Wednesday, January 27, 2016

My 5 Favorite Stores to Shop to Reduce Grocery Spending

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

It's Wednesday so it's time to link up with Five Faves over at The Big White Farmhouse.

Does it matter where you shop for groceries?   I believe it does!  Here are my five favorite places to shop for groceries on a budget.

1.  Local scratch and dent / surplus / salvage / closeout  stores.   There are some chains in parts of the country (Sharp Shopper in Virginia, for instance -- the chains often have higher prices than a local store).  This is my FAVORITE place to shop on a budget, but you often really have to watch best by dates.  There's a grocery closeout store run by the Amish near where I live, and sometimes you can find great deals, and other times, stuff is really past dated.  I buy what I can there and fill in around the edges.  There is very limited produce here, sometimes only tomatoes if that.  They don't accept coupons of any type, but the prices are fantastic.  Sometimes as low as 50 cents for a can of Progresso Soup or $1 for a box of cereal.  A problem with shopping here is they will get new stuff on a daily basis, and once stuff is sold it's sold.  It's tempting to buy a lot of one item, and then not get around to using it all before it goes bad.  That is NOT a savings.

2.  Aldi.  I think everyone has heard of the place you have to "rent" a cart (you put 25 cents in for a cart and then get it back when you return it.)  You have to bring your own bags here, but the prices are good.  There's a better overall selection than a scratch and dent store, but you won't find tons of brand names, nor will you find lots of varieties of any one item.  If you have a more specialized diet, it might be difficult to shop here.  (My mother had to have a low sodium, low potassium diet and I had a difficult time finding things at some stores she could eat, and Aldi would be one.)  But I love their produce section!  (Do not confuse Aldi with Save-A-Lot.  I often see prices higher at Save-a-lot than at Walmart, and I think the quality is lower.)  Aldi is the store to go to!

3.  Kroger!  Of "traditional" grocery stores this is my favorite.  They readily accept coupons, they have great offers with their Kroger card (be sure and utilize digital coupons!)  You can set your Kroger card up to give back to charity (why not, it only takes a couple minutes and you're set up forever, and help out a school or community organization.  I donated almost $6 without even thinking about it last quarter.  I have mine set up to go to an extremely rural school in West Virginia that has only 140 students), Ibotta savings,  Savingstar, fuel perks, and a credit card that offers extra cash back when shopping at a grocery store, and it's easy to see why Kroger is my favorite traditional grocery store.  (In one recent shopping trip, I spent $128.15, saved $206.27, and got $1 back with Ibotta, and $9.26 back with SavingStar)
.  I figure they can use the money.)  Kroger has free Friday downloads where you can get one free item a week through their digital coupons, and a few times a year they have stock up sales where you might get $10 off for buying 10 participating products.  Combine that with coupons,

4.  Walmart.   I'm not a huge fan of Wal-mart, but there are a few things that I can't get at the above places.  For instance, the only place I can find Jimmy Dean turkey breakfast sausage is Walmart.  I also live an hour from my closest Kroger, so I only get there once or twice a month.  I also use the Walmart Savings Catcher.  Because of my rural area, there are few stores it compares on my receipt, but it only takes a second.  If I live in a more populated area I'm sure I'd get more money back from it, but the only stores it compares for lower priced items for me are drugstores, and dollar stores.  My Walmarts are very bad about accepting coupons, and the coupon policy changes depending on what cashier you get and what manager is on duty.  I've been told that I can't use totally free item coupons, more than one like coupon (say I'm buying two boxes of Cheerios, I couldn't use two coupons, but would be limited to one.) and more stuff that goes against the corporate coupon policy.   I used to carry a copy of the coupon policy with me, but the cashier, CSM or manager would would make up a story about how that wasn't THEIR policy.  Yet, unless I want to travel for an hour each way, this is where I have to pick up some stuff.

5.  Amazon.  Yes really!  You have to watch prices on items, especially food items, but this is often the cheapest place to get household items and health and beauty aids.  I have been able to find things on Amazon that were impossible for me to find in stores (remember the low sodium diet I mentioned my mother was on?  I found a number of no salt added items on Amazon I couldn't find at Wal-mart or Kroger.)  Amazon is my go-to for trash bags, dishwasher tablets, facial wash, and more.  Years ago I switched to using Swagbucks as my search engine and have earned hundreds of dollars of Amazon certificates for doing what I normally would be doing online.  In fact, I have one I can cash in right now, but haven't yet.  When you use the certificates you earn from your everyday web searches, you can save even more on your order.  Having Amazon Prime has a whole host of benefits, and it seems like these days people focus on the streaming video and forget that there is free two day shipping for prime members no matter the size of your order.  They also have a Prime Pantry grocery area, which I think is more expensive than shopping the regular site, but if you have enough Amazon cards you earned for free, it is another way you can save.

Your milage may vary depending on what stores are in your area, but for me, these are my go-to stores!


  1. Sav-a-lot is about the cheapest I've foumd. And also dollar General has some good prices

  2. That's really interesting. Our Save-A-Lot is a few cents higher than our Walmart or our Kroger. Those pennies add up!

  3. I saw this link yesterday in my feed and thought you might like it!

    Carrie is a friend of mine and I'm heartened to see that she has an ALDI cookbook.

  4. Thanks for the shopping tips! Everyone likes to save money!