Monday, August 27, 2007

My Grocery Experiment

I have always done my grocery shopping at Wal-Mart. But, I have been growing weary of both the experience of the trip and the quality of the food available. So, I decided to conduct a little experiment this week.

There is another local grocery store that I always enjoy going in ~ you guessed it ~ less convenient and more expensive. I decided to do my grocery shopping there with the goal of spending the same amount I would have at Wal-Mart.

I prayed about it on the way over because I felt kind of guilty even trying it. What if it was so much more expensive that our money did not stretch as far? Was it worth the extra 15 minutes each way?

We pulled in and Emily spied her favorite kind of cart - you know the kind with the little car on front that she can sit in and steer?! So, she was excited right off the bat. Lots of retired people were shopping this particular morning and many stopped to talk to the girls and admire them. Every employee we encountered was friendly and helpful.

I found that some of their sale prices on name brand items were cheaper than the Wal-Mart brand comparable item. I looked for the best deals I could get. I even felt like it was such a provision when I found a "Try Me Free" bag of chicken!

In the end - I got everything I went in for (minus one item they did not carry) and my total was $4.00 less than my grocery budget for two weeks! I was thrilled.

The clerk helping bag my groceries did not ask if I needed help out - she just informed me that she was going to help me out. And, while I put the groceries in the car, she stood and held Rachel and both of them had a wonderful time smiling and giggling together. Who knows what a blessing that may have been in her day as well!

My conclusion is that while some items were a bit more expensive, others were less expensive on sale. And, the overall shopping experience was vastly more enjoyable. The girls were happy and pleasant when we left as well. The food is better quality and their produce is gorgeous! So, I left a very happy shopper who can't wait to go grocery shopping again!


Grace said...

I am soooo pleased that you had such a good experience. Grocery shopping has become such a chore to me lately. Good for you in trying your experiment and achieving your goal. Is this the grocery store that was close to my old house?

MyHeartIsAlwaysHome said...

I am glad your experiment turned out well. It is very frustrating to leave the store feeling frazzled!

veronica said...

This is my first time commenting but this post called me to do it.

I have a wonderful local grocery store that I just adore, practically around the corner from me. WalMart is an extra 15 min. away. I have found by stocking up on sales, being diligent with coupons (they double cpns), and sticking to my list that it also comes out comparable or cheaper than WalMart. Plus I don't have to face the crowds, lines, and I get more personalized service.

I posted an experience that I'm pretty certain wouldn't have happened at my WM on my blog here.

This makes it all the more worthwhile.

Now, I'm not against WM in general, I'm just for my sanity ;)

Anonymous said...

When you consider overall value, I'd say you got your money's worth!
Love you, Mom

Amy said...

That is wonderful, Monica! It is all about the little things when you are home with your kids. I am glad that it worked out for you!

BTW- I used that same clip art last week. Great minds think alike ;)

Day by Day said...

We just went to Wally World last night. Every time we are just so dismayed. I too have have a local grocery store that produces a smile on my face as I leave. This is such a blessing to busy moms and precious children. Keep up the good work in your diligence. :)

Meredith said...

You already know I am a loyal Harris-Teeter customer.

Luckily, the nice atmosphere there is matched by great loss leaders and even better coupon policies.

Last night I realized that my favorite part of shopping there is not having to unload your groceries at the checkout. YOu pull your cart up, and the checker does it for you.

That little bit of ease goes a LONG way when you have two squirmy kids and a wallet to manage!

Rose said...

I'm not surprised to hear your report! I've heard people insist that shopping at Walmart is the cheapest way to buy groceries, and I'm afraid that they're only seeing part of the picture.

In my experience, Walmart's "everyday low" price on most brand-name items IS a little cheaper than most grocery stores' everyday prices on that same brand. However, I've found that Kroger store brand stuff is usually cheaper than Walmart's store brand. Since I usually buy generic anyway, it's definitely cheaper to shop at my grocery store.

Moreover, the grocery stores often run sales wherein the price on a brand-name item is actually cheaper than Walmart's. Since Walmart doesn't actually have weekly sales, just random price rollbacks, if you follow the ads you can easily come out ahead by shopping at grocery stores even on brand-name items. Kroger and Publix automatically double manufacturers coupons up to $0.50, so if you do coupons and watch for sales you can really see the difference.

I guess the people who insist that Walmart is the cheapest are those who can't be bothered to watch the sales and who dislike the store brand. And if that's their preference, then it definitely makes sense to consolidate all their shopping at Walmart. I'm glad to hear how the comparison worked out for you, though! =)

thehomespunheart said...

Grace - YES! This is the store that was right near your house! :)

Thanks for all your great comments.

Is this true that Publix doubles coupons? I hadn't heard that, and that is the store that I went to!

Christine said...

I am so glad for you that your experiment went well! I really enjoy your blog; we have a lot in common. I love the Mitford series, too! I am reading the first one and I really am enjoying it! Blessings!

Anonymous said...

I have also felt the same way about going to Wal mart. It is funny to see your post on it today because after moving here 3 months ago I began looking around at what other grocery stores might offer and did some comparing. After looking around I found a better shopping experince at a different grocery store, which happens to be a lttle closer than wal mart. I also like the personal touch of some one helping me out to my car when I have 3 children with me.
Thanks for sharing.

It's a Mom Thing said...

So glad this worked for you Monica. I'm starting to feel the same way about WalMart. Plus the fact that out of 30+ check out lanes, only two are ever open. I do love Publix, and might have to try your little experiment for myself. Their bakery and produce section are far superior! Also, we have a new store called Bloom that I've been to serveral times recently. It's lovely as well.

Mrs. Pear said...

