Cheap Grocery Haul — Winco Style

by Katy on May 4, 2024 · 69 comments

Grocery prices are absolutely out of control, which I understand is from a combination of corporate greed and the greed of corporations. Either way, consumers are hurting. Lucky for us Pacific Northwesterners, (plus the fine folks in Nevada, Utah, Texas, Arizona and Oklahoma) we have access to employee-owned Winco Foods.

Getting to Winco is kind of a schlep for me, plus there’s always some sketchy shit going down in the parking lot — but damn, their prices are low! (The sketchiness may be Portland specific.) Not as low as they used to be, but still so much cheaper than any other grocery store in town.

Just today I did a big grocery shop and spent a total of $86.12 for everything in the above photo, (although it should’ve be about three bucks less, as I accidentally paid for my son’s bulk sesame seeds.)  I feel like this amount of groceries would’ve set me back around $65 a couple years ago, but $86 is still a screaming deal. In this economy.

Here’s a detail shot of the left side:

And the right side:

And here’s the receipt with the total:

You may notice that my groceries are pretty much zero frills. Think ingredients instead of snacks and premade meals. However, that’s how I keep our grocery budget low. I mostly follow the pantry principal and keep a variety of food on hand that can be combined to prepare multiple different meals. This saves us a ton of money and I can always figure out something yummy to cook.

Sure, I pick up sale items at Fred Meyer, Safeway and the Dented Vegetable Store, but Winco is the clear winner on its own. Just make sure to shop during daylight hours.

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

Alexandra May 4, 2024 at 4:53 pm

As a former employee in the corporate office of a multi-state grocery chain, I can confirm your statement about corporate greed.
When COVID sales were likened to Christmas sales I wanted to hit someone. They RAN with chance to jump up prices and have never looked back.


Katy May 4, 2024 at 4:59 pm

Thank you for this validation!


Cindy in the South May 4, 2024 at 5:26 pm

Shady sh&@ happened to me in the parking lot at Aldi, in Alabama a couple of years ago so I don’t think it is limited to Portland. After that incident, where the lady tried to get into my car with me, I would definitely not shop there after dusk. After doing a rough calculation, your prices look better than mine at Aldi!!!!


Katy May 4, 2024 at 5:31 pm

My two visits to Aldi in Nebraska leads me to the same conclusion.


texasilver May 4, 2024 at 9:50 pm

The WinCo near me is in a bad neighborhood. The apartment complex next door has had a murder & other mayhem occur. I would not go there at night. This is in Ft. Worth, TX. Yes, the prices are low, but I usually shop at Aldi which is a safer area.


BettafromdaVille May 4, 2024 at 5:54 pm

I am SO thankful for Lindsay (Alaska) who introduced me to mystery shops. I started about 2 years ago now, and my “bread and butter” shop is literally a grocery store for which I have to purchase a standard set of items, including chicken, eggs, milk, bread & cheese. I haven’t had to pay any money out for these in 2 years (except fancy cheese…. ).

Today, I did 2 more mystery shops and I made money by buying deli meat for sandwiches this week.


Sara B May 4, 2024 at 6:53 pm

I am always so curious about mystery shops! I would love to find out how to do them. Is there a website or a referral link you could share?


BettafromdaVille May 4, 2024 at 8:02 pm

Lindsey (I spelt her name incorrectly in the post!) is more of an expert, and she offered a link a while ago. But I’ve had great experiences – I do it as a side gig – I can’t imagine getting rich and I only sign up for the ones that I want and that I think are worth my time. But I’ve find it fascinating and it allows me to go out to eat a fair amount (which is a form of entertainment for me!) without costing me any/much money.


Marie May 5, 2024 at 5:52 am

I would love to know what the link is


Heidi Louise May 5, 2024 at 6:10 am
Marie May 6, 2024 at 2:19 pm

Thank you


Lindsey May 5, 2024 at 11:52 am

Makes my heart sing to think the mystery shops have been so helpful to you! At first I used to take everything on offer, which wasted some of my time on low return shops. Like you, for me it is the grocery shops that give the best return. In our area, gas ones and two restaurant ones also are usually worth it.


