Perfectly Imperfect Family and Finances

A couples thoughts on faith, family, and finances

Comparison Shopping

Posted By on January 18, 2009

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It is now a great time to begin a comparison shopping campaign if you do not already have one in place.  Finding great deals is awesome, as well as commendable, but saving money on a regular basis is a far better endeavor.  Then when you combine the deals with the weekly strategies you come out way ahead.

One of the easiest items to comparison shop is groceries.  Since grocery stores abound, you can usually find the same quality of product at several locations within a few miles.  The interesting fact is that in some cases the “everyday” price of these items will vary greatly (we have seen up to 30% differences on several staple goods).  The idea is to find what products are the cheapest at which stores and purchase the items at the best price.

We have seen and read about many different ways to comparison shop, and there is not one that is superior to the others.  It is all a matter of personal taste.  Ways people comparison shop:

  1. Sales Papers– there are entire communities dedicated to this way of shopping.  If you look a little online you can probably find one for your area that will let you join free of charge.  The way they shop is by looking at the sales papers for the stores in there area, and then planning the weeks menu based on what is on sale for the week.  This is not a bad idea as long as you can make yourself conform to whatever is on sale that week.
  2. Price Books-we had honestly never noticed this until we read this tip.  Since then we have noticed a few people each week carrying a book with them and writing things down as they went.  While this works for some, for us (we try to get out asap to avoid impulse shopping)  it slows down the shopping process too much.  The few times we tried to shop this way, it slowed us down by an average of 20 minutes per trip-not worth it to us.
  3. Spread Sheets-This is not a perfect method, but it is the one we prefer.  We save our receipts (it took us around six weeks to get the all the items we use regularly) and then enter the data in a spread sheet.  We alternated where we bought items through various stores in our area for the six weeks listed until we got the information we needed.  Every week we enter in our receipts (takes about 5 minutes) and see where we stand.  The negative ti doing it this way is that you have to frequently either watch the prices and try to remember them, or alternate shop again (which causes a loss of money).  Luckily our savings have stayed steady, even through the price increases due to the high gas prices last year.

Just as an example, the store that has the best quality and price of meat for us has canned items (corn, peas, green beans, etc. that we use a lot of) for 89 cents a can.  Our second store just 2 miles away has the same cans for 41 cents a can.  Just this one area save us approximately $6 a week.

Comparison shopping is also great for other purchases, especially large ones, as well.  We have saved on our “normal” expenses by comparison shopping for prescriptions (seems almost everywhere has a local pharmacy, Wal-Mart, Kroger, CVS, and Walgreens competing for business), insurances, car maintenance items, etc.

A few considerations about comparison shopping:

  • Make sure the payout is worth it.  It is of no use to spend 12 hours comparison shopping and save 12 cents.
  • Consider all aspects when you compare.  I am mainly referring to appliances here, but I am sure other situations fit.  Consider the quality of the products you are comparing, the energy consumption, and warranty length of the product in question.
  • Make it a habit and you will usually get the best deal that is available to you.

Thanks for reading, and we hope that you have a great and wonderful day.

Do you comparison shop?  What method works best for you?  What is the most you have saved?

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4 Responses to “Comparison Shopping”

  1. Crystal says:

    I have never been able to keep up with a price list neither. I am not real crazy about a spreadsheet, so I guess I will just keep trying to use coupons for what I use the most often and keep an eye on the sales. Good article though.

  2. Joshua says:

    Thx for the valuable information.

  3. I found this article via a search engine and really enjoying reading! I will soon begin a health related career and can use all kinds of information! Thanks

  4. Hand Winch says:

    `”` I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives great information ‘`*

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