Staying on a budget at City Market


The closest supermarket to campus is City Market. It carries all the essentials and also provides a wide variety of delicious produce and artisanal food products from local Vermont farmers.

While it’s extremely easy to rack up a large grocery bill at City Market, there are definitely ways to keep excessive spending in check while still stocking up on lots of delectable food.

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Images courtesy of Ryan Thornton

Become a Member

As a  co-op, City Market is owned and run by its members. It isn’t trying to make a profit off you like creepy chain supermarkets.

Members pay $15 a year and work up to a full $200 share.

A membership gives you the opportunity to take cooking and nutrition classes and vote on co-op development initiatives.

City Market works with the community to provide jobs, educational opportunities and food assistance programs for low-income Vermonters.

Becoming a member is a great way to vote with your dollar to support an ethical food system.

Members also get a share of the co-op’s profit at the end of the year, and received an average refund of $82 last year, according to the City Market website, and they also can get seven or 12 percent store discounts for doing member volunteer work in the community.  

Make a List

With the variety you’ll find at the co-op, it’s easy to spend more than you anticipated.

Instead of shopping on the fly, make a list of what you need before you go and estimate the cost.

Making a list is the best way to stay within budget and keep yourself from buying extra items on a whim.

Use the Bulk Section

City Market’s bulk section is great because you can buy as little or as much of an ingredient as you want.

It’s also a lot cheaper than traditional groceries because you’re not paying for any packaging.

I bring my own jars and fill up on staples like rice, pasta, beans and popcorn.

You can find spices, sweeteners, coffee and even dog food in bulk.

Shop with the Sales

City Market puts out a sales flyer every two weeks.

It’s best to stock up on nonperishable essentials like toilet paper or olive oil when they go on sale because you’ll be getting the best bang for your buck.

Shopping with the flyer gets you chain store prices at a community store and can also introduce you to new products you might not have tried on your own.