Grocery shopping strategy

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
jlawrence01
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by jlawrence01 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:37 pm

Blake7 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:33 pm
02nz wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:24 pm
Asian markets, e.g., H Mart, can be a way to save on produce even if you're not looking for "Asian" produce. A lot of fruit and vegetables are substantially cheaper there than at "American" grocery stores.
How about meat? :|

Meat pricing in Asian markets (H-Mart, Mitsuwa, etc.) is a crap shoot. Some of the meat prices are far LESS than the standard grocery store. Others are MUCH HIGHER than others.

At my local Korean supermarket (not H-Mart) sells a store ground ground beef for $1.99/lb and pork for $0.99/lb flash frozen after grinding it. It works really well for the dishes that I use. When in Chicago, I would buy all of my ground meats at Mitsuwa Marketplace. The quality in both places are excellent.

eddot98
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by eddot98 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:17 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:35 pm
mikeyzito22 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:55 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:51 pm
My groceries come from a mixture of farmers markets (from April to November), Whole Foods, Safeway, and several neighborhood specialty stores. Yes, it's similar to holding individual stocks (which I would never do), but it works for me. All of them are within one mile from home, and I know which products are at which store, and I can follow the sales on the internet. I have a Walmart about 3-4 miles away, and a Target about 3 miles away. I never shop at either. I find them to be too depressing. I went to Aldi once (10 miles away), and found nothing I was willing to buy.
+1. Walmart...really? I much prefer local yummy food from Whole Foods, Freddy's and local markets. I'm sorry, but my body is a temple not a throwaway...maybe my Walmart will induce portfolio dysfunction, or a shorter life span.
What exactly do you mean by this?

Meat, produce, and deli items at Walmart is of the same quality as other places. Apples, spinach, Butterball deli turkey, 90/10 ground beef and boneless chicken breasts are not less healthy because they're from Walmart, as far as I know.
I must disagree. They may (or may not) be as healthy, but meat, fresh fish, and vegetables from Guido’s (a 2 location grocer in the Berkshires) are better tasting than most corresponding supermarket items because they are of better quality. Just like farmers markets’ fresh vegetables taste better than supermarket fresh vegetables. Guido’s buys and sells only the best products. Their pasta is locally made fresh pasta or imported dry pasta from Italy. Quality matters for us - we don’t skrimp on it, never have, even when we weren’t doing as well as we are now.
We don’t buy fruit there or staples or paper goods, only other fresh items, and we go at least a couple times a week as we let nothing spoil and we try to never freeze anything.

mikeyzito22
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by mikeyzito22 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:33 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:35 pm
mikeyzito22 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:55 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:51 pm
My groceries come from a mixture of farmers markets (from April to November), Whole Foods, Safeway, and several neighborhood specialty stores. Yes, it's similar to holding individual stocks (which I would never do), but it works for me. All of them are within one mile from home, and I know which products are at which store, and I can follow the sales on the internet. I have a Walmart about 3-4 miles away, and a Target about 3 miles away. I never shop at either. I find them to be too depressing. I went to Aldi once (10 miles away), and found nothing I was willing to buy.
+1. Walmart...really? I much prefer local yummy food from Whole Foods, Freddy's and local markets. I'm sorry, but my body is a temple not a throwaway...maybe my Walmart will induce portfolio dysfunction, or a shorter life span.
What exactly do you mean by this?

Meat, produce, and deli items at Walmart is of the same quality as other places. Apples, spinach, Butterball deli turkey, 90/10 ground beef and boneless chicken breasts are not less healthy because they're from Walmart, as far as I know.
As far as I know, it isn't mostly Organic and is very USA centric. No problem though, go shopping there. I have a financial stake in you eating and shopping there. Go USA! Go steak! Go July 4th!

stoptothink
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by stoptothink » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:39 pm

eddot98 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:17 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:35 pm
mikeyzito22 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:55 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:51 pm
My groceries come from a mixture of farmers markets (from April to November), Whole Foods, Safeway, and several neighborhood specialty stores. Yes, it's similar to holding individual stocks (which I would never do), but it works for me. All of them are within one mile from home, and I know which products are at which store, and I can follow the sales on the internet. I have a Walmart about 3-4 miles away, and a Target about 3 miles away. I never shop at either. I find them to be too depressing. I went to Aldi once (10 miles away), and found nothing I was willing to buy.
+1. Walmart...really? I much prefer local yummy food from Whole Foods, Freddy's and local markets. I'm sorry, but my body is a temple not a throwaway...maybe my Walmart will induce portfolio dysfunction, or a shorter life span.
What exactly do you mean by this?

Meat, produce, and deli items at Walmart is of the same quality as other places. Apples, spinach, Butterball deli turkey, 90/10 ground beef and boneless chicken breasts are not less healthy because they're from Walmart, as far as I know.
I must disagree. They may (or may not) be as healthy, but meat, fresh fish, and vegetables from Guido’s (a 2 location grocer in the Berkshires) are better tasting than most corresponding supermarket items because they are of better quality. Just like farmers markets’ fresh vegetables taste better than supermarket fresh vegetables. Guido’s buys and sells only the best products. Their pasta is locally made fresh pasta or imported dry pasta from Italy. Quality matters for us - we don’t skrimp on it, never have, even when we weren’t doing as well as we are now.
We don’t buy fruit there or staples or paper goods, only other fresh items, and we go at least a couple times a week as we let nothing spoil and we try to never freeze anything.
The "health halo". You may believe these products perceived as "higher quality" taste better, but the majority of published research suggests it is highly unlikely you can differentiate in a blind taste test. And that isn't taking into account the lack of scientific evidence that it is "healthier". Also, having overseen a program for 8yrs which fed 5,000+ schoolchildren on a daily basis; in my experience, there is often a huge delta between what you are told about the origin and growing/harvesting/cooking of various foodstuffs and the truth. But, you cannot discount the power of placebo: if you perceive it to be tastier and "healthier", then it just might be to you.

