We arrived home from our family celebration trip to California a few hours ago and were immediately shocked at how cold Kansas was after six days of sunshine in San Diego. Brrr!
In the next few weeks, I'll be sharing some fun stories of our vacation adventures… like how we paid $145 in an effort to save $40 (that would fit in the "Frugal Failures" category!) and how I was flabbergasted at how inexpensive the grocery prices were in California! (I always had heard prices were twice as much or more in California. Not hardly! I visited grocery stores and saw with my very own eyes that the prices there are every bit as good or better than what I can get here. Stay tuned for my full post analysis on that.)
It was great to be away, but I missed you all–and I missed blogging. Thanks for letting me have a few days off to play in the sand with my family, hang out with a good friend, and just recharge for the new year. It was a wonderful trip and we came home refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to hit the ground running.
I have a lot of catching up to do, so you can expect an avalanche of great deals here in the next few days. I hope you don't mind! 🙂
I’ve lived in Austin for about 6 months now, and returned to CA to visit some friends. Fresh fruit and produce are two of the things I miss the most about CA. Not only are the prices much higher here, but the quality just does NOT compare, even if I spend top dollar at Whole Foods. **sigh** I want to go back, and it looks like I’m headed that way within the next year or so when I can swing the moving costs again.
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Annie Korzen says
When I moved to Los Angeles from New York I too was surprised at the much cheaper produce. I suppose it’s because the fruits and veggies don’t have to travel as far, so you’re not paying their plane fare. I get the freshest goods and lowest prices at the local farmers’ markets, or those quality chains like Trader Joe’s. I rarely shop in supermarkets because I try to avoid over-processed high-chemical foods. It takes a little effort, but eating a natural healthy diet can be done on a budget!
Sarah B says
I am also interested in knowing about California prices ’cause I have the same objections that Californians have about price/store policies…but I live in Alaska.
Jaclynn R says
Danielle, I am interested in wher you live in rural N. Cal because we live there too! (Near the Redding area)
You’re right, our grocery stores don’t double coupons and until recently, the main one (Winco) we go to didn’t even accept printed coupons.
I’ve heard that in our area, we have one of the highest gas prices in CA. And I am almost sure that groceries are less expensive elsewhere.
I think it would be neat to do a blog post and linky with our average prices for the basics (cheese, butter, bread, milk etc.) to compare across the nation.
Danielle F says
I live in rural Northern California and our grocery prices are far higher than the city. Plus, no grocery stores in California double/triple or multiply coupons in anyway.
Yes it is FREEZING here in Kansas! Way too cold. 🙂 Welcome back!
Welcome back! We live in the San Francisco Bay Area and I’ve been thinking that our groceries “must” cost more. It’s good to hear that they don’t. However, I’m still a tad bit jealous of the lower housing costs in the midwest.
Our living expenses went down considerably when we moved from California to the Midwest. But our grocery bill doubled. Grocery prices are generally much lower in California. I think there are two reasons– 1) the cost of transporting the food (everything grows locally in California) and 2) all the people/competition in California, drives prices down further.
We went to San Diego this summer and the weather was a shock because it was so wonderful there and then we came back to a scorcher in Texas. I’m still trying to get my husband transferred there. : )
None of the grocery stores where I lived in Cali doubled at all (including Vons) but the regular prices weren’t any worse than anywhere else I’ve lived (TX and NJ). But one thing I will say is that when you live on the coast (either one), your produce prices are WAY cheaper than living inland with the obvious reason… shipping inward costs money. I got great deals on produce in both NJ and CA whereas here in TX, it is much harder to get a good deal on it. I’m glad you had a great trip and can’t wait to hear about your “frugal failure”. I actually just had one in furniture shopping this past weekend :-/
Welcome home. We have missed you but glad you and your family had a chance to get away together.
I grew up in SoCal and now live in Tennessee. I’ve found the same thing RE: cost of living–housing and gas are higher, but just about everything else costs the same or less. Groceries, especially, are often cheaper because produce is more readily available (grown in-state year-round, not trucked in from another region), there’s a bigger market for organic/natural foods, and CA has no sales tax on food (in TN, we pay 9%+ on groceries). I’m looking forward to your posts on your trip!
