Eat Well Spend Less Q&A: Favorite Grocery Stores

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{photo credit: NatalieMaynor on flickr}

I have had several questions lately about the best places to shop, so the timing of our Eat Well, Spend Less Q&A was perfect! The seven of us live in different areas of the United States and Canada, so hopefully one of us will hit on some stores in your area.

I live in southern Oklahoma, right on the OK/TX border, so I can choose to shop in either state fairly easily. And since Alyssa showed us how she shops in Texas, I’ll mention the stores available in my little corner of the country.

I’m not much of a couponer anymore, but for those of you who do, and are fortunate enough to have a Homeland grocery store in your area, this is the place to coupon. While their prices tend to be higher than Walmart, Homeland doubles $1 coupons, which seems to be the exception in the coupon world. This has led to great savings for me in the past. Homeland is where I purchase organic produce, organic/natural products (like peanut butter), and hormone/antibiotic-free meats.

My new favorite store is Aldi. The town 25 minutes north of me just put one in about three months ago, and I love it! The produce is fresh and cheap, and while there isn’t as much of a selection as a regular grocery store, I’ve found I don’t need as many options. I am mainly after produce and juice, and the small size of the store gets me in and out quickly.

Walmart is also in my area, but I’m not a fan because I get very overwhelmed inside that store. However, I like purchasing some of their off-brand items, so I do venture in there, but only when I’m alone.

As I have mentioned before, I love that we have access to Azure Standard. I purchase many of my organic and specialty items from Azure. My milk, eggs, and honey come from a local farm. There is also a nice farmer’s market down the road from our Classical Conversations meeting place that I love to frequent!

What is/are your favorite store(s) to shop for groceries and why?

Mandi {blog} Easy. Homemade.
I’m a big fan of shopping at Walmart simply because of the prices. I typically save 20-30% off the regular grocery store prices without couponing, which makes a big difference in our grocery budget for our family of 6. That said, we also head to Martin’s regularly for organic/specialty products, and I much prefer their summer produce. I’d like to try Aldi’s produce as well, but living in the boonies makes running errands and stopping at multiple grocery stores harder, and I’m not sure the cost savings are worth dragging the kids to one more place after church on Sunday!

Aimee {blog} Simple Bites
A few years ago, I took my readers on a tour of where I shopped, and many were surprised that the supermarket was my last stop – and one I often could skip. I tend to jet around for my goods, stopping at city produce markets, small ethnic shops, and larger organic crookery stores to stock up. Once a week I’ll visit my butcher, and when we’re in the neighbourhoods, I’ll pop into small specialty shops for items like our famous bagels, smoked meat or cheese.

I am convinced that the savings I make when purchasing from the source, far outweigh the time (and gas) spent in seeking the items out. Not to mention the selection offered is wider and the quality of the ingredient are generally much better. If you can

a) source the cheapest versions of your grocery staples
b) take the time to gather them from their various locations and
c) easily transport them back to your kitchen

then you are going to be eating well and spending less.

Jessica {blog} Life as MOM
I used to coupon heavily and pick up every single deal I could get my hands on. As I’ve cleaned up our diet, I’ve lost the coupons almost completely as well as narrowed down our stores. I shop Ralphs for good deals on meat, coffee, and manager specials. I look to Costco for a wealth of organic products, including pasta, tortilla chips, canned tomato products, and dairy. While I get a weekly organic produce box, I still go to Sprouts for killer deals on fresh fruit and veg. I lean on Trader Joe’s for GMO-free items with no additives and fillers. I usually get cereal, crackers, rice cakes, fish, some dairy, and some veg at TJ’s. Those are my top 4. Walmart and Vons are closest to home, so they serve for convenient and quick and the occasional sale.

 

Carrie {blog} Denver Bargains
In our area, King Soopers (Kroger) is my go-to store, but I also shop Sprouts and Sam’s Club. I tend to pick up lots of produce and dried fruit at Sprouts (they have amazing sales) and have only recently begun shopping at Sam’s. I’d resisted the warehouse clubs for awhile, but now that my kids are getting bigger and eating more, it’s made more sense to buy in large packages. I buy staples like canned tomatoes, flour, and sugar there, which enables me to cook for the freezer a lot more efficiently than I was able to do by waiting around for the great sales at the regular grocery store. I buy our ground beef at Ranch Foods Direct, a local butcher – it’s a little more expensive but the taste is worth it (not to mention that it’s antibiotic- and hormone-free).

Shaina {blog} Food for My Family
I don’t have a single one-stop shop favorite. I tend to buy in waves, visiting several stores over a month for different purposes. During the summer months I live off the weekly market, buying as much as I can from local farmers and then complementing that with a trip to a grocery store. During the winter months I take advantage of bulk pricing on organic produce at Costco and cheap organics at Super Target before branching out to the co-op and Whole Foods. Because there are certain things I can only get at one store or another, I just try to buy in bulk (which can also lead to discounts) so that I am not visiting multiple stores each week.

Katie {blog} Kitchen Stewardship
My favorite place to buy food is not a store – I love the Farmer’s Market and mourn when it’s not open (much) in the winter. I prefer to buy in bulk via Country Life Natural Foods (clnf.org in the Midwest) and meat/milk/eggs direct from the farm. Had you asked me if I ever thought I’d get this far from cash registers and checkout lines a few years back, I’d have said, “No way.” Now I can go weeks, even in the winter, without visiting our local big box store (Meijer) that I used to frequent at least weekly. I do have a relatively new membership to Costco, and I must say that I’m really enjoying shopping there. I’m afraid they probably enjoy me shopping there too… ($$$) ;)

What is your favorite store to shop for groceries?

Find out more about our kitchen loves and food habits at the other q&a’s:

Comments

  1. Sara says

    Wegmans! I live in central NY and we have a chain of grocery stores here called Wegmans. They have wonderful produce (including organic), even in the winter, and most importantly for moms, they have the WKids Center. I love dropping my 3 year old off for an hour while the baby and I go about the store. It gives me the time to really compare prices and ingredients with out having to remind my 3 year old not to touch things every 20 seconds. Thank you Wegmans!

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