Saturday, January 28, 2017

Your Dekalb Farmers Market (YDFM) Haul - The Produce Prices Are Unbeatable - Vlog!

Damn, that post header sounds like a commercial....

Basically, I got really caught up in the wide world of major grocery stores. Costco! Aldi! Kroger! Whole Foods! (Side note: I had a terrible awful no good cashier experience at a local WF, and the team responded by offering me a $25 gift card, but I'm rarely at that store so I haven't picked it up yet. When I do, perhaps THAT will be a video....)

Yesterday my husband said he wanted to run to YDFM (which longtime blog readers know is actually our number one grocery store of choice - for a long time it was our ONLY store, with short trips to Kroger for fill-in items) and I hadn't been in a few weeks so I went along - and I fell in love all over again, which happens EVERY TIME I skip going for a few weeks and then return.

I made a haul video because I thought that since the store's policy of no video inside was so strict, I'd be one of the few who did so. I was wrong - there are various videos on YouTube if you dig around, including videos inside the store. I don't know how they got away with it, but they did. I didn't do that - my video is after we got home, showing what I bought.

In brief, when I shop at YDFM I buy almost NO processed items (not zero but not much). I buy largely organic items. The produce prices are, as I say in my commercial-sounding header, basically unbeatable. Organic apples are, at least right now (prices fluctuate with the market), about $1/pound less than what I have been paying at Costco (which I never should've even done but I swear the first time I bought Costco organic apples the price WAS less than YDFM that week) and also I can pick and choose my own fruit vs. buying a big plastic container. The dried mango (I show this in the video) is half the price of what I paid at Aldi and tastes better and fresher.

Stop here and watch the video - the rest of this post is just my random thoughts and you can totally skip that. (If you do watch the video, hop over to YouTube and give it a Like would ya? Or even SUBSCRIBE OOOOOOH.)

Rambling thoughts about my recent grocery travels vs. YDFM

The tempeh? With a coupon and sale, that's cheaper at Kroger, but it's one of those "we're here already, just grab it" foods.
YDFM doesn't sell certain food my family likes to eat that I have to get elsewhere.
YDFM also only has food and sometimes it's easier to go to Kroger/Costco/Target and get not only food but also household items.
Right now Aldi has an unbeatable price on almond milk, for example (even with coupon, sale combo). Aldi also is likely the winner in snack food (though YDFM has some higher end items). But YDFM seemed to beat Aldi on fancy stuffed olives (in the video I show plain kalamata olives - unbeatable price for those for sure).
Costco's giant-ass blocks of cheese beat everyone else - but they're nothing special and certainly aren't organic. Both YDFM and our local Kroger (which has an entire special fancy cheese section) can probably beat Costco if I want something least in a more reasonable size.

It takes time, energy, and gas to go to 5 different stores to save money. I could drive myself crazy trying to catch all the sales. I've started ignoring the Target sales. I've been also skipping some of the buy-X-things-save-$Y sales at Kroger even though they often include freebies or super-cheap things because I just don't have the brain space for that right now.

Also we don't go to Publix at all anymore and that used to be our main store - but there's a rumor I'm getting a Publix in WALKING DISTANCE of my house (right now I can walk to a tiny Kroger that has recently upped its game in the organic/healthy aisles). A Sprouts is opening in about 2 months that's around the corner, and soon after that we're getting a nearby Whole Foods 365 (supposedly a competitor to Trader Joe's). Oh speaking of TJs, as I'd hoped, most of these other stores have finally taken over my desire to go there. I simply cannot be good in TJs - but we do need a few specific things there soon (like the cereal bars my kid loves - no other store has an option that is both tasty and priced well).

This is all stream of consciousness rambling and if you made it this far, I congratulate you. I hope you liked my vlog and grocery haul!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Checking out Aldi for the first time - Vlog of my haul

WHY do I like to both watch and make haul videos of groceries?

Why do any of us do it?

I guess it's because I like to see what's available, what the prices are, what people are buying (I'm nosy!), and what I might buy on my own next trip.

Anyway, I finally went to Aldi with a friend of mine to see if it was as amazing in person as it seemed to be in haul videos and from what several friends had told me. Aldi seems to inspire a LOT of gushy love. Above, you can find my vlog about what I bought.

My overall impression? It's OK. My friend and I (the "we" I'll refer to in this post) did go to a smaller store this time, but we made plans to see if the brand new store (opening in a few weeks) has a better selection of organic/healthy type items. The store we were at was also....not the cleanest? For example, I found organic salad dressing in glass bottles that seemed to be a good price for a quality product - but several of the bottles had drips on them. I didn't buy it.

