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Brenda has been writing since grade school. She attended journalism school where she majored in professional writing. She loves to decorate, garden, read and spend time with her Yorkies.

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Java Talk #3: Shopping Habits & Tips



The coffee is brewing with one of my favorite blends, Dunkin Donuts coffee I pick up when it's a good price. 

It's time for our weekly coffee klatsche. 

Today let's talk about our shopping habits. Where we like to shop for groceries. How much we now order online as opposed to shopping in our own town. How we manage to save money, etc.

I'll start. 

Probably my favorite place to shop is Target. It isn't a Super Target. Just one that started carrying some food. Their grocery prices rival Walmarts. And it's quieter!

My favorite thing about shopping there is that their produce is always good. Once I asked the woman stocking the strawberries why I never seem to find many blemishes on them, and she said: "that's because I won't put them out here if they don't look good." 

I can purchase two cartons of strawberries and it will last me a week to ten days by only using on my morning cereal. 

I do buy lots of things on Walmart.com though, because of getting free shipping over $50. And I love the convenience of it coming straight to my door, as opposed to me parking in the garage outside the fence and lugging the groceries a good ways and then up the porch steps.

What washer detergent do I prefer? For years and years I've been buying one detergent for my clothes. And that is All Free & Clear. I seem to be allergic to many perfumed detergents. This one has served me well. I only do laundry about once per week now with it just being me and the pupsters. 

How often do I grocery shop? Not more than once per week. I haven't been cooking lately. (Still don't like a gas stove, so I find all kinds of excuses not to cook!)

Okay, tell us about your shopping habits. Do you have any hints to help the rest of us save money?


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87 comments:

  1. I don't have a lot of choices in my area to shop - I live in the country and all the stores are in the closest town about 12 miles from me - I mainly shop at Wal-Mart because it is convenient and the prices are ok. I also sometimes shop at Kroger's our though is a small store there prices are not bad. I do some shopping on line but not groceries - I like to get out once a week to shop for groceries - it is a social outlet also I suppose as I sometimes run in to others and stand around and chat a little- also if I need anything else I plan it then - get all the errands run and get the groceries - I do order my tea on line though as I can't find it locally - I wait for the free shipping offer which comes at least once every month or two and buy enough to last me awhile - the company is Harney & Sons - great tea - not cheap but I mainly just have a small pot in the morning and maybe afternoon so it last me awhile. It is my splurge like some have their favorite coffee. I use the same laundry soap that you do because of allergies I have been satisfied with it for years.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. We don't have a Super Walmart near here, but in Tulsa we have various smaller grocery stores called Walmart Markets. If I shop in the actual store, I go there, as it's close to the Target I also shop at.

      Hey, we have to treat ourselves sometimes. So splurge on yourself!

      Delete
    2. Karen, what flavor/blend of tea do you like ? I imagine it's something special if you have to order it.. I love teas of all kinds.. I found Lemon Ginger a while ago and I find it helps with an upset stomach and it's good.

      Delete
  2. Well, I usually purchase my produce and flours at Sprouts. For other groceries I go to the store that is close to my home, but in the fancier neighborhood, because they have more esoteric items. I also pick up packaged items at Target, but it is not as close to the home. I don't use coupons, because it is for items I don't need. I save money by mostly preparing food, however food gets wasted. A lot of times it ends up being just my daughter and I, because my spouse is out of town on business. I can't seem to figure out how much to prepare. My daughter and I are small eaters.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You know, we have a brand new Sprouts, and I figured it was expensive like Whole Foods, where I won't even walk in the door. But someone here in town told me the other day that that is not so. It's not very near me, but next time I have my doctor's visit near that new Sprouts, I'm going in and looking around.

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  4. I do most of my weekly grocery shopping at a local chain since it is only a mile away and the prices are the among the best in the area. The rest is done wholesale, at Sam's Club. Since items are sold in large quantities, we split the items among family members. Occasionally, I'll go to Wal-Mart, but it is a bit of a drive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never done the Sam's Club thing. But it's just me, so I don't need huge quantities.

      Delete
  5. Hi Brenda,
    To save money, we shop for groceries once a week, combining all our errands in one day. Laundry @ the laundromat (I know a lot of people would not go to a laundromat, but I love that the whole week's laundry can be finished in 1.5 hours), then the library, Wal-mart for staples, Safeway for sale items, produce & meat, and then any other misc. errands ~ and then we head for home.

    Most everything else is purchased online, or in a once a month trip to the city. We save a ton in gas money & time to shop this way, and then we can enjoy the rest of the week quietly at home. I also cook in bulk & freeze leftovers.

    Lin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well Lin, I applaud you! You are reducing your fuel consumption and getting it all done in one trip.

      Delete
  6. I shop at a local chain, it's small and I know where everything is! Some people tell me that it's more expensive than the big places, but I find that I know the prices of what I like to buy each week really well, so I only buy it on sale, I don't buy more than I need and I use coupons, So I don't have trouble sticking to my budget. I do find that I am more impulsive when I walk into a Target or Walmart! The prices look so low that I buy tons of stuff we don't really need! I love All Free and Clear, too Brenda! I am not a perfume girl! :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I wish they'd just take that perfume out of detergent. And yes, Target, if I let my eyes roam to either side as I head for the groceries (all the way in the back of course so that your eyes tend to roam), I can get distracted by some brightly colored pretty and I don't need that!

