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Analyzing my 2010 Grocery Expenses

December 31st, 2010 at 07:17 am

Well, since I already go to the trouble of tracking all my expenses, including groceries, I decided this year to also make a note of where I shop.

I tend to watch the sales circulars and I also try to shop at grocery stores which I pass by when I'm going somewhere else, to reduce the number of trips I make. So there are 5 different grocery stores I shop at more or less regularly.

Of the $2,642 I spent on groceries this year (see earlier post of all expenses), here's where i spent it, ranked from most to least:

Shop Rite: $976.27
This is my grocery store of choice. They have the best prices. There's not one in my town, but there are 2 within a 15-minute radius of me, and I'll usually be able to hit one or the other depending on what my other shopping errands are.

Stop & Shop: $450.69
This used to be my store of choice (there's one in my hometown) but I no longer prefer to go there as their prices are definitely not the lowest, though as you'll see, they're not the highest either.

Costco: $434.56
I maintain my membership mainly to take advantage of their great price on cat litter ($6.99 for a 40-lb. box) as well as milk and bananas. I use these 3 items regularly and Costco prices are quite a bit lower than any of the other grocery stores. I think the savings on cat litter alone pays for the cost of my $40 membership

Xpect Discounts: $154.24
This is a regional chain with about a half dozen stores in CT. It used to be the place where mostly Latinos shopped, but now the secret's out, a lot of people like me shop there and it's no longer as cheap as it was.

Trader Joe's:$144.89
Trader Joe's is more out of the way than any other grocery store, and that's probably the main reason why I go there infrequently. I see I made 6 trips there in 2010.

Big Y: $89.72
This is my least favorite grocery store, but I use it when I need some missing ingredient, becus the store's just around the corner from where I live. They are the highest priced, though, and I can't stand their sentimental commercials, which unabashedly play on your emotions with lot of American flags and young children. I also don't trust their "buy 1, get 1 free" sales because I suspect they just jack up the price on the one you're buying.

WalMart: $58.54
Given how low their prices are, I should try to buy more food here. It's just not a destination of mine when I think food; I usually just pick up a few things when I'm there for something else. But when it comes to generic prices for many items, they're FAR lower.

Big Lot: $26.06
There's not one near me but I remember stopping here when I was doing the medical research studies at Yale. I bought exactly 2 things here: Pepperidge Farm bread near or past the expiration, and Prego pasta sauce.

Caraluzzi's: $24.06
This is a family-owned grocer that just opened up a 3rd store, in my town. Nice food, nice atmosphere but higher prices on a par with Big Y.

Farmer's Market: $20
I enjoyed the high-priced bread here a few times.

Target: $13.60

Chamomile: $4.26
This is a health food store and a source of wheat berries.

Another thing my analysis revealed is how many freakin' trips I made to the grocery store...any grocery store. I counted 97 individual trips! As I said earlier, I TRY to consolidate trips, and I know there were many times I hit more than one grocery store in a day due to different sales, but I see that when I was mostly underemployed for 2010, I averaged two grocery trips a week! Hmmmm.

7 Responses to “Analyzing my 2010 Grocery Expenses”

  1. MaryB26 Says:

    My mom used to say, "The only way to save money is to stay out of the grocery store." She was a wise woman. Smile
    I spend a lot of money at Walgreens. They have grocery items and I seem to go there everyday for something. I live within a mile of Walmart, Walgreen, CVS, and HEB grocery so it is easy to shop for my everyday wants.

    It is amazing to see how much time and money is spent on gathering food for our existence. For 2011 I am going to borrow your idea of tracking for each store and try to cut back on the number of times I go shopping.

  2. MonkeyMama Says:

    In order of frequency, we shop: Raleys/Bel Air, Target, Safeway, Walgreens (convenience), Oroweat outlet (bread, tortillas, cookies/donuts), and Farmers Market. Farmers market was new this year so hope to up the frequency for 2011.

    Raleys/Bel Air is a regional grocery chain which used to be more high end (particularly Bel Air), but has changed their marketing more to low price/sales leaders in recent years. The irony is I would say shopping their primarily keeps our grocery bills down significantly, but most the locals wouldn't shop there because "it's expensive." (They didn't get the memo). We've learned clearly not to judge a store by its cover. My dh tries to run in various stores and compare prices, and keep eye on ads, etc., but this is where we end up shopping most of the time. Safeway has fallen out of favor as the most expensive store around, but they have some good promos on occasion, and we are partial to some of their products that we can't find elsewhere.

    Where we shop changes often with the times. Target has replaced Walmart, this year.

  3. patientsaver Says:

    MM, what's wrong with Wal-Mart? Is it a price issue? Mary, I SO agree...it IS amazing how much time is spent on such simple things, although I shudder to think what my grocery bill would be if I shopped the closest store (Big Y).

    I would really like to limit grocery shopping to 1 day a week. I must admit that not working full time and knowing I shouldn't be spending much money on other things, I'd go to the grocery store for "entertainment," or maybe just a release vent where I felt I could more easily justify spending.

  4. MonkeyMama Says:

    Target is cheaper, yes. I don't particularly care for Wal MArt though, since you ask. Always in terrible locations (around here) and crowded and dirty. I'd rather go to Target any day. But, we did some grocery shopping there when it was cheaper. Thank goodness the Target is doing more groceries (it's more convenient).

  5. MonkeyMama Says:

    P.S. I find Wal MArts in other cities much more appealing. It's the first place we went in both Colorado and Hawaii because it was familiar and we needed a mix of groceries and other type things.

  6. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Most of my grocery spending is Walmart, followed by Walgreens, Target, Albertsons, etc. A Kroger is almost finished near us, so I'll probably do more shopping there this next year.

    Happy New Year!

  7. Homebody Says:

    I'm borrowing your idea too! I had already decided to lump grocery/household together since I buy both at drug stores/Costco and I am tired of itemizing out groceries and household. So I am going to do a new Quicken category of Household (actually I already have that category) and then add each store as a subcategory. Thanks for the idea and Happy New Year!

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