Saturday, November 13, 2010

On Groceries

Sometimes when I tell people I spend ~$15 a week on groceries they are very amazed. They think I don't eat anything. False. I never stop eating. I also think grocery shopping is really cheap.

This is a half-guide to grocery shopping. I personally think good grocery shopping is a science/art/something you need to master and I'm just learning. It's also a lot of fun. These are some things I've learned from grocery shopping and some things that I like to buy and some things I look out for when I shop and this is how I spend ~$70 on groceries a month. Also take into account that I'm only shopping for myself and not feeding a family of 5.

+ Fruits and Vegetables Are Cheap

A sandwich at the Concordia cafeteria is between $4 and $7. THAT IS SO MUCH MONEY. Do you know how much a tomato costs me? One tomato costs me $0.31 - $0.53 depending on how big it is.

Fruits and vegetables are really cheap. You can get a lot of broccoli for only 99 cents. Plums can be as little as 18 cents. Three bananas cost me 44 cents. You get the picture.

Buying your food at the grocery store is a billion times cheaper than buying a sandwich. For half of the cost of buying a sandwich at Concordia you can get like 24 slices of bread. Ok I don't know how many slices of bread are in those packages but it's way more than 2.

+ Meat Can Be Cheap Too

Before I started grocery shopping for myself, I thought meat was expensive. And it can be. But it can also be affordable! I like to buy at least one package of meat a week. I get boneless chicken breasts for around $2.50 - $3 and it's enough for 2 meals. Sometimes in the middle of the week I'll get more meat and then the next week I won't have to get any because it'll carry over. I like to spread out my meat eating.

+ Look For Specials

My grocery list is usually incredibly vague, including things like "fruit" "vegetables" "granola bars" "meat" "pasta". This reminds me that I need to get fruits or vegetables or whatever, but leaves it open to what's available in the store. This helps when looking at the specials.

Specials are special. The one thing I always tell myself when looking at things on sale is not to get sucked in. You know that motto "the more you spend, the more you save"? That's not true. THE MORE YOU SPEND THE MORE YOU SPEND. Stick to your grocery list.

Example #1: The other day I had on my list "bars". Since I can no longer afford Kashi bars, I'm looking for the next combination of cheapness/healthiness. The Intermarche that I shop at so conveniently had a special on Kellog's bars for $1.99. And they had way less sodium than Nature Valley. Sold! (later, when I actually ate one, I realized that they're not actually not that filling, but what can you do.) (Kashi bars are like $4.89, wtf. Why is health so expensive.)

Example #2: I wanted to make pizza. I needed some tomato sauce. The Intermarche was having a sale on President's Choice tomato sauces for $1.99. Classico's tomato sauce (which is, admittedly, far superior in taste) is $4.29.

Example #3: Fairmount Bagels has a section titled "yesterday's bagels". Twelve plain fresh bagels are $6.75. I got 15 of "yesterday's bagels" for $4.50. They went straight in my freezer and taste delicious when toasted. WIN.

+ The Expensive Things

You know what's expensive? Cheese. Cheese is fucking expensive. Does anyone know a way around this.

I DO, kind of. There's a place on St. Laurent called La Vieille Europe and they have a section of cheeses on special. Once I saw a sizeable chunk of cheese for $2.50 but I didn't need cheese so I didn't get it. But the next time I buy cheese it'll be $5 or less.

You know what's also expensive? CEREAL. Who knew?! Again, I try and look for specials regarding cereal. I'm not really picky, so I'll go with whatever's on sale if it looks good.

Yummy snacks like Oreos are kind of expensive but sometimes worth it because if you're like me and take a long time to eat anything, you'll have oreos for a long time.

In conclusion, grocery shopping is fun and cheap. Yay! Hardly anything is fun and cheap anymore. I'm still looking for a grocery shopping buddy, by the way.


melisa. said...

i love kashi also ( and since theres more protein in them they keep me full way longer), sometimes IGA has them on sale for like 2$ , then i normally stock up,
Groceries is like a sport....super impressed u do it all for under 15$ a week.

bakedtoes said...

CHEESE IS SO EXPENSIVE, agreed. cheese and its expensiveness is basically the reason I still live at home. I went grocery shopping with my ex several times and we could never get over the price of the cheese :(

Lucia said...

I am bad at grocery shopping because I lack common sense and planning skill, and am impulsive. I come home with buffalo mozzarella and no bread or milk or actual food. I should probably work on this.

MacFeat said...

I wish I loved close by... I would totally be your grocery shopping buddy. i hate shopping alone it's necessary but so lame. I must admit I am impressed by your grocery shopping expertise and am happy I got a lesson from the master in cheap-ness!

saint modesto said...

melisa.: yeah if i saw kashi bars for $2 i'd probably buy like 20 boxes.

bakedtoes: i found goat cheese for a pretty reasonable price and i was so excited so i bought it and now i realize i don't really need it.

lucia: HAHAHA. come to montreal and we will go grocery shopping together.

macfeat: yeah when you have a buddy you can make them carry things.

sam said...

i don't buy groceries.
usually grocery stores just through out there food. and it's winter now. best time to dumpster.
organic and health stores throw a lot of food away. a lot of vegetables.. and growing food is a good idea as well.
hmm... but you sometimes you can't manifest good food relying on dumpsters...
i liked your post. just throwing out some alternative ideas.

sam said...

throw.. out there food..
can't spell for poo