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Old 10-28-2009, 11:59 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas
8,442 posts, read 14,359,662 times
Reputation: 10698

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Here's an article I wrote about living in Las Vegas on the cheap. Add your best ideas.

One other thing I do is plug in the crockpot outside when it's hot and inside when it's cold. Usually in whatever room we are using the most.

Frugal Vegas: An Ongoing Guide for the Financially Challenged

Making ends meet in Las Vegas is a tough proposition. We live in the land of the jackpot—cash is king, but the paychecks are often lower than the court jester. Luckily, bargains and deals abound to stretch our actual or alleged dollars. Vegas is a small city and almost all the deals are within easy shopping distance.

(Warning: If you can fry an egg on the sidewalk, it’s a cinch the bacon will be ruined by the time you get it home. Always carry a cooler in your car. The bargain’s wasted if you can’t get it home the way you bought it.)

FOOD FINDS

You’ll find all the usual deals and coupons in newspapers and circulars. But here are three places worth checking out first:

1) The 99 Cent Only Store. Located all over the valley, nothing over 99 cents, they’ll sell you real food for real cheap money. Go early—the inventory’s the best. Meat, fruits, dairy, vegetables, bread/bagels, paper and cleaning products . . . all for less than a dollar each. And what you’ll find may surprise you; the stock changes every day. (Unlike the market, it won’t kill you, either.) Sometimes it’s fresh blueberries and raspberries; other days, maybe steak, mushrooms, and tomatoes.

Advisory: Everything isn’t a bargain. It helps if you have a basic idea what these items cost at the regular grocery store. Read the labels, package sizes, and expiration dates. A 12oz package of pasta for 99 cents is OK but the 16oz package is a better deal. Shop with your brains. For less than a dollar, most of us can afford to try something new or a brand we aren’t familiar with. Be prepared to be surprised. Especially by the high quality.

2) Your Friendly, Neighborhood Hispanic/Mexican groceria. There are several chains and quite a few independents as well. If you are a Spanish speaker, great. If you aren’t, they usually speak some English, you can always point, and so can they—and they’re usually willing to do it. Dust off your High School Spanish and give it a try.

The usual low-price winners are the meats, fruits, and vegetables. But it’s a perfect opportunity to try different food on the cheap. (The dollars, not the quality.) The service is actually well above average, and they’ll even throw you some bones. (For your dogs. Just ask.)

Here’s one example. Last week’s best find was sliced sandwich ham, 99 cents a pound; and, Monterey Jack cheese, $1.49 a pound. If you’re a lime addict those little green fruits are real steals all spring and summer, averaging about three pounds for a dollar. A 14-ounce can of La Lechera (Nestle) sweetened condensed milk taking you for $3 a can in the big supermarket can cost you less than $2. And if there’s a key lime pie in your future but you don’t want to make it yourself, the panaderia (bakery) is a perfect place to buy the fruit of their labor, not to mention such other treats worth trying as queso Napolitano (flan), tres leches (cake), and empanadas de queso (triangular pastry stuffed with sweet cheese).


3) Angel Food Ministries. Eat cheap and help the less fortunate generously—all at once. Impossible? Don’t tell Angel Food Ministries, which lets you do just that.

They now have two working locations in Las Vegas and a very nicely working Website. Go there and pick out food packages you want to try. The prices vary but they’re affordable—and with choices, even. You visit the location you choose and pay in advance by a particular deadline, then you show up on delivery day with a box and pick up your order. This requires some advance planning on your part—but the deal is great.

And they use the profits to feed people who are really hungry.

The menus and their concurrent packages and prices change monthly, but here was one very inviting item on the menu when your observer gave it a look:

The Signature Box. (Their name, not ours; $30.) They call it “[b]alanced nutrition and variety with enough food to feed a family of four for a week,” and they’re not just spouting rhetoric, either:




1.5 lb ribeye steaks, 4x6 oz.
3 lb. IQF split chicken breast
1 lb. boneless center-cut pork chops
2 lb. macaroni and beef, dinner entrée
1.5 lb. breaded all-white meat chicken nuggets
1 lb. 80/20 lean ground beef.
1 lb. bake or fry fish sticks
1 lb. frozen corn
1 lb. frozen baby lima beans
1 cellophane-wrapped iceberg lettuce
2 lb. sweet potatoes
15 oz. pork and beans
1 lb. rice
32 oz. two percent shelf-stable milk
1 dozen eggs
dessert


Remember: Don’t forget the cooler!



