The Kait-Approved BJ’s Pricebook

When it comes to grocery shopping, I’ve been totally spoiled with the opportunity to shop at stores like Wegmans and Safeway where I can check prices online.  However, when the beau and I decided to invest in a BJs membership, I knew we would end up spending an afternoon wandering around the store and collecting the prices of goodies.  Hence, this pricebook was born.  Consider it a living entity that will be updated as necessary.

What does ‘Kait-approved’ mean?

Before I get into the actually products, I want to clarify what this pricebook is and is not.  ‘Kait-approved’ simply means that all of the products on this list meet my shopping guidelines.  Generally, I focus on purchasing products from companies whose values align with mine.  Specifically, this means that I focus on purchasing items that are produced and/or grown

  • locally
  • sustainably
  • fairly
  • organically
  • with whole foods ingredients (e.g. whole wheat flour, no preservatives, etc)

My budget means sometimes I have to make sacrifices to one or more of these values.  For example, as much as I’d love to buy local, hand-made pasta, the fact that I can get whole wheat Barilla for around $0.50/box means I get the Barilla.

Additionally, I follow a plant-based diet.  This means that you won’t find prices for any items produced with animal products (e.g. meat, eggs, dairy, meat-based broths, etc) on this list.

And now…

The Pricebook

Product Name

Size

Price

Unit Price

Fresh Organic Dates 2 lb $8.99 $4.50/lb
Dried Dates 40 oz $7.49 $2.99/lb
Raisins 3 lb $6.99 $2.33/lb
Food Should Taste Good 20 oz $5.99 $4.80/lb
Popchips 11 oz $4.49 $6.53/lb
Xochitl tortilla chips 24 oz $5.59 $3.73/lb
RW Garcia tortilla chips 32 oz $4.59 $2.30/lb
Cape Cod Chips 18 oz $4.99 $4.44/lb
Utz 16 oz $4.99 $4.99/lb
Wilds Riceworks Chips 14 oz $4.99 $5.70/lb
Lara Uberbars 12 pack $10.99 $0.92/bar
Coconut Water 68 oz $7.99 $15.04/gal
V8 2 gal $5.69 $2.84/gal
Silk Soymilk 1.5 gal $7.99 $5.33/gal
Blue Diamond almond milk 86 oz $3.49 $5.19/gal
Lucini sauce 25.5 oz $3.99 $2.89/lb
Rozanno sauce 2, 32 oz jars $6.99 $1.24/lb
Grey Poupon dijon mustard 2, 16 oz jars $6.79 3.40/lb
Guldens mustard 4, 12 oz jars $4.99 $1.66/lb
Organic ketchup 2, 44 oz jars $6.99 $1.27/lb
Sweet Chili sauce 20 oz $3.99 $3.20/lb
Kikomann low sodium soy sauce 40 oz $5.49 $17.57/gal
Whole Grain Barilla 8, 13.5 oz boxes $9.49 $1.36/lb
Organic fancy/real pasta 2 lb $4.99 $2.50/lb
Seeds of Change 4 pack $7.99 $2/pack
Brown Rice 4 lbs $4.99 $1.25/lb
Rice Select 48 oz $7.99 $2.78/lb
Arborio rice 4 lbs $4.99 $1.25/lb
Muir Glen tomatoes 6 cans $6.99 $1.16/can
Capers 16 oz $5.79 $5.79/lb
Olives 6, 6 oz cans $6.49 $1.08/can; $2.88/lb
Minced garlic 32 oz $3.99 $2.00/lb
Goya black beans 6, 15 oz cans $4.29 $0.72/can; $4.78/lb
Goya kidney beans 6, 15 oz cans $4.29 $0.72/can; $4.78/lb
Goya chickpeas 6, 15 oz cans $4.99 $0.83/can; $5.32/lb
EVOO 1 liter (~34 oz) $5.99 $22.55/gal
Organic EVOO 1 liter (~34 oz) $8.99 $33.85/gal
Carapelli EVOO 1 liter (~34 oz) $7.99 $30.08/gal
Calavalita garlic oil 32 oz $6.99 $27.96/gal
Balsalmic Vinegar 1 liter (~34 oz) $9.99 $37.61/gal
Rumfords aluminum-free baking powder 2 cans $3.29 $1.65/can
Maple syrup 32 oz $12.99 $51.96/gal
Honey Bunches of Oats 4, 48 oz boxes $6.99 $2.33/lb
Cascadian Farm granola $4.99 $2.35/lb
Frosted Mini Wheats 70 oz $8.39 $1.92/lb
Tofu 32 oz $3.99 $2.00/lb
Gardein black bean burgers 12 $12.99 $1.08 ea
Fresh Express organic greens 1 lb $4.49
English cucumbers 2 pack $2.39 $1.20/cuke
Avocados 4 pack $3.29 $0.82/avo
Organic garlic 5 bulbs $1.99
Cherry tomatoes 32 oz $4.99 $2.50/lb
Pineapple 1 $1.99
Organic strawberries 1 lb $3.79 $3.79/lb
Bananas 3 lb $1.49 $0.50/lb
Frozen mango 4 lb $7.69 $1.92/lb
Frozen mixed berries 3 lb $9.99 $3.33/lb
Wymans blueberries 3 lb $7.39 $2.46/lb
Frozen spinach 3.5 lb $5.29 $1.51/lb
Frozen corn 6 lb $6.99 $1.17/lb
Organic frozen peas 4 lb $6.49 $1.62/lb
Charmin Basic 113.4 sq m $17.99 $0.16/sq m
Scott Naturals 69.9 sq m $10.99 $0.16/sq m
Scott Extra Soft 126 sq m $18.99 $0.15/sq m