      Delete
    2. Brenda, I was just curious as to if you had ever looked into making your own laundry detergent at home. I have a chemical sensitivity disorder so I cannot use any products with chemicals. I make my own toothpaste, mouthwash and lotions. I also make my home cleaners as well and have made my laundry detergent when I cannot get to Whole foods to purchase one without chemicals.

      Delete
  7. Here, where I live, we have a Costco, Super Walmart, Super Target, Aldis, Harris Teeter,Giant, Food Lion, Safeway, and BJs not too far away.. I like to shop once a month at Costco for quantity items. For other things I like to go to Walmart and Food Lion.. I find that Giant is a bit more expensive and they've changed the items in the store so much that I can't find anything I need unless I spend a lot of time in the store. Although, I've found that my K-cups are less expensive at Giant..

    My daughter LOVES Target.. Our local one was moved, out of our Mall "further down the road" but she will travel there to get what she wants or needs.. It's not always groceries. ;o) The Super Walmart being built in the Mall was the cause of the Target store moving, I think.

    .
    I was using the All free and clear and changed to Tide in the small cellophane packets.. It's not as heavy to lift as the All.

    I usually shop once a week, unless I'm looking for flowers/plants to buy. ;o) Then I go out several times a week, usually to Walmart and Lowes. That time will be coming soon, I hope..
    Charlotte in Virginia

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    1. We don't have Costco, so I've never been to one. You've got a lot to choose from!

      Delete
  8. Target is a favorite of mine...120 to 220 miles away makes me sad...I do like to shop local but not much to choose from.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oh you poor thing. Well, I guess you save money. Unless you buy a lot online. Are you in a very small town?

      Delete
  9. We shop a lot at our Aldi's store (and supplement with whatever Kroger's has featured that week). Our Aldi's is very 'bare bones' and does not have a deli, salad bar, etc. but their produce is wonderful and very inexpensive when compared to the other grocery stores in the area! They are a German-based store (I think) and carry intriguing items we normally do not see here in the rural midwest. Have to bag your own and bring your own bags but it's worth it-- in my opinion.

    I have been making a lot of soup this winter and freeze what we do not eat in the initial meal (to avoid having the same menu for a week) in quart zip-lock bags. Takes up much less space in the freezer and it's nice to see such a variety. However, one needs to freeze these bags flat on a cookie sheet first to get a nice thin stackable profile (ask me how I figured that out...laughingly)!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oh, I love your tip about the soup! Thanks!

      Delete
    2. I so my shopping at our local Aldi's also. Every thing is so much cheaper and just as good as the larger stores. The employes are helpful and the manager is a wonderful person. Yes, I bag my own groceries and bring my own bags, but I gave up allowing anyone at the larger stores bag my groceries, because I was always getting smashed produce. I do buy the dog and cat food from a larger store because Aldi's only carry the large bags and my animals are small.
      I also make batches of soup and stew for the freezer. Living alone means thinking outside the box. Rather challenging, but never dull.
      I so enjoy your blog, Brenda. Thank you.

      Delete
  10. I buy most of my groceries at Aldi. I find their prices really great and the quality of their food is comparable to name brands (might even be name brands just in their packaging). A few things I get at WalMart, my favorite creamer(my splurge), cat litter, cat food and toiletries. I go weekly to Aldi but monthly to WalMart. I use All Free and Clear and have for years, it's the best. Now that I live alone items last a long time so I find I can buy smaller quantities that don't weigh as much and I can handle. Cat litter is the heaviest thing I buy and I consider buying from WalMart.com and having it delivered but I have limited storage space so haven't yet. I try to organize my shopping trips to save on gas. Those are my thrifty tips! :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. That's just what I was going to say: get those heavy items delivered. I've never been to an Aldis. Yes, I have to have creamer too.

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  12. Stores local to us are Shop and Save, and Giant Eagle. GE is about 2x as much as S & S on many items so I go to the local Shop and Save. I always buy lettuce, cukes, etc but other vegetables and fruits are determined by what is on sale. If if is cauliflower, I'll make several dishes with that, etc. Meat? I'll buy what is on sale and either freeze it or cook several things with it, then freeze. My youngest son's birthday will be celebrated here on Sunday and I waited for the store flyer before figuring out the menu. Chicken leg quarters will be .99 per lb, so that decided it. A picnic. I'll make breaded oven fried chicken a day ahead and serve it cold. I'll make potato salad and a cake and I am assigning pasta salad, baked beans, etc to other family members.

    I didn't realize so many people needed scent free detergent like me ! I use a FREE product but it it the Shop and Save Store brand...good to know if they are out of it or if ALL has a sale, that it is an alternative.

