian sausage meat that had just had the Manager's Special stickers put on the packages. The meat normally is $2.99 a package. The sticker said $2.00 off. I checked with the butcher and the meat was a day from the date they take it off the shelf. Nothing wrong with it. She advised me to remove it from the packaging, put in foodsaver bags, suck the air out and freeze it. The packaging meat comes in these days is not sufficient to withstand freezing. So for $.99 a package I picked up them all. I got 9 packages of sausage meat. I gave canning it a brief thought but since I am still working on potatoes that only take 40 minutes in the pressure canner I did not want to switch to meat and have to can the pints 75 minutes. I froze the meat and labeled it clearly.
Then I wanted to look at black beans. For some reason I have craved black beans lately and can not locate the white bucket in the storage area. So I wanted to check the prices. This store does not have a bulk food section. On the dried bean aisle the sign said they were on sale at 2/$4.00 for a one pound package. For some reason a voice told me to turn around and on the opposite aisle was the Spanish food. A one pound bag of black beans was $1.79 regular price! So here was the same item right opposite one another at a different price. I know I was going to pay more than if I purchased a 25 pound bag but then if I just rearranged things in the storage room, I would find a bucket.
I then looked at the canned black beans. They ranged in price from $1.29 to $.88. They were promoting canned beans for $1.00 a can with a large display. Now why would anyone buy them at $1.00 when there was a brand costing $.88? Because shoppers see sale and think they have a good deal and don't look around more carefully.
If you have never canned your own dried beans check out my article. Fishing Hole It is easy to do and very economical. The one pound bag would probably fill 4 pint jars for $.60 a jar. The price would drop drastically if beans were purchased in bulk.
The lesson to me was to really look around the store. At the checkout aisle my receipt showed I saved more than I spent and I love those receipts.