Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Grocery Pricing.

I've complained about the cost of grocery shopping here before (plenty of times actually), but I constantly hear people saying they don't notice much of a difference or "it isn't THAT expensive" but with spending over a hundred bucks a week on supplies for homemade meals for 2 and a half people, I decided I should actually figure it out. And guess what I found out? Holy freaking crap is it WAY more expensive than shopping at home.

Now, I will admit, back home, I shopped at Winco, which is a "bulk" type store where you can get most things out of bulk bins and you fill your little begs yourself (like you would with produce anywhere else) but they have everything the huge stores have, just much cheaper. So to go off of their prices wouldn't be a true representation of the price difference because I saved money by going there. So I got online and priced the items through Albertson's. They're pretty middle-of-the-road when it comes to prices and so is Lulu Hypermarket, where we shop here.

So, here are the findings. These are the prices we've paid in the past three weeks (I've converted from metric when necessary and priced in American currency):

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (per pound): Lulu's: $ 2.99 Albertson's: $1.99
Gallon of fat-free Milk: Lulu's: $5.45 Albertson's: $1.99
1 Pound ground beef: Lulu's: $6.74 Albertson's: 3.99
1 head Iceberg lettuce: Lulu's: $2.82 Albertson's: $0.99
6 oz. fresh blackberries: Lulu's: $6.81 Albertson's: $2.50
1 box Multigrain Cheerios: Lulu's: $6.53 Albertson's: $1.67
Jumbo pack Pampers size 4: Lulu's: $12.80 Albertson's: $9.99
Men's Stick Deodorant (Gillette): Lulu's: $8.28 Albertson's: $2.50

Total: Lulu's: $49.43 Albertson's: $25.62

That's a difference of $23.81! And this is just for a few specific items. No wonder our freaking grocery cart is always barely half-full, yet is two or three times what I EVER paid in the States. And back then I was constantly buying pre-packaged easy-to-make (read: pricier!) products. Since we've moved here, I now cook dinner every week night and we all eat cereal for breakfast and sandwiches or leftovers for lunches. There should be no WAY we could spend as much as we do on food.

Anyway, at least I feel better knowing we aren't actually EATING double, just paying double. Heh.


  1. Oh man, that's insane!! I mean, good that you're not actually eating twice as much of course, haha. But insane that prices are that much more inflated. I even get aggravated here sometimes when I try to buy healthier things. I love cooking with ground beef, but I like the 96% lean beef, which is $6.99/lb here, and only one store offers it. Throw some produce in there, another lean meat, and some breakfast items, and you've got one hefty grocery bill for one person and a fiance. Still isn't as inflated as what you posted though - that's crazy. I bet you'll be glad to be back at your normal stores when you come home. Do you ever think about the health aspect though? It sounds like you're cooking more homemade things now, vs. before when you mentioned you were buying more prepackaged things, which do tend to be pricier but sometimes not as good for you. Do you think you'll go back to those, or keep cooking homemade once you're home? I know I love my homemade things, but some days I just don't feel like making the effort, haha.

  2. That's a really good question and one I've wrestled with too. I think I'm MOSTLY going to stick with the healthier, homemade foods once we get home. I've really stream-lined my cooking process over the past year and I'm super quick at most things. Even my "complicated" meals that used to take me well over an hour or two only take me 30 minutes or 45 minutes tops now. So I think I'll end up buying the things I've missed so much (like a bag of pizza rolls!) when we get home, but now that I'm used to cooking everything and knowing what's in everything we eat, I think I'll stick with that once we leave. We've worked so hard to switch our lifestyle completely to high-fiber, whole grains, etc. Why go back to unhealthy food when we leave? :)

  3. Just another reason to move back HOME!!!! But seriously, the price on the Cheerios shocked me. Wow. I mean, everything is ridiculous, but I just bought Cheerios, so, just wow. When you come home, keep eating healthy! It's really the best. Keep Kaden away from all the processed junk food. The people I nanny for are totally organic, healthy, etc. and it makes me eat healthier by influence! I'm trying to cut WAY back on any "junky" foods and feed my family healthy stuff. But one compromise you could consider - when you're busier, like working and such, and don't have time to do homemade every night, the grocery stores offer things like a whole roasted chicken for $5.99 that you can pick up, hot and ready to eat. Throw in some veggies for a side dish, maybe some yummy bread, voila! Dinner.

  4. i knew it!!! i just read this to my husband so that he could understand that it isn't just rent that is crazy expensive here. the only cheap things i have found are that bread is cheaper hear (but it also doesn't last very long) and coke is super cheap at only $.27 a bottle.... speaking of which i have a frozen one in the freezer! yum

  5. Great post but it would have been better if you had Kaden helping you to figure it out and you video tapped him doing it. Love, Marcia

  6. I hear you. I've really changed my diet too over the last few years. Lots of fiber, leaner meats, wheats/grains, and I try my best to stay away from white/enriched/processed flour items. I think it would definitely be beneficial to stick to what you're already doing, especially with as good at it as you've become. Heck, you'd slash your grocery bill in more than half and eat have all the same foods! And I know I can literally tell a difference in my body and how I feel when I eat something really bad now. Plus, sticking to healthy meals makes the little things like pizza rolls even more special! Mac & cheese and Japanese food are my special things. :-)

  7. Also keep in mind that the dirham has 15% (ad rising) inflation, but at the same time is pegged to the USD at fixed rate too. This causes some funny things.

    Point #2 is that some foods that you compare have to be imported from the West. Naturally, these are cheaper in the States (blueberries come to mind).

    Thirdly, I was surprised at deodorant being so expensive. I picked up a couple bottles of Axe deodorant (not stick though), simply because it's $7 here and it was AED7 there!

    P.S. Check the Co-op markets out if you dare; I heard they are cheaper :p