OK, I’m a die hard store surfer.
What exactly is store surfing?
It’s the practice of shopping at more than one supermarket chain, cherry picking the absolute best deals from each chain.
Most supermarkets offer lucrative sales to lure you into the store. Of course, while you’re picking up these “loss leaders,” the grocery store is expecting you to stick around and shop for the rest of your grocery needs.
But why? Who says you need to be loyal to one supermarket chain? I encourage you to play the field. Cherry pick the absolute best deals at all the grocery chains in your area.
I typically shop three major chains, – Jewel-Osco, Dominick’s, and Meijer. I’m looking to find what I need from whichever store is offering it at the lowest possible price. Milk, rice, sugar, and peanut butter might be purchased on sale at one store, with cookies, butter, pasta and bread purchased on sale at another. Cereal, salad, hamburger might be purchased at a third chain.
In particular, I’m searching for products at or near the lowest price in their sales cycles. Let me explain: Every product in a grocery store has a natural sales cycle. One week, for instance, you’ll find a specific brand of spaghetti sauce on sale at a 15% discount. Three weeks later you may find it on sale at 35% off the regular price.
But every so often an item will be discounted 50% or more, often in the form of a “buy one get one free” sale. This is when you should pounce and stock up on a few week’s worth. The more supermarket chains you patronize, the easier it is to find the items you need at the biggest discounts. Cherry picking the sales from each store is simply delicious.
I try never to buy anything unless it’s discounted 30% or more, but typically shoot for savings in the 40% to 50% range. This allows me to shave thousands off my shopping bill every year.
Perhaps you’re asking, “What about the extra gas you’re going to use running to different stores?” Well to be honest the extra gas I spend is nearly insignificant.
In the competitive supermarket industry, many supermarket chains locate stores near their competitors, especially in mid-sized and large metropolitan areas. Where I shop, for instance, a Dominick’s is located directly across the street from a Jewel-Osco supermarket, with a Meijer grocery store just a few miles away.
Now admittedly if you live in an area where stores are few and far between, this tactic may not work for you. But, even in many smaller cities, different supermarket chains can be found within 5 to 10 miles of each other.
Considering that most cars get at least 20 miles per gallon, shopping an extra store or two could cost you a fraction of a gallon of gas, well worth the price of being able to cut your grocery bill by 30% or more.
What about the time it takes to stop at more than one store? To this question I answer, we have time to watch television, play video games, tweet and use Facebook. Surely we can find the time to save hard earned money.
If your grocery chains are in close proximity to each other, the extra time needed to achieve savings is greatly reduced. And, if you’re really concerned about time and gas, consider store surfing from the comfort of your own living room.
Purchase the Sunday paper to obtain the sales circulars from all the grocery chains in your area. Identify the best deals and then shop at a supermarket that accepts competitors’ sale prices.
Being faithful to one supermarket chain will cost you. To save serious cash it simply pays to shop around.
BMWK, how about you? What are some of the ways you save on groceries?
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