When budget is your bottom line, it’s hard to decide where to spend your grocery dollars. While we sometimes make bulk purchases elsewhere, buying local is important to us. We always make it a point to shop at our local co-op, farmer’s markets and seafood market.
Our community is home to a co-op, a little grocery store filled with food and familiar faces. We see our neighbours and extended family there and the cashiers often remember our membership number. It’s a bit like Cheers.
We go to our co-op often. Our two year old knows the names of all the people who work there. It’s our favourite little family outing (we live a sheltered life). Really though, we live in a rural area, where there isn’t always much to do and honestly, we’re just obsessed with food.
Throughout this blog you will undoubtedly see me recommending bulk food purchases I’ve made at Costco, Bulk Barn, or very occasionally Walmart or some other big box store. While we’ve made the decision to buy certain items in bulk at Costco, we have balanced that out by buying 90% of our other food at our local co-op, as well as from local farm stands and seafood markets. Most of our produce (especially during non-gardening seasons), basics like milk and eggs, pantry staples like pasta and canned tomatoes, frozen vegetables and the occasional tub of ice cream all come home in co-op bags or from the markets.
We watch for sales and buy when prices are low. While we could drive half an hour to a big store that has a larger variety and inevitably some better prices, we opt not to make special trips there. If we are near one of those big stores for another reason, we might stop in. A few times a year we hit up Costco when we’re already in the city. But by and large, we keep our money in our community and hope that the co-op, seafood market and and farm stands will always be here too.
You might not live in a village with a co-op or a town with a farmer’s market. But if you do, I encourage you to consider spending at least some of your grocery money there. In some cases (like a local market), the produce you bring home will be the freshest you can find. But anytime you buy something locally, you keep at least some of your money in your own community and support people you probably know personally. It might not be the very cheapest option you have, but hey, cheaper isn’t always better! 🙂