Grocery shopping strategy

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
lexie2000
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by lexie2000 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:25 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
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!
A lot of the over-purchasing on that show was done for effect. A lot of the product purchased was often donated to a food pantry or some other such organization.

Most of the shoppers featured had an internet coupon blog and went on the show to drive traffic to their blogs. Their blogs generated advertising revenue, so the more people that visited their blog, the more money they would get from the advertisers.

Yes, after their initial appearance on the show, they might have gotten more traffic, but the end result was that the manufacturers started restricting the use of coupons to the point where their tricks of the trade became obsolete, so traffic diminished and their blogs eventually disappeared for lack of traffic. Ironic isn't it.

annielouise
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by annielouise » Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:38 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.
Maybe it's how I shop or the items I buy, but since I started using Savings Catcher, I have received money back one time (out of 5 shopping trips) of about 2%.

Impromptu
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Impromptu » Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:48 pm

I shopped at Aldi for 13 years prior to moving to a state that did not have them. I found that most of their food was as good as or better than the more expensive grocery stores. Later I found out that much of it is the same major brand food, but has different packaging. Their produce has improved markedly from when I first went, too. I think that some people convince themselves that because a food is more expensive it is better. Maybe poor people shop at Aldi, but low costs are how poor people can become rich people, and also how rich people remain rich people. Germany also has other discount stores, with Lidl starting to open some US stores. I cannot wait for one of them to open up in my area.

One thing is without a doubt, Aldi chocolate is superior to any of the US chocolates you can find in the other grocery stores, Hershey, Symphony, Cadbury, Godiva, Ghirardelli, etc.

It is better to go to the store hungry. Do a comparison on what you buy. How happy will you be 3 days later when you had a bad day, but remembered that that you had filled your kitchen with comfort food vs broccoli and kale? You will be much happier to have the comfort food.
I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

Topic Author
Triple digit golfer
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Triple digit golfer » Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:49 pm

lexie2000 wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:25 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
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!
A lot of the over-purchasing on that show was done for effect. A lot of the product purchased was often donated to a food pantry or some other such organization.

Most of the shoppers featured had an internet coupon blog and went on the show to drive traffic to their blogs. Their blogs generated advertising revenue, so the more people that visited their blog, the more money they would get from the advertisers.

Yes, after their initial appearance on the show, they might have gotten more traffic, but the end result was that the manufacturers started restricting the use of coupons to the point where their tricks of the trade became obsolete, so traffic diminished and their blogs eventually disappeared for lack of traffic. Ironic isn't it.
They ruined it for people who didnt abuse the system.

lexie2000
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by lexie2000 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:07 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:49 pm
lexie2000 wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:25 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
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!
A lot of the over-purchasing on that show was done for effect. A lot of the product purchased was often donated to a food pantry or some other such organization.

Most of the shoppers featured had an internet coupon blog and went on the show to drive traffic to their blogs. Their blogs generated advertising revenue, so the more people that visited their blog, the more money they would get from the advertisers.

Yes, after their initial appearance on the show, they might have gotten more traffic, but the end result was that the manufacturers started restricting the use of coupons to the point where their tricks of the trade became obsolete, so traffic diminished and their blogs eventually disappeared for lack of traffic. Ironic isn't it.
They ruined it for people who didnt abuse the system.
I agree with you to a point. Remember, it was not the couponers who created "the system"; it was the manufacturers and the retailers. The couponers just figured out how to maximize what was being offered (beat the manufacturers/retailers at thier own game, so to speak). It's similar to what people do by churning credit card offers and maximizing their rewards points by using certain cards only for certain items and paying off the card in full every month. etc. (i.e. some people sign up for any card giving them a $500 bonus); except in the case with using coupons, it became more widespread than the manufacturers/retailers ever anticipated because of the internet.

