My Recent Frugal Grocery Shop - Shocking Price Difference

It's been a while since I've done of these "look at my frugal grocery shop" posts, because, honestly, lately I haven't done many grocery shops I've been proud of. I've bought what I needed, and some extra, tried not to exaggerate, but nothing to make me want to show off and inspire others with. 

But I had a physical therapy appointment the other day, an "emergency" one, meaning something that wasn't my weekly pre-scheduled appointment that I need to be able to function, and because she needed to fit me in once she was already fully booked in the city that I see her in usually (she fills up there usually 2 weeks in advance!) I drove further to her town, which is about half an hour further than her office. 

I arrived at my appointment early, so decided to get groceries in the nearby shopping center, where they have a branch of the local cheaper grocery store that I tend to shop in near me. Cheaper grocery store, however, is a misnomer, as prices everywhere have gone up tremendously lately- yay inflation- and the prices locally have been really disappointing. 

In the past I had set an upper price limit for myself, 65 cents per pound for vegetables, and $1.30 per pound for fruit, trying to get decently lower than that whenever possible, but lately that simply wasn't an option. Veggies have been between 65 cents and $1.30 per pound, usually at the higher end of them, and fruit would almost over be over $1.30, on average being $1.95 a pound but up to $2.60 a pound- even when in season!

But stepping into the branch of the supermarket near my physical therapist's office, I felt like I was catapulted back in time many years, to the time when I would gleefully share my grocery shops with you, having gotten produce between 25 and 50 cents a pound and people would incredulously ask how on earth I got such good prices. That's what I saw when I entered this store- nearly all the produce was on sale, and what wasn't on sale was still about half what I can buy it for at the "cheap" store, and since produce was what I needed at home and why I came into the store this was especially exciting for me.

I remarked to a fellow shopper how amazed I was at the prices, and how much cheaper it was than locally, and she confirmed that these weren't any special prices, but the regular prices there. She added that it was a known thing that this is the cheapest place for produce- she is a small time caterer and mentioned that in groups for people in that profession they discuss prices to compare, and many from the entire region come to shop there, because of their wonderful prices.

I didn't have a chance to check out prices in the rest of the store because I was on a rush to finish before my physical therapy appointment, but when I passed the freezer section I noticed an astounding price for minute steaks and bought some of that as well.

I am excited to finish writing up this post so I can do the math and see how much money I saved by shopping there instead of locally, to see if its worth driving out there to do a shop, once I factor in the gas. (Then again, I have too many emergency appointments at my physical therapist that I know I will end up in the area on at least a semi regular basis...)

To compare prices, I went to the online branch of this chain, whose prices are basically what I see when I shop in person as well.

To get it out of the way, I want to first share what I paid for the minute steak. Locally it's usually $4.28 for a package, this time it was 2 for $4.82, $2.41 per package, which meant for the 4 packages I paid $9.64 instead of the $17.12 it would usually cost me.

Now for the vegetables.
  • Red peppers were $0.58/lb instead of $1.15/lb. Since I bought 4.92 lb this cost $2.85 instead of $5.66. 
  • Hot peppers were also $0.58/lb instead of $1.15/lb. The 0.31 lb I bought cost $0.18 instead of $0.37.
  • Cabbage was $0.25/lb instead of $0.50/lb, so the 10.5 lb I bought cost $2.63 instead of $5.25.
  • Broccoli heads were $1.40 each instead of  $2.54 each, so the two heads I bought were $2.80 instead of $5.08.
  • Zucchini was $0.36/lb instead of $1 per pound, so the 4.97 lb I bought was $1.79 instead of $4.97.
  • Onions were $0.32/lb compared to $0.63 cents a pound. 7.41 lb cost me $2.37 instead of  $4.67.
  • Mushrooms sold in two packs were 2 for $7.94, $3.97 for each double pack, instead of $5.14 each. I bought 2 double packs for $7.94 instead of $10.28.
  • Cucumbers were $0.25/lb instead of $0.77/lb making the 5.48 lb cost $1.37 instead of $4.22.
  • Tomatoes were $0.25/lb instead of $0.77/lb making the 4.07 lb cost $1.02 instead of $3.14.
  • Artichoke (not much different there) was $1.01/lb instead of $1.07/lb, so the 1.74 lb cost $1.76 instead of  $1.86.
  • Fennel cost $0.25/lb instead of $0.90/lb so 6.27 lb cost $1.57 instead of $5.64.
  • Sweet potatoes were $0.44/lb instead of $0.99/lb so 5.08 lb cost $2.24 instead of $4.57.
  • Bean sprouts cost $1.69 in both places.
  • Cauliflower heads were $1.40 instead of $3.14
  • Avocado (yes, I know, technically a fruit, not a vegetable) were $0.59/lb instead of $1.68/lb making the 6.73 lb I bought $3.97 instead of  $11.31.
  • I bought three packages of herbs- parsley, cilantro, and dill for $2.85, $0.95 each, instead of the usual $1.40 each or a total of $4.20 for the herbs.
  • Basil cost $1.11 for a package instead of $1.69.
 Just for the vegetables alone it was a difference of $38.20, at $39.54 instead of the $77.74 it would have cost me locally!

And now for the fruit:
  • Oranges cost $0.30/lb instead of $0.50/lb so the 7.83 lb I bought cost $2.35 instead of $3.92.
  • Pears at $0.70/lb instead of $1.60/lb meant that my 4.47 lb cost me $3.12 instead of $7.15.
  • Bananas cost $0.36/lb instead of $0.90/lb so my 7.5 lb cost me $2.70 instead of $6.75.
  • Clementines cost $0.25/lb instead of $0.50/lb so the 6.49 lb  I bought cost $1.62 instead of $3.25
  • Strawberries cost the same as locally, $2.82 per package, so my 2 cost $5.64
Not the hugest price difference for fruit, but that's simply because I bought fewer of them. They cost me $15.43 instead of $26.71 so $11.28 in savings.

Total savings? 
My shop locally would have cost me $121.57 instead of the $64.61 it cost me there, for a whopping savings of $56.96!!!!!

I now have to do my calculations about how much gas it would cost me to go there, to see if it is worth it for me to drive there to do my shop instead of locally. It may, but I'm still figuring out cost per kilometers on my new car. But what I do know, though, is that if I ever have to go to my physical therapist again in her town, I'm definitely going to do my grocery shopping there. Such a huge difference. 

I am also on a facebook group for that area, so I will find out if there is specific timings for the sales, so I don't go there and find that prices have gone up.

But wow. I'm amazed at what a drastic difference and how much money I saved by shopping at a different branch of the same supermarket!

Have you found different branches of the same company of supermarkets have different prices, or do you find they have the same prices as long as its the same company? Would it be worth it for you to drive far to get that much of a different price in groceries? 
Have you gotten any good deal on groceries lately?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Sometimes the prices vary depending on the location. A well-known chain in my city (in South America) has Kirkland's Almond Milk (Unsweetened) in 5 USD in their city center-located stores. But in the boondocks, that same milk in that same superchain, costs 2.30 USD on sale! I live near the "boondocks", so I stock up whenever I see said milk.

    Also, veggies and fish are quite cheaper far from where I live, but if I'm making a large purchase, it's worth spending the gas to go there.

  2. Wow- that's some amazing savings!!

  3. That's a cause to celebrate; pleased for you! We try to combine trips to lessen the impact of fuel costs if we can. Savings are a source of joy nowadays. Hope your appointment was helpful for you.

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