Grocery shopping strategy

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Topic Author
Triple digit golfer
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Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Triple digit golfer » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:27 pm

Generally we buy all of our groceries and disposable at Walmart. We don't clip coupons or go to different stores for different things that may be on sale. We also don't belong to Costco or Sam's Club or go to a discount store like Aldi.

Wondering if we're selling ourselves short. On one hand, we can get everything at Walmart and most of it seems to be at a reasonable price. On the other hand, with some effort I bet we could save by getting staples like bread, eggs, milk, etc. at Aldi and buying aisle items like crackers, beans, peanut butter at a warehouse club. Or even Aldi for some of those things. We have a 15 month old and her diapers and wipes from Target are basically the only thing we don't buy from Walmart.

I am looking for any basic general tips but don't want to go to 2 or 3 different places just to cut our weekly grocery bill by $5. If we could cut it by 10 or 15% then I'd be willing to make the effort.

I think of a one stop shop like Walmart, Target or Meijer like I think of a buy and hold investment strategy using total market funds. You probably won't come out with the best returns every time, but it's a simple strategy that will beat the average, and one could do far worse.

Mike Scott
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Mike Scott » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:36 pm

The only way to know is to do your own price and comparison shopping. Your local market and your individual shopping cart will be different than anyone elses. We do about the opposite of what you are thinking. We shop at Aldi for food. About once a month we will get a few things that are not available at Aldi at a different grocery store. It works for us. YMMV

adamthesmythe
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by adamthesmythe » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:40 pm

I once went to Aldi and felt that some of their items (produce, baked goods) were substandard.

I have never thought of getting groceries at Walmart. I prefer a full-service grocery store with more variety and (I suspect) more fresh meat/ fish turnover.

I do pay attention to sales but I will buy things not on sale if I want them.

I very rarely go to the Whole Foods. Expensive, and not enough better. Occasionally they have unusual items and very rarely good prices.

Topic Author
Triple digit golfer
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Triple digit golfer » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:45 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:40 pm
I have never thought of getting groceries at Walmart. I prefer a full-service grocery store with more variety and (I suspect) more fresh meat/ fish turnover.
Our Walmart is a Walmart Supercenter. Full service grocery, deli, bakery, etc.

UpperNwGuy
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by UpperNwGuy » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:51 pm

My groceries come from a mixture of farmers markets (from April to November), Whole Foods, Safeway, and several neighborhood specialty stores. Yes, it's similar to holding individual stocks (which I would never do), but it works for me. All of them are within one mile from home, and I know which products are at which store, and I can follow the sales on the internet. I have a Walmart about 3-4 miles away, and a Target about 3 miles away. I never shop at either. I find them to be too depressing. I went to Aldi once (10 miles away), and found nothing I was willing to buy.
Last edited by UpperNwGuy on Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Jimmie
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Jimmie » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:52 pm

When I first got divorced, I developed a keener sense of prices out of necessity. I should have done it sooner.

I spent hours setting up a spreadsheet with everything I bought: food, paper towels, cleaning supplies, EVERYTHING. I made three VENDOR columns, then spent several more hours shopping and comparing prices which I entered in separate columns in my spreadsheet.

After only a few weeks, I realized who had what at the lowest prices. For example, warehouse clubs tended to be more expensive for lots of bulk items than regular prices at Walmart. My regular grocery stores sold many "loss leaders" on a regular, rotating basis. After awhile, I no longer needed a spreadsheet to determine what I trained myself to learn.

I do follow a few rules now:
  • Never shop hungry
  • Shop with a list, but take liberty if something is too expensive or doesn't look right (like produce) and DON'T buy it
  • Buy something NOT on the list if it is something I will use before it gets bad such as a loss leader like pasta or soap
For those who shop with little kids, STOP IT! Shop on your way home from work or leave them home with a sitter or you will buy all kinds of impulse items (candy, cereal, snacks) just to keep the peace.
Last edited by Jimmie on Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

corysold
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by corysold » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:52 pm

You'd probably have to price everything out at each store if you want to fully maximize it.