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tooluser
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by tooluser » Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:16 pm

FYI The fake Spam at 99 Cent stores is actually real Spam in a different can. :greedy
It's the stuff made in Denmark that sells for $1.99, not any of the other stuff.
The discovery of America, and that of a passage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope, are the two greatest and most important events recorded in the history of mankind. -- Adam Smith, 1776

MJS
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by MJS » Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:47 pm

ICMoney wrote:
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
My niece, who is a mom & super shopper, also does this; she has a three store loop where they'll load the groceries into the car. She checks the Internet for coupons during the online session. If something is on sale, she looks for recipes that use that food with her leftovers from the previous week or pantry staples or freezer stuff. Never throwing out food is her core tenant.

RudyS
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by RudyS » Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:39 pm

lexie2000 wrote:
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.
It's been ages since stores did double coupons! I hate the hassle, but hate giving up the savings even more. Nowadays our primary store is Meijers, with fill-ins where convenient at Kroger or a local meat/fish/produce store.

annielouise
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by annielouise » Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:00 pm

I have reduced our grocery spending from about $550 to about $450 by doing more comparison shopping. But, I have the time to do that and live in a fairly competitive market. I shop at Walmart, Target, Kroger, Trader Joe's,
Sam's Club, and Sprouts. I also shop Amazon, Walmart.com, Target.com, and Kroger Ship.

I could probably cut out another $50-$100 by cutting back on convenience items (like bagged salads and frozen veggie sausages). I work on that at times, but then get too lazy to keep it going.

champion_ham
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by champion_ham » Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:04 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:27 pm
Wondering if we're selling ourselves short.
Walmart is not the cheapest place to shop; they’ve just done a great job marketing themselves as the cheapest. While it doesn’t sound like you want to do any coupon clipping, I think the best overall tip is to make a list of grocery items you’re shopping for, then do a little pre-work and do a few online searches for deals/specials/sales at local stores. You’ll find that with a little effort on the front end (yes, even couponing some), that it’ll make a big difference. Your savings will really start to add up.

sabhen
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by sabhen » Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:04 am

Agree. Walmart is a marketing machine. They are far from being the cheapest. People in my area avoid buying groceries there.

GreenGrowTheDollars
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by GreenGrowTheDollars » Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:44 am

The Wal-Mart vegetable/produce selection in our are is not fabulous either in variety or in quality.
However, their canned/packaged good pricing is much, much better than at our King Soopers (Kroger) market.

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dodecahedron
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by dodecahedron » Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:59 am

Jimmie wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:52 pm
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.
Depends on the kids. My late husband LOVED the competitive sport of grocery shopping and he loved to take our daughters along, starting when they were about three. Like you, he had a very organized list, knew prices, etc. My kids were intrigued and loved helping to spot things on the list. They would organize the coupons.

They never asked for anything not on the list but were both very happy members of the free ¨cookie club¨at the store (giveaway of one free cookie to each child under 12 shopping with a parent).

They are 28 and 32 now but have VERY fond memories of those trips with their dad.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Epsilon Delta » Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:04 am

Since you are already in Target buying diapers you should at least look around. I find they have a few "market pantry" items that are of good quality and better prices than comparable items in other stores. Once you know what you want It takes little extra time to detour through a few food aisles once you've got the diapers and you could save few bucks.

jlawrence01
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by jlawrence01 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:23 am

tooluser wrote:
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.

Same here.

Since I am retired and we do a LOT of traveling, we do make a habit of stopping at places like H-Mart, Mitsuwa Marketplace, Winco Foods and ALDI when we visit areas that feature those stores.

We don't shop at Walmart because their "Everyday Low Prices" are often higher than Fry's (Krogers) and the quality of the produce and meats are mediocre as well as expensive.

We don't generally shop at Safeway due to the high prices and poor service.

I have not been grocery shopping in a month due to illness and I am realizing that my wife shops very differently.

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dodecahedron
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by dodecahedron » Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:32 am

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
Ahem, livesoft, oatmeal is a cereal and you have previously posted that you consume it. I assume you mean cold cereal.

