Saturday, June 23, 2012

Money Moments, Shopping for Christmas (!!!)...and the Friday Store

We have nine hot chicks at this place..

Shoot, we've got eleven -- Abby the dog and I round out the number. And two hot guys. (The Brick and Charley the dog.) It is just blazing here, with only the hint of a breeze. We hang out by the fan, slug down smoothies, and hope for nightfall and coolness.
   I can't remember it being this warm so early in the season. Denver is set to break a post-100 record set back in 1954. (The Brick just checked, and our thermometer says 100. Bet they did it.)

Ever wonder what other people consider their most awkward moments financially? This survey will tell you. Two of my favorites are in there: being hit up by a panhandler, and being asked to contribute to an office present. Maybe yours are mentioned there, too.

Also, Donna Freedman dares to suggest in her Frugal Cool column -- gasp -- shopping for Christmas in June! Based on some of the comments, you'd think she'd stolen Baby Jesus out of the creche display. (Maybe they're crabby because of the heat.)
    I grinned to myself, because I'd just bought two exquisite little pieces of glass, one for each daughter's Christmas stocking. Less than a buck each. Squeaky dog toys for each pet in ours and the girlies' households. (We're currently up to four, with more coming.) Also a buck each. (They normally retail for around $5 or more.)
    Could I wait until November to start this? Sure...and I'd pay much more for each present. Better to keep an eye out now and grab the bargains. Also, if I catch the flu the same time as the Christmas Spirit, I have items ready, without having to shop. (Learned this the hard way one year. Trudging through the snow with a 102-degree fever is no fun.)
    Keeping a casual eye out for things doesn't hurt you a bit -- and it may save some serious money in the long run.

Speaking of saving money, (and after I'd read this), I have been meaning to mention one of my newest favorite places to shop -- a grocery salvage called the Friday Store. (I knew it first as 'The Friday/Saturday Store' --  it's only open on Fridays and Saturdays.) This place is tucked into a warehouse area in Arvada, one of Denver's suburbs. It doesn't look like much from the outside -- but oh, the wonders within!
     You never know what's specifically available, although there are always general groceries: canned fruits, meats, soups, sauces; bottles of juice and bags of coffee; cookies, breads, candy; fresh and frozen meats, cheese, fish, dairy products. What's so exhilarating is that these are almost always the very high-end brands, with 'organic' prominently featured -- at very low-end prices! I consistently buy brands like Starbucks, Pepperidge Farm and such at literally dimes on the dollar. Cheese: no more than $2 pound. (One two-pound bag of Pepper Jack cheese cubes on the last trip: $1/lb.)
    Their frozen meat/fish prices can vary, but are still terrific -- boneless skinless chicken thighs for .39/lb! (When was the last time you bought boneless chicken for less than 50 cents a pound??) Frozen whole snapper: $2/lb; crab cake mix $2.50/lb. (And it was real crab, too, not the fake stuff.) Steaks, pork chops, even buffalo burgers were easily 1/3 - 1/2 of typical sale prices in grocery stores.
    Some of these packages and cans are a little beat-up. (Many are not.) Some are slightly out of date. (Don't buy it, if it bothers you.) But after nearly a year of shopping there, I have only had one (canned) item not taste quiiite right. And the fresh/frozen stuff was uniformly wonderful. That's a better percentage than my shopping at regular grocery stores!
     I hesitate to mention this, especially if you live in the Denver, CO area. The store's gotten progressively busier every time I stop there. But if you're interested in buying only the best at rock-bottom prices, this is one place to stop. Just be kind to that absentminded girl with the shopping cart full of yogurt.
    And if you haven't tried a grocery salvage place, you should! Grocery Outlet (especially if you live in California) or Save-A-Lot are a good place to start -- some of my friends swear by Aldi's, as well. (We don't have those here -- darn it.) Or do a search for 'grocery salvage' or 'Amish food store,' and they should pop right up in your area. (A good list and starting point are here.) We used to shop regularly at an Amish bulk foods store in Jamesport, MO, when my mother-in-law lived not far from there. These places are often out of the way...but worth the trip.

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