Our family is lucky in that my wife has time to go shopping at multiple grocery stores. Many people are limited by time to one trip per week. This can mean having to pay more for groceries with some items not on sale. But, our situation allows my wife to find the best deals. She spends more time shopping at multiple grocery stores, but is able to buy more items on sale.
I always track our spending and I had a hunch that our breakdown by store might have changed. So, I went through our last few months of charges and came up with the following breakdown.
Breakdown In Spending – Shopping At Multiple Grocery Stores
This is our data from our credit card statement. It’s not scientific at all. I would say it’s fairly accurate, but there are definitely some issues. For example we buy some staples at Costco. But I didn’t include any of our Costco spending in here. It’s simply too hard to figure out (or guess) the allocation that goes towards groceries. At least at the grocery store, it’s fairly safe to assume you’re buying groceries.
With no further ado, here is our grocery store breakdown.
4. Fresh Thyme
You may or may not have heard of Fresh Thyme. It’s a regional chain with not a whole lot of stores. However, they’re focused on produce. They do sell a small selection of everyday items, but it’s fairly high end. I think if I were forced to describe it, I’d say it’s a variation on Whole Foods.
My wife shops there primarily for fruits, vegetables, deli meat, and deli cheese. She usually only shops for items on sale.
Many people love shopping at Kroger. We really don’t. The two closest Kroger stores to us are both in fairly busy shopping centers. Parking is tight and always crowded. We think their everyday prices are high. They do have some pretty good sale prices, and that’s primarily what we use them for. There really isn’t one particular category we look for. Sometimes we’ll buy block cheese. Other times it’s ice cream. Sometimes they’ll have a great sale on wine. We will get fruits and vegetables from here if the price is right. It really varies.
This was our former go-to store. In the past, I’d say that we probably spent at least 70% of our monthly budget there. My wife would often shop there first and then use all the other stores to fill in. But, their prices crept up over time to where many things aren’t any cheaper than Kroger. It used to be that they were fairly consistent in being slightly cheaper. One other reason we’ve cut back on our spending here is that my wife has become less and less impressed with their produce department and deli counter. Both have seen issues with lower quality items and higher prices.
We get a wide variety of items here. Out of all the stores, it’s the one I would qualify as our general shopping option.
Still, we’ve drastically reduced our spending here compared to years past.
Over time, Aldi has become a bigger part of our shopping experience. A few years ago, they were for a few items here and there. But, their prices can’t be beat. And, as we’ve become impressed with more of their items, it encourages us to try other items that they have available. For the most part there are very few Aldi items that we go out of our way to avoid.
Aldi is our new champ. And, I think in another year they may take an even bigger percentage of our grocery dollars. Why? Because right now, the nearest Aldi is about 6 miles away. But 1.5 miles away they are building a brand new Aldi! This will make it even easier to go!
Stores Not On Our list
We do have a few other options that we really don’t use.
- Trader Joes. There’s one nearby but it’s never been our thing. It’s just far enough and a spot where the traffic patterns don’t work that we avoid it.
- WalMart. We will shop here if we absolutely have to. But we just don’t enjoy the store. It’s crowded. The parking lot kind of stinks. Some of the people that shop there are just trashy. We’ve had problems with customer service at our local store. This is a store that we go to if the deal is too good to pass up. Otherwise, it’s a nope for us.
- Other Local Stores. We have a few smaller stores or local chains. Most of the time, their regular prices are too high. They might have some good sales, but it seems that four stores takes up enough of my wife’s time. We probably could add another store or two to the mix and get more deals, but I think the law of diminishing returns has made that a no-go.
I love looking at breakdowns like this. Looking at how we breakdown our budget when shopping at multiple grocery stores is eye-opening to me.
Readers, how do you break down your grocery store shopping bill? Do you have just one store or a few favorites?