I know a lot of the expats in Korea are quite devoted to Costco and Homeplus, but it’s actually quite expensive to shop there all the time, especially Costco. That place is kind of dangerous because the quantities are so big and if you live alone, you just don’t need that much food and you’ll probably end up not eating or throwing out some of it. Plus, it’s really tempting to buy junk food from back home just because it’s familiar.
What’s my strategy? Check out the local marts. They won’t have things like import wine, cheese or nice cuts of meat like steak, but they will have all the basics that you need including fruit/veg/milk, etc and often for cheaper than the bigger marts.
Then I shop at the local 5-day market for things like fresh whole chickens, banchan (Korean side dishes), kimchi, fruit and vegetables. They’re perfect for buying whatever is in season like strawberries or watermelons (which I cut up and freeze to use in my breakfast smoothies).
Then, I keep a list for the big stuff that I need like cheese, wine, pasta sauce, oil, meat, laundry detergent, etc. and I’ll go to the Homeplus around once/month to stock up.