Comparing store ads, is it really that important?
While making a budget, grocery shopping meal planning, etc. one of the most used pieces of advice given, is to compare store ads.
But how many of us really do that?
It’s time consuming to compare ads between stores and they look practically identical.
Is this an outdated piece of advice?
Is it really worth it to compare store ads?
I wanted to see, so I did an experiment. Using 3 different stores.
Thanks to online grocery ordering options, I never had to set foot in a real store to compare prices.
Stores like Walmart, Kroger, and Safeway are all participants in ordering online and picking up at the store.
A feature that I personally enjoy when I can.
The downside is paying in full online, and I am a cash only type of person.
Anyways, Let me explain my experiment.
Using as similar of products as possible, I checked the prices at 3 different stores. The stores that I used were Walmart, Fred Meyer (a Kroger store for those who aren’t familiar) and Safeway.
I picked random items that could find their way into an average shopping cart.
- Whole Chicken (raw and uncooked) from the meat department.
- Broccoli Crowns from the produce department.
- 5lb bag of Russet potatoes from the produce department.
- 3lb log roll of ground beef 93%/7% from the meat department
- 16oz box of elbow noodles from the pantry section
- 1 quart almond milk, brand Almond Breeze (all 3 stores carried this brand) from the fridge section.
- 1 dozen large grade AA eggs, store brand.
I made a prediction before starting this little experiment that the Fred Meyers Store would come in as being the cheapest of the 3.
Keep reading to see the results of this test.
I’ve never been a big Walmart shopper, to me their prices have always been higher than I could get elsewhere with coupon. Plus the impulse buys as I walk past the home décor or kids toys jut don’t make for a very frugal shopping trip.
Safeway on the other hand, is close by my home, in fact its the closest grocery store in proximity. So I shop at it frequently.
First Up- Meat Department
Fred Meyers had the cheapest chicken and the most expensive ground beef.
So far we don’t have a clear winner. But Walmart is hanging on.
A 5lb bag of russet potatoes and a single pound of broccoli crowns. Using the cheapest bag of potatoes an non-organic broccoli. I also used regular retail price and did not take into consideration the current store sales that are reducing the prices.
Still no clear winner, but Safeway isn’t looking too good. Walmart is starting to step up their game with the prices though.
From the pantry section-
Last up, the dairy/fridge section-
The final results?!
Fred Meyer $29.74
I honestly, didn’t expect these results to favor Walmart.
While the price difference between these 3 stores is only $4.70. You can already see that stores aren’t priced equally.
When doing your shopping plans and trying to determine the store to use, consider the
Just because some items might be cheaper at one store, doesn’t mean that it’s a cheaper store overall.
Some store ads may show items priced lower than another store, to get you in to the door.
These are called loss leaders.
*Items that are sold for under what the store paid for them from the distributor, are called loss leaders. A ploy to get you in the door, because they know that you are more likely to buy other things at a market up price. It’s both genius, and disgusting.
So while the advice of comparing store ads before shopping still rings true, make sure you do so thoroughly.
Considering the sales, coupons, gas/points rewards and the time/distance to each store is a great idea.
Coupon deals for your store of choice can be easily found by simply searching on Google. “store name” + Coupon Match Up
Be educated on the coupon lingo used, and utilize the helpful references given on the site. This should help you maximize savings anywhere you choose to go!
Do you compare store ads when you shop?
Did you choose your store of choice because its cheaper? Closer, or more convenient?