I’m overly excited for this project that Kayla of Shoeaholic No More put together. Not just that, I’m pseudo surprised by the results, especially where my beloved Pittsburgh, dubbed one of the most affordable cities in the country numerous times, ranked! Read on for some food for thought. Oh, puns.
As personal finance bloggers, we tend to always think our area is a high cost of living area, which may not always be true when compared to other places throughout the world. To discover where the cost of living truly is high, a group of bloggers got together and compared the cost of a few different grocery store staples, things like a dozen eggs and a gallon of milk, to find out where the cost of groceries is truly highest. The full results of this study can be seen below.
Of course “high cost of living” is also relative to how much money you make too, but that isn’t as easily comparable as not everyone is comfortable sharing that information with the world. 😉 But, we all know that one of the budget areas people tend to struggle with the most is keeping grocery costs under control.
Femme Frugality in Pittsburgh, PA, Laurie at The Frugal Farmer in Minnesota, Natalie at Budget and the Bees in Brooklyn, NY , Mrs. FW at Frugalwoods in Cambridge, MA, and myself in Kansas, put together our price lists for comparison. Here is what we found:
Overall, the price of the grocery staples we compared seems to be highest in Pittsburgh, PA and Brooklyn, NY. As one might expect, that is especially true for most meat products. In fact, only one product’s highest price was outside of these two areas.
On the low end of things, Kansas, Minnesota, and Cambridge, MA seemed to have the lowest grocery prices out of the places we compared. This does seem to make sense as generally these areas in the Midwest (KS and MN) are lower cost of living areas. We were somewhat surprised to see that Cambridge had such low grocery prices, maybe this helps to make up for the inflated prices they see in other areas that make up the cost of living, like housing.
Bargain and sale shopping does make a different in these prices as well and can greatly affect how much you spend on groceries each month. If you decide to hop around and view each blogger’s post, you’ll see that we all have tips to help you save on groceries.
My first tip for shoppers, at least in Pittsburgh, is shop the suburbs! I was amazed at how much more food cost in the city when I first moved here. These numbers were pulled from a city store, the cheaper of the two chains I usually use because of their “low” price. It’s not always possible to make a half hour drive to get what you need, but when you can, the savings can be astonishing.
My second tip is to know your stores. I use coupons. And I shop deals. But I don’t do either obsessively. I don’t have time for all that. I do know the stores in the area, though. I have two favorites. The rest have questionable food quality (did you hear about that Aldi’s and horse meat thing?) or are ridiculously over priced. The one I pulled data for has better food prices when things aren’t on sale. The other has higher food prices, but their sales are so good it’s insane. So I go through both circulars each week, seeing which staples are on sale. One trip will be to the sale store, the other to the lower regular price store. I’m sure I’ve missed a deal or two, but I’ve also managed to keep our sanity while maintaining our budget.
Also, the husband wants me to mention that food is not taxed in PA. He’s curious if that leads to higher food prices. I have no idea. But it’s a thought.
I hope you enjoyed our grocery cost comparison. We really enjoyed putting it together for you and we hope you’ll take the time to learn how each of us save money on groceries.
How do you save money on groceries? How does your area compare price-wise with all of ours?