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July 08, 2010


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I always look at the savings to see if it is worth the extra time and drive. Of course I can hit all 3 of the local grocery stores and 3 major drug stores (Rite Aid, CVS, & Walgreens) in one trip- all within about 5 miles of my house.

If you do most of your planning at home, then it shouldn't take a lot of extra time to hit all the stores.

If you can make the trips part of your ordinary routine or combine the trips to all the stores into a convenient "loop", both the time and mileage are minimized. There are actually two different locations of one of my favorite "coupon" stores on the way home from work, so it's easy for me to just make a quick stop, and I'm only out a few minutes extra added to my commute.

I shop two grocery stores and 1 drug store. They are all close, and I work them into other trips, so I think I save more than the inconvenience and extra gas might cost. I don't understand how shopping once a month can work better than weekly. Aren't you missing all the great loss leaders each week? Don't you have to go weekly anyway for fresh produce, dairy and maybe meat (I guess you could freeze the meat)? I don't think I could do meal planning for a month and shop once without forgetting stuff or having stuff spoil before I could use it. I should read more about it.

The savings really are that great if you check all the ads and match up the coupons to combine with the deals offered at each store. The additional gas and time where I live is negligible as the stores are close to each other. Most importantly, I actually enjoy grocery shopping and find it relaxing--so there's some degree of satisfaction that can't be quantified objectively from what some view as an undesirable chore.

We also rent Redbox movies, and most of the stores I frequent have their machines. So if I rent from grocery store A on a Saturday, I'll make sure to return it to grocery store B on a Sunday. That gives me access to two stores within one weekly ad cycle without making an additional trip. I realize that on-demand movies and Netflix means not having to make any trips (let alone two) to watch the movie of my choice, but this too I find relaxing.

I suppose that if grocery shopping were truly cutting into my ability to bill $300/hour (if I had that sort of job), I might think differently about hitting multiple stores to save a few dollars.

unless you have absolutely nothing "better" to do with your time, this routine is a waste of time (or getting paid very little for your time). as long as you shop at reasonably priced stores, the difference in saving vs. overspending in my opinion and experiences is inconsequential. with continuing downward pressure on prices (increased competition and diminishing consumer power), grocery stores are constantly marking down items across the shelf. i'd rather spend my time creating new streams of income. it's a trade off between saving my way to wealth, or creating additional streams of wealth.

i would rather save the time than the money. I really cannot see myself moving from one store to another going math in my head so that i can get the best deal for food. I would rather save the time shopping and then get home really fast work for the extra time on my online biz and get more cash. This is either a weakness or a strength; haven't really figured out which

Call me a wild spendthrift, but I don't see saving $744 a year as either worth it or a big deal. Why not take it another step and multiply it by 10 and say the person is saving over 7,000 dollars.

For me, the only way this makes sense is if the person enjoys doing this, sort of like a hobby. I admittly generally have a problem with most of these 'miserly tips'. After all if saving money is the goal, then I recommend the following:
Never take a vacation--think of the thousands you can save;
get rid of any cableTV--why pay for something that is free;
get rid of your cell phone unless provided by your company;
get rid of all special features on your land line(call waiting etc);
get rid of your internet--go to the library for free;
Do not buy books or magazines--see above;
never go out to eat,expensive and not good for you;
have no hobbies--what an expense;
have no pets--who needs them--or kids for that matter;
don't smoke, drink(including tea and coffee) or eat any desserts, bad for you and costly;
don't go to the gymn, work out at home;
never buy anything new, games cars clothes furniture;
give up having any fun, cause fun cost money;

Okay, I starting to go overboard here with that last one, sorry all. I'll go get a cup of coffee now and settle down.

Yes, I know there are folks and times when you have to pinch pennies(I thinking of Ms BFS but in a good way). But sometimes, sometimes the 'saving more mantra' takes on a life of its own, to me sometimes it seems an obsession. As if there's a competition.

I'm all for being money-wise, spending less than you make and inveting the gap. I just don't buy (pun intended) into the "miserly thing".

She must be buying processed or frozen food because how could she shop only once a month otherwise? Fresh fruit, meat, and veggies are the mainstay of my family's diet because they are the healthiest. I shop once a week for these items and while sometimes they are on sale most of the time they aren't and there aren't any coupons either.

Even for non-lawyers, time is your most valuable asset. I work full time+ and my weekends are the only days I get to spend quality time with my kids. I usually have to spend half a day anyway going to 1 grocery store and then running around getting everyone haircuts and getting gas for the car etc. For me, spending another half a day hunting discounts would really not be worth the trade off.

