Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Cheap ethnic food

You can get certain foods much cheaper at ethnic groceries than at your local grocery or discount store. (An exception to this is that sometimes Big!Lots and Dollar General have discount Hispanic and/or Asian foods.) You can also find foods at the ethnic groceries that you probably will never find in a regular grocery, especially outside of sophisticated large cities.
~One the best Asian stores I've shopped is TAN-A Supermarket at Horsepen and West Broad Streets. TAN-A carries exotic produce, teas, sauces, meats and seafoods, frozen goods and some kitchenware and sundries for very good prices.
Avoid TAN-A on Sundays! Sunday is a mob scene at TAN-A.
6221 W. Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23230

~A near-by store is Far East Market, which is on Rigsby Road, just off Horsepen Road, one block from West Broad Street. At Far East, You can get fresh tofu for four cakes for $1.25 or a reusable plastic tub of 10 cakes for $3.25. What a bargain! Even on sale, fresh tofu rarely sells for less than $1.00 a cake! Tofu is healthy food and at this price, is dirt cheap healthy food!
*Far East
6317 Rigsby Rd
Richmond, VA 23226
~There are a couple of other Asian markets, several restaurants, Pho shops and an Asian bakery in that neighborhood.
*Tam Phat Market
6316 Horsepen Road, Richmond, VA 23226
282-1144*Asian & Oriental Food Store
6322 Rigsby Road, Richmond, VA 23226

Shop around at your local Asian markets. Not every store carries the same merchandise and prices for similar items can vary store-to-store in the same neighborhood.
~With the influx of immigrants (legal and illegal) from Latin America, Hispanic markets or mercados/bodegas are popping up all over Virginia. Nowadays you can buy standard Latino products such as tortillas and masa harina at your local grocery cheaper than at the Latino specialty stores, but the Latino stores carry many products that the big chains will probably never carry.

The largest one that I've shopped, Tu Rincon Latin, is on West Broad Street about one block east of Horsepen Road. The mercado carries Hispanic foods, housewares and deli items. Shop here for plaintains, Mexican chocolate, queso blanco and other Latin goodies.
*TU Rincon Latino
6003 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230
(804) 285-5850

Here are three tiny bodegas that sell some tasty treats:
*Bodega Latina
9020 Quioccasin Road, Richmond, VA 23229
*Bodega Latina
12343 Gayton, Richmond, VA 23238
*Bodega Latina Llc
9042 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23294

~The Richmond Farmer's Market sponsors a monthly 'Mercado' several months a year. The Saturday night Mercado features Latin music, dancing, foods, groceries and hand-crafts.

~Other available ethnic markets are Indian/Pakistani, Middle Eastern,African and Russian.
Although I've not patronized many of the stores, Southside is full of Latin markets and boasts a couple of Asian markets as well.
~The European Deli on West Broad Street and features a deli and Russian and other Eastern European canned and baked goods, meats, cheeses, beers and hand-crafts. Not particularly cheap but they carry food and items almost impossible to find elsewhere.
*Royal Europe Delicatessen
9026 West Broad St
Richmond, VA
346-8878~Three Middle-Eastern stores come to mind:

Danny's Grill is a small deli and carry-out with canned and deli counter foods. Very inexpensive & the deli food is scrumptious.
*Dannys Grill
8905 Patterson Ave
Richmond, VA

2M is a tiny shop with friendly service, great food and canned goods. They have a frequent customer and customer referral discount program!
*2M Mediterranean Market & Deli
Dumbarton Square Shopping Center
7103 Staples Mill Rd
Richmond, VA 23228

I haven't been to MB&D since its re-opening on Quioccasin Road but previous visits found superb food and baked goods. Best variety of Mediterranean foods in the area. They have a drive-thru window. The website is well-designed and includes some great recipes.
*Mediterranean Bakery &Deli
9004 Quioccasin Rd.
Richmond, VA
~ A selection of Indian/Pakistani stores:

*India Foods & Flavor Inc
2745 Hungary Spring Road, Richmond, VA 23294
(804) 346-8678
*Indo Pak Grocery Store
8101 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23294
*Shreeji Supermarket
2757 Hungary Spring, Richmond, VA 23294
*Shreenali Spices
8410 Staples Mill Road, Richmond, VA 23228
(804) 266-4088 ngary Spring, Richmond, VA 23294