Cathy May 4, 2024 at 7:43 pm

I love the wording of your understanding of out of control grocery prices!!! Perfectly stated!

We were on vacation last week visiting our family. Lots of eating out! The difference in restaurant checks from a year and a half ago (same number of people, similar food and drink) was crazy. I would guess 50-60% more. Cost increases of groceries, utilities, wages all in one restaurant check! I’m not complaining, we love doing it, but wow it was hard to miss the huge increases.


Juhli May 5, 2024 at 5:11 am

Where I live those high prices for eating out also have been driven up by increases in the legal minimum wage for restaurant and fast food workers. I’m all for that as it was way, way overdue and still does not reflect the cost of living here but it has made us much more selective about when and where we eat out.


Selena May 5, 2024 at 7:00 pm

And wages are still too low in most service industry jobs. If you can’t afford to pay your workers a living wage – in any business – then you shouldn’t be in business. Any one think we don’t have enough fast food restaurants (even without taking into account the health care costs attributable to them)? Those of us on this board know we can prepare almost anything a restaurant provides (admittedly, we don’t like to deep fry) at fraction of what it costs out? We had steak and salmon for not even $14 tonight. Steak was small but closer in size to what a portion should be (I didn’t consume all of it). Can’t speak for all readers/posters but when we dine out, it is for cook’s night off 99% of the time. In my area there are restaurants priced to keep certain people out. While I only know of one couple who dined there, they felt most unwelcome.


Katy May 6, 2024 at 10:53 am

“If you can’t afford to pay your workers a living wage – in any business – then you shouldn’t be in business.” <--- THIS, THIS, absolutely this!


Ava May 5, 2024 at 6:55 am

Cathy, we had exactly the same experience while visiting family a couple of weeks ago. We ate out a few times and restaurant meal prices have greatly increased.


christina May 5, 2024 at 6:02 am

I love WinCo. We have one in Roseville Ca and it’s in a fairly nice area. I live about 20 minutes away but I swim at a pool directly across the street so I often swim and then go in to the store. One block away is a Nugget store. Very pricey and beautifully laid out but I’ve never shopped there. I am always amazed at the prices at Winco and I love the bulk foods.


A. Marie May 5, 2024 at 6:03 am

Katy, you’re making me regret that we don’t have Winco in my part of the world. As it is, I do the best I can with cobbling together trips to my local Aldi, Wegmans, Price Chopper, Tops, and no-name grocery outlet for whatever is cheapest at each store. (All of these are within easy driving distance, and I don’t stop at each store every week, so it’s not like I’m completely obsessive about this.)

And Cathy’s point about dining out is also well put. This is the main reason I rarely eat out any more.


A. Marie May 5, 2024 at 8:11 am

And, oops, I left Ollie’s off my list! Ruby, will you ever forgive me?


Ruby May 5, 2024 at 10:36 am

Ollie’s is always in our hearts, A. Marie. 😀

If you have big Lots, the chain has good prices on pantry foods, toiletries and pet supplies, but you have to know your prices as some items are as much as in a conventional grocery store.


Lindsey May 5, 2024 at 12:00 pm

I have grocery store envy! We have none of the shops you mentioned. My brother lives in New York and once he took me to Wegmans. I was like family who came to visit us from the USSR, back in the 80s when we took them to Safeway–I could not believe the amount and variety of food available. (Unlike the relatives, however, I did not think the store was a fake one set up just to make American groceries seem more abundant than what they had in the USSR…I had been to the USSR a number of times by then and I can tell you that at that point in time, a NYC bodega had more to offer than their grocery stores. Even the foreign currency stores that took only dollars and pounds had nothing in comparison to what we took for granted.)


A. Marie May 5, 2024 at 12:16 pm

Lindsey, JASNA BFF has the same reaction to Wegmans as you do. Our local Wegmans (the biggest store by square footage in the entire chain) is one of her compulsory stops when she visits. Despite the fact that there are now two Wegmans in the NYC metro area, she says that she’d rather binge-shop at mine than take multiple bus and subway rides to visit either of hers.