I found that what we purchase was cheaper overall at Aldi than at Costco. So I only use Aldi now, as I don't want to shop at two stores to save whatever small amount it would be. Then we'll use Meijer/Walmart for any items we can't get at Aldi, plus groceries here or there if we need something quick.

So Aldi on a weekend for the main food shop and Big Box during the week for non-Aldi items and any small things that we need to pick up. Seems to work well for us and has minimized our bill as much as it can. I'm not willing to shop at 4-5 different stores to get the lowest price for each individual item.

stoptothink
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by stoptothink » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:53 pm

Mike Scott wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:36 pm
The only way to know is to do your own price and comparison shopping. Your local market and your individual shopping cart will be different than anyone elses. We do about the opposite of what you are thinking. We shop at Aldi for food. About once a month we will get a few things that are not available at Aldi at a different grocery store. It works for us. YMMV
This. There are a few grocery items we get at WalMart, we'll go for toiletries maybe once every-other-month and stock up on those few things that are a better deal (natural PB, sugar-free jelly, cheese), but 95% of our food is purchased at a local grocer which has great prices. I go to that local grocer every Friday, they have special deals on produce on Fridays. Having done a comparo, Costco and/or Sam's doesn't save us money on anything we regularly purchase, but I know it is different for other areas.

kjvmartin
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by kjvmartin » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:54 pm

Every week I go to Costco and Meijer or Costco and Kroger depending on the mood. Costco is a must.

lexie2000
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by lexie2000 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:57 pm

There are several tricks to lowering grocery costs. The most basic is to select the store in your area that has the best ads (the lowest sales prices on a regular basis) and to do your menu planning around what is on sale that week. If boneless, skinless chicken breast is on sale, but one package for this week and buy another and freeze it for later in the month.

If you want to do more (and save more), take the ad and keep a price book for a while. This entails looking at the ad and noting the sales prices of the items that you use on a regular basis to give you an idea of what the lowest sales price is and how often you see an item on sale at its lowest price. When those items go on sale, you buy enough to get you through to the next sales cycle. This seems a little time consuming, but it won't take long until you realize how often the items you use regularly go on sale. So for example, you see that the store's generic peanut butter is on sale for $1/jar, but is normally $1.69/jar. Your go-to breakfast is peanut butter on toast and you go through a jar every two weeks. The store has it on sale for $1/jar usually every 3 months, so when you see it for $1/jar, you would buy (6) jars to get you through until the next sales cycle. This will save you almost $4.20 on a 3-month supply of peanut butter.

To some people, it is not worth the trouble or they don't have enough storage space and those are all valid points. It just depends on how much you want to do and how much you want to save.

shunkman
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by shunkman » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:00 pm

We do most of our grocery shopping at Aldi which competes with a Walmart in the same shopping center. This is supplemented with a trip or two to Costco every month and we patronize the local butcher shop for meats. For seasonal produce, we have many farm stands available in our area.

02nz
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by 02nz » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:02 pm

There are also some ways to maximize rewards with grocery stores. It's a 5% category for Chase Freedom and Discover at least once a year, and several cards offer 3% to 6% year-round, sometimes subject to caps. The definitions of grocery stores/supermarkets generally exclude Walmart, Target, and the like.

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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:09 pm

Market Basket when we happen to be nearby (none are close) and Stop & Shop otherwise, using coupons and paying attention for gas points.
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Tdubs
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Tdubs » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:10 pm

While there are a some good quality items at Costco that I indulge in and I do buy meat there, the only two stores you really need are Aldi's and Walmart if price is your driver. It is for me. I've done the spreadsheet thing for a while now. Aldi's first, cleanup at Walmart.

