Markets & Stores

Dining deliciously at the dollar store – OR - Going gourmet at Grocery Outlet for $3 a day

rworange | Feb 8, 200901:48 PM     49

Lost your job?

Living off that unemployment check doesn’t have to mean days of Bar S hot dogs and beans or bologna sandwiches on 99 cent generic white bread … or worse … day old white bread marked down to 50 cents.

Depression dining doesn’t have to be depressing.

Time to explore those 99 cent and dollar stores. Some even sell wine for $1 a bottle. A few years back a poster did reports about what wine was good at the local 99 cent store

In the SF Bay Area we have the Rolls Royce of discount supermarkets, a chain called Grocery Outlet.

What is so great about this store are not so much the ordinary low cost items such as cheap hot dogs that people seem to gravitate to when funds are low.

At Grocery Outlet there are lots of organic and specialty items. This week for $1.49 there were bags of hand-rolled straccetti noodles from Italy … excellent red pepper with a hot zing of chili heat or flavorful garlic and basil.

A box of Nutritious Living Antioxidant Indulgence cereal with strawberries, goji berries, dark chocolate was 99 cents.

A 12 oz bag of frozen wild Pollock fillets was 99 cents…. and so it goes.

So for the month of February, I’m putting together meals only from what I found at Grocery Outlet and keeping the budget to $3 a day.

The first link is the menu for week one that started Monday Feb 2nd.

A while back I did a similar thing … but shopping at farmers markets and looking for discounts at all types of stores

Conclusion - Eating like a Chowhound on $3 a day

While not all discount stores have such a fabulous selection, the point is to give what is near you a look. At worst there might be a few items to add some interest to meals.

This week one of the worse places in my area, Big Lots, had Annie’s organic green garlic salad dressing ($1), Mediterranean Market EVOO 17 oz ($3.50) and Hunt’s organic tomatoes 28 oz ($1).

At the 99 cent store there were frozen 5 oz fillets of white fish stuffed with shrimp and other 4 oz frozen fish fillets such as tuna, salmon, rockfish, etc, Hormel Naturals pepperoni, all for the price that is the name of the store.

I'm not shopping at those stores though this month, only Grocery Outlet.

Don’t get carried away though. Make sure there actually is a bargain. Some times sale items at regular markets are less, especially combined with coupons. These stores don’t accept coupons.

Always check the expiration dates.

So, this is also a … uh, scavenger … hunt … any great stores in your area? Any really good finds or tips about extreme discount stores?

Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

More from Chowhound

5 Brand-New Breakfast Sandwiches You've Never Tried
Recipe Round-Ups

5 Brand-New Breakfast Sandwiches You've Never Tried

by Chowhound Editors | The basic fried egg sandwich is a great dish in its simplicity. But we can't help tweaking, hacking...

5 Tomato Plant Care Tips to Maximize Your Harvest
How To

5 Tomato Plant Care Tips to Maximize Your Harvest

by David Klein | Growing your own tomatoes is satisfying on many levels. Their season is fast and high-yielding, making...

A Midsummer Night’s Spritz: High-Spirited, Low-ABV Summer Sparklers
Recipe Round-Ups

A Midsummer Night’s Spritz: High-Spirited, Low-ABV Summer Sparklers

by Pamela Vachon | After the New York Times notoriously published an article in May of last year lambasting the Aperol...

Beat the Summer Heat with Easy No-Bake Cookie Recipes
Recipe Round-Ups

Beat the Summer Heat with Easy No-Bake Cookie Recipes

by Joey Skladany | Summer has officially arrived and temperatures are climbing way too high in many places. If the thought...

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.