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Cost of Grocery Store Shopping

Cost of Grocery Store Shopping

Old Jan 24th 2012, 1:54 am
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Default Re: Cost of Grocery Store Shopping

My husband and I have recently moved to California and find grocery shopping much more expensive. Like others have said if you are prepared to eat a lot of proccessed rubbish then yes you can eat cheaply however anythig of quality is extremely expensive.

We are 'foodies' and make most things from scratch so our grocery bill as a couple has shot up and we find we really have to budget whereas in the UK we could go into Tesco and buy whatever the mood grabbed us. I have totally given up on finding good bread so now bake our own bread by hand a couple of times a week. We buy lots of frozen veg because it is cheaper (after reading the label of course to check freezing methods), and our main meat is chicken. We ate beef regularly in the UK but avoid it here because of all the antibiotics/hormones, every so often we buy some expensive organic beef as a treat. I find that when going to the supermarket if you want to eat quality food there is less choice and you really need to be clued up on what is actually allowed in the different foods here.
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Old Jan 24th 2012, 12:06 pm
  #32  
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Default Re: Cost of Grocery Store Shopping

I guess I'll be the one dissenting voice. I have to say I haven't noticed grocery shopping being proportionally more expensive than when I lived in the UK (much the opposite in fact - seem to be able to get a lot more on a tighter budget). I think it probably depends to a great degree on where you shop. Yes If I shopped for the best quality organic produce down at the Idylwilde farm stores in Acton then I would be out of pocket pretty quickly - however the reality is I buy most of my stuff down at the Downtown 'Ghetto Basket' which is pretty cheap tbh. Quality isn't going to set the world on fire but then I don't remember Tescos exactly being a nirvana of amazing produce.
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Old Jan 24th 2012, 2:28 pm
  #33  
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Default Re: Cost of Grocery Store Shopping

have to agreed with all Englishmum and Mommy say. Food over here is expensive and not good quality unless you want to get chemical rubbish all the time. It no wonder so many people have diet related illness over here, especially the poor as they are forced to eat this stuff if they are on food stamps.

In our area of TX, we don't even have a good choice of supermarkets as a local chain is dominant - HEB (H E Butts), other choices locally are Walmart and Target with one Randalls store about 5 miles away.

Now it is just the 2 of us, its even harder to shop as everything is in bulk over here- even cakes come in a packet of 3.

Hate grocery shopping over here.
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Old Jan 24th 2012, 3:52 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Grocery Store Shopping

Hello, we have recently moved over here from UK and live Upstate NY.

Grocery prices I feel are comparible with UK, Hanniford being the best locally, as someone has already said. Something to make you all think, (and laugh) is we moved back to UK in 2002 (before we moved back again) and mistakingly the packers packed a loaf of American Bread. Our stuff went into storage back in the UK for 5 months. When everything was eventually unpacked, we found the bread..... Guess what.... it was fine!!! Talk about preservatives, lol, so gross. And no we didnt eat it, but tell everyone the tale of the preservatives in US bread. So the moral of the story is to make your own.
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Old Jan 24th 2012, 4:16 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Grocery Store Shopping

Thank you to everyone for your detailed responses, especially to EnglishMummy for your very indepth reply. I have a feeling that it was cathartic for you

Don't be under any illusions - food prices here have rocketed in the last few years. I would estimate that we pay approx 20% more for the same basket of food than we did 12 months ago. When you add this to soaring fuel and utility costs with long term pay freezes - well it's all a bit depressing. In real terms we are worse off now then we were 8 years ago.

Have also noticed that packaging seems to be smaller (and I am not just referring to the infamous Wagon Wheel observation)

We did stay in Naperville IL for several months (this was about 12 years ago) and I must say I didn't pay too much attention to food prices although if I recall, both myself and my husband were given a daily living allowance of $25 each on top of salary and car hire - wouldn't get that now!

I do remember that I hated the bacon (too streaky), the cheese (bland and orange), the bread (for all the reason stated above), the cereals (always accompanied by pieces of marshmallow/choc chip/toffee pieces - why?) and the chocolate (simply because it wasn't!).

I also seem to recall that the spiciest thing you could find was tabasco sauce - wonder if that has changed since then?

VJW - your story about the bread is very funny and thanks to those of you that have suggested bread machines - I think that this will be the way forward for us.

jjmb - there is nothing wrong with sharing 3 cakes between 2

humphreyc - thank you for your post and I love your blog - you have a talent for writing there!

gillymonkey - we are 'foodies' too - I think we have a learning curve ahead of us

mummyinthefoothills - thank you for those prices. Minced beef is about that here too although took me a while to do the conversions!
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Old Jan 24th 2012, 4:23 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Grocery Store Shopping

Originally Posted by HumphreyC View Post
Get a breadmaker - I got one in the UK and never bought supermarket bread again while I was living there (hate the stuff). Just got a replacement one here in the U.S this Christmas.

Now, if I could just find a way to make decent sausages...
I just bought a breadmaker recently, too, and I love it!!! Unfortunately it's just me at home so even a small loaf is too large for just me, so I have to make it whenever I have more people around to eat it.

