Grocery Diaries

How This Las Vegas Couple Makes a Trader Joe’s Trip Last for 2 Weeks

updated Jul 9, 2020
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selfie in front of grocery haul
Credit: Courtesy of Melanie

Name: Melanie
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Age: 23
Number of people in household: 2; my husband, Eric, and me
Occupation: I am a freelance public relations practitioner and my husband is a public librarian
Where did you shop? Trader Joe’s and Smith’s
How much did you spend? $240.61
Dietary restrictions: My husband tries to limit his dairy intake

How did you choose where to shop?

At the beginning of the pandemic, we decided to order our groceries through Instacart, but unfortunately, that got expensive really quick. Now, I choose to go to the stores that have a great selection and enforce the wearing of masks. Smith’s is usually well-stocked and Trader Joe’s has a lot of the ingredients that I love to use all the time — plus they’re doing a great job of keeping customers and employees safe.

What did you buy?

Credit: Courtesy of Melanie

Produce: Arugula, spring greens mix, kale, brown rice stir-fry kit, sugar snap peas, bananas, grape tomatoes, garlic cloves, Persian cucumbers, blueberries, apples, strawberries, lemons, limes, romaine hearts, mini avocado bag, Roma tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, jalapeños, cilantro, parsley, mushrooms, baby carrots, and mini sweet peppers.

Pantry staples: Brown rice fusilli, Italian dressing, almond butter, pizza sauce, salsa, chili onion sauce, sandwich bread, Spindrift, coffee, oatmeal, honey, mayonnaise, whole-wheat tortillas, raspberries, and ground cumin.

Credit: Courtesy of Melanie

Frozen: Frozen vegetables, mini vanilla ice cream cones, sweet potato fries, organic riced cauliflower, and quinoa veggie burgers.

Credit: Courtesy of Melanie

Meat and dairy alternatives: Greek yogurt, string cheese, Parmesan cheese, salami, chicken breast, beef patties, ground beef, shawarma chicken thighs, mozzarella, sliced cheddar, shredded pizza cheese, eggs, soy yogurt, deli ham, butter, and pepperoni.

Credit: Courtesy of Melanie

Other: Potato chips, brioche burger buns, protein bars, granola bars, and trail mix.

Total spent at Trader Joe’s: $194.45

Total spent at Smith’s: $46.16

Credit: Courtesy of Melanie

What do you plan on making?

Credit: Courtesy of Melanie


  • Overnight oats with berries, protein powder, and almond milk (I already had almond milk and protein powder).
  • Scrambled eggs with greens, ham, sweet peppers, and mushrooms.
  • Smoothie with kale, frozen riced cauliflower, Greek yogurt, almond butter, banana, honey, and strawberries.
Credit: Courtesy of Melanie

Lunches and dinners

  • Pasta salad with salami, mozzarella, bell pepper, chili onion crunch sauce, Italian dressing, arugula, grape tomatoes, parsley, and lemon juice. 
  • Ham sandwiches with lettuce, tomato, and avocado.
  • Turkey burgers with sweet potato fries.
  • Chili.
  • Beef burgers with side salad.
  • Homemade pizza with salad.
  • Homemade Crunchwraps with chicken and avocado crema sauce.
  • Chicken shawarma bowls with cucumber, tomatoes, chickpeas, brown rice, and Greek yogurt sauce (inspired by this recipe).
  • Teriyaki salmon bowls with brown rice, snap peas, and carrots.
  • Bean burgers with greens and salsa.
  • Chicken piccata with salad and pasta.
  • Spaghetti Bolognese.
Credit: Courtesy of Melanie

Cooking/baking projects

  • Brown butter chocolate chip cookies.
  • Cinnamon rolls.
  • Homemade raspberry kombucha.

How is this different from how you normally shop? 

We used to do our shopping on Friday mornings, as soon as Trader Joe’s opened. It used to be a fun way to spend some time together on our day off. Now, we go to the grocery store on Thursday nights around 7 p.m. after Eric gets off from work. Thursday nights are surprisingly not as busy as other nights, so that’s when we make a run for it. In the past, we would make trips for just one thing we forgot. That is not really possible anymore. We would rather go without that one thing than go to the grocery store twice. Our goal is to balance buying enough groceries to cut down on grocery trips, but also not clean out the grocery stores for those who can’t afford to buy as much as we can.  

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