Good morning! If it’s not morning when you’re reading this, then good afternoon or evening as well. I’m writing this post on Saturday morning from my back porch with a nice, hot cup of coffee. Pull up a chair and join me. Let’s talk grocery shopping!!!!!!! Notice the punctuation? I’m trying to get you excited about grocery shopping.
I know, I know…grocery shopping tends to be a very tedious, mundane, and sometimes even dreadful task. I admit I don’t even enjoy grocery shopping. I never have. I have four children I call my blessings. When they were small, I would leave them at home with my husband while I shopped for groceries. It was one of the rare moments I had to go somewhere and do something all by myself. I didn’t even get excited about it then. Food is such an essential part of our lives, a necessity. God created it for our survival and for our enjoyment. We really should take it more seriously, and find a way to make it more fulfilling.
Anytime I get together with a friend or a group of ladies, the topics of food, recipes, and grocery shopping eventually come up. We end up asking each other if we got the latest deal on beef or milk, or sharing our newest culinary masterpiece (or flop if you have a picky family like me).
It’s interesting to hear so many opinions on food, shopping, and saving money. Every family has different needs, different circumstances, and different budgets. What works for some doesn’t work for all. I’m asked quite often what I buy, where I shop, and what I eat. So, I’m going to try to answer a few of those questions in this post. To keep it as brief and organized as possible, here is my post from last week introducing this topic: Where Do I Shop for Whole Foods?. I’m also going to write in a series of posts. to have all four food groups and then some in one post is way too much information to process at one time. So I’m going to start the series with whole foods – tips on shopping for dairy & saving money.
Listing the the food items I purchase on a regular basis, where I purchase them, and about how much they cost will hopefully help you on your journey to clean eating. Keep in mind that I don’t purchase all organic foods, and that I do make compromises at times in regards to clean foods versus budget constraints. However, I’d say about 85-90% of what I purchase is clean, whole food.
- Milk – Friendly Farms Whole Milk – Aldi $2.79/gallon – This is not organic milk, but it is free of growth hormones.
- Milk – Organic Valley, Grassfed cows, $3.79/half gallon, Wal-Mart.
- Almond Milk – Unsweetened Original –
- Silk – Wal-Mart – $2.98 – This is my top pick. I buy this whenever it is on sale and/or I have coupons making it cheapest price (prices vary usually under $2 with sale and coupon) because they use non-GMO almonds and carrageenan free.
- Trader Joe’s Brand $2.99 – This is my next pick if I don’t want to venture into Wal-Mart. It’s cheaper than Silk when there are no coupons or sales. It is also carrageenan free.
- Friendly Farms – Aldi – $2.49 – I buy this when our budget is squeezed tight. Unfortunately, it does contain carrageenan.
- Coconut Milk – So Delicious $3 half gallon.
- Butter – I buy 100% stick butter, not margarine and not spreadable butter because it is simply cream.
- Kerry Gold, Grassfed – $2.69 1/2 lb, Aldi.
- Trader Joe’s Brand – $2.99 – This is usually my top pick. It is hormone free.
- Challenge Butter – Bi-Lo – This past week Bi-Lo had challenge butter on sale for $3.00 which makes it cheaper than WM. However, in every box of butter there is a $0.55 coupon and our Bi-Lo doubles up to $0.60. So I took all 5 of my coupons and purchased 5 packs of challenge butter for $1.90 each which is cheaper than a box of regular butter that is not hormone free!!
- Challenge Butter – Wal-Mart – $3.55 (I believe) – This is my next choice when I don’t have 40 minutes and/or gas to drive to Trader Joe’s. I would spend the savings in gas money.
- If my budget is tight and I have to compromise, I usually purchase butter from Aldi for $2.59, but as I mentioned it is not hormone free. So why quibble over a few pennies per box of butter? I’ll save a lot more in the long run by not causing health problems from the hormones.
