We're back on our 'Month of Food' train. Did you read our snack post? If not, check it out!
We've actually been wanting to write this post, a post about grocery shopping, for quite awhile. Every time we chatted about putting it on our schedule though it always sounded boring, so it kept going farther and farther down the list of posts we wanted to write. We've both lived on our own since the year we graduated college and grocery shopping is one adult life thing we feel we've somewhat mastered. So, stick with us. It may sound boring, I mean let's be honest, what's fun about grocery shopping? However, we're the Resource Girls and we feel it's our mission to always share how to be resourceful, even in the boring, mundane, adult life chores.
LC's Tips ||
Nathan and I have made grocery shopping into a date night for almost two years now.
We go every other Wednesday night pretty religiously. It may seem crazy, but it works for us and we've not strayed from it for some time. We both don't believe in grocery shopping on an empty stomach, so we go out to eat before hand which is how we justify it as a date night. It may not be a fancy Saturday night out on the town, but it's come to be something I actually look forward to every other week. I try to be a one and done type person with my grocery shopping. I hate always having to stop at a store throughout the week to pick up items because I've found you actually end up spending more that way. Now, obviously, this doesn't mean I never have to stop. I still definitely do every now and then, but for the most part we get it all in one night for our next two weeks. If I do stop, it's normally for a fresh ingredient because those only last so long.
I'm a huge lover of Aldi's Grocery Stores. They're everywhere in the Midwest. They're highly underused and majorly misunderstood. They are actually owned by Trader Joe's and the three we have around my area are clean and very well kept. Aldi's has really made some great changes in the last few years. Their prices are insanely cheap, but that doesn't mean their food is cheap. They have their own organic line, Simply Nature, that carries almost anything I'd want in a regular grocery store, like coconut oil, cereal, and milk just to name a few. They have a huge line of gluten free foods and just have all around saved us a ton of money! Here's an interesting article on a few more facts about Aldi's that I think anyone who is a skeptic, or wanting to start shopping there should read. There are a few things we use that Aldi's doesn't have, so we do make two stops. Normally Meijer's our next bet, for meats, Amy's canned soup that I take for my lunch quite a bit, and a few other things that Aldi's doesn't carry. Although two stops can be hassle, it's worth it in what we save.
A few things I love at Aldi's with a great price tag ||
- Almond milk ($2.50)
- Eggs (usually right around $2)
- Coconut oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Agave Nectar
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Spices for cooking
- Fit and Active 35 calorie bread
- Frozen veggie burgers
- Coffee Kcups
A few tips for grocery shopping ||
- Don't shop on an empty stomach
- Make a list
- Have a few meals planned out in your mind ahead of time. Although annoying, you'll leave having items that fill a purpose rather than just filling your cupboard.
- Set a budget and stick to it.
- Fresh produce can be expensive, but we're certain with weekly deals, coupons or even a store like Aldi's or Sprouts it's a lot more doable.
Cat's Tips ||
Since becoming a vegetarian I'm pretty darn picky when it comes to grocery shopping and especially vegetables. When veggies start becoming your main course you want the best and the freshest.
The same way LC love Aldi's I love Sprouts and if Whole Foods wasn't so darn expensive I would be there on the regular. Sprouts every week is a given but there are times when you just have to go to Whole Foods, we all know it's easy to walk out of there spending sixty dollars for one brown bag of organic goodness but I have found a few tips for saving a couple dollars at Whole Foods.
- Did you know Whole Foods has sales and coupons on their website? You can select your store and view weekly sales, as well as, print coupons. This goes with our tip above, make a list! You can plan your meals from these sale items. Click here to learn more.
- When it comes to produce make your own packages, let me explain. You will find an entire bag of Brussels sprouts packaged and ready to go, another example is grapes, don't just grab the bag and go. You can take five Brussels sprouts, or however many you need, out of that handled bag and put them in the little clear bags that are provided in the produce section. Same with grapes, just grab a handful, you don't have to buy that whole bag. Obviously many berries are also pre-packaged, unfortunately those you can't break down smaller but buying things that aren't prepackaged saves a lot.
- Stop in the bulk section. I could get lost in all the bulk foods and spices. I've been buying all my nutritional yeast, oatmeal, nuts, rice and spices in the bulk section. You can save quite a bit of money because there is no packaging and you only get the amount you need.
- Look out for nightly specials. Sometimes the best time to stop at Whole Foods is after work. They run specials in the pre-packaged food section, usually located by the salad bar. The food can't sit on the shelves for the next day so as the end of the day nears they start running specials. Just last week I got the best spicy salmon sushi rolls for four dollars. It changes daily but there are always treasures to be found in there.
- You have to try the homemade pizza dough, it's hands down the best and only $2.99. It's in a cooler, not a freezer, and usually by all the cheeses. Add a little coconut oil to the crust along with some cajun seasoning and your pizza game will never be the same.