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By shopping exclusively at Trader Joe's! And the best part is, we are buying MORE food!<br><br>
I used to spend $150/week for our family of 3 (me, dh, 1.5 year old ds) shopping at a combo of Trader Joe's, the natural foods co-op, and our large chain grocery. That was for 7 dinners, organic produce (mostly frozen--fresh too expensive), organic dairy, nothing with HFCS or hydrog. oil, cold cereal for breakfast, and a few snacks like cheese, crackers, yogurt, cottage cheese, and nut butters. We were always running out of food and had to buy mostly conventional meat (yuck) because I just couldn't afford organic.<br><br>
During my last trip to Trader Joe's I was tired of not having food so I decided to just stock up like crazy on cereal, granola bars, etc., etc. Almost the end of the trip and I realized that almost everything had been crossed off my grocery list so I might as well just grab the last few things while I was there and not bother going anywhere else. Well I did and my grand total for an entire cart FULL (mounded) of food including dog food, 5 boxes of cereal, 2 boxes of granola bars, a week's worth of dinners, 2 lbs of local cheese, 3 boxes of crackers, all organic meat, graham cracks, cookies, wine, 2 lbs of sausage for lunches, a few convenience foods, banana chips and nuts, bread, dinner rolls, frozen raspberries and organic veggies, and a fistful of Luna bars and Clif bars--basically, everything that caught my eye--was $150! And easily, EASILY THREE TIMES the amount off food I can normally purchase for the same price. $150 at the co-op gets me 2 bags of groceries and a gallon of milk. At Trader Joe's, I got SIX BAGS.<br><br>
Right then and there I vowed to make the drive out to TJ's every week to do our regular grocery shopping (it's about 15 minutes away). And you know what? I am able to buy ALL organic meat, all our regular food, plus fresh produce (my fridge is PACKED with bananas, plums, fresh organic strawberries, oranges, and 2 kinds of organic apples) AND extras like granola bars and nuts and fruit leathers, for <b>$100/WEEK.</b> <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/mecry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="crying"> We are not rich people and this extra $200/month is a huge blessing. I have been a member of the co-op for 3 years now and I am feeling guilty about leaving a local business to shop at a chain store but $200/month is too big of a savings for me to ignore--especially since we are able to actually make it through the week without running out of food, AND buy organic meat, too. I babysit for our grocery money and $200 is a whole week and a half's pay!<br><br>
Someone tell me I am not terrible for shopping at a chain <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/gloomy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Gloomy">: I do feel like a traitor but at the same time all this freed up money makes me hopeful that we can save enough to order a side of organic grassfed beef, pork, and some chickens each year from a local farm, which I've always wanted to do but could never afford. Plus I will switch to the farmer's market for produce during the summer months, like I always do. I'm so thankful!!
 

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I don't think you're bad at all. I just wish I still had a TJs nearby at all. I always stock up there when I go home to my parents. Glad you found something that's working for you. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I keep hearing about this tjs were in canada so we dont have one atleast not here! I think our version is the super store<br><br>
If you do feel guilty about buying at the chain store why not once a month still do your shopping at the coop? I buy most of my fabric at big bad walmart even though we have to fabric shops in our town that need my business(i really cant afford them) to make myself feel better I buy one thing at the small business for every three at walmart(it really should be the other way around lol) but it makes me feel better!!
 

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I would be *very* interested to learn more about this. I would love to do this. Right now I mostly shop at the locals (Safeway, QFC - each a 5 minute walk) and go to Trader Joe's (a 10 minute drive) on rare occasion.<br><br>
My questions are:<br>
1) What kind of meals are you making for dinners?<br>
2) Do you do lunches as well? (we both work out of the house)<br>
3) What kind of things are you buying at TJ's? I notice you said all organic - do you drink a lot of cow's milk? We go through 1-2 gallons/week easily. I would LOVE to switch to organic but it's 3x as expensive..<br>
4) Any chance you have time to post a summary of what you bought for $150?<br><br>
I will say that I am always surprised at how inexpensive TJ's ends up being - I rarely spend more than $30 there even if I *try* - but I can't quite wrap my head around doing all of my shopping there. They seem to have a lot of convenience foods but I'm not sure what kind of meals to make from there that don't come from a box.<br><br>
Thanks!!!
 

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I love trader joes. The only thing I don't like is sometimes they will just quit carrying certain things - like these little rock shrimp I loved.
 

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You are not a terrible person! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"><br><br>
I think Trader Joe's is a great company (I wish there was one near me!). It's not local, but it's not like you're leaving your co-op to shop exclusively at walmart. You are supporting a good company and buying organics at great prices. I think it's wonderful you now have an extra $200/month. I think that would be a blessing to just about anyone. Don't feel bad! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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It's a good company, certainly not equivalent to Walmart. My understanding is that they pay their workers well. They stock a lot of fair trade and organic products, and because their stores are tiny in comparison to the big chains, they use much less energy. I wish they had more local produce, but that's what farmer's markets are for.
 

