These Are the 5 U.S. Cities Where Groceries Cost Most Right Now

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KEY POINTS

  • Groceries cost more in Kodiak, Alaska than any other urban area in the country, while Juneau takes third place.
  • Honolulu is the second most expensive city in terms of groceries and overall cost of living.
  • Food at home is 8.2% more expensive than it was last year across the country.

Your grocery bill may feel high, but it would be worse if you lived in Alaska.

Soaring grocery costs are an issue for all Americans right now. The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that food at home was 8.2% more expensive this September than the year before. But residents of some cities are harder hit than others. For example, if you live in Kodiak, Alaska, your groceries will cost double that of someone in Harlingen, Texas.

Read on to find out which cities are the most expensive place to do your grocery shopping.

The most expensive places to buy groceries in the U.S.

The latest research from the C2ER, also known as the Council for Community and Economic Research, ranks cities according to their overall cost of living and produces a separate grocery focused ranking. Here are the five cities where groceries cost most.

1. Kodiak, Alaska

On average, you'll pay 51% more for your groceries in Kodiak than you would in the average American city. The issue is that even basic goods have to be shipped into Alaska, which pushes the prices up. Housing isn't cheap in Kodiak either, though if we factor in other living expenses such as housing, utilities, and health care, places like New York and San Francisco are more costly. No Alaskan cities make it into the top 10 most expensive urban areas right now.

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Quick fact: According to The Ascent research, the average American spends $412 a month on groceries. Using that as an indicator, it would mean Kodiak residents spend $622.

2. Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu is the second most expensive city to do your monthly shop and also the second most expensive city in terms of overall living costs. Grocery costs are about 49% more than average. Over 85% of food is imported, and that's only part of the picture. High energy prices also have an impact, as does the amount of produce that spoils before it reaches the shelves.

Quick fact: If the average American spends $412 a month on groceries, Honolulu residents spend $612.

3. Juneau, Alaska

Alaska's capital is the second city from the state on this list. You'll pay 32% more for groceries in Juneau than in the average American city. On the plus side, average house prices are lower than the national average, and the median household income is higher.

Quick fact: If the average American spends $412 a month on groceries, Juneau residents spend $543.

4. San Francisco, California

On average, a dozen eggs in San Francisco costs $4.15 -- over $2.50 more than they would in Springfield, Illinois. Overall, there's only a fractional difference between San Francisco and Juneau on the grocery index. Groceries cost 32% more than average in The Golden City. The odd thing is that, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the state produces over 1/3 of America's vegetables and 3/4 of its fruits.

Quick fact: If the average American spends $412 a month on groceries, San Franciscans spend $543.

5. Oakland, California

Oakland is another entry from the Bay Area. The issue for San Francisco and Oakland is that everything is expensive, from rents to electricity and gas, which also impacts grocery retailers. Droughts in the state haven't helped things either. All in all, groceries cost 31% more than the average, only slightly less than in San Francisco.

Quick fact: If the average American spends $412 a month on groceries, Oaklanders spend $539.

How to reduce your grocery costs

Given that import costs play a large part in the high prices paid in Hawaii and Alaska, sometimes you can find bargains by buying produce that's in season and grown nearby. Here are some other ways to slash your grocery spending:

  • Stack up your rewards. Make sure you earn as many rewards from your purchases as possible. Use cash back apps to get cash back or rewards on your everyday purchases. Combine these apps with a rewards credit card, particularly one that offers more points or a higher percentage of cash back on groceries.
  • Make a shopping list and stick to it. A shopping list can be the answer to two top budget killers, impulse buying and having to make extra trips to the store. It's particularly useful if you can check for deals before you shop, as then you can plan out which ones will benefit you. Some grocery stores even have mobile apps so you can see what's on sale.
  • Cut waste. According to the USDA, over a third of food in the U.S. is wasted. Use food waste apps for big discounts on food that would otherwise be thrown away. And make a commitment in your home to use your leftovers and minimize what gets chucked in the garbage.
  • Buy in bulk. If you've got storage space and are able to save the items you buy, this can be a great way to save money. Combine bulk buying with batch cooking so you can stack several meals in the freezer for days when you aren't able to cook.

Bottom line

It doesn't look as if food costs will come down any time soon. As a result, your trips to the grocery store will continue to make a big dent in your bank balance, whatever part of the U.S. you live in. The more ways you can find to reduce your costs, the more money you'll have for other financial goals.

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