I also felt the same way about a lot of the items that I felt when I went a few years ago - still a lot of processed food (and I'm not AGAINST processed food but I do try to watch out for certain ingredients). Not a lot of vegetarian options (could be the store? for example, the take and bake pizzas were all very meaty....but maybe a different store catering to a different clientele would have veg versions?). No tofu. No whole wheat pasta. Basically for my family, Aldi could never be our main store. Costco comes closer to that when we combine it with YDFM and Kroger.

HOWEVER, what I bought was all really impressive to me, price-wise. That almond milk is SO cheap and if it's good, I'll gladly switch to it. The "premium ice cream" that's clearly a Ben & Jerry's copycat was half the price of B&J. The plastic bags beat Target's everyday price (I just hope they're good quality). And of course if you watch the video you'll hear just how happy I was about the Zulka. I didn't buy whole bean coffee because I'd just bought a bag at Costco, but the price was comparable and it was fair trade (and maybe even organic? I can't remember) so if I didn't want to buy two pounds at a time, I'd probably switch.

But the "organic" (faux-Annie's) mac and cheese that my kid lives on? Cheaper at Kroger and Costco. The baking soda - I think that's the same price at Kroger. I think the cheap mustard is the same price at Kroger too. I'm not sure if the pea crisps or the dried mango were particularly good prices - I kind of got overwhelmed in those sections and just...bought them. (The kid LOVED the pea crisps though. And she's picky.) Kroger and Trader Joe's both have $3 wine. (Sidenote: Aldi prosecco costs the same as Costco prosecco - $6.99 - and I couldn't tell the difference - my friend bought Aldi, I bought Kirkland, and we had a taste test.) And the plastic bags are probably the same price as Target when Target has a sale plus Cartwheel (which is often).

What I'm saying is that Aldi has potential for me. If I didn't have a Costco membership, it would definitely rank higher for me (and it is closer to where I live). If I didn't want to fuss with coupons and sales, it also would be more appealing - but I LOVE fussing with coupons and sales, and I can do really well at Kroger by doing so.

Stay tuned. In a few weeks we'll check out the new store and I'll let you know if that changed my mind at all.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Second Costco Haul of January 2017 (Vlog)

So....I made a really crappy haul video!

The story is that I made the first half with my phone in my typical dorky way and then put everything from that half away so it wouldn't melt/go bad.

Then I started making the second half phone ran out of room.
I deleted stuff and tried again.
Ran out of room.
Deleted...ran out.
Then I sent a bunch of stuff to Dropbox to clear off more room, and it was taking FOREVER so I pulled out my DSLR and made the second half.
That ALSO took....many tries.
Finally I got a full take that I thought was good enough to post and I did.

We spent $300, yikes.
But $100 of that was air filters, a bathing suit, Breathe Right strips, and *cough* Prosecco.

The rest was groceries both to eat now and to bring to lunch at my NEW JOB HOORAY! Nope. The best laid plans. No job for now. But hey, food.

Enjoy this blurry, shaky video as best you can!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

First Thrifting Haul of 2017!

I first tried to vlog this haul.

That did not go well. It was hard to see the clothes and I rambled way too much. I'm just going to do it the regular way, OK?

The details - I went to my favorite doggie-kitty store. I didn't get an itemized receipt but I paid about $17.50 for everything you see below. I only bought things for me and not the kid (I hesitated and considered a really nice Hanna piece but she has some Hanna outfits she got for the holidays that she hasn't even tried on yet so I left it). I was looking for "professional" type clothing to wear to a new job I'm about to start (yay!). And my favorite piece that I found is at the end...

Plain black Gap long-sleeved cotton shirt. Because I can never have too many of these.

Plain black button down shirt from Dress Barn. No gapping in the buttons! It fit well and I thought it would make me look work appropriate.

A surprise- this is Daisy Fuentes (is that Kohls?) and it's really really cute on. It's soft and comfy but not t-shirty. Yes that's a word.
Sarah Jessica Parker "Bitten" jacket! I grabbed this at the last minute and I really like how it fits. I think it will fancy up a plain t-shirt. I also sort of think it goes with the gray pants (below).

All work and no play make me a dull lady. Of COURSE I bought this Hello Kitty t-shirt.

Dress pants from the Gap. One thing I liked a lot about these is that they aren't as aggressively wide-legged as it seems a lot of dress pants are nowadays. I feel lost and elephanty if the legs are too wide.

Hard to take a picture of this, and Photoshop was no help in fixing it, but it's a black A-line skirt that reminds me of another one that I already own (but this one is longer and thus work appropriate, I think).

