Transcript for Frugal Foodies: Making Dinner at a Discount
Imagine paying fast food prices for the healthiest and freshest produce in groceries. It may sound like food fantasy but these days a savvy customer can do just that, by knowing how and where to shop. ABC's Rebecca Jarvis met one a woman who's leading the hunt for high-end diet deals and saving thousands. Reporter: Sarah mock is like a lot of Americans. She hates paying a lot for groceries to feed her husband and three active kids. Get her! Pretty much the only things we buy are, unless we really need them or mommy has a coupon. Reporter: But Sarah loves to cook. Even went to kueculinary school. So she isn't willing to cut corners when it comes to quality. Dear god, thank you for this day and thank you for the food that mommy prepared for us. Reporter: She is a frugal foodie. A growing movement of people who believe eating cheap is cool and delicious. She even writes about saving money on her blog, "How I pinch a penny." Sarah saves thousands of dollars a year on food shopping, getting almost 50% off her grocery bill. And how she does it isn't a big secret. It just takes time and planning. We traveled to York, Pennsylvania and went on the hunt with Sarah and her son harry as they stocked up for a week's worth of groceries. All right. Ready to go shopping? Let's go get a cart. Reporter: A list that includes ingredients for tasty meals like pork loin and carne asada tacos. You're making me hungry with that list. I like the Mexican stuff. Reporter: And to complete the list without breaking the bank Sarah has to go to three different grocery stores. It's 10:45 A.M. First stop, Amelia's grocery outlet that sells food that would otherwise go to waste. What's Amelia's known for? Amelia's -- I love it because you have name brand products at a discount. Reporter: Food that's close to or past its sell by date. Every once in a while find something that is close to date, maybe it's within a couple weeks or a couple months. And then you will find some things that are past it. Reporter: These pretzels are two for a dollar. Two for a dollar? Check these out. Best by 2-13-14. Which is in less than a month. So do you think my family could eat two of these in a month? Yeah. Yeah. Reporter: Yeah, definitely? And this corn meal should have been sold in December. Two for 97 cents. Two for 97 cents. Now, whenever it's that low, I check the dates. Expired. But it's sealed up. There's nothing wrong with it. I'm going to be using it within the month. And so I'll just get one of these. Reporter: While some things do look a little worse for wear -- Look at this. This is a beat-up box of raisin bran. And it is $2.49. The cereal inside is fine. It's just cosmetics. It's not as pretty anymore. But that's okay. Reporter: There were also some diamonds in the rough. Here's a cranberry juice, ocean spray, 32 ounces, for 99 cents. Reporter: 99 cents. Now, when it comes to 99 cents I go, okay, why? What's wrong with it? And it's best before may 22nd of '14. That's a long ways off. It is St. Louis a long ways off. So we're hitting a bit of a jackpot deal in this one. Reporter: Peanut butter is a staple. Jif and peter pan. So we have our choice. It's not just one today. Jif is $2.79. Reporter: At check-out our cart was full. See how much this is. Reporter: But the bill -- $67.14. Because every penny counts. Reporter: Almost 50% less than a traditional grocery store. You saved $65.55 by shopping at Amelia's today. Thank you. Mission accomplished! Reporter: 12:30 P.M. Next stop, Aldi, a totally different grocery store experience. He's ready with his quarter. Reporter: You have to rent a cart. They save by not having cart getters. Sure. Reporter: When you get inside, you won't find many name brands. That's what Aldi's is, is mostly Aldi's brand. Reporter: And that good deal we got on peanut butter doesn't seem so good now. $1.69. Was ours -- I think it was more. $2.79. Does that sting a little bit? It does a little bit. But for a dollar -- an extra dollar I got the name brand. Reporter: The store is designed to keep prices as low as possible. Part of their long-standing philosophy of operational efficiencies. Everything we can do to keep our costs low, we are going to do that so we can pass those savings on to our customers. Reporter: Aldi's stores are smaller than regular grocery stores. Instead of tens of thousands of products, they sell about 1,300 of the most commonly bought items. And they display their products in the boxes they were shipped in. We don't have to have somebody spending the time to individually take that product and place it on the shelf. Reporter: But if you think off label equals off quality, think again. Here in the ld test kitchen outside of Chicago, a team of gourmets creates and tastes top-of-the-line meals made with discount ingredients. I think the color's really nice and it's a great way to get a lot of vegetables. You've got the beans. It's a protein source. You can swap out the frozen corn or froze envegetables as well just depending on what you have in your pantry. Reporter: Back at our Aldi in Pennsylvania we stocked up on our own discount dairy. $3.77 for a gallon of skim all the way up to $4.21 for the whole milk. Aldi's has the best price for milk. Reporter: Sarah has what she came for, plus a few extras. $3.79 for three pounds. That would easily be $6 at my grocery store. Reporter: They don't take credit cards. Too many fees. Just cash and debit. $46.87. Yay. $46.87. Reporter: You have to bring your own bag and fill it yourself. We are saving them money by not hiring people to bag our groceries. So we only have a few more things to go. Things that we got here. Onions. Garlic. Tortellini, no. Chicken tenders, no. Reporter: At 2:00 P.M., our last stop is giant. Hey, let's go find your tortellinis. Do you know where they are? Reporter: Her local grocery store and occasional sponsor on her blog. Thank you. Reporter: Discount stores often don't sell specialty cuts of Mike flank steak. Fresh flank. Okay. Got one of those. Reporter: So she has to get that here. Along with a surprise. Remember the cheap penut butter from Amelia's? Jif creamy, the 16-ounce, is normally $2.99. On sale for $2.71. Okay. And I think we got it for $2.79. I think. We'll take a look. We did. $2.79. Wa, wa. Sorry. Reporter: Four hours later Sarah finally finishes up her list. That's it for today. All right. Your total is $54.81. Reporter: For a grand total of $168.82. I think that's a really good deal. For all that we got. Reporter: Proving that good taste at a lower price can be on anyone's shopping list. No matter where you live. It seems like the bottom line here is you can be a frugal foodie. You can definitely be a frugal foodie. Yeah. Frugal fabulous foodie is what we are. Reporter: For "Nightline" I'm Rebecca Jarvis in York, Pennsylvania.
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