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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Online Comparison Grocery Shopping

The internet has certainly changed the shopping experience, don't you think? One of the best frugal uses of the internet is to comparison grocery shop between several local stores. No need to keep a price book for stores that provide their prices online. Just pull up your favorite stores and search specific items.

After I took a thorough inventory of our current supplies, I made my list of must-haves to get through the month of March. Then, I pulled up the websites for Fred Meyer, Walmart, and Cash & Carry -- stores which are local for me, are my usual low price go-to's, and have their prices listed online. I went through my must-haves list, one by one, and checked each store's current price per item. From that information, I was able to create a shopping list for these 3 stores in order to get the lowest price on each item.

Some store sites make it easy to find their prices by the user providing their store location of choice and using the search bar. Other stores do make you jump through a very small hoop to get the local store's pricing. Walmart is one such store. That small hoop is the navigation of the site as if you were filling a cart online. For instance, this is my local Walmart, found through the grocery.walmart.com page.


By clicking on the orange box "View Store Details," I am brought to this page. See the orange box that says "Start Shopping Now?" Clicking on that box gets me into the price lists for my store. I can use the search box to access pricing for anything that Walmart carries in that store. There's no need to actually put anything into a virtual cart. I just use the search function until I've gone through my must-haves list, then close that tab.


So, on my laptop, I had tabs open for all three of my favorite stores, which meant I could jump between stores to check for the low price leader for each item. It was pretty easy and assured me that I would be getting those lowest possible prices for my area, with one exception. The exception is a local favorite, WinCo. WinCo does not have an online price list. My best way to quickly access pricing information is with my previous shopping receipts. I also have an idea of what items WinCo usually beats every other store in my area.

Once in the stores, I keep my eyes open for special deals not listed online. This week, I found cabbage at Walmart and ground beef at Fred Meyer at unexpected low prices. I made on-the-spot decisions for how much to buy and what to nix from my list to accommodate these purchases. This week, I saved several dollars by using the internet to comparison shop for groceries, yielding an extension of my rather small budget to include more food for our household. I do this for other products. It only makes sense to do this for grocery shopping, as well.

Do you compare grocery prices online, too? What other ways have you found to comparison shop for your groceries?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, Lili--

DS has done this some, because he has two national chains in his town. He's also used the on-line sale circulars when the sale starts before the flyers get to him (which sometimes happens with rural mail. :)

We've definitely found that it's cheaper to buy some items at one store or another, both with some regular prices and during sales. If you can find a good way, as you have, to keep track of which products to buy where, it's really a saving (probably time as well as money, too!)

Have a good day! Sara

Kris said...

I do cost comparisons online and look for sales, but I doubt that I am as scientific about it as you are! My husband is better about finding one-day sales online and has been able to get some good meat and breakfast cereal purchases doing that.

Lili said...

Hi Sara,
the other thing that I have found is not all the stores send out a flyer, so the only way to know in advance is to go online and view the online flyer. Kudos to your son for doing his research before shopping. Smart shopping at a young age will pay off for him in financial security that will last his lifetime. You must have taught him well. :)

Lili said...

Hi Kris,
It's just my left brain that kicks in from time to time. I miss out on a lot of one-day sales, though.
I think you and your husband have a good division of labor, based on what each does well and derives satisfaction.

Alice said...

I SHOULD do this but I don't. Our Aldi and Walmart are right next to each other. I have tried Walmart before but I keep getting such weird feelings in that store. I have been in there early morning only to get in the middle of employees having a deadly argument while stocking shelves (personal issues not store related). Then the produce aisle had absolutely nothing on the shelves. Lastly, I purchased a rug and was harassed by the door person who accused me of stealing the rug and to go back inside and pay for it. I showed her the receipt and she couldn't even read her own store's receipt to see I indeed did purchase it.They also don't have grocery pickup which is something I might like to try. Another store about 15 miles away does have it but I'm not about to travel additional mileage.

Aldi has been my go-to lately. They don't have everything I want but I can get by. Meijer is my last place to shop and I'm still amazed at how high their prices are compared to Aldi. We have a Save-A-Lot nearby and that is where I find a lot of good priced meat.

We're pretty simple at our house. We're not picky about brand names and we are on a low-spend year (at least we're trying!). I do have to watch my husband who goes "shopping" on his day's off and pretty much blows the budget.

Alice

Kris said...

Maybe it's a west side of MI phenomenon. We have 2 Walmarts in town--one I refuse to go to and the other one, I will only go to in the mornings, before the weird clientele show up. Staffing there is hit or miss. Meijer and Aldi are next to each other so that's typically where I shop. Our Save-A-Lot is kind of grubby, so I haven't been there in years. Aldi's staff are always polite and oh-so-speedy!

live and learn said...

I'm having problems with my mouse and keyboard and I just lost my long comment. Basically, the summary is you can't go wrong with Aldi and they do have their ads online.

Lili said...

Hi Alice,
Walmart can be hit or miss. The big Walmart near us is a place that I avoid. The customer service counter has left me not wanting to have to deal with them. Then, there's the "neighborhood" Walmart that is mostly groceries. This one is okay. I had to deal with customer service there on Saturday and the gal was super nice and didn't make me feel like a criminal. The checkout line is slow, and the store is in a marginal neighborhood, but it's okay, and they have had the items that I need.
I'm wishing you well on your low-spend year. That's a pretty big goal!

Lili said...

Hi live and learn,
I keep wondering when Aldi is going to come out my way? That's great that even as a low-cost store they have online ads. Our local low-cost store, WinCo hasn't reached that level of customer service, yet.

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