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Old 01-17-2010, 02:34 PM
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How do most people handle living really far away from stores for groceries and toiletries and other staple items? Do you go often? Do you only go once a month and then stock up? Is it hard to get back home before the icecream melts? Etc. What is there to expect from this?

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Old 01-17-2010, 04:23 PM
Location: Canada
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First of all, rural people have an entirely different definition of what is "far away" than city people do. It is a one hour drive to the city nearest me, and most people think nothing of the drive. It doesn't prevent anyone from going to the city for dinner, or movies or shopping or anything else. I should add that that one hour drive does not include driving through the city to wherever you are going, which can double the amount of time one spends driving to the city.

There is a smaller town of about 10,000 30 minutes away and that is where I do most of my grocery shopping. There is a great variety of ethnic foods available, and ethnic restaurants, so getting the ingredients for anything from Asian food to Moroccan food is not really a problem. (I cook better than most restaurant chefs, so we really prefer to eat at home).

I generally end up going about twice a week, because there are always other errands to run in addition to groceries. The town I live near usually quotes itself as having a population of about 200 people, and that includes the farmers in the surrounding area; however, I sometimes think to get that number they must be counting dogs and children.

It does not have a grocery store anymore because there is no way a small town grocery store can compete with the prices in the larger towns. There are two garages however, serving vehicles.

I don't see myself as living "far" from the city. My brother is in the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) and he used to be stationed 4 hours from the nearest city. I would drive out to visit him, and now that was a long drive. But the town he was in had more amenities, although less variety, and it was larger - about 500 people!

He actually loved it there, since hunting, fishing, skiing, quadding, camping are his "things."

Edited to add that you buy the ice cream last as it certainly can melt in the summer but I've since got one of those insulated bags that will keep food either hot or cold as needed for the drive home. In the summer, there is no lingering with groceries in the car.
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Old 01-18-2010, 08:05 AM
Location: In a chartreuse microbus
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In the summer, a medium sized cooler is always in the back seat. I buy the ice at the store, dump it in the cooler, and pack any meats, milk, or frozen goods. For dry goods and cleaning items, we have a wholesale store where you can buy items in bulk or industrial sizes. There is a lot of basic things you can get online, then just wait for UPS to bring it to you.
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Old 01-18-2010, 08:52 AM
Location: Forests of Maine
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My Dw works in a grocery store in the nearby city. He drive takes 30 minutes. She can buy things anytime that she wants to.

She sees families who do drive in from great distances to shop. 2 to 3 hour drives, they buy 4 shopping carts of stuff at a time. She says that her store gets as many as 20 families like that each day, that come in for their two-week or monthly shopping trip.

They avoid coming in on paydays. That is when the local shoppers are in the store in mass.
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:23 AM
Location: Sloooowcala Florida
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I used to live in a rural area. You just have to plan your trips ahead of time and make a shopping list. You hit several stores in one day and do all your shopping on that day.
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:21 AM
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My parents live 55 miles away from a large city. They make their lists, travel with a cooler and drive to the city to shop once a week, will stretch it to two weeks if they can. At first my mom struggled since she was used to having everything a 2 minute drive from their house but she got used to it and now wouldn't change it for the world.
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:25 AM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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Oddly, it sometimes takes us LESS time to get to stores here in the country than it did in the very built-up south Florida. We have far fewer traffic lights, far less traffic, and the road speeds are 55 instead of 30 and 15 for school zones.

We almost always use a big strong camping cooler when shopping. It is easy to put the bags in it and then bring the entire cooler into the house rather than traipse back and forth with a few backs each time.

We also have a big freezer and a pantry, so we shop the sales and stock up. There is a 40 cent per pound Walmart turkey in the freezer that'll probably get used this summer. We are still gnawing our way through the garden produce from last fall.
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Old 01-18-2010, 12:40 PM
Location: Somewhere out there
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I take a cooler also but mostly we eat from our garden all year what I have canned up. Buy my meat in bulk locally since my family is dwindling as the kids leave. Months of Jan, Feb and March I only buy milk, produce and fruits at the grocery. We get the rest out of our freezer or cabinets.

Use to Indiana winters I grew up knowing to stock up on paper & cleaning products. I suppose I really wouldn't have to go to the store for about 2-3months. Towards the end we might get some quirky combinations.

In the summer I have Schwans deliver ice cream to our house.
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:13 PM
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I just moved back to a town after living 1.5 hours from a grocery store for several years. I am really enjoying buying ice cream again as it doesn't melt before we get home! Some people ordered dry ice at the grocery to get their ice cream home, we just did without and ice cream became a VERY special treat. I hated how all the frozen items would thaw just enough and then re-freeze once I got them into my freezer at home, but you do the best you can.

I always had 2 of every toiletry item imaginable, so we would never ever run out unexpectedly and be unable to get to the store in a timely manner. I probably shopped 2x a month, made a good list and planned well. You just get used to it. Even though when we did go shopping we seemed to spend a lot, I think we probably actually saved money by not being able to run to the store just whenever we wanted. And probably saved calories too
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:44 AM
Location: Middle America
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At times, it has taken me longer to drive 8 blocks to a grocery store here in the city than it's taken me to drive 15 miles to town for groceries when I lived in the country.

I grew up about 15 miles from the nearest small town, and about 60 miles from the nearest larger city. 100 miles from the nearest major metro. In my household, we always worked in the nearest small town, so it was no problem to get groceries and incidentals on the way home from work. There wasn't a huge selection, as it was a small town, but it worked.
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