Monday, 18 March 2013

Shopping around

I edited this week's shopping list pretty significantly since I first posted it up, and I'm going to re-list it here, but this post is mostly going to be about the benefit of shopping around. Being a wop, I'm a huge foodie. However, I'm also married to a Jew (Writer Husband) who manages our money, including the grocery budget, groceries being something that I am obviously in charge of. It is therefore in my best interest to shop around and get the absolute best price on everything, because if I spend more money than I have to on fresh basil and imported wine, I'm going to be stuck buying the shitty 99c spaghetti from Safeway instead of the whole wheat pasta for a buck forty-nine, and fresh mozzarella is totally out of the question. So I shop around. I have prices for certain essentials (like olive oil and tomatoes) memorized for comparisons at different stores. I compare food by price per weight unit. And goddamnit if I didn't buy some fantastic food to feed a family of four for a week at only $95.89.

First off, we went to the Grocery Outlet, which is my absolute favorite store in the world because it sells imported wine at a price I can actually afford. Sure, I don't get to choose what type of wine, but the sad truth is that from the age of four I was raised by a single Englishman who suffered from severe depression and at this point, I don't actually know enough about wine to care. So I picked up two bottles of Sangiovese di Rubicone at six dollars plus tax each, and after a quick scout around the store we also got:
10lbs of potatoes
Seven bananas at 25c each, compared to Safeway's 39c (yes, I have this memorized, and if you don't then you don't care enough about bananas)
A jar of pickle chips for $1.99 compared to Safeway's $2.29 (seriously, I'm not even checking any of this. I don't even like pickle chips! They were for Vet Tech Husband!)

From the Safeway, I bought:
Two loaves of whole wheat sandwich bread
One can of diced tomatoes
Three cans of albacore tuna
Two cans of beef broth
One can of sliced black olives
A tub of margerine
Three tubs of full fat plain probiotic yogurt
A parmesan wedge from the deli
Garlic hummus
Two bunches of collard greens
Half a pound of white mushrooms
A box of whole wheat penne and one of spaghetti
1lb of fresh mozzarella at 50% off
A three-pack of yeast
Frozen strawberries and peaches
One shallot
A gallon of fat free milk

I spent fifty-six and change on that.

Finally, today before work (for which I have to carry a backpack full of cleaning supplies with me on the bus), I walked one and a half miles each way to get to an asian market in the International District in Seattle to pick up the last few bits and pieces I wanted. For $15.89 plus great exercise, I think it was well worth it.
5lbs of fresh chicken breast
1lb of ground beef
One fresh mango
1.2lbs of sweet, sweet tangerines
A HUGE bunch of fresh basil, I mean HUGE
A can of pineapple

For reference, the absolute cheapest you can buy fresh chicken breast at Safeway is $3.69/lb. Frozen, it's $2.49/lb. That means that from Safeway, the chicken breast alone would have cost me $18.45. Frozen chicken comes in 4lb bags for $9.96, but 5lbs worth of it would cost $12.45. Oh, and the cheapest you can buy ground beef is $3.49/lb. And don't even get me started on fresh basil! I'm not even quoting the price here because nobody should buy it. Get it from the Asian market like I do, or buy a basil plant.

I got home at around seven o'clock tonight, immediately got dinner started, and by eight-thirty we were eating whole wheat spaghetti with bolognese sauce (fresh onions, fresh garlic, fresh basil, fresh beef, fresh mushrooms, canned olives, canned tomatoes, red wine, olive oil), bread fresh out of the oven, deli parmesan and a generous couple glasses of red wine! Exactly what I wanted to eat after work and all that walking, and yes, cooking it myself made it taste even better.

To finish up, from the Italian-Jewish household, a flawlessly Italian-Jewish argument that was had earlier this evening.

Me: Yeesh, it's freezing in here! I guess the heat's still not on...
Writer Husband: Hey, I've been saving a lot of money by keeping it off.
Me: But it's so cold!
Writer Husband: Well, I just saved you twenty dollars that you can spend on food!

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