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Tough Economic Times Call For Thrifty Supermarket Finds! Got Any?

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Buying a bike this year has saved me lots of money on food ('cause I can purchase things outside of my overpriced area).

I try to shop for most regular things at Associated Market on West 14th , Key Foods (Ave A) or Western Beef on West 16th and even Metro Drugs (!) because they're all very cheap and all very clean.

Here are some bargains they I get at ordinary markets...Frozen (gasp!) pre-sliced store-brand small-ish frozen onion bagels (six to a pack) are usually about a $1.00/pack. I keep lots of these at home, freeze 'em and toast each one as needed, smear it with Philadelphia Salmon Cream Cheese, Sliced Red Onions/Capers and voila...a pimped-out bagel on the cheap! These bagels are good when lightly toasted, they still have that "bounce".

Western Beef store-brand Cereals...Apple Cinnamon Toasted Outs (they taste like Apple Jacks but they're made with Oats). They also make faux-Captain Crunch and other cereals that are now too pricey.

Frozen Potato Patties in a pack of 10 lined up in row (you've seen them)...great with a poached egg on top, manchego cheese, beans, etc.

Gourmet stuff I'll get at East Village Cheese Shop, Kalustyan's, Holy Land Grocery, National Wholesale Liquidators (used to be better) or go to Brooklyn/Queens. For Fruits/Veggies - it's Chinatown.

Oh yeah, a large pack of Sugar Wafers (0.59cents/each at Metro Drugs), with a glass of cold milk - it's a cheap thrill.

Do you have any cheap foodie supermarket finds?

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  1. i feel your pain, it seems i spend $80 at the local grocery store (key food in my case) and havent even bought enough to make a 'real' meal.

    i think casseroles are a great option, lots of lentils, beans, and pastas. i always spend a ton on veggies just to have them go bad....

    ive started making my own muffins and bread, which saves $

    1 Reply
    1. re: lemonyc

      $80 for how many people? Depending on how thrifty I want to get, I can get by on $25 - $40 per week for one person.

    2. If anyone's looking for cheap produce, Stiles Farmers Market in Hell's Kitchen (there are 2 locations) is a great store. Quality can be iffy. But I once purchased the best pineapple I've ever had from there. Who would have known?

      And there are all these fruit and vegetable stalls along the Manhattan Bridge that sell slightly old produce at ridiculous prices. I've never purchased anything from there, but see tons of Chinese people (it's in Chinatown) lining up at some of the stalls. I remember once seeing a crazy long line to find out that they were selling four QUARTS of strawberries for $2.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Miss Needle

        also worth checking Jacks 99 cents store both the shelves, refrigerated section and frozen foods. Amazing bargains although a sign of the times. many items are now 1.29

        1. re: tigerwoman

          The Deli Counter at Western beef has fresh Whole Roasted Chickens for $4.99, they also have these lonnnnnng Freshly Made French Bread Pizza's with Tomato Sauce and Sauteed Onions for only $1.99 - they are AWESOME.

          They also sell "Little Debbie" Marshmallow Supremes which are "The Poor Man's Mallomars" at only $1.59/box but surprisingly, they taste soooooo much better than Mallomars!
          Also, it's .89cents/quart of milk at Western Beef - and it's fun to shop in that freezer case! Alsom beforetheir produce section "self-schpritzes" the produce with water, the sound of Thiunder is played out loud - fun and cheap and now CLEAN at Western Beef and, they deliver on certain days!

      2. For obvious starters:
        Trader Joe's has better produce than you'd think, although their meats are not as cheap/good as you'd expect. We usually go to TJs for our: Bananas, avacados, zucchini, Yogurt, edamamme, beer, cheese, crakers and we're addicted to the frozen cheese enchiladas.

        We do not recommend most meats at TJs (not because their low quality, but because you're likely to get a better price at the butcher). We also don't recommend their breads/ dessert products.

        For anything italian we do our shopping monthly at Raffettos on Houston. Everything's homemade and very inexepensive.

        We've also found great deals on leafy greens and root vegetables at green markets this time of year: Escarole, Collard Greens, beets, carrots. Just beware that some stalls charge 3x as much as others so it pays to shop around.

        Also to save money we avoid whole foods at all costs. Yes there is some great quality, but we can never get out of that place for less than $100.00 - even if we're just buying veggies! We think it's all about temptation, maybe others have had more success at WF.

        1. My thriftiest, awesomest find of late: 6 lovely fennel bulbs for $0.99 at Stiles.

          1. Boil in a bag Indian food from Trader Joe's. At about $2 a pop you can spring for two different dishes in one meal. I like the spinach best. Don't be tempted to add your own fresh vegetables to it - you'll wind up with an underspiced mess. Add some good basmati or jasmine rice and you're set.