Mainly shop at Trader Joe's, need to spend less on groceries - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 40 Old 02-27-2011, 12:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by syn_ack89 View Post

 veggies are typically much cheaper.

Really? That's interesting. I guess I never compared snack veggies to fruits. I grew up in a household where the only vegetables we ate (besides potatoes) were canned corn, canned, green beans, and canned peas. YUCK!!!! For a special treat, my mom would buy a can of mushrooms and saute it in margarine for the two of us. (Okay, we did eat corn on the cob, tomatoes and iceberg lettuce.) So now I cook with broccoli, artichokes, eggplant, cauliflower, spinach, etc., etc., but the thought of snacking on veggies is totally foreign to me. What would everyone suggest for veggie snacks?


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#32 of 40 Old 02-27-2011, 12:57 AM
 
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We eat mini-carrots, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, celery and cucumbers. If you buy the prepared, ready to snack versions they are about the same as fruit. If you buy the veg and prepare them yourself they are cheaper (where I am). I usually have fruit as part of morning snack and veg in the afternoon.

I eat all of them with hummus. I eat celery with cream cheese. I salt slices of cucumber. Carrots I usually eat plain. You can also use other types of dip.

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#33 of 40 Old 02-27-2011, 05:42 AM
 
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I don't think that your choices are that bad. Your family must drink a TON of milk if you'd save about $35 by switching to conventional. Can you cut back on a lot of milk?

 

My kids are HUGE fruit and veggie snackers. I've found TJs to be cheaper than my local grocery store.

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#34 of 40 Old 02-27-2011, 06:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think that your choices are that bad. Your family must drink a TON of milk if you'd save about $35 by switching to conventional. Can you cut back on a lot of milk?

 

My kids are HUGE fruit and veggie snackers. I've found TJs to be cheaper than my local grocery store.


 

We go through 3 gallons of milk a week. With our morning smoothie we use about 2 cups each day. I'm not sure where the rest of the milk goes...evaporation, I guess. lol.

 

Irony is, when I was single I never bought milk unless a recipe called for it. Then I'd just buy a small container. Yeah, TJ here is cheaper than other stores for the type of foods we eat.


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#35 of 40 Old 02-27-2011, 08:08 AM
 
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I didn't realize Costco sells frozen fruit. I'll have to check them out. (We stick with frozen magoes for our smoothies because I like them best and they are cheapest.} I'll also look their for quinoa and pasta.

 

I typically avoid Costco, but I do buy cat food there (we are supporting a cat colony. So far I've trapped, neutered, and released 14 cats.) We also buy the grated parmesan. I normally don't look at their other stuff because it's in such bulk, but I will definitely look next time we go.

 


You could save a lot of money by buying more at Costco. Frozen fruit, milk (our Costco does carry organic milk), mushrooms, broccoli florets, red bell peppers, whole wheat pasta, almond butter, multi-grain bread, quinoa, potatoes, and frozen corn are all things that I buy at Costco. We don't have Trader Joe's here, but all of those things are cheaper at Costco than I can find them anywhere else in town.

 

I second the suggestions from PPs to make cheaper meals and to make more of your own foods from scratch. I can't afford to buy stuffed pastas--so we just have normal, much cheaper pastas. I can make my own veggie burgers for about a quarter of the price of buying them premade. And like PPs, we have oatmeal with fruit in it for breakfast because we can't afford to have smoothies all the time.

 

Honestly, if you want to save money you're going to have to change either where you shop, what you eat, or both. You can't save money on your groceries without changing one of those things. Of course, you have to decide what your priorities are and whether it's worth it to you to change the way you do things in order to save some money.


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#36 of 40 Old 02-27-2011, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by SundayCrepes View Post
 but that doesn't mean we can't have almond butter sandwiches for homeschool park day. (I detest peanut butter and almond butter is only $5 a jar at TJ.)


But it's much cheaper at Costco, if you're willing to buy two biggish jars. I think exploring Costco more might save you a lot right there - I know it's huge and overwhelming, but if you could take a couple of hours and go there alone and just check everything out, slowly, and take notes, then you could come back and shop pretty quickly the next time.

 

Also, since you're in Tucson, Grantstone Market is where we used to get great prices on veggies and fresh tofu, and it would be close to you, and the Santa Cruz River Farmer's Market always struck me as cheaper than a lot of the others. It's on the other side of the freeway, but maybe you could combine it with a trip to the Desert Museum or something. I know gas prices are a consideration, but the way I look at it is that if I drive an extra 10 miles round trip that's maybe a buck or two in gas, so if I can stock up and get deals that save me ten or twenty dollars it's worth it..

 

I'm not sure if Tucson Cooperative Warehouse is still around, but we used to do bulk orders from them, too...


