Trader Joe’s Spiral Ham

A few days ago, I wrote about my decision to purchase a spiral ham from Trader Joe’s.

The Trader Joe’s “uncured” ham was a compromise between the Smithfield supermarket brand and high-end humanely-raised Whole Foods offerings.

Anyway, EVERYONE at Easter thought the ham was absolutely delicious. DELICIOUS! Scrumptious. I was really surprised how good it tasted. It was a little fattier than supermarket brands, which are loaded with salt. The TJ’s ham was almost half the sodium, and it had a smokey flavor. I’m actually tempted to get another one just for us. LOL

Resist Trader Joe’s Jarred Roasted Red Peppers from Peru

I was perusing the new Fearless Flyer from Trader Joe’s and saw their jarred roasted red peppers were being showcased.

I normally try to buy organic peppers (unless it’s from a local farm), since peppers are on the Dirty Dozen list of conventionally grown produce to avoid. I’ve seen these jarred roasted red peppers at the local Trader Joe’s stores, and while the cheap $1.99 price tag was very tempting, I’ve always resisted.

Their Fearless Flyer description “They’re grown in Peru, where the strength of the sun’s rays gives these peppers a brilliant red hue” — wow, they make it sound so good, right? I can picture a quiet field of peppers quietly growing in the Peruvian sun.

I googled Pesticides on Produce from Peru and found that there is a scary amount of imported produce contaminated with illegal pesticides. Peru is on the list to avoid, along with, of course, China and Mexico, and other countries like Guatemala, Dominican Republic, and India.

Now I’m glad I’ve resisted, and I will continue to buy jarred organic roasted red peppers instead, or better yet, I should try making my own and freeze. Sorry Trader Joe’s.

MyLinkables Current Deal for Trader Joes

Attn Foodies! My Linkables is offering a deal for $5 off a $40 purchase at Trader Joe’s! (See below for my update)

mylinkables offering trader joe deal

For those interested in the fine print, without having to sign up for membership, here are the details:

Offer Terms and Conditions:

Discount of $5.00 off your next purchase of $40.00 or more for products at Trader Joe’s. Limit one offer per registered user. This offer is being sponsored and paid for by Linkable Networks, Inc. The offer is NOT sponsored, endorsed or affiliated with Trader Joe’s. This offer is only valid for qualifying purchases made on the Payment Card which is registered with the service and to which you linked the offer. Offer valid on purchases made from 12:00:01 A.M. Eastern Time (“ET”) on 02/17/2012 or the date in which you link this offer to your card (whichever is later) and ends at 11:59:00 P.M. ET on 03/16/2012 (“Offer Period”).

This Offer is valid in the U.S. only. Gift certificates/cards, packaging, taxes and prior purchases do not qualify toward the minimum purchase requirement and the discount cannot be applied to such items. This offer cannot be combined with other offers, promotions or discounts. No adjustments on previous purchases. Purchases made with this offer are not eligible for a price adjustment. Offer is non-transferable and may be cancelled or modified at any time. The offer is void where prohibited. This offer is subject to the Terms of Service ( This offer is being sponsored by Linkable Networks, Inc., 268 Summer Street, 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02210.

Your savings will appear as a Payment Card or PayPal (if applicable) statement credit typically within 7 to 14 business days after the merchant processes your transaction. This discount is the responsibility of Linkable Networks, Inc., the offer sponsor. Your Payment Card issuer is not responsible for the discount’s funding.

What is MyLinkables?

The premise of MyLinkables is, in a nutshell, you sign up, link to a credit (debit) card, choose a deal(s), make the necessary purchase using your linked credit/debit card, and soon you’ll receive the promised credit posted back to your linked credit card.

I only recently joined MyLinkables, and I do not have specific experience with them just yet, so use at your own risk.

I am planning a Trader Joe’s shopping trip next week, so it will be a good test. From what I have read online, they seem fairly reputable, but there are no guarantees.

Important Cautions Regarding MyLinkables

I must stress, before you join My Linkables, it’s important to understand that they require access to your online credit/debit card log-in credentials.

You can initially sign up & log in without a credit card, and you can see the available deals, but in order to link to an deal, you’ll need to give them your credit/debit card username and password.

I am extremely guarded about my personal privacy and security and I do not like external entities accessing my bank and/or credit card accounts.

I stay away from financial management web sites like because I don’t care how much security measures they claim, I don’t trust it. (If the FBI can’t keep out hackers, I don’t think Intuit has a chance! ha!)

