Tale of the Tape: Grocery Shopping

I used to love grocery shopping, something that apparently more men are getting into. It’s competitive (you vs the stores & budget), involves money, and if played right, gives you an hour (or more) of time to pop in those earbuds and listen to music/podcast/audiobooks while cruising the aisles.

Now, I’m not too proud to shop at an Aldi’s, but for a variety of reasons focus a little more “up-market” with Meijer (a midwest chain), Dominick’s (part of Safeway) and… Wal-Mart (and before you stick up your nose, somebody is spending $36M an hour there).

Between reviewing sales circulars, shopping apps and coupons sites, I probably spend close to 2hrs on research each week before heading out. Still, I’ve sometimes wondered if I’m really saving as much as I think I am. Recently I took up the challenge of comparing a regional chain to the superstores Meijer and Wal-Mart, and was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

As most seasoned shoppers know, each store will try to capitalize on a few items they sell below their competition in order to entice you to shop with them. Usually the larger the chain, the more items or more significant those discounts will be. So you have to be watchful that you don’t lose those savings by stocking up on items that aren’t on sale. That’s why it’s good to have 2 or 3 three stores in your portfolio, all within a close proximity of one another.

Anyways, I went out one evening with the receipt from a local grocer to see how they compared to my what I found in my case was that for a list of 30 items typically bought, Wal-Mart was 5% less than Meijer, and a surprising 10% less than the local grocer for like items. And, with the regional grocer being an additional 7 miles away, that added 2% more to the cost for those items, increasing the difference to 12%.

Obviously grocery store preferences are tantamount to suggesting what church a person should go to. Still, It’s good to know into your shopping experience knowing full well that you’re making a choice based on personal preference and not assuming a savings that may not really exist.