1. Make use of the bulk section at your grocery store. Buying oatmeal, quinoa, rice, beans or nuts in bulk is often cheaper than buying the same thing in a package. Oatmeal makes a very satisfying, nourishing and filling breakfast at a very low cost. I actually like my oatmeal savory instead of sweet, but you can always add fruit.
2. Other than lettuce, there are usually several items in the produce department on sale every week. I almost always buy veggies and fruit that are on sale and often it is in season and fresh. But don’t shy away form buying overripe fruit that may be reduced. Its great for cooking or adding to your oatmeal. Same with veggies that can be added to a soup or vegetable casserole. Just being aware of what’s on sale every week and cooking and eating around the sale items can save money.
3. A head of cabbage goes a long way and generally is cheaper than lettuce. It can be used for wraps or slaw or grilled or sautéed with other vegetables for a substantial meal that can last for days.
4.Go with a friend to local farmer markets at the end of the day. The farmers don’t want to go home with unsold fresh fruits and veggies. At the end of the day, they may be willing to negotiate if you buy their last bushel of peaches or zucchini or all of what they have left of an item that you know you will eat. They may also have overripe fruits that can’t be sold and they might be willing to give them away if you ask. Take a friend so you can split the goods if you get too much for your personal use. Overripe fruits can be cooked down to make delicious fruits sauce or spreads. Don’t be afraid to mix different varieties of fruit. Overripe tomatoes make great tomato sauce.
5. Don’t ever buy anything you hate just because its on sale and beware that just because something is on sale doesn’t mean it’s cheap. Be conscious of how much things cost and how much you want to spend.
6. Don’t be afraid to combine leftovers. A hot veggie and rice dish one night can top a salad for lunch. Leftover veggies can make a great soup with leftover quinoa or lentils.
7. Paper and plastic containers and wraps cost a lot of money and waste. Save plastic cartons and jars from goods you buy and reuse them for food storage.
Bubbe had consciousness before consciousness was cool…because she had to. She had a fixed amount of money to spend on food so she had to be very aware of every penny she spent and of the value of what she was buying. She could tell you the price per pound or item of everything she bought. She checked her receipt when she got home to make sure she got every item she bought and that they charged her the correct price. If they didn’t, we went back to the store and showed them the error of their ways and they made it right. It is actually amazing how many time I still catch an overcharge particularly on sale items. I had this happen the other day. I was buying apples and they had pink lady apples on sale for $1.47 so I bought some. I wasn’t really paying attention ( because I am privileged and have gotten lazy) but my total seemed higher than I expected. I checked my receipt and they had charged me $3.97 a pound, a huge difference. Turns out, they stuck honey crisp price stickers on the pink lady apples. I got a significant refund.
I inherited Bubbe’s memory for numbers and prices, but every now and then when I forget what I paid for something or didn’t even bother to look at the price, I realize how truly fortunate I am.
Consciousness tips for shopping
Be conscious of what you’re paying for each item.
Watch the register as they ring up your items and make sure they are charging the correct price, especially if it is on sale.
Know what you have to spend and pay attention to what you are buying for value per price.