Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I Hate Grocery Shopping

I have never ever enjoyed grocery shopping.  In fact, grocery shopping is my least favorite chore.  As a result, I generally refuse to grocery shop and that chore has become Mr. Sam's responsibility.  He has learned over the 6 years of marriage and the 8 years of cohabitation that if he wants to eat he has to do the shopping.  Similarly, I've learned that Mr. Sam hates to pay bills and if I want the bills paid I've got to pay them.  Marriage - divide and conquer.

Being that Mr. Sam has been deep into renovations and projects at Rental # 3, he has been slacking on his grocery responsibilities.  And, being that it is Halloween, I figured I needed to at least swing by the grocery store and pick up some candy for the kids.  And, if I was stopping by to pick up candy, I might as well pick up a few things.

Reason # 1 that I hate the grocery store, a few things turns into a $150 in groceries.  And really, I only picked up a few things, fruit, salad stuff, milk, juice, cereal, bread, bagels, cheese, sandwich meat, peanut butter, cream cheese, butter, a few frozen dinners (for my lunches), yogurt, beer and the aforementioned candy.  Honestly, I have no idea how a few things, plus Halloween candy, can turn into $150.

I'm sure if I were a regular shopper I would have a better handle on what things cost or should cost at the grocery store.  And, I further recognize that it is certainly cheaper to buy my lunches at the grocery store than order in at $10-$12 on a daily basis.

Reason # 2 that I hate the grocery store, it is close to impossible to be an informed shopper.  It is difficult and time consuming to compare prices among similar products.  The prices on products change from week to week.  The sizes for items are not standard, you have to study the little per ounce shelf tags to try and get a realistic sense of pricing.

Reason # 3 that I hate the grocery store, the pricing game.  There are special prices for people with savings cards and the like.  Ugh, I hate those cards and I don't use them.  If I shop at Publix, which I prefer, then I don't have to worry about the preferred shopper game.  But, I was at Winn Dixie which utilizes a customer reward card which just adds a whole extra level of pricing complications.  As I mentioned, I'm not a fan of customer cards, I don't use them but Mr. Sam has a Winn Dixie reward card and I figured I would take advantage of it.

Now, I don't go out of the way to buy certain products because they are on special, but if I was already buying a product I might opt for the one that is on special and that is what I did last night.  I am a fan of the  Chobani greek yogurt and I often eat the non-fat varieties for breakfast or afternoon snack.  I noticed Winn Dixie was running a special, buy 10 Chobani yogurts and they would be a $1 each.  I made sure to select 10 to get the deal.  I also opted for a buy one get one free on bagels and a three for something special on the sandwich meat.

And, therein lies the problem, by the time I get to checkout I can't recall or keep track of the various specials I'm trying to take advantage of.  The only specific special that I remembered at checkout was the yogurt and can you guess what happened at check out?  The cashier rings them each through and I'm watching and seeing that the ring up at $1.34 each.  I'm thinking that maybe the price will be adjusted when all 10 are rung up since the special required me to purchase 10.  And, drum roll, nope didn't work.  So then I'm that person telling the cashier that I'm not getting the special price and she has to call a supervisor over, she has to void all 10 and then just ring them through as a flat $10.

I find the whole process extraordinarily annoying, and I have no idea if I was charged the correct price on the bagels or the sandwich meat.

One of our general goals for 2012 was to reduce our eating out and ordering in costs by doing more grocery shopping.  I can't say that I have been particular successful this year, because I can't seem to improve my grocery store experience.

How about you, who does the shopping in your home, do you have a system for making it less painful, do you have a deals and savings system?  Please share, I need to learn your tricks.  


Dwight Groves said...

I will easily admit that I am not the best at grocery shopping and I feel that cutting coupons every Sunday is too much effort. However, I guess, if you could put the time and effort it into it: it could and would result in substantial savings.

Since, I go grocery shopping so infrequently I did now know what advice to give; however, I have an inability to not comment on a post. The best advice I read online is to set a menu plan, write a list (stick to the list) and do not shop on an empty stomach. There are a ton of tips on the web about cutting coupons (like this one - or tips on how to be a better grocery shopper (like this one here:

To stop rambling: I do the grocery shopping for my household but, I typically purchase the same items and I know, from previous trips, the relative pricing of each item. I shop at HEB and I will pick up their store brand because the quality is the same (it can be better) and the price is usually cheaper. I do look at the pricing per the unit size and will buy a larger or smaller size depending on how the pricing is set. It takes practice and a deep commitment to the list/menu plans.

The last thing: I know (I have convinced myself to believe) that grocery shopping is a fixed cost each month and that their are more profitable/productive ways to spend my time than trying to get the best price on every grocery item that goes into the basket. However, I also believe that eating well equates to living well and that I am saving money by grocery shopping instead of eating out.

Great post and I hope y'all have a happy Halloween,

Jim R said...

I do most of the shopping in our house. My wife sometimes makes trips to get misc. things but I take care of the bulk of it. Personally I've settled on simply sticking to one store that has most of what we want at fairly reasonable prices. I could save more by running around between stores but thats a hassle and time sink. I could shop only at the cheapest store but they don't have all the selection of things we want. So I stick to one store primarily and then at least watch for their sale prices and stock up when things are on sale. My biggest hassle with shopping is the few misc. items that our store doesn't have that I have to make separate trips for or the occasional trips to Costco for specific items that are just too cheap to pass up. That adds extra trips that are annoying to juggle. I don't like to go to multiple stores on one trip and then have perishable groceries sitting in my car in the hot sun.