~An African market and variety store near VCU:
*African House
902 W Grace St
Richmond, VA 23220

Halal Market on North Meadow Street at West Broad Street.
I've only seen this market from the bus and don't know the days or hours or phone/exact address, but I can safely assume the market is closed on Friday evenings through Saturday. A Halal market is a Muslim market that has been blessed by an Imam/cleric and is similar in concept to a Jewish Kosher market.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Various discounts

Did you know that if you are a senior citizen (beginning age limit varies,) a member of the military or law enforcement, a state or federal employee or various other catagories, you may qualify for discounts and special rates at businesses?
Many businesses give AARP and/or AAA discounts.
For example, Kroger grocers gives a 5% discount to people over 55 on Tuesdays.
Local Goodwills give an over 55 discount on Sundays.
St. Mary's Golden Opportunity Shop gives an over 55 discount on Mondays.

NOTICE: GOODWILL discontinued all of its employee, senior, student, handicapped and military discounts as of August, 2006. Seems all the discounts were cutting into the profits that pay for its programs that benefit disabled and disadvantaged people. Since I only know one person besides me who knew of the discounts, I figure Goodwill employees must have been buying large quantities on discount or else like the Public Library sales, dealers come in on discount days and buy up quantites to resell on EBAY or in their second hand shops. What a shame. A few greedy sorts spoil the extra discounts for everyone. But since Goodwill is generally pretty cheap anyway, I will continue to patronize them.
And they do a good service for the community, so I hope discontinuing the extra discounts really does make a substantial difference in their bottom line.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Craigs List

Sell, trade, barter or give away your stuff for free!
Meet people through personal ads!
Advertise your business!
Run or reply to a classified employment ad!
Promote community events! Find missing persons!



Costco (and Sam's Club and BJ's) is a members-only discount store that has everything from food to eyewear to cars and furniture and electronics. Some Costco's have gas stations. 
I personally prefer Costco to the others. They have a larger selection and I like the way they treat their customers and their employees.Most of Costco's merchandise is sold in large lots.
You can get great deals at Costco if you comparision shop and can use the large quantities.
One idea is to split a membership and split quantities of merchandise.
Some things I've found that are great Costco deals:
~ limes and lemons - about $5.00-$6.00 a 5 pound bag. Always expensive at the grocery - but watch out! They can spoil before you use them up!
~ butter - 4 onepound boxes for $6.79. Cheapest I've seen outside of the very occasional sale at the grocery.
~ milk - 1 gallon around $2.20 - 

~ organic brown eggs - 2 dozen for $4.99! Those are just the deals that come to mind immediately.
Find the nearest Costco:


Two more frugal places to shop

Big!Lots and Dollar General Store can yield some very good deals.
Dollar General has deals in everyday canned and boxed foodstuffs and for personal and laundry cleaning products,especially in their own Dollar General brand. They have periodic sales and clearance sales on seasonal merchandise. You can find them even in very small towns in the rural South,
To find the nearest Dollar General store go to:http://www.dollargeneral.com/storelocator/default.aspx

Big!Lots has overstock and returned and seconds products.
They have good deals in foodstuffs (sometimes in foreign and exotic or natural foods!) and beverages and in personal and laundry products.
They also carry furniture, home decor, pet, kids, school and gardening products and clothing.
Those products can be very good values or they can be over-priced junk. Shop carefully!
Big!Lots discounts seasonal products at the end of the season.
Find the nearest Big!Lots:


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Just for fun!

Here's a cool site that features art found at thrift stores. Much of the art is tacky and some is down-right bizarre. Some of it looks to be outsider &/or folk art. Some is student or Sunday painter work. Next time you go thrifting, consider the art you find with a new eye.
Your tacky masterpiece might belong in the American Museum of Visionary Art!

A Handy Site to Help Simplify Your Site

In some of my articles I have included site link URLs that are very long. For better site appearance & typing simplification, I went to TINYURL to shorten my URL links. Saves your vision, time & some key strokes! And it's free!

