Cutting Corners at the Grocery Store

Yesterday after class I set off on my favorite errand of the week: grocery shopping!

First I hit up our local food co-op which is famous for green, organic, & awesome cooking classes! Their bread is always so amazing & fresh:

And their bulk bins are insane! Pretty good for a small city in Iowa, eh?

When we eat meat I try my hardest to make sure it’s local, organic, and grass fed. Having once been a vegetarian for nearly 7 years, I didn’t just randomly start eating meat again. Instead I did a lot of research and made a lot of personal choices that are conducive to my current lifestyle. I know it can be a hot topic in the blog world, but personally I do feel you can eat meat and still be mindful of the effects on animals, the human body, and the environment.

For me it’s awesome to be able to literally know the source of where my meat came from. I would say 85% of the time we buy local and free range meat. The other 15% usually make up of meals we eat out of the home, and the occasional conventional meat product.

Once you are knowledgeable about the inside scoop on factory farming its hard to ignore it. But, it’s becoming more and more easier to support local farmers and eat ‘peace of mind’ meat. Plus, we find that since it does cost us more to buy non-commercialize meat we eat less, which is better all around!

After I bought some meat, some bulk bin items, and some other goodies I headed to our local conventional grocery store.

I spent a lot more time today perusing the aisles than I usually do, as I was gathering material for an article on Nuval. In order to keep myself from spending too much money while I am browsing the aisles I stick to a few simple guidelines that help us (overtime) save money:

How to cut corners on your grocery bill:

  1.  I buy on sale. Last week was a great example of ‘stocking up’. Whenever I see everyday items that are cheaper than normal I buy a bunch. Last week I got some WW pasta, some WW pizza crusts, & a bunch of pantry-stored soy milk – all items that we regularly use, and all items that will stay fresh in the pantry until we use them.
  2. I buy bulk. Instead of buying individually bagged portions of trail mix or cereal I make my own. I buy nuts, grains, & spices from the bulk bins when I can. Buying bags of brown rice and dried beans really saves you money in the long run. Sure, it takes more time to make but that’s where #3 comes in…
  3. I make my meals work for me. Since its only Matt & I in our household most meals can double for leftovers or can simply be cut in half. I often will make a batch of brown rice in the beginning of the week and then use it for a few different meals throughout the week like in stir-fry or in fiesta salad bowls. Youll often see me do this with meat. If I need shrimp for one recipe, I automatically add another shrimp dish to our weekly rotation, same goes for chicken breasts. Which leads me to number 4…
  4. I buy local, organic meat. Because there is a little bit of a price different between local/organic meats and commercial meat products I buy less, we eat less and I save money.
  5. I use coupons. Im getting better at using coupons, but as long as it’s a product I usually buy Im saving money!
  6. I check the online website of my grocery store for the weekly ad. I look online before I go and before I make a weekly meal plan. It helps to know what on sale & then base my meals on that info.
  7. I buy store brand when it doesn’t count. I buy store brand items when it doesn’t make a difference to me either way. Items that I don’t splurge on include beans, cake mix, pumpkin…you get the idea.
  8. I take inventory. I always look through my fridge & pantry to see what I have lying around. Lately Ive had a surplus of linguine so I made sure I threw it into a meal this week.
  9. Im flexible. If I plan on having asparagus, but then find out that its $4.99 a bunch, then I switch it out for another veggie. Allowing myself to stay flexible saves me moola!
  10. I allow for treats. I give myself & Matt a little wiggle room for some splurges, indulgences, & “Oh this looks good” purchases. Calculating in these buys definitely keeps my stomach happy & my wallet a little fuller.

What are your save-money strategies? How much do you spend (on average) at the grocery store per week, month? If your a blogger, does being a food blogger make your grocery bill a little bit higher?

Yesterdays breakfast was pretty awesome & revolved around Kashi Go Lean Crunch again.

Kashi Go Lean Crunch, Vanilla Soy milk, Mini Choco chips, Goji berries.


Side salad with Poppyseed Dressing. Toasted bagel with turkey pepperoni & pepperjack. I had no sauce, so I subbed it for ketchup – weird, but I like it. Please take note of the sunshine illuminating me lunch. We had the first sunshine yesterday in 11 days! Hallulejah for sun!

Cooking with Kate: Dinner [Speaking of Cooking with Kate, check out the other Kate’s blog!]

My easy  & tasty Linguine with Red Peppers & Clam Sauce!

  • 1/2 red pepper [diced]
  • 1/2 c chicken or veggie broth [I used chicken base & added it to some water]
  • linguine
  • garlic [minced]
  • cracked black pepper
  • 1 5 oz. can minced clams [with liquid]

How to: Boil water & cook linguine. In a saute pan, add diced pepper & garlic to a pan & cook until soft. Add in 1/2 c broth and liquid from canned clams, allow to boil. Reduce heat & add clams. Toss sauce with cooked linguine & finish with some fresh cracked pepper. Serve with some warm crusty bread & a side salad!

Meet my new favorite ice cream:

Let me explain: Graham Cracker & Marshmallow Ice Cream with Fudge Ribbons. Did I mention its amazing? Or that all profits from the sale go to Military Veterans Groups? Basically you could pay me to buy it. Sadly its only an Iowa City thing. More for me!


Some noteworthy blog giveaways:

Oikos, anyone?

Or some of Evan’s favorite cookies at Total Fit Girl

Needing some yoga gear? Win it here!

See ya bloggies!



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12 responses to “Cutting Corners at the Grocery Store

  1. I officially wish I lived in Iowa(never thought I’d say that). But really, your bulk bins look amazing, and I totally agree about meat except it’s very difficult to achieve the same in an urban setting. Once again–I wish I lived in iowa(or the himilayas because they have gojis there!).

  2. Great post! I made my first trip to the IC food co-op a couple of weeks ago, and I was also impressed! What a great selection they have…I could have spent all day in there. Have you had anything out of their deli?

    Your rules seem to be pretty much the same as mine when I grocery shop….I go every two weeks for my “big trip”. Usually between $100-125 dollars is spent. I’m still trying to cut that down, but I also have to buy diapers and formula – and that doesn’t count as food!

  3. Megan

    Ahh those bulk bins look awesome! I wish we had a co-op near my school, I would be there ALL the time!

  4. weightwatchersforone

    Thanks for the grocery store tips. I love groceries and grocery shopping and cooking so I tend to spend a lot of money in that department! I’d say just for me I spend close to $400 a month. I’ve already gone twice this week!! I think I might give myself a challenge in feb because I spend a lot of money but I also waste way more than I would like 😦 I used to always check the circular and try and plan meals based off of what was on sale but now I’ve gotten really lazy about it! Must get back on track!

  5. That ice cream sounds AMAZING!! And such great tips! I agree with you on the meat. There is a way to consciously eat meat in a good way 🙂

  6. I am totally with you…I always buy in bulk when I can. And we are coupon nuts!! But hey…gotta do what you gotta do, right!? And that linguine looks awesome!

  7. Hey!
    I just came across your blog the other day and I really enjoy reading it!!
    I would love it if you could check out my blog and follow as well 🙂

  8. Glad i’m not the only one on a grocery budget! I always buy on sale and cut coupons if I can. I buy organic for what I consider to be the important stuff. For everything else, I’d rather save the money and buy the stuff at the local grocery store.

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