grocery shopping in guam

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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Eating in Guam on a Budget

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($6.29 for Florida’s Natural orange juice)

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($5.99 yogurt)

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($5.49 Oreos)

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($5.79 lettuce & spinach)

To the person who searched “Eating in Guam On a Budget” and found my blog, this one’s for you!

My first experience with grocery shopping on this beautiful island definitely caused some sticker shock and heart attack feelings. I know that Guam is VERY far from the U.S. and shipping costs are added to imported items. I think stores go a little too far sometimes with prices and try to take advantage. If it’s not double what you pay in The States, then just add $2 to everything.

I vow to never take the prices and selection for granted when I go back home to Oregon! Things I thought were expensive in The States, are really ridiculously expensive here! For example strawberries, a  small carton costs $7.00! So, I passed, thinking they’d be cheaper in those frozen bags. Nope, they were the same price.  Up until a month or two ago I was saying things like, “In the real world cottage cheese isn’t $6 it’s $3!!!!!” and “Do Guamanians know how much they are being ripped off?!!?” Now, I have come to accept the way it is here. Bread is $4-5.00 and more if you want the good stuff. Orange juice is $6.00 and fruits are even worse!

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(“New Low Price! $5.99” — I think NOT!)
 

I even tried to see if eating out was cheaper than buying groceries and it was about the same. The only problem with eating out is that there aren’t many healthy options and I was beginning to feel unhealthy and gross.

I do my shopping at Payless, which is probably the most expensive place to shop. I have tried other places like American Grocery and 7 Day Mart, but they didn’t have everything I needed and some of their boxed foods had bugs in them. I haven’t had any bad experiences like that with Payless and I can usually find everything I’m looking for without having to shop at two or three stores.  If  it’s the first of the month, they also have good sales if you catch them on time. If you want American food, then Payless is the place to shop. Most other stores sell Filipino food (American Grocery) or Japanese food (California Mart). I find it funny that these stores have American names but sell foreign foods! I LOVE Filipino snacks from American Grocery.

If you’re coming here on vacation then you will most likely stay in Tumon, but I suggest you try to leave because everything gets cheaper once you’re out of that area. If you live in Guam, you should shop around in different villages.

Living on Guam means you will pay more for everything and that’s just something I’ve learned to accept. It’s better to come here with an open mind and try your best not to compare it to wherever you came from. Good luck!