Real Food I Consistently Buy at Walmart

I’m writing a small series of posts to share what groceries I purchase from each of my favorite stores – either online, co-op, or from brick and mortar grocery stores. I recently shared about the groceries I buy from Aldi and groceries I order from Amazon. Today I’ll tell you about the real food groceries I often buy at Walmart!

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I know many people strongly dislike shopping at Walmart. But for me, it is one of two options in my small town. I have the choice of shopping at our one local grocery store (which is quite a bit more expensive and does not always have great quality produce) or Walmart. The produce selection at our Walmart is usually pretty good, plus I can price-match great deals from stores an hour away like Aldi and Fresh Thyme Market.

So Walmart it is, almost every week. Typically I’ve found the quality of their produce to be very good! And they even carry several organic options.

Real Food Groceries I Buy at Walmart

What do I buy at Wal-Mart?

A cart full, you can bet on it. :)

groceries june 17

~ Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

I look at Pricematcherz.com each week and take advantage of all the deals from stores in Lincoln. I get amazing deals on fresh produce this way, and I am so thankful for this!

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~ Frozen Veggies as Needed

Typically I buy frozen veggies from Azure Standard. But since that order only comes once each month, I buy (non-organic) from Walmart in the meantime to fill in gaps.

~ Chicken

Our Wal-mart carries a “natural” brand of chicken at a very reasonable price. I often find it marked down and buy every bit of it when it’s available at the discount. But even if it isn’t discounted, the price is still good. I can get whole chickens as well as boneless thighs and breasts. Boneless thighs are my absolute favorite!

groceries august17

~ Cream and Half-and-Half

No it’s not organic. Yes we go through a lot of it.

~ Colby Jack Cheese

Our Walmart has Joseph Farms brand that is a great price and made from cows that are not given hormones. I usually buy 2-3 of these four-pound hunks of cheese each month. We shred it all in our food processor and keep it in these bowls with lids to pull out and use as needed.

~ Day-Old Bread on the Mark-Down Cart

I always check this cart to see if their French or Italian bread is available for $0.53. If so, I grab a few loaves so my boys can make Pizza Boats for a quick lunch or so we’ll have it on hand to serve guests. No it’s not very nutritious. But it makes a nice side for an otherwise nutritious meal, and our guests enjoy it slathered in butter!

~ Hormel Naturals Lunch Meat

If we need sandwiches to take on the road for soccer or basketball games, I grab a couple family packs of these.

~ Nitrite Free Hot Dogs

They recently came out with a Walmart brand of hotdogs that I would consider “better for you” and their price is better too. I like to have these on hand for Beanie Weanies once in a while. :)

~ Organic Mixed Greens and Fresh Spinach

The prices on these are great, and actually cheaper than the conventional options! I love how simple these make my life!

groceries feb 173

 

Are you a Walmart shopper? Does your Walmart still offer Price Matching? What do you frequently buy at Walmart?

The Day I Got Mad at Groceries and Food in General

A few weeks ago I talked about how our family is having to tighten our budgeting belt right now as we build up our savings again after needing to replace our van right after investing in a new business venture for Matt (radon mitigation).

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Naturally, I challenged myself to see how I could cut back on our enormous grocery budget, even though a few weeks before that I’d shared that there was no way I could cut back because…

We eat a lot of food.

I felt all kinds of blah about this, because cutting back didn’t seem possible and also I am trying very hard during this season in life not to…

Go crazy.

This time of life filled with a houseful of teenagers with all their friends and comings and goings and activities and growing experiences is very much like (except very different from) my years of raising a houseful of babies. Those were lean and busy years too, also a time in which I was trying to avoid going crazy (while the Blue’s Clues theme song played on repeat in my subconscious). All of life cost less then, seeing as we didn’t have a slew of teenage boys included on our car insurance policy and their shoes and appetites were much smaller.

