We are often asked which grocery store has the best prices. It seems that many people are looking for a “silver bullet,” or a magic formula to saving money at the grocery store.
In this Q&A we address the issue of where to shop and how to save the most money at the grocery store.
Question about saving on grocery expenses
I’ve watched many of your YouTube Grocery Shopping videos and really want to cut my grocery bill down. Can you tell me which grocery store has the best prices?
Answer about Best Grocery Store Prices
We’re asked this question all of the time at seminars and by reporters. The truth is that all stores will advertise something as a killer sale each week. These weekly sale items are called loss leaders.
Watch for Loss Leaders?
Loss Leaders are products that stores use to entice shoppers to come in and shop. The products usually are steeply discounted items where the profit margin is either very slim or non-existent for the grocer.
For example, around Thanksgiving time turkeys go on sale. We were told by a marketing department employee of a retail grocer that when they sell Thanksgiving turkeys for between $.29 and .$.49 per pound they actually lose money. The wholesale price for the turkeys is around $.89 per pound. This particular retailer is willing to lose up to 40 cents per pound ($8 on a 20-pound turkey) in the hopes that you’ll come into the store and buy the loss leader along with many other full price items.
The Power of Cherry Picking
If you have time and know your Grocery prices, you can become a “cherry picker.” This is someone who just stops by the store for the loss leaders and buys nothing else. Grocers probably don’t like cherry pickers, but this is one sure-fire way to save on your grocery bill.
Cherry Picking loss leaders will fill your freezer and pantry with low-cost food while keeping your wallet stocked with excess cash. As you learn which prices are best and stock up judiciously on sale items, grocery shopping will become a game you’ll love to win.
Shopping Multiple Stores
Planning your menu and your shopping list around loss-leaders is a smart, money-saving strategy. But this strategy does require a little more driving around to complete your shopping. So the answer to your question about best grocery store prices is this, “none.” There isn’t one store that has the best prices, but shopping a combination of several stores will garner you some great savings. However, there is another answer to this question. . . keep reading.
A Different Shopping Option
There is another way to shop for loss-leaders and rack up lots of savings.
Walmart has a nationwide policy of Price-Match. They offer to match other retailers and online sellers for identical items that they sell. There are some restrictions, and the policy can be different from store to store, depending on the manager’s interpretation of the rules.
In our area, they won’t match store brands or private labeled items. They also won’t match prices on milk or eggs. But other than these restrictions we have found their Price-Match policy to be fair and very helpful.
How We Price Match at Walmart
Here are 8 things we do to make Price-Match at Walmart an easier way to shop.
When we prepare a price-match shopping list we simply use a sheet of lined notebook paper. (see the image below this list)
- Create a Price Match List – On the paper, we write the name of each store in our area and then leave a few lines below it to fill in the sale items we want to purchase.
- Circle Loss-Leaders – We go through each store’s ad and circle items that are discounted and that we need to buy.
- Add Sale Items to the List – We then list the items on our notebook paper.
- Evaluate Duplicates – Often several stores will have the same item discounted, but only one store will have it at the lowest price. Make sure to cross off the higher priced items listed under the different stores on your list.
- Add quantities – We add the quantities of each item we want to buy and we’re ready to go.
- Keeping it Straight in the Cart – If we’re buying price-matched items and regularly priced items we’ll use 2 carts and keep the items separated.
- Be Kind to the Checker – at the checkout we’ll always let the checker know that we have several items that are Price-Matched. We’ll start with regularly priced items and then put a divider on the conveyor belt to indicate where the price-matched items start.
- Have Your Ads Ready – Because we’re very organized we are seldom asked to provide proof of which store and price we are matching. But there are times when we are asked to produce the ad and prove the discounted price. Sometimes the checker will disallow an item we thought qualified for their price-match policy. In this case we either say we don’t want the item, or we agree to purchase it anyway, because it was something we really needed or wanted. We try to remember that cashiers are just doing their job, so we don’t get upset and move on. Occasionally we have asked for clarification from a front end manager.
So in reality, the answer to your question about which store has the best prices is a bit complicated. No one store has the best grocery store prices for all of your grocery shopping, but if you follow our Price-Match strategy, then there is one store where you can shop and see significant savings.
So, how do you shop? Are you loyal to one or two stores or do you cherry pick?