grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s/Harpo’s

After teaching Spinning class, I hit up my Tuesday night hot spot – Trader Joe’s for my weekly grocery run. Most weeks I write out a grocery list after I take stock of what is in the fridge/pantry. Some weeks I stroll in to TJ’s with a mental list stored in my extremely sharp and on-point memory – NOT. I have a terrible short-term memory and a very unhealthy fear that I have early onset Alzheimer’s (that’s a completely different conversation). For those Tuesdays where I haven’t made a list, I call my backup (Dean) on the drive from work and ask him to check the fridge/pantry and tell me what we have/don’t have. It is a necessary step for me because seeing a pantry overstuffed with excess gives me anxiety. I’m all about having a small stockpile, don’t get me wrong. I just prefer the “less is more” lifestyle. Use-what-ya-got-type-thing.

Harpo is the complete opposite. He’s more of the “the world is ending so let’s stock pile up five years worth of food” mentality. My parents have an awesome walk-in pantry off their kitchen. I mean, this thing is huge – like it could be a kid’s bedroom. Bad thing is that is more room for Harpo to store his 20 containers of garlic and onion powder – yes, TWENTY. The man loves him some garlic and onion powder. If you ask him why he has so much on hand he’ll tell you, “I get ’em for 60 cents at the Dollar Store!” Well alright then, fair enough sir! How could anyone turn down 60 cent spices? He will also tell you to never purchase garlic or onion salt because you know why? I can sense that you care, so I’ll tell you. The first ingredient in those is…. you guessed it… SALT. Wait, what?! Salt and garlic powder mixed together. Now why would anyone pay for that? Not Harpo. He buys the powder in bulk and mixes with salt on his terms. Harpo also buys a cow every year and packs a huge freezer full of beef. He has enough beef to eat for two years probably. I have nick-named this freezer “Trader Harpo’s” and every time I’m in Odessa I make a stop there to stock up on steak, ground beef, filets, chuck roast, etc. Fortunately, my dad is very generous and finds it hilarious that I raid the freezer and pantry every time I visit.

Obviously I cut down on costs by shopping at Trader Harpo’s, but as I told my cousin Taryn, we spend around $50/week on groceries. Here’s the receipt from tonight’s run. I spent $58.08 after tax. This did not include alcohol, which I did purchase a bottle of wine and a 24 pack of Boulevard IPA on Sunday. Just throwing that out there.


I’ll admit – I was STARVING after spin class tonight. Grocery shopping while hungry is a dangerous game. It was a challenge to stay on task and not buy the bag of peanut butter pretzels. Sometimes I swear I black out and when I come to, the bag is open and I’m eating the pretzels WHILE I’m shopping. I was able to power through tonight.

Dean started to put the groceries away and I said WAIT! I have to get a picture for the blog. He said, “Oh ok darling. Let me help you set it up for the perfect shot.” Or that’s what he said in my head at least.IMG_3716I bought: Yogurt for Dean and myself, gummy bears (for Dean), relish, bell pepper, pears, sweet potatoes, pizza dough, trail mix, cookie butter cookies (FOR ME AND NOBODY BETTER TOUCH THEM RAAAWWRRR), raspberries (on sale), blueberries (NOT on sale), power greens salad, milk, jalopeno cheese, and chicken breasts. Most expensive purchase? Blueberries! Maybe I could have found them at another grocery for less – but oh well. The dogs also got 2 cans of dog food. They saved up their allowance and that’s what they wanted to spend it on – so I said OK.

Speaking of the dummies, they are back from their month long vacation in Odessa with Dean’s and my parents. Chuck’s fans were stoked to see him back in the ‘hood. Not sure where Bella was when Dean took this pic. Probably eating sticks.IMG_3707So there you have it. Our grocery bill for the week rang in at $58, which is the norm. Just realize that I’m only shopping for two people. With kids and special occasions you purchase more. Check the pantry and use up what’s in there. And whenever you can, find someone with a fully stocked freezer (like Harpo) and make friends with that person!

7 thoughts on “grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s/Harpo’s

  1. I plan on raiding the meat locker next time I am there…
    Impressed that u included dog food in there.


  2. This is impressive! I married a T-Rex and if we don’t have at least 5 lbs of meat and 4 dozen eggs in the grocery cart then something went wrong. Need to buy me a cow.


    1. Meat is pricey, but Trader Joe’s and Aldi’s prices on meat are lower than the grocery stores (at least around STL). You should check those out. Speaking of eggs, Harpo had 6 dozen from a farmer he knows and wanted to sent some of those home with us too.


  3. Dan says thanks for writing this, and I do too. Monday is my grocery day and I am feeling pretty confident I can turn things back around for us. Just can’t forget my quarter for the cart. 🙂 And Trader Harpo’s, too good.


    1. Trader Joe’s was started by one of the brothers who created Aldi’s! So get that quarter, your list and so the dang thang. And then write a blog post about it so we can compare!


  4. Cookie Butter ALL THE THINGS!!!! Also, don’t feel bad, I now make Rob do all the TJ’s shopping because I can’t handle going in there. I get completely flustered and buy waaay too many treats. (speaking of which have you had the Blue Corn Chips?? I might go through two bags a week…)


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