But the busyness. And the needs. They were/are so great! (“Great” shall be used twofold in this context as the needs are great and the needs are also great. How great that they need me! How great are their needs! This is all so great.)

Through the busy seasons…

These are the years we might need to compromise a little on making all food from scratch and settle for the occasional pre-made tortillas and take-and-bake pizzas. I felt it in the baby-raising-years, had a bit of a reprieve as my kids got old enough to buckle and wipe themselves, but am back to feeling the pinch of time, money, and energy as I am in a season of “hold on for dear life” with my teenage and adult kids.

Add to that the fact that one by one my boys insist on graduating high school and moving out of my nest and I feel the need to use every minute with them for a greater purpose. As I watch these years with kids at home vanish before my eyes, I refuse to use any of this precious time with my back turned to them while I spend time on a task like making Mozzarella Cheese.

All this was going through my head one day recently as I made a grocery list.

“Save as much money as possible!” thought I.
“Nourish us well; this is so very important!” came my next thought.
“Take time to enjoy the family; save your energy; save yourself; buy the pizza!” – and with that I got angry.

Is it even possible to do all of this at the same time? To save money, to eat good food, and to not spend hours in the kitchen while making it all happen?

The Day I Got Mad at Groceries

Yes, I know about the thing called “balance.” I’ve written about it, danced with it, poked and prodded at it, and as of today, I came to the conclusion that while balance is a great word and a great goal for which to strive, today I’m going to have to settle for…

Fine. Good enough. Okay, I guess.

The key word here is “today.” I believe in the long run everything actually will balance out because I truly am intentional about saving money, filling us with nourishment, and not spending all my time in the kitchen. Balance wins out in the long run. But that will no longer be my focus. Right now my focus has to be…

Today.

I can’t look beyond today. Today I might feed us all salads and veggies and grass fed meat and beautiful bowls of fresh berries. I might even do it while saving a bundle of money through price-matching and gardening and being resourceful and cooking from scratch. If that is what today looks like, then yay for today!! But tomorrow? Tomorrow…

I might buy pizza.

And sure, I’ll serve it with a salad and slices of pineapple, but I won’t have saved money and I will have filled us with some empty carbs.

This has to be okay, because okay is the best I can do.

The best I can do is actually something to be celebrated. The best I can do truly is the best. Whether it’s a frugal meal that only cost $1.00/plate or a super nourishing meal filled with fresh greens and veggies, or a corndog on a stick that came out of a box.

The best I can do is what offers my family the best of me.

And with that, I’m no longer angry with food and will head to the grocery store.

To be continued…

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How My Grocery Cart Looked After a Week of Travel (And is Price-Matching Going Away?)

Our family just rolled into town (at 1:30 this morning!) after a long but quick trip to Arkansas for a family reunion. We get together once every two years – and this year we celebrated our Nana’s 90th birthday! Look at this beautiful lady:

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There were aunts and uncles and cousins (and even a doggie), food, and games all weekend. We all had lots of catching up to do!

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We made it home just in time to do several loads of laundry, then send the teenage boys off to their first church camp of the summer. This leads me to my grocery shopping dilemma:

  1. We were all starving for fresh fruits and veggies after a road trip.
  2. Most of the boys will be gone all week.

I do not even know how to grocery shop for three people.

I am so used to buying half the store for my family every week that when I only have to buy for a few, I feel lost. I settled on “only” 8 pounds of strawberries, 4 pints of blueberries, 4 containers of raspberries, and only 1 watermelon and 1 pineapple. I got a bunch of mixed greens, carrots, peppers, nectarines, and peaches. I’m quite sure I bought more than 3 of us can eat. But after a week of travel food, we’ve been feasting on berries and greens all day – so maybe we’ll finish it off without a problem.

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We’re also joining with friends to take a meal to our local mission tonight, so some of this fruit is going there. :)

Have you heard anything about Wal-mart taking away Price-Matching in your area?