BJ’s stock and prices may also vary by region so if things are different, that is likely the reason. If there’s a specific item you want to see added to this list, just leave a comment below and I’ll make sure to look it up the next time I’m there.

I hope you find this pricebook useful.  I love that big box stores are slowly but surely starting to add healthier products to their shelves so that all of us, regardless of food values, budget, and dietary needs, can take advantage of the great savings!

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

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Money Saving Monday: The Big Haul

i-love-saving-money-copyHappy Monday lovelies! Before we get down to business, I invite you to check out my newest page above: Coupoing Goodness. I’ve compiled links to all my couponing posts so they can guide you in your own adventures in saving money while keeping it natural. 🙂

I missed you all last week but given that I was travelling, I used my budget to buy food on-the-go. I grabbed some travel staples (larabars and the like) and easy-to-carry accoutrements since I knew I would be receiving breakfast and lunch each day but wasn’t sure what to expect. As it turned out, the meals were surprisingly adequate!

Anyway, being the end of the month, I slipped into my Couponing SuperStar outfit (which I imagine is pink and sparkly and spandex, of course) and geared up for some great hauls. And ladies and gents – great hauls I had!

Tip of the Week

Make the most of your trips to less frequently visited stores. For those who’ve been following along for a while, you know I used to be a Wegmaniac (Wegmans maniac for those who aren’t familiar). Its relative distance, the lower price of items at Whole Foods, and the consistent;y disappointing selection at the stores close to me, led me to cutting back my trips to about once every six to eight weeks. However, when I got home from my training, I had a $5 of any grocery (aka no produce) purchase of $25 or more coupon waiting. <–Pause: I ❤ coming home to presents! You know I had to use that. So I sat down with my coupons and figured out what were some products I actually could use (beans, yogurt, tissues), what coupons were expiring, and what, of those, would make good deals. A lot of this comes down to knowing prices and the fact that Wegmans doubles coupons. So coupons that gave me okay deals elsewhere are suddenly taken to a new level there. Some of the items I bought were planned splurges (e.g. the coconut milk yogurts and Mary’s Gone crackers). Other things I bought in huge quantities (e.g. beans). But all are things I’ll use and were at rock-bottom prices. I ended up saving 77%! *squee*

Target is another store I visit only occasionally. Knowing that we had no extra dish soap,I jumped at the chance to get Seventh Generation’s for only $0.94 (!). Again, since we don’t go to Target often, I got creative with the other Mobile Coupons (see below for sign-up instructions), using them to get things that, again, I use regularly and would be at rock-bottom prices. $0.04 bananas and $0.49 avocados? Yes, please! Contact solution for less than $3 a bottle? Sure! Dirt cheap toilet paper that I actually really like? Give.it.to.me. Though my savings was only 49% at Target, the trip showed how coupons can be used positively even without items that were on sale.

