Shopping and Saving

February 8, 2012

Sometimes, as was the case today, we end a photo shoot for work with plenty of leftover food. Since we take photos of many different recipes, often only using a small portion of a package for each recipe, it’s inevitable that there will be extras. Since I’m always interested in finding ways to cut back on our grocery spending from week-to-week, and because I hate seeing food go to waste, I take advantage of bringing home some of the healthy food that is up for grabs. This week’s haul:
*Whole Wheat Fusilli Pasta
*1 (8-count) package whole wheat tortillas
*1/2 box Wheat Thins (one of Joe’s favorite snacks)
*Bare Naked High Protein Granola
*Baby carrots
*Green grapes
*Fresh blueberries
*Partially-eaten bags of frozen blueberries, strawberries and peaches
*Bottle of Club Soda
*2 Boca Veggie Burgers
*Creamy peanut butter
*2 apples and 3 clementines
*2 Vanilla Greek Yogurts
*1 avocado
*Whole Wheat Bread
*Silk Vanilla Almond Milk and 1/2 gallon 2% milk

Of course, this is a great way to keep the grocery spending down for the week. But it’s not often that I have a photo shoot, and even more rare for me to come home with this much food. So I’ve decided to give smart shopping tactics, like couponing and browsing the sales fliers at various grocery stores, a try.

Typically, Joey and I break up our shopping between three stores. It sounds a little excessive, especially since we both have jobs and busy schedules. But since we don’t have a store that meets all our needs (ie: Trader Joes), we make it work. HyVee for produce, Fareway for canned/dry goods and meat for Joe, and WalMart for toiletries and cleaning supplies.

Since I’m a coupon novice, I would love for any of you with experience to share your strategies! Websites I need to check out? Blogs? Help!


  • Reply Kristin February 8, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    I also shop around, despite having a busy schedule. It’s so worth it! I buy produce, milk, and eggs at just about any store (Safeway, Fred Meyer, Wal-Mart), but I only buy packaged products (pasta, frozen food, etc.) at the Commissary on the army base. It’s loads cheaper..I get meat, quinoa, and Clif bars/Larabars at Costco. Oh, and I pine for the day when I can live near a Trader Joe’s. When I went to CA last year, I loaded up my suitcase with their non-perishable items!

  • Reply Urban Wife February 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    I only use coupons for certain items like Seventh Generation and Bausch Lomb for our contact solution. I brave going to Dollar Tree every few weeks for items like toothpaste, bodywash, Ziploc bags, and other toiletries/cleaning supplies. Publix is our local grocery where we get our food minus fresh produce. They have weekly BOGO deals which sometimes work out with items we buy regularly. Finally, about 5 minutes from our house is a local farmer’s produce stand with a wide selection of fresh produce. Depending on the week, we spend as much as $100 and as little as $60 other weeks! That’s our strategy and it’s worked out wonderfully, now that we don’t spend $200/week on groceries. Good luck with finding what works best for you. šŸ™‚

  • Reply Sarahkcrosby February 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Shopping around works for me too! Also, only clipping coupons for things you would normally buy. When I started really looking at coupons I would think “WOW! That is a great deal for XYZ” but I normally wouldn’t have even glanced at it twice without the coupon.

  • Reply Marisa February 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    I’ve tried using coupons but most of the coupons in our area are for highly processed food that we don’t eat – candy bars, big bags of chips. I can never find any coupons for items that might actually spoil.

  • Reply Guest February 8, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    It has been my personal experience that I can never find the coupons for what we eat. Like Marisa said, most coupons are for highly processed food found in a can or box. We’ve found that since we mainly eat at home and brown bag it, we can get most of our weekly shopping for veggies at Sam’s Club. Also, by purchasing our toiletries in bulk, it has saved us a ton from those weekly runs to the store for toothpaste and toilet paper. While it was a bit of an initial investment, out monthly spending on grocery and household items has been cut in half.

  • Reply DessertForTwo February 8, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Wow, I’m so jealous of your haul. Lucky you that it’s healthy food too! I would probably pass on extra tortillas, but not whole wheat ones!
    I don’t clip coupons because in California, not a lot of stores honor them. (which is the most ridiculous thing i’ve ever heard). So mainly, to cut down on grocery bills, we don’t eat a lot of meat, we buy produce from a farm down the road, and the rest in bulk. Truth be told, the budget gets out of hand for the blog. I have a goal to start tracking my blog expenses separately and using it as a tax deduction. I’m guilty of hoarding enough dry food for a family of 8. I could not go grocery shopping for the next 2 weeks and be totally fine, 3 meals/day. It ‘s crazy how much I let my pantry fill up for just 2 people!

  • Reply Vduback February 8, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    I live in Portland, Oregon and we get weekly deliveries of in-season organic produce from local farmers ( They also have products like eggs and meat from the farms too. It saves on multiple trips to the store, and is inspiring us to try new things.

  • Reply beckiswholelife February 8, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    That’s great that you could bring all of those groceries home. I don’t coupon – mainly because I have found that I don’t buy a lot of what coupons are selling….I know I probably buy some of it, but not to make it worth the while. We have a lot of BOGO’s here and very often it’s on stuff that I do use. We have a huge Freezer in the garage and I stock that up when chicken is on sale…or pork tenderloin, etc. I shop around, too and very often I will base my meal plan around what is on sale or what I have in the freezer. I am also not afraid to take a look at the reduced merchandise. I get apples and pears that still look ok and make applesauce. If the meat still looks fine, I bring it home and pop it in the freezer.

  • Reply Tanja @ Postmodern Hostess February 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Do you guys have access to any stores in the Safeway family? I’ve been finding amazing deals lately on all the healthy stuff — produce, dairy, bread, staples — through their Just4U program, and am clipping hardly any coupons at all. I’ll be posting about this next week. šŸ™‚

  • Reply Guest March 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I find that taking a few minutes to sit down a make a list mainly based off store sale items helps save a lot of money and gives some good dinner ideas. I compare two store fliers I get every week in the mail to see which store has the item for a cheaper price and make my list. Also, take some time to clip coupons for any items you might need in the next few weeks. I get my coupons from my grandmother, my mother, and my boyfriends mom so I don’t have to hunt them down myself. Compare the coupons to what is on your shopping list for extra savings. As an added tip, I have found for most items if you buy the generic brand it works/tastes the same for a much cheaper cost. If you take some time to plan ahead, you can really save yourself some money.

  • Leave a Reply