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I'm working on an article about food deserts: areas where there's limited access to fresh food. It's making me think more about those trips to the grocery store that I take almost on autopilot. Did you know that just 10 years ago, more than 2 million Americans who didn't own cars also didn't have a grocery store closer than one mile away? I gripe about doing this weekly task, but when it comes down to it, it's not a strenuous one for me to complete.

I'm curious how far you go to do your typical grocery shopping. Do you have a store close by? Do you travel for miles to get to a traditional grocery store? Do you go out of your way to go to a particular store for its selection or prices?

(I'd like to note that while I'm writing on this topic, your responses on this thread will not be used in my work. I'm just hoping to get my brain wheels turning a bit better by learning about others' experiences in this area.)

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We live in a midtown area and have 6 stores a 3 mile radius (3 Publix, Winn Dixie, Lucky's, and a Whole foods), plus Costco and Sam's on the other side of town. Numerous Asian and Latin stores I haven't even tried. I tend to drive to the Publix that's a little further away because the college kids make the parking lot a nightmare at the one closest to me lol. Lots of options but I usually go to "my" Publix weekly and Costco once a month, or Lucky's if they have good deals.

I'm from a smallish suburban town. When I was younger the closest grocery store was a 20 minute drive (about 9.5 miles) away. I don't think it was too much of a problem, except for when the gas prices spiked. It was almost like an exciting outing when we drove into town. We always had a big list of items to buy so we made the most of the trip. My mom might have gone to a few specialty grocery shops here and there, but the one-stop shop at Hannaford was where it was at! Now, there is one other grocery store that is about 10 minutes away, but people still tend to make the drive into town because the selection is better. 

Last edited by Melissa

I live in Fargo, ND in an area of about 200,000 people. There is a smaller grocery store (Family Fare) right down the road about 2 blocks from my house.

There is another store (Cash Wise) right behind the office building I work in which is about a 5 min drive from my apartment via the interstate.

All the other major stores, Walmart, Target, Costco, etc. are about a 10 min drive away.

It is crazy to think how convenient life has become.

If I wasn't adventurous, I could basically live and never really have to go further than 10 minutes for anything.

Within this distance from my apartment: My work, stores, hospitals, gyms, restaurants, churches, and banks to name a few.

There is a small mom & pop store about 2 miles down the road, a Family dollar now a mile away.  The mom & pop store has fruits & veggies but they are not as fresh as those at bigger grocery store and prices are higher.

However, my regular grocery shopping happens in town about 8 miles away.... Kroger, Food Fair, Aldi and occasionally Walmart.   It's about a 10-15 minute drive.   Usually, shop once a week but am hoping to make that twice a month with implementing dinner meal planning.


I live in E. Orlando,FL- I have quite a few local food, supermarkets,pharmacies within a 5-10 mile radius-Super Center Walmart, Walmart Neighborhood,Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Publix, Mcdonalds,Pizza Hut, CVS, Walgreens etc...but when you don't have transportation/vehicle 24/7 or issues with your car and you need to get to these places for nessecities it does create hardship in the household buses--barely see them lol & Uber can cost you, some supermarkets--ublix & Walmart charge an extra fee to have your groceries delivered too you but again these tjinth add up especially if you are on a budget.

I live in a suburban area.  My favourite grocery store is a Walmart Superstore that is 30mins away.  I got once a month for a big grocery shop.  I have closer stores within a few miles but they are expensive & I just don't love them.  There is a dirty little mom & pop grocery store 1.5blocks from me but its dirty, the staff are awful & the fresh food tends to be on its last legs.  There is a drug store that has a small grocery section with great prices on eggs & clearance items.  I walk there at least 3 times a week after I drop the kids at school to pick up milk, eggs & see what is on clearance.  We will be getting a new grocery store this summer about 3blocks from my house.  Not sure how the prices will be, so I will be checking it out.  I'm sure I will still do my big shop at Walmart & hopefully pick up produce & things at the closer store.  I have a good-sized backyard garden for fruits & veggies in the summer.  I live 2 blocks from the fish docks for salmon, crab, shrimp, cod, etc.  

I do a big grocery shop once a month & spend $200 for a family of 3.5 (one child has medical diet & I budget that separately) then spend $50 the remainder of the month on milk & produce.  I'm an avid couponer & freebie hunter.  I love the clearance sections at Walmart.