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five2one
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by five2one » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:35 pm

Majority of our items come from costco for a family of 5 while milk & eggs are wal-mart (cheaper).

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tooluser
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by tooluser » Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:16 pm

Blake7 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:33 pm
02nz wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:24 pm
Asian markets, e.g., H Mart, can be a way to save on produce even if you're not looking for "Asian" produce. A lot of fruit and vegetables are substantially cheaper there than at "American" grocery stores.
How about meat? :|
"Mexican" grocery stores, at least in L.A. Cheaper, and you can get different cuts than in the "American" stores. Whole pork leg for a big barbecue, pork roast with skin attached, shank steaks, skirt steak, goat.

"Japanese" grocery stores also carry special cuts of meat for Japanese-style cooking, but I find they are more expensive, not cheaper.
The discovery of America, and that of a passage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope, are the two greatest and most important events recorded in the history of mankind. -- Adam Smith, 1776

koryg75
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by koryg75 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:59 pm

Aldi is fantastic. And their newer stores are even better (more room and and checkout lanes). It’s almost impossible to go over $100 for 1 week of food for my family of 4. Granted we need to get about 10% of our list at another store buts it’s totally worth it.

bryansmile
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by bryansmile » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:31 pm

Some of the posts here reminded me of a neighbor. Once our cars passed each other on the street, we were asked where to and told them we were going to Aldi at the next town over (a blue-collar town), and their response? "We only shop our groceries at Whole Foods."

fru-gal
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by fru-gal » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:24 am

I don't shop at Walmart because they pay their employees so badly that we wind up paying part of their living expenses through food stamps, etc. So, not only more costly that it looks, but ethically sucks.

In my area, Dave's Market has convenient locations, excellent produce, and stores the size where they have room for everything but it doesn't feel like an expedition to get from one side of the store to the other. I have done some price comparisons and they equal Stop and Shop for prices.

Stop and Shop has inferior produce and seems aimed at large families. I don't want nor do I have room to store 12 roll packs of toilet paper. Few things come in sizes for single people. Too big a store, due to those bizarre aisles that sell beach balls, etc.

Occasionally I make the longish drive to Trader Joe's because they have a few products I like (which sooner or later they stop carrying.) They are not a one stop store.

Whole Foods is too far away and their prepared foods are inferior to the ones at the Whole Foods I used to shop at in California. Quite disappointing.

MnyGrl
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by MnyGrl » Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:28 am

ICMoney wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:19 pm
I was a big Aldi shopper until about 8 months ago. That is when I first tried free grocery pickup/delivery and it is nearly all we do now. Our local Kroger affiliate in particular has great online coupons for pickup customers only and is now our go-to grocery vendor (and I have never even been in the store, only done free pickup). With the online coupons it is comparable to Aldi pricewise I'd say, and in our case is much closer than Aldi. The time savings mean more time for the gym for me which is kind of an extra "savings" through better health.

We are a large family with young kids, upper 30s, for what it's worth.

Best, ICM
Aldi now has delivery. I haven't tried it since there is an Aldi within a mile from me, but you may want to:

https://www.aldi.us/en/about-aldi/groce ... instacart/

stoptothink
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by stoptothink » Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:30 am

fru-gal wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:24 am
I don't shop at Walmart because they pay their employees so badly that we wind up paying part of their living expenses through food stamps, etc. So, not only more costly that it looks, but ethically sucks.
The base starting pay for a WalMart employee is $11. If you listed the stores you generally frequent, I bet you most of them pay their employees less. WalMart has a (somewhat) undeserved bad reputation for low quality and treating its employees bad simply because it is the biggest store on the block.

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LadyGeek
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Jan 22, 2019 4:59 pm

I removed an off-topic post on recent food poisoning outbreaks.

Please stay focused on the consumer aspects.
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david
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by david » Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:02 pm

1- Minimize food waste. People typically pay for a lot they don't end up using. If you consistently buy too much of something, try to cut back on it. When prepping meals think about what is starting to go south or has been sitting. Being flexible with dinner plans and having many recipes in your wheelhouse come in handy. Whening think about the times you're going out to dinner during the week and won't be able to cook.

2- Shop seasonally. Buy produce in season, typically best prices, freshest, and there's a variety of different foods throughout the year.

3- For durible goods, have a few on hand. If there is a sale, buy a few more. If it's really expensive you have some runway. It also allows you to better bunch stores together (discussed later). Don't go nuts stockpiling because storing stuff has a cost as well.
Having a decent pantry that you can use your whip up a quick meal if you're running out of stuff or couldn't go shopping this week or build a meal out of a sale item or two goes a long way.

4- know prices and look at the local fliers for stores in your area. For the items you buy regularly, what is the typical good price in your area? Where at what store is that item typically the best price? Sometimes one place will have a consistent best price and other places may beat it when on sale. Having an idea for all the things you purchase regularly will let you know whether to buy now or hold off and whether to go to a store.