So, keeping security in mind, I thought it was wise to link to a rarely-used credit card account that was totally separate from my every-day accounts, and I also suggest that other users do the same.

Another Caution – Access to Your Purchase History

Plus, another caution: since MyLinkables has “read” access to your credit card account, they are constantly scrutinizing your purchases, in search of your currently linked deals; what’s to stop them from compiling your purchase history and selling the data to marketing companies? I read over their FAQ and Privacy Policy pages, and unless I missed it, I did not see this mentioned anywhere.

How Does MyLinkables Make Money?

One more aspect of MyLinkables is their business plan. I wondered how they were making money if they were the ones sponsoring their own deals.

I emailed them to ask, and to also inquire why a Paypal account was requested, since the refunds are supposedly credited to the linked credit card.

This was their reply:

MyLinkables has integrated with, or is in the process of integrating with several large banks and card networks. For these cards, the savings will be applied directly back to the card. For other cards outside of these integrations, the savings will be deposited into a PayPal account, for example. From PayPal, you have the option to transfer the money directly to a bank account.

Since we’re a start-up, several of our initial offers were or are self-funded, as we build our customer base. However, recent offers available to some of our bank’s consumers have been sponsored by the merchants involved.

Yeah, it all sounds wonderful, but truthfully, I am very hesitant because they do have access to your purchase history. And that could be worth a lot more than a $5 credit to them! So just be cautious everyone!

UPDATE 2012-06-5

MyLinkables is running a 2nd Trader Joe’s offer for $5 off $50, which expires on June 27th.

Their first offer earlier this year worked out well. I made a $45 Trader Joe’s purchase on March 13 and the $5 credit was posted to my Paypal account on March 19. I would definitely use them again, but continue to use my separate credit card.

Project Food Budget / My Healthy Budget: January Wk 2

Project: Food Budget Weekly total: $92.33

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal, home-cooked meals while sticking to a $308.49 $400 monthly budget for all food including groceries, dining out, entertaining, vitamins/supplements, and spices/herbs.

There’s two of us eating 3 (mostly) meals per day. Breakfasts are usually light, and we try to eat left-overs for lunch. My husband occasionally eats take-out lunch at work, & that $ comes out of his personal cash stash.

January – Month Three, Week Two

project food budget

This week, I’ve spent $92.33 for a monthly grand total of $132.07, which leaves $176.42 for the rest of the January.

I don’t want to jinx myself and say I’m doing well this month! ;P

Dining Out: $21.00
Groceries: $71.33

Lots of stock up shopping this week.

Walmart = $3.62: I had 75 and 85 cents online coupons for Muir Glen organic tomatoes, so I purchased six small cans of diced tomatoes – great deal! That averages to .60 for each! I’m going back with more coupons next week!

Market Basket = $16.19: (1.29 less for returned mango from last week.) 32 oz Stonyfield plain yogurt, bag of navel oranges, baby bella mushrooms, 2lb bag of organic sweet potatoes, organic apples & pears, and bananas

Trader Joes = $32.45: TJ’s bacon ends/pieces, mushrooms, feta cheese, bag o’ organic apples, quinoa, shell-on pistachios, peanuts, chicken broth, kiwis, frozen veg lasagna* (*Instead of getting take-out next week, I bought a TJ’s frozen veggie lasagna. For only $6 I don’t have to cook, and it’s a lot cheaper than getting lasagna from a restaurant!)

Whole Foods = $19.07: organic red lentils, butternut squash (local), cara cara oranges, organic lemon, organic kiwis, organic cauliflower, and chocolate bars.

Week of Meals

  1. Thursday: Take out – eggplant parm sub
  2. Friday: Niman Ranch ham steak with brown rice, coleslaw and onion soup
  3. Saturday: Ham Bean soup made with leftover onion soup, tomatoes, & carrots
  4. Sunday: Grassfed beef burgers (local) with brown/white rice, broccoli and coleslaw
  5. Monday: Pork loin slow cooked with diced tomatoes, mushrooms, & carrots with baked potatoes
  6. Tuesday: Bread pizzas with salsa, olives, spinach and cheddar
  7. Wednesday: Roasted cauliflower with fried eggs and salsa

This week’s meals were a little more “meat-sentric” than I usually like, but I was trying to use up some of my frozen CSA meats. Hopefully there will be more veggie meals this next week.

Want to Join the Project Food Budget?

project food budget

If you’d like to participate in the Project Food Budget, get the details and let Emily know you’re on board!

Here’s who else is participating: