Saving You Money: Comparing Grocery Store Prices

We are all looking for ways to save an extra buck, but it's no secret saving is not always easy.

So, I've been looking for cost-cutting methods to keep cash in your wallet.

One method that is easy and rewarding is price comparing. I wanted to put it to the test at a place most of us frequent at least once a week, the grocery store. I shopped at four local super markets to find out where you can find the best deals on items we all use the most.

The cost of food isn't what it used to be. According to the United States Department of Labor the cost of groceries rose 6.6 percent in 2008, and your bank account has probably noticed the difference.

So, how do we make sure every penny counts?

Experts say one of the easiest ways is to compare prices.

So, that's what I did.

I went to four local grocery store: Albertsons, HEB, Kroger and Wal-Mart.

I bought the same items at each store: A 28 ounce jar of Creamy Jif Peanut Butter, a loaf of Nature's Own 100-percent whole wheat bread, a package of 16 Kraft Singles, a gallon of the store brand 1 percent milk, a 12 ounce box of Corn Flakes, and a dozen large eggs.

I started out at Albertson's on University in College Station. The total bill was $18.84.

I saved a little more than a dollar at the Kroger on Boonville. I dished out $17.33 for the six items.

I was pleasantly surprised at the HEB on Texas. The total bill was $14.65. Plus, the store didn't have a 12 ounce box of Corn Flakes in stock so I bought an 18 ounce box, and still spent less.

My last stop was the Wal-Mart in Bryan and the store held up to its slogan of saving you money. My grocery bill totaled $14.20.
That's $4.64 less than what I spent at Albertsons, but only a few cents less than what I dished out at HEB.

I didn't use coupons during my grocery shopping spree or store saving cards, and if one of the items was on sale-I called it luck. That only happened once. The cheese was on sale at Albertsons, but the product was still more expensive than what I found at HEB and Wal-Mart.

Sometimes the price of convenience outweighs the price of an item, but price comparing will save you money.

I know not all of us buy the same items every week, but if you bought these six specific items every week for a year and you shopped at Wal-Mart, which ended up being the cheapest of the four stores, you would save about $241 a year.

Here's what the items cost at each store

Wal-Mart ($14.20 total bill)
1 package of 16 Kraft Singles $2.46
1 dozen large eggs $1.28
1 loaf of Nature's Own 100 percent whole wheat bread $2.58
12 oz box Corn Flakes $2.18
8 oz jar creamy Jif Peanut Butter $3.22
1 gallon store-brand 1 percent milk $2.48

HEB ($14.65 total bill)
1 package of 16 Kraft Singles $1.99
1 dozen large eggs $1.46
1 loaf of Nature's Own 100 percent whole wheat bread $2.54
18 oz box Corn Flakes $2.57
8 oz jar creamy Jif Peanut Butter $3.09
1 gallon store-brand 1 percent milk $3.00

Kroger ($17.33 total bill)
1 package of 16 Kraft Singles $3.69
1 dozen large eggs $1.57
1 loaf of Nature's Own 100 percent whole wheat bread $2.69
12 oz box Corn Flakes $2.60
8 oz jar creamy Jif Peanut Butter $3.79
1 gallon store-brand 1 percent milk $2.99

Albertsons ($18.84)
1 package of 16 Kraft Singles $2.99
1 dozen large eggs $1.99
1 loaf of Nature's Own 100 percent whole wheat bread $2.69
12 oz box Corn Flakes $3.19
8 oz jar creamy Jif Peanut Butter $4.19
1 gallon store-brand 1 percent milk $3.79

Here are some more tips when grocery store shopping:
1. Plan your menu for the entire week
2. Clip coupons
3. Look for specials
4. Buy bulk on items you use regularly like toilet paper and paper towels
5. Buy store brands instead of name brands
6. Stick to your list, so you don't impulse buy
7. Leave children at home. This prevents them from coaxing you into buying something not on your list.


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