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Living on a budget in Columbia County

With a long distance from Portland, transportation takes up a large percentage of many locals' living expenses. Unlike in a big city like Portland, it's also hard to find resources for low-income people.

But if you look closely, there are ways to save money.

The usual suspects

  • Walmart: 2295 Gable Road (at Highway 30) in Saint Helens (open 24/7!) -- The world-renowned (or, infamous) discount store chain has its outpost here. Unlike the stores you may have been to in Portland, this is a "classic" Walmart, not a Walmart Supercenter. It is much smaller and does not have a full-service grocery section.
  • Safeway: 795 Lower Columbia River Highway (at Gable Road) in Saint Helens -- While Safeway tends to be overpriced, look for weekly promotions and be sure to use the "Just for U" electronic coupons. You can often find great deals if you plan ahead (you have to log in to Just for U and "add coupons" to your account before you go there).
  • Fred Meyer: 51501 Columbia River Highway (at Havlik Drive) in Scappoose -- when it comes to grocery it usually has the best price.
  • Dollar Tree: 58729 Columbia River Highway (at Gable Road) in Saint Helens -- self-explanatory.

Don't miss these

  • Grocery Outlet: 52115 Chinook Plaza (actually it's on Highway 30 despite address) in Scappoose -- this national franchise (independently owned) is known for selling overstocks from distributors and manufacturers. This means you really won't know what the store carries at any given moment (subscribe to email newsletter, though) but you will find incredible prices on whatever they happened to have.
  • The Bread Store: 33511 Dutch Canyon Road (just a block west of Highway 30) in Scappoose. This non-profit organization (part of the Scappoose Senior Center, but it's open to anyone regardless of age) gets donations from Portland area bakeries and "resells" them for a donation of any amount. They do have some good quality breads such as Dave's Killer Breads. See:

Thrift stores: Columbia County has a couple of small but good thrift stores, in addition to the overpriced Goodwil in Scappoose.

and if you are looking for used building materials, there is the Habitat for Humanity ReStore (164 Little Street).

Free produce

  • Columbia-Pacific Food Bank, 474 Milton Way, Saint Helens. The free produce is left outside and is available to anyone.
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Page last modified on July 19, 2018, at 01:38 AM