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<p>I'm putting this in the finances forum because it's really afffecting our grocery budget.</p>
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<p>I've been shopping once a week for years--maybe picking up a few things at the farmer's markey or local shops, but basically doing one big shop for fruits, veggies, milk, eggs, dry staples and lunch stuff once a week.</p>
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<p>The past 6 months or so, I'm finding that we are running out of food after about 4 or 5 days instead of 7.  I think my 3 kids are just eating way more and I have to adjust my shopping and expectations.  They eat so much fruit!  I always used to get half a pound of sliced turkey from the deli counter for their sandwiches.  Then I went up to a pound.  This week, for the first time, I bought a pound and a half!  How crazy is that?  Somehow we go through a gallon of milk a week!  And only one of my kids ever drinks milk straight.  I can't help wondering what it will be like when they are teenagers!</p>
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<p>Also, I work long shifts at a hospital (12 or 24 hours) and I have been really trying to bring all the food I need for the whole shift so that I stay out of the cafeteria and avoid ordering take-out with my work-mates.  But there are almost NEVER any left-overs around my house.  I read about people getting 3 meals out of a 5 pound chicken and I am amazed.  All I can do is boil the naked carcass with veggies for soup the next day--forget about chicken enchiladas.</p>
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<p>Our grocery budget was definitely already on the high side compared to what I've read here.  I mainly shop at Whole Foods because it is convenient and high quality and I don't feel that I need to read labels like a maniac to make sure we're not getting garbage in our food.  I don't buy a lot of meat (we eat meat maybe 2 or 3 times per week) and I don't buy a lot of packaged stuff--just bread, hummus, canned tomatoes, Cheerios.  I never get juice.  The kids drink water or milk and I get a case of seltzer about once a month (I'm a junky).  I generally buy produce in season.  I buy some non-local stuff (like bananas, grapes and oranges in the winter when there is no local option for fruit).  I work full time and don't really feel like I want to spend my free time driving to different grocery stores for sales/coupons, but dang!  Anyone have any suggestions for cutting grocery bills without making a full time job out of it?</p>
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<p>I'm pregnant now and when I think about what are grocery bills are going to be like in 3 years, I'm terrified! </p>
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<p>Jessi</p>
 

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<p>I have no advice except to perhaps accept that it costs more to feed bigger people :).</p>
<p>Our kids are growing, and so is our budget.  I spent time figuring out what I could do to keep the budget as low as possible, and accepted that "possible" means something new when feeding many, and growing,children.</p>
 

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<p>I feel you.  You said you go through one gallon of milk a week?  My 4 kids will drink one gallon a day if we have it, I kid you not.  It really gets worse as they get older - they eat even more.  We spend at least $1,000 a month on food; it's crazy.  It really doesn't matter if I try to cook mostly\from scratch, or I splurge on some convenience foods.  I swear we still  end up spending about the same on groceries.  We also spend a huge chunk of that on fresh produce, something I've honestly tried to cut back a bit on - and have actually started to buy some frozen and canned even though I used to not do so.  That way at least I feel like when the fresh stuff is gone, we still have some fruits and veggies. I now go to the store on average 3 times a week, sometimes more.  You might want to try that, since you said the food is gone after a few days - maybe split your weekly budget up? </p>
 

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<p>I feel for you.  I have 2 teens and a pre-teen.  We are so lucky dh works in the food manufacturing biz.  We get 2.5 gallons of milk delivered a week and often have to get 2 more.....</p>
 

