Years ago before there was the internet as we know it, or blogs or tweets there was something simple called a newsletter. It usually arrived in your mailbox and consisted of eight or so pages of information. Back in the day I would eagerly await the moment that the latest edition of The Tightwad Gazette arrived at my door. I would come home from work, grab a cup of warm coffee and pour over every page. This is a time when I saved every cent and even went too far as to freeze in my little home because of my stubborn pride of striving to keep an $18.00 electric bill. I didn't quite get the whole frugal/balance thing.
I remember Amy Dacyczyn telling amusing stories about going to a canned food store and buying unmarked (mystery) food. If memory serves me correct, she would open one of these .5 cent cans and the contents would be part of their dinner that night. She took frugality to an entire different level. I was in complete awe of her.
I've shopped at the store Grocery Outlet for years. I grew up calling it the Canned Food Store so I'm unsure as to whether they changed their name over time or if that is the name my parents used to call it. Monday afternoon the children and I went there to pick up some dinner. Dave was in Texas and I was still mentally in Nashville. I needed something quick, easy and affordable.
The Grocery Outlet offers name brands at 40-60% off of what you might find at your regular retailer. There are 130+ independently owned Grocery Outlets in six Western States. I used to shop at the one in Bremerton when I lived up in Washington. My two local stores are located in Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park.
Here's some of the items I found on Monday.
Scharffen Berger Baking Chocolate $2.49 each.
Haagen-Dazs Five - Brown Sugar Ice-Cream. $1.50. Have you ever heard of a more delectable flavor of ice-cream? Simple to the point and so scrumptious tasting. I topped it with some Reddi Wip topping $1.49 since I'm still going through whipped cream withdrawals from Blissdom. Have you ever heard of such a thing?
I could pop into the Grocery Outlet a month from now and not find a single one of these items on the shelf. Their inventory is constantly changing. What I try to do is either stock up if I'm familiar with the product or buy one bag/can/box, take it home, try it out and return to the store to buy more as soon as I can. I'm certainly going to go back tomorrow and buy a few van full of the Haagen Dazs ice-cream. It was beyond mouth watering. Seriously.
I've never had bad luck with an item purchased at the Grocery Outlet. An item might not be as flavorful as I would have liked but that's part of the game of trying any new food product. Overall I've been so satisfied with my purchases. My only disappointment is falling in love with something only to find that they have sold out when I next went shopping. I'd say that is a good problem to have.
Here's an article on Salvage Grocery Stores by Brian Tuttle. It includes a fabulous list of salvage grocery stores in the United States.