favorite grocery hotspots.
We live in Southern California. I’m going to assume that the 3 FrugalFoodieFamily readers (my friends and family) are likely in SoCal too so that makes this easy. I’ve found we get the biggest bang for our grocery bucks at Sprouts and Trader Joes.
Here’s why I love them:” />
Fabulous prices on veggies, fruits, meats, sometimes cheeses and often vitamins and supplements. They have a ton of fresh produce, a lot of it organic, at great prices ($.88 for romaine or green leaf lettuce, $.88/pound for broccoli or apples, etc). I can’t say it’s all local, but typically the produce is fantastic and far less expensive than larger grocery chains. Meats are also very well priced (especially for organics) and all natural too.
If I wasn’t typically
dragging delightfully pushing my two small children around I would spend more time in their bulk section, where we find trail mix, raisins, oats, dried beans and rice, 6-grain cereal and other fantastic granola ingredients. My precious 3 year old Emma now knows to ask for a “sample” while we peruse this section of Sprouts, and without fail I sneak her a dried apple ring or banana chip to buy another 5 minutes (please don’t report me to the Sprouts authorities!).
Also, as often as possible I go on Wednesdays. Every Wednesday is double ad day so you can get the deals from the previous week as well as the upcoming week on the same day. They speak my love language (saving money) on Wednesday!
I don’t advise stocking up on your perishables here, though they do have a great selection of natural and organic products. While less expensive than Whole Foods, I usually head to Trader Joes for these.
You’ve just gotta love TJ’s. From the Beach Boys music piped cheerfully throughout the store to the sample station (my 3 year old’s favorite) full of new recipes and yummy coffee, to the kids’ shopping carts and stickers, there is something to keep everyone happy. Going to TJ’s is just a fun experience whether you’re 1 or 100.
But their prices are amazing too, especially items like coffee, cereal, bread, frozen goods, organic milk, eggs, nuts, pizza dough, cheeses, canned goods, wine, pasta, snacky stuff…it’s a frugal foodie’s dream. What I don’t get there is meat and seafood (unless I splurge for their marinated, frozen ahi tuna or mahi steaks…great on the grill in the summer).
Did I mention their wine selection? Fabulous. And not just their Two Buck Chuck. (Sidenote: My in-laws who are from Washington state call it “Three Buck Chuck”. Can you believe in other states they pay 30% more for the same thing? So sad…) Anyway, there are tons of great wines on the cheap. We’ll explore this a little later.
Well, TJ’s is doing something right. Fortune magazine estimates their sales per square foot ($1,750) are double those of Whole Foods, even carrying only 4,000 sku’s (versus typical grocery chains which carry closer to 50,000 products).
And the runner up, Target
I could linger in Target for hours, were it not for the 2 small children I typically schlepp with me. And now that the have these super-duper Targets with markets in them, I find I can easily grab a few items I may have forgotten or run out of during the week (organic milk, eggs, canned tuna, even Andrew’s Ezekiel bread!) while also picking up diapers and sunscreen – who knew?!
On larger grocery chains
I’m not at all opposed to larger grocery chains (Albertsons, Ralphs, etc.), especially if they offer savings that are comparable to what we typically find at Sprouts or TJs, but for the most part I find what I need within my budget without entering the maze of the gargantuan stores.
So, where do you shop to stay on your frugal foodie budget?