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Wednesday, April 22, 2009
WFMW: The advantage of limitations
We've inadvertently discovered a way to save money on groceries.
We (in mid-size-urban southern Ontario) usually do a big weekly grocery shop at either a discount supermarket or one particular independent grocery store. Some weeks, though, we only manage to make it to Giant Tiger, a discount store that (if you haven't been up to this Treehouse before) specializes more in flip-flops and talking-singing-light-up Santas than it does in groceries. Saturdays are short, or we need flip-flops anyway, or we just don't seem to need a lot of food that week.
Which is where the WFMW comes in. You see, we also have some dietary limitations, in this case sodium and related things like MSG: the limits are no longer that severe, but I still check labels for any nasty surprises, and avoid certain kinds of convenience foods.
Which is, to a large extent, what you're going to find at Giant Tiger. It's the kind of place where the fruit section consists of apples, oranges and bananas (and things like canned pineapple and expensive frozen strawberries), and the vegetables are limited to iceberg lettuce, carrots, onions, potatoes and canned (not no-salt) and frozen veggies. Not quite as limited as the corner store, but not exactly loaded with choices either.
So, with my tongue somewhat in my cheek, here's the money-saving tip: shop, once a month or at least occasionally, somewhere where you can't eat at least half of what's on the shelf (too caloric or high-sodium or whatever). Even just a store that's way too expensive will work. Get your cart and cruise the aisles. Stick out your tongue and sigh in frustration at all the preservative-laden or overpriced, off-limits stuff. Grab whatever does work for you (in our case, that included turkey kielbasa, baby carrots, potato flakes, frozen juice, puffed wheat, bagels, milk, and ginger snaps). Then come home and combine that with whatever you have in the cupboards. You'll feel economical and virtuous. ;-)