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  • Guest Blog: Meladramatic Mommy on Budget-Friendly Snacks

    Just in time for weekend sports games, we wanted to share a fun post from Melanie of Mel, a Dramatic Mommy on budget-friendly snacks at Grocery Outlet:

    Between packing lunches and sports weekends, snack foods have started taking up a bigger portion of my budget. There haven't been too many breakthroughs in terms of the variety of portable, healthier, non-perishables. My choices seem to be cheap and bad for you, or healthy and expensive. Organics? Hardly ever an option.

    I wasn't sure about taking my local Grocery Outlet up on their snack food challenge. I'm not used to shopping without coupons and couldn't see how I'd be able to save money without them. Plus, I thought the store would be filled with brands I'd never heard of. I was wrong on both counts.


    Organic Snacks from Grocery Outlet


    Since I've been paying attention to prices for so long, I have a good sense of when an item is priced well and when (even on 'sale') it is not. This knowledge came in handy while I was shopping. I picked up 26 items* and paid $29.34.

    When I took my receipt to Vons to compare, the savings were very clear. I found six items that were identical to the ones I purchased at Grocery Outlet. If I had purchased the same things in the same quantities from Vons, I would have spent $26.85 for only 10 items.


    Price Comparison


    That's a significant difference. Again, since snacks go so quickly in our house, they're something I keep an eye on because they can quickly take over my grocery budget. Now, will I see these same items the next time I go to Grocery Outlet? Maybe. Maybe not. But I'm fine with that. I'd rather a slightly rotating inventory with low prices than the same things over and over. Overall, I'm happy with my first experience and can say with certainty I will go back again.

    *There should be two more items in the photo: one more Yopa (I got hungry) and a 59oz bottle of Tropicana Orange Tangerine.

    For more of Melanie's post and a $25 gift card giveaway, visit her blog, Mel, a Dramatic Mommy.

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  • Gifts Galore! Delicious Gifts for the Hostess, Teacher and More

    'Tis the season of giving! At Grocery Outlet, we like to think you can give more, when you spend less. And we're here to help! This week we are talking about budget-friendly gift ideas for those special people on your list. Here are some fun gift ideas, perfect for teachers, neighbors and co-workers. And don't forget those gracious party hosts and hostesses that deserve some holiday love too.

    Edible gifts
    We love giving edible gifts because they don't become clutter or require a gift receipt for returns. Last year, we posted some simple recipes for edible gifts created by food blogger Amy Sherman at Cooking with Amy. And here are some delicious ideas to add to the mix:

    Go Nuts. Fill a decorative vase with nuts for a classic salty snack. Consider layering nut varieties with dried cranberries and yogurt-covered raisins for a dash of red and white. Adorn with decorative ribbon and a tag that reads, “Go Nuts this Holiday!”

    Santa's Trail Mix. Fill a large mason jar with layers of mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, peanuts, granola and cereal. If you're feeling ambitious, you can add these darling Santa Hats made with Bugles and red Candy Melts.  Recipe and photo via Cookies & Cups.


    Cheers. If you're strapped for time, a bottle of wine is the perfect gift to show your appreciation to the gracious hostess. Just add a pretty ribbon and gift tag, or write a festive note directly on the bottle's label. Pop in to your local Grocery Outlet's Wine Department and you're guaranteed to find a great selection of quality wines at bargain prices. In fact, they're such a bargain you can get yourself a bottle too!

    So go ahead and give yummy gifts galore! Happy Holideals from Grocery Outlet!

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  • Breaking Out of the Dinner Rut: Goat Cheese & Apricot Preserve Appetizer

     Guest Post from The Coupon Project


    Normally, I don't try to spice things up at the dinner table with fancy cheese because it's so expensive! However, Grocery Outlet always surprises me by offering up gourmet cheese for ridiculously low prices. This has been true of all the locations I've had the pleasure of visiting.




    While at my local South Tacoma store recently, I stumbled upon such a cheese find. Check it out:


    DSCN0194 (759x800)


    It's a small log of honey-flavored goat cheese for just $1.99. Elsewhere, you'd expect to pay about twice that. As I've never cooked with goat cheese before, I thought this would be just the ticket for this month's Breaking out of the Dinner Rut post. After all, I have definitely fallen into a pattern of choosing the same basic cheeses over and over again. Why not let a Grocery Outlet steal spark a new culinary experience?




    While shopping - I bumped into my pal Christopher who works at Grocery Outlet. (He's actually the genius behind the Grocery Outlet YouTube Channel - make sure to check out their fun videos if you haven't already!). It turns out I was there during a wine tasting. How awesome is that?

