Author Topic: Grocery store conundrum  (Read 6465 times)

MandalayVA

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Grocery store conundrum
« on: October 30, 2014, 01:02:01 PM »
Here's the deal--I live in an urban neighborhood.  Unlike other parts of Richmond my neighborhood has a medium-sized supermarket located about a half-mile from where I live.  "Sweet!" you say.  "I wish I had one that close to me."

But there's a problem--for the most part it sucks.  First, it's expensive.  Yes, I've gotten super-cheap meat there, if I hit it at six a.m. when it opens and the expiry bin has been filled, but for the most part things are consistently at least a dollar more than at other markets.  It does have sales, but for nothing that I buy on a regular basis.  We get our food from the farmers market (seven miles away) or a larger market about four miles away, but in trying to be Mustachian I feel guilty for not using the market within very reasonable walking distance even though I don't like it.  Is the guilt misplaced?

Bob W

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Re: Grocery store conundrum
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2014, 01:09:59 PM »
Yes -- 

And you might as well share your thoughts directly with the upper management of the store as well.  You're probably not the only one thinking this or driving extra.  Could even do a petition/boycott/consumer action movement.

The reality is the store is probably losing money as it is though.

galliver

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Re: Grocery store conundrum
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2014, 01:18:40 PM »
Always good to have a shop that close in case you find out your onions have all rotted in the middle of making dinner, or that you didn't actually have that bag of flour in reserve like you thought. Then you don't have to hop in the car and drive 8 miles just for that one thing. It doesn't mean you have to love that store for everything/anything.

MandalayVA

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Re: Grocery store conundrum
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2014, 01:36:52 PM »
Always good to have a shop that close in case you find out your onions have all rotted in the middle of making dinner, or that you didn't actually have that bag of flour in reserve like you thought. Then you don't have to hop in the car and drive 8 miles just for that one thing. It doesn't mean you have to love that store for everything/anything.

Yeah, generally I treat it like a convenience store.  It also has a surprisingly good wine section. 

BooksAreNerdy

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Re: Grocery store conundrum
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2014, 01:41:00 PM »
If it were me, I would shop at that store for your weekly grocery list, then ship the exact same list from the further away store. See how much higher your bill is, then factor in the cost of driving the extra 16miles round trip.

I did this once with a local discount grocery and aldis. Aldis was cheaper by about $23, but didn't have everything I needed (beets, Brussels sprouts). Plus aldis was several miles further away. So, though it seemed cheaper, it actually wasn't the best option for me.

Obviously not everypne has the time or desire for this sort of exercise, but I thought it was a fun experiment.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Grocery store conundrum
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2014, 01:53:01 PM »
Similar issue in an urban area.  I buy perishables at Target, meat and produce from an independent grocer who is inconveniently located.  Use the chain grocery like a convenience store.

If you bike, have you considered getting a grocery pannier to use for the inconvenient grocer?  Can you use transit with a cart?  That's what I do.

fireferrets

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Re: Grocery store conundrum
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2014, 07:21:43 PM »
Same situation here, the cheap produce market is a 45 minute bike ride, the expensive grocery store a 15 minute one. We like to stock up as much as possible with one big trip to the produce market once a week. Then for non-produce, we go to a medium-expensive grocery store 20 minute-bike-ride-away.

Have you tried looking for ethnic groceries that might be closer to your home? We have recently discovered a new Asian grocery that is significantly closer (2 mi from home) than the asian market we frequented before (>30 mi from home).

2ndTimer

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Re: Grocery store conundrum
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2014, 10:34:15 PM »
I have a similar situation.  My solution is to try to plan my meals and get everything I need on my once-every-ten-days-or-so from the cheaper stores about 4 miles away.  In between if I suddenly must have a green pepper I bite the bullet and buy it at the expensive store.  I also watch for their loss leaders which are sometimes good.

Dicey

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Re: Grocery store conundrum
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2014, 12:07:00 AM »
Ha! I almost never set foot in a conventional grocery store. I also do not shop in the town where I live. I head to the next town over where my routine is 99 Only Store, Grocery Outlet across the street and then Costco around the corner. Throw in a Winco trip every other month or so (not close to home), an occasional Farmer's Market foray and I'm set. Recently, I needed one item and went to the conventional grocery store because I was in the same block for another reason. I was damn shocked at the prices! I literally walked around with my mouth open, gasping at the prices.

It is entirely possible to get great stuff for less than "standard" prices without a ton of extra effort. So, if the better prices are found farther from home, embrace it! Plan your big shops around those stores and do it less often. Set up a pantry and learn how to cook from it. Bike or don't bike. It doesn't really matter, because you won't be doing it very often.