And I've concluded the arguments for quality at Costco are way oversold.

sport
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by sport » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:12 pm

Another thing to consider is the quality of the groceries you buy. Some people are not particular, and just look for the lowest prices. Others are more discerning, and prefer to get better quality items, even if they cost a little more. We find Costco has the best combination of quality and price. Of course, this is limited to the items Costco carries, and it does not include the items that are too large to consume in a reasonable time. We have found the Costco's store brand, Kirkland Signature, is just as good and often better than the national brands. Whatever we cannot find at Costco, we buy at a local full service grocery store. We also stock up when items we use regularly are on sale. We have a Target and a Walmart within 1/2 mile of our house and rarely go to either place. It should also be noted that if you have a Costco membership, you are not limited to groceries. We buy a wide variety of other things there including electronics, clothing, housewares, eyeglasses, and tires. Those items measure up to Costco's quality standards and the prices are excellent.

runner3081
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by runner3081 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:13 pm

We are fortunate. There are three separate chains within 1-mile of our house (Sprouts/Safeway/Fry's (Kroger).

Makes it very simple to shop the ads.

Those stores make up 90% of our grocery spending and we mix in some WalMart and discount grocers, on specific items.

Topic Author
Triple digit golfer
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Triple digit golfer » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:18 pm

I have no desire to plan meals around sales and so on.

If I care to try to save money, I think taking the time to list everything we buy (probably 50-60 items if I had to guess, and probably half of those make up 80% of the spending) and pricing them at both Walmart and Aldi is the best bet. Make an Aldi trip and then Walmart to get what is cheaper there or not available at Aldi.

We don't have a good local grocery option close to home. Whole Foods is close by and Jewel Osco, a local chain that is very expensive.

ICMoney
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by ICMoney » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:19 pm

I was a big Aldi shopper until about 8 months ago. That is when I first tried free grocery pickup/delivery and it is nearly all we do now. Our local Kroger affiliate in particular has great online coupons for pickup customers only and is now our go-to grocery vendor (and I have never even been in the store, only done free pickup). With the online coupons it is comparable to Aldi pricewise I'd say, and in our case is much closer than Aldi. The time savings mean more time for the gym for me which is kind of an extra "savings" through better health.

We are a large family with young kids, upper 30s, for what it's worth.

Best, ICM

getthatmarshmallow
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:20 pm

A lot depends on what you buy, and your area, but consider that visiting multiple grocery stores mean additional time, and that's a cost to be borne, too. If I were looking to cut back the grocery bill and already shopping at a discounted place like Walmart, I'd be looking more at the kind of things that I'm buying rather than the location. Less variety, less meat, fewer processed snacks and treats, less waste = more savings. Frozen veggies over fresh. Everyone raves about Aldi but the one time I visited it I wasn't impressed with the quality.

The only other advice I'd give really is to stock your pantry, and then shop your pantry before you go to the store. Non-perishable items that you use regularly can be stocked up on when there's a good sale.

Jimmie
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Jimmie » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:22 pm

Tdubs wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:10 pm
While there are a some good quality items at Costco that I indulge in and I do buy meat there, the only two stores you really need are Aldi's and Walmart if price is your driver. It is for me. I've done the spreadsheet thing for a while now. Aldi's first, cleanup at Walmart.

And I've concluded the arguments for quality at Costco are way oversold.
Fun fact: The founders of ALDI are the brothers who also founded Trader Joe's. Both stores operate similarly in two observable ways. One, they do not sell anything that needs to be weighed. This saves the cashier's time and moves the customers through the line faster. Two, they tend to avoid the "Choice Overload Effect". In other words, they might have only two choices for any one item.

In a book I recently read, Costco was used as another example of a store who has limited choices.