    As to shopping online we are almost FORCED to sometimes. For instance Microsoft had an update come through when I was trying to upload pictures from my camera to my computer. After the update my keyboard and mouse did not work. After several reboots and unplugging / replugging the keyboard, it worked again. Mouse was dead. Had to get a new mouse. Camera won't upload pics. Charged camera. Nothing. So I guess MS screwed up my camera USB cord as well. Now, the big chain stores sell cameras and so they put most mom and pop camera stores out of business but I called around and no they don't sell the accessories such as the USB cord so I had to order from a business in New York. And if the Best Buy where i bought my camera 4 years ago happens to have the cord, I wouldn't know, as it is 40 minutes away and when I called to inquire they won't answer the phone! LOL ! OK then! I don't want to talk to you either, Best Buy! :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. If the stores in our own areas won't allocate someone to specifically answer the phone, then they deserve to lose your business. I'm sure you tried new batteries in your mouse. And especially if it is also the USB cord. I'd get with Microsoft and see what they have to say. They should have their product thoroughly tested before it messes up someone's electronics forcing you to spend money.

      Delete
    2. I googled it and was suprised to see that there were many threads on forums and such about the updates wreaking havoc on keyboards, mouses, usb ports etc. Sheesh! So I went into the computer and changed my settings so that the updates cannot come in willy-nilly, automatically, when I am in the middle of something !

      Delete
  13. Hi Brenda! Have you tried making your own laundry detergent? I got the recipe from "Sunny Simple Life" a few years ago and have really liked it. It is worth the upfront expense and effort, plus it has no weirdo stuff in it. It lasts a long time.
    For groceries we go to Costco about once a quarter. (we have a large freezer) We have a large garden so in the summer we have a lot of fresh produce, and in the winter we have lettuce, etc. (we are fortunate to live in an area where it is possible to grow things, except when the frost turns my leafy greens black & slimy) I preserve as much as possible from the garden, which helps during the winter. There is a Save Mart just a few miles down the road that I can run to if I need something.
    When I cook meals I try to make them large enough for leftovers for lunch/freezing. I make broth and freeze it in various size containers (2 cup, 1 cup, ice cube tray) for future use.
    I do splurge on coffee at a local place that roasts their own beans. An there is a local woman that makes her own teas. I try to support local as much as possible. There is a local rancher that raises grass fed beef and we are considering buying a quarter or a half. There is also a local family that raises poultry, which is where we get our Thanksgiving turkey. I like their chickens, but $20 for one is a bit much. Most of our neighbors have chickens and trade us eggs for the use of our tractor, etc. I am huge on barter!
    There you have it :-D

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Bartering is the way to go if you can find someone to barter with. I would like to support local too, but the big stores have made so many go out of business.

      I will check into Elaine's homemade laundry detergent. That woman knows how to save!

      Delete
  14. Our city is large, but the choice of grocery stores is low. The one big chain pretty much ran the others off and now can charge anything they want. We have a few Super Walmarts and a couple of Super Targets.
    I always come out with a much higher bill at our Targets, but they do have some special things that are fun to get (almond croissants) if I can afford some treats. We do have a very small local chain (4 stores) and one of their stores if very close to my home. I get all my produce and meat there. The produce comes from local farmers, so is much cheaper and very fresh. The meats are also much cheaper and better. I like supporting small businesses. But, I do have to go to the big stores for staples like dog food, cat food and litter. I've started making my own cleaners and that has helped the grocery bill. Unlike you, I LOVE a good scent in my cleaners. I use some lavender essential oil in the cleaner I make. Lemon juice is a good choice for a fresh scent too.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I like scent in my cleaners. I just can't take it in detergent, because it makes me itch. I love lavender.

      Delete
  15. I live in a large city and shop mostly at Whole Foods for staples, using the bulk section. I also purchase their label 365 which isn't too different from other brands in Walmart and I get the added assurance that they are non GMO and not full of all the processed crap and chemicals. We also have a Sprouts which I shop at as well and haven't found it to be overpriced. I make most of my cleaners and detergents at home from items I purchase online making it all natural as well. I also shop online such as yourself for my household items such as toilet paper and such. And I purchase my organic produce weekly from Greenling who delivers to my door. Their prices are much lower than at Whole Foods and Sprouts for the organic produce. And I LOVE not having to search out the produce when I go to the grocery store.

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    Replies
    1. This is all interesting information! I would love to see if I can find a place that delivers produce to my door.

      Delete
  16. Hi Brenda, how do I save on groceries...there are weeks that I feel that I don't we live in NY and lately feel everything is overpriced. If I go to Wal-Mart or Target there's many distractions that might be added in the cart so avoid them. Basically I go through the weekly flier from a supermarket near my house (it's called Best-Yet) by going through the flier I am actually making a least of what I need and creating meals for each day of the week...I usually do this on Saturdays and cook on Sundays. Then during the week dinner just needs to be heated and we can all eat at somewhat of a normal hour. When we do need larger items I do go to Target for paper products, shampoos, body washes, detergents, and stuff like that....I find the cost manageable.
    :) Marisa

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    1. When I had kids at home, I would cook for the whole week. If I do cook now, it has to be for more than one meal or I won't make it. You have it all so organized!

