I have a problem with frugality. I just can’t handle paying more for a good or service of exactly the same quantity/quality that is cheaper elsewhere. For instance, Jewel, I love ya, but if I walked out of your doors with 3 giant bags of produce, it’s going to cost at least $50 and wipe out a huge portion of my grocery budget. Seeing that one of the things I truly excel at is buying produce, letting it sit around until it starts to turn bad and then throwing it all away, I should be buying the cheapest produce I can find. I can’t spend $50 on this process – I need to spend $11.
$11-$12 is about the average I spend at Stanley’s Fruits and Vegetables, conveniently located at North Avenue and Elston, within walking distance of my apartment. In case you can’t visualize what 3 packages of tomatoes, 2 large packages of raspberries, packaged sliced watermelon, a cantaloupe, a giant pack of grape tomatoes, an avocado and a large bag of grapes looks like for $11, let me show you:
If you’ve never been to Stanley’s, let me tell you a few things. First of all, people LOVE it. Check out the Yelp reviews. Secondly, their products are ripe – this is not the kind of produce you’ll have a lot of time to let sit out on the counter before you throw it away – Stanley’s cuts down on this process by offering the type of produce that needs to be eaten within a very short days of purchase. Also, it’s going to be crowded (remember, people love it)…unless you go at 6 a.m. when they open. I highly recommend going around this time, or prepare yourself for a vulture-esque $#!t show in the parking lot, the good people of Chicago who’ve been whipped into a frenzy by the promise of 10 for $1 pluots and 5 for $1 avocados, eager to cut you off from the parking spot you’ve been eyeing, the same way they’ll cut up the 6 pounds of onions they buy for 10 cents. Seriously, beware, that parking lots gets nuts.
The variety of fruits and veggies is sizable, many items rotating seasonally. Now, if you’re into organic produce, they’ve got that too, also at great prices. The organic portion of the store is located by the deli – yes, they’ve got a deli, too. The staff is really friendly and the cashiers are extremely fast at bagging the cartfuls of produce people buy. Besides produce, they carry eggs, milk, some pastas, rice, salsa, breads and canned goods. The prices are dirt cheap, making Stanley’s one of my absolute Chicago favorites. I’ve even been trying to stretch my $11 further lately by actually washing and cutting everything up as soon as I get home – cutting down on the throwing away process tremendously. After I’ve cut everything up, it’s ready to go for the week, meaning healthy fruits and veggies at my fingertips at work and home:
Sigh…the only bad part of healthy fruits and veggies is that on Weight Watchers, all of that would be 0 points. I’m currently counting calories using MyFitnessPal, and I’d have to track it all.
…I think…I might go back to WeightWatchers. After all, even though I haven’t been on program for over a year, I still pay for WW Online. Why is that not surprising?