In short…know your prices, make the most of your trips, and shop smart. 🙂

Meal Plan

Oh my goodness how have I become such a poor meal planner?! Its a combination of having a minimal schedule + the beau’s laissez-faire-ness + his ability to throw meals together on the spot. Oh and heat which has made me crave smoothies, avocado toast, and not much of anything else. There will be lots of greens this week though because as good as the conference food was, it was rather carb-heavy. I’ve never craved veggies quite this much…

Oh and just because this post needs more photos, here are some from the food I enjoyed at training.

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EPIC oats…aka what happens when you let a vegan loose at a buffet bar with about 10 different types of fruit.

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Breakfast buffet + tupperware = so. much. fruit. for my daily afternoon snack.

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Celebratory dinner at Sticky Fingers after completing my training! #nomnomnom

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Balancing Light and Dark

You may have noticed this blog has been somewhat lately with the exception of couponing posts.  Much of whats going on in my life I don’t feel totally comfortable sharing publicly, for a variety of reasons.  So while my journal has been filling up rapidly, I haven’t published much at all. Many times I want to, but I also am starting to see the benefit and necessity of keeping parts of my private life a bit more, well, private.

Anyway, the focus of today’s post is a different kind of struggle.  Those of you who’ve been around for a while know that I love teaching about sex.  Although I don’t talk about it extensively on here, it pops up from time to time because it is as integral a part of my character as couponing and cooking and dancing.  Lately though I’ve noticed resistance. You see when I started doing Passion Parties nearly 4 (!) years ago, it was just a way to earn money.  Then I discovered the sex-positive movement and fell in love, learning everything I could about sex and relationships and orgasms, especially as they relate to women.  My first job furthered my obsession by highlighting the huge unmet need that exists in healthcare when it comes to sexual health and, especially, pleasure.  So I came to Hopkins and…all of a sudden nearly everything I’m learning about sex is negative.  Pregnancy is something you are ‘at risk’ for, just like STIs.  Rape and trafficking are running rampant in my backyard, the military, colleges across the nation, and among close friends.  There’s “no money” in sex ed, either at the community level or within healthcare because it doesn’t provide a profit.  Training is often met with resistance and so on. 

This is the background against which my transformation from the sexpert/sex toy lady into sex educator, speaker, and consultant took place.  Suddenly I find myself wanting to qualify statements about pleasure to recognize that some of my clients undoubtedly have experienced the dark sides of sex.  I feel pangs of guilt here and there that I’ve been so focused on the fun and the pleasure and the passion that I did not acknowledge these other aspects.

In other words, I’m struggling to find the balance between ‘sex is fun and great and healing’ and ‘sex causes so much pain and suffering and destruction.’

Along with all of these mixed emotions is another: incredible gratitude.  Because as more and more of my friends disclose their negative experiences to me, my heart at once breaks and fills up – for their suffering, for my safety (luck?), and for their willingness to share.  Its a beautiful moment when you go that deep with someone.  Trusting another to hold your heart and soul with compassion and without judgment is a huge risk.  You make yourself vulnerable in ways that are equal parts terrifying and gratifying.  But sharing that takes relationships to a whole new level, it lets you see and understand and care in all new ways.

This greater awareness, on a personal and academic level has  changed the way I think, write, and talk about sex.  In some ways its a blessing.  In others it has made my work extremely difficult, paralyzing me at times as I struggle to answer the question: on which side do I want to work? 