      Delete
  17. I too shop at Whole Foods once in awhile buying their 365 brand, and sometimes their prices are less than the local grocery stores! We have several farmer's markets that have great produce at wonderful prices. I do shop at Target for major things like cat litter, TP, but maybe I should avail myself of the Walmart online shopping. We are getting a little Walmart Grocery store close on March 14th. I have noted that the big chain which is Albertson's is closing about 10 stores in the South land due to stores like Walmart, Target, Smart/Final. I'm sorry, but if I can save $4 on a pound of coffee then I have to do that.

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    1. I have to save where I possibly can too. I shall look into this 365 brand. I have not been in a Whole Foods in twenty years. But back then it was really expensive.

      Delete
  18. I am blessed; I don't have to grocery shop! My dear husband is the shopper in our family. He gets the majority of items at WalMart but shops Kroger for things like our Luzianne coffee, fresh produce, and our prescriptions. I make my own detergent using MaryJane's recipe (Beehive Cottage blog) and I love it. It is perfect for me as if makes a ton and cleans like a whiz without any chemicals that I am sensitive to.
    Does anyone remember anyone being allergic to or sensitive to anything when we (those of us in our 50s and beyond) were growing up? We have now become a nation of allergy sufferers and I suspect it is because the chemicals we have been exposed to both in our food and in our cleaning products. I can now use only a couple of different cleansers in my home due to sensitivity. We need to all get green like our grandmothers were!

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  19. I agree. I don't remember any allergies growing up. You're lucky your husband does the shopping!

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  20. I shop at Super Walmart because it is only 3 miles from my house, otherwise I would be shopping at Target, which is 12 miles. I hate Walmart's produce...nasty and I always complain about it. I should just start shopping across the street at Foodmaxx, but I find their prices a little bit higher than Walmart. I am so looking forward to May when our produce stands will be up and running. Sure wish we had a Trader Joe's. The closest one is an hour away. When I was married and had a teenage step daughter living at home, I used All Detergent. Now I am on my own, I treat myself to Tide.

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  21. We don't have Trader Joes here. I've heard great things about it though.

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  22. I used to shop at our neighborhood walmart..not too far away. I know it is cheapest. However, there are always a lot of men there..alone. They don't seem to be buying much. Recently a man approached me in the parking lot and scared me to death. Since then, I go to Kroger, closer, and not too high.

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    1. Order the big stuff from their Walmart.com and go somewhere else to get produce, meat and dairy products, is what I'd be doing!

      Delete
  23. Brenda, I like your idea about shopping online. I despise going to Walmart but my cats won't eat anything but Special Kitty catfood, which is not sold any other place. If it wasn't for that, I'm not sure I would go to Walmart. I make most of my cleaning supplies but use Purex naturals for laundry. I used to make my own laundry soap but noticed it kind of faded my colors, so I stopped. I shop for groceries at Aldi, for the most part. There are some things I can't get there so I might use Reasor's, Warehouse Market, or Walmart. I want to try the new Sprouts Market but haven't had the chance, yet. As big as Tulsa is, I find the grocery stores leave something to be desired. Reasor's is good but too expensive for my budget.

    Grace & Peace

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    1. Can't you buy the cat food at Walmart.com? I've found that Target on Yale has good prices on food, though it's not a big super Target. I just went to Sprouts this afternoon, and got strawberries for $1.88 a carton. It was busy, so I didn't have time to look around.

      Delete
  24. We;ve been going to Lowes foods , using the pick up service for several years and just recently signed up for the delivery service. They bring them right into the house and put them where you ask- like cold near the fridge and our spare room where we have the pantry cabinets.. I do my own putting away:-)

    paper products and bulk items I order from walmart,, which is delivered to the door..

    we shop once a month but have a huge double door fridge and a small freezer in the garage.. I cook once a week and everything is in the fridge to grab a plate and heat up whatever each of us wants at the time.. works for us.

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    1. Is that part of the Lowes we all go to for paint and stuff? Or a whole different animal? I'll have to look into that.

      Delete
  25. I shop at Aldi's for most of our groceries. I get my cleaning supplies,paper products and pet supplies at Walmart. We have a great local meat market we get our meat and I purchuse my veggies and fruit from farmers in season. Brenda I also use All Free &Clear for laundry



    ReplyDelete
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    1. Walmart.com has saved me with this ankle. But still I have to get veggies, fruit, dairy and such. I rarely buy meat. Makes me with I lived on a working farm and had some of that available.

      Delete
  26. First of all, love your new favicon; you and the pupsters look great!

    Well, I'm gonna be brief as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has been taking its toll on me, typing is quite painful.

    Since moving to the village, my husband does all of the grocery shopping, unless we are having a dinner party and I need to get some specialty items, etc., in which case, we'll go together. Our fruit, vegetables, and meat, we do separately, which means, the farmer's market for the fruit and veg and the butcher's for the meat. Oh! I almost forgot the one invaluable item which he cannot do without: fresh bread daily, which we buy from a number of excellent bakeries. Yes, it's time consuming to shop for each item at specialty stores, but worth the effort in every tasty bite!

    Poppy

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    Replies
    1. Have you tried those wrist splints? I've worn those off and on for years. Had carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists in 1999.