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I think its great. I love local but honestly if there was a TJ in town I might shop there because then we could afford more things.<br><br>
The health of my family is paramount.
 

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Totally have to agree here. I wish we had a Trader Joes (closest one is 4 hours-ish) but from their website they seem to be a WONDERFUL company, really striving to stand out from most chains.<br><br>
Steph
 

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We love TJ too. I shop there every other week. That is great you can save so much by shopping there. I would love to hear your menu too. Cool!
 

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TJs opened here and now we don't have to drive 2.5 hours to go one. I hear you about cutting your food bill. We have also realized quite a nice savings this way. 5 avocados for $2.99, c'mon that's a steal! I am very cautious there though. If there are food allergies in your family, read the allergy information on the packages. There are some things that look totally wonderful to me, but I can't eat them because of the allergy issue. If you don't have that problem, that's fantastic. Congratulations on your financial windfall! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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trader joes is great. we do the bulk of our grocery shopping there. we really only supplement our groceries at the local hfs or coop for certain items like raw milk and bulk grains, and there are a few little things that i just HAVE to go to whole foods for (because no one else stocks it), and the farmer's markets for local fruit.<br><br>
$200/month is a great financial windfall. kudos, mama!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>crayolaab</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7927226"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I would be *very* interested to learn more about this. I would love to do this. Right now I mostly shop at the locals (Safeway, QFC - each a 5 minute walk) and go to Trader Joe's (a 10 minute drive) on rare occasion.<br><br>
My questions are:<br>
1) What kind of meals are you making for dinners?<br>
2) Do you do lunches as well? (we both work out of the house)<br>
3) What kind of things are you buying at TJ's? I notice you said all organic - do you drink a lot of cow's milk? We go through 1-2 gallons/week easily. I would LOVE to switch to organic but it's 3x as expensive..<br>
4) Any chance you have time to post a summary of what you bought for $150?<br><br>
I will say that I am always surprised at how inexpensive TJ's ends up being - I rarely spend more than $30 there even if I *try* - but I can't quite wrap my head around doing all of my shopping there. They seem to have a lot of convenience foods but I'm not sure what kind of meals to make from there that don't come from a box.<br><br>
Thanks!!!</div>
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I can't believe this but I threw out my grocery list which has my meal list on it (d'oh!!) I was in a purging mood this morning and I must have thought it was an old one. I guess I am going to have to re-create the meals the best I can!!<br><br>
As best as I can remember from looking at the receipt, our dinners for this week were/are:<br><br>
beef, rice and bean burritos<br>
beef teriyaki stir fry<br>
Cubed ham and broccoli with pasta and cheese, side veggie<br>
breaded cod with buttered noodles and vegetable<br>
grilled pork chops with baked potato, vegetable and strawberries<br>
porcupine meatballs with jasmine rice and vegetable<br>
and I can't remember what the last dinner was supposed to be but it looks like it was something to do with chicken breast. Maybe chicken breast, stuffing, and vegetable.<br><br>
Lunches are usually either leftovers or sandwiches (grilled cheese, lunchmeat, PB&J, or egg/egg salad).<br><br>
We do buy whole organic cow's milk but no one really drinks it except ds on occasion; we do use it for cereal and I have been buying about 1 gal/week for ds and dh, and then a small unsweetened soy milk for my own cereal since it's a bit cheaper.<br><br>
I don't have the $150 receipt anymore but I do have last week's $100 receipt:<br><br>
4# Navel oranges 4.29<br>
Brioche 3.99<br>
TJs reusable bag 2.97<br>
Jasmine Rice 2.49<br>
Beef for stir fry 3.69<br>
Mac and cheese 0.89<br>
Ham steak 3.34<br>
Strawberries 3.49<br>
Ground beef x 2 12.10<br>
Bread whole grain 1.99<br>
Cod fillets 4.79<br>
Granola bars x 2 4.00<br>
organic sweet peas 1.69<br>
TJs Tarter sauce 1.69<br>
Refried fat free black beans 1.29<br>
Pacific organic tomato soup 2.29<br>
Clif bars x 2 1.98<br>
Clif Zbars x 2 .98<br>
Odwalla berries x 2 2.38<br>
Builder's Clif bar x 2 2.98<br>
Woven Wheat Crackers 2.19<br>
Soy Teriyaki sauce 2.99<br>
Milk organic whole gallon 5.29<br>
Org whole wheat rotelle 1.29<br>
OJ 1.99<br>
Plums 2.99<br>
Garbanzo beans .99<br>
cottage cheese 1.99<br>
oatmeal honey soap 1.29<br>
TJ's Honey Nut Os 2.49<br>
Salsa Autentica 1.69<br>
Lemon Juice .99<br>
Fruit leather x 6 2.70<br><br>
Grocery non taxable 6.70<br>
Grocery non taxable 1.55<br><br>
I don't remember what the last two items are. I think the $1.55 must have been bananas and the $6.70...I don't know. Oh wait, I bet it was the pork chops.<br><br>
Chicken breasts were leftover from a bag I bought last week; potatoes also leftover from a bag I bought last week; I already have 2 dozen eggs and a freezer full of veggies that need to be used up. And we are good on cheese, we still have a lb of cheddar and some parm, and tortillas.<br><br>
I do have an old receipt from the co-op when I was spending $150/week and here are a few comparisons:<br><br>
Strawberries, organic, same brand:<br>
co-op: $5.00/pint<br>
TJs $3.49/pint<br><br>
WW Bread, same size loaf<br>
co-op: $3.49<br>
TJs $1.99<br><br>
Mac and cheese<br>
co-op: $2.50<br>
TJs $0.89<br><br>
bananas<br>
co-op .89/lb<br>
TJs .49/lb<br><br>
"Cheerio" cereal<br>
co-op (apple cinnamon) 4.99<br>
TJs (honey nut) 2.49<br><br>
Milk:<br>
Co-op: 6.69<br>
TJs: 5.29
 