And, of course, Grad School BFF (who doesn’t have anything like our Wegmans in Chicagoland, either) also insists on paying what she calls her “homage to Wegmans” when she visits. We’ve just wrapped up a plan for her to visit from May 29 to June 4. Huzzah!


Selena May 5, 2024 at 7:10 pm

Have your grad school BFF check out Woodman’s as they are in a few Chicago burbs. Or Valli Produce – I’ve yet to find a protein or produce item they don’t sell. At least in my area, Valli Produce is always spot on fresh. Valli also sells bulks products – nuts, raisins, oatmeal etc. I can’t think of an ethnic food they don’t sell.
Both options might be not be doable if she’s downtown Chi-town, doesn’t have “wheels” and/or is not into driving.


BettafromdaVille May 5, 2024 at 12:34 pm

There was a fake American grocery store that opened up in Moscow at the start of the Cold War – Nixon and Khrushchev engaged in “the Kitchen Debates” over the merits of capitalism vs. communism.


Ruby May 5, 2024 at 6:06 am

Just that tea is nearly $9 a box where I live. Restaurant prices are 100 percent higher than pre-Covid, so we rarely eat out anymore.

I avoided the local Aldi for a long stretch until it hired a security guard due to the sketchy parking lot situation. It also helped that a restaurant that shared the parking lot closed, as it was a magnet for aggressive people wanting handouts.


Katy May 5, 2024 at 9:20 am

Yikes, that’s an insane price! I paid $3.11 per box of Tetley’s, which have 80 teabags apiece. So that’s 3.9¢/bag.


Cathy May 5, 2024 at 6:53 am

My closest WinCo is a 20 minute drive, and definitely in a daylight-only location. I wish it was in the same direction that I often visit. Since it’s not, I don’t shop there often. It’s fun to peruse the aisles and shop for my necessities when I’m there. Grocery shopping makes me kind of sad these days 🙁 I hate that my young-adult kids don’t have the same financial outlook as my husband and I had during that time of our lives.


Katy May 5, 2024 at 9:18 am

I suppose I should have added that it’s amazing that Wincos (at least here in Portland) set up their stores in low income areas, which really serves those neighborhoods and combats “food deserts” which are prevalent in so many American cities.


Cathy May 6, 2024 at 5:52 am

You’re right about the location; I hadn’t thought about that!


mary in maryland May 5, 2024 at 7:01 am

1. I scored a vegetable cleaver on Buy Nothing. It was dull but fabulous for chopping veg. Turns out that the knives I got as wedding presents in 1979 mostly pertain to boning or slicing meat. Not terribly useful to vegans.
2. I went to another guild’s quilt show on Friday and got a packet of 83 used—but full of thread—bobbins. Although I have never bought a lottery ticket—a chance to get nothing for something—buying these bobbins felt a bit risky. Luck was with me—they all fit my sewing machine.
3. The quilt show had vendors. One was totally brilliant. A guy who sharpens things set up in a tent outside the venue. He was busy all three days. He did a fabulous job on the above cleaver. I noticed he was also doing pruners. I think we could make coming to one of our guild meetings worth his while. We all have dull scissors.
4. I’m making a quilt using freezer paper piecing. Word on the street is that each piece of freezer paper can be used up to six times if one is careful. I’ve been getting up to twelve out of each template. I thought I might make the Guinness book of records, but yesterday a podcaster said her max was fourteen.
5. I got a great meal kit for four from Buy Nothing. Missing the hamburger, but I subbed soy curls. The donor was looking to borrow Demon Copperhead, so I loaned our copy. She was also giving mint cuttings for planting. I may be the only gardener in Maryland who has killed mint.
6. I accepted a dozen very used pillows from a friend a few months ago. They were lingering in the car as the dog has not been having accidents that require restuffing her bed. Someone on Buy Nothing asked for stuffing (even newspapers) for a Girl Scout project. She emptied my car. A joy to both of us.


