When I returned to the city nearest to my campground, I was glad to find a new bargain grocery store. The year before, I didn’t like any of the grocery stores in town because everything seemed really expensive.
The new store isn’t a scratch and dent store; I don’t think anything is outdated. However, many items are about to reach their expiration dates, so those items are cheap in order to sell them off quickly.
I’ve gotten 8oz packages of (not delicious) vegan “cheese” shreds for 99 cents, four cans of peas for 77 cents, popchips for 59 cents a bag, two packages of flour tortillas for $1, and two boxes of Stove Top stuffing (name brand!) for $1.
The best bargain I found at the store was a stack of cans of organic pinto beans for 27 cents each. What! Hell Yeah! I scooped up nine of the ten cans on the table. (The tenth can was dented in a way I didn’t like, so I left it.)
Even though I’m not a fan of whole pintos over rice or in burritos, I bought the bargain beans anyway. Why? I knew I could easily mash them up and turn them into my own version of refried beans.
Here’s how I did it:
#1 Heat oil in cast iron skillet
#2 If desired, add minced garlic (fresh or dried) and/or minced onions (fresh or dried) to the oil.
#3 While oil is heating, drain and rinse beans. (I learned recently that drained and rinsed beans cause less gas.)
#5 Mash beans. (I use the back of my spatula because that’s what I’ve got.)
#6 Beans will probably be quite thick. Add oil and/or hot sauce to thin slightly.
#7 Keep mashing.
#8 Add water to thin beans even more if necessary. (I like mine rather thin.) Keep mashing and stirring until beans are the desired thickness.
You may think this post is all about beans. It’s not. It’s really about creativity.
Back in the day, when I first read The Tightwad Gazette by the Frugal Zealot Amy Dacyczyn, the most important thing I learned is that creativity is a crucial component of frugality. To be frugal, one can’t just rush out and buy something to meet every need that arises. To meet a need, one should look at what’s on hand or can be acquired inexpensively. One should try to think of a way to meet the need with what one already has or can get without spending much cash.
The same principle of being creative applies when one finds bargains. One must figure out ways to use what one can acquire inexpensively.
In my situation, I looked at the very inexpensive pintos and thought, What can I do with these beans so I will enjoy eating them? I realized I could mash them and add onion and hot sauce, then eat them in a variety of ways (with eggs and cheese on breakfast burritos, with hash browns and cheese, in bean burritos).
I used creative thinking to turn my bargain beans into deliciousness.