 
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#37 of 40 Old 02-27-2011, 09:04 AM
 
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As far as veggie snacks, we eat carrots, cucumbers, red or yellow pepper slices, tomatoes, frozen peas & corn, etc. Our go-to dips are hummus & peanut butter, but sometimes we make other kinds of dips. We also do a lot of "mini meal" snacks that are mainly veggies... so we might have some left-over stir fry, for ex., rather than a piece of fruit. We really don't eat much fruit... I mean it tastes good & all, but my body just can't handle that much sugar (I'm hypoglycemic). When we do have fruit, we often have nut butter or something with it, so the 3 of us might share one or two apples and a scoop of almond butter, or banana slices with PB, so one piece of fruit can go a little further. I would imagine daily smoothies would get costly as well... we do smoothies more as a treat, and we make them pretty cheap (water, frozen fruit or fresh-about-to-go-bad fruit, sometimes a handful of nuts or nut butter... It sounds like all the fruit & milk is really adding up for you guys.
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Originally Posted by bodhitree View Post

Honestly, if you want to save money you're going to have to change either where you shop, what you eat, or both. You can't save money on your groceries without changing one of those things. Of course, you have to decide what your priorities are and whether it's worth it to you to change the way you do things in order to save some money.


I agree with this. It sounds like you are not in such of a financial crunch that it's really *worth it* to you to make many of the changes suggested. That's totally OK, nothing wrong with just checking out your options and deciding to continue what you're currently doing! I do think you have a lot of grocery spending you COULD cut back if you need to, but maybe this just isn't the best area for you to cut back in. Maybe consider whether other parts of your budget (entertainment, gifts, clothes, whatever) might be easier for you to cut back on if you still want to free up some money.

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#38 of 40 Old 02-27-2011, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I need to explore Costco. I don't know if I can get away without taking kids (2 and 5.) But the kids love to go in the walk in refrigerator and try the samples, so if I take them through the fridge often enough they should be entertained.

 

I live very close to the GrantStone market. I don't feel safe there so I don't go, especially not with my kids.

 

I have been to the Santa Cruz farmer's market. I should try it again in the winter (versus the summer.)

 

The Tucson Cooperative Warehouse closed awhile back. I used to buy a bunch of stuff there.

 

Lots of people have mentioned oatmeal. I ate it a lot in the early stages of adoptive nursing (but life was so overwhelming then I bought the premade frozen stuff from TJ.) I should explore the world of oatmeal more.


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#39 of 40 Old 02-27-2011, 09:17 AM
 
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There are certain items from TJ's that I love, and are very convenient for me (marinara sauce in a can, some of the jarred sauces, etc), so I still shop there.  I like the frozen fish for fish stews, too.  But, frankly, for my frozen veggies and fruit, I have been shopping walmart and BJ's.  I hate that I shop there, but I need to keep my budget in mind.  My dd has 1-2 smoothies per day, and this is actually where she gets most of her fruit intake, so I tend to buy a lot of frozen fruit.  I can get bags of mango chunks, wild blueberries, strawberries, for a pretty decent price.  I too, do not want to cut out the fruit.  BJ's has good prices on avacados, which my very picky ds loves, so I buy them by the bag.

 

Do you ever roast veggies and serve over brown rice?  My kids won't necessarily snack on veggies, and I personally don't care for raw veggies myself.  But somehow roasting changes everything.  I cook up brown rice just to keep on hand in the fridge, and a quick easy dinner is brown rice, roasted veggies, and a grating of cheese-sometimes some beans thrown in.  We also have chickens, so I do a lot with eggs--again, brown rice with a scrambled egg, or over-easy egg served on top, with a little tamari is a good meal for us.  Fruit on the side.

 

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#40 of 40 Old 02-27-2011, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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There are certain items from TJ's that I love, and are very convenient for me (marinara sauce in a can, some of the jarred sauces, etc), so I still shop there.  I like the frozen fish for fish stews, too.  But, frankly, for my frozen veggies and fruit, I have been shopping walmart and BJ's.  I hate that I shop there, but I need to keep my budget in mind.  My dd has 1-2 smoothies per day, and this is actually where she gets most of her fruit intake, so I tend to buy a lot of frozen fruit.  I can get bags of mango chunks, wild blueberries, strawberries, for a pretty decent price.  I too, do not want to cut out the fruit.  BJ's has good prices on avacados, which my very picky ds loves, so I buy them by the bag.

 

Do you ever roast veggies and serve over brown rice?  My kids won't necessarily snack on veggies, and I personally don't care for raw veggies myself.  But somehow roasting changes everything.  I cook up brown rice just to keep on hand in the fridge, and a quick easy dinner is brown rice, roasted veggies, and a grating of cheese-sometimes some beans thrown in.  We also have chickens, so I do a lot with eggs--again, brown rice with a scrambled egg, or over-easy egg served on top, with a little tamari is a good meal for us.  Fruit on the side.

 


We don't have BJs. I avoid Walmart. When I've made roasted veggies (and they were good,) my kids wouldn't eat them. Neither would my husband.

 

As my husband and I have been having this discussion, he has suggested rice with gravy. We already eat mashed potatoes and gravy with over easy eggs. Not sure what I would serve with rice and gravy to differentiate it from the other dish (I don't want another egg and gravy dish.)


Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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