Consignment Stores

Consignment stores accept used goods in excellent, like-new condition that are in-style & in-season. Some stores specialize in consigning vintage &/or antique items. There are 'niche' consignment shops for brides, teens, kids,expectant mothers, plus size,etc. I am covering only clothing consignment shops that I have personally inspected, but there are more clothing shops & some shops do consign furniture, baby items, home accessories & bric-a-brac.
If you are looking for quality clothing at decent prices for work or that special event, a consignment might provide just what you are seeking.
In addition to buying items, you can consign items & make some money from your used clothing. Check with the shops for their guidelines on consignment.

HALL TREE - 12 S. Thompson St. 358-9985
Hall Tree is an upscale consignment boutique featuring high-end & designer clothing.
They are expensive but reduce seasonally.
My problem with the Hall Tree is this
: the proprietors & sales clerks are snobs. If you're not one of their buddies, one of their 'kind' of people (basically, the ladies who lunch), you'll receive no decent customer service. You'll be treated as if you intend to shoplift from or rob the place. Despite the value & quality of the merchandise, I don't recommend you shop there because I don't like to see folks spending their money at places that mistreat the majority of their customers.

PLATO'S CLOSET - 419 N Ridge Rd., 282-0725
Teen clothing. Has sections for guys & gals & for plus-size teens. Mostly big name brands like Gap, H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch, Express, etc.

BUTTERFLY - 5726 Patterson Ave. # B, 288-4700
Excellent quality. Has the customer service Hall Tree lacks. Reduces regularly 25-75%. Lowest prices can be real bargains.

KATHI'S KLOSET - 1551 N Parham Rd. 282-1312
Quality,non-frumpy women's 14+ plus-size clothing & accessories. Some larger sized shoes. Friendly service & prices are reduced regularly. Close-out rack at the back of the store is thrift-store cheap.

Here is a link to a list of other local consignment shops:

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Would I be frugal & green if I didn't mention Freecyle?

Freecycle is a free , international online service that wants to keep excess stuff out of landfills. You offer your unwanted items to others for free and people respond to your offer via email. You can also request items. Freecycle has offers and requests for just about anything you could imagine.
I've seen a person with goats looking for free kudzu!
Join the
local Freecycle on Yahoo Groups
and get in on the fun! Freecycle also has a Freecycle Community group that features discussions and other things not allowed on the actual Freecycle group site.

Once a year, Freecycle holds a picnic and swap.
My only caveats with Freecycle is that there are some rude moochers that frequent the site 24/7 looking from freebies to resell for profit on Ebay. If you have something of value that you feel such a moocher might grab, my advice is to either sell it yourself or to give the item to charity. My other problem is the folks that just seem to do nothing but park their high-speed connections on Freecycle and reach out a grab everything before the rest can have a chance to get an item.
Oh, and then there are the folks that post outrageous wish lists for freebies:large appliances, houses, cars...some idiot even posted a request for a free Porsche! Even used and in bad condition, that is a $25,000 car! Get real!
The above rotten apples not withstanding, Freecycle provides a valuable & worthy service & has mostly good-hearted people posting. I got a wonderful cat from a Freecycler!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

My comments on the thrift shop list

I've visited most of the thrift shops in my second post on this blog. This post is a commentary on those shops; merchandise type, quality & variety, prices & quality of customer service & who the thrift shop profits benefit.
Boaz &Ruth_ I've not yet been to B&R but I understand it carries mostly household furnishings & accessories. The profits benefit B&;R, which is a Christian outreach of successful business women mentoring their disadvantaged sisters. The 'sisters' run the store as part of the mentoring process. It's in a rough but slowly gentrifying neighborhood. Near a busline.