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  27. Hi Brenda! I am lucky in that I live very close to a super Wal Mart. I buy most of my groceries there and take advantage of their price matching. I do like Target, but it's on the other side of town so only go occasionally. I have been making homemade laundry detergent for a few years now and am very happy with that. I have an HE washer, but don't like to buy the expensive detergent it requires. The homemade kind works great with that.

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    1. Even if I lived close to a super Wal Mart, I still think I'd be ordering online due to having to drag it all from the garage not attached to the house and through the gate and up the steps into the kitchen. I will have to try the homemade detergent.

      Delete
  28. I shop mostly at WalMart because I can get my groceries, toiletries, paper and cleaning products, pet food and bird seed, etc. all in one place. I won't buy meat there, tho, except packaged meat like hot dogs or the large packages of frozen tilapia. I buy fresh meat at the one grocery store we have in our little town or a local locker. I might buy several pounds of hamburger and then divide it up and put in freezer bags and flatten it out. It stacks better in the freezer and also takes less time to thaw out that way.

    When I'm in our nearest city, I'll stop in at Aldi's and stock up on canned items. I'll buy a case of green beans, diced tomatoes, chili beans, etc. I also buy several other things from them that is cheaper than even WalMart when I get by there. I take a list of what I need and stick to it. I also watch the grocery ad for the store in our town and take advantage of good sales, if it is something we will use or need. I also put things like potato chips, crackers and bread in our freezer, if I find them on sale. It keeps well there for a few weeks.

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    1. I had no idea you could put potato chips or crackers in the freezer. Makes sense since I freeze bread. We have an Aldis somewhere. I'll have to check where.

      Delete
  29. We live in the Pacific NW and shop at Winco. It's an employee owned store and the prices are less expensive than some of the other stores in our region. I plan out our meals and we make a weekly grocery list, usually we follow what is on the list when we shop to keep costs down. I really have to credit my husband for helping me to stay organized with our grocery shopping. I used to be an impulse buyer and shopped a few times a week, but we save so much more shopping once a week and we've been shopping this way for 10 years or so. I do stop at Target and pick up a few things once in awhile, I'll have to try out their strawberries like you suggested, ours are never fresh at our grocery store.

    We buy a lot of produce and try to eat healthy, although I do get tired of cooking 5 nights a week, it is healthier and less expensive to eat at home. We buy a lot of chicken and fish and it can be challenging some weeks to come up with ideas for meals. For specialty items I occasionally shop at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, although they aren't very close to us and are rather pricey. We have a Walmart Market that recently opened so I'll have to try that too. In the summer and fall months we go to our Farmer's Market for most of our fresh produce. I like supporting local businesses and the market is a great way to socialize too.

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    1. I sometimes shop at the Walmart Market when I don't shop at the Target for the things I absolutely can't get from Walmart.com. I'd never heard of a Walmart Market till I moved here.

      Delete
  30. Stopped in end of day to read more of the comments..I have to say that this Wednesday thing is fun, Brenda, and I hope that you keep it up..it's like being able to flit in and out of a party and get gists of the conversation / respond etc as able.

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    1. Well you guys come up with a lot of topics you want to discuss because I will run out of ideas!

      Delete
  31. Brenda, You don't like your gas stove? I used to have gas and loved it. Only because it seems like I could control the heat better and I burned a lot less of my meals.

    I shop every week if not more - tween boys are HUNGRY!

    I love your new profile picture. Your hair shorter looks awesome! And, of course, the pups are sweet looking too.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I hate the gas stove because when I was 17 and pregnant I blew one up and it threw me across the room and against the wall. Been afraid of them ever since. Thank you about the photo, but I never ever like photos of myself. The pupsters always look good.

      Delete
  32. I don't do a "big" food shop at any one store, because I like different things from different stores. My favorite place to shop is Trader Joe's. It's a small store, but it's packed with lots of different things. Not only do they have many interesting items, they are definitely cheaper than the big supermarkets, and their ingredients seem to be healthier on their packaged goods. Then, there's Costco. Talk about saving money! There are lots of items we buy in bulk, like paper goods, cereal, pharmacy items, etc. And they have the BEST meat around! We actually did a taste test with their steak and an expensive gourmet store - guess which we liked better: Costco! Whatever I can't get at those two stores, I get at the supermarket. And then, there are some specialty items that I get at various places. Love this idea, Brenda!

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    1. I wish there was a Trader Joes around here. You're the baker, so I trust wherever you go!

      Delete
  33. For me (at least in my area) if I want to save money, I have to shop at Walmart. My Target is slightly higher than them and doesn't have as large a selection as Walmart. If I want to overspend all I have to do is shop at Publix. They are the highest EVER! I only go there if I must. I know some people say they get wonderful customer service and they'll take it to your car etc, but you pay for that service! So, if you want to get some exercise and save money in the process, shop Walmart. Here's an example. One night I needed a gallon of milk, so we stopped in Publix for it since it was right next door to the restaurant we ate at. It cost $3.69. Days later I went to Walmart to get my weekly groceries and bought more milk. Price was only $2.89. It's a no brainer to me.

