|So, in the past 2 weeks, I have been to 7 different grocery stores. Now this is more than usual, mostly because of Easter coming up and just being out many various things that come from various stores. Now before you think this is crazy or without rhyme and reason, let me explain. First of all I am blessed to live in an area where there are many different types of grocery stores not too far away. I hate to waste gas driving far just to save money (just doesn't make sense to me) but if I'm in an area where there is a store I rarely frequent, then I will just run in for a few things. Each store I visited these past 2 weeks, has it's plus and minuses, which I will explain. I know we are all feeling the pinch when it comes to grocery budgeting. Prices have risen across the board, and if your family is like mine and your trying to eat healthier, then it really can be "sticker shock." Now, remember, I'm feeding a household of growing children and I like to cook most of our things from scratch. So, here is where I've been shopping lately.......|
1. Harris Teeter-for those who don't have a HT near them, this store is similar to a Kroger or Publix. It's my "go-to" neighborhood grocery store and my favorite. They do double coupons up to $1 all the time and frequently do triple coupons. They have lots of samples for the kids and we know everyone that works there. We like going there and seeing all our friends and getting free cookies. They also have small shopping carts for the little ones and race car shopping carts that can hold up to 3 kids! This store has great lighting, a smooth layout, pleasing decorations and is just such a nice shopping experience. Plus, this is where I use my grocery game membership that I've talked about in other grocery shopping posts. I save a good bit of $ with their deals and using coupons on sale items. But, without coupons or buying their name brand things, it is pricey, but over all such a nice experience.
2. Walmart-We have a new Walmart that is just groceries. It's nearby and great! The prices can't be beat but they don't ever double coupons. They have an aisle with many large and bulk size items, just like Sam's. They also have a good bit of "southern" items that I can't find anywhere else around here. They have great prices on school supplies and toiletries. But they have no fresh deli or bakery and no free samples for the kids, or special grocery carts for the little ones.
3. Aldi's-Many of my large family friends swear by Aldi's to save money. It really is a neat concept with no bags, baggers and shopping carts you put a quarter in to use. The prices on produce are great and if you are OK with their name brand things, then it is even cheaper than Walmart. They do have some "name brand" things, but they are not any cheaper than other stores. I'm a little skeptical of their brand but so far what I've gotten there hasn't been bad. It's not that close to my house so I don't go very much. To be perfectly honest, I'm not crazy about the atmosphere, but it is cheap.
4. Fresh Market- The ultimate grocery store, my family thinks. This store is purely ambiance and decorating. It's so nice to visit when you're having a bad day : ) But don't ever do a big shopping there or you will probably pass out in the cashier line (I almost did once!) Two great things about this store are on Tuesdays the milk is $2.99 a gallon, their chicken dinners are a great deal all the time ($13 for a rotisserie chicken, 2 sides and cornbread) and their meat counter is awesome for special occasions. Oh, and my teenagers absolutely love their pies.
5. Whole Foods-I love this store. It cheers me up, but one of my friends calls it "Whole Pay Check." It is pricey and you have to know how to shop there to get good deals. My local WF does a "saving money" workshop every few months. I went to that once and it did help me. Basically, buy the bulk things and they also have bulk prices for everything. I buy 4 milks when I go, for example, to get the bulk price. They have things other stores just don't, like large bags of Swiss water decaf coffee beans. They have a great deli, salad bar, bakery, cheese counter, etc. Not to mention awesome produce and lots of free samples. Also, I love being able to shop there and know that nothing there GMO, has high fructose corn syrup, or hydrogenated oils.
6. Trader Joe's-There are some things you can only get at TJ's for the low price they offer. They have great organic produce prices, if you don't mind all the packaging. Most of the store is prepared goods from far away and really geared more to singles or small families. I do love their sprouted bread (which is healthier due to being low carb and high protein), their soaps, nuts and random other things. There flowers are a great price too. I don't go here often, and if you've never been to one, it's a little hard to explain. It's similar to Aldi's (actually owned by the same German company now) in that it's almost all their own brand name. My kids don't think there food is very good. I guess they are spoiled : )
7. Target- My neighborhood Target does have groceries, but I rarely go there for food items. They have good coupons and good sales, but I find that I spend money on toys, clothes, jewelery, home goods, etc, that I just don't need. So, I like to limit how much I go to Target because I like it so much. But it is nice to grab some groceries that you may desperately need if you are in there already.
I just love the free kid wagon at Whole Foods. Each kid can pick out one thing from the wagon to eat : )