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Old Jan 24th 2012, 4:39 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Grocery Store Shopping

Originally Posted by Noorah101 View Post
I just bought a breadmaker recently, too, and I love it!!! Unfortunately it's just me at home so even a small loaf is too large for just me, so I have to make it whenever I have more people around to eat it.
Make a loaf, then freeze half of it? That's what I did in the days before husband/children. Now a loaf lasts a day if I'm lucky!!
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Old Jan 24th 2012, 4:56 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Grocery Store Shopping

Originally Posted by HumphreyC View Post
Quality isn't going to set the world on fire but then I don't remember Tescos exactly being a nirvana of amazing produce.
Either I take more notice of my food lately or I think it's gone both ways - in the UK some food is full of crap; other stuff is about as simple as it can be. Take a typical packet spice mix for Thai curry - full of ingredients I can hardly pronounce, costs £2, makes one portion, masses of salt and sugar, and is crap. Go to an Asian store (or even some of the big supermarkets these days), buy an imported tub of Thai curry paste, not a single ingredient you couldn't grow in a greenhouse, no preservatives, yet lasts 6 months or more, makes dozens of portions, and costs... £2.

Originally Posted by clarity1971 View Post
mummyinthefoothills - thank you for those prices. Minced beef is about that here too although took me a while to do the conversions!
I looked at some of those prices. I think the milk worked out about the same as it is here. I also looked at Safeway prices, remembering to add about 9% sales tax, and found quite a bit of stuff wasn't that much different from here - differences you could find simply by shopping at Asda instead of Tesco, for example. Bread, yes definitely more expensive in the US and that was noticeable on our last trip as well. But raw meats didn't seem much different and quite frankly some of the beef we have here is atrocious unless you're prepared to spend a lot of money - or have good gnashers.
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Old Jan 24th 2012, 5:15 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Grocery Store Shopping

This grocery ad may interest some of you.

http://www.harmonsgrocery.com/ads/
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Old Jan 24th 2012, 5:46 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Grocery Store Shopping

Originally Posted by HumphreyC View Post
I guess I'll be the one dissenting voice. I have to say I haven't noticed grocery shopping being proportionally more expensive than when I lived in the UK (much the opposite in fact - seem to be able to get a lot more on a tighter budget). I think it probably depends to a great degree on where you shop. Yes If I shopped for the best quality organic produce down at the Idylwilde farm stores in Acton then I would be out of pocket pretty quickly - however the reality is I buy most of my stuff down at the Downtown 'Ghetto Basket' which is pretty cheap tbh. Quality isn't going to set the world on fire but then I don't remember Tescos exactly being a nirvana of amazing produce.
I think it's the every day staples that are either much more expensive or much worse in quality here though, with the own brand stuff especially.

Bread, cheese, soups, meats and veg....and especially the convenience foods.

The quality stuff is more like for like, but suffers far more from regional variation here I found.

A grocery shop in the UK, well in London, Oxford and York, didn't find the cost or the quality to vary all that much, certainly compared to the cost of living difference in housing and salaries, but here, it's massively different.
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Old Jan 24th 2012, 5:54 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Grocery Store Shopping

Originally Posted by clarity1971 View Post

Don't be under any illusions - food prices here have rocketed in the last few years. I would estimate that we pay approx 20% more for the same basket of food than we did 12 months ago. When you add this to soaring fuel and utility costs with long term pay freezes - well it's all a bit depressing. In real terms we are worse off now then we were 8 years ago.
You'll find it isn't much different over here in the US, but petrol costs have gotten crazy and sure it might still sound cheap compared to the UK, but there's no alternative to driving really and you do drive so much more here. The other big one to get out of whack is medical insurance, the costs either go up hugely, or cover goes down, normally a combination of the two though.

Eggs have gone up a dollar in the last year for a dozen, milk about $1.50 for a gallon and flour especially, because a year ago we could have gotten a 10 lbs bag at BJ's for $4.50 and it's doubled in cost now and these are just the obvious price hikes without the packages shrinking on you
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Old Jan 24th 2012, 5:58 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Grocery Store Shopping

Originally Posted by christmasoompa View Post
Make a loaf, then freeze half of it? That's what I did in the days before husband/children. Now a loaf lasts a day if I'm lucky!!
I'm not fond of bread that's been frozen and thawed...doesn't it thaw out kinda mushy? lol

It's OK, I'm not a big bread eater anyway...I make it when hubby's home for the weekend and we go through a large loaf quickly.

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Old Jan 24th 2012, 6:19 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Grocery Store Shopping

Originally Posted by Noorah101 View Post
I'm not fond of bread that's been frozen and thawed...doesn't it thaw out kinda mushy? lol
Not that I've ever found, in fact I think bread is one of the things that freezes best and I always have a loaf or two in the freezer. But maybe shop bought stuff would freeze differently?

Which reminds me, time to go and put another sundried tomato and parmesan loaf on in the breadmaker, so I can eat it warm smothered in pate later...............yum!
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Old Jan 24th 2012, 10:04 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Grocery Store Shopping

Originally Posted by GeoffM View Post


I looked at some of those prices. I think the milk worked out about the same as it is here. I also looked at Safeway prices, remembering to add about 9% sales tax,
No sales tax on food in California. Unless it's prepared hot food or something like that I can never figure it out.
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Old Jan 25th 2012, 3:04 am
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Default Re: Cost of Grocery Store Shopping

Originally Posted by Mummy in the foothills View Post
No sales tax on food in California. Unless it's prepared hot food or something like that I can never figure it out.
What I found out was when you pay sales tax in California I thought that money goes to the state treasury but that's not the way it works. The merchant uses a formula instead. Don't seem right to me.
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