Other than oatmeal, I generally do not buy the items on your list above either. But not necessarily to save money. I buy fresh fruits and veggies and frozen wild salmon. Bread would likely be cheaper than any of those per calorie.

Interesting question as to whether I am saving money by buying oatmeal. I buy organic steelcut oats (but a housebrand.)

My mom used to buy giant plastic bags of generic puffed oats, which we consumed as cold cereal as children. Surely not organic and probably cheaper on a per bowl basis than the oatmeal I now buy. But not going back to that stuff.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:29 am

Costco + Mariano’s should satisfy all your needs.

DarthSage
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by DarthSage » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:08 am

Like most here, I go to several different places.

I'm at Walmart, 3-4 times a week (family of 6). Sometimes it's grocery pick-up, sometimes I shop, mostly for non-food stuff. I'm not a fan of their produce or meats--the meats, especially, are NOT the best deal in town, and they have a smaller variety, despite being a huge store.

I do a lot of grocery shopping at Aldi's. If you haven't been to one in a few years, it's worth going back--they are always improving. 10 years ago, their produce was shoddy, and most of the meat was frozen or heavily processed (bacon, lunch meat). They have much more, fresh items, organic, gluten-free, etc. While their meat dept. will never rival a regular grocery store--they stick with staples, with the occasional special on lamb or whatever--if you want 90% ground beef or boneless chicken breasts, they have them, and at a good price.

I fill out my shopping with occasional trips to regular grocery stores. Food Lion has low prices and good selection. I find Publix to be pricey, but they have good specials, and their store brands are high quality. I only hit Harris-Teeter (Kroger) for one specific item, and never go to Lowe's.

I'm lucky that I'm spoiled for choice--I have 3 grocery stores within a mile of home, and if you expand that to 3 miles, you could throw in several more, plus Walmart, Dollar Tree (check prices--they have some staples, but not the cheapest), Dollar General, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, etc.

Interestingly, I had a Sam's Club membership, and considered Costco. They didn't work for me. It may be their location relative to my house--kind of a pain to get to them--but I wasn't saving any money. This may be a "me" problem. I don't buy a lot of name-brand items, so getting, say 500 Clorox wipes was no bargain for me. I know people rave about Costco, so the problem is probably just me.

Murgatroyd
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Murgatroyd » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:39 am

Triple digit golfer wrote:
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.
Fellow Chicagoan, and also former food industry exec. You cannot do better than Walmart day in and out on packaged foods and goods, period. Yes others have sales but you will have to work to realize those savings. As to Aldi, they are HQ’d in Batavia and monitor Chicago area stores closely. So they are the companies best. 96% of Aldi sales are private label and they are among the best at only using the most consistent suppliers. There can still be fluctuation among private label products although the industry is far better than 20 years ago. It’s up to each retailers strategy. I judge walmart brand generally not as good as Aldi’s.

Lastly, and this is also peculiar to Chicago, you can find lower priced produce at many independent grocers. Not Jewel or Mariano’s. For example, Angelo Caputo’s and Valli Produce can save you money and the quality will be first rate and far better than Wally. They also have excellent deli’s but packaged goods will be higher.

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Toons
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Toons » Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:11 am

We use the app below
Add items as we need them to the
Walmart
Sams or
Food City (local food chain)
Individual lists as needed...