Also, am I the only person who cares about aethestics? I find shopping at Walmart or dollar stores too depressing to be worth it. All that moldy produce and pawed-over food, dirty floors, expired or questionable brands, empty/unstocked shelves, damaged packaging, long check-out lines, and sketchy clientele panhandling in the parking lot or lurking in the restrooms--I just want to get out of there asap. Not to mention the receipt checkers at the door who make you feel like a criminal. Oh, and the last time I was at Walmart some jerk put a dent in my car.

I'd much rather buy my basics at the upscale clean and attractive grocery store across town where I'm not targetted by panhandlers the second I drive up. The prices of what I buy are about the same both places, surprisingly.

It would be worth it if:

* I was on a fairly low income and struggling to get by
* I was single (or married with no kids) and had nothing else to do with my time (as well as no kids to load/unload from the car each time I hit a new store)

Since neither of those things are true, I say not worth it. Sorry, FMF. 90% of the time you and I are in agreement, this is one of those 10% where we are not.

It requires a simple cost/benefit analysis. Take Value of one's time per hour, v, additional time required to shop at multiple stores, t, added automobile cost (gas, wear and tear) for transportation to several stores, a, expected savings resulting from multiple stores per outing, s. If s>vt+a, then it makes sense to shop at multiple stores. In the example you provided above, $65>2v+3, meaning that the Miserly Mother values her time at under $31/hr. Different people will come to different conclusions as to whether or not this is worthwhile.

For us, it just isn't worth the time. With both of us working full time we would rather have more time at home together than going all over the place.

@ BillV I especially liked your comments. You could do all those things, but at that point you basically have no life. I'm all for saving money and spending less than you earn, but I will only take it as far as I need to.

For me, it often isn't worth the time because my three young kids would have to tag along and loading/unloading them from the car multiple times just isn't worth it. Sometimes I'm able to leave them at home with my husband and I will hit up a few stores to take advantage of multiple sales, but even then sometimes I'd rather not so I don't miss out on family time.

I've been doing this method for the past month or so. It has added 4 hours to my normal grocery shopping time and an hour to my menu planning. I don't mind doing it and the kids enjoy it, however, it really cuts into my Saturdays. Once we're out of debt, we probably won't use this method anymore. It only saves us about $15/week.

I will go to an extra store if the savings seems worth my time.

For example, Kroger's currently pricing Uncle Ben's Long-Grain Wild Rice Original at $2.20 a box and my husband wants me to buy at least 4 boxes. I'm waiting until I find a coupon in the papwer and then I'm going to Walmart with the "Walmart" list that is building up for the month. It's worth it for me to take an extra trip every once in a while to save $20 or so, but it wouldn't be worth it for $2 imho.

Overall, I do our grocery shopping in three tiers - bulk meats and frozen veggies from Angel Food Ministry and Sam's Club once every month or two, supplemental extras on a weekly basis from Kroger's on the way home (usually with some coupons), and a monthly trip or so to Walmart for anything obviously cheaper there. Time is priceless to me, so this combo seems to have the best return.

I can see how this might work for some, but its not practical for me at all. My inlaws seems shocked that I don't run all over town for every sale like they do, but then again they don't have to take my 4 year old and 2 year old with them while they run all the errands! LOL! I have tried this in the past and have since learned a couple things about myself and my family.

1) I shop with my kids and I have a 3 store limit. Odds are the crankiness and boredom of shopping with mom will set in at or after the 3rd store and there will be a very public tantrum. While i will haul the kids to the car or find a nice corner for a time-out, I'd really rather not.

2) I am an impulse buyer. I am NOT a natural saver, but have worked hard to change that. Less stores means less temptation of all the little things that don't seem like much until they add up. Making a meal plan and good list and STICKING TO IT has done more for my budget then going to mulitple stores.

3) I must stock up carefully. I have a tiny kitchen with almost no storage. I've stolen some pantry type storage from other rooms, but if I want to stock up I need to make sure there's a place for it when I get home.

I'll admit to stopping by a second store on occasion, but its not very often and I find that I (and my budget) are happier for it.

My wife and I buy food at multiple stores:

HEB - usually has the best prices for non-sale items

Sprouts/Newflower/SunHarvest/Randalls - only buy stuff at these places if it's on sale from their weekly flyer or we have store coupons. Wednesdays are a good day to shop because the previous week's and current week's sales overlap.

All these stores are only a few minutes from each other and easily reached on our work commutes. Definitely worth it for us!

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