Sunday, August 1, 2010

Making the Switch to Trader Joe's

For the past few months we have been shopping almost exclusively at Trader Joe's. This has drastically changed the way we do grocery shopping. In the past I would scour the circular, and correspond coupons and deals. I would often end up stockpiling things when they were cheap, and frequently ended up with pretty bizarre combinations of items in my cart, and not that much to eat. When we added meat and produce to the mix, our grocery budget was around $300 a week.

I'll admit though, at the height of my coupon clipping and deal searching it was not particularly healthy. We bought soda every week - regular for my husband and diet for me. And I drank A LOT of diet soda. I would bring a can for lunch at work and then have a few cans of soda each day after work. Even though we were technically getting good deals, this soda habit added at least $20 a month to our grocery bill.

Then when I realized that it was probably not healthy to be drinking four cans of diet soda a day (and little else), we started to buy bottled water. This added another expense to our grocery bill, and I cringe when I think of how many plastic bottles we went through.

I stocked up on things when they were cheap, even if they were not particularly healthy. At that point, it was more important to have a well stocked pantry for cheap, than to spend more money on healthier food. I was mesmerized by the deals that I was able to get, and I would find myself tallying totals in my head.

Over the past few years though our diets have begun to improve, and we started shopping at Trader Joe's. Initially we went a bit overboard and spent A LOT of money on groceries. Why buy one package of chocolate covered pomegranate seeds when we could buy three? I guess the whole stockpiling mentality hadn't left us yet. Eventually, once we realized that the amazing snacks and other goodies that Trader Joe's had would still be there when we came back, we started to shop more normally.

Since more options have been available at Trader Joe's, we have switched to mostly all organic produce, meat, and dairy. We have also cut out artificial sweeteners and things like high fructose corn syrup. One day I just became disgusted with the fact that my food was barely even food, but instead a long list of additives and chemicals.

The interesting part though: even without coupons and sales, our grocery bill is still around $300 a month. But instead of $300 of frozen overly processed pseudo food, we have $300 of real, mostly organic food.

I still clip and use coupons, but much less frequently. We occasionally have to run to a closer supermarket to pick up milk or eggs when we run out between trips. I've also managed to get some coupons for organic brands as well.

We have been married for three years, and it's interesting to see how we have evolved. Though people are a little miffed when they come over and we have no soda to offer them anymore.

1 comment:

me in millions said...

I freaking love Trader Joe's. I got once a month or once every couple of months to stock up. Someday when I have more disposable income, I want to shop there and Whole Foods exclusively...