Changing the way I shop - Mothering Forums
Frugality & Finances > Changing the way I shop
Basylica's Avatar Basylica 03:53 PM 12-10-2012

So the last several years i'd been traveling a lot and my ex gets the kids quite a I hardly eat when they are not around. Plus I was lucky to get 2-4hrs a sleep a night, I was working all the dang time!


now I work 8-5 and GO HOME....crazy concept!


I bought an upright freezer and i'm still not meal planning like I ought to, but I started hitting the bakery outlet again now that my freezer(s) work and stocking up on orowheat breads. my mom used to buy bread 4/1.00 I think it was? and froze it and OMG....nasty. even with how fast we ate it! orowheat being denser and double wrapped holds up wonderful and at outlet I can get like 12 loaves for 10 bucks or somewhere along those lines and they always give me a ton of freebies so I end up with eng muffins or sandwich thins or bagels...


I bought a bunch of frozen meat from my butcher, mostly ground or slow cook items since I don't really do steak...


and TJs opened in my neck of the woods. I'm IN LOVE....and i've stocked up my freezer with all sorts of fruits and veggies so I don't have to worry about buying fruit and it going bad. I'm not a big fan of going to the store ex will have kids for 4 days over weekends or over holidays and I end up having to toss a bunch. I still buy, but now I have fruits and veg onhand that doesn't go bad like that!

and of course several frozen meal type items which the kids have been enjoying.


I basically only hit grocery store for my dew (I really need to give that habit up!) and a few specific items like spaghettios (gag! I remember liking this as a kid too, but gross! still....gotta let the kids have some fun!) or pasta-roni or things like that.


I need to hit store and buy dew, chile sauce, and some tortillas since TJs was slim pickings for tortillas. I bought stuff to make tacos this weekend and I just need to thaw some meat for them :)


I'm really enjoying cooking again and kids are really enjoying momma cooking. I don't think they remembered that I could cook because we'd been living on fast food and random things for years. I felt so unhealthy and I hated feeding my kids like that.


I'm constantly amazed at TJs tho. I go in for just a few items at grocery store and it's 100 bucks. TJs my cart can be overflowing with items crammed in and it's like 60-80 bucks. First time I went the checkers were sweating and going all jenga on my cart trying to get it all back into the same cart so I wouldn't need two, and it was like 120 bucks.


Anyone have any other suggestions on changes I might try, or even favorite foods at TJs?

I've even started a ratings blog on all the foods i've been trying there. LOL.

EmsMom's Avatar EmsMom 04:16 PM 12-10-2012

I love TJs.  Certain things they have great prices on: frozen vegetables  that actually taste good.  Sprouted grain breads and other whole grain breads with no preservatives or other stuff I don't like to eat.  Their whole wheat tortill as are also excellent.  They have a good quality and cheap powdered more or less natural clothes detergent and I also buy their dish washing detergent, toothpastes and also their soap.  Great prices on nuts and dried fruits, milk with no hormones, cat food, tea.  Their Christmas cookies.  Just don't try the peppermint Joes Os, cause they are too good.  Most of my kids Christmas treats come from their, like a big bag of good quality chocolate coins for .99, the cookies, and gingerbread house.  I don't usually buy produce their, but some of their fruit is very nice and a good price.  They have a very nice whole wheat flour, brown rice and I also sometimes buy their cake mixes.  While I usually HATE cakes from mixes (don't even like to smell them when they are baking!), their vanilla cake mix makes a better cake than I do when I cook right from scratch.  And it is nice if there is an event at school or such.  Their vanilla is better than and cheaper than the supermarket as well.  Same for most of their crackers and frozen wild salmon.  I get better prices on non-organic meats by following the sales at my regular supermarket, as well as cheese. 


Bonus about TJs is that the staff is always so nice.  When I had a baby they would offer to bring the cart out to my car and I would just pull up and they would load my trunk, especially if it was raining.  And they always have a little cup of  cookies for my kids as well as adult samples.  And I have met some of the nicest people in there, both customers and staff.

Basylica's Avatar Basylica 05:39 PM 12-10-2012
No worries on the peppermint joejoes. I loathe chocolate and mint and as i get older my distaste increases. Makes me nauseated to even smell it. Im bummed too because id like to try special holiday joes but cannot because there are peppermint in box. Even if separately wrapped!

I dont care much for oreos tho and ive bought i think my fourth or fifth box of joe joes now. Yum!
LeighPF's Avatar LeighPF 07:04 PM 12-10-2012

I Love TJs. Love. Love the kids carts, love the samples, love that it is small so we can be quick. love they have one kind of ketchup so DH is not confused (or me). Love how it all tastes. Love that you can returns something you have tried and it was just not your thing. Love how well the staff know my kids (we are there three times a week, it is on the walk home from preschool). Love the freezer meals I make for lunch when I want something easy and hot and food.


I was at Costco the other day and bought pretty little, because the unit cost is more than TJs. I hit a conventional store for a few things TJ does not carry every few months and Whole Foods around once a month for a few bulk things, Glen Muir pizza sauce and produce not at TJs. And sushi.

EmsMom's Avatar EmsMom 08:13 PM 12-10-2012
Originally Posted by Basylica View Post

No worries on the peppermint joejoes. I loathe chocolate and mint and as i get older my distaste increases. Makes me nauseated to even smell it. Im bummed too because id like to try special holiday joes but cannot because there are peppermint in box. Even if separately wrapped!
I dont care much for oreos tho and ive bought i think my fourth or fifth box of joe joes now. Yum!


