August 6, 2019

Grocery haul.

I used to really enjoy grocery shopping. And then I didn't even mind it. And, even taking along Wells, it's not a hardship. It's just time intensive when I have to take Wells along and I prefer to grocery shop during the day because I'm generally in for the night by 7pm.

I've gone back and forth over the years...


Fred Meyer.



Trader Joe's.


Super Target.

This is completely dependent on where we live and what our situation is with stores/set-up/lifestyle.

For example, I liked shopping at Fred Meyer when we lived in Palmer, Alaska because it was closer than the commissary (a 40 minute drive).

In Missouri, I liked Walmart, so I would go back and forth between there and the commissary on base.

In Colorado, I hated grocery shopping so much that I usually just went to the commissary on the weekends and it'd be like a half-day project because it was 30 minutes away. Sometimes I would go to Safeway because it was close to work.

I've tried Aldi in both Missouri and in Pittsburgh and I'm always slightly disappointed.

And Trader Joe's is good for some things I like: produce and bread, for example. I'm just always wholly disappointed in their snacks. I don't get the TJ's obsession in this way. So I can't do a full week's worth of grocery shopping there.

Super Target is always a good option if you need a collection of random things (bath products, gifts, clothes, diapers, etc), but they're not as grocery-heavy as they proport themselves to be.

And Walmart: The Walmart in Alaska was fiiiiiiine. The Walmart at Ft. Leonard-Wood was fiiiiiiiine. The Walmarts in Colorado were the trashiest Walmarts I'd ever encountered. The Walmart in Laramie was the only option and it was the best kept-up Walmart I'd ever been to; it had to be because it was the only store in town.

And so when I found a Walmart a few miles from our house in Pittsburgh, I thought that'd be a good option. It was a really big store, everything you would need, etc. Especially since we were buying formula and that was the best place to get it each week along with all the groceries.

And then I noticed how trashy this Walmart can be. For example, one night I went in to grab formula after dark. I had to do some double takes: I'm shocked I didn't step on a used needle in the parking lot. The quality of people who hang out in a Walmart parking lot or lobby or just in general after 6pm is not the quality of people I generally seek out. Especially when they urinate on the produce because they're drunk (true story). 

I'd reconciled this in my mind by just doing the grocery pick-up, so I didn't actually have to go in. Then they started messing up my order and that just became so inconvenient (I needed those limes and all) and it was a waste of money.

So I decided it *might* be worth my time every two weeks or so to drive to the commissary here.

There IS a commissary in Pittsburgh because there's a reserve base near the airport. "Base" meaning that there's some buildings off of the highway.

It's a small store but it has 90% of what I would normally buy in the regular grocery store. Not everything is cheaper but the meat and cheese and frozen food is a bargain. They don't have a ton of produce because they don't get that much turnover, but I can always go to Giant Eagle for produce (they're waaaaaay too expensive to do all the shopping there).

The reason I'd avoided it so far was just because it's 30 minutes down the highway and, if you go at the wrong time of day, that turns into 90 minutes one way because of the traffic. So I have to plan it out moreso than if I were just heading to Walmart.

Anyway, I went last week at 9:30am and that was a good time, traffic-wise.

I always find peoples' grocery shopping hauls to be fascinating, so here's what I got:

I won't go through it all but a few things to note:
I prefer to have some quick frozen food on hand.
Pizzas (we like CPK), sweet potato fries, and potstickers (Wells loves them).
Chicken. It's a quarter of the price, compared to Walmart.
Same with cheese.
And the milk I buy for Wells is a full dollar cheaper there. 
Yogurts are only 80 cents, compared to $1.50 at other stores. 
I got all the ingredients to make a triple batch of tortilla soup to freeze (winter is coming and all). Then I realized I forgot the cream cheese. 

Coffee isn't that much cheaper there but we needed it, so whatever.
They had a different variety of pouches for babies so I got a bunch, and some baby snacks. I *try* not to give him these things every day but they're lifesavers if we're out somewhere.
And salads. I used to buy salad mixes that I loved in Colorado and I stocked up here last week.
I didn't get a lot of produce because I hadn't really meal-planned and didn't want it to go to waste. 

I've noticed that now I've become that person who makes a vegetable with every meal since I'm trying to train a toddler to eat, which 2013 Kristin wouldn't have believed. 

So I stocked up on broccoli because we eat it like 3 times a week because you can add it to anything easily. 

Where do you do most of your grocery shopping? 

In a perfect world, I would go to Costco once a month too, but that's a lot of work. It's like every 3 months that I go there to buy salmon for Scott and potstickers/won-tons/etc to keep in the freezer.


  1. In the US I went to Aldi and then Meijer for whatever I didn't/couldn't get at Aldi. I think Meijer is only in the Michigan/Ohio/surrounding area but I really love them and they have the best bakery M&M cookies and so much good food.
    I love grocery shopping in the USA. So much. I love the choices. Here, the "grocery store" is more of a "dry goods" store, because their produce is really not fresh. We typically buy chicken, pork, and fruits and veggies at the local outdoor wet market, dry goods at the grocery store, and if we need beef, we have to go to a separate store just for beef (explains why we go months without eating anything involving beef). I tend to not grocery shop here at all while pregnant--I had a very horrible experience at the grocery store early on in this pregnancy and haven't gone back since. Angel takes Cyrus and it's their father/son outing and they both enjoy it together. But it definitely costs more money if Angel shops because he'll buy snacks that I won't. haha!

  2. Commissary. Interesting. When I was an army brat we had NAAFI food shops. I suppose a commissary is the US equivalent :-)

  3. I do most of my shopping at Aldi and supplement with Harris Teeter. I hysterically live in what I call a grocery store oasis. There are more than 10 grocery stores within 10 minutes of my apartment.

  4. Sadly, that's why I do most of my grocery shopping on Kroger click list because its 30 minutes away too & to go shopping & get back home, it turns into a 2 hour event. No thank you.


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