Wednesday, January 18, 2023

20 Places We Buy Food And Other Things

With food costs skyrocketing, we are definitely pulling out all the stops to buy our food and save money at the same time.  Here are the places we shop for food (note we live in a big city so your options may vary):

  1. Costco.  We have a membership at this store and sometimes buy food in bulk here but most often we shop at...
  2. Sam's Club.  We also have a membership at this store and since it is closer to where we live, we most often shop here when buying food in bulk.  Of course, we compare prices here to what we would pay in other stores and only buy items here when it is a good deal.
  3. Albertsons.  This is a chain grocery store and we always buy food that is on sale on their app, in their sales flyer, or from the bakery and meat bargain bins.  It's rare we buy anything full price here because their prices--other than sale items--seem kind of high.
  4. Smiths.  Another chain grocery store where we also shop app and sales flyer sales.  Again, we rarely buy anything at full price here because other than sales and loss leaders, their regular prices also seem high.  Of note, we often fill our 5 gallon water jugs here because it is a dollar cheaper to fill them here than at Albertsons.
  5. Dollar Tree.  Occasionally when walking through their food aisles we will find super cheap items like the random boxes of couscous, gnocchi, or bags of grains or other food items that appear to be overstock and closeout items from other stores.
  6. 99 Cent Store.  Unfortunately this chain is no longer "everything for 99 cents" like it used to be but we can still find good deals on produce and other food items which, again, appear to be closeouts and over-runs from other grocery stores (recently we found mayonnaise here for 99 cents when the same item would be $4.99 at other stores!).
  7. Ross.  See photo above...they have a very random assortment of food items here so I always check the food shelves just to see if there are any good deals.  Once I found a giant jar or ground ginger for around $3 which was very cheap compared to other stores.
  8. TJ Maxx.  Same idea...lots of random food items, often "high brow" stuff, and prices that range from still expensive to awesome deals so whenever I am at this store I make a quick run through their food aisles just to see if I can find any great deals.
  9. Asian grocery stores.  There are several Asian grocery store chains in my city and we randomly visit them when we need to stock up on Asian food items.  Again, we only buy things that are on sale or that we can't find anywhere else.
  10. Hispanic grocery stores.  We also have several Hispanic grocery store chains in my city and their stores are huge (like Albertsons and other chain grocery stores).  We always buy produce at these stores because the prices are incredibly low (not sure how they accomplish this but most produce they offer is well below the prices for the same items at other stores).  We also like their meat departments (they have actual butchers that break down whole animals in the back and you can find every part of the animal at these stores as well as goat and other game meat that is hard to find elsewhere).  Their bakeries are also pretty good too!
  11. International Marketplace.  This is one huge store that offers food items from all parts of the world so I can get cheap prices here on Indian food, Asian food, Hispanic food, European food, etc. as well as buy all kinds of fish and seafood products at reasonable prices.
  12. Military commissary.  We live far from the military base but when we do go there, we usually go to the commissary and see what they have.  Years ago, military commissaries offered the same groceries we find in the regular stores for half price or less but something happened and now their prices are comparable to outside stores so there isn't a lot of cost saving there but sometime we can find great sales and then we really stock up (a while back we saw they had cans of condensed milk for 75 cents a can which is unheard of in regular stores as the price is more like $2.50 a can so we bought a dozen cans at once).
  13. Walmart.  Walmart seems to have pretty good prices on many food staples so we shop here occasionally.  I'm not a fan of shopping at Walmart (too many shoppers, pretty meh service) but when I have a lot of random food items we need to buy, we will stop by and pick up what we need.  
  14. Farmers markets.  Our city has many farmers markets in the spring and fall and occasionally we will visit these places more for entertainment than anything else and buy things if they have good prices.
  15. Swap meets.  Kind of the same as farmer's markets, these places are very entertaining and often have booths selling local produce and other food (the Mexican swap meets are the best).  This isn't a regular place we buy food but sometimes we come upon great deals like during the last hours of the markets on a Sunday afternoon where the vendors just want stuff gone so offer huge discounts.
  16. U-pick places.  We used to go to these places a lot when we lived in Washington.  In Las Vegas there is only one u-pick farm that I know of and, as entertainment, we sometimes go there just to see what is growing and pick some produce for ourselves just for the fun of it.
  17. Discount grocers.  We have a Trader's Joes here which we rarely go to because it is so crowded, we don't have an Aldis which people often rave about for their low prices, and we do have a WinCo which is all the way across town so we rarely shop there but according to others, these are great places to stretch your food dollar.
  18. Grocery Outlet.  We don't have one of these stores here but I often shopped at this store in previous cities.  This is a scratch and dent/overruns/etc kind of stores which offers good prices on groceries but the selection can be very hit or miss.
  19. Restaurant supply places.  In our previous city, there were a few places to shop for groceries which were restaurant supply places that allowed the public to shop there too.  It was a good place to shop in bulk but you had to compare prices because sometimes things were a good deal and other times the cost was actually more than in regular grocery stores.
  20. Online.  I have bought food items on Amazon because the prices were so good and I got free shipping.  I have also looked at other online places but if they didn't offer free shipping, the price would have been more than buying the item locally (I wanted a big bag of buckwheat flour but the shipping alone was more than the bag of flour!).  This is also a good option for buying hard to find items (I just ordered a box of Japanese Kit Kat bars from Amazon which are cheaper than buying the same item in local Asian stores...I can't wait until they arrive!).

On a side note, here are some random interesting links...


  1. You certainly do have a lot of places to shop! I would have been all over the condensed milk. I found shelf stable milk in Dollar Tree for $1, but have not bought any since they raised prices.

    1. I just bought some shelf stable milk at Dollar Tree too. I used it to make pudding and it worked well so I will definitely buy more of this!

  2. I always love seeing the amazing thrift store finds!