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Do You Grocery Shop at 5 Different Stores?

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A friend shared this YouTube video as something he could identify. Since I could identify with it as well, I figured you might too:

A couple of months ago when I lived in California, I'd grocery shop at 4 stores (I'll let you be the judge on the fifth):

  • Safeway - I'd pick up the first page circular loss-leaders... stocking up in our chest freezer if there was a particularly good meat sale. I'd take advantage of Safeway’s Just For U Program or a few items as well.
  • Lucky - Another place with the loss leaders. They also have bottles of wine for $2 that I don't think are absolute swill (my wife would argue otherwise).
  • Costco - Costco is great for a lot of things, but for us, it had the cheapest price on quality dog food (a good site for that is Dog Food Analysis). Also I'd pick up 5 pounds of shredded cheese for around $10, portion it into sandwich bags, put all those in gallon freezer bag, and store in the chest freezer. If you want to pay $2.50 for 8 ounces of shredded cheese be my guest; I was paying around $1.25.
  • Military Commissary - This is my go to shop for just about everything else. Since they are non-profit, the prices are significantly better. However, they require more driving since they are only on some military bases. Also, almost all the meat prices are more than what you'd at your local grocery store, especially if the grocery store is running a sale to get people in the store. The exception is the ground beef, which is always a very good price.
  • Whole Foods - I really only stop in there for Ecover, which is a fancy, natural, laundry detergent that is highly recommended for the baby's cloth diapers. I recently found that Ecover Liquid Laundry is available for less at Amazon. (I hadn't looked until recently, because I had presumed that shipping costs would out-weigh any savings, but they don't). Since I only shop here for one item every few weeks (and get the heck out of there ASAP), I'm hesitant to count it.

By the sounds of that, and coming after the video, you'd get the impression that I spend all day driving from store to store to buy groceries. However, the first three stores on the list are usually quite quick. Most weeks, I would only hit either Lucky or Safeway. Costco and the commissary were most likely once every three weeks.

Lately, I've gotten my grocery stores down to two: a Stop and Shop and the commissary. With the move to the east coast we are in temporary housing on a military base for a bit. With limited space (and no chest freezer), I can't stock up on any deals. Also with no real mailing address, I don't get the circulars tempting me to go to the grocery store to get the deals. The local Costco is a far enough away that is not a temptation either. All this will change when we get our real housing. Then I'll go back to shopping at 4-5 different stores.

Posted on January 22, 2013.

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12 Responses to “Do You Grocery Shop at 5 Different Stores?”

  1. Steve says:

    Bad HTML (missing quote on Dog Food Analysis link)

  2. Steve says:

    I was going to say “Heck No” but the truth:
    We alternate weekly trips between Trader Joe’s and a traditional grocery store (Fred Meyer).
    My wife gets most of our fruits and vegetables at a produce stand.
    We go to a local Asian foods chain every few months for rice, Japanese curry, Phad Thai sauce, etc.
    When our child was in diapers, they were almost all from Amazon.
    My wife shops at Grocery Outlet when she’s in the neighborhood.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Thanks for the find on the quote Steve.

      I forgot about the occasional runs to Trader Joe’s. They do have more healthy options that my wife likes. The prices are generally much better than Whole Foods, but they don’t have standard products (as the article mentions). Last time I looked I couldn’t find a diet soda of any variety there.

  3. Tommy Z says:

    Lazy Man – what about taking in all your advertisements to Walmart so they just price match everything? Have you ever attempted that? Did it work?

    • Lazy Man says:

      I haven’t tried that. There was only one Wal-Mart near me and it was a huge mess of customers with very narrow aisles. I try to get in an out of there quickly to minimize my stress there :-).

  4. robyn says:

    i base my shopping on speed, convenience and sales. walmart is almost always a ‘NO’ because the lines are impossible. i check the wed circulars for BOGOs. one week i’ll go to publix, the next sedanos or winn-dixie, every 2nd or 3rd week to bjs. publix and winn-dixie have gas card sales with purchase or gas discounts. all stores are within 2 miles of where i live or work, so no gas cost. i generally save 40-60% without couponiong. i am not brand loyal except for yogurt. once in a blue moon i go to whole foods [my ride gorup meets there every sat & sun morning] or to the asian store. they both have great prices on fresh produce and specialty goods. whole foods also has the best price on olives of anywhere, beating even the canned price.

  5. Mo says:

    We shop several stores – aldi for a lot of the basics- milk is routinely a dollar less per gallon. Alocal chain called Marcs for meat fresh produce and soda mostly. Trader joes for gluten free pasta if marcs is out. The west side market (open air farmers market) and about once a mont h to china town for rice, curries, also there are many items there if you need gluten free –

  6. Mori says:

    They do price match but you get a better selection elsewhere. I prefer to shop Walmart in the early, early morning its usually my last stop.

  7. Meghan says:

    I do as much of my shopping at King Soopers (our Kroger) as I can to get the gas savings, paper and cleaning products at Target, and dog food on Amazon. Amazon has great prices, but it’s kind of like Costco, it’s all bulk. Perhaps once I move out of this shoe box apartment and in to a house, Amazon/Costco will be an option. I like freezing the cheese idea. I assume the texture is the same when it unfreezes and it’s not all gooey?

  8. Cash Warren says:

    I defiantly do! When I shop at Costco for everything I spend waaay too much. I feel like I pay a lot and didn’t come out with much! So I usually just get mainly milk and a few other things from there. For the other stuff I go to a store Called Winco there fruit and meat is cheaper. If there are good deals like Smiths always has then I go there only for those sale items.

  9. Cash Warren says:

    Robyn I don’t feel like Wal-Mart is that cheap. Maybe I’m wrong. At least for food I feel like you can get better deals else where.

  10. […] As far as grocery stores go, I'm pretty much all set. I've got the military commissary and a Wal-Mart near by. I've got a BJ's Warehouse near me for bulk purchases. (It's a competitor to Costco in New England.) In fact, I grocery shop at 5 different stores. […]

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