Are You Shopping at the Right Grocery Store? Four Steps to Save 20 Percent or More

grocery shoppingChoosing the right grocery store can save you 20 percent or more on groceries before using coupons. If you were buying a big ticket item, such as a television or a new washer and dryer, you would do some research and shop around, right? Since food tends to be the biggest general family expense after housing, it just makes sense to do your research before you step foot in your grocery store.

Just spending $225 a week on your groceries, adds up to almost $12,000 a year!Imagine shaving close to $2,400 off of that total food bill, doing nothing other than shopping at a different grocery store than the one you normally visit.

Here is how you can get started and find the best grocery store with the lowest prices.

Step One: Make a List

Make a list of your most commonly purchased items. You shouldn’t have to think too much on this. Most people purchase milk, eggs, bread, chicken, frozen or canned vegetables, and cereal on a regular basis. Just open your refrigerator, freezer, or pantry if you need some ideas. List at least 20 of your most commonly purchased groceries.

Step Two: Compare Prices

Yes, this step requires some legwork and an investment of time, but look at it this way. The investment you make now could save you a significant amount of money in the course of this coming year.

Visit your usual store and jot down the prices. List the normal retail prices, and not the sale prices, for your favorite items and brands. We will get to sale prices, later. Visit at least two other stores and do the same. Obviously, the number of stores you have available will vary with your region of the country, and whether you live in a rural, semi-rural or metropolitan area.

Don’t forget to check big box stores that also sell groceries, as well as discount grocery stores, such as Aldis.

Step Three: Review Sales Flyers

Most stores go through the same cyclical sales. In other words, tuna, pasta or another food will usually show up on sale every so many weeks. What you want to do is to see who generally has the best sales on your common items. For example, January usually brings a lot of stock up sales across grocery stores. Which store offers the cheapest sale prices in their stock up promotions of the food that you buy? You only need to follow the sales for a week or two. Chances are that if the sales are good in one area or department of the store, they will be good in others.

Step Four: Find the Most Expensive Items

Take a look at some of your old grocery receipts. Take a pen and circle the three highest priced items. What are they? Figure out ways to get those items for less. You might be able to purchase your red meat in bulk from a local farmer, stock up on diapers at a warehouse store, or join a local CSA group to save on produce. By attacking these most expensive items and finding alternative places to purchase them, you’ll be making the biggest dent in your grocery bill.