Links:
99 Cent Only Store
99¢ Only Stores - Home - The Right Store... Now More Than Ever!

King Ranch Market
Welcome to King Ranch Markets

Liborio Markets
Si es de Allálo Tenemos Aquí

La Bonita Supermarket
La Bonita Supermarkets

Mariana’s Supermarkets
Mariana's Markets

Angel Food Ministries
Welcome*- Angel Food Ministries
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Old 10-28-2009, 04:29 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
11,704 posts, read 9,963,808 times
Reputation: 15012
If one hasn't noticed, the competition among local grocery stores has really heated up lately. I used to forgo most produce at Food4Less and buy at the Latin markets, but not lately, I buy everything at Food4Less.

Non-produce goods at the Latin Markets, I've found, can be out-of-line. And I haven't found the meat prices to be any cheaper than Food4Less. Oftentimes, more expensive. And I really question their hiring practices.
You see Latino's working at non-Latin chains, but no other races at the Latin chains? Am I the only one that finds this to be strange or unfair?

I buy sweetened condensed milk, cheaper than $2 at Food4Less, and I love and trust the Kroger brands.

I do a total skip on WalMart as for produce. Who on earth buys that expensive produce there! As well as everything else there as for food products.

I find one of the best investments for frugal eating is to invest in a freezer.
I have a big stand-up freezer. Discover a good buy on something, stock up and put it in the freezer.

I work the nightshift. I get off work at 6AM and shop after work. Any grocery store not open at 6AM I'll never visit. 99 cent stores do have their occasional bargains, but overall, it's not worth the effort for me go over there, unless I happen to be out and one is nearby.

I also do one big cook-out every month. Double or triple my favorite recipes, then throw it all in the freezer which gives me 4 choices of meals that month.
I hate cleaning up after cooking, so I make one gigantic, holy mess in the kitchen once a month. Cook every day? Oh please!
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:01 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
8,442 posts, read 14,359,662 times
Reputation: 10698
I only cook once every week to 2 weeks and I cook a lot and dirty up the whole kitchen. So I'm just like you! I portion and freeze all the leftovers.

Just did my shopping today. Liborio was the low price winner.

pork roast .77/lb
broccoli 3 lbs $1
bananas 4 lbs $1
white onions 7 lbs $1
carrots 4 lbs $1
potatoes 10lb bag .79
yams 7 lbs $1
cabbage 4 lbs $1
boneless chicken thighs 1lb .87

Went to Smiths for Diet Coke, coffee creamer, lox, alfredo, and corned beef brisket, then the 99cents only for liverwurst, paper products, and junk food.

Last it was hot dog Wednesday at the Weinerschnitzel. Hot dogs for a quarter. Had those for tonights dinner.
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:58 PM
 
1,316 posts, read 1,478,703 times
Reputation: 425
Unless the world has dramatically changed since I finished college, no conversation about eating on the cheap can be concluded before the venerable Top Ramen or Cup of Noodles have been mentioned.
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Old 10-29-2009, 12:52 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas, NV
450 posts, read 1,022,935 times
Reputation: 306
Angel Food Ministries is a great organization to buy food from! We had a couple in Buffalo before I moved here and my brother and I split the packages up as he hates veggies, and I hate red meat. It worked out usually to about $25.00/person for everything and it pretty much kept us well stocked for a 1-2 weeks. The food is great too!
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Old 10-29-2009, 03:22 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas
8,442 posts, read 14,359,662 times
Reputation: 10698
Quote:
Originally Posted by tony soprano View Post
Unless the world has dramatically changed since I finished college, no conversation about eating on the cheap can be concluded before the venerable Top Ramen or Cup of Noodles have been mentioned.
EWWWW.... I prefer to just eat well for less!

