Eating cheap: groceries

Eating cheap: groceries


Groceries is a necessary line item in a budget.  Still, I don’t care where you live, there is always some place to get bargain priced groceries.  I lived in the San Francisco bay area which is notorious for high prices. Yet I coul d buy fresh fruits and vegetables at one third the cost of the supermarkets in the Chinatowns. So where do you go?

Here in Tucson, it’s the 99-cent Only Store.  Dollar stores are not created equal.  Most have very little in the way of food outside of a few tins although you can find bathroom and cleaning supplies at great prices. And cookies. Lotsa lotsa cookies!

Our 99-cent Only Store, however, has fresh fruit and vegetables.  My mom’s favorite and mine is the one at Kolb and Golf Links.  The selection changes so you have to keep your eye out but I love getting a bag of brightly colored bell peppers, a string of garlic, a pouch of ginger, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, and even on occasion asparagus for $1.

Sure the quantities are smaller so it’s perfect for the single or couple buyer.  And if you are cooking for 1 or 2 rather than a larger family, you know buying in larger sizes isn’t the answer. Usually you just throw most of it away.  So a $1 three-pound back of sweet potatoes should be just fine.

One caveat: do look before you buy.  Check the condition of the fruit or vegetable before you drop it into your basket to avoid the older or bruised ones.

In Oakland, Calif., farmer’s markets are also good places.  In the last hour, many of the vendors drop their prices while they start to pack up.  Tucson has a few farmer’s markets so I’ll be checking them out soon to see if that holds true here as well.

2-9-2018 Update:  99-cent only store has changed.  Used to be everything was $1 so you didn’t have to check.  While the majority is still $1, now they have some things are $1.99 or $2.99 or $3.99.  I got a cute cat blanket for $1.99.  Also they carry wine too now.

Where do you go to find good fresh fruit and vegetables on the cheap side? And do name your city and country as it would be helpful.


99-cent Only Store
7125 E Golf Links Rd
Tucson, AZ 85730

One of my favorite cookbooks for being on a budget. Everything only has 3 ingredients so you don’t have to buy a lot of different things to make the dish. I am including it here (even though it’s old, published in 1996 so you should be able to find it used) as I’m going to use the bellpepper & fish recipe to use up my bell pepper I got from the 99 cent only store.

Disclaimer: I’ve signed up with Amazon as an affiliate. If people click on the link and buy anything at Amazon, if I get accepted, I’ll get a percentage. If it’s a book, it’ll be 4.5% which is mostly what I’m listing. Although I’ve checked other people’s sites, a lot of them have their own disclaimer written in their own words, I’m not sure if Amazon requires this exact text so I am adding it. If I earn anything, I am thinking of doing a monthly report like on some budget blogs. “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.”

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