Jennifer over at My Sardinian life posted a grocery bill on her blog to show how much some basic items cost at the grocery store. Alyson over at Algarve Blog did the same, so I thought I should follow suit here in Shanghai. When we first arrived things were cheaper here than at home, unless you wanted to buy Western. A box of pop tarts cost maybe $1.99 at home, but here they are 42 RMB (renminbi) which is over $6.00! Prices have increased over the last 2 years and salaries have not been able to keep pace with the inflation. Things seem to be about the same cost as home or more sometimes. As my co-teacher says at least I am on a Western Salary and not local salary (which can be 1000 – 3000 RMB for the majority of low wage earners. That is $150-300 a month). Eating out is often cheaper than cooking and staying in. If you look for the 2 for 1 deals then it is definitely cheaper to eat out! We eat at a few local places too and they are less than 120 RMB for the two of us (or under $20 that included drinks and we are stuffed!).
This week I got home late and it was pouring rain. Instead of running the 10 minutes to the store I ordered in dinner and the trusty sherpa delivery guy brings it hot, fast and to your door. The 45 minute estimated wait was only 20 minutes. Element Fresh does free delivery and the food is good and fresh. It is mainly salads and healthy sandwiches and fresh juices. It is a little pricey, but the portions are big so I had enough salad for lunch the next day.
The cost was 123 RMB for the salad and a fresh mountain cranberry pear ginger juice. About $18.00. Bit much but saves cooking after a long day or going out in the rain. Divide that into 2 meals and not bad value.
Today I went to the grocery store and bought a few things. We shop at Carrefour, a French chain or City Shop which sells mainly western goods from the US and Germany. Carrefour caters to the locals and has a small international section, big meat department, and also sells household items and electronics. It is like a Grocery/Wal-Mart with everything. City Shop is small and is more expensive for most things… you pay big time for the imports.However, they have organic farms so it is better and cheaper to get some of their produce. This is what I got today.
This is all I could carry. I walk to the shops about 1o- 15 minute away. I have a granny trolley, but didn’t think it would be too heavy so I carried these bags. It looked like rain and was thundering so the trolley would have slowed me down.
For 181 RMB ($27) I got some green peppers (2 for 5 RMB about .75c), Organic salad mix (10 RMB or $1.50). Last time I bought this at home it was $4.50. 4 bananas (9 RMB $1.40), German Pretzel fresh-baked (4 RMB .60c), gourmet packet of instant coffee in caramel -YUM (22 RMB for 10 packets $3.30). I usually get Maxwell House Instant and that is between 45-56 RMB for 42 packets, but it is not as tasty. Regular coffee is really expensive and just not the same since you can’t get cream. Chicken, skinless leg slices, I thought they were thin breasts. Oh well it was good and much better than the cheaper stuff I usually get at Carrefour (21 RMB just over $3). 2 large tomatoes (6 RMB – .90c), apple chips (2 bags, 12 RMB each bag $1.80). They are good as a snack or to put in my instant oatmeal which comes mostly plain. They just added some flavours of oatmeal -some purple chestnut or corn on the cob! I am NOT kidding!, Granola bars (35 RMB $5.25) the most expensive thing usually. I can get a cheaper brand at Carrefour, but didn’t want to walk all the way there in case it rained. Baked Cheesies these are so yummy and a treat once in a while. Today when you buy one you get one free… I love these little surprises! (45RMB each, but today for 2 $6.75).
What would all this cost at home? Probably a lot more. I know I rarely came away from the grocery store less than $50 at home. It is easy to spend a lot here, but if you are careful it isn’t too bad. So what did you buy today?
Stay tuned for more next weekend… my adventure to the art gallery!