January is when most of us hunker down on our finances! We’ve posted the 10 Ways to Win the Penny Challenge along with the 52 Week Money Saving Challenge in the past couple weeks. Have you attempted them? I’d love to hear! Savor and Savvy has so many ways to help you start saving money and this Grocery Comparison Printable is another tool to add to your toolbox!!
The idea of making a Grocery Comparison Printable started last week when I was working on the Breakfast Bootcamp (did anyone else do that with me?) and I asked Jason to make me a sheet for me to track the costs of the grocery items I purchase most often. I wanted to compare the prices at a few stores nearby to see if I could free up a few dollars by shopping smartly.
I’m not hearing an “ugh” out there, am I? I know. This isn’t fun but it will save you money in the end.
Frugal Living by Frugal Grocery Shopping
Were you looking for ways to find those few extra cents to save money for the 52 Week Challenge and the Penny Challenge at the same time? I was. In fact, I used those two savings techniques to fund my frugal travel addiction!
I try to shop at Aldi when I can. The prices there are usually much lower than the traditional big box grocery store. Unfortunately, it is a bit of a drive to get there.
Normally, I pat myself on the back, thinking that I’m a pretty savvy shopper. I started with an “I’ve got this” type of an attitude and I came home – three grocery stores later – and was really surprised with the results! Here’s what happened!
Frugal Grocery Comparison Shopping
**Disclaimer** We live in one of the most expensive places in the nation to purchase groceries. Your prices will vary (maybe significantly!) but this exercise will show you just how much prices vary from store to store. This post is not meant to support or detract from any particular grocery store. It’s meant as a way for you to shop smartly for groceries and use a printable to help you save money each week.
Last night, I took my printable to Wegmans and filled it in with the grocery items that I regularly purchase. I was happy. I got this. I’m a frugal grocery shopper. Right? I was planning to compare the prices with the other two other nearby stores later in the week, but curiosity got the best of me.
After I was finished making dinner, I took off to Harris Teeter to fill out the second column in the spreadsheet. The regular price of my granola bars were a full dollar higher per box and my coffee (I priced 8 oz bags but I normally purchase coffee in larger bags – FYI) was $2.00 more. Yikes! We drink enough coffee where that additional cost would add up quickly. Hunts Whole Tomatoes were 80 cents higher, Pam non-stick spray was $1.30 higher, and generic Canola oil was $1.30 higher than Wegmans!
Grocery Store Price Comparison Chart
|Nabisco Granola Bars||3.49||4.49||4.19|
|Dunkin Donuts Coffee||6.99||8.99||8.49|
|Bounty Paper Towels||13.99||13.99||12.99|
|Canola Oil||48 oz/1.99||3.29||2.49|
|Whole Tomatoes Hunts||1.99||2.79||2.29|
|Whole Tomatoes Generic||.99||1.29||.99|
The only item I could find cheaper than Wegmans was Bertolli sauce (I chose this one as I knew all stores had it). It was 10 cents cheaper.
Paper towels were the same price. I expected some difference.
I fully intended to just check out prices at Harris Teeter last night and go home but I was so surprised at the price differences at this point that I headed to our local Giant.
At Giant, I started with the granola bars which were 70 cents higher than Wegmans. Coffee at Giant was $1.50 more than Wegmans. OxiClean 18 pack was $1.20 more than Wegmans. Generic Canola Oil was 50 cents at Giant than Wegmans while Hunts Whole Tomatoes were 30 cents higher. Again, staples like paper towels and bathroom tissue rang up at similar prices.
Use the Grocery Comparison Printable to Save Money
Our family is constantly looking for ways to save money and this challenge goes to show that I constantly have to be on my game with finances! I know the basics, like closely monitoring my accounts, and routinely scrubbing my subscriptions for magazines I don’t read. I even wrote a whole article on 19 Ways to Save Money for the Newly Frugal.
But, I didn’t think my regular grocery store cost so much more than I was expecting!
I came home from my Grocery Challenge and talked this over with Jason and Spencer. We all thought that Wegmans was going to be the most expensive for the items that we purchase routinely. Our second spot for the anticipate “most expensive grocery store” was our local Giant because it is situated inside of our neighborhood. I wrongly – and I mean WRONGLY! – thought that Harris Teeter would have been the most frugal store for us. YIKES!
How much money could I have saved? Let’s see.
How Much Money Can I Save Grocery Shopping Smarter
(note, this exercise will have significantly different results depending upon your area and the items on your grocery list)
Let’s take a look at the savings that we have between the least expensive to the most expensive grocery store in my neighborhood:
Calculated Grocery Savings:
- $2/week for coffee
- $1/week for granola bars
- 80 cents x 3 =$2.40/week to make my own spaghetti sauce using Hunts Whole Tomatoes. I could save $3/week if I chose to go generic at any of the stores though as they all ran up at 99 cents.
- 40 cents/week for spaghetti noodles
Those 4 times alone will save me $301 by the end of the year or $332 if I choose the generic tomatoes! Guys, I just have to get a couple more items and I’ve completed the Penny Challenge with barely any effort !!
I’m not advocating shopping at several stores and running yourself crazy. That can work against you. I don’t want to spend so much time running around town just to save one dollar. My time is worth more than that. When I saw how much money I could save by shopping smarter – well, I’m now a grocery comparison shopping convert!
I hope you are passionate about finding out where the best deals are for your family! You never know what difference it might make! You won’t know until you bite the bullet. Use the Grocery Comparison Challenge Printable to help you find the savings to make a difference in your frugal lifestyle!
Reflection on Comparing Grocery Store Prices
I spent over 24 hours thinking about this challenge and trying to figure out why I would have thought Harris Teeter would be cheaper than the other two stores. I assumed that their numerous sales year-round with amazing prices meant that their daily prices were good too!
Remember, I only looked at the regular prices of items. I know the stores will often advertise big sales to get you into the store. I will certainly take advantage of those, but I will certainly keep my eyes open for overpaying.
This challenge made me look hard at where I can save money on the grocery bill. I think this is something I will have to refresh as our family’s meals change and the grocery stores change their pricing strategies. At the end of the day, I was able to save money on the weekly grocery run and put that money away in my savings account!