Katy May 5, 2024 at 9:21 am

Hooray for finding use for what others would have simply thrown away!


mary in maryland May 5, 2024 at 9:56 am

The Mister has opined that I take too much responsibility for the solid waste stream


Katy May 6, 2024 at 11:05 am

The responsibility should lie on the manufacturers.


chrisMD May 6, 2024 at 2:47 pm

Hey Mary – we were at the same quilt show! The scissor guy did an excellent job on a pair of scissors that my grandmother gave my mother 40 years ago. My mom didn’t think they were worth sharpening, but for $5, why not?


Mary Ann May 5, 2024 at 9:06 am

I teach a few lessons in my US History based on Han’s Rosling’s book Factfulness. One of the “10 Reasons” we are wrong about the world is the blame game. It certainly changed my whole perspective. To say corporate greed is responsible for food inflation” is a massive over simplification in my opinion. As a consumer I need to take responsibility for my part in nearly eliminating healthy market competition by shopping at Amazon and big box stores. Amazon “drove”out small bookstores? Did they? Nope. It was the consumers favoring low prices and convenience in the short term giving an advantage to a company that for a time paid no taxes and had no local rents, utility, etc. . . I most regret the loss of the family hardware store staffed with people that actually knew something just because I saved $4.00 on wrench that was delivered from a thousand miles away as a single item. Now I pay the price of ignorance. How as a consumer do I allow Dollar Store to remain in business when they are a huge producer of the most useful non consumable crap in the world and also benefit one of the greatest violators of human rights in the world – China . Then I brag about it on youtube videos? I have driven out small craftsman and small business with every purchase.

That “greedy corporation” must now pay 18.00 an hour in my bay area, workman’s comp, disability, etc. . . . They are victims of shoplifting which the local city refuses to prosecute. The employees face sever risk from crime because of city ordinances. The answer to this “greedy business” is to shut down the supermarkets in the city. The most vulnerable now have very limited access to fruit and vegetables. Is that the business’ fault?

My husband is a small farmer who labors under the strictest regulations in the world in California. Yet people are happy to buy from Trader Joes which uses unbelievable amounts of resources to ship “organic walnuts” from China. His walnuts are without market value because the cost to harvest is greater than he will receive at .30 a pound. Yet all of Yuppie California is happy to shop at Trader Joes which will not unionize because consumers will not stop their patronage. BTW, my husband has a handful of immigrant labor who all have beautiful little houses at $300 a month rent, health insurance, a great education, and their children are studying to be nurses, veterinarians, etc. . . Do you think Trader Joe’s provides that to the middleman from other countries. BTW , are people really naive enough to believe produce from less developed countries is REALLY organic? There governments can’t even get most of their children to school ( records of 25% illiteracy.)

Yes, business maximize profit just like me as a consumer. Is that evil? Am I evil? Also, check out the total percentage of my monthly budget devoted to food. 30 years ago it would have been 25 to 30%. Now the average is 7%, Perhaps I am just beginning to pay what food is worth and will therefore stop wasting so much of it. What if I was forced to pay the true market value of water? Would we then stop wasting it on record amounts of beef consumption?

My solution is a personal one. I am NOT a saint. I fly on airplanes, drive a non-electric car, and just shipped a rodent catcher to my 89 yo mother on Amazon because she asked me to do so. However, I do try to take responsibility for my actions. I reduce waste. I cook which is not natural for me. I shop second hand, sustainable, and pay more for fewer clothes that are in small shops. I shop Winco because it does not allow credit which encourages us to stay out credit card debt which is one of the best things this country can do. Grocery Outlets are locally owned and pay the most taxes into my local government which helps the most vulnerable in my town. I have taught for 20 years on the “wrong side of town.” I wonder about the comments in this post. My students are resourceful, independent, and very family oriented. I don’t shop on “the best” side of town at night. That just makes sense.

My two cents for what it is worth.


MB in MN May 5, 2024 at 12:14 pm

Mary Ann, I appreciate your thought-provoking response. Like all of the best kind of teachers, you do a good job asking questions that prompt critical thinking and deeper reflection. Thank you.


