Is it just me or are groceries getting more expensive lately? Actually, we recently changed our shopping habit and it seems to have inflated our grocery spending. We used to drive out to WinCo every week to stock up. The 30 mile round trip was getting to be a chore and we don’t want to waste any of Mrs. RB40’s precious weekend time. Now, we shop every few days at the neighborhood Safeway and Trader Joe’s and only go out to WinCo to stock up every 3 weeks or so. This arrangement is more convenient, but it does make a difference in our grocery spending.
Safeway grocery pricing is ridiculous
Does anyone shop at Safeway? The grocery pricing seems a little ridiculous. A pack of unsalted butter costs over $5. When there was a $2.50 sale, they were all gone within hours. You really have to pick and choose at Safeway.
Safeway has a loyalty program, the Safeway Club card. You will save on selected items with the club card (or just punch in your number at checkout). This is pretty useful for me because I prefer to buy things that are on sale. There is also a “Just for U” app that will send coupons to your phone. The grocery price becomes much more palatable with these two programs. Here are some of what I purchased last week.
The final price is not bad at all and I saved 43% here. Seems to me, the price is a little better than WinCo when you selectively shop for the items that are on sale. However, the regular price is somewhat high. The vegetables in particular are very expensive at Safeway and they rarely go on sale.
Trader Joe’s, on the other hand, doesn’t have coupons or a loyalty program. Prices are all over the map at this store. Some stuff are great deals and some are expensive. I picked up a jar of ground cumin for $1.99 the other day. That’s amazingly cheap. The Trader Joe’s brand products are high quality at a good price.
Good deals at TJ’s
- Organic fruits and vegetables
- Kids crackers and snacks
- Cereals and granola bars
- Specialty cheeses
- Nuts and dried fruits
Expensive at TJ’s
- Fish and meat
- Frozen fruits and vegetables
WinCo is the champ when it comes to frugal grocery shopping. Almost everything is cheaper there because they keep their overhead low. Winco stores have a warehouse feel, do not take credit cards, and you bag your own groceries. There aren’t a lot of frills at WinCo, but I don’t mind. WinCo is employee-owned and treats their workers well. Many front line employees are millionaires due to the profit sharing structure. That’s pretty amazing compared to how some grocery stores treat their employees.
It’s too bad WinCo is a bit out of the way for us. We usually try to group the trip to the suburbs so we can do a few errands at once. This weekend, we need to pick up some kitty litter from the pet store and go to Home Depot for a couple of things. It will be a good opportunity for us to stock up our pantry at WinCo.
Grocery shopping is getting more expensive
Anyway, while grocery shopping is more convenient now, we spend more money. I guess you have to pay for convenience. Regular price items at Safeway still seems really expensive to me, though.
So is this the trend in your neighborhood, too? Are grocery stores setting the price high and luring you into thinking you got a good deal when you use their loyalty program and coupons?
Easily track your grocery spending with Personal Capital.
Disclosure: We may receive a referral fee if you sign up with the link above.
Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is increasing his investment in real estate with CrowdStreet. He can invest in projects across the U.S. and diversify his real estate portfolio. There are many interesting projects available so sign up and check them out.
Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help DIY investors analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.