5- build a list. What's a good value this week at the stores in your area? Write down a list with these items. Also make a list of what you need. Then use these lists to figure out what store(s) to go to this week taking into account the distance/time/expense you need to travel between stores and home, how much you need/want the item, whether the deal is good and how much you save vs buying the item at another store, what meals you want to make this week. Then figure out a buy list for a few stores. Some items you may decide to purchase at a more expensive store because it's not worth going to the cheaper store 5 miles away to save 40 cents. It might be worth it at other times because you'll be in the same shopping center and there are other items you can pick up at the same time. For more durable goods, you may skip the purchase until next week or for a few weeks until you go to the store you want to buy at.

6- use coupons. Where available combine the rest of these items with coupons you already see, are in fliers, or find online. We don't do this terribly much since a lot of what we buy is produce and don't buy a lot of beauty products or processed foods that are frequently couponed. Organizing, storing, and using coupons can take time do it's good to factor that in along with travel costs of going to multiple places.

This system allows me to hit a few stores from a list that includes ethnic foods stores, fruit stores, dollar stores, warehouse stores, and traditional grocery stores on a rotating basis depending on what we want/need, time commitments that week, and sales.

Growing up, my dad did "extreme couponing" basically as a job going around to stores. Both before and after the TV show craze. So, shopping at multiple places was commonplace. I learned a lot going with him. And I learned what I definitely don't want to be doing or spending my time. The system my family uses is flexible, and may seem extreme (it does to my wife), but it's pretty simple if you can keep most of it in your head apart from the shopping lists. Moving to a new area like I recently did meant going around and figuring out new stores, prices, and building a new routine, which can take done time as you learn what stores are available for what items that you regularly use.

Frank Grimes
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Frank Grimes » Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:08 pm

We have a family of 4 (two young kids). I meal prep 2-3 meals per week that will feed us for 5 or 6 nights. I shop at Harris Teeter once a week. Only that store because I know where everything is so it goes fast. No coupon clipping or price arbitrage between competing stores.

--Once I decide on the meals I'm making that week I check the pantry then make a list of exactly what I need to make those meals that I don't already have on hand. This is mostly perishables like veggies and meats
--Certain staples like things we make for breakfast and lunch, milk for the kids and beer for the parents are recurring purchases every week and go on the list.
--Nonrecurring things like diapers, paper towels, soap, etc get added to the list when needed.

Then I take the list to the store and buy only what's on the list. Except if I happen to see a good sale on a regularly used item that will keep, then I'll stock up (for example HT sometimes does buy 2 get 3 free sales on their coffee, which is pretty tasty and that's a huge deal). Or when I raid the bargain bin for damaged/discontinued items that I'll definitely use.

In and out in like 45 minutes for ~120 bucks a week. Often a lot less than that if we're not buying stuff like diapers and beer, which combined is like 40 bucks alone.

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Abe
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Abe » Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:16 pm

Jimmie wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:22 pm

Fun fact: The founders of ALDI are the brothers who also founded Trader Joe's. Both stores operate similarly in two observable ways. One, they do not sell anything that needs to be weighed. This saves the cashier's time and moves the customers through the line faster.
Bananas have to be weighed.
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Epsilon Delta » Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:21 pm

Abe wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:16 pm
Jimmie wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:22 pm

Fun fact: The founders of ALDI are the brothers who also founded Trader Joe's. Both stores operate similarly in two observable ways. One, they do not sell anything that needs to be weighed. This saves the cashier's time and moves the customers through the line faster.
Bananas have to be weighed.
Not at Trader Joe's. Price is per banana.

Haven't bought bananas at ALDI but I can't see why they would have to be weight there either.

JBTX
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by JBTX » Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:46 pm

I have to say I'm becoming a fan of walmart pickup using walmart grocery app. I've use both kroger and walmarts pickup and walmart is superior. It is a good way to get walmarts prices and selection without the beat down of stepping inside of a Walmart.

Side by side, Walmart app is better because:

- walmart is almost always 5-10% cheaper, even against kroger specials. The one exception is canned soft drinks packs which are often on promotional pricing at kroger.

- the app is a bit better with walmart.

- walmart app shows you final pricing. Kroger cart doesn't show discounts in the cart pricing. You don't know what your final pricing and bill is until pickup. The preliminary total doesn't include the discounts.

- you get text notification when it is ready (scheduled time) and then with walmart you click on link and via your GPS they track your trip and come out the door when you arrive.

- kroger has a $4.95 fee. Walmart doesn't as long as you purchase $35 worth.

shunkman
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by shunkman » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:18 pm

bestplans wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:24 pm
I also use Walmart pretty exclusively. I find the quality and price better or at least comparable with others, plus their self checkout (when I use it) and bagging process (by the cashiers) seems to be more efficient than the local full service groceries. Also it's closer. Several different variables should be considered.
We avoid the Walmart that is nearest to our home. The check out lines are always long and the cashiers all seem to have bad attitudes. The store is dirty and the aisles are overcrowded. Heavy tractor trailer trucks, some of which leak fuel or oil, are parked randomly in the customer parking area. Recently there have been fights in the store involving groups of people. This WM has been this way for years so I blame the management not the poorly paid hourly workers. But it is always busy so maybe I'm the only one bothered by such things.

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fishandgolf
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by fishandgolf » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:36 pm

I didn't read all the posts but does anyone shop at Woodman's? They are predominately located in Wisconsin, but do have a few locations in MN, IL and MI.