Of course this question speaks to something larger: what do I even want to do?  I know my strengths–public speaking/teaching/performing, writing, creating content and curricula.  I know the macro-level movement I want to be a part of–decreasing sex negativity and shame.  I know how I want to feel in my work – present, engaged, and influential.  I’m less confident, however, about how I want to apply those strengths and, of course, the practical side of me worries about the sustainability of such strengths.  Which makes me sad given the number of mentors in my life who coach and teach and present and write… 

I’ve started to wonder if maybe my purpose is to balance the light and dark aspects of sex. I’m still exploring exactly what this means for me.  Rather than be paralyzed while trying to ‘figure it out,’ though, I’ve begun to incorporate both sides into my current work, adding qualifying words to my newsletter (e.g. ‘consensual sex’ instead of just ‘sex’), sharing posts related both sexual pleasure and rape culture, healthy relationships and body shaming on my social media pages, and working with survivors and policy-makers. In the meantime, I know there will be more moments like the one that inspired this post, moments when I stare at a blank screen, angry with the world and wondering how I can talk about orgasms when approximately 30 individuals were assaulted in the hour it took me to write and edit this.

To me, being sex positive isn’t about ignoring all the bad shit that comes along with sex.  Instead, its about really acknowledging all of the negative while also recognizing that sex itself is not bad. In fact, sex can still be beautiful despite the way so many use it as a weapon, a tool for violence, manipulation, and control. We so often assign external ‘goodness’ or ‘badness’ to things that we forget most of them are totally neutral and value can vary greatly with context. The brand of sex positivity I want to promote encompasses all of this and more – a true balancing act.  Here’s to hoping I find my way there sooner rather than later.

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

 

 

 

 

Money Saving Money: I <3 Whole Foods

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Happy Monday lovelies!  I hope you had a wonderful sunny weekend and scored some mega deals while shopping (*coughKristincough*).  I know I did…between one of my good friends visiting and a super nice sales clerk, this one was a win.  🙂

Tip of the Week

Bring your coupons back and speak up!  Last week I was super disappointed that my Whole Foods didn’t have the latest coupon booklet so I missed out on some sales.  Luckily, WF and many other stores allow you to bring your receipt + the coupons back and get a refund.  I do this all the time.  Sometimes its a last-minute stop and I don’t have my coupons with me.  Sometimes, I just forget I have a coupon for a product.  And other times I’m waiting for the coupons to be reset so I can print more.  Any and all of the above count.

This week however, the simple adjustment went so much better than I could have expected.  Not only did I need to get the $ back for the coupon I also needed to fix one of the items I had purchased which was put in as the wrong price.  When I explained everything to the clerk (I didn’t have the WF coupons with me because I thought the new booklets would be out, etc), he offered to refund me the entire amount for both mistakes due to the store inconveniencing me.  I seriously could have kissed the kid.

So don’t be afraid to bring your coupons back and nicely speak up about mistakes on your receipt.

Meal Plan

So I didn’t do a great job meal planning this week.  I know there will be homemade hummus, massaged kale salad, and  a raw pasta dish at some point but otherwise, I’m going to let creativity + cooking challenges take over.

As usual, there will also be lots of smoothies, avocado toast, and fruit.

Spending Savings

Soap.com: $7.63
Farmers Market: $23
Whole Foods: $19.44
Trader’s: $7

Total: $57.07

Oh this week…we needed toilet paper and hand soap and a bunch of pantry staples plus all of our regular goodies.  And its just me!  So I knew I would spend a little more and planned accordingly.  I was fully prepared to go without the Trader’s trip until that happy little exchange with the WF man.  🙂

Savings

Soap.com: $10.84
Whole Foods: $20.73

Total: $31.57 (55%)

55% essentially means I got twice as much stuff than I paid for.  I’ll take it!

Steals and Deals

Whole Foods

Olivia’s Organic Spring Mix: $4.99 (11 oz)
-$1.00 Olivia’s cpn
=$3.99

Earthbound Farm Arugula: $1.99 (5 oz)
-$0.75 EB Farm cpn
=$1.24

Go Veggie vegan shreds: $2/6 (reg $3.49)
-$1.00 Go Veggie cpn
-$1.00 July/August Whole Deal cpn
=$1.00

Dream non-dairy beverages: $1.99
-$2.00/2 Dream cpn
-2 x $1.00 July/August Whole Deal cpn
=FREE

Until next week…

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

 

Money Saving Monday, City-Style

 

i-love-saving-money-copyHi there lovelies!  Welcome back to another week of Money Saving Monday.  Unlike Project Food Budget, I will never abbreviate the title of this series.  You see, in the public health world MSM = “men who have sex with men.”  So yea…not what these particular posts are about!