Image

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... rgroceries






:idea: :idea:
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

bryansmile
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by bryansmile » Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:15 am

Impromptu wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:48 pm
I shopped at Aldi for 13 years prior to moving to a state that did not have them. I found that most of their food was as good as or better than the more expensive grocery stores. Later I found out that much of it is the same major brand food, but has different packaging.
I started shopping at Aldi as a poor college student many moons ago, when bananas were .29/lb and chicken thighs .35/lb. we still shop there each week. The stores have become bigger, nicer, with more fresh and organic vegetables. We enjoy our delicious meals cooked everyday from Aldi buys and enjoy the savings compared to stop n shop, about 20% each week. Despite their low prices, their employees get paid very well, not like Walmart. Go figure.

stoptothink
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by stoptothink » Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:19 am

champion_ham wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:04 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:27 pm
Wondering if we're selling ourselves short.
Walmart is not the cheapest place to shop; they’ve just done a great job marketing themselves as the cheapest.
For certain items they are, at least in my area. Definitely not produce or meat, but many packaged foods. I stop there about once every other month to get toiletries and also stock up on Adams natural PB, sugar free jelly, and frozen broccoli because they are significantly cheaper there than anywhere else. I am a super comparo shopper.

Silence Dogood
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Silence Dogood » Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:20 am

DW and I do most of our grocery shopping at Wegmans. It's convenient (a short drive away) and open from 6AM to midnight.

We use the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card for 6% back on groceries.

Personally, I don't think it's worth the effort to spend too much time trying to research how to save a few dollars here and there unless you think there are a lot of price discrepancies in your area. Where I live, there are so many competing grocery stores (within a half hour drive I can think of 9 different, competing, grocery stores) that there is lot of competition to keep prices low. If any of these grocers try to raise prices too much they will quickly lose business - the profit margins are extremely low.

Of course, buying food to prepare at home is already much cheaper (and usually healthier) than going out to eat. Avoiding prepared foods at grocery stores is another way to save money.

The best way to save money though, as was mentioned above, is to make sure that you aren't wasting food. I.E. if you buy it, make sure you are going to eat it. According the the USDA, Americans waste more than $161 billion in food a year (2010*). If I'm doing my math right, that's about $500 per person a year. That is some low hanging fruit as far as savings is concerned.

*Note that 2010 was during the recession when people were, in general, trying to save money. I wonder what the numbers would be today.

Rus In Urbe
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Rus In Urbe » Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:41 am

When it comes to food, we think of value in perhaps a different way.

For consumer goods and package goods, we shop at Wegman's and buy their in-store brands when possible (the quality is okay for things like toilet paper on sale, and prices are lower). It's an excellent, family-run grocery chain and we appreciate their business practices and the way they treat their employees and the community.

For vegetables, eggs, meat, cheeses, baked goods, and so on, we shop each Saturday morning at our (huge) Farmer's Market. It is open year-round (we live in the center of the NY Upstate agricultural region). Shopping at the Farmer's Market keeps us eating seasonally----it is now January, so we are eating a lot of onions, potatoes, cabbages, smoked and fresh trout, squash, eggs, meats, mushrooms, and some greenhouse-grown greens. We buy organic, which is often (not always) more expensive, and we believe in directly supporting our local small farms. Consequently, over fifteen years of shopping at the Farmer's Market, we have come to know the people who make our cheese, raise the cows and chickens, make our sauerkraut, plant the cabbages, grow the mushrooms, etc.

We therefore feel very connected to the food we buy and eat. We appreciate food that has been created by people we know. Anything that we don't or can't eat (we try not to waste much) goes into the compost heap, and into the garden where we raise our herbs and greens during the summer. It's all a cycle.

Groceries might be "cheap" and cost less at various chain stores. This is what most people will think of in terms of shopping strategies. For us, food is part of a continuum, and we consider its value in how it was produced. We aim to value what we buy and eat in the larger sense. This is not for everyone, but it works for us.
I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money. ~Pablo Picasso

2015
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by 2015 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:56 am

As I eat the same thing daily, my resulting shopping/cooking/eating strategy is virtually mindless. I consider shopping of any kind one of the necessary evils of life. I'd rather drinking coffee at my favorite local bakery, reading, while glancing up ever so often to take in the nearby majestic mountains.

