Friday, January 27, 2012

Where Do We Shop?

I do most of the grocery shopping for our house, but will often have Lo pick up something when he's going to the store for beer or if I just need one or two things (he's better about only buying what he needs).  I shop at a variety of stores for groceries, but I only go to each store once or twice a month (sometimes less).  My decisions are based on where I can save the most money, get the best food, and/or convenience.  

I prefer to shop at Trader Joes, get my meat at The House of Meats in Anderson’s (love that name!), and buy other things in bulk at Costco (produce, canned goods, frozen stuff, cheese) and whatever has a coupon making it a good deal.  We do get things at Giant Eagle a lot – mostly because it is SO close to our place and we like fuel perks, or Kroger when they have great deals (their fuel program sucks).  I also occasionally go to Whole Foods and Aldis (extreme polar opposites).  Oh- and I get produce at farmer's markets and through Green B.E.A.N. Delivery throughout the year too. If I had to guess, we probably spend about $250 on food at the grocery per month.  That doesn’t include beer (he buys that on his own) or dining out (I don’t want to know exactly how much that costs each month, though I probably should try to pay attention).  

My staples at each store:

Trader Joes: Bananas, Shredded Carrots, Garlic, Shredded Broccoli Mix, Organic Apples, Onions, Hummus, Shaved Parmesan, Romano & Asiago Blend, Smoked Gouda, Bleu Cheese Crumbles, Chicken Sausages, Peanut Butter, Organic Applesauce Cups (for baking), Refried Black Beans, Carribean-Style Black Beans, Rice Pasta, Pizza Sauce, Goddess Dressing, Frozen Shrimp, Frozen Salmon, Frozen Mahi-Mahi, Frozen Mahi-Mahi Burgers (but they've been out of them for MONTHS and it breaks my heart each time!), Frozen Garlic, Basil, and Cilantro Cubes, Frozen Melange-a-Trois Pepper Blend, Frozen Edamame, Frozen Spinach, Greek Yogurt, Ricotta Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Eggs, Tortilla Chips, Plantain Chips, and Salsa.  

House of Meats: When on sale - Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Filet Mignon, Beef Roasts, Pork Chops, Beef Stew Meat.  The chicken breasts go on sale about once a month for either $1.79 or $1.99 – you can either get plain or pick ones that are already marinated in one of 9 or so different marinades.  Plus they wrap them in a plastic bag and then freezer paper, so they can go straight in the freezer.  If I’m really stocking up, I’ll call ahead and tell them how many pounds of what flavors I want and they’ll have them ready when I get there (plus you get to bypass the line that way – it can be busy there). I usually walk through the produce section at Anderson's while I'm there and pick up whatever is on sale/looks good.

Costco (food only): Fresh Spinach, Peppers, Mushrooms, Brussels Sprouts, Berries, Smoked Gouda and Apple Chicken Sausages, Sliced Cheese, Laughing Cow Cheese, Shredded Mozzarella, Rotisserie Chicken, Take and Bake Pizza (for Lo), Frozen DiGiorno (for Lo), Cottage Cheese, Real Bacon Bits, Almond Butter, Onion Flakes, Red Pepper Flakes, Canned Diced Tomatoes, Canned Chicken Breast, Canned Soups, Black Beans, Starbucks or Kirkland Coffee, Butternut Squash Sauce, Tomato Sauce, Almonds, Nutella, Maple Syrup, and Chocolate Chips.  A lot of these items I only buy when there are coupons for them in the monthly booklet, but the coupons make them fantastic deals.  

Giant Eagle and Kroger: I mostly buy what coupons match up to (I don't do a lot of couponing, but I do look through the inserts that come and will pull out coupons for the things that I would buy anyway.  Others things include various produce, canned goods, baking goods, cheese, and other random things that we need.  There really isn't anything that we always buy at these stores.  

Aldis: I pretty much only buy canned goods or baking items at Aldis when I really need to stock up.  Sometimes frozen items too.  I probably only go 2-3 times a year. 

Whole Foods: I don't go regularly, but will go in when they have a great sale (some of their Friday One Day Sales are incredible).  When I'm there, I usually get produce, cheese, tofu, snacks, gluten-free items, bulk spices, and bulk grains.

I also get a lot of gluten free food (flour blends, pizza dough mix, bread mix, etc.) on - they have a great Gluten-Free Store and often have really good deals, especially when purchased with the Subscribe and Save Option (which can be cancelled at any time).

That just about covers all of our shopping needs.  You'll notice I didn't mention a lot of processed foods because I really don't buy a lot of that.  It's just a choice that I've made, partly because I enjoy cooking and partly because I gain weight really easily. I try to keep macaroni and cheese around, but even when I make that, I doctor it up enough that it passes as healthy.  I also usually have gluten-free bisquick, pizza dough mix, some cake or cookies mixes, and canned soup.  I don't think there is anything wrong with people using processed food when time is tight, but most people can find time to throw some food in a crockpot to make a meal, make soup, or cook chicken for salads once or twice a week.  

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