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    1. We all find what works best for us. And it is different in every region. Sometimes I buy my dairy at Braums. Do they have a Braums store there?

      Delete
  34. I shop at Publix in Florida, and I love them! They have BOGOs that save money. What I like best are the personnel and the cleanliness. Both count big for me.

    I use Gain Detergent. I like the fresh scent.

    I shop once or more a week as needed.

    Advice? Buy in bulk. I buy more rolls of paper towels at a better price. I don't buy the cheapest brand because they don't hold up as well. And the old coupon clipping is always a help with saving money!

    xo

    Sheila

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    1. I agree. The cheapest sometimes does not save you money. I order the great big packs of paper towels and toilet paper at Walmart.com. So nice that I don't have to drag it to my car and then all the way to the house.

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  35. I just love these chats--you have the best convos going on over here, Brenda. Well, I am a bit of a grocery addict. I've cut back quite a bit (well, for me) these past several months, but it generally goes like this: I like to pop in to Costco when I'm in that area for milk, meat, and fruit. I don't do that every week. Then once a week I go to Trader Joe's and my local little market for all my veggies and other fruit. I hit up Target and Ralphs if I need anything else like napkins, cleaning supplies, etc. I try very hard not to go to Ralphs (which is a Kroger store) because I find I pick up junk or other things we just don't need there. But since I love cooking and baking and do them both near daily, I am at the markets at least twice a week.

    I do quite a bit of shopping online through Amazon for household things, gifts, etc. and also visit online stores for clothes for my daughter. I just hate going to the mall and I find better deals from the comfort of my couch for her. :) I always get free shipping with Amazon since I don't order unless I'm hitting that $35/free shipping mark. And I visit retailmenot.com for coupon codes whenever I'm ordering online--that usually covers shipping or gets me 20-40% off my total.

    I live in CA in the suburb of a big city (San Diego) so there are lots of places to shop all around me, but I love to just do my trips to "my" stores and stay close to home if I can. Costco, Trader Joe's and my 2 markets are all within a couple miles from me. I've taken inspiration from you and am watching my trips closely--eliminating those random runs to the store where I waste gas and spend extra money. I love your tips like that

    I've always used Tide mainly because my mom used/uses it, but also when I hit my late 20s other brands tested made me itch. Hmmm, what's going on there? So I stick to Tide.

    Though my fridge is always filled up, we don't eat out often so the food does get eaten. If I think something will go bad before we can get through it or if I buy too much, I freeze it--like berries. We get a lot of berries from my inlaws' in the summer months so we eat on them like crazy and I freeze a lot of them. Then I pop them into smoothies during the off seasons, bake with them, or add them to my daily morning yogurt. No having to buy berries in the off season when they lack the great flavor. I do the same with garden fresh tomatoes. They lose their texture, but you can add them to soups! I also freeze things like buttermilk--when I only need half a cup, I freeze the rest. You can still bake with it after you let it thaw out. Hate to waste things like that. :) Now I'm going to read all the tips others shared before me! Have a good night! ~Danielle

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    1. You've got some great ideas you've shared here for us. Especially in your last paragraph! I order from Amazon.com and get free shipping at $25???

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    2. Ah yes, they switched their free shipping to $35 this past fall. Bummer. :(

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  36. Hi. It's been fun reading how everyone does their shopping. Just imagine a bird's-eye view of everyone down below trotting in and out of the stores with their shopping carts. When I was a single mom, I came to dislike grocery shopping because I hated seeing the money fly out of my wallet. Meanwhile, my now-husband was in his single parent phase, and he loved to grocery shop because it made him feel secure to know he had food on hand to cook good meals for his son. When we got together, we had some clashes because I would get nervous over how much he wanted to spend, and he would get nervous over how much I didn't want to spend! For awhile, he did the grocery shopping on his own. But he forgot to get things, and one of us would end up going back the next day for this or that, and then again in a couple of days for something else. So it wasn't very efficient.

    Things came together, interestingly, when he got diagnosed with high blood pressure, and I got diagnosed with high cholesterol. We realized we needed to be making some better food choices. We started working together to come up with some healthy recipes for the week, make a shopping list, set a budget, and go together.

    We go grocery shopping on Friday evening, and jokingly call it our date night. We go to Kroger's. There is a Kroger about a mile from our house, but we go to the one that is four miles away (across a river and in the next state) because it is bigger and has wider aisles and a better produce section.

    As we shop, my husband marks things off the list and keeps a tally of item prices, so we can be aware at all times of how things are adding up and can make adjustments accordingly. Sometimes something is out of stock, so then we can decide if we want to use those freed-up dollars on something else.

    Sometimes we do go a little over budget, but not often, because it's a game for my husband to see if he can be under budget, and to see how close his tally is to the final tally at the register. We rarely have to make another trip back to the grocery store with this revised approach. For awhile, we were always having to go back for another head of lettuce by Monday. So now we just go ahead and get two or three heads of lettuce on Friday and it gets us through the week.