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<p>I'd be thrilled if I could get a gallon of milk to last a week in my house, lol!  We go through an average of 4-5 gallons per week.  4 active, athletic boys, aged 11.5, almost 10, 7 and 4, plus a DH who is a triathlete who easily eats 4000 calories a day. In a week, we go through:</p>
<p>- 10 pounds of apples</p>
<p>- 8 pounds of bananas</p>
<p>- 2 dozen oranges (or clemetines, or tangerines, or grapefruit if I can get them cheap enough)</p>
<p>- 5-7 pounds of sweet potatoes</p>
<p>- 10 pounds of carrots</p>
<p>-4-5 heads of celery</p>
<p>- 4 dozen eggs</p>
<p>- 4-5 loaves of bread</p>
<p>- 3-5 boxes of cereal</p>
<p>- 1 tub of rolled oats</p>
<p>- 2 pounds brown rice</p>
<p>-3 jars natural peanut butter</p>
<p>- 2-3 pounds of dried beans (lentils, chick peas, kidney beans, black beans)</p>
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<p>and that's just the things off the top of my head; there's tons more we buy/eat each week that aren't listed.  (we do eat meat, 3-4 meals a week usually)</p>
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<p>forget about getting more than one meal out of a whole chicken - I have to cook TWO chickens just to feed us one meal. Now, I'll use the carcasses for making stock, but generally there's only enough actual meat leftover for one lunch sandwich, which DH usually takes. I seriously can't even wrap my brain around how much food I'll have to buy when we've got 4 teenaged boys in the house. I used to shop once a week, but that went by the wayside a few years ago.  I just don't have enough room in my fridge to keep all that food!</p>
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<p>I do buy in bulk when I find good deals.  I've got about 20 pounds of dried beans in my pantry, from when they were on sale in the fall at fifty cents a pound.  Pasta, same thing, I'll wait till it goes in sale (we only eat whole wheat, so if it's $1 a box I'll buy 30 boxes, which generally lasts us till the next sale)  I don't buy meat in bulk, because I don't have a deep freeze, but it's on my wish list ;)</p>
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<p>I do have a few stores that I shop at, definitiely not just a one stop deal.  the regular grocery store for some stuff, a produce market for the fruit/veggies/eggs, and then an ethnic shop for spices/rice/beans.  But, I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that when you've got growing bodies to feed, you're going to spend a lot on food.  This season won't last forever, and before I know it I'll be buying a half-gallon of milk for Dh and I and it'll go bad before we can drink it all, someday!</p>
 

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<p>I've had to readjust my expectations on how much food we need as well as my boys have gotten older.  And, they are only 6 mo, 2, and 4.  They like milk, and we go through 2 gallons a week, someitmes running out before the week is up.  It's nuts. </p>
 

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<p>We are a household of 3. Myself, roommie and DS10.  So basically 3 adults LOL.  Groceries are something that just are expensive. Some of us have dairy issues and dont like red meat (me) so that complicates things.  I buy meat at sams/costco.  We blow thru produce and stop at the store 3-4x a week.  Yougart is something else that we can't seem to keep stocked.  Trying to keep groceries seperate around here doesn't work too well either so its just potluck and whomever is at the store gets what is needed.  It seems to all even out in the end.  I totally understand that feeling of 'dang I just spent how much and there is nothing left to eat??"</p>
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<p>I should add DS takes his lunch most days to the sitters, I pack when I have a subbing job and roomie tries to take snacks to work as well.  Those are usually sandwiches for myself and DS with yougart, fruit, something cruchy and a drink.  Plus I take extra drinks.  Sometimes we both take breakfast too.</p>
 

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<p>It's crazy isn't it.  Here it is dh, me & 3 girls (8, 9 & 12).  Depending on what we have we can expect zero leftovers.  They all eat 4-6 tacos each & that's loaded with stuff.</p>
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<div> I read about people getting 3 meals out of a 5 pound chicken and I am amazed.  All I can do is boil the naked carcass with veggies for soup the next day--forget about chicken enchiladas.</div>
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<p>I figured out this trick.  Buy turkeys.  Seriously.  When we have roast chicken(it's usually beer can chicken on the bbq) we have to cook 2.  2 fryer chickens are $18-$24 depending on whether they're on sale.   A small turkey that weighs more costs approx the same amount when on sale, BUT has more meat.</p>
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<p>If I want meat for sandwiches i cook 2 turkeys. Drives them nuts as turkey is one of their favorite meals & I'll cook the sandwhich turkey first.lol  I save the juices & use that as the stock for the next turkey.  Makes THE BEST gravy.  I then keep some of that stock too & freeze it for turkeys later.</p>
 

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<p>I didn't catch the ages of your kids but nothing you said strikes me as extreme. A gallon of milk a week sounds good, when my 18 yo is home (he's in college) we go through a lot of milk. Even with my 5 yo as the only kid in the house we can do a gallon easily if not more since we limit her to milk and water. I think its so easy to underestimate how much growing kids eat but they do eat a lot and having raised a boy, they can eat even more. Like you I work and while I have now added trips to Trader Joe's (we just got one in my area) to my shopping I don't have the time to shop all over at a million different stores. Though like others have said if you have an ethnic market near you they are great for saving money.</p>
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<p>I have found that even without buying processed food, there is just a certain amount that food is going to cost. Also when looking at what others pay for food you have to look at what food cost in your area. Food costs really do vary by region.</p>
 

