Getting good deals on groceries is important to Georgians, and they’re willing to put some effort into finding them.
A Georgia Credit Union Affiliates survey of more than 3,400 consumers shows Georgians are actively strategizing to save money at grocery stores. About 59 percent clip printed coupons while 44 percent scroll through digital ones.
Another 49 percent of shoppers will comparison shop before putting an item in their cart and 54 percent will stock up on that item if the deal is good enough.
In fact, deals may dictate whether consumers show up to a store at all. About 75 percent of shoppers said they check store deals before heading out to get their groceries.
Sometimes, those consumers will check more than one store – and they’re switching up where they shop based on what they find. About 52 percent of respondents indicated they do research before shopping and hit multiple stores depending on the sales at each. The other 48 percent say they stay loyal to one grocery store or chain.
That may seem like a small margin, but it highlights a trend that national grocery store experts have noticed over the past few years. Americans used to remain largely loyal to one main grocery store. But in the age of rapid communication and multiple options, that’s been shifting. In a 2014 presentation discussing national grocery shopping trends, the Food Marketing Institute noted, “loyalty to a single ‘primary store’ is giving way to a diversity of stores.”
FMI’s 2017 report showed that same trend and said shoppers with no primary store were spreading their money across traditional supermarkets, natural and organic stores, ethnic groceries and online-only retailers.
Consumers’ desire to save money is leading that shift. According to a Nielson Global E-Commerce and New Retail Report, 72 percent of North Americans say store prices can drive them to switch up where they shop.
- Tips for Finding the Best Deals on Groceries:
- Plan meals according to what’s on sale. Research the best deals on groceries before you plan the week’s meals. First, determine what you already have on hand. Then, scan your potential grocery stores for deals on protein, which is going to be the most expensive part of your meals. Next, be on the lookout for good deals on potential side dishes. Lastly, stock up on pantry staples when they’re on sale.
- Make a price book. Make a binder with sections for the stores you frequent most often and keep track of how much the usual things you buy cost at each store. That way, you’ll know which stores have the best prices in general on what items and you’ll be able to identify a great deal and stock up when it comes along.
- Be loyal to where you get the best value. If you’re shopping at one store because it’s closest to your house, you may not be getting the best value. Use your price book to determine which stores consistently give you the best prices. Also, pay attention to the quality you get for those prices. It doesn’t much matter if you’re paying pennies for produce if it’s not fresh or goes bad quickly. Factor both price and quality into deciding which stores give you the best value.
- Learn how to maximize your coupons. Use coupons for items you only would have purchased, anyway. Don’t buy something not on your list just because you found a great coupon. Many brands and chain stores offer digital coupons, which can help consumers hone in on which coupons they want based on what they’re already looking to buy. Shoppers can search sites like coupons.com by category to help find the most useful coupons for them.
- Use technology to compare. Some chain stores show grocery prices on their websites, but this isn’t consistent across the board. However, websites like My Grocery Deals and Deals to Meals allow you to build a grocery list. The sites will use your list to find the best deals across multiple stores. Deals to Meals allows customers to create a weekly meal plan based on local deals, too. Try to use these tools before heading to the store.
Don Hill, CEO of Memorial Health Credit Union based in Savannah, Ga., said Georgia credit unions understand their members desire to save on food essentials.
“Everyone likes saving money on groceries – we buy them every month,” Hill said. “Stocking up on staples when they are on sale is one great way to do so. Having a list and sticking to it is good advice.”
But Hill said credit unions also understand that sometimes its members need a little more help with their grocery shopping budget.
“Like most Americans, many credit union members live paycheck to paycheck,” he said. “Many times they have to choose between paying the electric bill or buying groceries this week.”
Your local credit union can help.
“Credit union officials pride ourselves for being there for our members during these ‘emergency’ situations,” Hill said. “It is during these times that we try to help our members with budgeting so they are not faced with that difficult choice again. Members know they can count on their credit union, no matter the situation.”