Grocery Shopping in a New City

I’m back! I’m still on vacation, but my “bloggy vacation” is over! It’s time to get back to work, back to saving and back to cooking in my kitchen next week!

I’d like to share a few random things that I have learned over the last week…some food related, some not!

1. If you plan to take apple juice or milk (for your child to drink while travelling) through security in an airport, its “fumes will be tested”. OK. I will not say more. Yes, I will. I was none to happy when the agent started to stick a litmus paper looking stick into the boys’ cups. She assured me “I just have to catch its fumes.” OK. But you don’t mess with my kid’s juice cup…OR a mama who just had to take off everyone’s shoes, belts, jackets, take out laptops, remove liquids in a baggie, set aside juice cups, remove children from stroller, fold monster double stroller and heave it onto conveyor belt, then herd children through the corrals, unload conveyor belt, pop up stroller, reload carry-on bags, retie shoes, carefully place carseat on top of stroller so it will not fall and knock out unknowing toddler. *Sigh* The stick never actually went into the juice. If “the law” says you have to test the juice, fine, just tell me what you’re gonna do with that stick before you actually do it!

2. Going to the grocery store after a late dinner on Christmas Eve is not an option. Exhibit A:This is the “Pantry Challenge” meal that I whipped up for Christmas lunch. I used what I could from the pantry to come up with this one. The meal tasted fine, but was not your typical Christmas day meal. Potato Chip Chicken Breast, Spinach and Homemade Oven Fries. A far cry from HoneyBaked Ham, fresh Broccoli and homemade rolls. It worked. But I assure you it will not happen again!

3. Not having a menu plan costs. It costs a lot! It means multiple trips to the store. Wasted time, energy and money. This past week is the first week in the past 4 months that I have not had a menu plan. At this point, it’s especially important for the boys and their GFCFSF diet. I have felt “lost, confused and frustrated” as I don’t know what they’ll eat or snack on that day.

4. Shopping in a new store is not fun! Not fun at all! I have been a few times to the grocery store up the street. I cringe every time I walk in. The sales are on a different cycle, the in-store coupons are hanging on the wall when you walk in, and the sale tags don’t tell you when the sale expires. The ads come out on different days of the week, as the sale cycle is different from what I’m used to. I don’t know the layout of the store. It takes me forever to find some of the special GFCFSF snacks that I have to get for the boys. In no way do I mean to be complaining here. I am thankful that we have not had to purchase any food this past week, but wanted to share my experience of shopping in a new store, and the frustration that ensued. I am so grateful for my Kroger. For its proximity to my house (seriously, its practically in my backyard). For its great deals, customer service. For the ability to use “ecoupons” and their double coupon policy.

My advice for someone shopping in a new store while on vacation or after moving to a new city.

  • Take your time. Leave kiddos at home. Write a list of what you need and stick to it. Grab a store circular as you walk in and quickly scan it for items that are on your list.
  • Buy store brand, since you likely won’t have the time to match coupons with sale prices. If you’ve just moved, start building your stockpile when you’re ready. Don’t feel like you have to start doing it right away.
  • Make your food budget a little higher than normal in a new store.
  • Don’t stress about missing deals or saving money. You can get back to that when you return home, or once you’ve settled in and get comfortable shopping in your new store.

I’m super excited for this new year! I’ll be introducing some new and exciting features on the site, as well as hosting more great giveaways…starting just after the new year!


  1. Melissa says

    I just moved last month, and have tried 3 out of the 4 grocery stores. The only “familar” store was WalMart Supercenter. I kept my receipts and compared the ‘basics’ that I was buying between the stores- one of which was eliminated after 3 items!

    I added ~300 bucks to my grocery budget this month. I don’t think I would have had to add that much if we weren’t in the middle of the holidays!

  2. Joanna says

    I hate shopping in new stores too! I’m glad to see I’m not the only one! I hope you have a great time with the rest of your vacation!

  3. Jolyn says

    I am so there about getting used to a new store. It’s exhausting. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to do it (nine + moves?). It’s the reason now I’m loathe to shop somewhere closer than the commissary; it takes me probably six months to get my mojo down in a new store.
    Welcome Back!

  4. Andrea @ Mommy says

    Well, at least you made me laugh this morning :-)

    A bit of advice for anyone who is shopping in a new city for vacation or visiting. I checked Hotcouponworld’s forums for the stores we were going to be close to for sale information while we vacationed in the summer. I was able to take a few coupons with me and get some savings. Obviously, it wasn’t as near as much as we saved with Kroger (gotta love them!).

    Can’t wait to see what’s for dinner this week!

  5. Mrs. Querido says

    I think you were too hard on yourself with your pantry meal…it sounds delicious!

    You have inspired me. I am going to attempt to figure out how much we are spending per meal. Maybe you could do a post about the nitty gritty of your method for figuring the cost? Give us some time-saving tips for pricing and measuring :) Maybe?

    Happy New Year!

  6. Kick says

    I’ve found that even the same chain can have a slightly different set up at different locations–so I usually shop at the exact same Kroger for that reason. If I have to go to the store in a different city, I go without kids! (always a plus, but not usually an option for normal weekly shopping at home) I, too, am thinking about averaging our per meal cost this year. Hmmm…. not much of a math person here, but maybe I’ll give it a whirl. You’ve inspired me. I also just put up one of our all-time favorite pantry recipes that is super cheap on full tummies

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