Tuesday, January 4, 2011

3 Store Grocery Shopping

As part of my 2011 goals I'm trying to be more financially aware and pay down my credit card debt. One area I know I can cut down on is unnecessary expenses while grocery shopping. After reading Emily's post on how she shops, I decided to plan out my shopping today with trips to three different stores: Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and Meijer (local grocery chain).

First I made a list. I did two things wrong here: I didn't check the pantry when I made it and I didn't consult the sales ads online. This resulted in me buying double of what I had at home or missing a better deal at another store. Lesson learned!

After a quick breakfast, Sam and I headed out to shop. We also picked up lunch on the way from the Whole Foods salad bar. YUM.

After 2 hours of power shopping, here's what we returned home with:

When I go to TJs I go for the natural foods at a good price. I rarely buy produce here (quality isn't as good) but I did pick up dried mangoes, pecans, frozen berries, rice milk, powdered pb, spinach, mushrooms, hummus and energy bars. All of these things totaled to just $30.15. Pretty nice!

Then we went to Whole Foods. Generally I don't shop here because it's fairly expensive, but I love wandering around looking at the food goodies. Today I was here to buy some specific items, namely Vega chocolate protein powder (first time trying it!), Justin's chocolate pb, and some natural cheez-its and sour cream cheddar kettle chips for Sam. The total here was $42.32 but the protein powder was over half of that total. I hope I like it :)

Finally we went to Meijer which is a large grocery store chain in the Midwest. I grew up grocery shopping here, and my mom even did a stint as a cashier at one! They have low prices across the board, a great organic generic line and a huge produce selection. I came home with so much food here for under $50! I snagged beans, yogurt, peppers, tons of tangerines, squash, eggs and more. The total was $47.33.

One of the things that makes grocery shopping nice in Michigan is that food is untaxed, so you can stretch your dollar even further. Besides groceries, I also spent extra and stocked up on cleaning supplies for the house, a litter box and cat food, plus notebooks and pens for this semester. These are generally once-a-semester expenses.

So in summary:

Total spent on food: $119.80

Total spent on extras (cat supplies, school supplies, house supplies): $114.59

Total spent today (including lunch and taxes): $233.66

Overall I feel good about keeping my food total low. Without the protein powder it would be under $100, which is an easy budget goal to start with. Plus, this amount of food will last me a long time! My pantry shelf is nice and full :)

Anyone have any other grocery store shopping tips? Next time I need to go back to reading the sales ads and coupon hunting!


  1. I'm really bad about looking through ads for deals at different grocery stores. That's something I'm forever thinking that I need to do better. But yeah, definitely always check the pantry before you go shopping - more than once I've come home with a duplicate that I didn't really need.

    I'm jealous that you have no food tax! I always hate seeing how much more my bill is after taxes!

  2. Yeah! I accidentally bought mushrooms for 1.99 at TJs when they were on sale for 10 for 10 at Meijer! I also came home with extra butter. Lesson learned!

  3. you are so organized! I love the list

  4. thanks! I tried to be organized but I really should have checked for coupons :)


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