Is anyone else on a budget here? Our grocery budget is pitifully small due to house payments, etc., and all the other grown up stuff we have to do . . . sigh. I don't know how we would ever feel full if it wasn't for good old food storage and the sheer amount of eggs we eat. We use food storage everyday, literally. By now my kids probably wouldn't know what they were drinking if they had regular milk uncut with powdered milk.
I mentioned my frustration to some new friends here because I felt like I was doing my best by using a calculator and getting produce from the local farmer's market which is about 60% cheaper than the grocery store. Three of my friends from church suggested that I try the Surplus Outlet which is just down the road from the prison and reptile land. I am not kidding, it really is THAT W.T. hearabouts in them thar parts. So I drive half an hour to it and I miss it because it is one of 4 tan warehouse looking buildings on the same road.
When I finally get there, Ian gets all excited because they have Spiderman Cheese Nips for a dollar a box. I get excited too. Aren't Cheese Nips $2 or more a box? But alas, the expiration date is for December 2007. I didn't risk it. Over and over I would pick something up and the expiration date was past already. I didn't let it stop me from shopping there, but I did check the expiration date of every single thing I bought.
Surplus Outlet is the Marshalls or ugly cousin of grocery stores. There are great bargains to be found underneath, behind and between tons of yucky, dented, contents leaking out of the packages foodstuffs.
After some serious digging around I did find some great stuff: Almond Joy cookies for 25 cents a pack, unsweetened single serving applesauce for 10 cents each, a can of Black Pearl olives for 25 cents, fruitabu flats (like stretch island fruit leathers, same company) for 50 cents a box, Corn Chex for $1.29, Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry Juice cocktail for 99 cents, Justice League Teddy Grahams 99 cents, box of 12 Trivial Pursuit strawberry Pop Tarts 99 cents, etc., I ended up spending about $ 40 and the checkout lady estimated that I would have spent easily $100.
So what if a label or two was torn and the tops of the plastic juice bottles were smashed in?Who really cares if the applesauce cups were free from their original packaging? Does it really matter if all the cans I bought were dented? Big deal that I felt like I needed a shower after shopping there. The end result was that my kids were thrilled that I bought all kinds of junky and semi-junky treats for their lunches that I usually can't fit within our budget. The fact that they will just have to eat some of them faster than usual because of looming expiration dates don't bother them.
It was really hard to pass up a box of dog bones for 75 cents, oh wait, we don't have a dog . . . . YET. It would be almost worth having a dog if I could buy its food, etc., for so cheap. That dog would pay for itself and protect me from the two SCARY looking Deliverancesque (April you know what I am talking about) garbage truck drivers sporting head to foot filthy camouflage and chin to bellybutton length beards that stopped at the same gas station I did and kept trying to talk to me (don't worry April, Ian was safely locked in the car). That pepper spray keychain I bought at Runner's Corner would serve me a lot better if I actually put it on my keychain instead of in my sock drawer.
What are some ways you all save money on groceries?
There is a website called miserlymoms that gives tips on how to save money, but some of the recipes sound pretty unpalatable (mystery burgers made with cottage cheese, Lipton onion soup mix and oatmeal). I don't think I am that desperate yet. On the website they figure out how much the meals cost per serving which is kind of neat. I think I will stick to ground 99% fat-free turkey breast even if it does cost more than ground chicken or ground beef.