Landed in the valley and not sure where to shop to get your groceries, electronics or grog? Here’s a small list to get you going. To find out locations of each stores just click on the Website links below to visit the store’s website.
American’s love coupons. It has always been a Sunday paper tradition to cut them out for the week ahead. With the advent of technology this changed and most coupons are now located online on sites like Raise… check out my previous blog post on saving money with free coupons located here before you start shopping!
Consumer electronics retail
This is a mega super-duper store for all your electronics needs. Nothing comes close to its sheer size, content and prices. Also keep an eye out for their “weekly” specials catalogue (also available online) where you will find pages of discounts for that week only. Some of the stores use cool themes and props like Ancient Egypt at Campbell, Wild West at Palo Alto etc.
- Products: Software, consumer electronics, computer hardware, movies, music and household appliances.
- Website: http://www.frys.com/
- Aussie version: JB Hi Fi or Harvey Norman but heaps cheaper
Another big store but this one is more of a specialty retailer of consumer electronics. Best Buy is sometimes called the “big blue box” because of the prominent blue design on Best Buy stores. If you find something at Fry’s cheaper tell them at Best Buy and they will beat it by 5-10% – so carry your smart phone so you can compare prices.
- Products: Software, consumer electronics, computer hardware and household appliances.
- Website: http://www.bestbuy.com/
- Aussie version: JB Hi Fi or Harvey Norman
North America’s third largest supermarket chain. Their free loyalty membership program entitles you to cheaper purchase on 80% of the groceries. They also have a fantastic program called JustForU which basically allows you to load grocery coupons onto your loyalty card.
- Products: Groceries.
- Website: http://www.safeway.com
- JustForU: http://www.safeway.com/IFL/Grocery/Offers-Landing-IMG
- Coupons.com: http://www.coupons.com/
- Aussie version: Woolworths or Coles
Whole Foods Market
A healthier alternative to SafeWay. They house natural and organic groceries. Originally called SaferWay, the name being a spoof of Safeway. The downside is the groceries are around 20% more in price and there is no loyalty membership programs.
- Products: Natural and organic groceries.
- Website: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/
- Coupons: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/coupons/
- Aussie version: Macro-wholefoods (very small-scale)
Alternative to SafeWay for grocery shopping.
- Products: Bakery, banking, beer, dairy, deli, frozen foods, gasoline (select locations), general merchandise, liquor (select locations), meat, pharmacy, produce, seafood, wine.
- Website: http://www.kroger.com/
- Coupons: http://www.coupons.com/
- Aussie version: Coles
A specialty retail grocery store. They have a nice selection of healthy and organic produce at great prices. Trader Joe’s describes itself as “your neighborhood grocery store” or “your unique grocery store”. Their wines are also cheap – it’s the 1st place I bought my 1st wine in California and was impressed with quality and price.
- Products: Discount staple food, organic food, and Specialty products.
- Website: http://www.traderjoes.com/
- Coupons: http://www.coupons.com/
- Aussie version: Aldi
Chain of large discount department stores and a chain of warehouse stores. This is a great place to start when you 1st come to the Valley – I bought all my initial necessities here and they were cheap – dirt cheap!
- Products: Discount Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets.
- Website: http://www.walmart.com/
- Aussie version: Like Target, Aldi & KMart combined but cheaper
Is a chain of mid-to-high range department stores. Its selection of clothing merchandise can vary significantly from location to location, resulting in the exclusive availability of certain brands in only higher end stores. The company produces the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a well-known parade which has been held on the streets of New York City annually since 1924. Like Safeway they also have a loyalty program via the Macy’s Credit Card star rewards. Make sure you have some credit history or your wont be able to get their card.
- Products: Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, cosmetics, housewares.
- Website: http://www.macys.com/
- Coupons: http://www1.macys.com/campaign/social?campaign_id=61&channel_id=1&cm_sp=dealsandpromos-_-n-_-n
- Aussie version: Myer
Is a chain of an upscale range department stores.
- Products: Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, and housewares.
- Website: http://www.nordstrom.com/
- Aussie version: David Jones
And you will also find Westfields. There are 2 I know of, one in San Francisco on Market St and the other in Santa Clara.
Bed Bath and Beyond
Is a chain of domestic merchandise retail stores feature mostly medium-ranged, but also a limited selection of high quality, domestic merchandise: items for the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and dining room.
- Products: Bedding, bath towels, granite wholesale, kitchen electrics, cookware, window treatments, storage items, gifts and much more
- Website: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/
- Aussie version: reece
You one stop shop for all beddings & mattress requirements. When it comes to buying a bed & mattress it’s like buying a used car. You need to negotiate and deal with pushy salesman but it’s always worth it since in the end you save plenty of money. Visit similar stores like Sleep Train so you get an idea about best deals and just haggle between the stores until you get a fantastic deal.
- Products: Bedroom furniture, kids furniture, futons & sofas, massage chairs, daybeds and more.
- Website: http://www.sleepworld.com/
- Aussie version: Sleep Doctor or Forty Winks
Is the largest membership warehouse club chain in the United States. Costco focuses on selling products at low prices, often at very high volume. These goods are usually bulk-packaged and marketed primarily to large families and businesses. Great place to shop once you settle in and have identified what you can buy in bulk for the next few months.
- Products: Merchandise, Private label brands – Kirkland Signature
- Website: http://www.costco.com/
- Aussie version: Campbells-Wholesale
REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) sells outdoor recreation gear, sporting goods, and clothes. Their one-time fee of $20 for lifetime membership entitles you to an annual dividend check equal to 10% of what you spent at REI on regular-priced merchandise in the prior year.
- Products: Sporting goods and outdoor gear.
- Website: http://www.rei.com/
- Aussie version: Rebel Sport
Also knowns as Beverages & More! selling a HUGE range of alcoholic beverages. Some larger outlets house wine tasting sessions for $5. Every week they select a bunch of wines to go on special if you hold their free loyalty card – worth getting it. Every few months they hold a buy 1 get the 2nd for 2 pennies – even for wines which normally cost $30 each. Bargains here all the time!
- Products: Alcoholic beverages and accessories.
- Website: http://www.bevmo.com/
- Aussie version: Valore Cellars, Dan Murphys or BWS (Beer Wines Spirits)
Hope these help you get rolling. It’s a great start and I’m sure you will come across many smaller outlets. If you see something I missed or want me to add it to the list above please put it into the comments below and I will include it.