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Today’s Thrifty Tuesday tip also involves a bit of luck and skill. With the cost of GFCF, we need to save money where we can. Should we buy only organic or can we afford to eat some conventionally grown food too? I’m currently operating on the “if you can peel it or boil it, buy conventional” camp.

In order to save where we can, I have become an active looker on the “damaged” produce cart at our grocery store. Since we live a very long way from this store, getting a bargain is a bit of a crap-shoot. I don’t know what the optimal time to visit is or even when they downgrade produce. If you know this about your store, you could probably really use this tip every week.

I have bought the jumbo sized cases of blueberries for $2.00 (was marked at $9.00 regular) and only picked out maybe 10%. I washed them, froze on cookie sheets & we enjoyed blueberry pancakes, muffins, cakes and ice cream toppings all winter. Sure, it was a bit of work, but I was planning to buy the berries at full price to do the exact same thing! I have also found bananas past their prime, apples in perfect condition, bags of potatoes that have “just” started to sprout but are perfectly good and yes, a variety of spoiled, rotten or otherwise icky produce too. So, you have to be very careful and willing to deal with the stuff the minute you get home.

But, if you watch, you too might find a steal on the damaged produce cart. Most often, if just one berry is bad, they throw the whole thing on the cart. I make it a practice to check out the cart first, possibly even adjusting our weekly menu on the spot to accomodate a great deal. As we enter the winter (aka expensive to eat fresh fruit season), this might be the breathing room your budget needs!