Great place........excellent choices........ Prices are much better than Walmart.....and a tad lower than Aldies.

We're about an hour from one .......don't go their too often but when we do, it's great. The place is HUGE....and takes a long time to get oriented on where their stuff is located (at least on the initial shopping spree). A down side...sorta.........they only take cash or debit card.

Great place to shop :sharebeer :sharebeer

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:51 pm

Abe wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:16 pm
Jimmie wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:22 pm

Fun fact: The founders of ALDI are the brothers who also founded Trader Joe's. Both stores operate similarly in two observable ways. One, they do not sell anything that needs to be weighed. This saves the cashier's time and moves the customers through the line faster.
Bananas have to be weighed.
Aldi in my city (probably elsewhere) used to have it so that weighing wasn't needed. Bananas were sold in bunches, apples either in bags or individual, grapes in bags or clamshells. That changed a while back. It's still fairly limited, like broccoli crowns and green beans and such are prepackaged rather than loose like in the supermarket.

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Abe
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Abe » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:34 am

We buy boneless pork loin when on sale for around $1.00 to $1.29 per pound. I slice them on a cutting board at home about 3/4 inch thick and we wrap them 2 to a package and freeze them. That's enough for a meal for the wife and I. I also buy marked down meat at a local super market. If it doesn't sell after a certain time period, they mark it down. We sometimes get real good deals on beef because it's so high it doesn't sell at regular price so they mark it down.
Slow and steady wins the race.

michaeljc70
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:17 pm

I didn't read all 3 pages of comments, so sorry if I am duplicating. I find the prices for groceries at Walmart to be high compared to the sale prices elsewhere. They also don't have the same kind of sales like other stores do. Do you only go to the grocery store once a week? I generally go 2x a week and pick whatever 2 stores have the best deals that week. I shop at Costco (mostly for things like olives, olive oil, cheese, garbage bags, etc. rather than meat/veggies), Aldi, Jewel (Safeway), Marianos (Kroger) and Tony's (local chain). It is also convenient for me to hit more than 1 store if worth it because my Costco, Aldi and Jewel are literally all in a row.

I also buy what is on sale. I don't go with a list thinking I must buy X,Y and Z today. I vacuum seal and freeze meats bought on sale. I can get chicken leg quarters for 49 cents/lb sometimes, pork shoulder for 99 cents/lb, boneless chicken breast for 99 cents/lb, ribeyes/porterhouse for $5/lb, etc. I buy whatever veggies we like are on sale or reasonable that week.

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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:29 pm

Impromptu wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:48 pm
I shopped at Aldi for 13 years prior to moving to a state that did not have them. I found that most of their food was as good as or better than the more expensive grocery stores. Later I found out that much of it is the same major brand food, but has different packaging. Their produce has improved markedly from when I first went, too. I think that some people convince themselves that because a food is more expensive it is better. Maybe poor people shop at Aldi, but low costs are how poor people can become rich people, and also how rich people remain rich people. Germany also has other discount stores, with Lidl starting to open some US stores. I cannot wait for one of them to open up in my area.

One thing is without a doubt, Aldi chocolate is superior to any of the US chocolates you can find in the other grocery stores, Hershey, Symphony, Cadbury, Godiva, Ghirardelli, etc.

It is better to go to the store hungry. Do a comparison on what you buy. How happy will you be 3 days later when you had a bad day, but remembered that that you had filled your kitchen with comfort food vs broccoli and kale? You will be much happier to have the comfort food.
Yes!

Also, Aldi, at least where I live (Chicago), has remodeled almost all their stores in the last couple of years and changed their product mix quite a bit. In fact, I go less now as it seems bougier and more expensive. I don't need/buy soy milk, almond milk, sunflower oil, vegan cheese and all that stuff. It is used to be where you got the basics for cheap.

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Abe
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Abe » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:37 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:17 pm
I find the prices for groceries at Walmart to be high compared to the sale prices elsewhere. They also don't have the same kind of sales like other stores do.
Yes, Walmart is not always the lowest price. Many items can be bought cheaper when on sale at other stores. Walmart used to match other stores sale prices if you had their ad. I don't know is they still do that or not. Now they have a program called Savings Catcher. You can scan or manually enter your receipt number on their website, and they, supposedly, will give you a credit if other stores in your area have the same item cheaper. I did it for a while, but now they have changed it where you have to have a smart phone to do it. I liked it better when the matched other stores prices at the checkout counter. :greedy
Slow and steady wins the race.

jlawrence01
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by jlawrence01 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:47 pm

fishandgolf wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:36 pm
I didn't read all the posts but does anyone shop at Woodman's? They are predominately located in Wisconsin, but do have a few locations in MN, IL and MI.

Great place........excellent choices........ Prices are much better than Walmart.....and a tad lower than Aldies.

We're about an hour from one .......don't go their too often but when we do, it's great. The place is HUGE....and takes a long time to get oriented on where their stuff is located (at least on the initial shopping spree). A down side...sorta.........they only take cash or debit card.

Great place to shop :sharebeer :sharebeer

First, Woodman's is located ONLY in Wisconsin and Illinois. They have 17 oversized stores and I have been in most of them. For those unfamiliar with Woodman's they are a mega-grocery store that is LARGER than a Walmart superstore and it is ALL food, no general merchandise.