Topic Author
Triple digit golfer
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Triple digit golfer » Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:17 pm

Murgatroyd wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:39 am
Triple digit golfer wrote:
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.
Fellow Chicagoan, and also former food industry exec. You cannot do better than Walmart day in and out on packaged foods and goods, period. Yes others have sales but you will have to work to realize those savings. As to Aldi, they are HQ’d in Batavia and monitor Chicago area stores closely. So they are the companies best. 96% of Aldi sales are private label and they are among the best at only using the most consistent suppliers. There can still be fluctuation among private label products although the industry is far better than 20 years ago. It’s up to each retailers strategy. I judge walmart brand generally not as good as Aldi’s.

Lastly, and this is also peculiar to Chicago, you can find lower priced produce at many independent grocers. Not Jewel or Mariano’s. For example, Angelo Caputo’s and Valli Produce can save you money and the quality will be first rate and far better than Wally. They also have excellent deli’s but packaged goods will be higher.
Thanks for chiming in. I used to live close to a Pete's Fresh Market and their produce was always a great bargain. Everything else, including frozen vegetables, bread, dairy, personal items and packaged or canned food items seems to be cheaper at Walmart or Target.

jminv
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by jminv » Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:48 pm

I shop at Aldi's, cheap asian food markets, and sometimes Costco. This is in Europe. In the states, I do the same but add in Sam's Club. I try to be very careful with the warehouse clubs as much of what they have is not quite the deal it can seem, something I would not otherwise buy save for the price point, some items are flat out poorly priced (produce), and because Costco has become too focused on prepared foods which I don't do. I used to be more enthusiatic and did much of my shopping at the clubs but realized I saved more sticking with Aldi's and asian food markets.

stimulacra
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by stimulacra » Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:06 pm

There was a period where I did all of my grocery shopping at Walmart. They offer good value and convenience for the price. From a grocery perspective, I felt that most of their items veered towards processed and packaged foods and I've shifted a bit more to whole and unprocessed foods as I've gotten older.

My regional chain (HEB) offers better selection of produce, seafood, meats, and wine as well as a dramatically wider selection of SKUs and private label options. Also I do a fair amount of shopping at Asian markets for specialty ingredients and products. For me branching out had more to do with selection and quality versus value or convenience.

One downside to Walmart Super Center for me at the time, it was a great time waster and it became easy for me to impulse shop in the various departments (sporting goods, toys, electronics… etc).

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:55 pm

lexie2000 wrote:
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.
In some case the store was allowing people from the shows to violate coupon/store policies for TV purposes. Like using multiple coupons for the same item.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:01 pm

The best way to save on groceries really is to be aware of prices and be flexible in your meal preparations. Last week, the local supermarket had boneless whole pork loin for $1.29/lb. If you can use that for family meals, and freeze some for later, you get a number of good inexpensive meals out it.

Buy on sale, but don't buy things you don't want and end up not using. Non-perishables can be stocked up but be careful with fresh items. Throwing away food because you bought too much doesn't save at all.

BuckyBadger
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by BuckyBadger » Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:25 pm

No one has mentioned this yet, so i will.

95 percent of our shopping is done through Shipt now. We pay a slight premium, a yearly fee, and i tip on each order. However, the fact that i submit a list and get nothing but what is on that list makes so the difference. I save more by not going to the store than i do by paying extra for grocery delivery. Both in actual money and in time and stress.

We go to Costco for some of our favorites there. And they're finally building Wegmans here so when that comes i may start shopping myself again. I miss Wegmans so much!!!

mw1739
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by mw1739 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:42 pm

Kroger Clicklist is the best thing for our household. Probably save $20 a week versus going into the store and the app makes it dead simple to find and use coupons.

lexie2000
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by lexie2000 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:49 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:55 pm
lexie2000 wrote:
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.
In some case the store was allowing people from the shows to violate coupon/store policies for TV purposes. Like using multiple coupons for the same item.
Actually, before the show, you were allowed to buy multiples of the same item and use a coupon for each. For example, buy 5 Dawn dish liquid @ $.99/ea. and use 5 $.50/1 Dawn coupons to get each for $.49. Procter and Gamble was the first manufacturer to change the wording on their coupons (after 2010 when the show first aired) to change this. I think the first restriction that P&G imposed was that you could only use 2 of the same coupons at the same time, but I don't remember for sure.

