#7 of 10 easy steps to reducing grocery expenses
Use local deep discount options.   In keeping with the maxim that it’s easier to save a dollar than to earn two in order to spend one, finding deep discount sources for groceries is a great way to save.

This list can only be compiled locally—hopefully with the help of friends.  Many areas have bread outlets or “dent and scratch” food stores, deep discount grocers, people who sell produce from their back yards, etc.

And, of course, growing your own may be a big savings—especially if you buy organic.  There are some great gardening techniques available to fit different circumstances.  Three to read about:

Technique                                   Expert                          Summary                               

Square Foot Gardening              Mel Bartholemew      SFG shows you how to maximize space by building raised beds on top of the soil and filling with a more efficient soil-less mix. Plants are spaced more compactly than is possible with traditional gardening techniques.  We’ve had success with this method.

Straw Bale Gardens                    Joel Karsten                Cool new approach that can be used in yards with little sunlight, or usable soil.  Food grows directly in primed straw bales.  As with SFG, plants can be grown more compactly than with traditional gardening techniques.  Probably works well, if deer don’t wipe out your plants.

Urban Container Gardening      several innovators     All kinds of great stories are posted online about ways to grow plants in containers or how to find gardening spaces in even the largest cities.

For those who attended my recent class, some Atlanta options are shown below.  As always, compare prices using your price book.

  • Bishop’s Storehouse -at least when you could buy in bulk bags, this was a great resource.  With the added cost of cans, compare the cost to other options.  (Prices online.)
  • Zaycon – I’ve only ordered chicken from them, but the quality was excellent and the costs beat all but the deepest grocery store discount, which couldn’t touch Zaycon quality.  Be aware that it comes in 40 lb boxes and you will need to repackage it into meal size portions before freezing.  Because of the large size, if you have a small family, you may want to split an order with another family and plan menus to use what you get.
  • Aldi – usually beats other prices on milk and produce.  Now stocks organic.  Meat deals start on Wednesday.
  • bread outlet – Flowers runs one, I’m not sure if there are others in the area.  Remember that bread freezes pretty well.
  • Farmer’s Market Baskets – Since you may need to drive to Kennesaw or Kennestone hospital area, consider putting together a group to rotate picking up your produce baskets or enough of a group to have deliveries to your area.  These are a great value, and the company is a delightful family owned business.  See www.farmersmarketbaskets.com
  • Dekalb Farmer’s Market – we make an annual or semi-annual trip to stock up on spices and a few exotic favorite.  You can find produce and products from all over the country.  Spices are pennies compared to what you would pay at the grocery store.  And the bakery and entire experience is just a fun adventure.  Saturdays can be overwhelmingly crowded.  They only take cash, debit and check.  Checks have to be pre-approved at customer service.
  • Semi-annual Walton Feed order – Find someone involved with food storage (ask Cheryl for a contact or email me) to get on the mailing list for the semi-annual local delivery from Walton Feed.  Although it is often used for food storage, this is a great resource for bulk savings on regular grocery items like grains, beans, baking and sprouting supplies.  If you need/want this kind of product right away, you can drive to Bread Beckers in Woodstock.  If you are bringing the kids along, JJ Biello Park nearby is a fun break.
  • Atlanta State Farmers Markets – You can put together your own produce co-op and purchase wholesale through the Atlanta State Farmers Market.  Less wholesalers are open on the weekend, so a weekday before noon is a better time, although you still can find places on the weekend.  When you enter the ASFM, turn right for the wholesalers.  Left are the sheds.  Farmers–at the back–sell direct to the public and you can usually find great prices (love those SC peaches!!).  There are also good deals in the front of the sheds with the resellers, but the quality and prices are not as good as the other options (they just buy from the wholesalers, bring it back and set it out).  You need to get to know the various options to see who has the best quality.  You’ll also need to become familiar with the quantities that produce is packaged in for wholesale.  For example, lettuce usually comes in boxes of 48 count.  You buy apples based on count and size.  So, the way the co-op would work is that everyone pools their cash (most I’ve seen go in $12-15); one or two people with trunk/hauling space go to the market and purchase product for everyone; they bring the items home and divide them into boxes or containers (like laundry baskets) and co-op members pick up their produce, paying for the next trip when they do.  Usually, responsibilities are rotated.  You may need to get a business license and tax number to purchase wholesale.
  • And that’s the end of the local deals I’m aware of for the Atlanta area, but each area has little gems, to be sure to talk to friends–and email me when you find one of those gems, please! )

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