YONKERS, N.Y (Mass Appeal) When it comes to supermarkets, biggest isn’t always best. In Consumer Reports’ latest survey, they ranked America’s biggest grocery stores. Consumer Reports Senior editor and Mandy Walker shared the results.
How to Shop Cheaper, Smarter & Faster
From Consumer Reports
- SHOP CHEAPER. Three-quarters of respondents said they scan supermarket circulars for specials, take advantage of manufacturer coupons, and buy store brands. Here are some examples of other ways to save:
- Shop early in the sales cycle. Eleven percent of readers complained about stores being out of advertised specials. Consumer Reports found that the best time to find the type of bargains prominent in circulars was at the beginning of the cycle (usually Friday or Saturday).
- Be loyal. Many chains reserve their best deals for customers who enroll in loyalty- or bonus-card programs. And some have a fuel-reward component; the typical discount is 10 cents a gallon at participating gas stations for each $50 spent at the store.
- SHOP SMARTER. Smart shopping begins with understanding how goods are priced and marketed, and how stores coax shoppers into buying them.
- Know the high-low game. Most stores lure customers with weekly specials on staples such as cereal, bacon, and detergent, then raise prices on other goods to offset those “loss leaders.” Follow the flyers to see what staples go on sale at predictable intervals, then stock up and save.
- Beware of tricky signs. The sign reads “10 for $10,” but shoppers usually don’t have to buy all ten to get the discount; buy one for $1.
- SHOP FASTER. Here’s some ways shoppers can make their trip to the grocery store quicker and more efficient:
- Go mobile. Most chains have rolled out apps for iPhone and Android devices that let users create grocery lists, browse weekly circulars, view product photos, add manufacturers’ coupons to an account, check off items placed in a virtual cart, scan bar codes of products at home to be added to the list, and get real-time prices. Many of these tasks can be done online, too.
- Self-checkout. At least 60 percent of supermarkets have one or more self-checkout stations to let people scan, bag, and pay for groceries without a cashier. Theoretically, they let shoppers skip long lines. Fifty-six percent of survey respondents used self-checkout in the last year, and 67 percent of them said it saved time.