What I like about Woodman's is that they source a great deal of their products from local producers in I, WI, MN, and MI and they carry ALL of the local brands and most of the national brands. Unlike the standard grocery stores that charge vendors slotting fees which favor the large consumer goods manufacturers over the little guys, Woodman's is democratic and sells about any local brand. Of course that means that they have literally thousands of cheeses and hundreds of brands of sausages.

Also, I like the fact that if I am looking for an unusual item, I will find it at Woodman's and usually at a decent price. I also like that they have discount sections within the store with markdowns that can be unbelievable.

What I don't like about the store is its massive size. You can not run in and get anything quickly. And if it is your "stock up" trip, it is a 60-90 minute jaunt to find everything. Also, the cash only policy can be a real hassle as I did not carry that much cash when living in Chicago.

I did not find the pricing at Woodman's to be all that compelling. They are significantly more expensive that ALDI. There were certain departments at Woodman's - the deli, some meat products, that were very competitive to the groceries in Chicagoland. However, many of the staples were similar to other grocery chains in the area. I shopped the place more for the broad variety of goods than the pricing.

trirod
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by trirod » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:50 pm

I use Meijer for our main shop, but buy certain specific items at Aldi since they are a lot cheaper there (organic milk, Greek yogurts, frozen tilapia and some fruit and veg when they’re on sale). Also use Costco for meats, cheeses, nuts and bread.

Would love to be able to go to Trader Joe's but the nearest one is 40 miles away.

Almost never use coupons since it’s more time and effort than I can justify, and I usually buy store brands anyway.

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Triple digit golfer
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Triple digit golfer » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:27 pm

mikeyzito22 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:33 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:35 pm
mikeyzito22 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:55 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:51 pm
My groceries come from a mixture of farmers markets (from April to November), Whole Foods, Safeway, and several neighborhood specialty stores. Yes, it's similar to holding individual stocks (which I would never do), but it works for me. All of them are within one mile from home, and I know which products are at which store, and I can follow the sales on the internet. I have a Walmart about 3-4 miles away, and a Target about 3 miles away. I never shop at either. I find them to be too depressing. I went to Aldi once (10 miles away), and found nothing I was willing to buy.
+1. Walmart...really? I much prefer local yummy food from Whole Foods, Freddy's and local markets. I'm sorry, but my body is a temple not a throwaway...maybe my Walmart will induce portfolio dysfunction, or a shorter life span.
What exactly do you mean by this?

Meat, produce, and deli items at Walmart is of the same quality as other places. Apples, spinach, Butterball deli turkey, 90/10 ground beef and boneless chicken breasts are not less healthy because they're from Walmart, as far as I know.
As far as I know, it isn't mostly Organic and is very USA centric. No problem though, go shopping there. I have a financial stake in you eating and shopping there. Go USA! Go steak! Go July 4th!
You are missing my point. Organic meat vs. non-organic meat is different. I'm talking about your standard, 90/10 ground beef. You think the Walmart variety of 90/10 ground beef is of lesser quality than other stores? What about their standard 2% milk? What is different about it?

Sure, grass-fed beef is different than non grass-fed beef. Cage-free eggs are different than standard eggs (although I still doubt the quality is much different). I'm not debating that. I'm saying that your basic sour cream, milk, eggs, ground beef, etc. are the same regardless of where you buy them.

rongos
Posts: 109
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 8:36 am

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by rongos » Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:28 pm

If you are not interested in store loyalty program, memberships, and don't pay attention to sales and discounts, Walmart can be the best for across-the-board lower prices with no strings attached.

stoptothink
Posts: 6518
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by stoptothink » Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:32 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:27 pm
mikeyzito22 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:33 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:35 pm
mikeyzito22 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:55 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:51 pm
My groceries come from a mixture of farmers markets (from April to November), Whole Foods, Safeway, and several neighborhood specialty stores. Yes, it's similar to holding individual stocks (which I would never do), but it works for me. All of them are within one mile from home, and I know which products are at which store, and I can follow the sales on the internet. I have a Walmart about 3-4 miles away, and a Target about 3 miles away. I never shop at either. I find them to be too depressing. I went to Aldi once (10 miles away), and found nothing I was willing to buy.
+1. Walmart...really? I much prefer local yummy food from Whole Foods, Freddy's and local markets. I'm sorry, but my body is a temple not a throwaway...maybe my Walmart will induce portfolio dysfunction, or a shorter life span.
What exactly do you mean by this?

Meat, produce, and deli items at Walmart is of the same quality as other places. Apples, spinach, Butterball deli turkey, 90/10 ground beef and boneless chicken breasts are not less healthy because they're from Walmart, as far as I know.
As far as I know, it isn't mostly Organic and is very USA centric. No problem though, go shopping there. I have a financial stake in you eating and shopping there. Go USA! Go steak! Go July 4th!
You are missing my point. Organic meat vs. non-organic meat is different. I'm talking about your standard, 90/10 ground beef. You think the Walmart variety of 90/10 ground beef is of lesser quality than other stores? What about their standard 2% milk? What is different about it?

Sure, grass-fed beef is different than non grass-fed beef. Cage-free eggs are different than standard eggs (although I still doubt the quality is much different). I'm not debating that. I'm saying that your basic sour cream, milk, eggs, ground beef, etc. are the same regardless of where you buy them.
The health halo effect is pretty powerful. Been shown many times in published studies that the more you pay for a food item, the healthier you think it is and the better you think it tastes. For the most part, all of these grocers are getting their products from the exact same source.

