I was shocked - SHOCKED today going into the grocery store now that I'm back up in Chicago.
In Houston, a pound of grapes (red seedless) on sale was $.69. In Chicago, smaller, wimpier grapes: $1.79 ON SALE. And these prices seem to exted to everything. Funny how a few months away can make you forget ;P
So. My summer of eating well and healthily (lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, juice) is obviously at an end. What do I do to try to replicate this on a nonexistent budget?
I discovered the same problem when I moved back to school last year, lemming. I'm from Indiana, and produce is almost always very reasonable at my grocery store at home. I moved down to Tennesee for college, walked into Kroger (please note, I strongly dislike Kroger) and about had a heart attack when I saw the price of their fruit. More than double what I paid at home and the quality of the fruit was horrible! But, my hatred of Kroger's small aisles, awful produce, and empty shelves led me to start shopping for a new grocery store. Usually there will be more than one store in any area, and I found a Food Lion that I love (although they have small selections of some items, like yogurts for example) and a Super Walmart that has the best produce I've seen anyplace outside of an actual farmer's stand (which, btw, is another option if you can find out where they have a farmer's market). I do have to drive a tiny bit further, but it's worth it to me to get the best oranges and grapes at a better price.
oh man, I live down the street from Berkeley Bowl, and I love being able to buy fresh, cheap produce within walking distance. Berkeley Bowl is an exceptional place. They have the best produce for cheap -- everything else here is so damn expensive! Actually, anything at Berkeley Bowl that isn't fresh produce is pricey as all get out, but at least I can find fresh porcini mushrooms for about $15/lb (which is actually a great price 'cause they're so darn $$$!)
Daydreamer, that was about 2 weeks ago, at a Kroger. I miss HEB while I'm up here, too!
One of my main problems is that I am in the middle of a big city. I may do some scouting by el once I get my transport pass, but for now I'm stuck walking. And of course everything's more expensive in the city...
I guess what really burns me up is that it's sometimes cheaper to eat fast food (which i don't eat) than to eat fresh veggies. How stupid is that?
quote:Originally posted by killer_raincoat: i would say nutritional fast food is the worst for expenses.
In general, I would agree with that. From what I've seen in a number of countries, it is sad but true that fast food is quicker and easier than buying fresh produce and preparing it. No wonder people go for "being cheap" instead of "eating well".
I am fortunate at the moment to have a HUGE farmer's markets every Sunday just a 5 minute drive from my new house. I go in and virtually clean the place out (because I sneak fruit/vegetables into any dish I can get away with it). But I usually have to go shopping again by Wed to buy more, so the bill really adds up!
On a side note: When I was on holidays in CA a few years ago, we stopped at a fruit barn near Los Alamos. Does anybody know which one I'm talking about (they also sell home-made spicy sauces)?? I'd love to remember their name.
And I couldn't tell you how much a pound of grapes costs here, because it's actually kilograms (and I cannot convert that for the life of me). But I think it's $2-$3 for a kilogram, if anybody does have brilliant math skills.
I just moved from a backwater town in Florida to NYC. Yeah, culture shock. I'd been really worried about living expenses, especially food, but so far, I'm finding that I'm only spending a tiny bit more more on food now than I did in Florida. Granted, I'm living in a lower-class neighborhood on Staten Island, and to get cheap groceries, I do have to take the bus across town -- but I am managing just fine now that I've got my handy-dandy unlimited MetroCard. Get thee to a transit card!
My secret for eating on the cheap? I cook ethnic, and I use lots of beans and rice and legumes and grains. Ever noticed that mainstream American food is just so darn expensive? For ten bucks, I can get the stuff to make a meatloaf and potatos for one night, or I can make a big batch of really yummy vegetarian burrito filling that'll last three or four days. Or a huge pot of curried lentil stew that'll last until we're really tired of lentil stew. If you want, I'll toss a few recipes into one of our recipe threads.
As far as fresh produce goes, I usually try to seek out a good farmer's market or produce stand, and I buy whatever's inexpensive and looks good. Granted, that often means I'll end up with say, pears instead of the grapes that I wanted, but hey. And I buy in large quantities as much as possible -- it costs more upfront, but it's so much cheaper in the long run.
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