We may earn a commission on purchases made after clicking links on this page.
This week we’re talking about how to choose your store wisely to save big bucks…
How to Choose the Best Stores to Cut Grocery Bill Without Coupons
1. Choose a discount grocery store.
Yes, you’ll need to pack your own bags and look at dowdy displays, but shopping at discount grocery stores will save you money. You know what you are going there for; you have a shopping list and your menu plan – so you don’t need the slick marketing to tell you what to buy.
Quick tip: Another benefit of discount stores is the time you’ll save. The store is usually smaller and less focused on providing absolutely everything (i.e clothes and gardening supplies). You can just get your food and get out – with less time and temptation.
2. Go to multiple stores.
Sure, you can Price Match at one store and save yourself some trips, but that technique is not for everyone. Another strategy is to pick up the best sale items at a few stores. This can be a car wreck for some people – driving everywhere to get the sales. We do most of our main shopping at one store and then hit maybe one or two others for sale items only. And we stock up and fill our pantry with things that will keep and that we actually use.
Quick tip: Circle the best deals the store flyers. Keep the flyers in your car and when you’re out doing other errands, it’s simple to pop into a store and stock up on the savings.
3. Know yourself – which stores are your kryptonite?
Lots of folks swear by the savings at Costco. It takes a particular sort of shopper to really save there. You need to know your prices (a Price Book helps here) and you have to have a strong ability to resist deals you don’t need. Normally, we’re disciplined shoppers, but we can’t seem to leave Costco without spending $150. If you’re like us and can’t go to Costco without leaving with 45 pairs of bulk socks, an armload of magazines and a gallon of mustard – choose another store.
4. Groceries at the drug store?
Pharmacies are on steroids these days. They sell everything from discount bestsellers to cat food and lots of common groceries. Many of these grocery items are priced as loss leaders – they sell them at a loss to get you in there and buy other things. Take a look at the grocery offerings at the drug store. They can have some crazy good deals, and the lines are shorter, you can usually get in and out pretty quickly.
Quick tip: Be extra sure to stick to your list, because many other things will be convenience store priced.
5. REach for Store brands.
We have major store brand-love for President’s Choice products (We await The Insider’s Report the way children await the Sears Christmas Wish book), but every other store has their own equivalent. Try one or two sometime and see how they measure up to your name brand favs. We have several that we prefer to the big name brands. Consumer Reports did their own survey and found the same thing.
Quick tip: You don’t need to be able to do long division in your head to compare prices. Stores are required by law to calculate the per/unit price and indicate it on the shelf tag. Even if a major brand is on sale, the store brand is often cheaper. But the opposite is true, too! Unit pricing will tell you quickly what’s the best price.
6. Choose Local Farms for so many reasons.
It doesn’t get fresher than right at the farm. If you’re lucky enough to live in a farming area, be sure to keep some cash on hand so you can stop and buy directly from the farmer. Sometimes the deals are amazing. Sometimes they aren’t, but there’s value in connecting with the people who work so hard to grow your food.
If you don’t live near farms, the farms come to you at the farmer’s market. A great place to get food you can’t get at a mainstream grocery store. If you’re feeling lucky, head there near closing time. Many farmers don’t want to haul home their unsold food and will give you a deal if you ask nicely.
Small farm stores can be a source of deals too. Near my work is a big apple farm and on-site they have a market store. This is our favourite place to buy apples. We can get a half bushel for $8 to $12. A half bushel!! The reason they are so affordable is they are the “Cee” grade, meaning they have a few blemishes – but not bruises – that don’t look perfect enough for the grocery store chains to buy. They are just as nutritious and taste delicious. This is just one example of why a trip to a farm store can pay off.