Posted by: OHgalinSoCal | June 3, 2013

Let’s Talk Shop

I went shopping today. I love shopping. But not girl shopping. No clothes, shoes, make-up or purse shopping. Don’t get me wrong. I shop for those things. I use those things. I just don’t enjoy shopping for those things. I always get disappointed when I go shopping for girl things. I’m just not any good at it.

For my birthday and Christmas every year, my parents give me gift card to various stores, and my father-in-law always gives me a gift of money. So off I go shopping armed with giftcards and some one else’s money to spend on me, and then I can never find anything to buy. I always seem to get an idea in my head of what I would like to purchase, and then once I set off on my retail journey, my reality never matches the picture in my head. Bummer.

I still have a $50 giftcard my parents gave me to one particular retailer, and every time I go to spend it, I can’t find a dang thing I like. Dontcha know, if I didn’t have that giftcard, a bazillion things would be jumping out at me that I would want to buy. Happens every damn time.

So instead, I love me some grocery shopping. Yep, you heard read that right. I L-O-V-E grocery shopping. I love food- cooking it, eating it, so of course I love shopping for it. In fact, I love it so much, grocery shopping doesn’t even seem like a worthy enough label. I prefer culinary purchasing adventure. But since the initials CPA are already reserved for another job description, I’m unable to abbreviate culinary purchasing adventure. Whatevs. I’ll call it chop shop instead. Since pretty much all the food I purchase requires some type of knife skill.

I don’t get it when my friends say they don’t like grocery shopping. But then again, I don’t get it when my friends tell me they’re feeling down, mad, sad, extra PMS-y, and the only way to feel better is with retail therapy. Whaaaa? Am I the only emotional eater up in here? Food, people. Food makes me feel happy.

The first time my husband brought his Ohio girlfriend (that’d be moi) out to visit his hometown of the L to the A, he took me on a tour of the sights. We drove down Rodeo Drive and explored Hollywood. He was such a gentleman and told me if there was any place I wanted to stop and shop to just let him know, he’d be more than happy to take me. My response, “Nah. But I see a ton of places I’d like to go eat.” He told his dad the next day he was going to marry me. A woman who would choose eating over shopping, she’s a keeper, was his thought process.

I’m in good company. The only person I know who likes to eat, cook and shop for food as much as me is my good friend Rebecca. But since she was already off the market, I married Husband, who is the other person I know who enjoys eating, cooking and food shopping as much as I do. Match made in the kitchen Heaven!

When we first got married, on Friday nights after we both got off work, we’d go out to dinner, enjoy an adult beverage or two, then we would go grocery shopping. I know! Stop it. We were outta control, I tell ya! Wild and crazy Friday nights were had by us. Whew! Kroger didn’t know what to do when us party animals came crashing through those double sliding doors. Watch out produce, here we come! I will say this, if you ever want to go grocery shopping in a near empty supermarket, 10 o’clock on a Friday night will get you just that.

Once we had kids and I quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom, Friday night chop shopping trips ceased. Instead, like most every other normal SAHM, I go during the day during the week.

It tends to be a little more chaotic- more people, more SAHM’s, which means more kids to deal with. While I may be a bit more frazzled now as my my 5 year old runs the perimeter of the store while I make sure my toddler doesn’t clear a shelf of pickles or bite into a lime (it’s happened once or twice), I still find happiness in my culinary purchasing adventure.

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And I’m that person that shops at multiple stores. I have a budget I have to stick to, so I go to the stores where I can get the most bang for my buck, without sacrificing quality. I’m very fortunate that where I live everything is in close proximity, so I’m not burning the almighty gas dollar to save for the food dollar.

It usually breaks down to where I shop at one market for my produce and meat. Another for regular grocery items such as milk, eggs, yogurt, bread, hummus, nuts, protein bars, and various gluten-free options. Then I usually shop at Target for household goods (cleaning supplies, paper products, toiletry items, etc.), cereals and baby/kid stuff (diapers, wipes, bath stuff, etc).

