Gringo Grocery Grab: One Small Box: $80

We made a gringo grocery grab today… do you know anybody that likes grocery shopping? Especially grocery shopping at the chain warehouse store?

Ugh. But ya do what you gotta do.

Pricesmart is the Costa Rica Costco… owned by them and spread throughout Latin America.

We made the run today… and this is what we got for our $80. Total bill of $100 (50,000 colones) includes a six pack of electronic bug repellers. Probably a dumb move and a scam, but with bug season right around the corner, I figured it was worth the $23 to give them a try. Also the Force Field promises to repel, mice, spiders, ants and roaches. Available exclusively through Costco. Of course, our electric bill may go through the roof (they plug in) and we may drive ourselves mad (madder) because they emit ultrasound. Can’t research them because we’ve learned that if you see it and want it, buy it. It may never be available again! Please stand by for a report…

Here’s what we got for our $80:


  • Carrot cake instead of my usual six muffins
  • 4 boxes of spaghetti
  • bag of tangerines
  • 8 cans of mushroom soup
  • 1 box of yummy Chocolate Eclair dessert thingies
  • block of cheddar cheese
  • gigantic can of Planter’s roasted peanuts
  • 6 cans of mixed vegetables
  • 6 cans of mushrooms
  • Sugar

OK, OK, OK… I told you this is Gringo Shopping. Lots of people brag about how cheaply they can eat in Costa Rica.

This is fairly typical of these frugal shoppers…

This is my advice: Start with the Friday Feria. There is a free bus at the park. What you can’t get there, get at the municipal market. That’s all your fruit, vegetables, eggs, meat at very reasonable prices. Get cleaning products and such at El Rey. Then go to the grocery store for your beans, rice, oats etc. Eat local cheese instead of European cheese. Whole wheat bread is very expensive but we buy it anyway. Kleenexes etc. are very expensive so we just try to be more careful about their use.

Yeah, be careful with your use of facial tissues.


Nancy and I are not whizzes in the kitchen. We are not cooks, we are assemblers. Open up a can of this, add some of that, warm up a side of this, and serve with that.

Kitchen assemblers.

Here’s our $80 box:


Hey… at least we drew the line and resisted the $18 bag of Hershey’s chocolate miniature candy bars… (but we ate the free samples!)



Next stop for the day was McDonald’s… seemed right – topping a shopping chore with a trip the Mickey D’s… Two cajita feliz (happy box aka Happy Meals) $10

mcds1 mcds2

I added the ball point pen to the bottom picture so you can get an idea how tine the portions were. Maybe 10 french fries, 6 ounces of Coke, and of course the normal flat cheeseburger. Nice touch to add a baggie of pineapple chunks. Haven’t had a Happy Meal in the U.S. in a long time, but I know for $10, I could get two large hot-and-ready (no assembly required) pizzas at Little Ceasers!


UPDATE: Costco no longer owns PriceSmart, they are separate companies, although Costco is a supplier for PriceSmart.



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