Saturday, March 9, 2013

Do the math for stealth bargains

Sometimes frugality can be hidden from view because of the way we think. We all develop a way of looking at the world that sets patterns in our perception.  One of those applies to the 'least cost' way of looking at staples.  There are some food supply items that I buy at Marshall's. Huh? Yup, the discount department store has some items that bring a punch to the pantry.

These two are high on my list.  When I open a box or bag or whatever, I rarely use the entire contents because I'm now cooking for 2 people. My preferred storage container is a reusable glass jar, especially the euro style with the air-tight gasket.  I find them at Marshall's and Ross for between 2.99 and 5.99 each, depending on the size and country of origin. I prefer the Italian ones, will buy US or Spanish made.  I do not buy the Chinese or plastic ones.

Occasionally at Marshall's, I'll find jam or honey already packaged in a reusable euro-style jar (some also come in nice-looking drinking glasses). At first, they seem expensive, but you've got to look at the entire product and do the math.  If 2 pounds of honey in a 1 liter euro-jar is $14.99, what is the cost breakdown?  A 1 liter euro-jar is $4.99. That means the 2 lbs of honey cost $10.00, or $5 per pound. How much are you paying for honey locally? I pay about $7. So I can get a bargain by buying the 'expensive' honey occasionally.  I use it next in the queue and save my local honey in storage. That puts the reusable jar to work sooner.

I've found a similar bargain on some preserves made by the US company, Clearbrook Farms. It is really good stuff. When they have it at Marshall's, it's $7.99 for 1.5 lbs.  (It's twice as much in a full price store, so not a bargain) The jar would cost $3.99. That puts the contents at less than the grocery store cost of Knott's jams, and it tastes much better.

The other benefits include not feeling guilty throwing out glass jars (no glass recycling here) because they have no matching tops that will seal.

So what stealth bargains have you found by doing the math?

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