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#1 of 46 Old 06-24-2009, 01:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I started thinking of this when reading a thread in Frugality & Finances....

How do you Chicago mamas save $$$ on groceries? Jewel and Dominicks seems to have a near-total monopoly around here, and they seem to be so expensive compared to what mamas in other parts of the country have. (Although I think Jewel is a little cheaper than Dominicks..... agree?)

Do any grocery stores around here do double coupons?

I used to shop at Cub, but could never warm up to Ultra Foods, which replaced it around here. Is Ultra cheap enough to make the switch?

I've never even set foot in an Aldi.... and I was never that impressed with the prices at Costco. (Plus, I just can't justify PAYING THE STORE to shop there. Does. Not. Compute. )

I will not shop at WalMart / Sam's Club for ethical reasons.

Any penny-pinching mamas out there who can give Chicago-specific advice? I'm in the western burbs if that makes a difference.

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#2 of 46 Old 06-24-2009, 03:20 AM
 
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When we lived in the western burbs, we found Meijer to have the best prices on what we bought regularly.

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#3 of 46 Old 06-24-2009, 10:03 AM
 
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See, now I think Dominick's is cheaper, but that could just be in my town. I stopped in there last night and got 3 bags of groceries which would easily be $50 at Jewel here, and I only spent $35!!!: I am DEFINITELY going back!

Oh and Meijer does have good prices, but I hate it there. Kind of gross, I think.

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#4 of 46 Old 06-24-2009, 06:10 PM
 
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I never shop at Jewel or Dominick's b/c they are so expensive. Here are the stores that have better prices:

Meijer
Woodman's
Caputo's
Trader Joe's

(Super Target is probably cheaper than Jewel/Dominicks but is more $$ than those other places). I probably do 90% of my shopping at Trader Joe's these days. I wouldn't discount Aldi's either - they have great prices on a lot of items.
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#5 of 46 Old 06-24-2009, 08:19 PM
 
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I never shop at Jewel or Dominick's b/c they are so expensive. Here are the stores that have better prices:

Meijer
Woodman's
Caputo's
Trader Joe's

(Super Target is probably cheaper than Jewel/Dominicks but is more $$ than those other places). I probably do 90% of my shopping at Trader Joe's these days. I wouldn't discount Aldi's either - they have great prices on a lot of items.
Depends on what you eat. Meijer for me is too far (western suburbs) but I have a Trader Joe, Aldi, and Caputos nearby. I shop all 3. I have a Jewel in my town but I have not been in there in over 6 mos, we also have a locally owned grocery that has been here for 75 years and I shop there as well.
The Aldi I shop at is brand new and in a town considered affuelant (at least its residents think so, I consider it debt, another topic though) so its a great store since several of the town would turn their nose up at it. I consider it the best kept secret LOL. But Caputos I love because they have awesome ethnic style aisles of several different things and great sales. We do not buy much premade convenience food so Target is out of the question but I have heard many people say the one in bloomingdale is the best for groceries.

We also get TimberCreek weekly for organic produce and dairy. We are happy with their service and have been getting them over a year now.

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#6 of 46 Old 06-25-2009, 12:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've lived in the Chicago area my whole life and I've never heard of Woodman's or Caputo's!!!!

There is a Meijer maybe 20-30 minutes away.... I wasn't impressed when I was there a time or two. Felt dark and dingy. I'll look through the sale flyer on Sunday and check out the prices, though.


Anyone familiar with Michael's grocery store in Naperville or Oak Park?? They're opening one nearby later this summer. Is that a good option?

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#7 of 46 Old 06-25-2009, 12:54 AM
 
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Where do you live?

I shop at HarvesTime Foods and Trader Joe's, both in Chicago.

When we lived in Skokie, I shopped at Marketplace on Oakton and Eurostyle Deli. By my parents in Northbrook is a fantastic grocery store Garden Fresh Market. In Des Plaines there is Sunview which is also pretty good.
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#8 of 46 Old 06-25-2009, 09:10 AM
 
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I've lived in the Chicago area my whole life and I've never heard of Woodman's or Caputo's!!!!

There is a Meijer maybe 20-30 minutes away.... I wasn't impressed when I was there a time or two. Felt dark and dingy. I'll look through the sale flyer on Sunday and check out the prices, though.


Anyone familiar with Michael's grocery store in Naperville or Oak Park?? They're opening one nearby later this summer. Is that a good option?
Belia, Woodman's and Caputo's are kind of new at least around here. I haven't been to either of them. I totally agree about Meijer.