Clothes Rack I and II: . CRI is a Carytown shop run by the Junior League. Clothes tend to be expensive but they have frequent sales. It is a good shop to find preppy style clothes & work/interview clothes in good condition, in smaller sizes (2-10 are abundant!) The best deals are in household goods. Customer service is usually good. Get on their email list for sale notifications.
Near a busline.
Diversity Thrift - This store is HUGE! It's in an old warehouse in an out-of-the-way commercial district. Customer service is polite. Prices are good & reduced regularly. Best selection of used computers & electronics & you get a 30-day return & money-back guarantee on those goods. Some vintage & bric-a-brac items tend to be over-priced. You pay by check without a hassle. Benefits ROSMY. Not near a busline.
Family Thrift & Fantastic Thrift - These stores used to benefit Grace House but I am not sure who benefits now. Both stores are too crowded & lack decent parking space. Huge variety of goods, prices are good on non-premium items & are reduced regularly, but pricing can be arbitrary & premium (boutique) goods can carry premium, antique store prices. You must pay for boutique items in the boutique &; non-boutique items at the front check-out, so if you buy items from both areas, you have to check out twice. THAT is ridiculous and unneeded in one small, over-crowded store. Service can be (but is not always) very rude. You can not pay by check and you must check bags at the door. Near a busline.
Goodwill - Benefits Goodwill Industries, which trains and hires disabled individuals. I've only been to a few of the Goodwills. All will accept checks.
1. Fountain Square _ Good variety in clothes, decent prices, okay customer service.
2. Southside Midlothian _ same as above
3. Ashland _Same as above. Often has a decent furniture selection and many Target overstock items.
4. Warehouse_ Items that didn't sell at the original stores. Clothes & linens are unsorted & are in bins & are sold by the pound. Lots of electronics & books. Open only on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
5. Boutique store_This store started out okay but became way over-priced in just a short time. If you are looking for clothing bargains, skip this store & go across the street to Burlington Coat Factory for new, brand-name clothing and accessories at bargain prices.
Clothes at the Goodwill Boutique are not always 'boutique' level, which to me, means good designer or vintage clothing. Clothes & shoes & accessories & a few household goods only.

Some Goodwills are on not very good buslines. Others are are not on any busline.
6.HfH Restore - New and used home improvement & construction items at bargain prices to benefit Habitat for Humanity.
Near a busline. It's in a very rough neighborhood, so be careful!
7. For the Love of Jesus & FTLOJ East. I"ve not yet been to FTLOJ East. The Southside FTLOJ is a HUGE store. Books are set up in bookstore-type displays according to category &; with easy chairs so you can sit & browse the reading material. Prices tend to be low but some bric-a-brac is over-priced. Most clothing is $1.00. Customer service is polite. The store is in a rough neighborhood, but the guys that work there will escort you to your car if you ask! Benefits the Rock Christian drug &; alcohol rehab programs & various low income Christian community services. Near a not very good busline.
8. Massey Cancer Center Shop -A tiny shop with odd hours in a far suburban strip mall. For a tiny shop, this place has great variety, good quality & good prices! The women's clothing tends to small sizes. I got a large, great condition, almost new TV for $20.00 at MCVMCC. Good customer service. They accept checks but not debit or credit cards. The hours are Wednesday-Saturday-10am-3pm. The shop's profits benefit MCV's Massey Cancer Center. Not on or near any busline.
9.Salvation Army - I've mostly shopped at the central location. Good variety,decent prices and polite service. Free loaves of bread, no purchase necessary! Not on a busline but within walking distance of a not-very-frequent bus.
11. Superflea _I've not shopped here, but I'm told it has a wide variety of vendors & merchandise with widely varied pricing. On a busline.
This is a for-profit venture and the proceeds benefit the sellers.
12. Thrifty Quaker - A tiny corner shop in a Midlothian strip mall. Great prices that are regularly reduced. Outstanding customer service. They serve free coffee and lemonade! Profits benefit small. local charities that don't tend to get much other funding or government support. Unsold items are donated to other charities, including some individuals who help the poor & homeless.

Not on a busline but the express for John Tyler Community College passes the area.

My personal recommendations:
-If you want great variety go for Fantastic, Family and Diversity Thrifts or any Goodwill or Salvation Army.
-If you want quality clothing for work or formal or semi-formal occasions, go to Clothes Rack,  or MCVCC.
-If you want great bargains, shop MCVCC, Thrifty Quaker, Diversity, Goodwill Warehouse or For the Love of Jesus.
-If you want electronics, Diversity is the best store. Fantastic & Family carry a good selection but with no guarantees.
-If you want to support some great LOCAL charities, shop at Diversity, FTLOJ, TQ, & B & R.
-If you need building and home restoration supplies, check out ReStore and FTLOJ.
-If you want to avoid being ripped off, avoid Goodwill Boutique and the boutiques inside Fantastic and Family Thrifts. They are very expensive & the merchandise is usually not worth the price. Definitely not THRIFT stores!
-For the all around best attitude & service & heart for charity, Thrifty Quaker is your store!

