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Shopping Around

He then raised his eyebrows and, with disdain in his voice, said, “Hoo hah, didn’t know I was talking to Mrs. Rockefeller.”

As conscious as I am about how much money I’m spending at all times, I’m going to agree with this morning’s Metropolitan Diary entry about spending an extra 26 cents for cereal for the sake of convenience. I do like to get my produce at the farmer’s market instead of the grocery store, but otherwise, I prefer to save as much time as possible by shopping for everything I need at one grocery store. But I certainly know people who’d rather shop around at multiple stores (hey, Dad!)


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A good way to gauge whether you’re spending too much time trying to save a few pennies is to consider how much your time is worth. For me, for example, it’s not worth spending an extra 15 minutes unless I will save at least $5.

This assumes, of course, that you don’t derive any enjoyment from the process itself…

@stuffisthings I do the same thing. After all, I get paid for my time at work (although usually not for my prep time, but such is the lot of teaching folk), and my non-work time is valuable to me. If it’s one item, I say “meh” and pay more. Usually, I do what @ThatJenn (below) does – I split up my shopping tasks by genre, and go from there. This was a lot easier/more convenient when I have lived abroad, since land use and public transportation are different animals here.

ThatJenn (#916)

I already split my grocery shopping up, but it’s for quality more than price. I get my meat one place, my veggies and most of my bread at the farmer’s market, any non-seasonal produce I’m craving or additional meat/cheese at the locally-owned hippie mart, and then occasionally I do almost all of my shopping for the week at Publix which has a really good selection of nearly everything and is cheaper than all of the above (but less local stuff). When I’m feeling broke or low on time I just shop at Publix. I can get cheaper prices at Walmart or a few other less-awesome places in town, and I do look at sales there sometimes, but usually I just go to Publix because I like them, I don’t find it stressful to go there (sadly, I find the hippie mart and the farmer’s market scary, but I usually make myself go anyway), and they have a really good store generic brand version of most things.

This means I shop multiple times per week, but it’s a smaller, manageable trip each time and I get to buy what I feel like making over the next couple of days (if I try to plan more than 3 days in advance, stuff goes bad as my desires change, so I lose out on money). I do make my plans at least partially on the sales of the week for both Publix and the hippie mart, though, both of what I’m going to make and where I’m going to shop for this half of the week.

Dancercise (#94)

With gas priced how it is, I’m not going to drive all over town to save 20 cents. I like to build up my knowledge of costs over time. Now I get to shopping knowing that produce is cheapest (and best) at Lucky, dairy (including my breakfast staple, Chobani yogurt) is cheapest at Target, and frozen/boxed/bagged food is cheapest at Trader Joe’s. Depending on what’s on my shopping list for the week (fortnight? month? however often), I can decide where to go. If it’s a produce-heavy week, I’m off to Lucky. Out of yogurt (God forbid!)? Target it is!

Megano! (#124)

I take the bus, so shopping around is just not feasible for me. I will go further to go to the cheaper grocery store though if I want my dollar to go a bit farther. And of course if it is on sale I am about 20 million times more likely to buy it (especially with stuff from the organic section. Like, the Amy’s pizzas ARE THE BEST FROZEN PIZZAS KNOWN TO MAN, but if they’re not on sale I don’t get them).

selenana (#673)

I’m lucky that I live walking distance from a couple of markets, and I take the train almost everywhere, so I shop for food almost every day, usually just picking up a few veggies on the way home to go with pantry staples for dinner. Like ThatJenn, produce will go bad in my fridge if I don’t buy it fairly immediately before I plan to use it, because I will lose my motivation to cook that thing.

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