I’ve caught wind of a new policy rolling out for Walmart in which they will no longer offer a price-match guarantee. Boo-hoo. Some stores are already affected by this, though thankfully, my store still price-matches – at least for now.

I can’t find any official information on which stores are taking away their price-matching perk. What have you learned about this?

I’ve become quite spoiled by price-matching, so to think we might not get to anymore is quite a bummer! We’ll see how it plays out, and if I hear any more, I’ll keep you posted!

With that, I’m off to enjoy some more berries and glasses of water to counteract the french fries I ate on the road last night. :)

Menu Plan For the Week and My Husband…the Price Matcher

I’ve been laying low this week while I recover from being sick.  Therefore, making a trip to the store would have been a bad idea for me.  But dude – avocados can be price-matched for 29¢ this week!!!!!  We couldn’t pass this up.  Plus, we needed other groceries.  Thus, I prepared a careful list and sent my willing husband to the store (armed with a teenage son for back-up).  They shopped, they price-matched, they scored good deals.

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They also bought pizza.

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Four of them to be exact.  Fine by me.  Matt added veggies to some of them before putting them in the oven and we all enjoyed the treat (and the night off from cooking).

He ended up heading back to the store over the weekend because we needed food for High School Huddle this Sunday, plus there were no avocados the first time he went.  Missing the 29¢ avocados just seemed too sad.  Second time around, he brought home a bag full – plus more strawberries, more clementines, and some blueberries.  The groceries were all put away before I could get in and take a picture, so I thought I’d share this one instead:

malachi's straw
This was Malachi drinking his Homemade Chocolate Milk earlier this week.  Or…attempting to drink his chocolate milk.  It was a fun lunch-time experiment he chose to do.  To answer the inevitable:  Yes he is wearing a suit coat, shirt, and tie.  Yes it was mid-week.  Yes it was lunchtime.  Yes we were home having a regular school day.  No I don’t make him dress up for school.  He dresses like this most days because he loves it.  Come to think of it, I believe this was St. Patty’s Day – as it looks as though he is wearing his green shirt/tie combo.  The cuteness is a killer, am I right?  Remember when he always dressed as a cowboy?  Oh, my baby.

You should try making this chocolate milk, but feel free to come as you are.  Black tie attire not required for the drinking of this milk.  Nor is it a necessity to drink through six straws at once.  The rest of us boring folks drink our chocolate milk without a straw while wearing blue jeans.

Meals for this week look a little something like this:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Fruit and Veggie Side Options (I serve 1-4 with each meal)

Here’s to a great week with great food!

Menu Plan for the Week and a LOT of Groceries

Goodness.  Remind me not to grocery shop at the store until after I pick up my Bountiful Baskets order.  Come to think of it – never mind.  We’ll eat all of this, and maybe I won’t have to buy as much next week.  Maybe.  It is a good thing we have a second refrigerator because we have a lot of food in our house right now.  Here’s how this week’s grocery shopping went for me:

On Tuesday night, we picked up our Azure Standard co-op order.  I got 5 pounds of carrots, 6 pounds of yams, 5 pounds of peanuts, 25 pounds of red beans, 6 pounds of chicken thighs (not pictured), and 50 pounds of yellow potatoes (not pictured).

groceries feb25

I use roasted, unsalted peanuts (like the ones pictured above) to make delicious homemade peanut butter.  If your family wants to avoid hydrogenated oils, but you don’t like the taste of plain, natural peanut butter – try this recipe.  It’s incredible!

On Friday, I filled my cart at the store – mostly with price-matching items.  I scored some great deals!  I got apples, pears, sweet peppers, grape tomatoes, bananas, grapes (two varieties), spinach, mixed greens, baby carrots, cucumbers, and a cantaloupe.