Blessings to you!

There is always something to be said for praying for God's provision as we shop.

I am really trying hard to develop the habit of seeking God's help and opinion even starting with my menu planning and list making!

We do not have a discount grocer near us, so I shop at the more expensive stores and cherry pick the sales. We do very well that way!

Thank for sharing your shopping experience!

Lynn Marie said...

I live in the country and there are not a lot of choices when it comes to grocery stores. the Super Wal Mart is a a good 30 minutes away so local is what I do. I find that if I shop at certain times, there are special savings. One store offers special savings for the "Morning people" who are at the store when it opens at 7am. Since I'm a morning person and no longer have small children at home, I hit the store by 6:50 am talk to the other ladies also waiting in line. When the doors open, the specials are there for us to take advantage of. It's a nice way to start the shopping day. Fresh coffee, a muffin and ground beef for .99/lb. Starts my day off right!

Paige said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Ann said...

I rarely shop at Wal-mart anymore. I always have a better experience elsewhere. And I spend the same amount of money!:-) We don't have a Publix but we have Harris Teeter and Lowe's Foods that run great sales, double (sometimes triple!) coupons and have beautiful fresh produce and meats as well as marked down racks. I have an Aldi's close by which I use for a lot of my staple items. It's not as nice but I like that it is small and easy to get what you need. Great post!

Anonymous said...

I've never commented on your blog, but have been lurking and enjoying for quite awhile. I have to agree that Walmart does not offer a good shopping experience and I dont even have children to tend to while shopping. They have many many lanes and only a couple are open with checkers-the other's are self check. After taking the time to shop I dont want to check/price check, load, unload,bag,load groceries back into the cart, then into my car, then into my home, then into my cupboards. I'm glad you blogged about this. It is a subject near and dear to my heart for quite sometime now!

Jammy said...

I so know what you are talking about. I dreadingly wade thru the 'ghetto' shopping store, fumble for a quarter to use a cart, pick thru shady produce sometimes, and bag my own groceries just to save a buck. Sad part is that I save a LOT, but it is so not enjoyable. I am very intrigued that you were able to go to a leading grocery store and actually SAVE. LOL I need to learn your trick, then again it may be the area? We are in MA.

Joy@Joy in the Journey said...

Well, unfortunately, I do not have a choice for my grocery shopping...and I always dread it. Isn't that terrible?
I'm so glad that you were able to find an enjoyable experience, and it didn't cost any more!!

Anonymous said...

I am guessing that you went to Publix. I am always so pleased with the service there even though I don't shop there as often. I think the same people that train them train the Chick-Fil-A workers as well. Wonderful service all around! Wal-Mart on the other hand...ugh!

Paige said...

I had a Publix in Albany GA years ago and loved it, their generics were the best and their baby program was phenominal. Great for diaper coupons AND a free book on caring for your child that I STILL reference! (that was 10 years ago)
I don't have Publix here, but I have Aldi's which makes shopping VERY cheap but not really fun. My little town isn't big enough to hold a "fun" and "peaceful" place. Not yet anyway.

Revee said...

I too have found that the nicer grocery stores in our area are less expensive than Wal-mart.

Carrie said...

That is so cool!
I, too, have not been pleased with walmart lately. So, this weekend, we went to 3 different stores just to avoid that place LOL But we spent waaaaaay less money. Sometimes the inconvenience is worth it.
God bless :)

Rose said...

Hi Monica!

Regarding your question on Publix doubling coupons, I don't know if that's a universal store policy or at the discretion of each manager. I just popped over to their website and couldn't find anything on it, but then, I didn't look very hard. All I know is that the Publix stores in the Atlanta area definitely do double coupons up to $0.50. (But if the coupon is for $0.55, they won't double it at all, which is a bother, because I would surely love to get $1.50 off from a $1.00 coupon!)

You may want to ask. It's possible that they keep the policy low-key. I know that the doubling rings up automatically at Kroger, all the time, but I sometimes have to request it at Publix. Because they don't have self-check kiosks, it's possible that it's a manual feature that a clerk has to be reminded or asked to key in. Just a theory!

MommySecrets said...

Oh, I miss my Publix. Friendly, clean, helpful, great selection, and yes, the great kids' carts. My new hometown doesn't have one.

I found that I could stock up on deals at Publix. Then I bought staple items at a monthly trip to Aldi/Walmart.

Anonymous said...

I haven't shopped WM in years and will not go back due to strong convictions regarding some of their policies. I really appreciate Publix. They post their sale paper online so I go through it at home and make my list. There really aren't that many items in a grocery store that we really "need" so we save a lot of money by buying simple foods. They have tremendous BOGO deals and on Mondays they have a free mystery item - used to be you needed a coupon from the Sunday paper to get it but now you can just ask and they gladly give it to you with your $10 purchase. AND they cover the magazines that are offensive, unlike BiLo. I could go on and on. Recently I have been persistent regarding getting their music back to something unoffensive. I told them it was starting to sound like WalMart. They do want to please and they are so friendly and helpful. I also shop Aldie for basics. Two pounds of split peas at Aldie was 99 cents compared to one pound at Publix for 1.09 - so you just have to keep track of those things.

Anonymous said...

I try to get my groceries at the local walmart but the super w-mart that has the produce and meat is much further away so many times I end up in Publix which is like 2 minutes away. My girls also adore the car buggies and the bakery gives the kids a free cookie and believe you me my 2 year old remembers-lol
About the free chicken..... what brand or type was it? I would love free meat!

thehomespunheart said...

The free meat was a bag of frozen Flame Roasted Chicken Breasts made by Fast Classics. Hope you can find it too! :)