OK, I never hated Ramen. I've just had more than enough of it.
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Old 10-29-2009, 03:23 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas
8,442 posts, read 14,359,662 times
Reputation: 10698
Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeygirl4 View Post
Angel Food Ministries is a great organization to buy food from! We had a couple in Buffalo before I moved here and my brother and I split the packages up as he hates veggies, and I hate red meat. It worked out usually to about $25.00/person for everything and it pretty much kept us well stocked for a 1-2 weeks. The food is great too!
It's amazing to me that people don't know about them. I'm surprised to hear from even 1 person on this thread who is familiar with them.
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Old 10-29-2009, 03:36 AM
 
Location: In my house
8,819 posts, read 15,326,918 times
Reputation: 5442
Yellowsnow, you should add Fresh and Easy stores to your list. they have things marked down daily. One end of the produce section has the marked down produce, breads,etc. One part of the cold section by the meats/cheese has marked down produce again, cheese, meats, desserts, iced tea, yogurts, sandwich's, prepared salads, fresh soups and much more. Right next to the cold section they usually have another rack of breads, muffins, cookies, chips, etc all marked half price or more off. What's really good about their marked down foods, usually it's the date you are in there, most of it stays fresh up to a week later as long as it's refrigerated.
You can save a lot in that store, plus use their coupons on the weekly flyers. They do not take regular grocery coupons though, since their prices are much better than most supermarkets anyway, plus the markdowns are even better. For each grand opening somewhere in town, they will mail out better store coupons with more off. I just used a $10 off of $50 yesterday. Their store brand is really good, and they also offer lots of no salt added items for far less than regular grocery stores.
Check it out for yourself if you haven't already.
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Old 10-29-2009, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
3,730 posts, read 5,889,027 times
Reputation: 1247
Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowsnow View Post
Here's an article I wrote about living in Las Vegas on the cheap. Add your best ideas.

One other thing I do is plug in the crockpot outside when it's hot and inside when it's cold. Usually in whatever room we are using the most.

Frugal Vegas: An Ongoing Guide for the Financially Challenged

Making ends meet in Las Vegas is a tough proposition. We live in the land of the jackpot—cash is king, but the paychecks are often lower than the court jester. Luckily, bargains and deals abound to stretch our actual or alleged dollars. Vegas is a small city and almost all the deals are within easy shopping distance.

(Warning: If you can fry an egg on the sidewalk, it’s a cinch the bacon will be ruined by the time you get it home. Always carry a cooler in your car. The bargain’s wasted if you can’t get it home the way you bought it.)

FOOD FINDS

You’ll find all the usual deals and coupons in newspapers and circulars. But here are three places worth checking out first:

1) The 99 Cent Only Store. Located all over the valley, nothing over 99 cents, they’ll sell you real food for real cheap money. Go early—the inventory’s the best. Meat, fruits, dairy, vegetables, bread/bagels, paper and cleaning products . . . all for less than a dollar each. And what you’ll find may surprise you; the stock changes every day. (Unlike the market, it won’t kill you, either.) Sometimes it’s fresh blueberries and raspberries; other days, maybe steak, mushrooms, and tomatoes.

Advisory: Everything isn’t a bargain. It helps if you have a basic idea what these items cost at the regular grocery store. Read the labels, package sizes, and expiration dates. A 12oz package of pasta for 99 cents is OK but the 16oz package is a better deal. Shop with your brains. For less than a dollar, most of us can afford to try something new or a brand we aren’t familiar with. Be prepared to be surprised. Especially by the high quality.

2) Your Friendly, Neighborhood Hispanic/Mexican groceria. There are several chains and quite a few independents as well. If you are a Spanish speaker, great. If you aren’t, they usually speak some English, you can always point, and so can they—and they’re usually willing to do it. Dust off your High School Spanish and give it a try.

