The grocery is making me paranoid…

It’s true!  This may come as a shock, but the main objective for your grocery store is to get you to spend more money.  My main objective is to spend less money.  Obviously, the grocery is out to get me.  I decided to test out my food budget-ness before I really start out on the BIG BUDGET (that starts on Monday).  I grabbed Squirmy and my best friend and we headed over to Meijer.

If you don’t mind, I’m going to digress here.  I normally shop at Kroger because it’s close and Meijer because they have a great produce section.  I’m still going to frequent these stores, but I’m also adding Aldi and Sav-A-Lot to my list for canned goods, some produce, bread, et cetera.  I know a lot of people coupon clip and get awesome savings, but quite frankly, I don’t have that time since I go back to work in a few weeks, so I figure buying an off-brand at these stores equals about the same in terms of savings.  Brand names rarely mean that much to me (except with peanut butter and canned tuna — gotta have my Jiff and Starkist).

Intermission over.  So, we headed to Meijer.  My first stop was to check out the produce.  I got a bundle of spinach for $1.29.  Spinach is great because it’s so good for you and you can put it in anything.  You can make a salad with it like normal people, if you want.  However, I’m not normal.  I don’t actually like vegetables, but I know I need them, so spinach is my leaf of choice.  If you use fresh spinach, it doesn’t have much of a taste, so I chop it finely and put 1/2 cup or so in everything.  I mean, everything.  I throw 1/2 cup of chopped spinach in my chili, my lasagna, my mac-n-cheese, my Hamburger Helper (store brand, of course), even in my Spaghetti-Os.  It’s a great way to sneak in some veggies.

Next up was potatoes.  Potatoes aren’t the best veggie for you (are they even considered a vegetable?  I dunno…), but I love ’em and you can put them in just about anything.  There were, of course, a ton of different types of potatoes because it’s Meijer and that’s what they do, but I just wanted plain ol’ russet potatoes.  They had three displays for the russet potatoes.  You could get two 5-lb bags at 2 for $5, one 8-lb bag for $3.99, or one 10-lb bag for $3.00 — all the same brand.  Now, without pulling out your calculator, which one is the best deal?  The 10-lb bag for $3.00, of course.  Which one did I pick up?  The 2 for $5, of course.  Thankfully, my friend caught this money-grubbing trick and steered me in the right direction.  My point?  The store knew exactly what it was doing — it was trying to get me to spend more money!  That’s their job!  I’m sure you’ve heard why stores put the milk in the back?  So you have to find stuff you “need” as you walk back to get it.  I’m very thankful that my local Kroger has a small cooler up front with milk choices.   The moral of the story here is to pre-plan your trip so you don’t buy impulse items, shop with a calculator, and keep your eye out for “tricks.”

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