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Thank you strawberryfields for that!!<br><br>
I have a big exam in May so all of my time/energy is devoted to studying for that, but in June I will start shopping at TJs and really price-check things. Those meals definitely sound like things that would fit into our lifestyle!<br><br>
How exciting to think this might be possible... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Organic is just so expensive at our regular shops.
 

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Sounds great! Our TJs is 10 minutes away so I have been a regular there for 7 years since it opend. The employee turnover is 0. They all know me and my family. Also, I bring my own bags for groceries (chico bags) or the TJ bags so I get entered into a raffle every time thats drawn once a month for a "bag of groceries". And I won last month!! They filled one of their tote bags with a bunch of stuff that I normally would not buy, but appreciated it anyhow. Also, they have a stuffed monkey they hide in a different place every week and dd1 loves to find it to win a fruit leather.<br><br>
We dont buy our meat there because I buy it from my local grocer, but we get fruit, veggies, juice, canned goods, organic milk, eggs, organic soymilk, protein bars (dh carries them for his low blood sugar), organic yogurt, salas, tortilla shells, etc. We do not buy much convenience food because its just not our style, but the stuff looks good. We do buy some beer there and also a few bottles of wine a month. I avg about $50 a week there.<br><br>
We are buying our beef in bulk this year, I have a frontier acct, and I also frequent the local grocery two blocks away instead of the big box 1 block away. The local guy is part of a network of local grocers, so his prices are extrmely competive w the big box and again, he knows me by name. I will still buy my chicken, pork, and a few other items too.<br><br>
We avg about $75 a week for groceries to feed myself, dh, and our 2 girls.
 

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We love Trader Joe's! I used to go to five different places every week to buy my groceries. I was getting a lot of food for not a lot of money, but it was completely wearing me down. I started doing the bulk of my shopping at TJ's (I still buy a few things, like pet food/litter, pasta [I think TJ's whole wheat pasta tastes like cardboard] and lima beans at Kroger, but I usually spend about $65-$70 a week at TJ's and about $9 a week at Kroger (for a family of five).<br><br>
A couple months ago there was an article about our adoptions in our local newspaper. The next week when I went in, they gave the kids free fruit leathers and told us that they had cut out the story and put it up in the staff room because ours was one of their favorite families. The staff knows all my kids' names and is really nice to us every time we go. They even once saved their very last box of whole wheat couscous for us because they knew we would be coming in and that we always buy it.<br><br>
My *only* complaint about TJ's is that if something is out of stock, it takes FOREVER for them to get more of it. Oh, and now that one of my kids is casein-free, I can't get casein-free soy cheese there (or at Kroger, for that matter. I have to go to a little local HFS). I have requested that they stock it, though.<br><br>
Btw, I don't know if you are interested, because I don't know what your schedule is like, but I noticed that you purchased quite a few things that could be easily made at home for less. Let me know if you want me to share any recipes.<br><br>
dm
 

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I wish we had a TJ's. When we go to DC (a 6 hour drive) we look like the Jode's coming back with groceries. We go once a year and I stock up! That and IKEA.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Thalia</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7927471"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It's a good company, certainly not equivalent to Walmart. My understanding is that they pay their workers well. They stock a lot of fair trade and organic products, and because their stores are tiny in comparison to the big chains, they use much less energy. I wish they had more local produce, but that's what farmer's markets are for.</div>
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They do treat their workers well. My cousin works there, and it has turned his life around.
 

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I want a Trader Joe's in my area!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/gloomy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Gloomy">:
 

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There is a TJ's opening up about 15 mintues from me soon - this is making me so excited for it! We have had to cut down on some of the organics we buy b/c of cost, and I would love to go back to all organics!
 
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