The usual low-price winners are the meats, fruits, and vegetables. But it’s a perfect opportunity to try different food on the cheap. (The dollars, not the quality.) The service is actually well above average, and they’ll even throw you some bones. (For your dogs. Just ask.)

Here’s one example. Last week’s best find was sliced sandwich ham, 99 cents a pound; and, Monterey Jack cheese, $1.49 a pound. If you’re a lime addict those little green fruits are real steals all spring and summer, averaging about three pounds for a dollar. A 14-ounce can of La Lechera (Nestle) sweetened condensed milk taking you for $3 a can in the big supermarket can cost you less than $2. And if there’s a key lime pie in your future but you don’t want to make it yourself, the panaderia (bakery) is a perfect place to buy the fruit of their labor, not to mention such other treats worth trying as queso Napolitano (flan), tres leches (cake), and empanadas de queso (triangular pastry stuffed with sweet cheese).


3) Angel Food Ministries. Eat cheap and help the less fortunate generously—all at once. Impossible? Don’t tell Angel Food Ministries, which lets you do just that.

They now have two working locations in Las Vegas and a very nicely working Website. Go there and pick out food packages you want to try. The prices vary but they’re affordable—and with choices, even. You visit the location you choose and pay in advance by a particular deadline, then you show up on delivery day with a box and pick up your order. This requires some advance planning on your part—but the deal is great.

And they use the profits to feed people who are really hungry.

The menus and their concurrent packages and prices change monthly, but here was one very inviting item on the menu when your observer gave it a look:

The Signature Box. (Their name, not ours; $30.) They call it “[b]alanced nutrition and variety with enough food to feed a family of four for a week,” and they’re not just spouting rhetoric, either:




1.5 lb ribeye steaks, 4x6 oz.
3 lb. IQF split chicken breast
1 lb. boneless center-cut pork chops
2 lb. macaroni and beef, dinner entrée
1.5 lb. breaded all-white meat chicken nuggets
1 lb. 80/20 lean ground beef.
1 lb. bake or fry fish sticks
1 lb. frozen corn
1 lb. frozen baby lima beans
1 cellophane-wrapped iceberg lettuce
2 lb. sweet potatoes
15 oz. pork and beans
1 lb. rice
32 oz. two percent shelf-stable milk
1 dozen eggs
dessert


Remember: Don’t forget the cooler!



Links:
99 Cent Only Store
99¢ Only Stores - Home - The Right Store... Now More Than Ever!

King Ranch Market
Welcome to King Ranch Markets

Liborio Markets
Si es de Allálo Tenemos Aquí

La Bonita Supermarket
La Bonita Supermarkets

Mariana’s Supermarkets
Mariana's Markets

Angel Food Ministries
Welcome*- Angel Food Ministries
Excellent, excellent post and information yellowsnow
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Old 10-29-2009, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
8,442 posts, read 14,359,662 times
Reputation: 10698
Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkString View Post
Yellowsnow, you should add Fresh and Easy stores to your list. they have things marked down daily. One end of the produce section has the marked down produce, breads,etc. One part of the cold section by the meats/cheese has marked down produce again, cheese, meats, desserts, iced tea, yogurts, sandwich's, prepared salads, fresh soups and much more. Right next to the cold section they usually have another rack of breads, muffins, cookies, chips, etc all marked half price or more off. What's really good about their marked down foods, usually it's the date you are in there, most of it stays fresh up to a week later as long as it's refrigerated.
You can save a lot in that store, plus use their coupons on the weekly flyers. They do not take regular grocery coupons though, since their prices are much better than most supermarkets anyway, plus the markdowns are even better. For each grand opening somewhere in town, they will mail out better store coupons with more off. I just used a $10 off of $50 yesterday. Their store brand is really good, and they also offer lots of no salt added items for far less than regular grocery stores.
Check it out for yourself if you haven't already.
I agree they often have really good quality food for reasonable prices. Sometimes, it's a steal. The stores in my area start marking down at 6pm. If I'm out and about in the evening I will often stop by and see what's in the bargain bin. My last major score was 3 quarts of heavy cream for .50 each!
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