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We have a few different grocery store options near us, and they cover all of the different price categories that I would say are available.  Here's how I would define the price options and an example of each that is pretty widely known:

  • Cheap: Wal-Mart
  • Moderate: Kroger
  • Expensive: Whole Foods

Where We Do A Majority of Our Shopping

We do most of our shopping at Meijer, which is a regional chain that I would classify as moderate.  We have a Wal-Mart nearby, but honestly the experience of shopping in that store just isn't worth it.  (Note to Wal-Mart: Opening two registers at peak time and causing a 30-minute wait for a standard basket of items is a guaranteed way to get people who value their time to shop elsewhere).

Recently, a store opened near us that isn't Whole Foods, but it is along the same lines.  It's called Fresh Thyme (get it?) and it's actually a pretty cool store, just as is Whole Foods.  They have the requiste huge selection of organic and gluten free foods, and they have a lot of things that say ‘all-natural' and the like.

And of course, the high prices that go along with it.

Whole Foods And Other Expensive Stores Serve A Purpose

Now, there's nothing wrong with stores like this, and I'm sure there are people who do their regular shopping at places like this. mb-201101apple That's fine, but it's not us.

However, we do go to the store, with one basic rule: We buy just about everything on sale.

See, Fresh Thyme has a pretty nifty produce department, and they usually have a lot of great things on sale, and their quality is very good.

So, what do we do?  We buy just the sale stuff!

My wife showed me a bill from a recent trip and it was pretty close to the following list:

  • Bananas – ON SALE
  • Raspberries – ON SALE
  • Blueberries – ON SALE
  • Cucumbers – ON SALE
  • Tomatoes – ON SALE
  • Carrots – ON SALE

Every one of the items on the list had a regular price and the sale price for which we paid.  My wife knows produce and the sale prices were actually good prices!

She ended up with the list above (and maybe a few more items) for just about $17, with the savings noted as over $10!

Use The Expensive Stores To Fill In

By using the expensive store as a secondary store, it saves us money.  My wife makes a weekly trip to the regular store, but by planning out her trips, and buying her produce across multiple stores to make sure she gets the best price, we add up our savings quite a bit!

What works for us is that the expensive store is right down the street.  While many people simply don't have the time to go to multiple stores, the location makes it worth our while.

Now, I have no idea if they're actually making money on us.   I can guarantee that we're not their target customer.  I'm sure that they would prefer that their customers either do their full shopping trip there, or at least fill in their sale items with a few regular priced items.  Hey, as long as there are enough of those people out there, we'll be content to shop there just for the sales!

I don't know if the $10 that she saves is repeatable every week, but with even half that amount, we could be saving $260 per year!

That's a nice chunk of change, and you figure, we're probably getting better quality food on top of it.

Expensive stores (as a fill-in option) for the win!

Readers, do you save money by shopping between multiple stores?  Do you find yourself frequenting the more expensive stores exclusively for their sale items?