You probably won’t find anyone who wouldn’t be annoyed about blowing their grocery shopping budget. Coupon hunting isn’t always fun, but that isn’t the only way to save money on groceries.
People set budgets for a reason and in most cases, it’s to get out and stay out of debt. However, it’s worth mentioning that if you follow some simple tips and learn how to effectively compare grocery prices, you can save more money and even treat yourself occasionally!
This article is your complete guide to making the most out of your grocery shopping budget.
Related: How to Grocery Shop Healthy and Stay On-Budget
Once you apply these tips in your life, you will notice that stocking up for the week doesn’t have to be as expensive as it used to be.
Things to pay attention to:
When it comes to grocery shopping, there are some tips that can be taken advantage of no matter where you are. They will help you to approach your shopping list from a different perspective and also learn when it may be useful to be more flexible.
I’ll begin by discussing some aspects of products that you should begin paying more attention to. Being more attentive to these factors will make it easier for you to compare grocery prices.
We all have our favorite brands. This can be clothing, electronics or in this case, food. Brands like Nutella, Heinz, and Pringles are known and easily recognized all over the world.
This name popularity allows global brands to set higher prices for their products and still have a significant amount of sales. It’s also logical that a customer would be more tempted to choose a brand name product without pausing to compare the prices of other similar products. This is because a famous brand brings with it a bit of prestige and also the promise to taste good.
However, alternatives do exist and they should definitely be considered if you want to stick to your budget and effectively compare grocery prices. In some instances, the no-name products may be practically identical to the famous ones, with the exception of the logo. They will also cost significantly less, sometimes even half of what the brand name product costs!
The next time you are out shopping for your favorite brand, take a look around the shelves.
Related: How Are Grocery Store Aisles Organized?
Cheaper and lesser-known products are usually located near their brand name alternatives. In most cases, they are slightly hidden and not advertised as much.
Once you find something that may be a suitable alternative, take a look at the ingredients list and you’ll be surprised to see that it’s practically identical to what your favorite brand products contain!
Next, compare the price with the price of what you typically buy and you’ll be even more pleasantly surprised!
Have you ever been tempted by a “family size” or “share and save” or “2 pieces free” sticker on a product package at a store? Establishments do this to convince customers that they can save some money this way. People end up buying a much larger size and think that they cheated the store.
However, have you ever noticed the “price per 100g” that is typed in tiny letters below the product’s price?
This is your single-step solution to comparing grocery prices when there is weight involved. The family size package may be bigger and the price may look attractive at first sight, but is it really cheaper than the normal pack?
Many people believe that when you buy a bigger size, the product ends up being cheaper. While in some instances, this price difference is clear, this is not always the case. A smaller size may be temporarily on sale, making it a better and cheaper choice.
It may come as a surprise, but it is possible to find 2 regular sized packages that cost less than one ‘mega’ or ‘family’ size and provide you with more of the product you’re looking to buy.
Of course, it’s nicer to eat something fresh, but if you want to save money, it is necessary to rethink your priorities.
Perishable products, such as dairy, meat, and some baked goods don’t have a very long shelf life.
Stores would much rather sell the product instead of losing any potential profit when the best before date passes. This is why perishable products often get marked down when they are nearing their expiry dates.
Related: How to Read Food Expiration Dates
Stores typically use bright pink or red stickers so that the marked down products are easier to notice.
Depending on the store, the discount may be a percentage, a certain dollar amount or the sticker may contain the product’s new reduced price.
Marked down products are a great find when you need to compare grocery prices to stay within your budget. They’re also a perfect option when you need a last-minute dinner or breakfast idea.
This factor is in a way similar to expiry dates, however the marked down products in this case are usually still far from their best before dates.
This aspect tends to involve themed products or even just commonly available products in limited-edition seasonal packages. Such products are widely available before major holidays, such as Halloween, Christmas, Easter, and Independence Day.
Prior to these holidays, the demand is high and so are the prices. Stores know that consumers would not mind paying a bit more for a holiday-themed item.
However, as soon as the holiday passes, so does the hype and the demand. The products, however, are still perfectly good. Stores know that it will be more difficult to sell holiday themed products after the holiday, so they reduce the prices, often by 50% or more.
These are great opportunities to buy chocolates, cookies, soft drinks and sometimes even other more nutritional products for a fraction of the cost.
The above tips can be applied in any store to help you to compare grocery prices. Minor details may vary depending on the store, but the overall idea stays the same.
Some stores, however, offer other services that may be of use to those that need to compare product prices and save money. A lot of these are free to use and can provide you with rewards, in addition to savings.
This is usually common at major chain stores. In some cases, several chains have a partnership and offer the same program to earn and redeem rewards.
In some places, like at Costco, an annual membership must be purchased and people that don’t have one cannot shop there.
Other stores, on the other hand, offer free rewards cards to anyone that wants one. They can be picked up in-store and although registration is necessary, it is possible to earn member discounts and points without completing that step.
Store rewards cards are also a useful tool when comparing grocery prices. There may be two similar products that cost the same amount, but one may offer a member bonus or discount. Store flyers often mention such deals to facilitate your grocery shopping trip.
Large chains tend to have mobile apps where customers can view the weekly discounts and deals. In some cases, there may be mobile-only offers, so in such cases, having the store app is essential to being successful when you compare grocery store prices.
Store apps also allow you to create an account and add your rewards card. This way, you can keep track of your points and discounts. Knowing that you’re saving money is an effective motivator to keep taking the necessary steps to stay on budget!
There are chain stores that offer a ‘loyalty’ credit card to customers. Using that card to shop there and at partner stores can provide you with discounts and more rewards.
However, this may not be an option for everyone. Some people lose track of their spendings when they use a credit card. In addition, a lot of these programs have specific criteria that must be met in order to get approved.
Getting a store credit card can be a great way to save money when grocery shopping, but it is important to spend responsibly when using a credit card.
Saving money feels amazing and it’s even better when you can spend less and buy more. Learning how to properly compare grocery prices is vital when you have a budget that you want to stick to. It is also an important strategy for those looking to get out of debt.
There are different ways to compare grocery prices and various aspects that can be helpful.
Remembering and applying just one of the above-mentioned tips can already help you to save money on your next grocery shopping trip.
With time, these trips and tips will become a habit and you’ll be able to effortlessly adhere to your budget and even treat yourself from time to time!
Some factors to consider when compare grocery prices include the unit price, brand loyalty, sale prices, store loyalty programs, and the quality of the products.