Grocery challenge, week two

(For non kiwis: We have a supermarket duopoly [So what else is new? It’s just like every other industry here]. Foodstuffs owns Pak n Save and New World, their super budget, no frills chain and their deluxe chain respectively. Progressive owns Countdown and Foodtown; the former is their cheaper chain, but it’s still more expensive than PnS.)

Since we moved to this area, we’ve only ever shopped at Pak n Save. It’s close, and of course, it’s cheaper. They also don’t advertise, so you never know what their deals are until you get there…but that’s fine by me, because I’m not the kind of person who sticks rigidly to a list anyway.

At our old place, we lived closer to Countdown, and would randomly split our trips between CD and PnS depending on, well, how we felt that week.

But the expensive Mt Eden Foodtown nearby has now been converted into a Countdown, its cheaper sibling. And I’m kind of tempted to see how well we might fare there. There’s more variety, and it will almost GUARANTEED be better stocked. Also, PnS produce is generally crap, and we don’t always have time to get to a separate fruit n veg shop. Also, the Progressive chain actually sends out flyers, so with a bit of forward thinking maybe it wouldn’t increase our bill by too much. Although…is more choice really a good thing here?

Anyway, chance – okay, traffic – led us to Greenlane Countdown this week. I have to say, I don’t really like visiting new supermarkets. I’m entrenched in routine and I like knowing where aisles are and where to find everything. And this particular supermarket is pretty big (although the aisles could be wider…are you listening?). Basically, the whole experience was nicer. Pak n Save = grey and concrete. Countdown = bright, light, tons of choice. I’ve been to tons of other branches before, but never noticed it quite as starkly. There were some good specials this week – part of the reason we spent nearly $10 on drinks. I’m a water drinker, but T is the opposite. Sadly, produce was not particularly cheap, and we refused to pay their meat prices fullstop.

Of course, the main question is how much did we spend?!

Sorry about the ugly/confusing docket. Countdown prints the original price and then a deduction for the discount. I do like how they show the unit price for produce, though.

Add to that $33 something for meat from the Aussie butcher and we clock in at $135 this week. Pretty average. And two weeks into February, we’re at $254 of our $500 goal. Can we do it? I remember, vaguely, a time when we could occasionally pull off a $100 weekly shop. Now I’ll be happy with $125.

So, do you shop at the same supermarket every time? And do you go to independent butchers/produce shops for fresh food?

6 thoughts on “Grocery challenge, week two

  • Reply Alotta Lettuce February 16, 2011 at 14:58

    I typically buy produce, dairy and sundries (from the bulk bins) at a local store called Sprouts. Some meat as well – particularly fish and ground chicken. But I’ll also do a big stock up shop at Costco every few months and buy a lot of meat there – pork tenderloin, flank steak, lamb and chicken breast mostly.

    My main market doesn’t sell most national brands, so every once in a while I’ll stop at the big chain store (Safeway) in order to get something like mayonnaise or microwave popcorn, and invariably, I leave feeling annoyed because their prices are SO MUCH HIGHER than what I’m used to at my little Sprouts market.

  • Reply Sense February 16, 2011 at 21:59

    feb is only 28 days…i think you can do it!!

    i normally shop at either NW Vic park and Countdown Mt Eden for my mainstream and staple products (smoothies, cheese, peanut butter, etc) and get my produce and meat from the asian grocery. the latter is SO MUCH CHEAPER than either NW or CD–I highly recommend finding a veggie stand or an asian, non mainstream market to buy your produce.

    I am nowhere near a PnS, otherwise I would be all over that. I was so jealous of your last grocery receipt! as it is, it takes me at least an hour and a half in commute time to the grocery store every week…not looking to add onto the time (or bus cost) commitment for a little savings. I find CD Mt Eden to be very expensive. somehow even more expensive than NW Vic Park?? I never make it out of there without spending way more than I think I should for two plastic bags of groceries…

  • Reply Amber from Girl with the Red Hair February 17, 2011 at 04:54

    In the summer we go to the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays – it’s pricey, but worth it to me. For everything else we go to Superstore (the cheapest grocery store in town!) we are venturing there today actually!

  • Reply First Gen American February 18, 2011 at 23:48

    I never got the hang of food challenges myself. I pretty much never buy meat, cereal, canned goods or paper products unless they are on sale. Veggies and cold cuts well, they don’t usually get marked down too much around my parts in the winter, so I just live with it.

    Anyway because of my shopping habits, I’ll often come home with 10 cans of mushrooms, and my staples, but little else. The weeks we have to buy toilet paper or laundry detergent are expensive ones, so it’s really hard to pat myself on the back certain weeks and berate myself others. I just do a backwards look and make sure my spending isn’t out of control.

  • Reply Weekly Wrap – Food and Fitness « A Lotta Lettuce February 20, 2011 at 09:00

    […] lamenting her inflated food spending, eemusings bringing us up to speed on week two of her grocery challenge and Krystal checking in on her lunch challenge. It’s difficult to reconcile wanting to eat […]

  • Reply Fig February 20, 2011 at 11:38

    Not bad! We’ve been trying to keep our bill at less than 150 a week for the two of us. We’ve done a pretty good job at that. I only shop at Countdown and the Chinese grocery for some veggies.

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