Frugal Boot Camp: The Supermarket Survival Guide

The Supermarket Survival Manual  by Judy Lynn Kemp is a great book.   I cannot find an image online and my copy is too brittle to even think of scanning.  However, the book is still available on Amazon for a mere $3.  Written in 1973, this book is every bit as relevant as it was the date it was published.  And here's a hint ladies...You know how I love vintage women's magazines.  I prefer those written in the 1940's and early '50's but there is a world of good info in those books published in the 1970's.  I remember the 'cough' not depression we had back then, too and started married life in that era.  These ladies (and men) knew their cost cutting stuff through experience so don't think the 1970's homemakers didn't know their cost cutting tricks. 

My copy was sent to me some years ago and I've thumbed through it enough to almost wear it out.  This book starts out with good information in the INTRODUCTION;  you gotta love that.  For instance, did you know that you don't need to purchase the top of the pineapple if you're paying per pound?  That any grade of egg works as well as another?  I am sure there was a day and time when eggs differed but if you're scrambling them what's the difference?  I love this bit of wisdom:  Look at the eggs you buy.  Roll your open hand over them.  Broken eggs will show up...Let the market make the omelet...Get a good dozen.

She also points out that not all bargains are a bargain, i.e. the paper towel that not only doesn't absorb well but requires four times as many sheets as you'd have used of your usual brand, or buying a block of American cheese and eating it up in three days as she sliced it too thick, nibbled the bits that broke off etc.  She decided that purchasing the pound of sliced portioned cheese ended up being less costly for her household.  It's this sort of sensible advice that I like about the book. 

I liked the way Kemp reminds that pennies equal dollars....Not new information to us but it's well worth repeating if only quietly inside our own heads.  She also points out the fallacy that grocery shopping is going to be fun.   The excuses we can often use are debunked as well.  Driving across town (or to the next) to save two cents is not going to cut it, didn't in 1973 when gasoline was almost dirt cheap there for a bit and sure as heck isn't today when gasoline is less than it's been.  Price comparisons can be done with sales sheets and these days those are almost always available online and you can sign up to have them sent to your email weekly.  I got three today, so I know it can be done.  You don't need to know the price of every single item in the store.  You just need to know the cost of those you'd normally buy.  A price book is a help but not necessary.  I can tell you right away when tuna is on a good sale or is cheapest to buy at Aldi without a price book because I know what it costs at Aldi...  These are just a few of her bits of wisdom. 

I won't go chapter by chapter from this book because there are about 20 chapters though it is a tiny book.  I will say again that there is good advice to be had in it, sensible sort of advice and it's well worth the read and the expense of adding it to the bookshelf for your own use.   


Louise said...

I thought I'd be clever and order the book through my library but it is not in our library system... shucks... I must say I enjoy your Frugal Boot Camp and all your reviews.. I ordered How to Cook a Wolf from the library.. can't wait to get it..

Anonymous said...

I get many funny looks for picking up the potato bags and giving them a sniff. Also for picking up packages of fruit and vegetables and seeing which weighs the most. There can be a lot of difference in what a pound is. These old books are fun. I can't imagine buying a pineapple without the top. Will have to scope out our library for these types of books sometimes. Probably know this stuff, as you do to, but a review once in a while is always good.I still have newspapers from the time when Amy Daczyn was writing and of course her book. Gramma D

Lana said...

Gramma D, I sniff those potato bags, too. As far as I am concerned it is the only way to spot rotten potatoes.

Pineapple tops can be planted to grow new pineapples if you live far enough south and they are just beautiful plants since they are in the bromeliad family. My Mom has a large bed of them at her house in Florida.

For me the biggest grocery savings it to just stay out of the store unless I have gotten down to needing to go. In the summer I often just hit the local produce stand and that is all I need.

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