Topic Author
Triple digit golfer
Posts: 3466
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 5:57 pm

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Triple digit golfer » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:30 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:32 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:27 pm
mikeyzito22 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:33 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:35 pm
mikeyzito22 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:55 pm

+1. Walmart...really? I much prefer local yummy food from Whole Foods, Freddy's and local markets. I'm sorry, but my body is a temple not a throwaway...maybe my Walmart will induce portfolio dysfunction, or a shorter life span.
What exactly do you mean by this?

Meat, produce, and deli items at Walmart is of the same quality as other places. Apples, spinach, Butterball deli turkey, 90/10 ground beef and boneless chicken breasts are not less healthy because they're from Walmart, as far as I know.
As far as I know, it isn't mostly Organic and is very USA centric. No problem though, go shopping there. I have a financial stake in you eating and shopping there. Go USA! Go steak! Go July 4th!
You are missing my point. Organic meat vs. non-organic meat is different. I'm talking about your standard, 90/10 ground beef. You think the Walmart variety of 90/10 ground beef is of lesser quality than other stores? What about their standard 2% milk? What is different about it?

Sure, grass-fed beef is different than non grass-fed beef. Cage-free eggs are different than standard eggs (although I still doubt the quality is much different). I'm not debating that. I'm saying that your basic sour cream, milk, eggs, ground beef, etc. are the same regardless of where you buy them.
The health halo effect is pretty powerful. Been shown many times in published studies that the more you pay for a food item, the healthier you think it is and the better you think it tastes. For the most part, all of these grocers are getting their products from the exact same source.
Absolutely. No question in my mind.

NMBob
Posts: 253
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:13 pm

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by NMBob » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:45 pm

Albertsons is the closest to my house, they have the highest prices. I will go there with the sale flyer and my list of items off the sale flyer. and that will save money over walmart. Also if you do that on first military saturday or first seniors wednesday each month, you save 10 percent more off the sale prices. In particular, when does walmart have a sales flyer for ribeyes or tbones for 5.98 like albertsons or smiths will . Or baby back ribs for $2.99..?? Smiths/Kroger definitely has better prices than albertsons. And will shop there off sale flyer and also coupons they mail many, many of which are for items you have previously bought. Walmart, seems the big stores have better prices than the neighborhood walmart which are basically groceries only. If not off a sale flyer, walmart may tend to be a little cheaper than smiths.

I think there are several dollars to be saved instead of just buying at walmart and not buying some sale items in the other stores. And please note and watch out, often the bigger sizes at walmart cost more, yes more, than two of the smaller size adding to same volume etc!

Costco has some stuff that is a good deal, and a lot of stuff that is not.
Last edited by NMBob on Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.

michaeljc70
Posts: 5786
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:47 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:30 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:32 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:27 pm
mikeyzito22 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:33 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:35 pm


What exactly do you mean by this?

Meat, produce, and deli items at Walmart is of the same quality as other places. Apples, spinach, Butterball deli turkey, 90/10 ground beef and boneless chicken breasts are not less healthy because they're from Walmart, as far as I know.
As far as I know, it isn't mostly Organic and is very USA centric. No problem though, go shopping there. I have a financial stake in you eating and shopping there. Go USA! Go steak! Go July 4th!
You are missing my point. Organic meat vs. non-organic meat is different. I'm talking about your standard, 90/10 ground beef. You think the Walmart variety of 90/10 ground beef is of lesser quality than other stores? What about their standard 2% milk? What is different about it?

Sure, grass-fed beef is different than non grass-fed beef. Cage-free eggs are different than standard eggs (although I still doubt the quality is much different). I'm not debating that. I'm saying that your basic sour cream, milk, eggs, ground beef, etc. are the same regardless of where you buy them.
The health halo effect is pretty powerful. Been shown many times in published studies that the more you pay for a food item, the healthier you think it is and the better you think it tastes. For the most part, all of these grocers are getting their products from the exact same source.
Absolutely. No question in my mind.
Yep. I've always thought how good a cook/chef you are makes a big difference. People that buy everything at Whole Foods and can barely cook make me laugh when they have me over. "It is from Whole Foods". I could buy the same ingredients at Aldi and make it taste much better. And I am no professional chef...but I have been cooking a long time and do practice, learn, research, etc. Thinking because you bought your ingredients at a certain place is going to make the meal amazing is silly.

mikeyzito22
Posts: 243
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:42 pm

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by mikeyzito22 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:21 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:27 pm
mikeyzito22 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:33 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:35 pm
mikeyzito22 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:55 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:51 pm
My groceries come from a mixture of farmers markets (from April to November), Whole Foods, Safeway, and several neighborhood specialty stores. Yes, it's similar to holding individual stocks (which I would never do), but it works for me. All of them are within one mile from home, and I know which products are at which store, and I can follow the sales on the internet. I have a Walmart about 3-4 miles away, and a Target about 3 miles away. I never shop at either. I find them to be too depressing. I went to Aldi once (10 miles away), and found nothing I was willing to buy.
+1. Walmart...really? I much prefer local yummy food from Whole Foods, Freddy's and local markets. I'm sorry, but my body is a temple not a throwaway...maybe my Walmart will induce portfolio dysfunction, or a shorter life span.
What exactly do you mean by this?