- Cheddar Cheese – I prefer to buy grassfed Aldi or Kerry Gold brick cheese. I do only buy Block cheese that is 100% cheese no matter what brand or whether it is grassfed. I shred or grate it myself by hand or in a food processer. It ends up being cheaper because you get more than you do in a bag of pre-shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese has fillers like starches to keep it from sticking together. You pay for cheese by weight, so when you get 8 oz of shredded cheese, you aren’t getting 8 oz. You are paying for the weight of the starch as well. It doesn’t take long to shred your own cheese. In fact, if you have a food processor, you can simply use the grate blade and you can grate several blocks of cheese in minutes. It also tastes 100% better. Buy the way, process cheese food slices in the wrapper is NOT REAL CHEESE. It is a cheese-like substance full of chemicals and not fit for consumption.
- Trader Joe’s – This cheese is hormone free and it is only $3.98/lb-$4.49/lb. They come in blocks around 8 oz, sometimes a little more.
- Aldi – $1.99/8 oz block. This is not hormone free, but when I am cannot travel to Trader Joe’s I buy cheese at Aldi.
- Kerry Gold grassfed is usually around $2.70 and Aldi grassfed is usually about $0.20 cheaper.
- Monterrey Jack Cheese – The information I have for this tasty cheese is the same as that of cheddar mentioned above.
- Cheeses like mozzarella, parmesan, etc. – I buy these at Aldi and they vary, but that is the cheapest place I know to find blocks of cheese. These specialty cheeses are more at Trader Joe’s.
- Nonfat Greek Yogurt – Plain – $3.98 – Aldi – Friendly Farms. I buy this for swirls with yogurt
- Nonfat Greek Yogurt – Flavored single serve – Dannon Oikos Triple Zero – $1.00 – Wal-Mart or grocery store on sale. LOVE this yogurt. It has no sugar and contains all natural stevia instead.
- Organic Valley grassfed is the best yogurt to purchase, but I have been eliminating dairy to see if it is contributing to my leaky gut so I don’t have a current price for it. It can be purchased at some Wal-Mart stores but usually stores like Publix and health food stores.
- Cottage Cheese – Daisy – Wal-Mart – I buy Daisy Cottage Cheese because this is the list of ingredients: Cultured skim milk, cream, salt.
- Organic Valley grassfed is best.
- Daisy – Wal-Mart – The ingredients list speaks for itself: Grade A cultured cream.
- Friendly Farms – also only has cream and enzymes.
- Heavy Cream – I have a hard time with this one. I use heavy cream for my coffee, but I haven’t found one without carrageenan. If you know of one, please let me know.
- Half and Half – Trader Joe’s Organic – Sorry I’m not sure about the price, because I don’t buy this regularly.
- Eggs – I have saved eggs for last because this is an extremely complicated issue. Ideally, you want to buy pasture raised eggs. This means that the chickens are openly free to roam, they eat an organic diet of worms, insects, and organic feed hopefully no soy or wheat, and they are not given hormones or antibiotics. However, we go through several dozens of eggs per week. So, I cannot always afford pasture raised eggs, nor do I have a conveniently located store that sells them. In a bind, I buy free range or pasture raised. These run anywhere from about $5-10 per dozen. I buy what I can afford and find at the time. However I try to plan ahead so I can purchase mine from our local farm for $5/dozen.
Please remember that pasture raised with no supplemental soy is always best when it comes to eggs and dairy. Limiting dairy is also a good idea and is an excellent way to cut down on the cost. My children weren’t big meat or legume eaters when they were little so I felt like I needed to give them dairy for protein. Grassfed dairy is expensive, so I’ve just encouraged them to embrace meat and limit dairy for health and financial reasons. Now we may have dinners with cheese a couple times a week rather than almost every day when they were little. Of course when they were little, I wasn’t aware of grassfed dairy so it was cheaper for me to purchase dairy then. I just pray they don’t have any bad health problems from it and that we can reverse it through choosing grassfed instead.
I hope you jotted down these tips on shopping for dairy & saving money; and I hope that this helps you on your clean eating journey. What quick tips do you have to share?
For more information on whole foods and clean eating, you may be interested in reading the following posts:
Whole Foods. It’s Overwhelming! Where do I Start?
How Do I Shop for Whole Foods?
Where Do I Shop for Whole Foods?
Whole Foods Tips for Shopping for Meat & Saving Money
Whole Foods Tips for Shopping for Breads & Grains and Saving Money