Last week was an exciting one for this little couponer.  Why?

  1. I started receiving my newspaper again after 3 weeks without it.  Yay for coupons!  Now if only I can figure out where the heck my mail is…
  2. New July coupons, including a brand spankin’ new Whole DealNeed I say more?
  3. We can officially walk to the Farmers Market.  And we did, despite the 100+ degree heat.  #worthit
  4. All the summer fruit is out.  We have blueberries, cherries, peaches, nectarines, and plums for the week. It was essentially a whole new farmers market.  So so good.
  5. Popsicles.  There is this stand that I’ve never seen before.  Vegan, homemade fruit possible with locally-sourced ingredients.  I got cherry dark chocolate chunk; the beau, peach sriracha.  Nom nom nom
  6. I officially started shopping at the downtown Whole Foods.  Ok there were ups (such a better vibe – younger, hipper, and more urban…obviously) and downs (where the heck is the new Whole Deal and don’t you tell me the May/June one is it…come on now folks).  But all in all, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
  7. We learned to never take public transit across town. Our trip to WF took about 2.5 hours…we were int eh store for maybe 45 minutes (and that’s super duper generous).  Mmmm hmmm…. thankfully it was sunny and we had nowhere to be.  And our frozen stuff didn’t completely melt.  <–win

Though most of our shopping was done at the Farmers Market and will continue to be for as long as its open, I wanted to share both a tip and some great deals that we scored at Whole Foods and Walgreens.

Tip of the Week

Haggling at farmers markets is totally ok.  You might not hear a ton of people doing it but I can promise you its happening.  Haggling is especially easy if you go towards the end of the market.  Obviously the risk here is that the selection will be less, but you’ll also likely get the most amount of savings.  Its definitely a tricky balance!  I try to go within the last hour.  By then, the farmers tend to want to get rid of as much stuff as possible so they don’t have to lug it back.  I actually had someone come right out and say this to me yesterday!

By the end of the market, the farmers tend to fall into one of three categories:

  1. Those who automatically discount their prices.
  2. Those who will give you extra produce just because (e.g. you ask for 2 zucchini and they give you 4).
  3. Those who do business as normal and only discount if asked.

This last group is key for haggling.  They’re smart too- since the customer has to initiate the deal, its less likely that the farmer will sell their products for less than they’re priced.

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Money Saving Monday: Eat More, Spend Less Review

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Man what a month it has been!  I travelled a total of 14 days during June and we moved in-between all that craziness!  The beau was gone just as much which means a) we still aren’t completely unpacked and b) we weren’t really doing anything resembling normal grocery shopping.  Since there was only one week when we were here for all of it, we did minimal meal planning and couponing.  It just wasn’t a priority this month.  However, I am super happy to report that despite all of this, we were under budget every single week.  Including splurges.  #win  Just please don’t look at my discretionary spending fund… *whistles*

Anyway, this week there isn’t anything particularly special about our spending.  In addition to the most perfect loaf of bread we picked up in the city, we went to Trader’s on our trip home, bought a handful of things that tickled our fancy (with the plan to go to the store again later in the week) and that was that.  Threw together a greens-grains-beans bowl last night (kale, Bulgar, and chickpeas) and voila!

Instead, this week its a special Money Saving Monday.  A little over a month ago, Emily Levenson, the fab gal behind Project: Food Budget, contacted me to see if I would review her new e-book, Eat More, Spend Less.  Of course I said yes immediately.  I truly loved doing P:FB, both for the challenge and the community.  I learned so much about couponing, self-discipline, meal-planning, my spending habits and motivations, and just being a savvy shopper.  These are the pieces I did my best to weave throughout my P:FB narrative, to inspire you and record my journey.  Therefore, I knew that Emily’s e-book would be a summary of all of that. And in this case, I was right.