    On Saturday or Sunday, we prepare one to three recipes with the ingredients we bought, usually a crockpot meal and then several different vegetable dishes. We used to go out to eat one night a week, and then for lunch on Saturday and/or Sunday. Now, we have cut out about all eating out, since we are cutting way back on sodium for my husband's high blood pressure. So, preparing food in advance means that during the week we aren't tempted to break down and say, Oh, I'm too tired to cook, let's go out. We know we have pre-cooked things in the fridge that we can put together. Preparing some things in advance means we waste less food this way, too. Now we rarely have any tired-looking veggies laying around in the crisper.

    We don't like fragrance in detergents or cleaning supplies. So we get fragrance-free All or Arm and Hammer detergent.

    We buy paper towels, detergent, and toilet paper at Kroger also. I bet we could get better deals somewhere else, but, then I would have to go into another store, and I'd rather not. I just don't like to shop that much! I will have to consider doing the online shopping for such products that Brenda talks about. It's fun to think of toilet paper and paper towels showing up on my door step.

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    1. I use to have high blood pressure, and I know that pre-prepared foods and foods you eat in restaurants are famous for their high sodium. So you're certainly on the right path there. You've got it down to a science it sounds like. Too bad you can't shop at a store and have a bite to eat in a little deli section and that would be more like date night!

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  37. I do most of my grocery shopping at Meijer, Trader Joes, and a little at Walmart. We don't have a Super Target here in town; just a regular Target. As you know, I cook quite often. I'm also very health-conscious so I don't buy any pre-packaged or frozen meals and try to buy organic produce and meats. We eat vegetarian meals several times a week, so my meat costs aren't high. Detergents - I buy the scent-free stuff too, as Brian has very sensitive skin. However, I found a recipe online for making your own natural detergent, so I'm going to try that. I have all the ingredients - I just need to get motivated!

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    1. Melanie, you're about as motivated as they come! I just wish I was as efficient with cooking as you are.

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  38. All detergent can be very expensive (as many detergents are) My helpful hint is to get coupons for your favorite items on E-Bay. I use Keri lotion and it is very expensive, even at Walmart. What I do is, go on E-Bay, find someone with Keri lotion coupons (or whatever else product you need to buy) and find someone offering "free shipping." Often I can buy 20 $2 off coupons for $1.25 (free shipping). The first coupon pays for itself. I am always open to new ways to save!

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    1. P.S. As far as making your own laundry detergent, when you watch Safeway's ads and can get Arm and Hammer (which is what we use) for 5/$12 for the 75 oz bottle which equals 50 loads ($2.40 a bottle = 3 cents a load), it is hard to match that with homemade soap. My sister and I used to make our own laundry detergent but after a while decided it was less expensive just to watch the "deals" being offered and buy as many as we could Another thing that has helped a lot - instead of using Jet dishwasher tablets for sparkling dishes, I pour white vinegar in the liquid compartment of my dishwasher where you would put Jet or another product. It is wayyyy cheaper and works like a charm!

      Cate <><

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  39. Good morning! I shop at Walmart for most of our groceries & cleaning supplies. I do like Target, but it's a long drive from home. Walmart is closer, the prices are pretty good compared to our other grocery stores in my area and they are open anytime I need something. I do my grocery shopping very early in the morning, normally before 7:00am. I order a lot online, but usually not food items. If I get in a spot where I can't do the shopping myself, that's an good option to have.
    I cook almost every night, and I also make breakfast for my hubby and his lunch and sometimes school lunches for my granddaughter. I love to cook. My Mama always cooked every meal. Moms of her era didn't have all the options & choices we have today.
    I shop only once per week unless I forgot something major. I really try to make sure everything is on my list before I leave home. There are times when I mess up, though. LOL!
    I too have lots of allergies, but use Gain detergent and dryer sheets. So far I haven't had a problem with them. And I love the scent.
    Enjoy your day!

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    1. The only food items I've ordered online is cereal. I get great big boxes of Cheerios. Walmart is handy being open all the time. But I wouldn't go at night for anything!

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  40. I am so looking forward to Wednesdays!! I love hearing what everyone does. I'm nosy by nature!! When you mentioned Dunkin Donuts coffee, I had to tell you, I was addicted to it for a long time (the French Vanilla) and I finally got tired of how expensive it was at the store so I started experimenting with different brands. I not get my coffee for half the price and I also started grinding my beans so it's extra good. I know we have to treat ourselves but I drink a lot of coffee!!

    We had a major chain of grocery stores in our area close down in December. People including myself went into mourning. It was clean, friendly, humongous...had a Starbucks in it and a fresh deli and bakery. I had shopped at the same location for 26 years. So since December I have been shopping around (no pun intended) and I'm appalled at the conditions of some stores. Bad produce, stale bread, overcrowded, I found something wrong with every store and in the city, I am surrounded by them. I finally ended up at another chain and I'm not liking it. Short story, reading your comments, I'm amazed at all the people that shop at Target and Walmart. I always thought they were expensive. I know our Target doesn't have a really huge supermarket area so I wonder if I could find all of the particulars I like. I shop every two weeks (on payday) and then I might pop in a store midway for milk or something we are low on. I wanted to add that I switched from Gain to a scent free laundry soap in an attempt to help my eczema. It's helped and I will look for your brand. I have been freaking out over all the heavy scents we are bombarded with. I told my daughter the other day...you get in the shower and use scented body wash, you get out and put on a different scented body lotion and deodorant, your clothes reek of Gain and fabric softener and then you put on expensive perfume (as if anyone could smell it over all of the other scents). Are we obsessed with smells? Are we killing ourselves with breathing all of this in? We need to do a post on this girl!!

