What Do Groceries And Dining Out Cost Where You Live? - InvestingChannel

What Do Groceries And Dining Out Cost Where You Live?

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What Do Groceries And Dining Out Cost Where You Live?

The Juice loves nothing more than sharing our experiences with you, then having you reciprocate. 

So, yeah, as the headline to today’s installment clearly states, we want to know. Use the feedback link at the bottom of the page to communicate your answers with us. If you know someone who might like to contribute, forward The Juice to them and suggest they subscribe for free

In a second, we’ll dig deep into our personal pocketbook and reveal exactly how much we’ve been spending recently — in Los Angeles — on food and drink. Both in grocery stores. And out and about in restaurants and bars. 

The official inflation data from the federal government shows that restaurant meals are up 4.1% and groceries are up 1.1% year over year. 

We don’t know about you, but things feel a lot more expensive than that. Maybe it’s just that they increased by so much prior to inflation cooling a little that it’s difficult to notice. Or, in the more likely scenario, the people charging these prices still face increased costs to operate their businesses and have yet to pass on any savings they might be realizing to the consumers. Don’t hold your breath that they ever will. 

Anyhow, in Los Angeles, we have all of the major chains and a bunch of local stores and farmer’s markets. 

The Juice shops primarily at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods (a division of Amazon.com (AMZN)) and Pavillions, which is owned by Albertsons (ACI)

On Monday, we noted that people squeezed by the high cost of groceries are turning to dollar stores. That’s a pretty sad state of affairs. But it’s one of the only ways around the conundrum for many of the cash-strapped among us. 

Another way to deal is to look for in-store deals and use your grocery store’s app for additional savings, when and where available. As grocery store geeks, The Juice is obsessive about this. So we frequently realize some solid savings. For the record, we’re shopping for two people. 

Here’s how things looked for us at the grocery store during a recent week in late April. 

  • Pavilions: We spent $48.11, but saved a solid 36% ($23.84) using the chain’s app. 

It’s pretty sad. This trip was heavier on junk food than normal for us. We got four bags of chips, some Tillamook ice cream and packaged cheese, a box of KIND bars, refried beans, an onion, a pack of arugula, two avocados and a pack of flour tortillas. 

That’s it. And it cost almost $50 after saving 36%!!

  • Whole Foods: We spent $30.36, but saved 8% ($2.58) thanks to Amazon Prime

It’s not Whole Paycheck anymore, but it still isn’t cheap. 

A bottle of olive oil, two large containers of almond milk, two mangoes and a five-count bag of avocados (yes, we love avocados). That’s freaking it! 

  • Trader Joe’s: We dropped $65.07. No savings because Trader Joe’s doesn’t do deals, but they appear to have the best prices.  

We purchased ½ gallon of milk, five packs of frozen fruit, a jar of peanut butter, a jar of salsa, a bottle of red Spanish wine, a one-pound pack of ground beef, a 16-oz container of Greek yogurt, blue cheese, a bag of almonds, cocoa powder, chia seeds, hamburger buns, tortilla chips and a dozen eggs. So, easily, the best haul of the week. 

We forgot hot sauce ($8.99 for a bottle of Frank’s!), needed more of that amazing Tillamook extra sharp white cheddar cheese and picked up ¾ of a pound of heirloom tomatoes for an additional $17.25, which included 8% ($1.52) of savings. 

We rounded out the week with a $30 trip to the farmer’s market that secured a few heads of lettuce, more tomatoes, carrots, apples and cauliflower. That’s all. 

So, in total, we spent $190.79 for two people

Some highlights from recent eating out adventures: 

  • $20.82, including tip, for one small and one regular size gelato at a local chain. 
  • $77.88, including tip, for dinner for two at a local Thai restaurant, including two beers. 
  • $11.65, including tip, for a coffee (cortado) and pastry at a local coffee shop. 

And that’s just a sampling. One that makes us wonder what we’re doing living in such a freaking expensive place. 

What say you from whatever part of the world you read The Juice from? 


The Bottom Line: There’s a lot that’s good about cooking at home. We enjoy the process, ritual and outcome. However, it’s not as inexpensive as it once was to execute. And, more so, we enjoy going out to eat and drink among other people. 

But, all of the above, especially the ice cream example, shows how crazy things have become. You’re a family of four and you want to go for ice cream. At any of the chains on the main street near where The Juice lives in LA, you’re spending $25 to $40. The only way to get a deal on ice cream is to buy a scoop at Rite Aid or buy a pint, on sale, at the grocery store.

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