Does anyone read Consumer Reports? I loved geeking out with last month’s issue, which talked about all things grocery shopping.In addition to discussing which supermarkets were considered the freshest, friendliest, and cleanest, the magazine also had a bunch of articles on how to save money and eat healthy when grocery shopping (remember when I did my Harris Teeter vs. Whole Foods throw downs?!). Some interesting stuff on organic vs. conventional produce, too.
I was happy to see that Publix, my favorite grocery store, was ranked #2 overall! We don’t have Wegmans here but I’ve always wanted to try it.The whole issue got me thinking about how I grocery shop — specifically, what I’m willing to spluge on vs. what I’d rather save on. Here’s my list — tell me yours in the comment section!
What I SAVE on …
1. Bread. We haven’t bought bread in nine months! Seriously. Ever since I got a bread maker, I make our own. Occasionally I’ll by hamburger or hot dog buns, but other than that I steer clear of the bread aisle completely.2. Yogurt. I rarely buy the small-sized or flavored yogurts. I’d rather just buy a massive tub of plain yogurt and customize it myself! My favorite is Fage 2% Greek (typically the most expensive of the bunch), but sometimes I’ll save money buy buying two cheaper brands (one full fat, one fat free) and mixing them together. I’ll stir in honey, jam, or fruit to sweeten it up. Bonus: Plain yogurt is also a good substitute for sour cream in a lot of baked good recipes and Mexican dishes.3. Carrots. Does anyone else think that adult-sized carrots taste better than baby carrots? I know they’re annoying to wash, peel, and cut — but I think that big carrots taste better and are way cheaper than baby carrots.4. Rice and grains. Similar to the yogurt situation — I never buy the pre-flavored, smaller boxes of rice and grains. I’d rather save a ton of money and get a fresher flavor buy buying plain rice (or polenta, quinoa, cous cous, etc.) and adding my own seasonings and herbs. I have an entire pantry shelf dedicated to grains and noodles! All labeled and organized because I’m actually crazy. 5. Salad dressing. I almost always make my own — again, cheaper and healthier! Store-bought dressings are usually loaded with lower-quality oils, salt, and sugar. I make our own dressing 90% of the time, though occasionally I’ll buy a bottle of Boathouse Farms’s ranch or Annie’s Green Goddess dressings — two dressings I haven’t been able to replicate at home just yet 😉
What I splurge on…
Well, let’s just start by saying there are a lot of things I splurge on. Ha! Here are some of my favorite grocery store splurges of late:
1. Produce: Avocados, blueberries, and bibb lettuce. I try to stay under control in the produce aisle, but I always seem to splurge on these three expensive items. Since we make a lot of sandwiches, salads, and Mexican food, I tend to buy 2-4 avocados a week! As for blueberries and bibb lettuce — they just take breakfast and lunch to the next level.2. Fancy crackers. We don’t usually buy chips or packaged snacks, but I will splurge on a box of nice crackers. Lately I’ve been loving these Dr. Kracker crispbreads, which are of course are one of the pricier brands. They pair perfectly with a block of (also expensive) cheese and a cocktail… 3. Ice cream. After strolling over to Jeni’s ice cream way too much, Anthony and I started investing in delicious ice cream to keep at home. Since we’re not going out to buy ice cream, I’m going to call this “spluge” a “save” in the long run ;). Even if we have five containers of it at once, right? Bonus: The empty containers make great tupperwares.4. Irish butter. It’s simple. I love butter. Though I use store-brand sticks for cooking and baking, when it comes to toast I’m all about the creaminess of Irish butter. Kerrygold is one of the most expensive brands, but I think it’s worth it.5. Fresh herbs. Hopefully this will change once our little home garden starts to sprout, but I spend way too much money on fresh herbs at the store. Especially cilantro and basil! I’ll occasionally sub in dried herbs in recipes but usually pay the extra $1-$3 for fresh herbs. Tip: I just read this article on how to preserve fresh herbs longer.
The photo below makes me want to whip up another batch of tomato soup! I should also add La Croix as a splurge, but I’m already at list item #5 😉And there you have it: my cheapest and most expensive grocery store confessions. Now tell me yours in the comments section so that I don’t feel alone.