    I mentioned the goat cheese to Christopher and he said he didn't much care for the stuff. But then he remembered an exception! He'd recently had an appetizer at a local restaurant which consisted of a crostini topped with dried fruit, pecans, and honey. I thought this sounded like excellent inspiration.

    So here's my version of that idea, frugal-ed up using Grocery Outlet ingredients!


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    Goat Cheese and Apricot Preserve Appetizers


    • Crackers or appetizer-sized toast
    • Dried cranberries
    • Preserves of your choice - I selected apricot
    • Small log goat cheese

    DSCN0404 (800x652)


    Start by spreading a little of the preserves on your crackers. Now you could use those fancy little toasts or crostini if you want, but I found that plain old crackers worked just fine for this recipe.


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    Next, spread a little of the goat cheese on top. You'll find that it may crumble a bit. Don't worry; it doesn't affect the flavor one bit.


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    Can you believe you're almost done with this recipe?


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    Finally, top with a few dried cranberries.


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    That's it!


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    I think they look pretty displayed on a cutting board with some sprigs of mint or other fresh herbs. (I had mint in my garden, so that's what I used!) You can serve this as a prelude to a light dinner alfresco, perhaps with some sparkling wine (make sure to check Grocery Outlet's wine department for fabulous prices there, too)!

    All told, I spent about $8 on the ingredients to make this recipe. I love that it's totally frugal but looks like I paid a lot more to make it.

    How were these?




    I think the results speak for themselves!

    Like this post? You might want to read the others in this series:

    Make sure to come back next month for another fun installment!

    Angela Russell blogs at The Coupon Project, a site that encourages families to live well for less. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her firefighter husband and two small kids. In her spare time, she likes to read, garden, and has recently taken up canning.

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  • Lesson 9: Back to School Lunches on a Budget

    Frugal Find Logo

    A 12-Month Series by Guest Blogger Julia Wessels, from The Frugal Find

    If you're sending kids to school, likely you're making the decision between hot lunches at school or sending a cold lunch.  We have four kids all in school this year and a hot lunch costs $2.50 x 4 that's a whopping $10 a day!  I've talked before about our ENTIRE family grocery budget being only $75/week.  This would seriously eat into our budget so the decision for our family was an easy one to make.

    Back to School Kids


    Of course, finances aren't the only factor that plays into sending a lunch with our kids to school.  Knowing they'll actually EAT the food I send with them is even more important.  I wanted to share a few examples of lunches we send with our kids each day.  First of all, we invested in a few containers with snug lids to put inside their lunch boxes so that we could cut back on the cost of Ziploc bags.  I also scoured local thrift stores and found a few Thermos containers so that I could send hot lunches from time to time.  Sending hot lunches is a great way to stretch your budget if you have leftovers from dinner.  For example, today my daughter is taking a bowl of White Bean Chicken Chili to school today—I think that beats a PB&J any day!

    Cost of food varies greatly from state to state, but I think you'll find that hands-down, eating at home (or prepared at home) food is always cheaper.

    Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking about creative (and frugal!) lunchbox meals:
    Bagel & Cream Cheese
    Homemade Uncrustables (PB&J or Grilled Cheese)
    Salami, Cheese, and Crackers - substitute ham, turkey, etc
    Peanut Butter and Apple "Sandwiches"
    Homemade Pumpkin Muffins
    Soups and Chilis

     Homemade Uncrustable How-To!

    There are also a few tools that make packing lunches a breeze for me.  The first one is the Apple Wedger which works great for pears too! When packing hot liquid lunches (soups, etc) the Thermos Leak Proof Stainless Steel Food Container is a must!  Of course if you're packing a cold lunch and actually want it to stay cold you'll need a couple Blue Ice Packs.  Also as I mentioned above, a good set of plastic containers are very useful and in the end will help you to save money by cutting out Ziploc bags. I like The Container Store Klip-It Lunch Cubes but there are many different products on the market, the key is to make sure they don't leak especially if you're putting fruit or yogurt into the containers.

    Lastly, I thought I'd share one of my family's favorite recipes: Homemade Granola Bars!  They're actually very simple to make and a lot heartier (and healthier) than your average Quaker granola bars. This recipe comes from my friend Sumiko who blogs at Near to Nothing.  She guest posts on The Frugal Find each week in our From Our Pantry on a Budget series!

    Granola Bars
    2 cups old fashioned oats
    1/2 to 3/4 Cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup wheat germ*
    3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    3/4 tsp salt
    3/4 cup mix-ins (see below)
    1/2 cup honey
    1 egg
    1/2 cup canola oil
    2 tsp vanilla extract

    Dried cranberries
    Chocolate chips or peanut butter chips
    1/2 Cup peanut butter (plus some chocolate chips, of course!)
    Dried fruits (apples, bananas, cherries, blueberries, etc.)
    Pretty much anything your heart desires!

