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Cheaper than Ralphs-Pavillions-Vons-Albertsons

  • Big Lots / Smart ‘n’ Final. A fantastic place to find discontinued shelf food or marketing disasters like Crystal Pepsi. Especially nifty for discounted snacks, candies, canned goods and dented juice containers.
  • 99 Cent Only Stores. Bold enough to bite into an entire honey-smoked ham that costs less than a buck? The North Hollywood 99 Cent Only Store has a full grocery store peddling day-old baked goods, suspicious dairy and almost-expired meats. It’s also a surprising place to find tropical fruits like pineapples and coconuts and Canadian toothpaste.
  • Trader Joes. Very reasonably priced creative food selections, though I don’t recommend their pre-made salads and sandwiches. They are quite bland to the palette. Frozen foods, on the other hand, are divine.
  • Target. The modified North Hollywood Target has expanded to include a frozen food section and multi-aisle non-refrigerated goods department. Their prices are about 25 to 30% less than the major supermarket chains. And you can buy those European-sized cans of cola which is pretty nifty. I do wonder, however, where they’re going to put the Christmas Tree farm this year.
  • Wal-Mart. Face it, Wal-Mart’sprices are hard to beat, especially at Super Wal-Mart where grocery prices run about 75% less than their competitors’. Sam’s Club brand is pretty tasty, especially the Twist Up faux Oreos. But you do have to deal with the utilitarian scan-it-yourself system. And if Wal-Mart’s the only store in an isolated town like in North Platte, Nebraska, you and your pocket book are screwed.
  • Costco. A great way to blow $200. Be sure to check prices and opt for Kirkland’s Best. Sometimes it’s cheaper just to wait ’til stuff is on sale or use coupons at the other other places on this list. Costco’s upload online, pick up at store photocenter is a dream. So long as you don’t go on weekends.
  • Latin Food Markets like Vallarta and El Cubano. Despite the draw of El Cubano’s leche cow, I’ve never been inside either but their Penny Saver circulars lead one to believe that they have very fine deals indeed.
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