5 Ways to Check On and Off Base Prices for Grocery Items

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Ways to Check On and Off Base Prices for Grocery Items - USAA Member Community

 

Where can I find the best prices for grocery store items? An easy question that is very, very difficult to answer. The best way to establish where the best prices are is to create a plan to discover the best prices and then follow that plan with regular checkups. It is vital to remember that low prices do not always mean a great, recommendable, or even a consistent retail experience. Pricing needs to be kept in mind with the quality of the retailer, the geographic location of the store, the ease of getting to the store when you need to get there, and the retail image and “shop-ability” of the store to make it easy to find your items.

 

Here are five easy to follow steps to determine how to find the best prices for your consistent items.

 

  1. What Are Your Regular Purchases & Most Expensive Items.  Create a list ranked by total spend on your top 30 regularly purchased Grocery store items. Get your receipts from the last 2-3 months to provide the details. The total spend is calculated by the number of items purchased multiplied by the retail price of the item. You can use Excel or another spreadsheet program to help with this because what you want to determine is the precise total spend on your top items. If you save on your top, regularly purchased items, then you save the most over the long term.

    Here is an example:

    Quantity            Size                  Item Name                         Retail Price            Total Spend
         2                 64 oz.         Super Suds Detergent                   $7.50                      $15.00

    Your list should then rank order, from the highest spend to the smallest spend, your top 30 regularly purchased grocery store items.

  2. Take Your List to 2 Stores + The Commissary.  Next, take your list to two off base stores + the Base Commissary. Find the exact product matches and the correct product size matches for your top 30 items. Record all the prices in the spreadsheet. While you are in each store, assess the “shop-ability,” ease of entry and exit from the parking lot, and all those “little” factors that make for a great retail experience.

  3. Beware the Limitations of Just Price.  If you love produce, fresh meat, and unique seafood, then price alone will be little assistance to help you make a choice of grocery store based on savings. We have a grocery store close to my house that I absolutely love. The prices are a bit more, but the store is small, very well run, the staff is great, and we always run into neighbors, so it is a great retail experience. Finally, some stores change their prices more frequently than others, which can make price comparisons harder.

  4. Compare Three Store Prices & Calculate the Savings. Now, based on your top 30 purchase items, you can calculate and compare your savings. First, determine which store is the best overall based on your usual purchase items and quantities. Next, are there any major savings differences between items? If you can find 10 or more items that you purchase each week that offer significant savings, then it may make sense to divide your grocery runs into two stores. The store that gives you the best overall savings on your top 30 items can be your top choice.

  5. Make a Decision & “Protect” Your Savings.  The final step is to make a decision. If you find that you will only save a minimal amount in an off-base store vs. the base commissary, then stay on base. The hassle of driving on and off base through security alone makes any savings negligible. Next, factor in the store’s “shop-ability” and retail atmosphere. Again, if one store is only slightly better savings, and the store you prefer for the retail experience is better, then chose that one. The vital factor is to make sure you know and compare prices and you make an informed choice in your grocery purchases. If you determine how to save $30/Week or $30/Month, then take steps to make sure that savings stays with you. Increase your investments; put more money into savings, or an additional payment amount on credit card debt. 

The best way to establish where the best prices are is to create a plan to discover the best prices and then follow that plan. It is vital to remember that low prices do not always mean a great or even a consistent retail experience. The quality of the retailer, the geographic location of the store, the ease of getting to the store when you need to get there, and the retail image and “shop-ability” of the store are critical to having an enjoyable shopping experience.

 

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About the blogger:
Chad Storlie is the author of two books: Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and Battlefield to Business Success. Both books teach how to translate and apply military skills to business. An adjunct Lecturer of Marketing at Creighton University and Bellevue University in Omaha, NE. Chad is a retired US Army Special Forces officer with 20+ years of Active and Reserve service in infantry, Special Forces, and joint headquarters units. He served in Iraq, Bosnia, Korea, and throughout the United States. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Special Forces Tab, and the Ranger Tab. In addition to teaching, he is a mid-level marketing executive and has worked in marketing and sales roles for various companies, including General Electric, Comcast, and Manugistics. He has been published in The Harvard Business Review blog, Business Week Online, Forbes, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, and over 40 other publications. He has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.

 

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