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<p>I will agree with everyone that groceries are just one area that you need to accept is going to be high with growing children - especially if you want to feed them good food which you obviously do! My only suggestion is to check out Target or a big grocery chain to see if they carry some of the items at a lower cost. For example, Kashi products and many other organics can be found there for quite a bit less. You can also get 7th generation products at Target.</p>
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<p>When I shop WF, I usually stick to meat, produce, and dairy (often WF organic milk is a better price for their own brand). I agree it's so much easier to shop for everything at WF because you don't have to wonder, but there are quite a few items that are significantly cheaper at Target.</p>
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<p>We have a family of four, and I go through at least 1.5 gallons of milk (and I don't even drink it), one or two boxes of cereal, lots of fruit, etc.</p>
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<p>I think you are doing the best for your family sticking to organic/natural diets...but even if you add one other store maybe every other week, you could probably save a bit over a month.</p>
 

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<p>We use about 2 gallons of milk a week with 2 kids. My MIL said when all 5 of their kids were home, they pretty much used a gallon a day.</p>
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<p>Stop shopping at Whole Foods as much. Seriously, I would imagine you could get more food for the same money if you shopped elsewhere. I panic every time we go in Whole Foods, and we never buy more than a handful of items. It's just way too expensive, even compared to the other whole food store close to us (which is a local shop, so not buying in bulk like WF is). </p>
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<p>We are members of a whole foods co-op, but we're probably dropping them at the beginning of the year - or just staying on for the farmers' products. Trying to work out splitting cases & such takes up too much time. Because we're considering dropping it, I've been looking at Amazon. You still have to buy large-ish quantities of things like quinoa, but it's cheaper than Whole Foods or Kroger, which near us has a small "natural foods" section. We are moving more toward buying bulk, which is cheaper if you have the storage space. I bought 10 pounds of loose barley a while back for something like $20. Eating barley twice a week, it still will last us at least a year in a dry, airtight container.</p>
 

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<p>I don't see the ages of your kids, but ya....it's tough.  I see budgets of like $300/month and it's usually  like a mom and dad and 1 toddler or something.  We have 3 teen boys, 13, 14 and 17, a DH, myself, a 6 yo and 3 yo.  I need 2 dozen eggs for ONE MEAL.  A gallon of milk a DAY.  When used as an ingredient(like in casserole), I need like 2 pounds of meat...as a main dish, twice that.  When you have 7 people, 4 of whom are teen or adult males....it's crazy.  Pizza?  I need at least 4 large, for one lunch.  An entire box of pancake mix, with 2 pounds of sausage or bacon for breakfast - ONE breakfast.  And the whole "use less meat" thing backfires because if they aren't full of yummy meaty protein, they're twice as hungry.   I'm surprised 1.5 pounds of meat lasts a week...I have to buy at least 3-4 pounds of lunchmeat to have sandwiches for ONE meal. </p>
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<p>We had to reduce the quality of our food.  :(   It makes me sad sometimes, but if we bought organic stuff, we'd be out of food in 2 days and have nothing left to eat for the remaining 5. </p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
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<p>Originally Posted by <strong>VisionaryMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285144/i-can-t-believe-how-much-they-eat#post_16112979"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></p>
<p>I panic every time we go in Whole Foods, and we never buy more than a handful of items. It's just way too expensive, even compared to the other whole food store close to us (which is a local shop, so not buying in bulk like WF is). </p>
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<br><br><p>Is Whole Foods set up like warehouse shopping in other places? There are several WF stores around here, and they all sell regular-sized items like any other grocery store.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>2xy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285144/i-can-t-believe-how-much-they-eat#post_16113163"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
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<p>Originally Posted by <strong>VisionaryMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285144/i-can-t-believe-how-much-they-eat#post_16112979"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></p>
<p>I panic every time we go in Whole Foods, and we never buy more than a handful of items. It's just way too expensive, even compared to the other whole food store close to us (which is a local shop, so not buying in bulk like WF is). </p>
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<br><br><p>Is Whole Foods set up like warehouse shopping in other places? There are several WF stores around here, and they all sell regular-sized items like any other grocery store.</p>
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<br><br><p>No. Sorry I meant that WF buys in bulk and thus should be able to sell to consumers for less. The locally-owned whole foods shop we have can't buy in that quantity but still manages to sell to the end consumer for less than WF.</p>
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<p>@bobandjess99: I agree about the protein-heavy foods. I don't think DH could be satisfied with just veggies & carbs for dinner. We're definitely meat eaters, but even if we weren't, I'd still stock up on protein. DS has a friend who visits. His parents eat really low protein, and this kid BEGS for meat, nuts, eggs, avocados at our house. I feel for him because I know his parents think they're making great nutritional choices (organic veggies & whatnot), but the kid is hungry for denser foods than that.</p>
 