For those who aren't aware, an example of choice overload occurs when a store carries 50 types of olive oil. The consumer is so confused, they don't buy anything. In the case of Costco, they may have a name brand item and only one other low-cost alternative brand, usually Kirkland.

livesoft
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by livesoft » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:25 pm

I never buy the following items:
Bread
Chips of any kinds, Pretzels, Wheat Thicks, or any bread in a box or bag.
Cookies
Ice Cream
Cereals

If you don't buy any of the above, you can save some money.
Last edited by livesoft on Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Topic Author
Triple digit golfer
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Triple digit golfer » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:30 pm

getthatmarshmallow wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:20 pm
A lot depends on what you buy, and your area, but consider that visiting multiple grocery stores mean additional time, and that's a cost to be borne, too. If I were looking to cut back the grocery bill and already shopping at a discounted place like Walmart, I'd be looking more at the kind of things that I'm buying rather than the location. Less variety, less meat, fewer processed snacks and treats, less waste = more savings. Frozen veggies over fresh. Everyone raves about Aldi but the one time I visited it I wasn't impressed with the quality.

The only other advice I'd give really is to stock your pantry, and then shop your pantry before you go to the store. Non-perishable items that you use regularly can be stocked up on when there's a good sale.
Good advice and the first part is one I had thought of already. Processed snacks are expensive and not filling. Most is also expensive and lately we have been consuming a bit less and saving some of the main course for lunches, and supplementing dinner with some fruit or something else to fill the meat void. Grill burgers are now 1/4 lb. Instead of 1/3. I agree that habit changes will likely save more than changing stores or clipping coupons, and without the time constraint.

HomeStretch
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by HomeStretch » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:44 pm

Reducing food waste is a money saver too. If food is spoiling before it can be used, learn to use it, freeze it or buy less. I stock up a couple times a month on frequently used pantry/personal care/household items on sale but make several small shopping trips per week to buy dairy, meats, bread, fresh vegetables and fruit for the next 2-3 days.

petulant
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by petulant » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:49 pm

I check the Sprouts ad weekly to see what meats are on sale. I also know the prices for things I want at Sprouts, Walmart, Target, and Trader Joe's, thanks to several months of just exploring and trying it out. Now I know exactly what to get where. You just gotta keep shopping at different places with a list and you'll figure it out.

02nz
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by 02nz » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:53 pm

Jimmie wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:22 pm
Fun fact: The founders of ALDI are the brothers who also founded Trader Joe's.
Trader Joe's is now a subsidiary of one of the Aldi companies, but they weren't founded by the same people. TJ's was founded by Joe Coulombe in '58. Aldi was founded in Germany in '46.

getthatmarshmallow
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:58 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:30 pm
getthatmarshmallow wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:20 pm
A lot depends on what you buy, and your area, but consider that visiting multiple grocery stores mean additional time, and that's a cost to be borne, too. If I were looking to cut back the grocery bill and already shopping at a discounted place like Walmart, I'd be looking more at the kind of things that I'm buying rather than the location. Less variety, less meat, fewer processed snacks and treats, less waste = more savings. Frozen veggies over fresh. Everyone raves about Aldi but the one time I visited it I wasn't impressed with the quality.

The only other advice I'd give really is to stock your pantry, and then shop your pantry before you go to the store. Non-perishable items that you use regularly can be stocked up on when there's a good sale.
Good advice and the first part is one I had thought of already. Processed snacks are expensive and not filling. Most is also expensive and lately we have been consuming a bit less and saving some of the main course for lunches, and supplementing dinner with some fruit or something else to fill the meat void. Grill burgers are now 1/4 lb. Instead of 1/3. I agree that habit changes will likely save more than changing stores or clipping coupons, and without the time constraint.
The other thing we've found helpful, although my primary interests are healthful eating and reducing time in the kitchen during the week, is to make two nights leftover nights. Usually Sunday is a reasonably elaborate meal, with leftovers for Monday. Thursday is left open as leftover day (and if there are no leftovers the kids are happy because it's breakfast-for-dinner night!) There's a lot of room for flexibility, but there's a basic plan to use up everything we buy.

