Grocery shopping a game to find best prices

Posted on May 17, 2018 :: Web Exclusive.
Posted by of Insight Publications

As Meijer debuts today in Grand Chute, here’s a column I wrote that ran in the May issue of Insight along with my story about the business of grocery stores.

Growing up, my mom bought groceries at two different stores depending what was on sale. My, how times have changed. In any given week, I can easily visit three grocery stores, plus purchase food at Target or online on Amazon (giant chip variety bags, I’m looking at you) and buy milk and eggs at the nearby Kwik Trip.

The reason for all the trips? To save money.

Grocery store expert David Livingston, managing partner of DJL Research in Pewaukee, says I am not unique. “Consumers are changing the way they shop,” he says, adding shoppers want good deals and grocers need to respond.

With two teenagers, I am always on the lookout to save money on food, especially since we seem to go through so much of it. The cluster of retailers selling groceries in east Appleton/Darboy means I do not waste too much time or gas scouting for the best deal.

I will admit my husband looks at me funny when I come home with items from three different stores, but thanks to experience and the internet, I know which store has the best price on what our family uses on a regular basis. As long as I have my list in hand, I can visit Pick ‘n Save, Aldi and Festival Foods in just over an hour.

I am definitely not alone. Social media, and Facebook especially, has allowed coupon clippers and bargain hunters to share deals and information. One page I follow has links to the coupons mentioned and explains exactly how to get the deal. (Of course, these websites earn a small amount of money when I click on their links due to affiliate programs with retailers and food merchandisers, but I do not mind.)

The internet has also changed shopping since it allows people to go out and find the coupons they want instead of waiting for the Sunday newspaper to arrive. And let’s be honest, the number of coupons in the paper has declined. Companies also appeal directly to consumers through their own social media accounts and websites and provide coupons and free samples.

When I heard Meijer was building a store in Grand Chute, I was excited since I could see online the great deals they offered at stores in Howard and in the Milwaukee area. The location is not that convenient for me, but I will likely check it out and see if the deals warrant a longer drive. Sometimes, time is more precious than money.