I can't even look at the vanilla joe-joes.  They must... not... enter... the  I will eat the whole box and then want more...  That is one big problem with TJs.  They keep having stuff that I haven't eaten in years and years and years because of dyes and weird preservatives, etc.  But at tjs they have naturally dyed hard candy, all natural salt water taffy, etc.  I try to just keep the blinders on and get the wild salmon, brown rice, etc.  But, oh boy...

Basylica's Avatar Basylica 07:30 AM 12-11-2012

I KNOW! I didn't even care for oreos as a kid really....but the chocolate joe joes? I inhaled like 6 or possibly more in a single sitting. unlike oreos you don't need to dunk them to make them edible!


I've been temped to buy some vanilla ones too. doh!


my weakness thus far has been the pecans. I love pecans and can eat a bag in just a few days!

I've also been cleaning them out of the cereal bars, I used to buy and eat the nutrigrain bars back in HS. Rode my bike to store and bought them and schlepped them home....but they were $$ to me back then. I haven't really bought them since because they are kinda pricey and I don't snack very often. I bought some of the cereal bars for the kids and now I think I have around 8 boxes stacked up. Kids love them for snack and they are easy. I LOVE that they do fig however!

MDoc's Avatar MDoc 06:34 PM 12-12-2012
I too love tj's smile.gif I try not to get the Joe joes too often, but they are awesome. And yes their cake mixes are the best I have ever had. I am also loving their selection of nuts and cheeses. I usually get my organic chicken and meat there as well. Other things I love: their ice creams, frozen mini chicken tacos, chimichuri rice, yogurt, and pizza dough. I do most of my shopping at TJs - I really wish I could do it all there.
mamarhu's Avatar mamarhu 06:59 PM 12-12-2012

Dried mango with chili powder


Frozen pork potstickers


good cheese selection that's not too horribly expensive


and like someone already said, friendly staff and fellow shoppers

laura163's Avatar laura163 08:35 PM 12-12-2012

My kids love the frozen mac n cheese. Love love love it.


The $1.89 pasta sauce, the super cheap natural peanut butter, KIND bars (cheaper than the grocery store), low sugar nut and flake cereal, and fresh OJ.  I love TJ, but this time of the year is dangerous because of all the holiday treats!!

LeighPF's Avatar LeighPF 03:10 PM 12-13-2012

I love the dried mangos (as does my preschooler, they are going in his stocking)

the Fig cereal bars

The ready to heat pulled pork.


The dark chocolate covered shortbread stars right now, oh my.

Basylica's Avatar Basylica 04:33 PM 12-13-2012

oh man, the frozen mac will be my downfall. I should have kept my post kids pants that ranged from size 16 down to my current 4/6 size. because my butt isn't going to be fitting in these a heck of a lot longer at this rate!!

wildmonkeys's Avatar wildmonkeys 07:32 PM 12-13-2012

Trader Joe's has a cookbook - I have checked it out of the library and it has a bunch of recipes to turn their products into meals.  There is one that uses the premade pizza dough to make calzones. If you can track it down - it really helps TJs fit into meal planning yummy.gif

midstreammama's Avatar midstreammama 06:22 PM 12-14-2012
Dark chocolate shortbread stars...omg. I could eat 2 boxes.

We like..

Mini chicken tacos
Frozen French cut green beans
Mandarin orange chicken
Fried rice
Battered halibut..omg so good but has gone up in price
Fish nuggets
Sea salt potato chips..yum
Raw trek mix
The pancake and baking mix is awesome..makes great apple cinnamon pancakes
Kung pao chicken is ok..a little spicy
They sell Applegate farms hot dogs which are great..
I could go on and lemonade
Cornbread stuffing mix, pasta sauce, pumpkin bread mix, when I'm in a pinch..

Now I'm hungry..
trekkingirl's Avatar trekkingirl 11:18 PM 12-15-2012

I've worked for TJ's for seven years. I have always had it in my heart to be a stay at home mom but since I live in the SF Bay area COL is too expensive for me to stay home. I was always drifting from job to job until I landed my part time gig at TJ's and seven years later I'm still there. They pay well, offer full benefits to part time employees and have a very generous 401K! We are fun and friendly because we work for a company that really cares for their employees. And even though they are nation wide they aren't a corporation!



edited to add that we sell a healthier version of canned spaghetti-os

Basylica's Avatar Basylica 09:59 AM 12-17-2012

funny my younger son liked the trader joe -os better, older son said he didn't like them. ah well...


I'd totally work for TJs if I could, even considered trying to get parttime work, but my job is 24-7 and I don't think I can realistically work 180-200hrs a week to earn the same income. LOL!

gypsymama2008's Avatar gypsymama2008 09:42 PM 12-22-2012

We love Tj's!  Here are our favorite things:


Vanilla extract

Gourmet Cheeses (cheapest prices I've every seen, we get lots of grass fed and/or raw cheeses-for the holidays they have an English cheddar with chocolate shavings mixed in-sooo good!)

Hummus and other miscellaneous dips

Lunch meat (although it is kind of expensive)

Turkey hot dogs


Wine (they have super cheap but good wines)

Jello cups


Chopped Kale mix which I love because I can just rinse it and dump it in the pan on busy nights)

Salad mix

Salad Dressings (they have a Pear Gorgonzola vinnagrette  that we love)


Larabars (the peanut butter chocolate chip ones will be the death of my waistline)

Vanilla wafers (so good, you will never again be satisfied with 'Nilla Wafers)

Tamales (I lived on these while I was pregnant)

Ice cream (they have a vanilla with all natural ingredients, love it!)

Popcicles (the lime ones are sooo good, I ate them while I was in labor)

Kerrygold Butter (cheapest price I've ever seen)


I'm sure there are more but those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

Tags: Finances , Frugality