I have a large family and they like to eat. A lot. (Read more about me and my family.) So Aldi and Fareway are the two stores I shop at the most, with an occasional stop at the Hy-Vee or Wal-Mart.
Aldi has the best price in town on most dairy items. We have really enjoyed their cottage cheese, butter, cream cheese, milks and shredded cheeses for a great price! Aldi also boasts a great selection of organic items for a deal compared to other store.
Although not a grocery store, Kwik Star gas station has great milk prices, too! I especially love their milk in a bag (you can get get skim-whole milk and chocolate, too) because it really reduces waste in our recycling bins. The only drawback is that half gallon bags for this big family disappear awfully quick! One “kwik” side note, Did you know if you opt to pay inside at Kwik Star gas stations and show them your Hy-Vee fuel saver, they will offer you 5 cents off per gallon of gas!
Hy-Vee is my novelty store…the place I go when I have a bit of free time and can get a Starbucks treat and meander. They have excellent sales if you know to watch for them but the general everyday prices do not always work for our budget. If you are needing gluten-free or other dietary specialties, Hy-Vee really does have the best selection. They also have a great seafood and an amazing fresh bakery (Did you know kids get a free cookie if you go to the back bakery counter?) Their deli meats and cheeses are awesome.
I rarely shop at Wal-Mart just because it takes so long! However, there are days when your list includes dog food, googly eyes, coffee creamer, socks and diapers (yes, that was a real list once!) and on those list days, Wal-Mart it is.
My favorite store in town is Fareway.
“I love Fareway” was seriously the subject of an email sent to my family and friends once moving back to Iowa after 6 ½ years in Boise, Idaho. In the email I went on and on about the meat counter! Allow me to digress and tell you a story.
One of my favorite meals to make is Ham Balls (messy prep but so tasty, they freeze great, and all of my kids like them!). In Boise ham loaf, a mix of ground ham and ground pork, did not exist. I even asked at a chain grocery store, “If I buy a ham, will you grind it for me?” He looked at me like I was from Mars. So I had to buy my ham from a specialty meat market and have it ground for me and then drive 20 minutes each way in city traffic, unbuckle however many of my children were with me, pay for the meat (sheesh, was this meat coated in 24 karat gold?? No? It’s just ground up dead pig? You could have fooled me!), buckle everyone back into the van and head home. Those were some treasured meatballs after all that trouble.
To be back in ham loaf-ville (thank you Iowa and Fareway) was wonderful and oh so convenient. I just raved. My mom replied to my email and said, “Be careful or you might become a spokesperson for Fareway!”
Then there was the courtesy to your car. When we moved here, Tommy was 5, Millie 4, Zach 2 and Benny 6 months! I had my hands full in so many ways, so the fact that they would take my groceries to my car was so wonderful! I always wanted to tip them.
I try to be as efficient as possible and I hate doubling back in the grocery store, so I make my grocery list according to Fareway’s aisles. Fareway does not have as much organic food as Hy-Vee and Aldi but their section of gluten free, organic, etc. is increasing and can be found right at the front of the store, across from the amazingly un-organic bags of chips and candies!
I keep my eye out for the neon pink tags. Those are the competitor’s ads or great buys! Usually there is a limit placed on those items but I am in there frequently enough I am able to purchase them more than once.
Check out my recent post chock full of meal prep tips. Happy Shopping!