Comparing Grocery Costs: Where It’s Really Expensive
As personal finance bloggers, we tend to always think our area is a high cost of living area, which may not always be true when compared to other places throughout the world. To discover where the cost of living truly is high, a group of bloggers got together and compared the cost of a few different grocery store staples, things like a dozen eggs and a gallon of milk, to find out where the cost of groceries is truly highest. The full results of this study can be seen below.
Of course “high cost of living” is also relative to how much money you make too, but that isn’t as easily comparable as not everyone is comfortable sharing that information with the world. 😉 But, we all know that one of the budget areas people tend to struggle with the most is keeping grocery costs under control.
Femme Frugality in Pittsburgh, PA, Laurie at The Frugal Farmer in Minnesota, Natalie at Budget and the Bees in Brooklyn, NY , Mrs. FW at Frugalwoods in Cambridge, MA, and myself in Kansas, put together our price lists for comparison. Here is what we found:
Overall, the price of the grocery staples we compared seems to be highest in Pittsburgh, PA and Brooklyn, NY. As one might expect, that is especially true for most meat products. In fact, only one product’s highest price was outside of these two areas.
On the low-end of things, Kansas, Minnesota, and Cambridge, MA seemed to have the lowest grocery prices out of the places we compared. This does seem to make sense as generally these areas in the Midwest (KS and MN) are lower cost of living areas. We were somewhat surprised to see that Cambridge had such low grocery prices, maybe this helps to make up for the inflated prices they see in other areas that make up the cost of living, like housing.
Bargain and sale shopping does make a different in these prices as well and can greatly affect how much you spend on groceries each month. If you decide to hop around and view each blogger’s post, you’ll see that we all have tips to help you save on groceries. Here are mine.
Make a List and Stick to It
One way I save on groceries is by limiting what items I buy and have on-hand. I do keep pantry staples on hand, but I try to limit having too many extras. I make a thorough list before I go to the store each week and I stick to it at all times. Having a list and a strict budget helps me avoid junk food temptations and eat healthier too.
Limit Number of Trips
I only go the grocery store once each week, and I go on the same day every single week. I only deviate my from normal grocery shopping day for very special occasions, like illness or being out-of-town. By going only once each week I limit the number of times I’m around the temptations at the grocery store, but I still go often enough to have fresh produce all the time. Since I only go to the store each Sunday, I must have a good list of what I need. If I forget something, I have to find a way to do without it until the next week.
Shop Sales Exclusively
I love fresh fruits and vegetables, but I only buy the ones that are on sale. Rather than buying food based on a meal plan, I meal plan based on what foods I buy (to some degree). This means my meals are always based around what produce is on sale each week. I don’t let my wants dictate what my fruit and vegetable choices are each week because I literally only buy the ones that are on sale.
I hope you enjoyed our grocery cost comparison. We really enjoyed putting it together for you and we hope you’ll take the time to learn how each of us save money on groceries.
How do you save money on groceries? How does your area compare price-wise with all of ours?
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