It's hard because I've been a Jewel shopper my whole life... my mom, too. Oh, except when we lived in Deerfield and went to the Village Market there. But that was eons ago.

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#9 of 46 Old 06-25-2009, 02:08 PM
 
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Garden Fresh is a good inexpensive store. Caputos really has been around forever, The original store is in Elmwood Park on Harlem near North ave. Tiny little store.

I also like Jewel, then Meijer , Aldi and last the most expensive Dominicks. I could walk to Dominicks from my house, but I only pick up a few things there. They are way more than everywhere else
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#10 of 46 Old 06-25-2009, 02:47 PM
 
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Our Meijer is really bright and new looking - they remodeled it a few years ago and it's huge with great sales and great selection. Their Meijer line of organics is so reasonably priced too - we especially like their organic peanut butter and graham crackers.

Woodman's is a Wisconsin chain that is GIGANTIC (seriously, it's huge) and they don't take any credit cards so the prices are cheaper than other places, it's also employee-owned and has a great cheese aisle.

Caputo's is an italian grocery store that has a great deli, bakery, fish, and ethnic food section (along with being a good regular grocery store). Not sure how many locations they have - there are two within a half hour drive of where I live.
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#11 of 46 Old 06-25-2009, 03:24 PM
 
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I will have to check out Woodman's and Caputo's. There is a HUGE Caputo's in Algonquin that I hear is great. Everyone says the meat and deli dept. is great. Produce, too.

I went over to TJ's in Algonquin today. I only had a sec to run in and check everything out, but I will be back. It was AWESOME! I think I am done being a Jewel shopper. I am so sick of wasting my money.

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#12 of 46 Old 06-25-2009, 11:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I live in Downers Grove, so no Caputo's or Woodman's here. The closest Meijer is in Bolingbrook by the Ikea, so that's kind of a hike for groceries.

I like the idea of paying less at stores that don't take credit cards- we pay cash for groceries anyway, so that would be an easy way to save.

Anyone have any scoop on double coupons in the area?

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#13 of 46 Old 06-26-2009, 10:47 AM
 
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It's hard because I've been a Jewel shopper my whole life... my mom, too. Oh, except when we lived in Deerfield and went to the Village Market there. But that was eons ago.
And I can totally relate. But Jewel locally was no more by 1998. It was bought out by a national chain and then again a few years back. It more or less lost my business around 2000-2003. That is also about when TJs came to town. We have shopped at Caputos for at least 10 plus years.

Aldi does not accept credit cards, but does do debit.

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#14 of 46 Old 06-26-2009, 12:06 PM
 
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We're on the South Side over by Midway and we shop mostly at Pete's Fresh Market and TJ's. I haven't found any stores that can beat Pete's prices for fruits/veggies and meat. WAY cheaper than Jewel or Dominicks and great quality.
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#15 of 46 Old 06-26-2009, 12:14 PM
 
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Woodmans is awesome if you have one near you, especially for speciality allergy foods. I am neat the WI boarder so I go to Kenosha for it. I never spend more than $220 there no matter how much stuff I get. Jewel I can crack $300. I never shop Dominicks.

Garden Fresh Market is great for meat, fruits, and veggies They do not have good prices on boxed convenience foods or paper products. I can load up on every fruit and veg and fill our fridge and freezer for under $120 so it gets a lot of my business.

My parents are the most frugal people I know. The swear by Ultra and Aldi. They usually do both in a week to complete their shopping. But they are convenience foods people, not much fresh or from-scratch cooking going on in that house.

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#16 of 46 Old 06-26-2009, 12:46 PM
 
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Mrsboyko, you have just made me feel SO MUCH BETTER!!!!::

I have been posting on the frugality and finances forum and feeling AWFUL because I spend $300 on a trip to Jewel every week or so... and those women can go to the grocery store for $50 and under a week. It's very maddening for me.

I feel so great to know I'm not the only one who spends that at Jewel. We have allergy issues and only buy certain brands, so it can get expensive. Thank you for helping me to feel better about my food bill. It is what it is, I guess.

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#17 of 46 Old 06-26-2009, 04:17 PM
 
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Trader Joes has pretty decent stuff (ie organic, free of HFCS) for a good price. It's owned by the people who own Aldi, though I've never been in one either! They're building one right by me so I guess I'll let you know in a few months!

Believe it or not, it actually is worth it for us to shop Costco! We get a rebate check each year which basically pays for our membership (or at least the majority of it). It totally depends on how much you get from there. For a while, it was our main grocery store! You get used to the products and make your meals from what you get there. It's worth it to try it for a year and see if it works for your family - but you have to take the plunge.

