Monday, May 14, 2012

Grocery Shopping

Yes, I'm writing a post about grocery shopping.  I've become one of *those* bloggers.  Sorry.  No, I am not going to tell you the right way to do it. I'm just going to talk about how I've been handling it recently and gripe about my frustrations with it.

When I moved into my house, I quickly realized that there were 5 grocery options within a 5 mile radius of my house: 2 HEBs, 1 HEB Plus, 1 Randall's, and a Super Walmart.  Shortly thereafter, a Super Target (not included in that original count of 5) opened up within a reasonable distance.  Why someone needs that many options so close together, I will never know.  But that's what I have to work with.  I will say right that I never go to the 2 regular HEBs or the Super Walmart because they just aren't convenient.  Plus I have a strong dislike for grocery shopping at Walmart.  I have found that they have a heavy stock of one type of product but no variety to brands.  So I am going to focus on the 3 stores I typically frequent.

I initially did most of my shopping at Randall's since it was the closest to my house and on my way home.  However, over time I realized that their selection was lacking and they were typically more expensive.  They do offer good deals on soft drinks every couple of weeks so we still shop there for smaller shopping trips and to get some of their store brands that we really like (ie potato chips and spreadable butter).  They also have a gas station which, up until about 6 months ago, was the only one between my house and the toll road on my way to work.

HEB Plus was my next option because it was the 2nd closest to my house and the prices were typically better than Randall's.  Plus their store brands are by far the best when compared to the name brands.  I think I shop here mostly for the store brands.  So does everyone else.  And that is my main gripe with HEB Plus.  It is always crowded no matter when I go.  Considering that the easiest time for me to shop is on the weekends, I am almost always going to be there with everyone else.  My other frustration with HEB is their policy against new products.  They wait at least a year after a product has been released onto the market before they will carry it in their stores.  This is aggravating when I am looking for a specific new product that I have seen advertised (and probably have a coupon for) and they don't carry which means I have to go somewhere else to locate it.  A friend suggested today that I go to the closest normal HEB to stock up on my store brands and I am seriously considering doing that since I know it's less crowded (and on my way to the Super Target).

That brings me to my new love: Super Target.  I have always been a big Target fan and that love has only increased recently thanks to the introduction of the Target Red Card Debit Card.  This thing is a lifesaver to me.  Five percent off purchases and free shipping on all online purchases and not a credit card!  With a baby at home who is on formula and in diapers, this thing is just a no-brainer.  Anyway I can save money makes sense to me.  Plus I have compared and most of the prices are comparable.  They do tend to be a tad higher on some stuff so my total trip might cost more but the Red Card savings help to offset that.  They also carried the new on the market items I am looking for which saves me a trip to another store.  I think what really sealed the transition from HEB Plus to Super Target for me was the Sunday we went to do our shopping at Super Target after church and it was peaceful and calm and I wasn't stressed out and sweating when I left.  I just can't take the crowd at HEB Plus anymore.  

So there you have it.  My opinion on grocery shopping based on what matters the most to me.  I don't know that there was really a point to this post other than my blog was looking lonely and this has been on my mind.


Gina said...

I love the Target debit card! We don't have a Target anywhere near us, but I like Target brand diapers better than any other (name-brand or otherwise), so I can order them on-line, get 5% off, and get free shipping... Can't beat that! As far as groceries go, I'm an Aldi loyalist. :)

Julie said...

I'll trade you a Target for an Aldi. We don't have one here which kind of surprises me. I have heard several other people mention it as well and I think it would be great for saving my budget.

aubieangel said...

I am SO JEALOUS that you have HEB! Our little crumb of a town just had a Publix open, and it's like manna from heaven to have descent selection. Try to remember those of us "less fortunate" and be happy with all your excellent choices :)

TUWABVB said...

Good lord a trip to an HEB Plus store is an exercise in patience.Hate that it's always crowded. And while I love SuperTarget (where else can I get dinner and a cute pair of flats), I don't love their produce. And although HEB has a better produce, I've been trying to buy more organic products (veggies, fruit and meat) and HEB's stock is limited. So....basically, I'll have to start going to three or four grocery stores a week which is just crazy. Someone needs to create an Amazon like site for grocery stores with local delivery.

Erica said...

I have yet to create a week's menu that doesn't require three different stores to properly fulfill.