Bee May 5, 2024 at 12:23 pm

It looks like Winco does have some great bargains. Buying whole foods or ingredients is definitely a cheaper way to shop. I have become very cautious at the grocery store. Sadly increased food prices disproportionally harms those with lower incomes. I recently read an article in the Washington Post that families with 2 or more children spend as much as 30% of their household income on food.

I think Mary Ann brought up some very valid points. Months ago after seeing the increase in food prices blamed on the greed of the grocery retailer, I looked at the grocery store industry and pulled the annual reports of publicly traded companies and analyzed their financial statements. I believe very little that I read from any news source anymore so I usually look for raw data.

It easy and quiet popular to place the blame on the grocery retailer, but it is not entirely accurate. Many traditional grocery stores have been unfairly accused of gouging.

Grocery stores have very narrow profit margins with most falling in the 3 -5% range. So for every million dollars in sales, they can expect to earn $30, 000 – $50,000. Gourmet grocery stores and those that engage food preparation, deli services and catering usually have slightly higher margins. When running a business this does not give the business owner much wiggle room.

I think it is important to note that grocery stores are at the end of the supply chain and have been impacted by “compounded” inflation. When labor and fuel costs rise significantly, as they have, it affects every step along the way from farm to table. As consumers, we do not see these incremental increases along the supply chain just the end result.

There are other issues too. Many companies especially in urban areas have been affected by increased theft with shrinkage rates in some cases being as high as 21%. This has caused some retailers to close stores creating food deserts. Grocers also have to deal with inventory loss because of spoilage – open packaging, rotten tomatoes, and so forth. There are also other costs related to running a retail grocery store such as rent, insurance, electricity, refrigeration, garbage collection, and equipment which have also increased since 2020 more than 20% in some places.

Lastly, most raw foods are commodities which means the are subject to price fluctuations based on supply and demand. War in Europe, drought, flooding, El Niño are just a few of the things that have negatively impacted food supply. What’s more, during Covid not only were more people eating at home, but it was increasingly more difficult to get foods to market. So demand for the foods available was and is much higher.

So I do not find It is surprising that food cost have gone up so dramatically. Some companies have done a better jobs than others of keeping prices down. However, I think we may be stuck with this for a while as we search for a new normal — market equilibrium. Perhaps it is time to look for alternatives to the existing food distribution system. Farmers’ markets and food coops are a wonderful examples of places to start.

In my opinion, if we just continue to do nothing more than blame the grocer, we will never address the issues behind of food insecurity and increasing costs. It is a much more complex issue than that.


BettafromdaVille May 5, 2024 at 12:37 pm

There was a great podcast episode from the Wall Street Journal about the fight between the French grocery chain Carrefour vs PepsiCo.


Selena May 5, 2024 at 7:22 pm

I’ll add mine – did you vote for the party that made it lucrative – less taxes, wages, no insurance, no responsibility for polluting? If the US still manufactured, it’d be a piece of cake to inspect all shipments from outside the US (fentanyl among other not good for society items). Did our prices drop due to the lower costs to the corps – rhetorical question, not they did not. Mattel moved manufacturing of Barbie overseas. The price didn’t drop, Mattel just made more money. Despite it being widely disseminated, most honey you buy in the grocery store is from China and it is not honey. But since the money continues to line the pockets of our politicians nothing will be done.
So yes, we do have options. Quit buying crap from China and you don’t have to worry about lead paint on toys or questionable “ingredients” in your baby food/food/pet food.
It is greed, pure and simple. And the unwise purchasing of US consumers continually feeds it. Prices will always go up – economically speaking, very few inelastic items. Most do need a cell phone, most do not need a top of the line phone. Manufacturing overseas has made it possible for people who really can’t afford to buy an item to afford one. Add BNPL/credit which makes it worse. Walmart is the king – pay your employees crap, not have FT employees, then ensure they spend taxpayer assistance at yep, Walmart cuz there are no other options in a lot of areas.


Marybeth from NY May 6, 2024 at 7:14 am

I only buy honey from beekeepers for this reason. It is more money but I feel it is worth it.


Selena May 6, 2024 at 7:15 pm

And for those who have eaten local honey, you can tell the difference after the smallest taste.