I'm not sure about the western burbs, but in Chicago there are smaller "Centrella" stores that have better prices than Jewel. The produce might not be as good (or maybe not depending on the stores!) but if you're good about price comparisons, you can certainly save money there. I'm not focused enough to make lists of what's cheaper where!

You can always raise your own chickens!

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#18 of 46 Old 06-26-2009, 05:05 PM
 
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Mrsboyko, you have just made me feel SO MUCH BETTER!!!!::

I have been posting on the frugality and finances forum and feeling AWFUL because I spend $300 on a trip to Jewel every week or so... and those women can go to the grocery store for $50 and under a week. It's very maddening for me.

I feel so great to know I'm not the only one who spends that at Jewel. We have allergy issues and only buy certain brands, so it can get expensive. Thank you for helping me to feel better about my food bill. It is what it is, I guess.
Where are you? Seriously the prices on fruits and veggies at Garden Fresh Market are like 1/2 or less the cost of Jewel. And it is better quality too. Before we moved here I'd do a lot of my shopping at a local Mexican grocery store. It seems the more ethnic stores have cheaper fresh foods, but you are kinda SOL for boxed/ prepared stuff.

My DD is allergic to a lot of stuff too. At jewel her milk (rice dream enriched) is 3.50/ container on sale. I get it at woodman's for $1.85 everyday. Her GF "cereal bars" are 4.50 at jewel, but $3.25 at woodman's. Her tofutti cheese is $4.50+ at jewel but only $3.50 at woodman's. As you can see, it is totally worth it to make a once a month trip there and stock up for her.

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#19 of 46 Old 06-26-2009, 05:12 PM
 
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I think we just got a garden Fresh Market in town not too long ago.

I will have to check out Woodman's. It's a hike, kind of close to Spring Hill Mall, and I am NW of that. But if it is worth it, then I might try.

For now, though, Jewel has kind of a hold on me. It's close, convenient, and I don't have much time to run around and shop. So it's hard. But I can try going to Woodman's, even once a month for stuff that keeps. I wasn't aware they had "brand name" stuff there.

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#20 of 46 Old 06-26-2009, 06:05 PM
 
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If you're near Crystal Lake check out Joseph's Market, my mom shops there and they have great prices and the place is nice and clean. Its on 14 and I want to say its right by Best Buy, maybe just west(?) of it.
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#21 of 46 Old 06-26-2009, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been posting on the frugality and finances forum and feeling AWFUL because I spend $300 on a trip to Jewel every week or so... and those women can go to the grocery store for $50 and under a week. It's very maddening for me.
YES! Thank you! This exactly is what prompted my original post!!! I read the posts from the women who spend insanely low amounts on groceries as well and am completely perplexed!!

I'm also feeling stuck with Jewel- it's so close and I try to shop the sales and use my preferred card and coupons..... but I'll check out the Aldi and Meijer flyers this weekend.

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#22 of 46 Old 06-27-2009, 09:12 AM
 
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If you're near Crystal Lake check out Joseph's Market, my mom shops there and they have great prices and the place is nice and clean. Its on 14 and I want to say its right by Best Buy, maybe just west(?) of it.
Yes, I'm VERY near Crystal Lake.

See now everyone I've talked to hates Joseph's. No, I shouldn't say that. SOME people think it's dirty and yucky. But then, others, my hairstylist for one who is from Germany, LOVES Joseph's. So I just don't know. I am really caught. I am near tears some weeks because I get drawn back in to Jewel (the moth to the flame, I feel like) and the money just flies out of our account. $300 a week or more. And it's not like it is a ton of food. I just feel so defeated and I keep trying and trying. I want to buy what's good for my family, but I also want my family to have money to do other stuff, you know? Yikes.

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#23 of 46 Old 06-27-2009, 12:21 PM
 
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I dont think you should base what your family should have according to the frugal forum here. I love that area, but its a national board and you have people from all over the country adding their two cents about shopping for less than $250 a month.

It depends on several factors- geography, family dietary needs and restrictions, cooking ability, time, and family income. I can cook 99% of what we eat from scratch and be creative with meals so my grocery tab is going to be much less than a family where they depend on convenience and boxed sort of foods to feed them. Also, we are into using what we have or what is on sale to eat instead of we have to buy this each and every week so everyone is happy.

We have a centrella store right around the corner from my house and I have shopped there for several years. It is always much cheaper than Jewel and a local owner. Caputos also has some centrella food products.


