Bethany’s Breakdown: The Lowdown on Motown

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Bethany'sBreakdownIt’s official; I have lived in downtown Detroit for one-full month. And, I can definitely say it’s been one of the most exciting times of my life, and I’m only continuing to fall more in love with the city every day.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, “Bethany’s Breakdown: The inches we need are everywhere around us,” if there’s one thing that living in Detroit has taught me, it’s about spending money. Not much to my surprise, I’ve spent much more than I have saved. But like any good rookie, I am learning the ins and outs of spending money in the city.

My first grocery shopping experience was just one of the adventures I’ve been on. Shortly after I moved in, I made a trip to a specialty grocery store in my area. They had everything from drool-worthy pies to my favorite organic tea. Even though the store reminded me a lot like a place I would shop at in the suburbs, I still walked up and down every aisle. It didn’t hit me until I was checking out that I spent nearly $200 on a few dinners and snacks! Uh oh, cue panic mode.

What will I do for lunch every day? Ramen Noodles? How could I have spent so much on so little food?

When I reached out to my budget app for a little help, it was clear I needed to find a better way to buy groceries. Over the next few days, I started asking other Detroiters where they did their shopping. And, I got the same answer almost every-single-time: Eastern Market.

So, last Saturday I took their advice. I joined thousands of others market-goers and experienced one of the most authentic, urban adventures in the country! The place was buzzing and there were people everywhere. Overwhelmed was an understatement. There I was for the first time, surrounded by people who had traveled hours to get to a place that wasn’t even two miles from my apartment. Fresh, locally-grown fruits, vegetables, produce and flowers were everywhere. They had all sorts of food I have never seen or heard of in my life. Hands down, one of the coolest experiences I’ve had so far living down here.

After my visit, I couldn’t believe I was still hearing news stories focused around the “lack of grocery stores” in Detroit. Sure, Detroit does lack a conventional grocery store; but what it doesn’t lack is much more important. It has the most AMAZING (not to mention THE largest) historic public market district in the nation. If you ask me, that’s 10x better than a conventional grocery store on every corner. Other big cities are envious of what we have here and what many of us may take for granted. Eastern Market has so much to offer to everyone at an unreal price. I came home feeling like I had just hit the grocery lotto. A nice first win for me.

If I could offer one challenge to anyone reading this in the Metro-Detroit area, it would be to visit Eastern Market (or if you’re coming here for a visit, you should consider it too). Not just because of the affordable prices (don’t get me wrong, a huge plus) but for the experience. To hear the crowd, taste the samples, and to see just another reason why Detroit is alive and vibrant.

This weeks “Pop Quizzle” (aka something I learned this week) is: it pays to go out of your way. Literally and figuratively. I got quality groceries at half the price I would have paid anywhere else. Yes, it was hot, over-crowded, and parking was a nightmare, but I wouldn’t have had the experience any other way.

Bethany’s Breakdown is a series. You can catch new posts on my credit journey every Saturday on the Quizzle Wire. If you would like to see how it all started, check out my first post Bethany’s Breakdown: What they don’t teach you about personal finance in college.