Have you noticed what is happening with grocery and house hold shopping in Central Maine? Competition is heating up for our food dollars. To that I say ‘cool beans’! Preferably organic beans, bought on sale. 

Not long ago Save-A-Lot opening in Waterville, two weeks ago Hannaford announced they were lowering many prices, now this week Shaw’s announced the end to the card program to get the Shaw’s sale price.  Of course there is Target and Wal-Mart with all each has to offer. Add to that all the other places we can get food products, choice surrounds us. What do I mean by the other choices? Well, check this out.

We have all the farmers markets that are showing up in just about every community and yes, some do take benefits cards if that is how you pay for some of your groceries.  We have a number in the Central Maine area just about every day of the week, so farm fresh goods are never that far away.

Speaking of shopping local  There are smaller stores that should looked at for good prices and excellent quality. Fuller’s Market in West Gardiner, Tobey’s Grocery in South China and Emery’s Meats in Augusta, Monmouth and Newport. All three have been very positive shopping experiences over the years.

Then, we have places you may not think of for groceries and house hold items.  The three big pharmacy stores; Wal-Greens, CVS and Rite-Aid, have an amazing selection of foods and house hold items. But there are also places like Big Lots and Ocean State Job Lot, the Family Dollar Store and the Dollar Store.

We have ‘natural food’ stores like Uncle Deans in Waterville and Harvest Time in Augusta, the Co-op in Belfast and more and more choices with newer stores opening in many places. Natural food stores do have sales and if you invest a little time they can add to your selections with out damaging your budget.

I also get to Portland now and then so I add Whole Food and my personal favorite, Trader Joe’s, into my list of choices depending on what I am shopping for and what is on sale or what I may have coupons for at this time.  OH yes, coupons….the next level of saving, if you want it.

The competition will help keep prices in check and shopping the sale flyers will help. But if you really want to challenge yourself, pair all the completion for our food dollars helping keep prices down with store specials and coupons you can really stretch that dollar. There is sooo much information about couponing online.  Just find a site you like and what store or stores you wish to focus on and have fun. I think Money Saving Maine-iac is very user friendly.

Personally, I do store hop. Prices are one big reason, I shop local when I can, but you know what the biggest reason is? Selection. No one store has everything that I want. My fantasy is that I could have one store with fair prices AND ALL the things I want. Even without price as a factor, no one store has been able to deliver that to me. But I remain hopeful …someday…my fantasy will come true.

Now, all this talk about food is making me hungry.