However, I think that you're right and that in some cases the stores allowed some of the couponers to bend the rules (i.e., using a coupon on an 8 oz. product when the coupon specified that it was for a 16 oz. product) because they wanted the free advertising that the supermarket chain would get from being featured on the show.

peabody2+2
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by peabody2+2 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:52 pm

I don’t buy wine, beer, bread, sweets or most processed foods. I do indulge in mineral water, as does my husband. I shop at 4 stores all within a mile of my house. One is an excellent food co-op and the others compete on organic foods. Also we have two excellent indoor farm markets. The nearest Costco, Walmart or other big chain are 45 minutes away, and just as well. So it’s easy to comparison shop. Husband often gets special deals for free at one store, some rewards program. I don’t because I am afraid of overbuying but sometimes he gets me something🙃 for free. I use the rewards program at the Hannaford for discounts and cash back and have amazon rewards if I want something exotic. Hannaford tailors coupons to my taste and I use some of them. I look for sales, reduced seasonal prices and store coupons when I shop, and try to stick to my list or buy on sale. It helps that I rarely follow recipes; I just cook using what’s in the house.
We have a pretty small budget but good food is important to us. In the summer, we eat from the garden.

Capricorn51
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Capricorn51 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:07 pm

Very different perspective here. My DW and I live in an UMCOL city. We live near the downtown area. Gave up a car six or seven years ago. We use a grocery delivery service for much of what we order www.freshdirect.com. Year round farmers market 2 blocks away and a large large indoor farmers market/food hall a short bus ride away. Occasional use of instacart.

A lot of cleaning and pet (cat) supplies are also ordered for delivery. Very occasional need to fill in by walking to a tradition B&M supermarket 4 blocks away.

For those that do the driving/comparison shopping route --- do you really factor in your milage and time in deciding that this makes sense or not? Of course I understand that those in some suburban/rural areas may not have these sorts of alternatives.

Blake7
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Location: USA

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Blake7 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:30 pm

Our strategy is not to try and economize on food (except stocking up on items we already buy that are on sale). We buy the highest quality food we can find. We shop wherever we can find that food (within reason, I'm not talking Bristol Farms). We rarely eat out, and apply the savings from that to paying more for quality food. The first wealth is health. 8-)

go_mets
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by go_mets » Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:37 pm

Blake7 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:30 pm
Our strategy is not to try and economize on food (except stocking up on items we already buy that are on sale). We buy the highest quality food we can find. We shop wherever we can find that food (within reason, I'm not talking Bristol Farms). We rarely eat out, and apply the savings from that to paying more for quality food. The first wealth is health. 8-)
I agree.

It is important that people don't get bogged down with the small picture and not see the forest.

Not wasting food saves money. We rarely throw anything out unless it is fruit/vegetables that has spoiled and that happens once every few months.
Buying things on sale that you would normally buy saves money.
Not eating out saves money.
Not buying bottled drinks including bottled water saves money.
Not buying processed food saves money.

renue74
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by renue74 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:38 pm

I just read many of the posts in this thread.

It got me to think about how I would best go about reducing my grocery bill. (BTW, we shop at Walmart SuperCenter about 99% of the time.)

Is there a mobile app that will allow me to scan barcodes and enter the price?

Then, I could keep a running ledger of how much food costs, when, and where. Eventually, you would create a location-specific data treasure trove of pricing info about the few stores you visit.

You could walk up to a food item, scan it and the app let you know past prices. You decide whether it's a good deal or not.

Is there app like that?

jlawrence01
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Location: Southern AZ

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by jlawrence01 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:45 pm

renue74 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:38 pm
I just read many of the posts in this thread.

