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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Odd Sense of Fun or Just Plain Sensible: An Afternoon Spent Scouting Out the Produce Bargains

Our fridge had that forlorn, empty look these past few days. You know -- when you mostly shop once per month, and it's now mid-month and time to pick up more milk and fresh produce. I actually thought I had bought all of the milk we'd need for the month, but we breezed through those 7 gallons in less than 3 weeks. In addition, despite keeping a fruit and vegetable garden, we like to have a few extra produce items that I don't grow or won't be ready for a while yet.

One of my daughters was home for the afternoon and she wanted to spend some time with me, so we packed up our lunches to-go and made an outing of scouring the local produce and ethnic markets. These markets don't advertise online the way that traditional stores do. So to know the prices, you have to go out and see first-hand. I'm fortunate as far as ethnic markets go. Our area is generously sprinkled with them. I like to check them all out at least once per summer. Then I have a reference point for lowest possible price on many of our produce items. We stopped at 6 markets, breaking for lunch mid-way, finding a park with picnic tables to enjoy an alfresco lunch. One market which has a good reputation for low prices didn't actually have anything that I wanted today. I keep that thought in the back of my mind -- just because I go into a shop or market does not mean that I am obligated to buy anything.

For $8.87 we bought 2 gallons of milk, 1 green pepper, almost 2 pounds of red grapes, a head of cabbage, 3 1/2 lbs of bananas, and 2 cucumbers. The red grapes were a real steal at 49 cents/lb. There were a few soft or moldy grapes at the bottom of the bags, but I knew that I could salvage the majority of the grapes with a wash and sort right after getting home. Upon close inspection, I ended up throwing out about 20 grapes from the entire bag, so I think we did quite well. We used half of the bag for tonight's dinner and the rest are in the fridge for tomorrow and Saturday. The cabbage was 10 cents less per pound (at 39 cents/ lb) than my other lowest price cabbage spot. Some great deals and we're now topped off to get through the last couple of weeks of July.

Bargain-hunting is my idea of a fun day. When I spy a mark-down rack, my eyes light up, conversation trails off, and I am completely distracted at the prospect of a deal to be found. Paired with time spent with one of my kids, and I'd say I had the perfect afternoon.


  1. Shows how everyone is different, I buy my dh a pint of milk a week and he doesn't go through that. Nice price on the grapes, cheapest price here was 99¢. a lb.

  2. I know what you mean! We often do this on Saturday mornings and we make our rounds to about 4 different stores. It's kind of like a date morning. We have found that some discounts are made in the morning hours so that's when we start. It takes us several hours and sometimes we don't find a thing and other times we find a ton of stuff.

    We find milk marked down to 50 cents per gallon, beef and other meats marked down but we have to look closely not to buy brown meat. Sometimes we find fruit or veggies but not too often. A different store often has marked down meat that are better quality than the first store, I don't often buy red meats at regular prices because they are costly.

    We get a free cup of coffee at one store so that is our "date" reward. We're not doing this so much right now as I'm still working on the freezer.

    Remember yesterday we went to Aldo grand re-opening and were going to get something for dinner. I opted not to and made dinner from freezer stuff. We had philly cheesesteak sandwiches with mushroom risotto all from freezer and pantry items.


  3. I enjoy anytime spent with my kids. One of the them is a real shopper and does a lot of price comparison. To tell you the truth, I get tired before he has examined all that he wants to. He has always been that way. When he was little, if he got a little money to buy a candy bar he would spend what seemed like forever comparing prices, weight, and volume of each bar before he would make his final decision.

  4. My family knows--I always stop at the clearance racks in the grocery store. I know where they are all located in each of the stores in which I shop. Great bargains, Lili! Melissa

  5. Hi Cheryl,
    I don't know what happened that made us go through 7 gallons of milk in just a little over 2 weeks. I'm hoping these 2 gallons that I bought yesterday will get us through till August. You're right, though, we're all different in our tastes.
    I had to ask my daughter to check the sign on the grapes, as I couldn't believe they'd be 49 cents/lb. That's just unheard of. But it was because many of them were close to the end of their keeping time. we're quickly finishing them today.

  6. What a bargain date with your hubby, Alice! That sounds like fun, without feeling any guilt about spending! I love that you can get a free cup of coffee to go with the outing!

  7. How interesting about your son, live and learn. I wonder how much of that was learned from watching you and Ward shop and how much was just something innate in him? In any case, he'll do great financially all through life, I'd guess.

  8. Hi Melissa,
    I'm so like that, too! And my daughters now know where all of the clearance racks are, as well. It pays off, though. We've found some amazing deals on those racks!


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