    XO,
    Jane

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    1. Great idea, Jane! We are inundated with scents and sounds! I no longer wear perfume. This Target doesn't have much food, but now I'm moving so it won't matter. I don't get the ground Dunkin Donuts unless it's $6.99, which sometimes it is at the local grocery chain. And the most I drink per day is 2 cups.

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  41. I am loving this conversation and learning so much. We live in the country so I buy our meat at a local Mom and Pop store called Wallace's Country Store. I am very loyal to them and the price is always comparable and I get a fresh product every time. My Aunts house burnt and the Wallace family immediately showed up with sandwiches etc for the firemen and family that had gathered. They are our neighbors and I support their business always. For my fresh fruits and vegetables, dry goods and canned goods I shop our local Amish Store. They plant a large garden and their produce is organic and fresh picked. I only shop Walmart for cleaning, cat supplies and toiletries. I don't care for walmart, their customer service is awful, and I can always count on getting a door ding in their parking lot. I do shop Sams Club every two months for paper goods, freezer items and some vegetables during the off season. If we are having guests, we will drive 80 miles to a larger town to shop the HyVee store for cheeses, sea food and gourmet items.
    We went from a family of five to just the two of us so coupons aren't much help. I use coupons for restaurants though when I can. I now cook and serve restaurant style. It is easier to portion the ingredients and reduces waste.
    I wish I could shop local for all of my needs. I like supporting my neighbors businesses.

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    1. That is wonderful that the store did that for you guys! Don't go to Walmart. Shop them online like I do. No dings in your car! Get free shipping at $50! Right to your door.

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  42. I save by shopping at our local Pick and Save on Tuesday, "Senior citizen day" and I receive 15% off of my total bill. I also cut coupons out of the paper, saving me another $12.00 or more, each trip. I do like to shop at Super Walmart, which is several blocks from where we live, and I find can find some good deals there also. Not grocery related, but I buy panties there that I really like for $3.50 a pair. Looked at the same style and brand at Shop-Ko, which is also in walking distance from our house..they were $7.50 there. But, on the other hand, they had a box of 18 Maxwell House coffee KEURIG pods,on sale for $8.99, plus it was senior day there yesterday, so I got another 15% off. It really does pay to shop around, doesn't it!

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    1. I recently bought underwear from Amazon.com. It was pretty cheap. I had already looked online at Walmart. I was pleased with these because they fit! So hard to know with different brands how they size.

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  43. I try to shop locally if possible. I get meat from our local butcher. Yep, that is one nice thing about a small town. I can go in and pick some nice pieces of beef, chicken and pork. I know it is locally grown and grass fed. I get raw milk and eggs from a local farm. I shop out of my pantry where I have canned produce, soups and dried fruits from my garden. Wal-mart is 30 miles from here and so I do order things from there as well as from Amazon. I can get by easily on one tank of gas since most of my shopping is done within a few blocks of home.

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    1. I'm moving, so will have to figure out a "new perimeter" of stores on my outings. I don't think things are going to be as handy as here, but couldn't find anything around here I could afford.

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  44. We have Publix here in Florida and it is a great place to shop. They have wonderful sales. I like to buy things on sale and keep extras in my pantry. I don't buy prepackaged things but stick to basics. One of my tips is to freeze fruit in small zip locks when it starts getting ripe. Don't wait until it's spoiled and have to throw it away. Thanks for the great post my friend! Hugs!

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    1. I dearly love a few sliced strawberries on my morning cereal. I tried freezing them but they didn't taste as good.

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  45. Great Java Talk post, Brenda! We live about 20 miles from Madison and shop there at Costco about once a month. We think their meat is great and so is their produce. Their monthly coupon items are also good. We shop at Target (with your red card you get a 5% discount off of everything), and there is also a Trader Joe's and their prices are great. There is a Hy-Vee in Madison, but we haven't gone yet. I know their weekly coupon specials are good, but don't know if their every-day prices are great. There are also Woodman's Grocery Stores which are employee owned and they are very reasonable, but SO big! There are Aldi's, too, but I have never shopped at one. Here in our small town we have a Piggly Wiggly and a Sentry Foods. They are a bit more expensive, but convenient. We do a lot of shopping on-line through Amazon. Our son has a Prime account and we are on his account with him and pay him 1/2 the fee each year. It is more than worth it. I think we did about 85% of our Christmas shopping on-line this past year. So much easier! Love those "smiling" Amazon boxes when they arrive! This has been fun, Brenda!

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    1. I need to look into Amazon's Prime account. I don't know anything about it.

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I always enjoy reading your comments and having you join the conversation here at Cozy Little House. It is like having a gathering of friends sitting in my cozy apartment. Enjoying coffee and dessert, chatting and having a good time. I appreciate each and every one of you!

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