It got me to think about how I would best go about reducing my grocery bill. (BTW, we shop at Walmart SuperCenter about 99% of the time.)

I would say that there are probably 30-40 items that make up about 80% of my grocery spend each week. I have a pretty darned good idea of what I should pay for those items and that is what I focus on. At one time, I would keep a price book manually. However, that has become rather unnecessary over the years.

Carson
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Carson » Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:46 pm

Capricorn51 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:07 pm
For those that do the driving/comparison shopping route --- do you really factor in your milage and time in deciding that this makes sense or not? Of course I understand that those in some suburban/rural areas may not have these sorts of alternatives.
I live in Chicago proper, but a suburban-y edge. For me, the driving around I do is consolidated around other family errands (school/therapy/sports) and I *try* to not make specific trips just to run around town to shop deals.
30-something personal finance enthusiast, just get getting started on this whole portfolio thing.

mikeyzito22
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by mikeyzito22 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:55 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
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.
+1. Walmart...really? I much prefer local yummy food from Whole Foods, Freddy's and local markets. I'm sorry, but my body is a temple not a throwaway...maybe my Walmart will induce portfolio dysfunction, or a shorter life span.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:04 pm

BuckyBadger wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:25 pm
No one has mentioned this yet, so i will.

95 percent of our shopping is done through Shipt now. We pay a slight premium, a yearly fee, and i tip on each order. However, the fact that i submit a list and get nothing but what is on that list makes so the difference. I save more by not going to the store than i do by paying extra for grocery delivery. Both in actual money and in time and stress.
That wouldn't save money for me. I never buy anything at the store unless it's been carefully considered. As I mentioned above, if you're flexible and take advantage of the bargains, then you can save money. I never bring a list, unless planning a family get-together or something.

Time is another issue, but I only spend about 1-1.5 hours per week grocery shopping so it's not a huge time sink. I've been reading Bogleheads today for over 2 hours so far.

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Alexa9
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Alexa9 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:11 pm

You can overanalyze it. I would go to the place that you like the most. This is a combination of factors: distance, price, quality, cleanliness, employees, etc. I go to a couple stores that are very close because they're convenient. It's more expensive but it's also empty because of that which I like. The local discount grocery store is usually packed and has lower quality foods/selection.
Certainly a place like Costco or Amazon Prime you have to determine if it's worth it and if you'd actually spend more than you want there because everything is such a good deal and quality in Costco's case and convenient in Amazon's case.

02nz
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by 02nz » Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:24 pm

Asian markets, e.g., H Mart, can be a way to save on produce even if you're not looking for "Asian" produce. A lot of fruit and vegetables are substantially cheaper there than at "American" grocery stores.

Blake7
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Blake7 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:33 pm

02nz wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:24 pm
Asian markets, e.g., H Mart, can be a way to save on produce even if you're not looking for "Asian" produce. A lot of fruit and vegetables are substantially cheaper there than at "American" grocery stores.
How about meat? :|
Last edited by Blake7 on Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Topic Author
Triple digit golfer
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Triple digit golfer » Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:35 pm

mikeyzito22 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:55 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
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.
+1. Walmart...really? I much prefer local yummy food from Whole Foods, Freddy's and local markets. I'm sorry, but my body is a temple not a throwaway...maybe my Walmart will induce portfolio dysfunction, or a shorter life span.
What exactly do you mean by this?

Meat, produce, and deli items at Walmart is of the same quality as other places. Apples, spinach, Butterball deli turkey, 90/10 ground beef and boneless chicken breasts are not less healthy because they're from Walmart, as far as I know.

