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!