You probably know from going on vacation that every country has different supermarkets that sells different products. Something you can get in one country, you cannot get in another. I have never lived on my own before moving to New York, so I had to learn a lot about grocery shopping. Which supermarket is the best? What products do I need to buy? Do I get this brand or the other? Those are a few of the questions I had when I moved here and today I am going to answer them and show you how I do groceries.
Which supermarket is the best?
First of all, some supermarkets are more expensive than others. For example, I would easily spend 60 dollars on just a few thing in the supermarket around the corner from my apartment, but when I go to Trader Joe’s I will spend less than 50 dollars on an entire bag of groceries. For me it also important to get good quality, but that does not necessarily mean expansive. The relationship between price and quality needs to be good. It will take some time to figure out what the best place is for you. I like to go to Trader Joe’s, because they have a lot of different things, they also have some organic products and it does not cost a lot compared to other places. For instance, Whole Foods has a lot of organic fruits and vegetables, but it is very expense.
What products do I need to buy?
Secondly, plan what you are going to eat in advance. If you work or go to school, you will need something to eat during the day and for lunch. I always like to bring some fruit with me and a granola bar and if I have leftovers from dinner, I will bring those for lunch. The first few weeks, I went to the supermarket four or five times a weeks, because I forgot something or I had not noticed I had run out of something. I now make a list on my phone with all the things I need to get and every time I think of something I put it on the list, instead of trying to remember it. I always think I can remember everything, but sometimes it is just easier to write it down, because I would rather spend my time doing other things. I now only go to the supermarket once or twice a week.
Do I get this brand or the other?
Finally, not all brands are the same, some are more expensive, some are organic and so on. I already mentioned quality and that is what is important for me when I decide with brand I am going to get. Because I live by myself, I only have to buy groceries for myself, so I need to buy thing that are going to last me some time. For example, a bottle of olive oil might be 10 dollars, but I only need to buy it once for my entire stay in New York. On the contrary, it is better to buy three tomatoes every week instead of buying twelve for an entire month, because they will go bad.
When choosing which brand you are going to buy, it is important to keep your values in mind. Maybe the organic brand is a little bit more expensive, but if it is important to you that you eat organic then you should not mind paying a little extra. Or when you want something is from your country it could cost you a dollar more. For instance, the bread they eat in America is a lot sweeter and softer than that in The Netherlands even if it says ‘Dutch’ of the packaging, last weeks I finally found bread that is more like the bread I like. It costs a little more, but in the end I am going to enjoy it more than the American bread, so it is worth it.
These are some of the things that are important to me when I go grocery shopping. In the beginning I was very excited to finally buy my own groceries and decide what I was getting, but when I saw how much I was spending and noticed how many times I was going to the supermarket, I did not like it anymore at all. Since I know to which supermarket I need to go and since I started making grocery lists, I enjoy grocery shopping.