Jimmie
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Jimmie » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:58 pm

02nz wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:53 pm
Jimmie wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:22 pm
Fun fact: The founders of ALDI are the brothers who also founded Trader Joe's.
Trader Joe's is now a subsidiary of one of the Aldi companies, but they weren't founded by the same people. TJ's was founded by Joe Coulombe in '58. Aldi was founded in Germany in '46.
My bad. I was wrong about the "founding" of Trader Joe's. However, brothers ‎Karl‎ and ‎Theo Albrecht did have ownership and management roles at both stores. There are certainly joint influences on how they are run, even today.

Wilderness Librarian
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Wilderness Librarian » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:00 pm

Cost conscious yes but I am not obsessed with keeping grocery costs as low as I can. Much more concerned with getting a variety of good quality nutritious tasteful food in sufficient quantity with fair marketing & pricing practices. Every place I have lived this required going to different stores at least semi-regularly. The most difficult part has always been to find good quality freshly baked bread (I mean real bread not gooey sweet stuff).

My shopping schedule and strategy has shifted somewhat since I retired.

Before retirement: Major shopping Sunday morning before anything got crowded. Often overbought (sometimes by intention sometimes not) because I didn't want to go back mid-week after work when everything crowded.

After retirement: Most shopping early weekday mornings. More likely to wait until stuff actually runs out or nearly so. More likely to make multiple runs per week. Local food co-op offers 10% seniors discount on Tuesday. That place is within walking distance so often a small backpack of their stuff whether I really need it or not on Tuesdays.

Other observations/actions:

I live alone so Costco not advantageous (besides its 35 miles away); Despite cost I wish there was a Whole Foods nearby (nearest is about 250 miles). Local food co-op good for somethings but very expensive as a generic store; farmer's market when in season is my preference for fresh produce (also within walking distance).

Discount store (Winco) good for generic items like milk, eggs paper products toothpaste etc. but many items lack quality of other stores in the area.

Don't think coupon clipping etc. is worth my time or effort. Wary about in-store discount brands. Sometimes they are a good deal but my experience has often been the reverse - they are often inferior quality.

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AerialWombat
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by AerialWombat » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:01 pm

What is “grocery shopping”??? :)

I literally only do traditional grocery shopping 2-3 times per year. I go to whatever store is closest to me, usually a Safeway or Kroger-brand store.

For consumer staples, I order from Amazon.

For caloric intake, a single visit to Taco Bell suffices for 1-2 days. Soylent, also from Amazon, fills in the bulk of the balance. Occasional ramen, canned soups, rice packets, from those rare shopping trips, rounds out the “diet”.

...and I wonder why I’m single. :)
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Jimmie
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Jimmie » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:06 pm

AerialWombat wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:01 pm
For consumer staples, I order from Amazon.

For caloric intake, a single visit to Taco Bell suffices for 1-2 days. Soylent, also from Amazon, fills in the bulk of the balance. Occasional ramen, canned soups, rice packets, from those rare shopping trips, rounds out the “diet”.

...and I wonder why I’m single. :)
Amazon also sells these:

https://www.amazon.com/Omron-Upper-Pres ... EDJM6VA3D5

You'll need one if most of what you eat is that high-sodium packaged food. :D

sabhen
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by sabhen » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:07 pm

Aldi and 99cent stores.

pdavi21
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by pdavi21 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:11 pm

I do the same. What you buy matters more than where you buy it. Costco is one of the cheapest places, but people spend more money on luxurious groceries when they shop there. Walmart is also very cheap, but they try to get you to pick up non-grocery items everytime.

If you want to go deep, you can calculate calories per dollar for each food group (keeping nutrition in mind). You will be very surprised to see how expensive junk food is. (And make a list, and don't take your spouse).
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tooluser
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by tooluser » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:13 pm

I like the simple strategy of shopping at only one place if you are time-constrained or don't like to shop.

However, I like to shop for food, which can be quite entertaining to me, so I go to a wide variety of places to get what I want at a price that I like. Grocery stores, discount stores, big box stores, warehouse clubs, and specialty grocers are all part of the milieu. I live in a big city, so there is plenty of choice, and this may not work in rural areas (though you might be more easily able to add in farms and ranches).

