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Mar 3, 2014 08:13 PM

Fort Worth grocery cheapskates (and frugal epicureans)

Lately I've been stretching every last cent out of my food budget. For the sake of this post, let's ignore that these "savings" usually enable a shamefully expensive cheese and tequila addiction.

I'm a vegetarian and I like to cook healthy and my grocery list rarely includes anything overly processed or even canned. (When I eat out all bets are off!) I'm obsessed with produce. Totally, completely obsessed. (Who needs porn when you have a farmer's market?) Right now my favorite cheap grocery spots are:

1. Fiesta- for the produce. It's the cheapest around and it's really good. I let my nose be my guide to the good stuff unlike other stores where everything is unripe and over-wrapped. On top of that they have a surprising variety of produce, especially fruits. One of the few places in town I've ever seen fresh (not dried) chick peas.

2. Central Market. Yes, CM is usually expensive but not everything is! I'm a huge abuser of the bulk area. I love their variety of nuts, grains, beans, and especially spices. Sometimes I only want $0.18 of Chinese 5 spice so CM is perfect. Plus, the product in those bins moves so fast it's much fresher. So much more so than that ancient bag of beans collecting dust on the bottom shelf since see-through lululemon yoga "pants" inexplicably replaced real pants as shopping attire.

3. Super H-Mart. This one is far out of my way so I only go a few times a year- usually when they have fresh lychee (Get out of my way or get hurt!)

Those are my top 3 haunts for cheap groceries but occasionally I'll go to TJ's. Haven't tried Aldi yet. I've been to Town Talk with an open mind. I know some of you love Costco. What have I been missing? Tell me your cheap grocery secrets!

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  1. Which Fiesta are you going to for good produce? I typically shop there, and primarily Central Market, but I generally do *not* buy produce at Fiesta.

    2 Replies
    1. re: foiegras

      Usually the northside. On rare occasion the one on 8th ave. I know there's one waaaaay down Camp Bowie but I've never been and I've heard it's not so great.

      1. re: PinkLynx

        I go to the one on 8th. I find that produce to be generally totally crummy compared to Central Market. For one thing, they have no sprayers, so everything just sits there & wilts. The poblanos are a pretty good item to buy there.

        The other thing is you can really tell a difference in grade from Central Market. Fiesta's kiwis, onions, etc. are tiny in comparison. My view is that when you're going to all that work to get into something, it might as well be as big as possible.

        I like to buy good quality ... I try to keep a handle on the food budget by keeping things simple. A few good quality ingredients, very few huge hunks of meat.

    2. When I used to work in the Stockyards I had very good luck with some of the produce at Fiesta. Definitely anything used in Hispanic food like tomatillos, peppers, etc. were better quality & price than anywhere else.

      I'm surprised no one else mentioned Sprouts. There is a new one on Denton Highway in Keller that I've been going to when I'm in the area and the produce is excellent and reasonably priced. There is also another one at Hulen & 20 that is also good. You'll also love their bulk foods.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Barbara76137

        Thanks for the suggestion! I'd totally forgotten about Spouts. I heard a lot of buzz about it when it opened on Hulen, I'll definitely check it out next time I'm in the area.

        I always have luck with those foods at Fiesta too, especially big fat ripe (but never rotten) Hass avocados.

        1. re: PinkLynx

          Sprouts has "double ad Wednesdays" where you can take advantage of two weeks of specials.

          I keep watching for their 25% off all bulk food sale which is a few times a year, but haven't seen it lately. That's when I buy pine nuts since they are normally so expensive. Like you, I also take advantage of the bulk foods since I can buy quantities that suit my needs. I have a wide variety of sizes & shapes of glass jars that I use for all my bulk food purchases. I use "blackboard paint" on the jars so I can write with chalk what's inside.

      2. I have no problem with women shopping in yoga pants but some ladies need to look in a mirror and realize that they are a privilege and not a right.