With so many cheap restaurants to choose from, and with the cost of groceries so steep, eating out can actually be the more economical option. If you live outside of Manhattan, there are probably a number of grocery stores in your neighborhood to choose from but if you live in Manhattan, your options are severely limited.
Below is a shortlist of grocery stores in Manhattan that are worth visiting and some tips for finding the best deals.
(2 Locations in Manhattan, 1 in Brooklyn) http://www.traderjoes.com
he food here is cheap, healthy and contains no Trans fats or GMO ingredients.
The length of the checkout lines can get ridiculous but don’t be overwhelmed – they move fast.
Also, stop by their wine shop (located next door to their 14th Street Union Square location). Wines start at just $2.99 a bottle.
(East Harlem) http://www.costco.com
Costco is a warehouse store that sells products in bulk for discount prices. They have everything from fresh produce to electronics to home goods and toiletries. It’s basically the same thing as BJ’s or Sam’s Club but they’re all over the tri-state area. Manhattan’s only Costco is located in East Harlem.
The yearly membership fee is around $50, which is worth it if you make a couple of trips a year.
Jack’s 99 Cent Store
(Koreatown/Herald Square) http://www.jacks99world.com
Their fresh produce selection isn’t very extensive but they have all sorts of home supplies at really cheap prices (think napkins, cleaning supplies, toothbrushes, canned and frozen goods, etc). Apparently, they now also sell premade sushi for $4. I would be wary of eating sushi that cheap, but in general, they have some really great deals.
(549 9th Ave, New York, (212) 279-1000) http://internationalgrocerynyc.com
At this Greek Grocery Store located directly behind the Port Authority, you can find beautiful displays of olives, nuts, grains, cheeses, and other delicacies at rock bottom prices. But the best deal by far is their spices which you can either buy by the ounce or in bulk plastic bags for $1.50-$2 each. Plan a trip here once every six months for all your spice needs and save a couple of hundred bucks a year on spices alone.
Shopping Tips: Know where to go for deals
Hell’s Kitchen in midtown West
(around 9th Avenue) has a number of specialty stores that cater to the restaurant industry.
You can purchase spices, seafood, meats, and other produce at wholesale prices. In Chinatown, you can find cheap seafood and produce markets and a number of stores with wholesale Asian food items (think giant bags of frozen dumplings) for reasonable prices.
In “Curry Hill,” (Lexington Ave from 26th to 28th Streets), there are a number of shops lining the street where you can buy grains, including rice, lentils and legumes for wholesale prices.
By shopping out of the center of things or in any of the “outer Boroughs” you can literally cut your grocery bill in half.
Shop Farmers Markets
GrowNYC (http://www.grownyc.org/) operates a number of farmers’ markets around New York City giving New Yorkers access to healthy, locally grown produce at pretty reasonable prices. A complete list of farmers’ markets can be found at http://www.grownyc.org/ourmarkets. If you’re looking to snag some deals, go towards the end of the day when all the stalls are closing. Since most of the food being sold is perishable and a hassle to pack up, vendors are desperate to get rid of their extra produce. Prices are usually slashed by at least half (often much more) so you’ll be able to find some bargains.
Have it delivered
Many stores will deliver your purchases for you for a nominal fee, allowing you to buy as much as you need and not worry about how it’s getting home.
Companies like Fresh Direct (http://www.freshdirect.com), an online grocer that delivers to residences in the New York City metropolitan area, will even allow you to forgo the grocery store experience altogether.
Using it is easy. You just make an account on their website and browse through their large selection of produce. Delivery is free on your first order and $5 each order after that. The prices aren’t the cheapest in New York City, but considering the convenience of ordering online and the time saved in going to the actual grocery store, they’re quite reasonable.
Got any tips that I’ve forgotten? Leave them in the comments section below.