Did you know you can save quite a bit of money by shopping at more than one store? You may be thinking I’m suggesting you drive around to every store in your city, asking you to increase your gas bill to save on your grocery bill, or even suggesting that your time is not precious. In fact, that is not the message I want to get across at all!
By shopping at a couple of different stores, you have the potential to drastically reduce your grocery bill each week. If you’re shopping at only one store you’re most likely paying full price for many items that could very well be on sale at the store just down the road. Say for example you need some cheddar cheese. If you bought it from the one grocery store that you always shop at, you’re paying $7.99. But if you drove 2 minutes to Shoppers Drug Mart (I get my cheese from them!) they have it on sale for $2.99. You just saved yourself $5.00 for two minutes of your time. If you were smart though, you’d stock up on cheese at that price, saving yourself much more! (I realize this may not be an option for all of you if you live in rural areas.)
I hope the following points will help you understand why shopping at more than one store could be beneficial.
Shop at only 2 – 3 different stores every week - Not ten so you save a whopping $3! That’s a waste of precious time and effort and produces very little savings, in my opinion. Instead, take some time to look at all your local grocery store flyers and pick a few stores that have the best deals for the things you need. Then plan your trip around those stores. Or even shop at one store one day and shop at another the next day.
Shop at nearby stores - I think this one is pretty self explanatory. The closer you stay to your home, the less you’ll be spending on gas and the less time you’ll be using to get there making your grocery bill savings more substantial.
Spend some time getting to know what the best deals for your area are - In order to figure this out, you’re going to have to record the prices of things you routinely buy from several stores. Find an old notebook to record prices, brands, sizes, stores and the date on which you “investigated”. At the end of the week, you should see which stores has the best price for particular items. If you do this for several weeks, you’ll start to notice how often stores run a rock bottom sale for a particular item. For example, I know that I can get the best price on Chicken breasts about every three months from the grocery store across the road from me. I stock up with enough to last us until the next sale.
Think outside the box - Typical grocery stores aren’t the only places where you can get good deals. Scope out your local ethnic stores, farmer’s markets, big box stores (Zellers, Walmart etc), dollar stores, scratch and dent stores, warehouse stores (Costco), drug stores, bulk foods stores, Health food stores and CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture).
Consider the amount of time you have - Once you discover which stores in your area have the best deals for the things you need, consider how much time you have to devote to shopping. Two hours a week is a good amount of time in my opinion. This will allow you time to plan (scour the flyers and gather coupons) and to do the actual shopping.
Rotate the stores you shop at - Using your price notebook, coupons and store flyers, determine which stores have the best deals for you on any given week. In a typical week, I usually only shop at two different stores, The Real Canadian Superstore and another grocery store. Depending on what sales are running each week and which coupons I have, this could vary greatly for me. Some week’s I’ll stop in at Shoppers Drug Mart and Safeway. During the summer months, I’ll hit up the Farmer’s market (or my Mom’s garden!).
That’s the beauty of shopping at more than one store. You don’t have to shop at ten stores each week, you can rotate the stores you shop at each week in order to get the best deals and lowest prices.
Do you shop at more than one store? Which ones do you regularly shop at and find the best deals? Have you discovered any little-known places for scoring great deals?