Groceries on Guam

We were running low on food in the house this weekend so I really wanted to go grocery shopping, especially before the first. I’m not sure what happens around the first of the month, but it is the worst time to go grocery shopping in Guam. It’s so chaotic and busy at grocery stores that people park on a major road waiting in line for a parking space at the 7 Day Mart. There are so many people shopping that Sweet Home (the $1.95 store next to 7 Day Mart) has to close for the first two days of every month because their parking lot is taken over by grocery shoppers. There are so many shoppers that if you don’t go before the first, you won’t be able to find bananas, meats and other foods anywhere! So I try to get my shopping done before the start of the next month to avoid the crowds, long lines and lack of food.

In The States my average grocery shopping bill was $50; by the end of my first shopping trip in Guam I had spent well over $100, a first for me. I was disgusted by the price difference and felt like they were trying to take advantage of people! This happened a few more times until I decided that I couldn’t just grab whatever I wanted and I needed to plan out my meals and cut back on my favorites. The cost of groceries is just one of many factors that add to the high cost of living in Guam.

I think the most expensive thing on our shopping list was spinach, which is $5.99. We NEVER buy pineapple or watermelon because they are just way too expensive. Fruits and vegetables cost a lot, which I thought was strange because many can be grown on island but are brought in from other places and we sure do pay for it. It’d be nice if Guam could become more self sufficient by growing more food locally, that might cut costs for us shoppers. $100 later this is what we bought, no household products just food. This shopping trip might last a week or two, we will definitely have to make another trip back for meats!

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I also eat on a special diet so that means that I require special food (more expensive), but it’s really hard to eat healthy on Guam because there aren’t many options. Another reason why I only shop at Payless because they have a decent health food section. People usually refer to Payless as Paymore because it is so expensive. I get frustrated with it because one week I’ll find food that I really like and then the next time they won’t have. Very inconsistent with their stock.

Even after three years, I’m still learning to adjust to this area of my life. I guess it’s just another price I pay for living on an island!

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8 comments

  1. The first of the month is when food stamps are issued. Because of this, stores have sales to compete with each other. The lines are long and the stores are crowded, but it is also the best time to go shopping because of the low prices. The sales usually last from the 1st through the 4th or 5th so browse the newspaper for the stores with the best deals around that time and plan a shopping trip for next month to see if your total made a difference from what you paid in this trip. I think the stores I like most are California Mart, 7-Day, and Happy Mart in Barrigada. It’s been a while since I’ve done a big grocery shopping trip but maybe I’ll start again in October. Also, for fresh produce, try the flea market in Dededo on the weekends.

  2. I feel your pain. On one of my last trips home I remember the cost of Tillamook Cheese – around $10 for a two pound block. And that was years ago. YIKES! Like you said, at least the beach is free. . .. 🙂

  3. There are a couple businesses and/or people that produce locally made products in Guam… Grow Guam is one of them. No surprise that Payless, out of all the supermarkets, would be very expensive. Have you ever shopped at American Grocery? Good prices.

    1. I have been to many different grocery stores, including American. I go to Payless primarily because of its health food section. I may have to start buying my produce elsewhere though, before I go broke lol Thanks for reading 🙂

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