Having lived in the same neighborhood for years makes the strategy easy, with no need to write things down once one gets familiar with all the stores. It also helps to not be too picky, and buy things on sale upon which to base your meals. Now and then a place gets blacklisted by me for having rude cashiers or consistently long lines, but typically I will revisit again after 6 months or so; things change. I have first and second choices for meat, vegetables, and non-food items. Sometimes the choice is tempered by convenience and time available.

I am neither starving and rich, nor rotund and destitute, so apparently this flexible strategy works.
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abuss368
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by abuss368 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:14 pm

Has anyone ever watched those coupon shows where the folks leave the store for pennies with shopping carts? Insane.
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123
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by 123 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:15 pm

We shop at Safeway once a week, Trader Joe's about every 2 weeks, and Costco about every 3 weeks (So some weeks we could shop at all 3). We try to buy things at Safeway when they're "On sale" which is usually every few weeks for eveything so we maintain a stockpile. There are a number of products we prefer more from one place than another. Our purchases at Costco are mostly various kinds of meat, we like the way they trim their tri-tip roasts and we like getting 3 or 4 pounds of salmon at a time (we divide it out and it goes into our freezer). And we might as well get a rotisserie chicken while we're there. Sure we get meat from Safeway too. Shopping is a very individual thing.

Depending on their weekly mailer we may subsitute a visit to Safeway with one to Smart & Final. Once in awhile we stop at Whole Foods to stockpile their Roundup-free packaged organic oatmeal.
Last edited by 123 on Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:21 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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gwe67
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by gwe67 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:18 pm

Since you shop at Wal-Mart, use their phone app with the "savings catcher". It usually credits me with about 3% to be used on the next purchase.
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Broken Man 1999
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:20 pm

Publix and Costco works for us.

No doubt we could save a $ here and there shopping elsewhere, but we know from experience the quality of the products we buy at the two listed stores. No desire to check out unfamiliar brands.

When I was a kid, 60 years ago, I remember my mother going from store to store saving a bit here and there. Money was very tight.

We have no problems with Publix and Costco store brands, so there are some opportunities there to save a bit. As well, Publix has a lot of BOGO deals, and $40 for $50 gas cards.

Broken Man 1999
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bestplans
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by bestplans » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:24 pm

I also use Walmart pretty exclusively. I find the quality and price better or at least comparable with others, plus their self checkout (when I use it) and bagging process (by the cashiers) seems to be more efficient than the local full service groceries. Also it's closer. Several different variables should be considered.

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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Triple digit golfer » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:32 pm

abuss368 wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:14 pm
Has anyone ever watched those coupon shows where the folks leave the store for pennies with shopping carts? Insane.
Carts full of stuff they won't use in a lifetime!

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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by abuss368 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:37 pm

We have Costco, Weis, Wegmans, Aldi, Whole Foods, and Giant near us.
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Triple digit golfer » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:43 pm

gwe67 wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:18 pm
Since you shop at Wal-Mart, use their phone app with the "savings catcher". It usually credits me with about 3% to be used on the next purchase.
Thanks. Very cool! I just downloaded the app. Do you just scan the code with your phone and it charges your linked card? Then submit the e-receipt to savings catcher?

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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Jimmie » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:50 pm

Speaking of phone apps, I use the Sam's Club app, "Scan & Go" and LOVE it.

You scan each item as you put it into your cart. At the end you hit "Checkout" using a funding source (credit card) previously entered in your profile. The checkout process generates a scan code for the person at the door to scan on your way out.

No checkout lines, period. It is a real time saver, particularly on crowded shopping days. Heck, once last summer, all I needed was ice for a cookout. I stepped 20' into the store, went to the exit, scanned the bag of ice (the cooler is at the exit door), had my checkout bar code scanned and left. Thirty seconds TOTAL.

