How to be a (Savvy? Politically aware?) Consumer?

How to be a (Savvy? Politically aware?) Consumer?

For the past ten years (ever since leaving home), I have lived in cities where I didn't have a car. Since outlet stores were usually in the suburbs, I couldn't shop there very easily. This month, we're moving into our first house, and we'll finally have a car! I need to find a way to a) save money on basics and b) buy natural/organic/recycled whenever possible. This may end up being two separate goals--in other words, I may have to sometimes suspend my ethical scruples in order to save money. We'll be living off of one income while I finish my PhD, so the finances will be very tight. Here's my question: I don't have much experience with things like Sam's Club, outlet stores, etc. I see that some of you have mentioned Save-A-Lot and Aldi. Can folks recommend other stores/chains that offer discounted goods? (Not just groceries, necessarily.) I know about Trader Joe's, too, although unfortunately they don't have any in NC, where we'll be moving. Suggestions, anyone? Catalogs would be of interest, too, if they are helpful and inexpensive...
Herb Italian Bread!

Herb Italian Bread!

sometimes interlopers can be a GOOD thing.

sometimes interlopers can be a GOOD thing.

Would rather go organic.

Would rather go organic.

welcome to my house :)

welcome to my house :)

Wilt

Wilt

Large scale composting

Large scale composting