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Then on Saturday, I picked up my Bountiful Baskets order.  Mmmmm!  Asparagus, celery, apples, oranges, bananas, lettuce, pineapple, carrots, broccoli, sweet peppers, cucumbers, and avocados came in the surprise basket this time.  Plus, I had ordered 28 pounds of green beans.  It was perfect timing for these to be offered since we are almost out of our garden-grown green beans from last summer.

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I had also ordered heirloom tomatoes and strawberries.  It feels like a little taste of summer with these goodies!

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I’d say our family is pretty well set for at least one week – if not two.  I am so thankful we have such great sources for such great food!

We are feeding a big group of high school kids from our youth group here on Sunday night, and I plan to put out a big plate of veggies and a big plate of fruit along with sliced ham, french bread, and Angeled Eggs.  Maybe I’ll need to grocery shop next week after all.  :)

Here’s what’s on our menu this week:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Fruit and Veggie Side Dishes (I serve 1-4 with every meal)

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Clementines
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Applesauce
  • Tomatoes
  • Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Mixed Greens
  • Spinach
  • Green Beans
  • Peas
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Pineapple
  • Cantaloupe
  • Avocados
  • Grapes

We’ll be heading out of state for our end-of-season Homeschool Basketball Tournament on Thursday night.  I’ll be saving many of the “packable” fruits and veggies to take along with us to munch on all weekend.

Because I’m sure you’re dying to know:  The toilet is still sitting right outside my kitchen – but looooook!  There is tile on our new bathroom wall and floor…

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It looks so very pretty!  My husband is a work horse right now.  I am thanking him by loading his plate with heirloom tomatoes and fresh green beans.  I do what I can.  ;)

What is Price Matching and How Does it Work?

What is Price-Matching and How Does it Work

I’ve recently learned the art of “price matching.”  Where has this been all my life?  (Right under my nose.  I just never looked into it before.)  This new practice has been saving me $10-$40 per week.  That’s $40-$160 per month.  That’s big savings for my family of big eaters!

What is Price Matching?

Wal-Mart offers an Ad-Matching Guarantee.  This means that if another store within 50 miles is offering a specific food at a lower price (shown in their weekly ad), Wal-mart will honor that price.  Read all the detailed information about their policy here.

It is important that you pay attention to the details of the grocery store ads.  Price matching is only valid on items “pound for pound,” “ounce for ounce,” etc.  I try to be very diligent about making sure I don’t accidentally pick up the wrong size item.

How Does Price Matching Work?

Sound complicated?  It really isn’t.  It took me exactly one shopping trip to work out all the kinks and learn how easy this practice is.

Before going shopping each week, I spend a few minutes looking at all relevant grocery store ads online.  We have very few stores in my town, so I am thankful I can price match with the stores in our nearby cities which have 6-7 stores to price match with.  I find the lowest prices from each store (mainly focusing on the produce), and make my list.

This week, my list looked something like this:

Aldi

~ Strawberries, 16 ounces, $1.29
~ Onions, 3 pound bag, 99¢
~ Red Potatoes, 5 pound bag, 99¢

Alert

~ Carrots, 2 pound bag, $1.19

Super Saver

~ Grape Tomatoes, 1 pint, 96¢
~ Blueberries, 18 ounces, $3.48 (our Walmart didn’t have this size, so I scratched that off my list)
~ Gala or Yellow Delicious Apples, 3 pound bags, $2.50 each

Wal-mart employees have been trained to quickly adjust the price of the items you are price matching.  You simply tell them the price you found that was cheaper, and they ring it up at that price.  Easy!  I try to separate my price-match items from my other items to make it easier on the cashier.

Here is a sample conversation between the cashier and me…

Cashier:  You have such beautiful hair.
Just kidding.  For some reason, the cashier never says that.  Here’s the real conversation:
Me: These are my price-match items.

Cashier:  Great, we’ll start with the pears.  How much?
Me:  99¢ per pound.
{Cashier rings up my pears at 99¢ per pound}  

Cashier:  Okay, now how about these onions?
Me:  99¢ for each bag

And so it goes until we work our way through all of my price match items.  :)

How Much Can You Save?

