Hard Times Beget Good Times

Hello to you, my reader.

Did you miss me? Because boy, did I miss you.

Hard times have fallen upon the land of Nik Snacks. Well, my blog is fine. It's me, Nikki, the professional that you know & love who is having a hard time right now. An economic crises of grand proportions has hit my house and since it's just me...I'm the only person accountable for myself. I've been pulling myself up by my boot straps (ok, ok....Crocs straps) as of late, but I'm getting nowhere. So...no food for now. Only food for thought.

Well, the entire world is having a hard time in some way or another. I promise this post isn't going to bemoan the government, rising costs, expenses, & staring down frugality in hopes of beating its ass. This post is about saving yourself.

"Saving yourself?" you ask? Yes: Saving yourself some money.

#1 Go to your local farmer's market.

Buying seasonally is the way to go. It's more economical and healthier to buy your food this way. It's OK to want fresh corn in November. You'll just have to go to the grocery store & visit the frozen foods section.

There are four farmer's markets in my area that sell everything from vegetables to meats & natural home remedy products to jewelry. I go to the market strictly for my vegetables & goat cheese (omg...Goat Lady Dairy goat cheese is the most perfect chevre on earth. Never have I ever put anything so creamy, fresh, & delicious in my mouth!)

You cannot beat the prices of food at the farmer's market. For example, a 10 pound bag of russet potatoes (the guys were so huge there were only 6 in the bag) cost me $3 at the market. I had to go to Harris Teeter & I saw russets for $5.99. A 5 lb. bag of carrots at the market, 79 cents. At the grocery store? $4.99.

I was not a math major in college, but...

Most of our comes from farms. That's where food is grown. Going to the market gives you the opportunity to:
buy local
speak to the producers who toiled & labored to give you those pretty turnip greens
save infinite amounts of money

#2 Buy in smaller quantities

When I buy sliced meat & cheese for my sandwiches, I never ever buy the pre-packaged meat. 102% of the time, you'll see me standing in line at the deli. Why?
a) it's fresher
b) they let you sample whatever you want
c) you can tell them how much you want, how you want it sliced, & it's cheaper

I want good tasting food. That is my #1 priority in life. Knowing the package of bologna (which I'd never eat anyway...it grosses me out, slightly) has been processed & has a USE BY date, doesn't make me feel good about eating it.

I'd never tried Cajun fried turkey breast until last night. The lady in the deli let me try a slice. It was delicious. Then I asked for another...just to make sure I liked it. I did. Then I asked for a "sample" of provolone. Ha ha...I just got a free snack!

I like the deli because you can decide if you're buying for weight or for price. When I was in high school, I worked at a grocery store & instead of discounts off merchandise, we were allowed 10% off every $40 we spent. This is a gourmet grocery retailer where a gallon of organic milk was $5.99....10 years ago! So $40 was going to get you a box of crackers, a head of hydroponic lettuce & maybe 4 or 5 gummy bears from the bulk section. I'd take my certificate, go to the deli, and go to town.

"Tom, I need 8 cents of Danish ham, sliced thin. No, wait. Make that shaved. No, wait..."

So those are my 2 cents for today. I hope that I have saved you some time & money in the process. 'Cause Lord knows I have plenty of time....and not enough money...

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

Leave a reply

  1. Sorry you are having a rough time right now. Those are some good point for shopping alittle smarter

  2. Thanks for all the great tips. I'm sure things will change for you for the better. Keep up the positive attitude.

  3. Don't worry good buddy, things will turn up eventually. You've got quite the thriftiness going on in you, so I know you'll adapt fine :)

    And goat lady cheese!

  4. *HUG* You're going to be fine. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you, but I know you'll pull through anything.

    Alas, in my neck of the woods, the farmer's markets are closed for the season. I have to be really picky about what I buy at the store.

  5. Nikki -
    What are your favorite farmer's markets around Winston, and what are the relative pros/cons of each one? I just moved here from Durham, so I'm having a little withdrawl from the Durham and Carrboro Farmer's Markets (not to mention Trader Joe's)

  6. Sorry you're having a tough time right now. Your tips were right on and I'm sure in these difficult times, lots of us will be following them!

  7. To anonymous: The Piedmont Triad Market in Colfax is my #1 choice. It's on the Sandy Ridge Road exit off I-40. Go there to get the goat cheese! #2 is the Greensboro Curb Market on Yanceyville Street. #3 is the Winston-Salem Farmer's Market at the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds. Go at 6 am to get the best stuff. By 8:00, most of the goods are gone. To find other farmer's markets, go to http://localharvest.org. The above are just where I go all of the time.

  8. Nikki, my sweet. You are one of the hardest working, strongest people I know. This shall pass. Trust me, I know from personal experience. I will keep you in my thoughts and in my prayers. Hugs to you.

  9. Food for thought, in these hard times, is as good as anything. I know what it is like to be the only one you can depend on.

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  11. Hey Nikki,
    These are weird times indeed. We have so much to be excited about, but can't afford the champagne to celebrate with. The economy really, really stinks and farmer's markets are a good way to go. I heard someone say we could also just eat a lot less, which would save our wallets and waistlines. But what fun is that?

  12. Hi! I feel you on this economic crunch... it's tough, but we'll make it through, right? :)

    *hugs* to you!

  13. I just realized the deli tip. I was amazed at how much more I got and for the lower price. If it wasnt for CS, I dont know what I would do.Im personally so stretched out with money , I am about to snap.

  14. Nikki, I'm sending a big mental hug your way and I hope that things turn around soon. These are really terrific tips, both for the wallet and the figure, and I will put them to good use in my own life. Hang in there.

  15. Stay positive Nik. It sounds like you are.

    I wish I had so many farmer's markets close to me.

  16. *hugz* Hang in there - and keep the positive attitude there - even when it seems bleak. My theory is always negative begets negative and you are always so positive :)

    I love the idea of the farmers market/local markets. I still need to find some here in Orlando

  17. Good tips!! There's an Award for you on my blog.

  18. Great tips--and I am so sorry to hear that this down turn has gotten to you so soon. It is hurting my work too and it is scary.

  19. Girl, I understand ALL too well about how things hit ya and you don't get to post as you would like. The last 2 weeks have been a slow moving train wreck for me as well. I hope all is now going smooth for you.

    Have a great Thanksgiving!

  20. Hang in there and in the meantime, your thinking about adjustments is right on and great advice for all of us. I'll have you in my thoughts when I go out tonight and count lucky stars. I'll pick one just for you. Muah.

  21. Love your tips. My boyfriend and I used to go to the grocery or markets when we were hard up for cash.. so we could get a free meal from the samples! :)

  22. I can take your 2 cents and be on my way to a bag of carrots...

    You forgot to mention Asian groceries (for those who don't live close to a farmer's market). They are a great place to save.


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