Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Am I missing something?

This time of year I like to watch for sales on dry beans which I then cook and can them while the weather is cooler and I’m not swamped with veggies appearing in great abundance.  Why do I can beans instead of simply cooking a batch for a meal each time?  Well, its like this, a jar of already cooked beans can be opened, heated, and served in very little time but simmering a pot takes awhile.

Even using a pressure cooker to fix quick beans is still longer than opening and heating.  As a single person a whole pot of beans is a bit much to eat in one or two meals.  I’m able to put them in small single serve size jars for canning.  Also, canning my own tastes much better than the commercial cans do.  To me the commercially canned beans taste like the metal they are in.  Sort of metallic tasting.  I always have to rinse them well before using.  In my opinion that’s taking away a lot of the nutrients from the beans.

Food and kitchen 2014 148

home canned (bottled) baked beans

Well a few days ago I went to the local Meijer grocery where I usually stock up on my dry beans and I couldn’t find them.  I asked a stock clerk where the dry beans had been moved to because they were not in the usual spot.  The stock clerk says they are no longer going to carry dry beans.  WHAT!?  Why not?  The stock clerk didn’t know why but the store would only carry a very small variety in the Mexican foods section from now on.  He said the store would only carry commercially canned beans.  I looked and there was only 3 types of dry beans on the shelf in the Mexican foods section.  The factory made cans of beans were $1.25 up to $3.50 each depending on type and brand. Ouch!  That’s gonna really hurt my limited budget.

Food and kitchen 2014 149

home canned (bottled) navy beans in single serve jars

I decided to go to another store to look for what I needed.  Kroger this time.  Well, guess what?  The Kroger stores won’t be carrying dry beans anymore either except in the Mexican foods section.  The few remaining packages of dry beans were marked as discontinued and on sale to clear the shelves.  I bought all I could afford and I’m really, really hoping they won’t all be sold out before I come up with a few more dollars for my shopping trip next week.

Food and kitchen 2014 185I usually buy in three separate shopping trips over the winter and bottle them while the weather is really cold outside.  What I put up through the winter will last throughout the hot summer months when I really don’t want a pan of beans simmering to heat up the house.

Is it just my own thinking but are all the really budget friendly foods gone from the shelves now?  What I mean is that when I was younger and my money ran out a few days before payday I could always go to the store and purchase some cheap chicken backs or a soup bone or a package of dry beans and fix a budget stretching meal.  I believe that the dried beans was the last remaining budget stretching foods available for the very low income people and now those are going away too.

If a food is NOT available for purchase there’s no way you are gonna buy it.  Right?  So, where the heck are all the low income staple foods going??? If food is not available for us to purchase then who the heck is getting it all?  Am I missing something?  Has the drought killed all the bean crops? Would my few readers let me know if I’ve missed something and please let me know if dry beans are disappearing from the stores you shop too.

4 comments on “Am I missing something?

  1. Nathalie
    November 12, 2014

    I didn’t think about the situation in California, you might be right. I stopped by Save A Lot this morning to see what they carry and they had lots of dry beans (I forgot to check my other stores, though).

    In the hispanic section they had Goya pinto beans ($1.29), Goya red kidney beans ($1.69) and Goya green split peas ($1.19). I think they were 1 lb each.

    Then in another aisle they had Wylwood large lima beans ($1.79, WIC approved), Wylwood black eye peas ($1.89, WIC approved), Wylwood great northern beans ($1.69, WIC approved), Wylwood pinto beans ($1.19, WIC approved). I think that all of those were 1 lb bags. They also had 4-lb bags of Wylwood pinto beans for $4.49 and 4-lb bags of Iberia black beans for $4.99.

    Food tends to be more expensive in Florida than up North so I would imagine those prices would be lower were you are.

    • Na Na
      November 13, 2014

      Thank you for the information. It’s helpful to know whats going on in other places so I know what to expect here. I managed to find navy beans today at Kroger. $1.59 for one pound. Kroger brand. The supply was very limited. I took 6 packs and left 6. I didn’t want to be greedy as they are WIC approved. The only other dry beans on the shelf were black beans, pinto, chick peas, and 16 bean soup mix. I took 4 of the soup mix and left 7. I left the others. My SIL has me chauffeur her on grocery day which is tomorrow. She stops at several store so I’ll be checking all of them to see what’s available.

  2. Nathalie
    November 11, 2014

    It might just be a marketing decision by those stores in your area. I’m in Central Florida and just last week I noticed that Publix now has a newly repackaged line of store-branded dry beans, quinoa, etc. and there seemed to be quite a variety available. Also Save A Lot, in my area, usually sells a lot of dry beans. I’ll have to check when I go shopping tomorrow. Do you have an Aldi nearby? I’ve switched most of my shopping to Aldi. They have the lowest prices on tons of things (excluding deals that you could get somewhere else with coupons). I really like shopping there.

    • Na Na
      November 12, 2014

      Maybe you are right and its a marketing thing. Maybe there just aren’t enough people buying the dry beans in this area to carry a large amount. The Aldi I usually shop reduced the amount they carry six months ago. I didn’t think anything about it until other stores reduced too. I haven’t been to Save A Lot in quite awhile but I’ll check there my next shopping trip. I know a lot of our food is grown out west and that’s where the drought has affected lots of crops. I was curious if maybe I had missed something on the news about a shortage or something.

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