While out and about today, I stopped at my old favorite grocery store, which I have abandoned in favor of one built in my neighborhood. I got out of there for less than half what I usually spend. Maybe I bought a little less than usual. Maybe I hit a few really good sales.
But, whatever the reason, it’s got me thinking a little more about where and how I shop.
First off, you should know it was fresh food trip, so the normal couponing tips don’t really apply. A couple times per week, I make a quick run for whatever meat & produce I can find on sale. It’s how I save money at the store, while keeping our kitchen well stocked with healthy foods.
Typically, I look at the weekly ads, throw in a little extreme couponing, then go back to the store to replenish our fresh foods later in the week. That’s when I run to the nearest grocery store, grab whatever they’re discounting that week, and move on with our busy lives. It’s what I was doing today — for half the cost.
So, I think I’ll be making my quick run a few miles down the road now & then. Here are the factors that go into choosing a grocery store:
- Location: It’s so much easier to just stop by the store down the street. But thinking ahead could have me prepared to shop when a less expensive store is just around the corner. Today, I had a downtown meeting and took the route that drove me right by a different grocery store. Sometimes, I’ll have the hubby pick up good deals at a store near his office.
- Prices: Of course, you want to shop where you’ll spend less money. It isn’t just about the shelf tag, though. One store may have better regular prices, while another store offers better weekly deals. Since I’m not paying full price, I want the store with bigger sales.
- Coupon Policies: In our area, most grocery stores double coupons up to $.50. That means that a $.50 coupon is worth $1. There are a few holdouts, so I’ll be taking my coupons to the stores where they are worth the most.
- Store Policies: In addition to coupon acceptance, be aware of other policies that make your shopping easier — return policy, scan right guarantees, reusable bag reimbursment, and carryout are all things to consider.
- Customer Service: It’s not just about price. I want to be treated well, too. If I have a miserable experience time after time, saving a few dollars may not be worth it.
- Other Temptations: As much as I love Target, I just cannot grocery shop at a Super Target. There are just too many other temptations — like amazing deals on clothes I shouldn’t buy, toys we don’t need, and clearance bargains I can’t resist. So, when I’m on a grocery mission, I just stay away.