Anne May 6, 2024 at 8:48 am

Thanks so much for this reasoned reply. I get so tired of the term “corporate greed” thrown about as if the world were divided into just two kinds of people. Economics is so much more complicated than that.


Katy May 6, 2024 at 11:06 am

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your perspective, it’s all very interesting.

What do you think about Kroger (here they’re Fred Meyer) taking their record profits to buy back stock and enrich their stockholders?,%2C%20infrastructure%2C%20and%20labor%20force.


Cassie May 6, 2024 at 11:18 am

Thanks for your post Mary Ann, you’ve certainly given me a lot to ponder.
BTW, I shop at Winco at least once a month. No parking lot problems day or night. Feels safer than the Walmart lot across the street. Big fan of Winco’s bulk section and prices on shelf stable, frozen, and dairy items. Their produce is hit or miss, often spoiling quickly.


Katy May 6, 2024 at 5:33 pm

Hooray for safe Winco parking lots!


Mary Ann May 5, 2024 at 9:08 am

BTW: Dollar store reference was LEAST useful crap


Michelle May 5, 2024 at 9:21 am

The sketchiness is in Medford too! Winco’s parking lot and the surrounding area is the kind of place you don’t take a stroll in, day or night.


Katy May 5, 2024 at 9:45 am

I keep my wits about me when in their parking lot. Walk with purpose, utilize peripheral vision, do not engage with men who walk up to me and always park next to a cart return. Fun!


Blue Gate Farmgirl May 5, 2024 at 12:14 pm

I live equal distances away from 3 excellent Winco markets. I bundle one trip per month that coordinates with a farm store trip…I love their bulk foods, store labeled canned goods. There are a few locations that I will not visit because of the parking lot drug activity. There is also a home rule of go early, before the zombies wake. I concur with the Grocery Outlet and scratch and dent stores…go there first & stock up (because if you pass it up, it won’t be there next time).
This week I took a 95 yo neighbor shopping and my reward was a $4.98 large orchid, it’s a mystery as to the color! He was so excited to buy it for me as a thank you, what a dear heart!
My cousin and I are fiercely competitive on bargains. He swore he did better with budget shopping at a Super Walmart, I scoffed and we designed a basics list (no bulk foods) and he shopped at Wally’s and I shopped a huge WinCo and I won by 8.37!


Katy May 6, 2024 at 11:03 am

I just stay on high alert when in the parking lot and they actually have very good security who roam at all times.

Hooray for your $8.37 win!


Sarah May 5, 2024 at 2:17 pm

So nice you don’t have a grocery tax! In TN we still do. Some years we have a grocery tax holiday but nothing has passed so far in 2024 🙁


Ruby May 5, 2024 at 3:18 pm

Also a Tennessee resident. With the local option taxes added on, the grocery tax is 9.25 percent for us. It’s way less painful to do grocery shopping across the state line when I find myself over there for a medical appointment.


Selena May 5, 2024 at 7:24 pm

Last time we saw relatives in TN, they bragged about no state income tax. I said but your sales tax is horrid. State must do a good job of marketing is all I can say. No matter what state, they get you somewhere.


Lindsey May 5, 2024 at 8:35 pm

This is not true for Alaska, that all states “get you somewhere.” We have no state tax. Part of the money produced by our oil fields is returned to the residents on a yearly basis through the Permanent Fund Dividend. Not huge amounts, but usually over $1,000 and a lot of years quite a bit more.


Katy May 6, 2024 at 10:58 am

We don’t have sales tax here in Oregon. However, our property taxes are insane. My parents paid $20,000 for their house in 1969 and the property taxes are now almost $12,000 annually.


Jill May 5, 2024 at 2:23 pm

Within the last year I have slowly switched over to the pantry principle and shopping loss leaders to fill the pantry and freezer. We have had a lot of visitors since our move to Colorado and I like that I can pull together meals from past sales instead of going out and doing a big grocery shop. I just wish we had a Winco – or Aldi – or any type of discount grocery store.


