Are You Paying Too Much for Groceries?
At the brilliant suggestion of my beautiful friend, Ashley M., Frisco Socialite, I went grocery shopping this week. Ashley asked if I could do a grocery store price comparison of several items across various grocery stores because she had a sneaking suspicion she was paying too much for common items (she was). Are you also paying too much for groceries? When every dollar counts, it’s prudent to be armed with information that will lead to wise and frugal choices. Thus began the research project.
Together with Ashley, we came up with a list of ten common “momma” grocery list items that would be consistent across all stores in quality, quantity, and brand. We stayed away from produce as the final price for those items depend on weight and season. The ten items that made the final list are:
Wine (I see you, Momma!)
Next we chose the five most popular grocery stores in the Frisco area:
So with my spiral notebook in hand and cookie-bribed sidekicks at my feet, I set out on my assignment to compare these items across the five stores. Many cookies later, we had our answer! But before the big reveal, it’s important to explain that it gets a little tricky because Kroger, Market Street, and Tom Thumb have rotating discounts, so you may pay one price this week and a slightly lower/higher price next week. However, Target’s and Walmart’s prices should remain fairly consistent- the Target RED card is always a 5% overall discount, while Walmart doesn’t offer a discount card. But then there’s the Target Circle app (formerly Cartwheel) that allows you to save further on selected items.
When did grocery shopping get so complicated?? For this experiment, I decided to keep things as simple and basic as possible by using only store discount card prices (where available) and leave out any coupon possibilities. I put the Target Circle app discounts into this coupon category, so I didn’t use Circle in the price comparison.
All other things being equal, the lowest-priced grocery store is… WALMART! Target comes in a close second, especially if you use the RED card and if Circle app coupons are available for any selected items.
But without any discount cards or coupons, Walmart looks to be the cheapest overall for our sample set of items. However, once discount cards are applied at the other stores, the totals come to within a few dollars of each other. This may not seem like much, but it can add up! From this sample set of ten items, it appears shopping at Walmart instead of one of the other stores would save about $4 for every $50 spent. Extrapolating that data, if you spend about $200 on groceries every week like I do, that’s a monthly savings of about $65. That’s worth it to me! Though I’m secretly glad that now I have hard evidence to show my husband that my Target trips are not “extravagant” and come within a couple dollars of the lowest-priced store. Starbucks drink and graphic tees not included…
What about you? Where do you prefer to shop, and is that preference based on price, store location and/or layout, or the variety of items offered? Do you have any grocery shopping questions you’d like to see some data on? Let me know and I’ll get my notebook back out and start investigating!
Researching this post and talking to momma friends actually opened up a lot more questions than I anticipated, so there will be a couple of follow-up posts to this initial one. Like, what about Costco? Aldi? Trader Joe’s? Sprouts? Stay tuned for more grocery shopping data coming in the next couple of weeks.
Bottom line: We are so fortunate to live in an area with easy and abundant access to high-quality, many organic food options. So no matter where we shop or what our average monthly grocery shopping budget is, we’ll always be able to feed our families well. And that certainty is such a blessing!