Saving on Food

A Little-Known Way to Save on Groceries

We’ve all heard the advice to never grocery shop when hungry. I’ve found that to be profoundly true – if I shop hungry, everything looks yummy and I buy things I would not have otherwise.

Today I discovered another level of that strategy. I had a grocery store secret shop that included reimbursement for $10 of food. Because I was not only not hungry but also slightly nauseated, I had a hard time finding ten dollars worth of anything that seemed appealing.

Granted it’s not something that happens too often, but shopping while nauseated is a real money saver.


Is It True? Nutritious Food is Expensive

My answer is, yes and no.

Blueberries are expensive. Bananas are not.

Steak is expensive. Eggs are not. At two eggs per serving, they put the protein in your meal for about twenty cents.

Name brand ready-made fancy granola cereal is expensive. Oatmeal is not.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are expensive. A whole chicken costs less per pound and is far more versatile.

Brown rice is filling and nutritious and inexpensive.

Lentils cook quickly compared to other beans, are high in protein, and are inexpensive.

Shelled walnuts are expensive. Sunflower kernels cost less and have similar nutritional value.

Ready-cut carrots are expensive. Whole carrots are not. Cabbage, potatoes, and onions are inexpensive and nutritious.



Wow, So Much Free Stuff!

Today I looked at the Free section of my local Craigslist. If I had a truck and a helper, I could furnish an apartment! Just today, a refrigerator, two couches, a bed, a dresser, a table, several TVs, a rug, books, and a cat. What more could I need?

Many of the free things are “curb alerts” – the item is outside at the curb, so go get it before it rains or before someone else takes it. Others require contacting the advertiser to arrange to pick the item up.

A post on the Penny Hoarder blog brought out another way to make use of the free section. The poster had some things she was willing to part with, but they weren’t really valuable enough to sell individually. At the time, she had a need for fresh produce. She put those two facts together. She offered each item in the free section, and added to the listing that though the item is free, she would be very glad to receive produce or canned vegetables in exchange for it.

She said that because people could decide how much to give her, she usually received a far greater value in food than the item she was giving away.

See the full details here:

To find your local Craigslist, Google ‘Craigslist’ and the name of your city.



Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on in both Kindle and paperback versions.

Is It True? My Experience at Aldi’s

Many frugal people love Aldi’s grocery stores for their low prices. They are deliriously low; the prices are great. I start each month with a trip to Aldi’s to get the affordable things they carry.

But. But, I have to be careful what I buy. Some of the items are not as good in quality as I’m willing to accept. The produce is not refrigerated, so tightly wrapped things like portobello mushroom caps may mold. Loosely wrapped items like celery and whole carrots are perfectly fine.

So far, all the dry goods, the canned and packaged things like oatmeal and canned vegetables have been perfectly fine.

The one time I bought ground beef, it had hard things in it. The chicken thighs were very good.

The frozen corn kernels were large and seemed a bit old and tough. Edible if cooked longer. The frozen vegetable medley was fine.

Aldi’s carries special foods too. Organic, gluten-free. They recently announced they will no longer carry foods that contain MSG.

One piece of their lower prices is the smaller square footage of the store. Therefore, they don’t carry every possible thing. I go on to Walmart to get the things Aldi’s didn’t have.

Bring your own bags, or pay six cents apiece to buy them there.

Bring a quarter, you need it to get a shopping cart. You get it back when you plug the chain from the cart in front back into your cart. They don’t have to pay staff to round up carts, and lose far fewer carts than other stores. That’s part of keeping prices low.




Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on in both Kindle and paperback versions.

Challenge Me!

My book is all about finding useful, affordable alternatives to the things modern life has conditioned us to believe we “have to” buy.

Think of something that costs money that you don’t know of an alternative for. Challenge me to offer an alternative by leaving a comment on this or any other post. Please include the word “challenge” in your response.

A New Financial Start

Maybe you spent a bit too much over the holidays. January sometimes brings on a sort of financial repentance, and a desire to use money more effectively in the new year. My book can help with that. Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely deals with the need for financial change from both directions – spending less and earning more. Maybe you have friends or relatives who spend too much, or want to get out of debt. The book would make a nice gift for them, or just tell them about it. Want to retire early? Take a fantastic trip? The strategies in the book can help you move toward any financial goal.

It’s available on in both paperback and Kindle versions.