A Frugal Place to Shop

I don't usually think of a dollar store as a place to buy frozen & cold foods, but the Dollar Tree at 9780 West Broad Street - (965-0757)
(West Broad Street just below Gaskins Road - north side of Broad)
has lots of frozen & cold foods!
Go to the cases in the back of the store & find frozen chicken, fish, veggies & more. In the cold case area, find cheese, milk, eggs & more!
All for a dollar a package!
What a bargain!

NEWS FLASH !!! ~ The Dollar Tree at 8920 Patterson Ave, Richmond, VA - (740-4670)
now has frozen & cold foods!
The store manager said most Dollar Trees
will be getting cold & frozen foods soon. Look for it at the store nearest you!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Some great Richmond area thrift stores

I love thrifting. It's a passion for me!
There are always treasures to be found for bargain prices.
I am saving money and recycling used items.
In most cases,when I shop at thrifts, I am also contributing to charity.

A list of some of the best Richmond thrift shops
Boaz & Ruth Incorporated - furniture & household items
3030 Meadowbridge Rd. 23222 329-4900
Clothes Rack -
2618 West Cary St. 23220 358-4693
Clothes Rack II -
6780 Forest Hill Ave. 23225 323-6270
Diversity Thrift -
1407 Sherwood Ave. 23220 353-8890
Family Thrift Center -
5432 Midlothian Turnpike 231-1737
Fantastic Thrift -
1914 W. Main St . 358-7164
a Golden Opportunity of St.Mary's BonSecours Hospital-
8400 West Broad St. 23294 217-8941
Goodwill Industries :
Auction & warehouse - 6301 Midlothian Turnpike 521-4962
(Sells goods by the pound & is open only on Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday - 9a.m-6p.m.)
Boutique -6202 West Broad St. 23230 285-0571
Brookhill Azalea - 5270 Chamberlayne Rd. 23227 261-0091
Fountain Square - 8018 W. Broad St. 23294 565-6780
Midlothian Crossing Superstore- 8535 Midlothian Turnpike, 23235 320-6733
Southside Plaza- 4644 E. Belt Boulevard, 23224 230-4935
Ashland - Dow Gil & Route 1, Ashland, VA 23005 798-3871
Colonial Heights - 24 Pickwick Avenue, Colonial Heights, VA 23834 520-7122
Habitat for Humanity Restore - Building and restoration supplies
901 Roane St. 23222 228-1305
Love of Jesus Thrift Store -
5503 Midlothian Turnpike 230-4144
LOJTS East -5158 Nine Mile Rd. 737-9494
MCV Massey Cancer Thrift Shop -
1118 Westbriar Dr. 23233 741-1118
Pennies for Heaven Thrift Shop -
2 E Broad St. 649-0097
Salvation Army:
Central store - 2601 Hermitage Rd. 23220 359-0269
(Gives away free loaves of bread! No purchase necessary!)
Chesterfield -10364 Midlothian Turnpike 23235
South Side -441 E. Belt Boulevard 230-7140
Super Flea -
5501 Midlothian Turnpike 231-6687
The Thrifty Quaker -
Midlothian Station Shopping Center 794-7158

~ Here are a few more shops.
I've not visited these shops & am not sure if any are still in business.
I've provided phone numbers, so call before you go for exact locations & hours. ~

A-1 THRIFT STORE - 321-5530 RICHMOND, VA 23222
AMVETS - 231-7150 RICHMOND, VA 23225
329-8500 RICHMOND, VA 23227
PRINCE & PAUPER - 213-0068 RICHMOND, VA 23220
TRUST ME - 737-4969 RICHMOND, VA 23223

~ Check this link for other shops & for shops further afield! ~

Hi frugal friends!

This blog is going to be all about living frugally and simply in the Richmond, VA area.
While I may add some information about other areas, the blog will be mostly about Richmond area thrifty living.
In these days of $oaring ga$ price$ and a rapidly ri$ing co$t of general living, frugality makes more $en$e that ever.
I'm going to propose ways to get more bang for your buck.
But I'm also an advocate of simple and green living, so I hope to have many ideas that are not just about saving money but also about saving time, reducing stress and protecting the environment. I'll have lots of links.
Come join me in my quest for a frugal & simple, yet more abundant life!