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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by dustinst22 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:56 pm

When it comes to groceries, I'm willing to spend a bit more for quality. We have a walmart grocery right next to us, fine for some staples, but their produce and meats leave a lot to be desired. So the wife goes to Sprouts and Trader Joes for the other stuff -- better quality and not really much of an increase in price.

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BogleFanGal
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by BogleFanGal » Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:01 pm

Aldi's must be a lot better in some markets. We tried a couple of times years ago and gave up. Their prices do seem great, but I'll cut my food intake in half before I'd ever step foot in there again- the selection and quality was very poor and the customers were - ahem - interesting. Big families with kids throwing stuff on the floor, adults just leaving perishable items on shelves when they didn't want them, much of the produce overripe and messily displayed. No one there was very eager to help or answer questions. We hightailed it out of there a.s.a.p.

We do sam's, walmart and a local supermarket and like them all for different reasons.
Last edited by BogleFanGal on Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by RickBoglehead » Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:04 pm

livesoft wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:25 pm
I never buy the following items:
Bread
Chips of any kinds, Pretzels, Wheat Thicks, or any bread in a box or bag.
Cookies
Ice Cream
Cereals

If you don't buy any of the above, you can save some money.
Those are the top 5 food groups! Well, after beer...

OP, you need to go to stores with a list, write down prices and then analyze. We shop Costco for bulk, local two grocery stores for sales. If you don't chase sales, you don't save money. Aldi by us is small. Cream, some produce.

Meijer is our main store, followed by Kroger. Never Target or Walmart for food. Walmart or Target for bar soap, deodorant, etc. every 6 months.
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by SrGrumpy » Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:07 pm

02nz wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:02 pm
There are also some ways to maximize rewards with grocery stores. It's a 5% category for Chase Freedom and Discover at least once a year, and several cards offer 3% to 6% year-round, sometimes subject to caps. The definitions of grocery stores/supermarkets generally exclude Walmart, Target, and the like.
+1. The Amex Blue Preferred (?) ... 6% off, no annual fee first year, and $150 bonus [CORRECTED] after $2,000 spend [CORRECTED] in 90 days. I met that by buying various gift cards. But yes, watch the exclusions (if there are any; not sure).
Last edited by SrGrumpy on Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:20 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by gwe67 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:22 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:43 pm
gwe67 wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:18 pm
Since you shop at Wal-Mart, use their phone app with the "savings catcher". It usually credits me with about 3% to be used on the next purchase.
Thanks. Very cool! I just downloaded the app. Do you just scan the code with your phone and it charges your linked card? Then submit the e-receipt to savings catcher?
Yes, use WalMart pay on the phone app and then click on the submit button to send the receipt for processing (don't know why this isn't done automatically). You can no longer scan paper receipts.

USAA Visa gets me 2.5% cash back too.
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by dustinst22 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:25 pm

02nz wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:02 pm
There are also some ways to maximize rewards with grocery stores. The definitions of grocery stores/supermarkets generally exclude Walmart, Target, and the like.
We've been using the Amex BCP (6% back), and it includes walmart grocery stores. I've never tried it at one of their huge stores, so not sure there but I'm assuming it also qualifies.

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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by bluelight » Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:20 pm

We go to Costco once a month for meat/fish and bulk groceries.

Personal care items (shampoo, body wash, etc) are usually purchased from Harmon Face Value in Bed Bath & Beyond stores. They have good prices and you can use BB&B coupons. I generally try to use the $5 off $15 or $10 off $30 coupons.

The rest is a bi-monthly trip to Shoprite, with an occasional trip to Trader Joes.

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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by lexie2000 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:12 pm

abuss368 wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:14 pm
Has anyone ever watched those coupon shows where the folks leave the store for pennies with shopping carts? Insane.
I don't believe that show has been on for a very long time. Today, with the restrictions that manufacturers have put on the use of their coupons and the new retailer coupon policies, it is no longer possible to do what they showed on TV.

You used to really be able to save money using coupons by combining a grocery store sale price with a high value coupon, but those days are pretty much long gone.

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