Sunday, September 10, 2017

Grocery Shopping Comparisons and Stocking Up on Coffee

Today, I went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription refill.  Then, I went to the grocery store next to the pharmacy, to pick up some coffee for daughter as her favorite coffee was on sale for $5.99:

Coffee for Daughter

This same coffee is selling for $10.29 at CVS.  The regular price at the grocery store is $9.79.  This week, it is sale priced at $5.99.   The four packets of coffee came to a total of $23.96.

Coffee Receipt

I have decided that I will not include this coffee purchase in my regular grocery budget as it is for daughter and I don't drink this coffee (too strong for me).  I will pay for it from my "miscellaneous" budget or my gift budget.  

Dancer, as you can see, takes his duties as Chief Quality Control Inspector of Groceries very seriously:

Chief Inspector of Groceries
While I was at the grocery store, I decided to do a price comparison of the groceries I bought yesterday.  The grocery store I went to for the coffee is one of a chain of regular grocery stores and a Kroger affiliate; the store I went to yesterday, is an ethnic store and, as far as I know, privately owned, or, at least, not part of a chain of stores.  The regular grocery store doesn't carry some of the items that were available at the ethnic store, but I tried to look for the equivalent, where I could.

Ethnic Store Price
Regular Store Price
Romaine lettuce
Broccoli crown
Bread, 24 oz. loaf
White champagne grapes
Green/Red/Black grapes
Nectarines, @$.69/lb = $.62
Red Delicious apples, large
Red Delicious apples, small
16 oz kefir cheese/yogurt 

16 oz. strawberries



*Bread: the bread I bought at the ethnic store is called "Italian Special" bread, made in a local bakery that employs between 5-9 full time employees (they make a lot of the special Armenian bread sold at the store, as well).  The list of ingredients says "enriched flour, yeast, water, salt".  It tastes a lot like the bread I grew up eating.  At $2.39, it is more expensive than the sandwich bread I often buy for between $.99 to $1.29 at the regular grocery store.  But the regular grocery store has more expensive bread, as well.  The ethnic store bread doesn't keep for more than a few days, without spoiling; the sandwich bread from the regular grocery store will keep for 2 weeks or more as it is full of preservatives.

Grapes: the regular grocery store doesn't carry the white champagne grapes; they did have the regular green, red, and black grapes for $1.99.

Yogurt: Again, the regular grocery store doesn't carry the labne/kefir cheese type of yogurt.  The nearest thing, which is Greek yogurt, sells for $1 per individual serving containers and $3.19 for the larger containers.

Apples: the smaller apples were advertised as "lunch box sized" at the regular grocery store.

For the most part, prices at the regular grocery store tend to be higher than at the ethnic store.  Sometimes, however, certain items are priced lower, if they are on a special sale.  This week, for example, the 16 oz. containers of strawberries were $1.99 at the ethnic store (not an advertised weekly special) and $1.50 at the regular grocery store (advertised special).  So, it is important to study the weekly ads and know the prices; one can't assume that things are consistently lower priced at the ethnic store.  In fact, a lot of pre-packaged foods are more expensive at the ethnic store.  Again, it is just a matter of knowing the prices.

Do you have access to more than one grocery store?  If so, do you see a price difference between stores?

Saturday night dinner was rice and chicken curry.

Sunday brunch was a slice of bread and butter with a banana; afternoon snack was grapes and a protein drink; dinner will be an egg salad sandwich.



  1. I do see a price difference between stores. Still, I know that the rock-bottom prices are often loss-leaders, and I feel that the store needs to make some money, or cannot stay in business. I don't mind buying a few items along with the loss-leaders for that reason even if I could go 3 places and get the items for less. That being said, there is a store about 1 block from my house that I rarely shop at because everything in there is more expensive than Fred Meyers or Winco, unless it is a loss-leader. So, I tend to shop at the stores that are overall lower priced for the most part. But, if I do go into the more expensive store for a loss leader, I don't mind paying the slightly higher price for the 2-3 other things I might need. On our recent trip, I paid significantly higher prices than at home, since the store was in a coastal town and they usually run higher because they are small and out of the way.

    I also will pay more for specialty items, such as gluten free bread, etc., because it costs a lot. I have to pay the price if I want the item. Also, some of it tastes terrible. It's worth a bit more if it has a good taste. There again, I shop around, but know I will have to pay more unless I can find it on a day-old rack, or somewhere like Grocery Outlet, and their inventory varies so much you can never be sure what you will find. Still, there again, I shop there for certain things, such as snack food, portioned out items for lunches, and organic/natural things because they run much lower in price, you just never know what they will have from time to time. I also occasionally order from Azure Standard, which is not cheap, for access to certain products we use. I'm a complicated shopper, I know:)

    1. Becky, it sounds like you have a good system in place for your shopping. I, too, will pay more for specialty items - in fact, I tend to suspend all thoughts of prices and budgets when I go to the Sri Lankan store! LOL!

  2. Oh I wish you lived closer. I have kefir grains that I would love to share and you could easily make your own kefir cheese. I do it often.
    I have 5 large grocery stores within 3 miles of my house and I tend to cherry pick at least 3 each week.

    1. Anne, thank you for offering to share your kefir grains if it had been possible to do so! I used to make my own yogurt on a regular basis and taught one of my cousins how to make it, too. But I haven't made it in a long time. Seems like that list of "used to do/make but not now" keeps growing! I know it is because I still haven't quite recovered from the last two years of treatment; just don't have the energy and still tire quickly.

