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Fuel And Food Savings Perks: Are We Really Saving Money Or Getting Something For Free?

Updated on January 22, 2013

Another Grocery Store Price Comparison.

I do the majority of the shopping for our household. I enjoy finding a deal on some of the items that I purchase. Every once in a great while, I find an item on sale and I have a coupon for the same product where I actually save some money, but those instances are few and far between. I do use some coupons, but I don't really do a lot of coupon clipping. when I do clip coupons I usually end up with a cart of things that I really don't need. Sometimes I actually end up wasting money because some of the perishable items that are on sale are near or past their expiration date. I end up spending money of items that I wait too long to use and end up throwing it away.

I shop at three stores for the most part, Giant Eagle, Maijer, and Wal-Mart. I prefer Meijer for many name brand food items because the prices are either cheaper than Wal-Mart or Wal-Mart does not carry certain products. I can find many of the same items at Giant Eagle, but I find that Giant Eagle prices are higher anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars for most items they sell. With that said, Giant Eagle does carry more ethnic food choices such as sushi which is made fresh daily, alligator meat, and various Mexican and Chinese spices and other food products that are simply not available at any other store in my area.

There are days that I do leave all three stores a little angry because the prices have become ridiculous. For instance, Wal-Mart will have a sale that indicates and item was a certain price and is now a lower price, implying that they are saving me money. Some of these items I purchase every week, sometimes a few times a week. I know what the regular prices of items I normally purchase are and it irritates me when I see a sale price that is higher than the regular price on placards that indicate a "was" and "is" price. Wal-Mart also takes items and places them in different areas of the store outside of the area the item is normally sold. For example, Sargento shredded cheese was placed in a cooler by one of the entrances with a "was" and "is" sign placed on it last week, the sale price was $3.98. I grabbed a few and put them in my cart. While walking through the cheese section I noticed that the regular price for the same packages of cheese was only $3.29. Wal-Mart was charging an extra 69 cents for the same cheese product simply because they moved it to the front of the store.

Meijer recently had a sale on pizzas. The Red Baron brand was on sale, I saw two different sized packages on sale 3 for $10. Products on sale were pizza slices which come in 2 slice packages with a net weight of 8 ounces. A few feet further down the aisle were 28.4 ounce whole pizzas also on sale for the same price. I was dumbfounded by the prospect of someone paying $10 for 24 ounces of pizza when they can get 85.2 ounces of pizza for the same price. There was also a sale on hot dog and hamburger buns that day as well. The store brand 8 count packages of hot dog and hamburger buns were completely removed from the shelves. The larger 12 count honey flavored buns were still available but the sale price was 29 cents higher than the regular price. The other name brand hot dog and hamburger buns were then advertised to be on sale, all had an inflated price and were offered as either a buy one get one free deal or a buy two for $5 or $6. Either way to get the sale price I had to buy more product than I wanted or needed or I had to pay the inflated regular price.

Even though every grocery store has it's sales tricks I still save the most money by shopping at Wal-Mart. Yesterday I made a list with 32 food items and went to Giant Eagle, Meijer, and Wal-Mart. My totals without taxes, coupons, and other discounts are as follows. The Wal-Mart total came out to $102.20. My total with Meijer came to $112.95 and Giant Eagle balance was $139.15. All items on my list were specific as to whether or not they were a name brand product or a store brand product. Each store had different prices for identical products. For instance, Gatorade G2 12 count packages were sold at each store, the prices for an identical product was $5.98 at Wal-Mart, $3.99 at Meijer, and $7.99 at Giant Eagle. Canine Carryouts dog treats were also different prices. Wal-Mart $1.00, Meijer $1.05, and Giant Eagle $2.19.

Why is there such a difference? Giant Eagle figures into the prices of their products the cost of coupons, fuel perks, and food discounts. Giant Eagle does not spend it's own money to save customers money, it spends the customers money. To get a free tank of gas at the current price of $3.79, a Giant Eagle customer has to spend $1137. The only way to truly get a fuel perk is to purchase gift cards from Giant Eagle. There is no mark up when you purchase gift cards, the price for a gift card is the same everywhere. Buying groceries at Giant Eagle to save money at the gas pump is a waste of time for the most part. For me it is cheaper to shop at Wal-Mart and pay the regular price for gas, and if I use coupons I can save even more.


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