Parents continue to feel the burden of excessively high grocery prices on Staten Island, prompting many to change the way they shop.
Food prices haven’t dropped since the height of the pandemic, and there doesn’t seem to be relief in sight. Financial experts attribute the high prices to a cauldron of issues, including inflation, supply chain problems, possible price gouging, even the war in Ukraine.
Russia and Ukraine are huge producers of wheat, accounting for 30 percent of all wheat exports, according to Forbes. With a war going on, it’s hard to produce and export the crop, resulting in a supply shortage.
And here’s something to note: As of February 2023, the “food at home” index rose 10.2 percent over the last 12 months, according to a recent Consumer Price Index report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Family staples, including cereals, fruits and vegetables went up in price. And we all know how painfully expensive eggs are now, and the prices don’t seem to be cracking.
Grocery Prices on Staten Island: Which Island store is the cheapest?
Here’s a look at the cheapest prices for a dozen eggs and cereal at four popular island supermarkets:
Key Food, South Beach: The cheapest eggs sell for $4.79. A family-size box of Cheerios is $7.99.
Target in Charleston: The cheapest eggs sell for $4.79. A family-size box of Cheerios is $4.99.
Stop n Shop in Great Kills: The store brand eggs are $5.99, while a 12-ounce box of Cheerios is $5.19.
ShopRite in Charleston: The store brand eggs sell for $4.79, and a family-size of Cheerios go for $7.49.
Target is the champion out of these four stores when it comes to grocery prices on Staten Island. They often have pretty good sales, too.
What are Parents Saying?
Maje Roxas Daroy, a single mother from New Springville, goes shopping every week, usually at ShopRite, and spends about $100-150 for a family of three. She said she’s been noticing the rising prices of everything from eggs to cereal to toiletries over the last two years. With two children who have special needs, at one point she was even working three jobs to make ends meet.
“This one cereal is supposed to be half the price not too long ago. Now it’s double the price. I’ll only buy it if it’s on sale, or I’ll look for alternatives,” Daroy said. “I also haven’t bought Quaker Oats because they’ve been so expensive.”
Therese Lydon, another single mom who lives in Eltingville, said she doesn’t even shop on Staten Island anymore.
“I usually do my shopping in New Jersey because it’s more economical for me,” she said.
Lydon said she discovered La Bella’s in Tottenville for the first time and was impressed, but it’s just not feasible for her to go there regularly due to her schedule.
“I actually went to La Bella’s for the very first time last week,” she said. “They had some good sales and it’s a very clean store. But again, my problem is logistics and time.”
Daroy agrees with what many economists have been saying about the price hikes—that inflation is to blame. But she also feels it’s more than that. Originally from the Philippines, Daroy is now a U.S. citizen, but feels the federal government is partly to blame.
Grocery Prices on Staten Island: Tips from a Financial Expert
It’s not all doom and gloom at the grocery store. With some good savvy shopping tips like the ones below, you can have a fuller fridge and fuller wallet.
Shop on Wednesdays
Wednesday is a great day to go grocery shopping. The stores tend to be less crowded, which could help you focus better on tasks and prices. Of course, everyone is different, but a mid-week shopping trip might be worth a try.
If a Wednesday visit to the supermarket throws you off your routine, Gabrielle Gambrell, a marketing professor at NYU and Columbia University and founder of Gift of Gabrielle, wants to at least make sure you remember your grocery bags. Why spend money on paper bags when you have your reusable ones at home?
“Every single penny counts, and that includes pennies wasted when I accidentally forget to bring shopping bags and have to pay for them at the register,” Gambrell says. “One way to avoid this is to simply keep a large supply in your car and remember before leaving home for the grocery store to make sure you have bags handy. Spending any amount of money on bags each time you grocery shop is a total waste of money.”
Check Out More Affordable Stores
You definitely shouldn’t save a dollar at your health’s expense. But, oftentimes, what you think is a boutique grocery experience, is just a more expensive one, Gambrell, who’s also a Gen Z and Millennial finance blogger, explains.
“Keep in mind that local eateries, farmer markets chains and organic stores offer different prices and rates. Be sure to learn about the best shop in your area that offers both great products and the best prices,” Gambrell says. “For example, I find many reasonable organic finds at my local Trader Joe’s compared to my much larger well-known neighborhood organic grocery store.”
Generic is OK
Remember Pathmark’s super-long no-frills aisle back in the 80s? You could get almost anything from beer to toothbrushes. Many people avoid that aisle like the plague, but generic items have come a long way since then. While we all have loyalty when it comes to certain brands, many times a generic item will get the job done.
“As a marketer myself, I teach my children that marketing is all about making money,” Gambrell said. “I remind my toddler of that when we’re shopping so he knows to look down for a cheaper price. The name-brand and popular brands are usually at eye-level and below are many lower-priced items that usually have the same quality. Remember, cheaper is often the way to go. We’re talking easily 25% to thousands of dollars per year can be saved going generic. It can pay in your favor to be brand disloyal.”
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