Food - How to Save Money on Groceries in California

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					Food - How to Save Money on Groceries in California
Last week I happened into one of the large chain grocery stores, and I
was stunned at the high prices. I NEVER pay such prices for food. Two
dollars for one avocado? Please!
With gasoline prices rising 40 cents every two weeks, and people losing
their jobs all around us, it's only prudent to stretch every dollar as
far as we can. As a former Chef, I want to share with you two of the
places I shop and save, and I've been shopping there for 25 years. Both
meet my high standards for cost and quality.
Before I go any further, I want to assure you that I'm not associated
with either of the businesses I'm about to recommend. This is not meant
to be a commercial for them, and they don't know that I'm writing the
article. Also, please note that these stores are located in California,
and the rate prices are going up, some of the prices I quote will no
longer be valid. Nevertheless, you can assume that if the prices went up
here, they went up even higher at the large chain Supermarkets.
#1 at the tip top of my Food Savings List is the chain known as Smart and
Most people think they have to own a restaurant or have a special license
to shop at Smart and Final. Not so. Furthermore, they never charge a
membership fee. They have a free card (like many other chains) which
always results in several dollars savings when I shop. There is a regular
price posted for items, and on some there is the lower price for card
It's easy to find one of their many convenient locations, and with the
smaller warehouse design, you get in and out quickly. Whether you're
stocking up, planning a party or preparing a meal for your family, they
have many of the things you need, but you don't have to buy in big lots.
For instance, a 2-pound can of MJB coffee has a regular price of $8.59.
You can buy a single loaf of bread for half of what a loaf of bread costs
in a regular supermarket. Bananas cost $.49 a lb. instead of $.79 or more
at other stores. Crackers and cereals come in slightly larger packages,
but at huge savings over supermarket prices.
I could go on and on, but I want to underscore two of the most important
reasons I shop there. First, it's the only place I know where I can buy
Manufacturing Cream (has a higher fat content for making scrumptious
desserts), and all of their dairy products are highest quality and top-
of-the-line brands. Second, I love the quality and taste of their meat.
The beef has the best flavor of any I've found in my locale, and it is
always in cryovac. This protects the life and sanitation of the food.
While you CAN buy an entire hunk of your cut, you can also buy a few
steaks, or one tri-tip if that's what you want. The pork is also very
high in quality.
Visit their website to find a location near you. Mine is two blocks away
and I shop there at least four times a week. Oh, and they open at 7:00am
six days a week at at 8:00am on Sunday.
#2 on my Food Savings List is the chain known as Trader Joe's.
Some people drive past Trader Joe's thinking it is a high-end, "shi shi"
place and never give it a chance. What a mistake!
Each Trader Joe's is laid out differently, but all have a distinct
personality. Usually, flowers are the first thing you see when you walk
in the door. While I don't buy flowers, I still like looking at them, and
it's a pleasant, welcoming first impression.
But where are the savings? This isn't a store that hits you in the face
with specials, but let me give you some examples.
In the vitamin section, there is a product called Psyllium Husks. These
are known to naturally reduce cholesterol, and help with acid stomach. In
health food stores psyllium sell for $8-20 a can. At Trader Joe's the
price just went up for the first time in at least 15 years to $5.99 for
the same size can. Indeed, most of their dietary supplements cost less
than other places.
Additional hidden values at Trader Joe's are the cereals. If you
translate your favorite brand to their brand, you can realize a great
saving. In the frozen food section, the fish are the greatest hit on my
list. Again, great quality, lower prices.
But my favorite Trader Joe's secret is a vegetarian rice and vegetable
dish called Nasi Goreng (Indonesian for fried rice). For less than $2.50
you get 4 regular side dishes. In our house, however, this translates to
two servings because the flavors are so good. Ready to eat in about 8
minutes, all you add is a tablespoon of butter to the saute pan and your
own brand of love.
If you have an adventurous palate, this is the place to find new dishes.
Emerging professional Chefs submit their original recipes to Trader
Joe's, and the results are usually magnificent. It's the American version
of an International market.
So go to the website and find a location near you. I guarantee you won't
be disappointed.
Glenda Glayzer

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