After drooling over the pastries Poppy took on her family’s get together, I started thinking about international/ethnic food stores. Indian, Korean, El Salvadorian, they may hail from all over the world, but the truth is… they can save you a lot of money.
(These ones, don’t they look amazing?)
How can we save money?
Produce is must cheaper than a grocery store.
And it is often fresher, too. The people who frequent these stores still cook in the “old way”, using real ingredients. Produce is not just a “luxury” item. It is an everyday way of life.
Many of these stores have aisles of spices by either large packets, or by the pound. This is so much better than purchasing from a grocery store where you get a little shaker filled for five to ten dollars. I stopped buying “brand name” spices and never looked back. I know, by going to the local markets, that I am purchasing spices that my neighbors and friends have used their entire lives. My cooking and my wallet thanks me for it.
Ditch those “luxuries” from the “international” aisle in the chain grocery store
Many times those “luxury” simmer sauces, snacks, and treats are inauthentic and overpriced. If you go to the international store of origin, you can save over half the cost! A good example was the curry paste I purchased just yesterday at my local Asian grocery. It was ten dollars for 36 oz. The same curry paste, at a national chain, was five dollars for 4oz! If I purchased 36 oz worth I would pay almost forty-five dollars. That’s insane! (Tip: If you buy curry paste in bulk, you can freeze it to make it last longer.)
Beans, rice, masa, all of those things are staples in my pantry, and they are much more affordably priced at international food stores. I have several around me, Asian stores, Indian stories, Latin American, and even Russian! They are close enough together that I can get them all in one day, making sure my pantry is beautifully stocked.
Poppy and I purchase reduced produce whenever possible at high savings. We immediately use it to make things like pies, and sauces. This can save us more than 90% of the retail price of canned goods in the store, and it just plain tastes better!
Need a wok or a rice cooker? You’ll pay a premium if you go to that big box store. But if you check out the aisles of your favorite ethnic food market you’ll probably find a good deal. And you could even get a talking piece for parties!
I hope that I’ve inspired you to go forth and save!