As we continue our Financial Challenges to save money, we still have a number of areas where we can accomplish painless saving – getting the things that we’d normaly purchase, but at a better price. Today we are going to focus on grocery shopping.
While many people know that gathering coupons and shopping at different stores for the best prices can save a lot of money, there is actually a simple way that you can do all your shopping at a single store and get the best prices from all around your area. The key is finding a grocery store that will honor competitor’s advertised prices.
While many stores will do this to keep customers from going to the competition, most will not openly advertise that they do. You can ask the sales clerk and if the sales clerk can’t give you an answer, you can ask the store manager. If you can find a store that will accept competitor’s advertised prices, in most cases you’ll have to bring the competitor’s weekly sales advertisement to provide proof. These will come in your Sunday and /or mid-week newspapers, sometimes in the mail and you can also check out all the weekly advertised grocery prices online. You most likely won’t be able to switch similar items (to qualify it must almost always be the exact same item), although stores will often match prices on competitor’s store brand for their store brand.
In addition to getting the best price on all the items you purchase, you will also save yourself time and gas. Since you will only have a single store to shop at, you won’t have to drive all over town to get the best prices saving the cost of gas between locations and the time of going from place to place.
While this Financial Challenge can’t be done at this minute, in the time you have set aside for today you can get prepared to ask the next time you go to your local grocery store:
1. Start at the most convenient store near you and ask the store clerk or manager if the store will accept competitor’s advertised prices.
2. If they do, ask exactly what you need to provide to receive the competitor’s price when shopping. If the policy is one that is at the manager’s discretion and not the cashier’s, ask him to write a note so he or she doesn’t need to be called to the register each time you check-out.
3. If the first store won’t match competitor’s prices, move on to the next most convenient store until you find one that does.
4. Set up a system where you check all the weekly price circulars either online (and print them out) or when your newspaper comes so that you always have the circulars with you to take advantage of the savings.
5. Once you have located a store that will accept competitor’s advertised prices, you have instantly turned several trips into a single one while saving yourself a significant amount of both time and money – and still getting the exact same items you would have purchased anyway.
There are a couple of ways you can calculate the savings to place toward paying down your debt or into your simple investing plan. You can take the price difference between the grocery store where you purchase the item and the one where it is the least expensive. You can also calculate how much you save from not having to drive to several different stores and use that set amount each time you go grocery shopping. The most important thing is to make sure to place the savings toward your chosen plan rather than leaving it mixed in with your everyday spending money.