Today I went to two stores. No Target trip today. That will probably be on next week’s agenda. I know. I can feel you guys getting jealous of my super exciting life over here. Simmer down now.

This is what my loot looked like:

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All bagged up

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The loot from one store

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Holy bounty of produce, Batman.

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My purchase from stop #2.

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More good stuff from Fresh & Easy

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The groceries took up almost the entire length of my counter!

As you can see from the pictures, I got all kinds of good stuff! Lots and lots of produce. I’m one happy girl because it’s that time of year again….stone fruit season! Cherries, peaches, plums and nectarines, oh my! And watermelon. Su-mmer, su-mmer, su-mmer fruit.

I OD’ed on produce today (so many good sales!), romaine, spinach, green and red cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, red/orange/yellow bell peppers, cucumbers, avocados, tomatoes,  mushrooms, onions, carrots, mango, kiwi, grapes, cherries, plums, nectarines, oranges, apples and bananas.

I also bought (not pictured) salmon, pork chops and 6 pounds of chicken. We go through a lot of chicken in this house.

From stop #2, there’s protein bars, snacks for my munchkins, oats, eggs, coffee and coffee creamer (my sanity provider), hummus, bread (for the kiddos), gluten-free waffles and cereal, almonds, golden raisins, beans, tuna, yogurt, some mommy juice boxes (aka bottles of wine) and other random cooking ingredients like chicken broth and some spices.

I also purchased a bunch of paper products. But I spared you from having to see my paper towels, face cleaner-uppers (aka napkins) and tp. You are welcome.

I spent a total of $210 today. I know some of you just fell out of your chair. But let me explain. I figured it costs about $600-$650 a month to feed my family of 4. But all 4 of us eat all 3 of our meals, as well as snacks from home. My husband packs his lunch and snacks everyday for work, and I cook breakfast and lunch for me and the kids, and put dinner on the table every day. We eat out, approximately 4 times a month (but it’s never from a drive-thru).  It’s usually pizza for the kids on a Friday night or Subway for lunch on Saturday (but now that Little League is over, that will probably end). Occasionally, the 4 of us will go out to dinner as a family, but quite frankly the husband and I put a kabosh on that some time ago. It’s just not enjoyable for us. The kids are a stage where sitting still and being quiet that long is too much for them, and now that we have 4 mouths to feed, it’s just too expensive. Especially when the young ‘uns insist on what they want for dinner, but once it arrives tableside, they change their minds. Grrrrr. And in case you haven’t figured it out by now, I really enjoy cooking.

And more importantly, I don’t buy junk. Cereal bars and fishy crackers are guilty pleasures in this house. There are no Doritos, Chee-tohs, Hostess snacks, Oreo’s, juice boxes, frozen entrees or soda.

I had a grocery shopping budget conversation with a friend of mine not that long ago. She was inquiring how much we spend in groceries, because her husband was complaining she was spending too much on their grocery bill for their family of 5. I spend $150 more a month than she does, and she has an extra mouth to feed. She was a bit perplexed at first on how that could be, until I pointed out that her husband eats out for lunch pretty much everyday and they make frequent trips through the drive-thru for dinner. If they eliminate those expenses, their grocery budget may go up a bit, but then they would have extra income from the unnecessary expense of eating out.

Tomorrow we’ll discuss meal planning. This will help you avoid the drive-thru, as well as prevent you from wasting money at the grocery store. Stay tuned my friends.

In the meantime, I leave you with this little gem:

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All tuckered out

Some one shopped til he dropped.

What do you spend a month on groceries? How often do you eat out? Do you shop at more than one grocery store?

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Responses

  1. I spend about $150 a week on groceries. I go to a few stores, trader joes for staples, sprouts for produce and pavillions for dog food and some non food items. We eat out probably once a week and my husband buys lunch at work.

    • We spend about the same a month on groceries. And we shop at the same stores. Healthy, frugal shoppers think alike! : )


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