One thing I noticed about TJs and Aldiis they carry some of the same products and Aldi will have it a few cents cheaper sometimes.

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#24 of 46 Old 07-06-2009, 09:44 AM
 
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I live in the West 'burbs and I too am going to start eliminating Jewel from my list of places to shop. It's the closest store, but by far the most expensive. I usually will make the drive out to Woodman's in North Aurora, twice a month to buy groceries there because overall, they just have the best prices, period. I can walk out of there with a car full of groceries for a $100 and never feel like I forgot anything. They also have an organic section that I plan on spending more time in next time I go in order to do some price comparison between them and Trader Joe's for certain things.

I also second the idea of looking into an Aldi's. We just started shopping there. While I won't get tons of things from there, if I'm in a rush and need milk, I always go there because it's never more that $1.98 a gallon...butter is never over $1.99. We are also going to start getting our produce from TCF organics delivered so we will have more and better quality fresh produce.

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#25 of 46 Old 07-06-2009, 09:46 AM
 
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How is Aldis for labeling for food allergies, though? Woodmans, too? Does Woodmans have brand names?

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#26 of 46 Old 07-06-2009, 12:34 PM
 
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Yes, Woodman's has brand names. The only thing about Woodman's I don't care for is their produce - inexpensive but quick to spoil. For instance, you can get 5 lbs of potatoes for less than $2 - but you better use 'em fast!
Otherwise they are great - I drive about 30 miles to shop there. Even when gas was $4/gal it was still worth it. They have a nice selection of natural/organics, too, like we get Applewood nitrate-free hotdogs, and organic freerange eggs - but watch the exp. dates! And they carry JASON and Kiss My Face products too, as well as a whole aisle plus a whole freezer section of natural/organics. And since they are a WI company their cheese section is unbeatable!

ETA: Oh, I have to read allergy info too - my DH has a life-threatening tree nut allergy. Haven't had any trouble at Woodman's.

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#27 of 46 Old 07-06-2009, 01:09 PM
 
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Yes, Woodman's has brand names. The only thing about Woodman's I don't care for is their produce - inexpensive but quick to spoil. For instance, you can get 5 lbs of potatoes for less than $2 - but you better use 'em fast!
Otherwise they are great - I drive about 30 miles to shop there. Even when gas was $4/gal it was still worth it.
Woodman's carries just about anything and everything you could possibly need. It's a really good one-stop-shop kind of place. Yeah - I stay away from the produce...though my onions will last pretty long. But gingerstar is right: it will spoil quickly! Glad to hear that their organic selection is good too. I'll be heading out there later this week. I do have to agree that it's worth the drive. I don't travel 30 miles-closer to 12-BUT, even with higher gas prices and the cost of tolls, my savings totally make up for it.

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#28 of 46 Old 07-06-2009, 02:57 PM
 
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Our Meijer is really bright and new looking - they remodeled it a few years ago and it's huge with great sales and great selection. Their Meijer line of organics is so reasonably priced too - we especially like their organic peanut butter and graham crackers.

Woodman's is a Wisconsin chain that is GIGANTIC (seriously, it's huge) and they don't take any credit cards so the prices are cheaper than other places, it's also employee-owned and has a great cheese aisle.

Caputo's is an italian grocery store that has a great deli, bakery, fish, and ethnic food section (along with being a good regular grocery store). Not sure how many locations they have - there are two within a half hour drive of where I live.
Caputo's started out as an Italian grocery store, but also now has a big focus on Polish and Mexican food -- at least the one near me does. The produce section is HUGE. Great cheese selection. I highly recommend it. There are two Caputos out in the Western/northern burbs as well.
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#29 of 46 Old 07-06-2009, 02:59 PM
 
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YES! Thank you! This exactly is what prompted my original post!!! I read the posts from the women who spend insanely low amounts on groceries as well and am completely perplexed!!

I'm also feeling stuck with Jewel- it's so close and I try to shop the sales and use my preferred card and coupons..... but I'll check out the Aldi and Meijer flyers this weekend.
Depends on the size of your family. I find shopping at Costco is great for us, but we are 6 plus a big dog. Also, amazon.com has the "subscribe and save" bulk ordering.
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#30 of 46 Old 07-06-2009, 03:15 PM
 
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Saving on groceries isn't so much about where you shop, but about following the prices. Watch the sale papers for all your stores and go where the things you want to buy are on sale.

~ deb, BFAR mommy to ds1 Dec 7, 2003, Jan 08, ds2 Sept 20, 2009
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