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<p>One thing you could consider is a grocery delivery service for all your basics. The drop off times are really flexible and so much nicer than having to go to the store. I have my milk/eggs delivered for a local farm, buy my produce for WF and my meats in bulk from a local butcher but I can get virtually everything else on line.  I save money and I save gas and wear/tear on my car too!</p>
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<p>Not sure where you live but Peapod is a good one.  They take coupons and you can shop their flyer's online. If you get the rewards card you can earn point for even further discounts.  I just got 5% off my entire order last week! Plus you can save your grocery lists so if you know you always buy XYZ is is already there and selected.  You can create favorites too so you can easily the find the other stuff you usually buy.  And finally it is really easy to compare prices</p>
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<p>As a working mom my time is too valuable to shlep to the grocery store twice a week.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>VisionaryMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285144/i-can-t-believe-how-much-they-eat#post_16113401"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>2xy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285144/i-can-t-believe-how-much-they-eat#post_16113163"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
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<p>Originally Posted by <strong>VisionaryMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285144/i-can-t-believe-how-much-they-eat#post_16112979"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></p>
<p>I panic every time we go in Whole Foods, and we never buy more than a handful of items. It's just way too expensive, even compared to the other whole food store close to us (which is a local shop, so not buying in bulk like WF is). </p>
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<br><br><p>Is Whole Foods set up like warehouse shopping in other places? There are several WF stores around here, and they all sell regular-sized items like any other grocery store.</p>
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<br><br><p>No. Sorry I meant that WF buys in bulk and thus should be able to sell to consumers for less. The locally-owned whole foods shop we have can't buy in that quantity but still manages to sell to the end consumer for less than WF.</p>
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<p>Does the locally-owned shop have a comparable number of employees, provide a comparable amount of customer service, give back to the community, etc? Do the owners have to provide their employees with health insurance? How much do they spend on overhead in comparison? All of that stuff makes a huge difference in the prices of their goods. Not to mention having to maintain equipment and Safe Serve certification for the people the deli/cafe areas.</p>
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<p>All of the mom-and-pop natural food stores in my area are tiny little shops with packaged foods and frozen foods, but hardly any fresh foods. Usually there are only a couple of people working there. YMMV.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>bobandjess99</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285144/i-can-t-believe-how-much-they-eat#post_16113081"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p> </p>
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<p>We had to reduce the quality of our food.  :(   It makes me sad sometimes, but if we bought organic stuff, we'd be out of food in 2 days and have nothing left to eat for the remaining 5. </p>
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<br><br><p>Same for us. I still buy some organic food but less and less. It used to be all organic, just not possible now. I don't even have teens yet. I just gave in and bought a membership to Sam's Club, sigh. I am managing to mostly still shop once a week for now anyway because we don't drink a lot of milk, 1 gallon will usually last the week. One week worth of food is an entire shopping cart though full to the brim. I remember being 8 and being able to put away an entire foot long sub... </p>
 

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<p>My preteen dd eats as much as an adult, esp. when she's growing.  Protein foods work really well, as well as filling whole foods like brown rice/beans.  One of the fav afterschool snacks is a ww tortilla or sprouted corn tortilla with beans and cheese.  My 8 y/o can put away food too.  When I pause to look at the work their bodies are doing, I get it.  They are growing overnight, it seems!</p>
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<p>We are raw milk drinkers, mostly, and I find that to be very filling.</p>
 

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<p>I have 2 teens and a 7 year old and we go through a huge amount of food... I almost always have beans in the fridge! I make them in the crockpot, it's easy and filling and cheap. Burritos full of beans and sauteed veggies are a big hit, as are nachos (huge bags of tortilla chips are pretty cheap at Costco and have no partially hydroginated oils.). Salad with beans or nuts are good too.</p>
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<p>I shop at Costco, the Farmer's Market, Trader Joe's (for a few specific things that I buy a lot of once a month), every other month we do a natural foods co-op... Cooking from scratch makes our food budget stretch alot. We eat sweet potatoes, oatmeal, avocados, squash, etch in large amounts, they are filling and yummy. We can make pizzas pretty cheap. I buys beans, grains and flour in large quantities.</p>
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<p>I do agree, though, that food is just one of the things you have to plan on expanding the budget for as time goes on. At least they can cook as well as eat!</p>
 

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<p>Yikes, this thread is scary!</p>
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<p>BTW- The WF in our area is often the same price as TJ's. We buy whole foods for the most part and it is really competitive. We shop at the farmer's markets, WF, and TJ. It is the local chain grocery stores that have the terrible prices, especially for anything organic or natural. Total price gouging. Worse quality goods at the WF price.</p>
 
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