Thursday, March 26, 2009

Generic Brand it When You Can Stand It

I feel like I've accomplished a great feat. Like winning a gold medal. Or climbing a mountain. Or performing a successful brain surgery and removing a cancerous tumor from a sweet young
doctor. (You know you watched it!).

I went to the grocery store today. AND I ROCKED IT.

As we all know, the economy is not doing very well. And if you didn't know that, then welcome back to Earth. You have alot to catch up on. Izzie on Grey's Anatomy has brain cancer, Michael Scott QUIT Dunder Mifflin (and Pam followed him. What in Sam Hill is going on?!?) the Justin Timberlake lookin' kid on American Idol was somehow in the bottom three and Melissa from the Bachelor is rocking my world on Dancing with the Stars. You are now up to speed.

Back to the grocery store business. We're always trying to save money here and there, and sometimes things can get a bit out of control when you grocery shop. And today I conquered it in a way I have never conquered before.

The first tip I can give you for saving money at the grocery store is to not bring your husband with you under any circumstances. Our receipt is atleast $25-$30 higher when he joins me. Apparently fruit roll-ups, Little Debbie snacks and an enormous unnecessary packet of rib-eyes "that we can freeze and use later!" is high on the priority list. No bringing of the men.

Today on my lunch break I sat at my desk and created a list. I used my recipe website to pick 5 or 6 meals that I wanted to make within the next week. I listed out each item it required and tried as best as I could to remember what we already had at home so I wouldn't double up. After I had all the ingredients listed, I added other household items and necessities that aren't required for a meal. Sidenote: does anyone else love the Viva brand papertowels as much as I do? My goodness. It is the best papertowel EVER. After I completed my list, I re-wrote it in order of our grocery store, aisle by aisle. That way I could be quick and efficient in my shopping.

Now comes the part that took me the longest to adjust to: generic brands. It really does save so much. Now, there is some stuff I still won't budge on. Like the Viva paper towels. And I will buy Peter Pan peanut butter until the day that I die. However, Grant asked me to buy some Chips Ahoy and I bought him something called "Chip Mates" instead and he hasn't noticed so far. Ahoy Matey. (Did anyone else ever realize that sailors really enjoy their chocolate chip cookies? I had no idea.)

Also, I have found that digging and digging for the cheapest meat makes such a difference. It takes awhile (and I am all about getting out of the store as soon as possible) but today I picked up some chicken breasts and after some digging found some that were just as good and lasted just as long, same brand and everything and they were over $3.00 cheaper.

All in all, from the time I walked into the store till the time I finally walked up to the checker, it took me all of 45 minutes. But, I was so proud of myself because I purchased enough groceries to make SIX meals (all six meals include meat of some kind which is the priciest part), as well as cleaning supplies and some spring flowers from the florist department which were on a manager's special for $4.00 and I purchased it all for a grand total of $72.63!! I didn't even use any coupons.

Now I realize that some of you may think this is not all that cheap but that is a cheap grocery bill for us, especially with that many meals included! :) I am so proud. Grant is pleased too.

In summary: plan ahead. Generic brand it when you can stand it. (I love that phrase and I just made it up and it is going to be my shopping motto for the rest of my life) Don't bring your husbands, and DIG girls!

This has been shopping tips from Jen the Newlywed.

You're welcome.


  1. Honey I think you did GREAT!!!! Some things can be generic and then just some things can't be. I do generic when I can. I'm feeing an army these days.

    And..saw your comment on the blog. You are going to be a SUPER MOM one day. I personally can't wait for you to experience the love and joy. You have plenty of time though.

    Happy weekend my friend!

  2. I love this post because I get just as excited when I work the grocery store well! :)

    I do the same thing with my grocery list...I list everything in sections/location. I never go to the grocery store without a list

    Another tip: I buy frozen chicken breasts in big bags. It's about 9 breasts for $10! The only trick is that you have to remember to defrost the chicken for dinner.

    I almost always buy generic/store brand when its simple ingredients, for example...shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, sour cream meat, etc. But I usually don't buy any processed store brand items like velvetta--the HEB brand is strange! BUT, I actually buy Hunt's diced tomatoes at Sam's in 8's only 5.88! That's cheaper than buying 8 store brand diced tomatoes!

    Okay...I'm going to stop writing an entire post on your comments section!
    You just got me excited...I'm such a dork ;)

  3. geez it deleted my first try!!!**

    Praise the name of the Lord for VIVA paper towels!! I mean the economy may be bad, but VIVA its worth it!!!!!!! I buy the economy glad we both use VIVA!!

    Girl you did rock it at the grocery store!!! Amen to generic brands :) Enjoy those chip mates Grantley!!! YUMMY ;)

    I love to go to and get recipes!!! Love me some whole foods!!! Try it Jen!!!

    Love you sugar!!!!

    P.S. My heart was sad...that our sweet Jasper Texas had to leave...i adored him! John said i say "he is too precious" way TOO much!! HA!!!

  4. Good word, friend! I could not agree with you more on the "no bringing the hubby" rule. Not only is more money spent but by far more time is taken. I mean really, the man won't go to HEB alone, but when we go together I can't get him outta there. He, being the ultimate cook, wants to look at EVERY "interesting" item on the shelves and pick it up to read the back...

    And, recently, since I have spare time on my hands, I have decided to see what the big deal is with coupons. They are worth it. Really, they have saved us money recently...where they get you with coupons is, no one has the time/or is willing to make the time for them (understandably).

    I agree-Peanut Butter cannot be generic--I'm a Jiff girl all the way!

    Love you!

  5. Just found your blog and am so with you about things I won't budge on for the generic! Great post and way to go on the shopping!

  6. Job well done!!! Try to pull up Rachel Ray's show last Friday - only saw a portion but the guest was claiming to live on a "dollar" a day and was actually eating pretty darn well. Keep up the good work. love you

  7. Love it! I can't believe you made that many meals and had cleaning products for that cheap!! That is IMPRESSIVE!

    I think it is funny that Grant can't go to the store with you. I am the one who has been banned from the grocery store. Chris has me make a list and he gets everything on it and not one other thing. I ALWAYS come home with unnecessary items! Ha!

  8. Fantastic job! I am like Fran and am feeding an army so I have been doing the She watches the sale trends and then matches a coupon to it so you are getting a rock bottom deal. It has saved us mucho! When you start feeding an army, you should try it.
    Miss you my friend!

  9. You make me laugh. I love you!


  10. OMG, it's the SAME way when Taylor comes with me!!!

    My magic grocery number is usually around 120. It's easily over 200 when he accompanies me. We end up buying junk food and a million cans of soup so that he can have alot of soup to eat (he gets tired of soup after about 2 cans). LOL.