I stick with my favorite grocer which is about a 5 mile drive from my home.  Once in awhile I drive a bit further to a Wal-Mart which is about 15 miles but only if my shopping list grows to add non-grocery items that I really feel have significant  savings.  I've learned the repetitive sales patterns for my favorite grocer, use coupons, and plan shopping around those sales.  I've learned that getting to really "know" 1 or 2 particular grocers that are nearby end up saving me more money than dashing here and there to grab sales all over town, which frankly there was a time I did that.  The cost of gas and time is not worth it. We belong to 2 buying clubs, Sams and BJs but they are a 25 mile drive so really only go when I need both gas and food/tangibles and I have other business to attend to near those clubs.  I'm also getting "over" the need for bulk buying and one of the things I plan to do in 2019 is some serious breakdowns of how much that mega package of paper towels is really costing me in gas, time, the annual membership fee to the club vs using a coupon/sales at my favorite grocer.  I've been trying to convince my husband to drop at least one of the clubs, but each has its advantages according to him.  I am so disgusted at the rewards programs, digital coupons that require either printing out or saving at each retailer's website, but I feel trapped to use them because if I don't I'm losing money. Shopping like that has become a huge time sucker only to find out many times there are many hoops to jump through to utilize the rewards. I won't even consider shopping at Kohl's anymore because of the circus of restrictive rewards all designed to suck you into going thru their doors again.  CVS is another one that makes using coupons and rewards a nightmare to navigate.  Just lower prices and make it fair for all. Those who need the savings the most would benefit the most.

@mintjulep I also avoid hitting Walmart for regular grocery trips unless there are other items I need that are hard to find in other grocery stores. But that alone can be a time suck. Last time I went to Walmart I did so many laps around the store trying to find the non-grocery items (some in the hardware section, some in the laundry section? I'm not even sure, I left without getting everything I needed) that I could have just made two stops: grocery store and hardware store. 

@Former Member Where I use to live which was about half hour
from here they was good for cereal,canned food,house hold
items. I didn't buy much frozen food there and they didn't have
produce there either. It was a small store.

Now where I'm living i really like this dollar general it us to be
a walmart store which closed down and so the dollar general
brought the store because it was bigger than they had here.
This one has gas. It has fresh meat which isn't bad at all and
produce which i've brought allot of fro DG. Its just as good ad
any other store. It all so has a craft sections which is nice. This
one all so sells cloths and shoes to. 

I hope this helps you

There are so many grocery stores down the street from me or very nearby that it's almost ridiculous. Of course, I live 2 blocks from a major street. I love (loved before COVID-19) grocery shopping. My regulars have been HEB, Randalls, Kroger's, Trader Joe's, Aldi's, Whole Foods on occasion (if there's a good Amazon Prime member sale), Fiesta on occasion, Food Town on occasion, and regularly Family Dollar. If anything, there is no dearth of stores, but nearly a glut, but no complaints here. Now, I mostly order groceries when I can get appointments, but did hit Kroger last week when a poster on Nextdoor mentioned they had plenty of paper products. Dropped everything and went there immediately.

We have a Publix, Kroger, Walmart, and an Aldi all within 2.9 miles. We live in a major metropolitan area in the southeast.  We have 2 smaller independent grocers within 6 blocks. We have a huge Famers Market that is about 8 miles away. We shop at all of them. Aldi is my favorite, and the cheapest. Kroger is second. Walmart is my husband's favorite. We have Costco and Sam's Club membership.  Costco is 22 miles away and Sam's Club is about 10 miles away. 

I live about 2.5 miles via car from a Meijer, walking takes about 45 minutes or so. The city I live in does have little party shops at sprinkled throughout our neighbourhoods but they are more of liquor stores than anything else, groceries are extremely limited to non-existant in them. I do live on a bus line, so that would be an option but I am unaware of what the connections are to actually get to Meijer. Might take longer than walking. On Saturdays during the months of March through November, we do have a farmers market that is much closer (about a 20-minute walk)  the selection is very limited until July though October. I do feel that my city is a food desert. 

The store I shop at now is a little over 6 miles from my house which I guess is good considering this area is very rural. The store where I used to shop for groceries is about 16 miles away. When they sold out last year, I took the opportunity to look closer to home and I'm glad I did. IGA doesn't have as a good a selection as the other store that I shopped at for years, but for the sake of saving gas and wear and tear on my car, I'll make the adjustment.

In doing your research, I think it is important to also consider cost and the potential poor financial decision trade offs that many people make with regards to convenience.  At least where I live, there is no shortage of options to buy groceries, but just because something is close does not make that a good decision (I do understand limitations if you don't have a car).  With on-line delivery options it makes it even more convenient (but more expensive with either delivery fees or tips that are expected).  If you pay attention and actually compare costs, you will see that there are major price differences between grocery stores for the exact same item.  It is part of the store offering/marketing and the type of customers they want to attract. If you want to be a saver and eventually achieve financial freedom, you can't ignore the opportunity to save money just because of a little inconvenience or store beauty.  I suggest that people find an everyday low priced grocery store where the average item is priced less than other higher end organic/specialty or luxury grocery stores where everything is beautiful looking (wide isles, polished fruit, pre-made dinners, etc.). Shopping routinely at this store gives familiarity with where to find everything, makes shopping faster and achieves likely savings on perhaps most/everything in that shopping cart each and every week.

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