It’s time for another grocery trip! Well, last week I completed one, anyway. Now I have to tell you what else I’ve learned.
This past week, I learned a couple very important lessons. One which you probably already know, and one which you may never have thought of (just like I hadn’t, until it suddenly hit me a few days ago). So let’s see.
First, seek out interesting local resources. I live near Amish country. In fact, I could probably drive in almost any direction and find an Amish community. I had forgotten that some of these Amish stores might be within a reasonable distance from me, but then a friend (thanks Michelle!) told me about one that was fairly close. I checked it out, and scored sucanat and spices at prices way lower than what I was paying elsewhere. I even got a pastured chicken cheaper too! Overall it meant perhaps $10 savings on my grocery budget…just on the few items I bought.
Second…when buying certain things, like honey or maple syrup, the price per pound is not equal to the price per 16 fluid ounces. I had assumed it was…big mistake.
Raw honey — 16 fluid ounces actually weighs about 1.35 lbs. So whether you’re buying in fluid ounces or pounds really matters. I was buying it by the pound, for $3.79. That actually translates to about $5.12 for 16 fluid ounces. But, now that I’ve done the math, I know the price to beat no matter which way it’s sold. I wrote it down in my handy little notebook, too, just in case I forget.
Maple syrup — To be considered real maple syrup, a gallon (16 cups, or 8 pints) weighs 11.3 lbs…not 8 lbs. That means that when I was paying $4.95/lb., I wasn’t actually getting 16 ounces at all (that was kind of a relief, because it meant we weren’t going through as much as I thought we were!). And my price per gallon wasn’t $40, it was really $56. Well, now I know what my price to beat on maple syrup is too, regardless of the way it’s sold. (Hoping for a quart for less than $14, but I fear this may be wishful thinking…. I have, however, been told that a local farm sells it for $50/gal if you buy the whole gallon…so I may just go that route.)
Here’s the crucial lesson: know your prices. And make sure that you’re comparing apples to apples when you’re trying to figure out the best price. Price per item or volume is not the same as the price per lb. I knew that in some cases — for example, I know most bananas weigh around 1/2 lb., and Trader Joe’s sells them by the banana for $0.19. This gives me an approximate price per lb. around $0.40, which beats anywhere else I could buy them. But, now I’ve learned my lesson on maple syrup and raw honey, too.
So what did I actually buy?
- 1 gal. Grade-B maple syrup — $50
- 1 lb. organic limes – $3
- 1 red onion – $0.50
- 1 bunch cilantro — $0.75
- 2 canteloupes – $3
- 2 lbs. peas — $2
- 2 lbs. broccoli — $2
- 2 lbs. tomatoes — $4.50
- 3 jalapenos — $0.40
- 1/2 gal. orange juice — $2
- 3 lbs. tortilla chips — $7.50
- 2 lbs. organic apples — $2.50
- 11 bananas — $2
- 1.5 lbs. mangoes — $2.50
- 2 lbs. organic carrots — $2
- 1 lb. almond flour — $4
- 0.75 lb. raw Romano cheese — $4.50
- 0.5 lbs. raw sharp cheddar — $4
- 0.75 lbs. raw mild cheddar — $3
- 1 lb. almond butter — $5
- 32 oz. bottle organic grape juice — $3
- 10 lbs. organic potatoes — $8
- 2 lbs. organic celery — $3
- 0.5 lbs. zucchini — $1
- 1.25 lbs. organic lettuce — $2
- 1 box cumin — $1
- 1 box onion powder — $1
- 1 box oregano — $1
- 1 box basil — $1
- 1 box arrowroot powder — $1
- 4.5 lbs. sucanat — $8.50
That’s about $90 on “regular” groceries, plus the $50 on maple syrup (clearly bulk…since it’s a full gallon! I expect it to last maybe 3 months). Truthfully it was about $100 from my “regular” money; I pulled just $40 out of bulk for the maple syrup, which I purchased at the farmer’s market near me!
To this, I’ll add:
- 4 gal. raw milk — $20
- 1 lb. ground pork — $4.50
- 4 doz. eggs — $12
That places me about $130. I still have some money left and haven’t decided yet what I’ll buy with it. I may need some more raw cheese, or more chips (I made a bunch of salsa for myself, so I need to eat it up!). I’ll see what we’re running low on. If nothing, then I’ll set the money aside for later! Strawberries are coming up soon!
Speaking of strawberries…WWYD? I have been told by a local organic farmer that basically no farms in my area raise organic strawberries due to the fluctuating weather conditions. So if I want local, I have to go conventional. I’ve emailed a couple local strawberry farms asking what they spray with (specifically if they use methyl iodide), and will consider the local strawberries if they do not use this and are otherwise “low spray.” My only options are to buy these local strawberries at perhaps $1.50/lb., or pay $2.75/lb. all winter for organic frozen strawberries. So what would you do?
That’s my recent shopping trip!