How many times have I written about my love for truffle oil? I just can’t help it! I have expensive taste when it comes to food and I completely blame my parents. My baby book lists my favorite foods as steak and pate. Really, mom and dad?
It’s tough to have such expensive taste on a small budget. Here are some of my tips to get popular “foodie” ingredients for a tiny price.
- Check out your local farmers market for produce that is about to spoil. My local stand has an entire section devoted to cheap produce. If yours doesn’t, don’t be afraid to ask. They might be storing it in the back. Look at these amazing strawberries that I got for half the price.
- Be on the lookout for day old bakery items. Many bakeries have a section of breads that are a day old and often times a quarter of the price. Our local coffee house sell fresh cronuts for $3.99 and day old ones for $1. Once again, don’t be afraid to ask.
- Browse specialty stores. If you have the time, walk into specialty food stores to get an idea of what items are popular so you can be on the lookout for them at liquidation stores. I love walking up and down the aisles at Whole Foods, Fresh Market and local specialty food stores.
- Get to know the employees of your favorite stores. They will usually let you know about upcoming sales or when an item is at a good price. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about fluctuating prices. If you think an item is overpriced, ask them about it. I do this a lot with local seafood because the price is set by fishermen supply. I tend to buy when the market price is low and never when it is at a high.
- Make a habit of going to liquidation super markets and other discount stores at least once a month. My favorites are Big Lots, Home Goods, TJ Maxx and a local liquidation store. Here are some extra tips for liquidation stores:
- Always check the expiration date. You can do fine with crackers, cereals, rice and canned goods that are past the date. However, use caution with condiments. I have personally bought condiments that have turned and it isn’t a good experience. You will be surprised that most of the items aren’t even expired yet!
- Don’t be tempted to buy things you don’t need just because they are on sale. Only buy items you know you need.
- Try to find a liquidation store near high end stores. Ours carries tons of Whole Foods items since we are near a whole foods. I have been to liquidation stores that are not near high end stores and they usually don’t have as good of items. A trek to a bigger city may be worth your while.
- Big Lots is the BEST place to buy Bob’s Red Mill products. They are around a quarter of the price that you can find them at grocery stores. I never buy organic flour, nutritional yeast, or any other Bob’s Red Mill products at Publix.
Look at these fab finds from my last haul to our liquidation super market. My most expensive item was the truffle oil for $4.99. Each box of crackers were just 25 cents and they are organic.
- Always check out the sale section at your local grocery store. We get a lot of our higher priced items from the sale section. This is a favorite spot for me to get tea at a discounted price. Target sales are always on the ends of the aisles, almost hidden. Publix always keeps theirs by the dairy.
Here are some other fun pic from my last trip to our liquidation grocery store. I have way too much fun there.
The main take away here should be to always keep your eyes open and check out as many stores as possible. I promise that you can have fancy ingredients on a budget. I’ve even found caviar that wasn’t expired at our store.
It’s been a while since we have had truffle oil and I’m finding a way to incorporate it into every meal.
Any other tips for purchasing high end ingredients on a budget?