     Granola Bars!

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 baking pan and set aside. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; pour wet ingredients into well.  Mix until combined, then spread into the prepared pan. Using your hands, press it evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until they begin to turn brown around the edges. Cut bars while still warm then cool completely. Store in an air-tight container or zip-top bag.

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  • Shaping and Toning All Over Town

    Check out the latest from Chris as he strides all over town in his new Aspire Shaper sneakers (only $14.99 at Grocery Outlet!). These shoes use the same technology as Skechers Shape Ups to tone and firm your muscles as you walk. 

    Are you ready for the big game on Sunday? We have a bunch of super savings for your game time party!

    What resolutions have you been able to keep? Or have you broken them? It's okay! Just leave a comment below to tell us how you're doing.

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  • Sporty Snacks and Healthy Choices

    Football season is well underway and whether you are a football fan or not, chances are that you'll be attending a football party in the coming weeks. Party wings, veggie trays, and quick and easy frozen items are just a few ways to make that party much more enjoyable!

    Check out this week's Bargain TV and let Christopher show you just some of the sporty snacks and healthy choices that you can bring to the next football party or weekend sporting event. You'lll save big on big brands at Grocery Outlet Bargain Market.

    Leave a comment and let us know which team is your team!

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  • Afterschool Snacks

    Afterschool snack time is very important to kids—they’ve had a long day in the classroom and on the playground and are hungry when they get home! So how can you, a busy parent, satisfy them quickly and nutritiously?

    We've collected some of our favorite snack recipes from Parenting magazine, and we're passing them along. All of these are pretty quick to make and will surprise and delight your kids. Plus, they're healthy too!


    Pita Chips and Hummus

     Make these healthy Pita Chips with Hummus.


    Fruit Dip

    This recipe for sweet and tangy Fruit Dip will help your picky get some extra nutrition!



    These Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce will satisfy hungry snackers!

    A little extra planning can help provide healthy, surprising snacks in a few minutes.  Check your local Grocery Outlet store to see how many ingredients you can find, and save money on these snacks. 

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  • Summer Break

    Travel Time

    Need some ideas of how to spend your summer? Start traveling! Summer is a great time to hit the road, however, with gas prices hitting $4 a gallon in some areas, airfares running 15% higher than last year, and hotels hiking their room rates by 7%, you may not be ready to spring for that big summer vacation.

    But even if you can't get away, great summer day trips can be fun and memorable, with far less hassle and expense. No matter where you live, there's likely to be a small theme park or festival within two hours of home that will give your family a taste of adventure. Visit this link to find some great places that you and your family can check out.

    Check out the Movies

    Go out to the movies for the free air conditioning and a couple of hours of entertainment. Stop by Grocery Outlet for microwavable popcorn and stick a popped bag in your purse. We also have all your candy favorites. Here is the list of top 10 list of the movies coming out this summer that we hope don’t disappoint:
    1) Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides- May 20th
    2) The Hangover Part II- May 26th
    3) X-Men: First Class- June 3rd
    4) Super 8- June 8th
    5) Green Lantern- June 17th
    6) Cars 2- June 24th
    7) Transformers: Dark of the Moon- July 1st
    8) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2- July 15th
    9) Captain America: The First Avenger- July 22nd
    10) Cowboys & Aliens- July 29th

    Which was your favorite? Which are you looking forward to the most?

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  • Super Bowl Savings!

    Score your own Super Bowl victory with inexpensive party food from Grocery Outlet.  We’ve got a snack solution for each quarter, so stop in and get your best party line-up now!

    Pre-Game Planning
    Pop some of these great party appetizers and entrées into the oven before game time for a simple meal that feeds many.  We have Stouffer’s 94 oz Meat Lasagna for only $6.99!  It’s a wholesale size that comes packaged in a restaurant-style silver tray—super easy to heat and serve.

    Tender Bird chicken tenders
    You save $6!  Evergood Hot Links are only $6.99 for 2 lbs.  You save $2 on those.  Tender Bird Breaded Chicken Breast Tenderloins are fully cooked—just heat and serve!  They’re $6.99 for 3 lbs.  You save $4!

    Halftime Snackin’
    For halftime, you need something quick so you can catch the entertainment.  Kettle Potato Chips are a delicious, all natural, hearty chip that holds up under serious dip.  We have 14 oz bags in assorted varieties for $2.99.  You save $2.  Delicioso 5 Layer Dip is only $3.99 for a 30 oz tub.  We also have 16 oz Casa de Rosas salsa or 10 oz Cabo Fresh Guacamole for $1.99.  You save up to $3 on either.  Yum!

    There are many more extreme values and incredible bargains at Grocery Outlet, so check out your local store.  Shop us first. Get more.

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