If you're not a regular shopper at Aldi, why not?
Inconsistency from Dillons to Dillons

Ranking Grocery Options in the Wichita Metro

Loaf of breadBy Mike Thayer

“The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one.”

‒ Erma Bombeck

That's so frick'n true.  I don't know anybody that can go grocery shopping and strictly stick to their list. 

Buying a few things to put sandwiches together?  "Oh those chips would go great with the turkey club I'm making"...

Picking up a few items for dinner?  "Oh I can't remember what kind of veggies I have at home, I'll just grab something"...

Just getting some milk and eggs because you're out at home?  "Hmmm, that loaf of bread would make a great French Toast for breakfast tomorrow"...

Grocery StoreIt's easy to stray off the list and grocery store displays are set up to ensure you do.  But we can't just blame the store, there's the impulse buyers, the hungry buyers (NEVER do that!) and the power buyers, like an ex-wife that thought buying one food item meant you HAD to buy something to go with it, as in, to 'accessorize' it. "You can't buy a new pair of shoes and not buy a purse to go with it!"   You go in with 12 items on your list and you walk out with 24+, UGH!

The type of grocery shopping you're doing matters too.  A lot of people are weekly routine shoppers, some are bulk shoppers, others are every couple of days shoppers and then there's the "Oh I forgot to get this when I was at the store" shoppers.

With all the shopping circumstances out there, I thought it would be appropriate to put together a list of stores to fit those circumstances, complete with my two cents based on my grocery shopping experiences.

Bulk Shopping:  I'm an inconsistent bulk shopper.  It seems like I trend, doing a lot of it month-to-month, then I go through a period where I don't do it so much.  And yes, it does hinge on my supplies at home, I'm one of those list and inventory guys and I rotate my stock.  When I need to bulk shop, especially when restocking my freezer is on the "To Do" list in purchasing items such as shredded cheeses, a variety of meats, perhaps some breakfast sandwiches and frozen meals, then it's a Membership Club.  Options in Wichita are Sam's Club or Costco.  I've been a member of both, I prefer Sam's Club.  They have more of the products I like and don't push the organic products so hard.   The plus side to a Member's Club is the wholesale pricing, you really do save buying in bulk.  The downside is you have to balance space needs at home and expiration dates.  "Do I have room in the hallway closet for that 45 roll pack of toilet paper?"  Or, "Will I go through 48 ounces of minced garlic before it expires?'  Another plus:  Bulk shopping reduces the need to shop weekly, freeing up your time to do something else.

Grocery Store RecommendationsFor routine weekly shopping, the primary options are Dillon's, Walmart, Target Grocery, Trader Joes, Aldi, Whole Foods, Natural Grocers and if you live in Park City - Leeker's (I used to work there back in the day, I worked in the deli, a fry cook, I don't miss it).  I've shopped in all of them, but I prefer Aldi.  Overall, it's hands down the cheapest place in town to buy groceries and without a sacrifice in product quality.  Yes, they lack some of the name brand products, but through trial and error, I've learned that 8 times out of 10, having that name brand item just isn't necessary. 

For impromptu shopping, or just needing to grab a couple items, any of the options above would work, although if I only need a couple things like a can of beans for chili or cream cheese for a cheesecake, I'm not going to Sam's Club and buy that only occasionally needed item in bulk.  For my impromptu shopping it's usually Dillon's.  Location is the primary reason, I live less than a mile from one.  And I prefer to stick to the store brand (Kroger) because it's cheaper.  Trader Joe's is also good - GREAT selection of snacks and specialty items like lobster ravioli! - but their pricing forbids regular weekly shopping there.

And for those of us who like to dabble in international cuisine there are the specialty stores.  The mainstream stores are OK at stocking the international cuisine basics, but if you really want to go all out in preparing a memorable international meal, then you must go specialty shopping! 

For Asian cuisine, I like Lucky Market. They've got it all covered from the basics in large varieties of noodles, rice, sauces (soy, teriyaki, hoisin etc.), to ginger beer, specialty meats, a huge selection of fish and a produce section offering all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Every isle of the store is filled with all kinds of great choices. 

For German cuisine you have to visit Ze German Markt.  The selection of imported foods in this market is phenomenal!  The greatest salty snacks, the finest chocolates, the sweetest candies...  But wait, there's more...  Cheeses, meats, pickled delights, soups, coffee, tea, breads, pasta, all kinds of wonderful mustards and condiments to go with that brat - yes, they have imported brats!  Along with novelty items this store is a true treat to visit.

For Mediterranean cuisine it's N&J Cafe.  They have the best hummus in town and a large variety of Mediterranean favorites available in their grocery.  Choose from a variety of fantastic feta cheeses, an array of olives, a tantalizing selection of spices and so much more - you'll find Mediterranean to your liking at the N&J Cafe!  

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Related Story:  Sam's Club vs. Costco Wholesale: Which membership is the best? - The price difference is SHOCKING!

Related Story:  Mainstream Grocery vs. Discount Grocery: Dillon's (Kroger) vs. Aldi

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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