Meat, produce, and deli items at Walmart is of the same quality as other places. Apples, spinach, Butterball deli turkey, 90/10 ground beef and boneless chicken breasts are not less healthy because they're from Walmart, as far as I know.
As far as I know, it isn't mostly Organic and is very USA centric. No problem though, go shopping there. I have a financial stake in you eating and shopping there. Go USA! Go steak! Go July 4th!
You are missing my point. Organic meat vs. non-organic meat is different. I'm talking about your standard, 90/10 ground beef. You think the Walmart variety of 90/10 ground beef is of lesser quality than other stores? What about their standard 2% milk? What is different about it?

Sure, grass-fed beef is different than non grass-fed beef. Cage-free eggs are different than standard eggs (although I still doubt the quality is much different). I'm not debating that. I'm saying that your basic sour cream, milk, eggs, ground beef, etc. are the same regardless of where you buy them.
Point taken.

User avatar
tooluser
Posts: 467
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:04 pm

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by tooluser » Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:38 pm

Abe wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:34 am
We buy boneless pork loin when on sale for around $1.00 to $1.29 per pound. I slice them on a cutting board at home about 3/4 inch thick and we wrap them 2 to a package and freeze them. That's enough for a meal for the wife and I. I also buy marked down meat at a local super market. If it doesn't sell after a certain time period, they mark it down. We sometimes get real good deals on beef because it's so high it doesn't sell at regular price so they mark it down.
Another great way to slice a whole pork loin is to make two roasts, several thick chops, and a bunch of thin chops. Roasts for special occasions or more people, thick chops for dinner, thin chops for a quick breakfast or lunch.

You are lucky. Most of the marked down beef near me has started turning green by then. :mrgreen:
The discovery of America, and that of a passage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope, are the two greatest and most important events recorded in the history of mankind. -- Adam Smith, 1776

criticalmass
Posts: 1318
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by criticalmass » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:16 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:09 pm
Market Basket when we happen to be nearby (none are close) and Stop & Shop otherwise, using coupons and paying attention for gas points.
Market Basket is only in Massachusetts and a few other New England areas. Their store is not unionized and is often much lower in price than union grocers it competes with like Albertson's Shaws. Stop & Shop is a brand name used by Royal Ahold Delhaize for some of their northeastern USA stores. Other Royal Ahold Delhaize brand names in various regions besides Stop & Shop include Food Lion, Martin's, Hannaford, and Giant.

criticalmass
Posts: 1318
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by criticalmass » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:23 pm

fru-gal wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:24 am
I don't shop at Walmart because they pay their employees so badly that we wind up paying part of their living expenses through food stamps, etc. So, not only more costly that it looks, but ethically sucks.
Which stores do you elusively shop at that are more "ethical" than Walmart? Your post has no facts to support your claims. A family member worked at Walmart for $12/hr (starting salary for entry level) and got raises for the next four years that were significantly better than her peers working at mall stores, including Nordstroms. I can guarantee that you were not paying a cent of her living expenses through "food stamps, etc."

criticalmass
Posts: 1318
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by criticalmass » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:27 pm

Jimmie wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:22 pm
Tdubs wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:10 pm
While there are a some good quality items at Costco that I indulge in and I do buy meat there, the only two stores you really need are Aldi's and Walmart if price is your driver. It is for me. I've done the spreadsheet thing for a while now. Aldi's first, cleanup at Walmart.

And I've concluded the arguments for quality at Costco are way oversold.
Fun fact: The founders of ALDI are the brothers who also founded Trader Joe's. Both stores operate similarly in two observable ways. One, they do not sell anything that needs to be weighed. This saves the cashier's time and moves the customers through the line faster. Two, they tend to avoid the "Choice Overload Effect". In other words, they might have only two choices for any one item.
Trader Joe's may not weigh anything, but our local Aldi weighs some produce like potatoes. There is a scale built into their point of sale cashier system, similar to any other grocer. Trader Joe's is a store that began in USA and is now owned by a Germany company called Aldi Nord. Aldi Süd owns Aldi in USA.

criticalmass
Posts: 1318
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by criticalmass » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:32 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:40 pm
I once went to Aldi and felt that some of their items (produce, baked goods) were substandard.

I have never thought of getting groceries at Walmart. I prefer a full-service grocery store with more variety and (I suspect) more fresh meat/ fish turnover.

I do pay attention to sales but I will buy things not on sale if I want them.

I very rarely go to the Whole Foods. Expensive, and not enough better. Occasionally they have unusual items and very rarely good prices.
Aldi in our area has improved produce and baked goods substantially in recent years. We used to go rarely, but it is now a major contributor to our shopping. Walmart in our area is a full service supermarket, and useful for some things, but Aldi often has much better prices than our local Walmart. An exception is eggs which are almost always at least 25% less at Walmart than Aldi.

michaeljc70
Posts: 5786
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:35 pm

I think we can all agree...going to one place is not going to be the cheapest. It is like anything else. The question is whether shopping around is worth your time. I suspect, that depends on how you value your time. If you are making $500 an hour at your job, shopping around is not going to pay off. But, if you are not making big bucks and can plan well, I think you can save money shopping around without spending a lot of extra time. This probably varies by area as not all areas have the same competitiveness with regard to prices.
Last edited by michaeljc70 on Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
msi
Posts: 523
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 11:15 pm

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by msi » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:26 pm

We like Wegman's for the selection, quality, and price.