02nz
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by 02nz » Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:41 pm

Blake7 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:33 pm
02nz wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:24 pm
Asian markets, e.g., H Mart, can be a way to save on produce even if you're not looking for "Asian" produce. A lot of fruit and vegetables are substantially cheaper there than at "American" grocery stores.
How about meat? :|
I don't buy much meat so not the expert there. Asian stores will definitely have quite a bit of pork, as several East Asian cuisines are dominated by pork. My local H Mart is also an excellent source for fish/seafood, generally cheaper and fresher than "American" chains.

stoptothink
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by stoptothink » Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:46 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:35 pm
mikeyzito22 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:55 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
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.
+1. Walmart...really? I much prefer local yummy food from Whole Foods, Freddy's and local markets. I'm sorry, but my body is a temple not a throwaway...maybe my Walmart will induce portfolio dysfunction, or a shorter life span.
What exactly do you mean by this?

Meat, produce, and deli items at Walmart is of the same quality as other places. Apples, spinach, Butterball deli turkey, 90/10 ground beef and boneless chicken breasts are not less healthy because they're from Walmart, as far as I know.
Unless you personally grow the produce or raise the animals, you really have no clue about the "quality" of your food. In the huge majority of cases, the foodstuffs at these stores are all the same - from the exact same source - regardless of price. Some people swear they can taste the difference, I'd love to take them up on that challenge. I even personally know a few people who sell at a local farmer's market who are re-sellers, hawking the exact same product you can buy up the street at WalMart (for a fraction of the cost). If it makes someone feel better to pay more, more power to them.

Capricorn51
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Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by Capricorn51 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:51 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:46 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:35 pm
mikeyzito22 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:55 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:51 pm
]

Meat, produce, and deli items at Walmart is of the same quality as other places. Apples, spinach, Butterball deli turkey, 90/10 ground beef and boneless chicken breasts are not less healthy because they're from Walmart, as far as I know.
Unless you personally grow the produce or raise the animals, you really have no clue about the "quality" of your food. In the huge majority of cases, the foodstuffs at these stores are all the same - from the exact same source - regardless of price. Some people swear they can taste the difference, I'd love to take them up on that challenge. I even personally know a few people who sell at a local farmer's market who are re-sellers, hawking the exact same product you can buy up the street at WalMart (for a fraction of the cost). If it makes someone feel better to pay more, more power to them.
Some states (and I am fortunate to live in one) have quite stringent standards on what is called a "farmers market". They cannot be resellers. Also there are stringent standards on "organic" labels. The quality is definitely not the same.

stoptothink
Posts: 6791
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Grocery shopping strategy

Post by stoptothink » Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:09 pm

Capricorn51 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:51 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:46 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:35 pm
mikeyzito22 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:55 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:51 pm
]

Meat, produce, and deli items at Walmart is of the same quality as other places. Apples, spinach, Butterball deli turkey, 90/10 ground beef and boneless chicken breasts are not less healthy because they're from Walmart, as far as I know.
Unless you personally grow the produce or raise the animals, you really have no clue about the "quality" of your food. In the huge majority of cases, the foodstuffs at these stores are all the same - from the exact same source - regardless of price. Some people swear they can taste the difference, I'd love to take them up on that challenge. I even personally know a few people who sell at a local farmer's market who are re-sellers, hawking the exact same product you can buy up the street at WalMart (for a fraction of the cost). If it makes someone feel better to pay more, more power to them.
Some states (and I am fortunate to live in one) have quite stringent standards on what is called a "farmers market". They cannot be resellers. Also there are stringent standards on "organic" labels. The quality is definitely not the same.
I don't want to get this shutdown, but there are stringent standards on organic labels? Really? FWIW, you don't even have to be "certified organic" to label your products as such, there just can't be a "USDA certified organic" claim on the display panel. Not to mention smaller operations, for instance what you'll commonly find at farmer's markets, are often exempt from the certification standards. As meaningless and ever-changing as the standards for "organic" certification are, a heck of a lot of products labeled as such don't even meet those standards.

I have a cousin who grows all his family's food and runs a stand at a local farmer's market. He has a pretty insightful blog post about "organic". http://gregalder.com/yardposts/what-is- ... -actually/

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