Also known as tips for grocery shopping in a foreign country. Either way. Both titles work and I'm here to help you "work" on adjusting to grocery shopping in Mexico.
One of the key points of life in America is grocery shopping in bulk!
I don't know if it's a good or bad thing but it's a thing and we, yes a collective we, have gotten use to shopping for big jars and boxes of everything we don't need in amounts that really aren't necessary. Along with amassing enough for meals for 10 to 15 days.
Seriously who needs a 32 ounce jar of spaghetti sauce for a family of 3. No one does, no one does.
With that being said, grocery shopping abroad isn't about buying in bulk, matter of fact its more along the lines of running to your local convenience store for well convenience. Now let's get to the tips!
1. Plan your meals - You will generally have to shop every 2 to 3 days vs every week or even every month as most fruits and vegetables will not last a week or more sitting on your counter or in your fridge. You moved for healthier food with less preservatives right? Well you gonna get them.
2. Multiple Stores - You may have to shop at two or three stores for your needs as all stores are not equal nor do they all carry the same products. And that's not just the big box grocery stores, there are also specialized stores such as fruterías (veggie and fruit stores), panaderías (bread store), or Carne (Meat) that you may have to visit to find some items.
This is especially true if you are looking for spices or items that are more common in your home country vs your new country. There's generally at least one specialty store in town, with their specialty being items you consider regular smegular. Be mindful the price will be special as well. Get over it is the only piece of advice I can give, if you want that item.
3. Things are not where you expect them to be! - This is really true for milk and eggs as both are not refrigerated here. If I'm being honest, I don't like the unrefrigerated milk as it reminds me of my time in the military, specifically field exercises. And one other step is unrefrigerated eggs upset my tummy, found that out quickly in Cambodia. I've adapted and found frigerated milk and just toss the eggs in the fridge for a few days before eating. It works out.
One bonus is the milk is mainly lactose free, this is a big bonus for the lactose challenged like me. Gas. Gas. Gas. Is Gone!...lol
4. Bring your own bags - Some stores don't offer the plastic ones but you can buy reusable bags at the store for a few pesos.
5. Ensure your debit or credit card will work! There's nothing worse than spending an hour shopping, getting to the register and your bank deciding your $2000 pesos shopping charge is fraud.
And last but not least support local businesses and remember to tip your bagger and bag loader.