Groceries can be one of the biggest expenses for any household and we all want to save money. FOX6 News Anchor Beth Shelburne wanted to know which grocery stores in the Birmingham metro area have the best prices.
She picked six staple products - Cheerios, eggs, bread, milk, peanut butter, and paper towels - to compare at six different stores and what she found may surprise you!
Armed with my trusty iPhone, I visited six different stores in the metro area on the same week. The stores I picked were Target, Publix, Winn Dixie, Walmart, Western Supermarket, and Piggly Wiggly.
The first product: a gallon of 2% milk by Barber's. Who do you think came out on top? Surprise! The two smallest supermarkets had the best prices on milk. Western and the Pig both priced a gallon of milk at $4.79. Winn Dixie and Walmart had the highest milk prices; Winn Dixie came in at $5.19 and Walmart at $5.18. Target and Publix were in the middle; Target priced milk at $5.09 and Publix at $4.99.
The next product goes great with milk: a 18-ounce box of Cheerios cereal and I found a huge spread on prices! Two stores, Publix and Western were asking $5.19 a box.
Christie Dedman appears on Good Day Alabama for the Birmingham Bargain Mom segments. She was surprised by the high Cheerios prices.
"$5.19 a box is crazy," said Dedman. "That's more than a gallon of milk in some stores."
The other stores had Cheerios priced as follows: Winn Dixie and Piggly Wiggly were both at $4.99, Target at $3.59, and Walmart at $3.58.
Dedman says shoppers should educate themselves about what exactly they are buying week to week and how much they are paying. Once you are familiar with the products you buy on a regular basis and how much they usually cost, you can spot a great deal. Check the ads for stores and stock up on your favorite products when the deals are good. Using coupons when the items are on sale can increase your savings.
"Say Cheerios are $2.99 or $3.99 this week," Dedman explained, "If you see a week where it's $1.99 and you buy a lot of Cheerios, you want to buy it on the $1.99 week so you don't have to pay the full retail price."
The next product I check is a big 40-ounce jar of Peter Pan brand creamy peanut butter and I found another big spread on prices. Walmart was the cheapest at $5.64. The other stores priced the peanut butter as follows: Winn Dixie at $7.99, Publix at 6.99 and Target at $5.99.
I also discovered sometimes less is more. Western and Piggly Wiggly didn't sell 40-ounce jars, but Western had a "two for" deal. Two 16-ounce jars for $5.00 gives you 32 ounces of peanut butter for a good price. Piggly Wiggly had a 28-ounce jar of Peter Pan brand creamy for $4.39.
Most people buy bread to go with their peanut butter, so I priced a loaf of honey wheat by Nature's Own. Every store I visited sold this brand and two stores had it on sale. Target listed a temporary price cut at $2.19 a loaf, but Western beat them with an advertised special at $1.99 a loaf. The rest of the prices were as follows: Winn Dixie $2.99, Publix $2.89, Walmart $2.68, and Piggly Wiggly $2.50.
With products like bread, our bargain mom Christie Dedman says letting go of brand loyalty can sometimes save you big money. Generic brands often have the same ingredients with much lower prices.
"There's always going be a cereal on sale, there's always going be a soup on sale, but there may not be the exact brand you like," explained Dedman. "You have to come up off the brand loyalty and figure out how to manage what you need and what your pantry looks like."
Next I priced a dozen large eggs by Eggland's Best and they were below $3 at all but one store. Winn Dixie had them priced at $3.39. The other stores were priced as follows: Walmart at $2.68, Western at $2.69 and Piggly Wiggly, Target and Publix all had the eggs at $2.79. Dedman says eggs are a great product to pair with coupons.
"Eggland's Best always has coupons available in the inserts and when you spot it on sale, that's when you use your coupon," Dedham said.
The last product I priced is the paper product we all seem to love. I looked at a 2-pack of Bounty paper towels and prices were all over the map. Winn Dixie was the most expensive at $4.79, followed by Publix at $4.19, Piggly Wiggly at $4.15, Target at $3.99 and Walmart at $3.94. I checked two locations of Western and they did not sell the 2-pack of Bounty paper towels, but an individual roll was priced at $2.19.
Dedman says look for good deals on paper products at office supply stores or online at websites like Amazon.com.
She explained that prices change week to week, but a little time and effort can make a big difference in your grocery budget. Don't forget about the alternative grocery stores like Aldi and Food Giant which often have deeply discounted prices, especially on off brands. She also recommended these websites to look for store sales and coupons:
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