Sidebar rant: It cracks me up that the Grocery Outlet receipt says how much you've "saved". Today I spent $36.79 and "saved" $115.93! Like hell I did, but if I'd gone to the traditional grocery store, the same stuff would have been much spendier and I would have brought home a lot fewer groceries.

MandalayVA

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Re: Grocery store conundrum
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2014, 05:35:28 AM »
Same situation here, the cheap produce market is a 45 minute bike ride, the expensive grocery store a 15 minute one. We like to stock up as much as possible with one big trip to the produce market once a week. Then for non-produce, we go to a medium-expensive grocery store 20 minute-bike-ride-away.

Have you tried looking for ethnic groceries that might be closer to your home? We have recently discovered a new Asian grocery that is significantly closer (2 mi from home) than the asian market we frequented before (>30 mi from home).

The nearest ethnic markets are about 15 miles away.  There's a large Indian/Pakistani population in the West End area of Richmond so that's where the stores are.  I still keep meaning to go check them out--one has a supposedly very good butcher counter with goat meat, which I love.

enigmaT120

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Re: Grocery store conundrum
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2014, 01:13:49 PM »
I love those grocery outlets.  We call them Rainbows, because that either used to be their name or they all had rainbows as part of their sign.  No telling what you'll find, there.  I found some canned pumpkin from China.  Here in Oregon, where pumpkin is grown and processed. 

Dicey

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Re: Grocery store conundrum
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2014, 11:48:12 PM »
I love those grocery outlets.  We call them Rainbows, because that either used to be their name or they all had rainbows as part of their sign.  No telling what you'll find, there.  I found some canned pumpkin from China.  Here in Oregon, where pumpkin is grown and processed.
Yeah, crazy. I make it a point to avoid buying any food from China at bargain stores. Don't trust it at all.

Goldielocks

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Re: Grocery store conundrum
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2014, 10:32:01 AM »
It costs me $1 to $2 to drive to the lower cost groceries.. I keep that in mind when comparing costs.  For a gallon of milk, biking locally makes sense.  Large shops every two weeks are at the other places.

Also, you save more by choosing what you eat sometimes over a 15% difference.  Eg  Eggo waffles bought on sale are still more than homemade  oatmeal made with raisins and pumpkin seeds.

If your local prices are like what I saw on Boston, though,(30% to 50% more) I would avoid the fancy local market except for a very short list of items.

Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: Grocery store conundrum
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2014, 07:49:21 AM »
We live in a super urban area and have a bunch of grocery stores near us, but, most are extremely expensive (Whole Foods is closest to us), so we rarely shop there. We drive out to Costco and Aldi's once a month to stock up and then we rotate between a local Korean market and a cheap, cheap chain (Market Basket) for our weekly stock-ups. It saves us in the long run.

galliver

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Re: Grocery store conundrum
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2014, 12:16:21 PM »
Also, you save more by choosing what you eat sometimes over a 15% difference.  Eg  Eggo waffles bought on sale are still more than homemade  oatmeal made with raisins and pumpkin seeds.

But...oatmeal isn't waffles...o_O

I can see what you're getting at, and there are plenty of reasons to have oatmeal rather than Eggo. But if you actually want an Eggo waffle, it would be a terrible substitute. I would propose homemade pancakes or french toast (which can be frozen and toasted just like waffles) as more reasonable substitutions.

Goldielocks

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Re: Grocery store conundrum
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2014, 12:54:35 PM »
Also, you save more by choosing what you eat sometimes over a 15% difference.  Eg  Eggo waffles bought on sale are still more than homemade  oatmeal made with raisins and pumpkin seeds.

But...oatmeal isn't waffles...o_O

I can see what you're getting at, and there are plenty of reasons to have oatmeal rather than Eggo. But if you actually want an Eggo waffle, it would be a terrible substitute. I would propose homemade pancakes or french toast (which can be frozen and toasted just like waffles) as more reasonable substitutions.

LOL,   and Eggos are not homemade waffles either. ...   my choice would be the home made ones over oatmeal any day...

Okay, how about this, choosing to pay for steak versus a pot of chili for dinner -- both super tasty, but chili from the expensive store will likely be less than steak from the low cost store.

I equate it to people thinking that they are "SAVING" because they have great coupons.   Choosing packaged brand names at half off is still more money than full cost home made meals.   (Spaghetti sauce, frozen entrees, bread, and yogurt come to mind)    But this is getting OT -- OP is likely comparing Chili to chili, after all.