Dick: “I still can’t get used to the high cost of food here. It reminds me of that old joke about the farmer who tried to train his horse not to eat. When the horse almost got there, it died. I wish I could train myself not to eat.” Ha! Fat chance of that! So I get to hear him grouse all the time. “You HAVE to let me buy no-name brands, Arlete.” No more Hellman’s/Best Foods mayonnaise, no more Jif peanut butter, so sad. “How long do you think poke (raw marinated ahi tuna, pronounced “po-keh“) can sit in the refrigerated case before it‘s too old?” Yikes! “Guess what I found in the clearance bin?” Uh-oh.
Food in Hawaii really is more expensive. Everything comes in by barge from Honolulu, before that by ship from somewhere else. And, the cost of food in Mexico was quite low compared with the prices we were used to in California. So, poor Dick is getting a double whammy right now. A local website, Beat of Hawaii, recently posted eight suggestions:
1-Browse the Internet or newspaper for weekly deals
2-Shop with a grocery list and be watchful in stores like Costco and Sam’s Club whose merchandise is aimed more at tourists who account for 1/3 of all Hawaii sales
3-Use grocery store loyalty cards. A Safeway card will save you up to 50% on some items. Some other local stores also offer cards.
4-Check for clearance items.
5-Don’t shop when you are hungry. (Uh-oh, this one will be hard for Dick.)
6-Substitute name brands
7-Shop at farmer’s markets and roadside stands.
8-Avoid bottled water.
#7 above and cabbage will illustrate the situation. Dick went shopping at Safeway and just couldn’t buy his beloved cabbage since it cost $2.19/pound so he rode his bike to the Hilo Farmer’s Market. He was so thrilled to find cabbage at $.59/pound, he bought six heads. Six! Back on the boat he immediately got out the calculator. “Arlete, we saved $28 on cabbage!” Oh goody.