Whole Foods, the organic grocery chain, is putting bars in some stores that will serve beer and wine. Their goal is to get you so drunk that you don’t notice their prices — Jay Leno, The Tonight Show.

Oh, relax. Not dissing the competition, nor editorializing about booze. Just making a segue into this blog’s topic – eating well without going broke in the process.

For many, the quest to fill the cupboard with good stuff is no laughing matter. I mean, domestically, wholesale food prices zoomed by nearly 10% this year. That was the largest such hike in 37 years. Most of it’s the price of fuel, but some of it’s crazy stuff like global politics, like when the Ivory Coast cocoa crop was held hostage some time back, affecting prices here. Anyway, a recent University of Washington study found that, yep, a healthful diet is difficult for the cash strapped to afford.

But don’t dispair, you can still eat well on a budget. Just takes patience, common sense and a few tricks. Cooking is, of course, cheaper than eating out. Groceries-wise, guess it would help to know what’s nutritious and what’s not. can assist with that.

Naturally, the more times you frequent a store, the more you’ll bag unplanned goods. So, make a list and stick to it. And if you plan your meals the less likely you’ll be to pluck extras from shelves. Check recipes twice so that all ingredients are gotten in one fell swoop efficiently using petrol. It helps to maintain a staples-packed pantry.

Is there a crisper or rotter in your fridge? It pains all of us to throw away good food, so consider freezing. Chop up and freeze veggies. You can also contain costs by buying in-season foods. While we’re at it, whole fruit is less pricey than fruit juices.

If you buy water, larger sizes are less expensive than single-serve packages (yes, you’re paying for the containers).

Shopping at one store saves you gas. Restrict the family to one large snack bag (if at all) each week. If you’re shopping frugally, avoid pre-cut stuff. Check web sitesĀ for sales, of course, but try to know what to do with the food!

Vegetables and whole foods are more nutritious and less-costly than processed foods. The point is to go to one damned grocery store. But eat first; we know not to shop hungry, don’t we? Stock up on stuff like eggs, which are cheap and full of protein, and canned tuna. Ditto.

At day’s end, the fewer bucks we shell out for the bad stuff, the more dollars we have for what’s right. Greenback-stretching is no excuse for poor nutrition, if we are smart.

Indulge a joke: Little Johnny and his family lived in the country, and seldom had guests. He was eager to help his mother after his father appeared with two dinner guests from the office. When the dinner was nearly over, Little Johnny went to the kitchen and proudly carried in the first piece of apple pie, giving it to his father who passed it to a guest. Little Johnny came in with a second piece of pie and gave it to his father, who again gave it to a guest.

This was too much for Little Johnny, who said, “It’s no use, dad. The pieces are all the same size.”



  1. Making meal plans, shopping by list and shopping once a week or even every other week has been my motto for the last 26 years, I even have the note books showing all of the meals my family has eaten over those years. Such good advice for saving money while eating well. Thank you so much for sharing this information with your audience.

  2. Thanks for supporting the idea of “frugal feeding”. If you permit me, I would like to share ‘The Law of Temperance’ from John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost, Book XI ( 520 -540):
    I yield it just, said Adam, and submit.
    But is there yet no other way, besides
    These painful passages, how we may come
    To Death, and mix with our connatural dust?
    There is, said Michael, if thou well observe
    The rule of not too much, by temperance taught
    In what thou eatst and drinkst, seeking from thence
    Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight,
    Till many years over thy head return:
    so maist thou live, till like ripe fruit thou drop
    Into thy Mother lap, or be with ease
    Gathered, not harshly pluckt for death mature:
    Kindly follow Angel Michael’s advice and observe the rule of temperance while eating.

  3. Please consider a new store n the royal oak or warren mound/12 mile corridor right off i-696.

    Please dont just blow this idea off….. I know you probably think expansion is not viable right now…. You forget you are gaining momentum by advertising…. Everyone knows u now. And there are lots of pissed eastsiders that want to enjoy the hillers experience.

    And here are some facts that should giggle your radishes…..

    Did you know the there are thousands of new employees that have been moved to that mound corridor to work… Gm tech center expansion, tacom military vehicle expansion, and suppliers galore.

    So please Jim, strongly investigate the potentially profitable store in the east side. And if you are really nuts, even dream of a hillers mega store at the old walmart on vandke/12 mile…… Hummmmmmmmmmmmm

  4. I wish I could get everything at one grocery store, but it just doesn’t work that way. No store carries every item I like. Hiller’s has tried to carry some items I like but ultimately discontinued them. Organic Valley is the only brand of vanilla soy milk that I like. You used to carry it, but didn’t rotate stock, the older ones spoiled, and you dropped it. You used to carry Brown Cow yogurt, but it cost 10-20% more than at Whole Foods, and since I had to go to Whole Foods to get my Organic Valley vanilla soy milk anyway, I’d often get the yogurt there because it was cheaper. Now you don’t even carry it at all. These are just two examples. Sadly, even on weeks when I have few groceries to buy, I still have to go to two or three stores to get everything on my list. But at least in Ann Arbor they’re all close together. And if for some reason I was forced to shop at only one grocery store, there’s no question it would absolutely be Hiller’s.

    • Thanks for your comments! As you have probably learned from Stephen’s (our grocery buyer) email, we are more than willing to work on our shortcomings.

Leave a Reply