Olathe mom says
A few years back my husband and I took a trip to Arizona in February. It was sunny, with clear blue skies, and about 70 degrees. The flowers were blooming and the grass was green. We hiked the mountains and ate fresh foods. Then we flew back to Kansas…gray winter days, freezing temps, snow/ice, and “car sludge”…plus winter wear for the kids. Ugh. It was a rude awakening! As we blew “breath fog” in our cold car, I turned to my husband and said, “Why, exactly, do we live here?” Without missing a beat, he said, “Because we are MIDWESTERNERS!!!! We love this!!!” Ha!! Anyhow, welcome back!!
Groceries in Nor Cal are much more than the prices in Southern Cal.
Gina S. says
I would love to hear what stores you went to and what you saw that is cheaper because so Cal food is extremely expensive and produce is even more expensive here.
Thanks for sharing your insight!! 🙂 I need cheaper food!!!
Welcome Back, Crystal! You were missed but glad you took some time away. I’m counting down the days until Blissdom for my little getaway vacation. 🙂
We moved from Sacramento to OK a year and a half ago. The house was 1/3 the cost, but the groceries are much higher, and we pay sales tax on them! My grocery bill went up a lot!
Welcome back, fellow Kansan. Yes, the weather seems to be much colder than in recent years. Hope you had a great time.
Life from the Roof says
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and find that produce can be pretty cheap here, especially if you shop the loss leaders. Rent/home prices are outrageous (I can only dream of doing what you have done in saving 100% for a house), but utilities are close to nothing – usually we don’t exceed $70 at the coldest time of the year for electricity and gas, so I wonder if it balances out.
Claire at Saving Money Plan says
I’m going to love hearing about how CA prices beat Kansas!
I always figured produce would be way less expensive in CA
I’ve lived in both Northern CA (Bay area) and Southern CA (Orange County). Groceries have never been expensive for me, but the cost of living is exorbitantly high mainly because of housing costs.
After 30+ years in CA, we moved to KS, where everyone assured us costs would be WAY less than the west coast. But, they’re not! Besides the cost of our house and gasoline, everything is WAY higher here — insurance, taxes, utilities, produce, veterinarians, hair salon!
I visited the Bay Area of CA earlier this year, and the grocery store prices were a lot higher than here w/ the exception of produce. And, boy oh boy, do I miss good fresh produce. Such is life…
I can’t wait to hear stories too! I’m glad you enjoyed your vacation with some wonderful friends.
I think Kansas has WAY HIGH grocery prices. My grandparents live in SE KS and whenever I visit them I am shocked at how much more I have to pay for the basic things we regularly buy. For instance, we have to buy Rice Dream for my son, and 64 oz is 2.96 at our Wal-Mart in NY, but over 3.20 in their WM. Yo-Plus was always right around $2 (it has gone up recently), but there it was close to $2.30. Other basics were similarly 10-15% higher. I always guessed it had something to do with transportation costs & lack of competition in their small town.
I am so glad you had such a wonderful vacation! I can’t wait to hear your crazy story and looking forward to all the deals!
We moved from San Diego to Kentucky over the summer and am still occasionally shocked at how expensive produce is there!
We’ve been back in SD for Christmas and it’s been so good to spend a few weeks shopping at Henry’s. More selection and everything’s fresher…glad you had a good time…SD really is beautiful, even if it is pricey at times.
@Susan – VONS usually doubles coupons up to $2 or at least they did.
Welcome home! And I just wanted to say how grateful I am to you for all the effort you put in here to share all your wisdom & great deals with us. I have been very blessed by your blog!
Shelly the Chic Crafty Chick says
Welcome back! So glad y’all had a great trip. Can’t wait to hear the details.
sounds like I wrote your first paragraph….I was also in San Diego (for 2 weeks) and came home yesterday to a very very chilly Austin, TX. Wasn’t San Diego beautiful!!!
I moved to CA from Michigan about 6 months ago. The average prices are not that much more if any, but NONE of the stores double coupons. Produce is a lot cheaper here, now that we use a CSA and year round local farmers market.
Julie Jansen says
I’m so glad you had a good time! You deserved the break. Welcome home!
Swap Savers says
Great Picture. I love the idea of hearing more about “Frugal Failures” so we can all learn and realize that sometimes it happens to even us frugal folks!