The usual tips for cutting your grocery bill are to take advantage of sales, use everything you buy, and shop from multiple grocery stores. I have one tip that basically cuts your grocery bill in half without too much effort and without going to multiple stores! And that secret is… going to a Chinese or Korean grocery store! Keep in mind I didn’t include Japanese stores in here. Japanese stores tend to be pricier than Chinese or Korean grocers, but the produce sections still tend to be cheaper than American stores. For the lowest prices, it’s usually a Chinese or Korean store. While items are different at these types of grocery stores than what you can find in an American one, the prices are generally much lower even without a sale. It’s a great way to try out new foods and save money without too much effort.
If you have a Chinese or Korean grocery store near you, go check it out! The prices are usually better in areas with bigger Asian populations and with multiple grocery stores around the area. Competition is the key to prices being even lower. Chinese and Koreans have no problem driving to another grocery store if something is a little bit cheaper. Living in Los Angeles is awesome because there are many so options for me. The stores aren’t going to be anything like Whole Foods. To keep the prices low, everything will be mostly functional and not pretty. It won’t look like a warehouse either though.
To give you an idea of what the price difference is like, here’s a list of our grocery bill for today. We went to S-Mart, a Korean grocery store. We don’t live close by enough to take advantage of the prices every weekend, but when we can, we try to buy all our groceries from a Chinese or Korean grocery store for the money savings.
Kale – 50 cents a bunch
Broccoli Crowns – 2 lbs for 99 cents
Marinated Beef Bulgogi Meat – 2.99 a lb
Brown Onions – 5 lbs for 99 cents
Green Onions – 5 bunches for 99 cents
Cilantro – 50 cents a bunch
Napa Cabbage – 50 cents a lb
Red Leaf Lettuce – 79 cents each
The lowest price I’ve ever seen kale at an American grocery is 99 cents. Broccoli crowns at maybe 99 cents a lb. Overall, the sale price at a Chinese or Korean grocery is half the price of the lowest sale price at an American grocery. Same goes for the full price.
The produce section and meat department is definitely where we save a lot of our money. There are generally more produce items that go on sale each week versus an American grocery store. If you combine the savings just from the price difference between full priced items, you will still come out on top. Buying items on sale cuts your bill even more! Meat per pound is also much lower. The cuts may not be as fancy, but for most people we don’t need fancy cuts. Other items in the store are at a lower price too, including staples like noodles, rice, canned goods, snacks, and frozen items. Of course, these are all going to be mostly Asian items. Don’t buy any processed American brands at these types of stores as they will be overpriced. Same for American grocery stores, as Asian brands are overpriced.
Do you have a nearby Chinese or Korean grocery store you buy from to save money?