Marybeth from NY May 6, 2024 at 7:20 am

This is how I have always shopped. Thankfully I have 8 different stores within 10 miles of my house. I just pick and choose what I get at which store for the best price. Now that my kids are older we do it as a team. I will say I’m going to Aldi and they tell me the deals they want me to get for them. Or if I see mark downs I text them to see if they want any. Then I do coupons and rebate sites on top of it.


Katy May 6, 2024 at 10:55 am

Yes, I can put together almost endless meals from what I have on hand. It helps that I have an Instant Pot, as I can spontaneously prep bean based meals.


K D May 6, 2024 at 3:25 am

Thanks for sharing. The other day a friend mentioned that she thinks prices have risen 30% in the past four years. That is spot on with Katy’s guestimate of the groceries.

On Saturday we took adult DD to Grocery Outlet for the first time. She found some “bargains” on snack foods and cereals while I bought some produce, chicken, and yogurt. There were definitely shoppers looking for bargains.

We mostly use the Pantry Principle at our house though a bit less stridently than years ago.


Katy May 6, 2024 at 10:49 am

I read that we’re spending 25% more for groceries than we did in 2019. Also that five companies dominate 60% of grocery sales.


Autumn May 6, 2024 at 5:31 am

My budget is $100/wk for my 2-person household in the PA countryside. I’m trying to bring that back down to $75/wk. When I lived alone, it was $35/wk.

I’m constantly worried with making sure my partner feels OK with our menu. I grew up in a dirt-poor household, having simple meals every day. My partner did not; he grew up eating out. When he first started living with me, he was bewildered by my “ingredient kitchen.” I have slowly adapted to his preferences… at the cost of my grocery budget. I’m slowly working back to a healthier kitchen, but it is *difficult*!!!


Katy May 6, 2024 at 10:44 am

Must have been quite the shock for him!


Michele May 6, 2024 at 7:34 am

Wish we had a Winco-. I do my big shop at Aldi and use Sam’s to fill in around the edges. I LOVE Publix, but it is not a place to get everything you need. Their Motto is “Where shopping is a pleasure” and it is so true. Roaming workers make eye contact and actually help you if needed.
I also follow the pantry principal. Have been doing that since reading Tightwad Gazette in ’95 or ’96, I think. My best friend spends at least 2 x as much as us- same size household. Lots of prepared dishes and convenience foods.


Bee May 6, 2024 at 8:23 am

Publix is a century-old Florida institution. There are so many good things about this organization.
* They are employee owned
* They are extremely clean
* They give millions to the communities they serve through their foundation — even building stores in underserved communities.
* They give their excess inventories of food and day-old baked goods to food pantries and soup kitchens.
However, I do not shop there like I used to for four reasons:
* There prices for most the things that I buy are 20 -30% higher than other stores
* They will not get rid of the plastic grocery bags which are particularly dangerous to our state’s marine environment. They are almost plastic pushers.
* The store near me no longer carries a decent selection of gluten-free items
* They remerchandised the store near me 4 years ago, and I absolutely cannot get used to the layout. I still can’t find anything. It just does not make sense to me.
But I must say, their BOGO deals are the best around!


Cheryl May 6, 2024 at 12:00 pm

@Bee, i agree with you about Publix. I actually have family that work there and have a LOT of stock. Lovely store, BUT — its super expensive! And, they just redid my store a few months back, apparently they are trying to organize them all the same…(Example: cereal would be on Aisle 2 at ALL Publix locations). I only go there for BOGO and loss leaders – the rest of my shopping is Aldi.


Katy May 6, 2024 at 10:43 am

I do buy a few preprepared meals, like potstickers that I’m unlikely to make on my own. These save us from takeout.


Marilyn May 6, 2024 at 8:01 am

I shop Winco for the low prices. I go during the day on weekdays (too crowded on weekends) and I stock up on staples once a month. While there are several reasons for higher grocery prices, corporate price-gouging by large grocery chains during Covid is pretty well-established. An FTC investigation came to the conclusion that the “dominant companies” have continued to keep costs “artifically high.”


Katy May 6, 2024 at 10:40 am

This trip was on a Saturday, as my son needed to shop and he works Monday – Friday. Too crowded for me!


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