We went to the US today for our monthly shopping trip. This time it's been a little over a month, and we still had quite a bit of food in our freezers and pantry. Praise the Lord! I know people wonder if it's worth the drive for us to shop in the US. We spend about $25.00 on gas (we use about a quarter tank driving down and back), and we buy one meal, either breakfast or lunch. We also fill our car up with gas while we're down there. Today the price for gas at Wal Mart was $2.83/gallon; the price here in North Vancouver today is $1.03/litre, which is about $4.12/gallon!
Here are some of the cost comparisons for foods we usually buy, with prices at Wal Mart and the Real Canadian Superstore, a warehouse-type store, where I shop. It's the cheapest store around, and I was so thankful when someone told me about it when we first moved here! Other stores, such as Safeway, are even more expensive than the prices listed.
Cheese - 2 pound block - approx. $6.00 at WM; approx. $9.00 here
Frozen chicken breasts - 3 pound bag - $4.48 at WM; $17.98 here
Eggs - 1 dozen - $1.18 at WM; $2.07 here
Pizza sauce - 16 oz jar - 87 cents at WM; 8 oz. can - $1.39 here (it would cost me $2.78 to buy the equivalent here)
Turkey bacon - 1 pound - $2.50 at WM; $4.99 here
Canned beans - 16 oz. can - approx. 50 cents at WM; approx. $1.00 here
Brown sugar - 2 pound bag - 97 cents at WM; $1.99 here
Shortening - 3 pound can - $2.48 at WM; $5.00 here
Those are just a few things, off the top of my head. There are some things that are cheaper or the same price here, for example flour and white sugar, which I buy here. There are also a few things I've found here that we like better, such as brown rice and the bouillon powder I like to use. And of course, we can't bring American fruits or vegetables into Canada, or vice-versa. We didn't realize when we first moved here that we could shop for food in the US; we figured there were tight restricions or something. But we have found that there is no limit on most food items (some meat and dairy are limited), and we've never had a minute's trouble coming back across the border with a month's worth of groceries. Many Canadians are shopping across the border right now because of the strength of the Canadian dollar. Not only are US prices cheaper on many things, from clothing to cars to food, but there is more spending power with the stronger dollar. There is a great mall just 15 minutes across the border! ;)
So you can see, based on what we spend to go down, that the savings more than pay for the cost. It is a day-long trip; we leave about 7:30 and get home around 4:00 in the afternoon, depending on traffic, border waits, and how long we take to shop. It's been a huge blessing to be able to spend less on groceries, and I feel that I'm using our money more wisely by shopping this way. I'm plenty tired when we get home, and then I have to put all that food away and fix us some supper, but then all I have to shop for for the next month is for the weekly perishables. It works well for us!