      I generally go to one or two grocery stores each week. I find that it works out well.

  3. Really good comparison! I try to keep an eye on prices. I certainly have more time now I'm not working. I try to buy seasonal products as they are a little cheaper. I wish there were more smaller shops around here. I really enjoyed buying at the greengrocers while visiting Mum - much more selection than the supermarket and you knew the produce was really fresh!

    1. One really has to know the prices and then, decide where to go for what. I generally shop at three grocery stores but try to keep to just one or two grocery stores each week and alternate as needed. If I need a lot of produce, I go to the Armenian grocery store. If I only need bread, bananas, and milk the next week, I go to the regular grocery store. And I go to the "no frills" grocery store, which is also Kroger associated (but where you have to bag your own groceries) for cat food as the Armenian store doesn't carry pet food and the regular grocery store charges $3 more per bag than the no frills store (same company, same products).

  4. Your coffee purchase for your daughter was quite a bargain! I love coffee. It helps keep me away from eating sweets. Your daughter can think of you each time she drinks some. The ethnic grocery store is Delaware we had an indoor farmer's market that was mainly Mexican and it had lots and lots of fresh fruit/veggies for cheaper than the grocery stores. I'm thinking chain grocery stores are the most expensive. Here, our Walmart has much better prices than the grocery stores so I rarely stop in at a grocery store. Andrea

    1. Daughter has tried other, less expensive brands of coffee to save money, but she doesn't much like how they taste. This is the one brand she really likes, so, when it goes on sale, I stock up for her. She has offered to reimburse me, but I always decline. It is a little treat from me to her. The last time it went on sale, I had some coupons, so the purchase cost was reduced even further. But, this time, I didn't have any coupons.

  5. Good price on that coffee.

    Yes, I have several stores, I shop at.. I get the ads and check for sales first.. I already know , the basic prices of things , I regularly buy, so I know , what is a cheaper price. Takes extra time, but well worth the effort, to save $.
    Have a great day.

    1. Judy, I think you do the same thing I do - I, too, check the weekly specials and then, decide which store or stores to shop that week. In general, the 3 stores that are closest to me. :)

  6. I'm basically a lazy shopper. Instead of doing 8 or 9 stops like our friend Nathalie, I generally choose the store that has the best prices on the items I need at the time. If I have to go into town for any other reason during the week, I will choose my route to include a stop that has other items for sale. For instance, when I went to meet my friends for dinner and a show on Saturday, I left a little earlier so I could stop at No-Frills for their produce specials this week which included cauliflower for 97 cents each. I picked up 5, plus celery for 97 cents, plus 2 packages of mushrooms for 97 cents each. Then I picked up some no-name butter, tea, eggs, cheese and lunch meat because they were on my list.

    I am very happy with my produce specials I picked up, but I am totally amazed by the prices you pay at the ethnic grocer. You always seem to do so well buying your fruits and vegetables there.

    1. I generally shop at three grocery stores but try to keep to just one or two grocery stores each week and alternate as needed. There are one or two Hispanic grocery stores that have even better prices than the Armenian grocery store, but, for some reason, I prefer the Armenian store.

      You did very well with your grocery prices. If any of your cauliflowers weighed 2.5lbs., then that would be the same price per lb. as what they were selling for at the Armenian store ($.39/lb). Next time I am at the ethnic store, I will write down the prices for items such as celery and mushrooms for you. :)

  7. Such a good feeling when you find something your daughter enjoys at a bargain price. ☕️☕️

    I shop at the same grocery store each week. I will on a different day cherry pick sale items from CVS or Walgreens and make the odd run to Dollar Tree.

    Hope your gum is feeling much better today.

    1. Sandy, I was happy to get the coffee for her. She says it never goes on sale at that price, up there.

      Sometimes, it is best to decide to stick to one or two stores. Otherwise, one could go crazy rushing from one store to another, especially when there are at least a dozen grocery stores within 5 miles of ones house! I've stopped counting how many grocery sales ads I receive every Tuesday (our prices change on Wednesdays). There are about 8 or 10, and a couple of stores no longer print a paper sales ad, to save printing costs; their ads are available on-line. I don't even try to look through all the ads! I toss the ones from the stores I have decided I won't go to for one reason or another, and look at only the 3 or so that I go to on a regular basis.

  8. Bless, thank you for stopping by my blog and wish me well. It means a lot when someone does that. :-)

    I enjoy going to different grocery stores and getting the best deals everywhere ("cherry picking," my husband calls it), but realistically, I have to limit myself to just one or two different stores per week. Usually one store is better for produce, another is better for health & beauty products, another for packaged goods. You just have to know what you need and when, make your choices and rotate what you buy and when.

    Great deal on the coffee! It's the nice little surprises that make us happy, isn't it?

    1. You are more than welcome, Pixel. I was glad to read that you came through the storm with very little damage and have power again.

      Yes, cherry picking is fun, but the more realistic approach is to stick to one or two stores each week. Sometimes, one has to ask if the savings is worth the cost in terms of ones time, energy, the gas it takes to drive to another store, etc. Sometimes, it is worth it to pay the extra $.10/lb. for bananas at the closer, more expensive store. :)

  9. Would you mind sharing your curry recipe?

    1. Hi Obscure, I don't really have a recipe with amounts, as such (something that used to drive my daughter crazy when I was showing her how to cook, but now she cooks the same way I do!), but here is the link to a post I did a couple of years ago describing how I make chicken curry:


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