Eat More, Spend Less: Mastering the Art of Food Budgeting
By: Emily Levenson, MSW,CHHC

Eat More, Spend Less (EMSL) is the perfect beginner’s guide to food budgeting.  Emily writes with both humor and grace, encouraging readers to have fun with this process and also to forgive themselves on weeks that aren’t “perfect.”  The guide, however, is also a great reminder for those of us who’ve been budgeting for a while now.  Though most of the information was not new to me, it was still good to see so many of hte lessons I’ve learned compiled into one quick read.

At 29 pages, EMSL is  concise and straightforward, all the while providing a plethora of important details and tools.  It is this very mix that makes the book so awesome.  Emily doesn’t just provide instructions on how to, say, set your budget or meal plan, she provides worksheets and examples that guide you through the process.  On ever page I felt like Emily was a spending-savvy girlfriend, guiding me through the maze of food budgeting with patience and without judgment. 

The book itself is divided into six parts:

  • Setting the Stage provides info on why budgeting is important and how it changed Emily’s life.
  • Setting a Budget takes you through the steps to choosing a realistic budget you can (mostly) stick to.
  • Budgeting Tools are the nitty gritty of the book and include tips and tricks for staying on-budget.
  • Budget-Friendly Meals offers guidance on stocking your pantry and a lot more detail on meal planning.
  • Resources include websites and books that will make this process more automatic and simple.
  • Appendix has all your worksheets (tracking your budget, weekly meal plan, etc).

Rather than just give you this information, Emily really narrates a story, one that is directed right at the reader (hence that whole “it feels like I’m hanging with my bestie” vibe).  She doesn’t just write about the benefits of food budgeting, but shares her personal experiences and challenges with it.  The book really goes beyond the basic and heavily discussed ideas about the topic and delves into some reasons that you might not immediately think of.  For example, Emily writes that food budgeting can help build your self-esteem.  Though this wasn’t something I was actively aware of in my own adventures, once I read it I realized that, indeed, setting and rising to a challenge each week was really confidence-boosting!  To that end, I also appreciate the Emily does not shy away from the fact that whenever we’re talking about money, a lot of ‘stuff’ can come up – anger, resentment, guilt, etc.  This fact is acknowledged and the reader is reminded that this is both normal and ok.

In the same spirit, the ‘Tools’ section begins with all your basic, budgeting 101-esque advice.  Meal plan, use a shopping list, buy food in season.  But slowly it shifts to more novel ideas like working splurges into your budget and finding an accountability buddy.  Though unconventional, these tips are so important and vital for budgeting success.  Having my P:FB family was so key for those weeks when I felt I had totally failed or when I just wanted to forget about my budget and go a little cray at the supermarket.   Splurging–on things I’d normally make at home (e.g. hummus) or dessert or the brand I really love–also helps budgeting to feel less restrictive.  And this, ladies and gents, is the second major theme of the book:  budgeting does not have to hurt (too much).  Splurges are good if they are planned.  Going over is ok as long as your overall trajectory is towards spending less.  So on and so forth.

Overall, I’d highly recommend EMSL for anyone who is interested in learning more about food budgeting and/or beginning to budget for themselves.  Between it’s ‘girlfriend guide’ tone and guilt-free message, its the perfect book for exploring the world of saving money on what you eat.  For those who have been in the budgeting world for a while, it might not offer too much new information.  However, as a refresher it is definitely ideal because it reminds readers so well of why they started to budget and what is so awesome about it.  Plus its a gentle nudge to go back to those basic tools that work oh-so-well.

Want your own copy? Eat More, Spend Less can be purchased at Emily’s site for only $8.99!  #bargain

Thank you to Emily for the chance to review this new book and remember why I love couponing and budgeting.  And a special shout-out to my P:FB comrades for all of their continued inspiration and motivation.  You all rock!

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

All views expressed in this post are my own.  A copy of EMSL was provided in exchange for writing a review.