Last and FAVORITE find. A BODEN cardigan! The thrift store has a habit of marking up clothing they think is "fancy" or "valuable." Sometimes it's very silly, and they apparently don't know about Boden. It fits so nicely and it's so cute (though it needs a good wash - the sleeves are a bit limp right now). YAY!


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Costco Haul Video - January 2017 (First trip of the month)

The biggest dork in the universe....

Here are some additional details:

I forgot to mention that we also bought a six-pack of organic hearts of romaine lettuce. (It's hiding behind the kale.)
This trip was to fill in a few gaps in the fridge (and to return the cheese I talk about in the video).
My husband and kid are going to try to go later to YDFM to pick up a few more vegetables, some different cheese, some nice bread....
I think I can get fancier with these videos going forward but I was trying to make this one fast and just get it out there before I chickened out.
The total for everything was about $135, and we'll get 2% back because we are Executive Members.


Monday, January 2, 2017

Target 90% Off Holiday-Christmas Clearance Haul

When money is tight, I get out my shopping itch at after-holiday clearance sales at Target.

Sometimes I go a little overboard. Sometimes I want to buy ALL THE THINGS. Sometimes I get caught up in the OMGSALE. I've tried to be more careful this year. Here's what I got!

Why yes, I am Jewish, and yes, I bought a bunch of Christmas lights. My husband and I discussed ahead of time how we both kind of wanted some twinkle and sparkle in our lives. When we were first dating a thousand years ago, I used to have lights up in my living room. I said hey, if the clearance is 90% off and the lights are cheap, let's get some. ET VOILA! He wanted FOUR - yes four - boxes of red lights (49 cents each). I wanted more color, so I got a bunch of Wondershow lights (most were 80 cents) and one box of Phillips fancy lights (TWO WHOLE DOLLARS).

Then I got:
  • A little body wash/lotion set for $3 because I just wanted it. 
  • A bag of Ghirardelli peppermint squares for $1.34 (there wasn't a lot of candy left but I also was trying NOT TO BUY CRAP). 
  • A big box of not-specifically-Christmas cards for $1.50. 
  • A little massager thingie (shut up) for $2.99.
  • Three bottles of Method all purpose cleaner in pomegranate scent for 35 cents each WAAAAAAAT. They were hiding in with the regular stuff on the bottom shelf - I knew from two bloggers I follow to keep an eye out (and last year I scored similarly with another brand's holiday editions). I found four bottles and gave one to a fellow bargain hunter who walked by me once and asked if there were more left "No, have one!" "Aw, no thank you." and then walked by me a second time "Are you sure there are none left?" "PLEASE TAKE ONE!" "OK!" (I'm super jealous of people who found other stuff in this line and of hand soap and candles....)
  • A bag of decaf Starbucks Christmas Blend for $1.50 - 90% off despite all other food being 70%. I'm attempting to kick coffee for at least January, but decaf isn't the same! And it was whole bean!
  • Three rolls of washi tape for 20 cents each BECAUSE HI ADDICTION TO WASHI TAPE. They're cute designs too. I use it when I'm packaging my Etsy orders.
  • FIVE EOS lip balms for 89 cents (twitch twitch I so wanted to buy more but restricted myself to five - I like to give these away AND keep them) and four of the hand lotions for 59 cents (I got these last year too, they're awesome).
  • An Elf eyeshadow set for 60 cents because I love Elf.
  • An Elf brush set for $3 because I LOVE ELF. I had my eye on the 10-brush set for a while but it was long gone. I kind of wish I'd gotten two of these but that' hoarder side talking.
  • A little tin of Nivea lip balm for 89 cents and ONE Burt's Bees mint mocha lip balm for 98 cents and then I had to STOP with the makeup. (My store also had a ton of Elf nail polish sets and a lot of Nyx sets that I thought were kind of meh for the price.)
  • And these little paper loaf pans that you can bake in and then give away for 69 cents even though I bought these before and haven't used them yet I REALLY WILL THIS TIME I WILL.

I spent $31.43 plus tax on all this. BUT WAIT. BEST PART. I paid with gift cards that I bought when gift cards themselves were 10% off! So REALLY I only spent $28.28! AND IT WAS SUCH A RUSH AND NOW MY HOUSE WILL BE SPARKLY AS WILL I.

I wish I could go to the other two Targets in the area (one is in a fancy area and they tuck the clearance upstairs and out of the way and it's OFTEN very well stocked, the other is usually picked over but I like to look) but....I think I did just fine. Scratched that itch.

Happy 2017!

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