Here’s an example of everything I bought and how much I saved through price-matching last week.

price matching

  • 2 bags of Yellow Onions priced at $2.98 for a 3 pound bag – I got for 99¢ each (saved 3.98)
  • 3 bags of Red Potatoes priced at $3.47 for a 5 pound bag – I got for 99¢ each (saved 7.44)
  • 1 pound containers of Strawberries priced at $1.99 – I got for $1.29 each (saved 5.60)
  • D’Anjou Pears priced at $1.67/pound – I got for 99¢/pound (saved 3.69)
  • 2 bags of Halo Clementines priced at $4.97 for a 3 pound bag – I got for $3.99 each (saved 1.96)
  • 2 bags of Carrots priced at $1.48 for a 2 pound bag – I got for $1.19 each (saved .58)
  • 2 bags of Gala Apples priced at $3.47 for a 3 pound bag – I got for $2.50 each (saved 1.94)
  • 2 bags of Golden Delicious Apples priced at $3.47 for a 3 pound bag – I got for $2.50 each (saved 1.94)
  • 2 pints of Grape Tomatoes priced at $2.98 per pint – I got for 96¢ each  (saved 4.04)

Price matching saved me $31.17 this week.  It took me about 10 minutes to sit at the computer and find the prices I wanted to match and make a list.  Saving over thirty bucks in 10 minutes to feed my family real food?  Yes, I think that’s very worth my time!

Watch that you don’t fall into the trap of snatching up good deals on processed foods.  Those are out there too, so of course, I had to remind us all that those are just not worth the “price” we pay later.  You’ll be surprised though at the great deals you can get on fruits and vegetables, meats and cheeses, often organics too!

One last note:

I try not to price-match from my hometown grocery stores.  My town is small, so it doesn’t take much extra time to run into our local grocery stores to pick up the food I need.  I like to support our local stores.  Where price-matching really works well for me is offering me big city sale prices from bigger stores that would cost me an hour’s drive and a half tank of gas.  :)

Share with us!  Do you take advantage of Wal-mart’s price matching policy?  How does it work for you?  Have any other great tips to share about this?

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Want a recipe eBooklet full of my Top 10 Money Saving Recipes? Join our Heavenly Homemakers Savings Club, and we’ll send it to you for FREE! (Joining means we’ll also keep you informed of all the latest money saving groceries and homemaking items we come across. A win-win!)

Top 10 Money Saving Recipes

Sign up to join our Heavenly Homemakers Savings Club here.

Menu Plan for the Week – and What is Up With All the Strawberries?

Never, ever, ever have strawberries been available in our grocery stores this time of year that are both tasty and reasonably priced.  Typically between the months of October and April, we go strawberry-less.

Somehow though, the past few weeks have brought very tasty strawberries to our stores at a very good price – in January and February.  What in the world?  Seriously, does anyone know how this can be possible?  These particular strawberries are coming from Florida.  Are you able to find good strawberries in your area at a good price right now?  Shocked as I am, this Nebraska girl is thrilled.

feb 5 groceries

I price-matched (more on that tomorrow!) and got strawberries for just $1.29 per pound.  That price is amazing.  The strawberries are super tasty, too.  As you can see from my huge haul from the store, it was a great price matching week.  I loaded up on produce even more than normal.  All of the above cost under $100, so I’m very grateful.  We will have a great week of delicious food!

Here’s what this week’s menu options look like:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Fruit and Veggie Side Dishes (I serve 1-4 with every meal)

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Cantaloupe
  • Mixed Greens
  • Spinach
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Green Beans
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Cheesy Cauliflower Cakes
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Carrot Sticks
  • Clementines

Thanking God for such abundance of wonderful food.  How blessed we are.

What’s on your menu this week?