I actually find their flavored store brand Greek yogurt to be better-tasting than Chobani, Fage, and friends. Their teriyaki salmon is fantastic, too.

chazas
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:22 pm

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by chazas » Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:43 am

We mix it up. Costco every 6 weeks or so for meats and some staples. Our close by Harris Teeter for quick trips and an occasional “regular” shopping trip - the prices there generally seem to be considerably lower than Safeway now. Occasional pickups at the local Target when there anyway. And bigger trips are often a combination of our local HMart for veggies and ethnic ingredients, and Food Lion for low cost “regular” groceries.

yeahman
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:27 am

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by yeahman » Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:06 pm

I would love to have a one-stop shop but I can't find all the stuff I want under one roof. Nobody can come close to the variety, quality, and price of produce at Asian markets. They also have interesting kitchenware. Trader Joe's and the local big box grocer got me covered for everything else. I try to avoid the craziness at Walmart and Costco.

I don't clip coupons. I have Discover it and Chase Freedom cards. During the 5% grocery quarter, I stock up on grocery gift cards.

User avatar
Bogle7
Posts: 311
Joined: Fri May 11, 2018 9:33 am

strategy & tactics

Post by Bogle7 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:25 pm

strategy
Do not care about prices. Care about quality.

tactics
1. Buy meats from 4 local butchers. Woody chicken breasts are not acceptable.
2. Buy many staples from Walmart.com or Target.com . Stupid enough to ship 35# containers of kitty litter for free? I’ll take that deal.
3. Buy most groceries from Sprouts. It is 3 blocks from the house. I walk.
4. Buy bread from a local baker. Very expensive, delicious bread. We walk to a local brewery to pick up the bread.
5. Buy groceries from Safeway or Kroger as they are close.
6. Shop infrequently at Costco.
7. Buy refritos and tortillas from a local “factory”.

While I can tell you the prices of many items in 3 different supermarkets, I just don’t care.

The most important tactic is having Textforce on 6 iDevices so we can always add items to the lists as needed.

SixAlpha
Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:01 pm

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by SixAlpha » Sat Jan 26, 2019 8:04 am

We have Walmart, Aldi, Meijer, Kroger and Trader Joes within a mile or two of the house. We do nearly 100% of our shopping at Kroger. Some may find it intrusive, but I like the fact that Kroger's "Plus" program learns your shopping habits and serves up coupons that are relevant to the items you already purchase. We buy lots of produce and meat, and receive frequent "dollars off" coupons for those departments. For meat, we often troll the manager's special section. Our store marks it down to half price, and we nearly always find cuts that we can freeze for future use.

I've had mixed success with ClickList orders - they nearly always fail to locate a few items even though the store has them in stock, which means I have to go back into the store and hunt the item down myself, thus defeating the purpose. I've had better luck with delivery - in our area Kroger partners with Instacart and unique to Kroger, Instacart's system allows for Kroger's digital coupons!

For us, taking full advantage of the Plus program, Kroger is substantially cheaper than even Walmart or Aldi. As an added bonus, when we travel we can use our Kroger card at other stores they own, such as Ralphs in California. We still stop in to Trader Joe's, mostly for cheese, nuts, and dark chocolate which are always cheap at TJ's.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned military commissaries. If you have access to a military base, these can be astoundingly cheap.
fishandgolf wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:36 pm
I didn't read all the posts but does anyone shop at Woodman's? They are predominately located in Wisconsin, but do have a few locations in MN, IL and MI.
+1. I mourned the loss of Woodman's when I moved from Wisconsin.
Last edited by SixAlpha on Sat Jan 26, 2019 8:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

mancich
Posts: 722
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:05 pm

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by mancich » Sat Jan 26, 2019 8:12 am

We use combination of WALMART Supercenter and BJ's for center store stuff and dairy (produce and meat are terrible at our Walmart, though BJ's is pretty good), and Shoprite for produce, fish, and some meat. We try not to overthink it too much, as time is limited with three daughters and two careers. :beer

User avatar
gwe67
Posts: 185
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by gwe67 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:00 am

annielouise wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:38 pm
gwe67 wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:18 pm
Since you shop at Wal-Mart, use their phone app with the "savings catcher". It usually credits me with about 3% to be used on the next purchase.
Maybe it's how I shop or the items I buy, but since I started using Savings Catcher, I have received money back one time (out of 5 shopping trips) of about 2%.
If you buy national name brand items that are frequently on sale at other stores, you'll get better results. There are no savings on WalMart brand items or unbranded items such as meat and produce.
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Carson
Posts: 634
Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 3:26 pm

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Carson » Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:47 am

Epsilon Delta wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:21 pm
Abe wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:16 pm
Jimmie wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:22 pm

Fun fact: The founders of ALDI are the brothers who also founded Trader Joe's. Both stores operate similarly in two observable ways. One, they do not sell anything that needs to be weighed. This saves the cashier's time and moves the customers through the line faster.
Bananas have to be weighed.
Not at Trader Joe's. Price is per banana.

Haven't bought bananas at ALDI but I can't see why they would have to be weight there either.
Our aldi has switched a lot of produce to being price per unit (or pre-weighed/pre-priced units) to a live price per pound - grapes, broccoli, bananas. I assume this gives them more latitude to make hyper local pricing decisions and offer a better cost margin. Additionally, I think it makes it so that when they buy from wholesalers they can just buy a box of unwrapped, unsorted broccoli.
30-something personal finance enthusiast, just get getting started on this whole portfolio thing.

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