When it comes to deciding where to grocery shop there are so many options to choose from. How do you decide where to grocery shop? There are stores that sell strictly groceries and there are buy in bulk stores like Sam’s Club and Costco. We have smaller discount stores, and mega stores that have both groceries and home goods.
There are different reasons to choose which store(s) you get your groceries from. In the end, we want our grocery store decisions to save us money and time. As a consumer you should evaluate these six reasons for which stores you choose to get groceries. Are you making the best decision when it comes to deciding where to grocery shop?
Actual Price of the Products
One reason to shop at a specific grocery store is because their prices are the best. Your grocery bill will be lower by shopping at this particular store. It does take a little shopping around to know exactly where the lowest prices are for the items you regularly purchase. We all want to save money on our grocery bill. Prices do fluctuate so you have to stay on top of them and know the stores.
One way to help you choose where to grocery shop based on price is figuring out what you buy the most. Then figure out where the items are the cheapest.
Take the top 5 items you buy regularly – your non negotiable grocery items. For me this would be eggs, milk, bananas, bread & yogurt. These are items I buy almost every week. I know how much these cost everywhere I shop so I know which store’s basic price is lowest. So that is where I get them most weeks (unless a different store is running an amazing sale). These are items I have to get every or every other week. They are perishable and my family eats and drinks them daily, so I get them regularly.
Second, a reason to shop at a store is for the convenience. If I have a grocery store 2 minutes from my house that carries most of the items I need. So I will probably shop there more often than a store 25 minutes from my house where the prices might be slightly lower. First, the time you spend traveling to the other store is not necessarily worth the savings of a few cents. Second, the cost to travel to this store might equal out what you would have saved. So most would choose to shop close to home.
Besides location convenience, different conveniences inside the store may be attractive. Some stores have a coffee shop or restaurant in them. Others have a gas station and car wash attached. A mega store has groceries, homewares and home goods This is attractive as it becomes a one stop shop.
Variety of Products
The store that is closest to my house and usually has the lowest price does not have as much variety. So I can’t do my full grocery shopping at this store alone. It carries about 80% of the items I need, but I have to get that other 20% elsewhere.
Besides carrying products I need, certain stores have more of a variety of the same item. There may be certain stores that only carry the kind of salad dressing or the flavor of yogurt or ice cream you like. You may like to get your fresh meat or produce at a specific store. Variety does play a factor in where to grocery shop. It will force you to make stops at a store if they are the only one who carries a specific item.
Knowing Where Grocery Items Are Located Within the Store
No one likes to be at a grocery store for longer than they have to be. It usually isn’t something we enjoying doing for hours and hours. Therefore, we like to go to a store where we know where all the items we buy are located. It takes time to learn a grocery store. However, once you know a store it is hard to switch. We become familiar with the layout and shopping goes quicker because we know where everything is placed. We know each aisle, and where those hard to find items are located as well.
Furthermore, you become familiar with the entire store and how it operates. You know where the bathrooms are, how the check out and bagging systems work, and how you pay. The hours the store is open works in your schedule. Also, you know where the service counter is located and how to quickly check your receipt. The parking lot becomes familiar and you park your car in the same area each time. Everything about a store becomes familiar – even if it is the same store just a different location. Each store can be different and may even carry different products. It is hard to switch to a new store once you are used to a specific one.
Grocery Shopping for Sales
Although I have four total stores I may grocery shop at in one week. For me, the big factor on deciding where to grocery shop is the sales. No wonder stores have sales – it is what lures people into their store. The key is to only buy the sale items, not get suckered into buying all the other items you see. I actually get excited about sales. If a sale is good enough – that one item on sale may get me into the store. It depends how much money it is going to save me, how many I am buying, and if it works in my schedule.
I actually get a thrill out of grocery shopping to see how much money I spend vs how much money I save on a receipt. If I have a real good day I share the results with my dad. He likes to do the same thing with me.
Not all sales are amazing. Sometimes a store will have a sale on an item and advertise it as such a low price. However, the item is actually cheaper at another store or it was on a better sale 2 weeks prior. For more information on how to save money shopping click here. Through time one learns what is actually a great sale and therefore when to buy. Consumer be aware!
Online Shopping, In-Store Pick Up, and Drive Up
Not that long ago grocery shopping changed to where you don’t even need to leave your house. Now there are different companies that do home delivery for groceries. You can go online, pick out your groceries, and have them delivered straight to your home.
Another option lots of stores now have is shop online and then pick up in store. It is just like placing an online order, but instead of waiting for delivery they get the items ready in store. Then you receive an email or text when your order is ready for pick up. Typically you go to their service desk and pick up your items all bagged and ready to go.
Just within the past couple years there has been a new phenomenon in grocery shopping. This involves picking up your order, but not getting out of your car. How it works is you place your order online or through an app. Then set a pick up time or they email you when your order is ready. You drive to the store and let them know when you arrive. They even have special designated parking spots for your vehicle to park in. Then they bring your groceries out to your car, load them in and you are set to go. You don’t even have to get out of your car!
Does Convenience Outweigh All Other Factors on Where to Grocery Shop?
Having your groceries delivered right to your front door or put right into your car at the store can be a huge convenience. I know several busy moms with 2-3 small children who go this route each week and they love it. Trying to shop inside a grocery store with young children can be stressful and time consuming.
Although this sounds too good to be true, there are reasons to do your own grocery shopping. The convenience factor might outweigh all other factors why you would choose this route. However, there are some negatives to not picking out your own groceries. One is this service is more expensive than getting groceries yourself. You are paying for the convenience of this service.
Picky About Your Products
I am selective on picking out which product I put in my cart. There are different things I check over before selecting which item I buy. With a service selecting your items, you may get a product that is near or past expiration, or a product that is damaged. It might not be the product you would have exactly picked out in the store.
Just the other day I tried buying online and picking up in store at target. They had an incentive if you spent $100 you got a $20 gift card if you ordered online and picked up in store. A couple of my food packages were slightly damaged – still usable, but dented in. If I would have picked out my own items I would have not picked these dented items.
I have never tried a service where you buy online and it is shipped directly to your house. Although, I am sure there are similar issues with damaged items.
Another negative factor to having groceries shipped to your house would be the weather conditions outside your home. You would have to be home or be coming home very close to the time your groceries are dropped off for your groceries to be left outside to the weather elements.
Final Thoughts on Where to Grocery Shop
How you choose where to grocery shop is a total self preference. I just went over some different factors to consider in your decision. I hope whatever stores you choose you can save time and/or money with your grocery shopping.