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As you know, I have a big family. And our grocery budget is insane! Every time the kids come home from school they are “starving“, and “there's never anything to eat“. I end up making several trips to our neighborhood grocery store each week and hit my local BJ's Wholesale Club two to three times a month. With all the shopping I do, I've become quite adept at spotting a good deal.

To keep to a budget, it's important to find the best price on everything we use, food, household goods, gasoline… you name it. At first, I thought I was always getting the best price by doing ALL my shopping at BJ's, but it turns out I wasn't comparing apples to apples… That is Grocery Shopping 101! You need to compare price per unit to make sure you are getting the best deal. While most of the time I was getting the best deal at BJ's, that wasn't always the case!

Grocery Shopping 101

Comparing Apples to Apples

Grocery Shopping 101: Comparing Apples to Apples
The best price for Progresso Soup is at BJ's.

It's important to figure out the unit price so you can compare items fairly. For example, I purchased two packages of Progresso soup (8 cans per pack) at BJ’s for $21.98, and found a $2.50 in-Club coupon in the BJ's member coupon book, bringing the price down to $16.98 or $1.06 a can. At Food Lion, Progresso soups were on sale $1.49. Even without the in-store coupon the soup at BJ's is still $.12 cheaper a can, than Food Lion's sale price.

(PS… Scroll down to learn how you can purchase a BJ's membership at a discount AND receive a $25 BJ’s Gift Card.)

On the flipside, a four pack of Coke 2 liter bottles at BJ’s cost $4.99, while a 2 liter of Coke was on sale at Food Lion for $.99. Plus I had a $.75 manufacturer’s coupon off two 2 liter bottles, making the price $3.21 for four 2 liter bottles.

It's all about the savings.

Grocery Shopping 101: It's all about the savings

Using in-store and manufacturer coupons I saved over $65 shopping at BJ's (did you know BJ's is the only wholesale club that accepts manufacturer coupons, AND you can stack them with in-Club coupons)! Click on the image above to see my full receipt.

Grocery Shopping 101: AppsNow, I'm not an extreme coupon-er, I don't have the time to put that much effort into my shopping, but I do have a secret weapon that helps me keep to our budget. And I'm betting you have the same tool always within reach as well… it's a smartphone!

I'm not even talking about a fancy app that searches for coupons, rebates, and best prices. While those are great tools, they can be extremely time-consuming, aren't always reliable, and a lot of stores aren't in the network or don't take electronic coupons. The most helpful shopping tools on your smartphone are the calculator and note apps (and if you don't have a smartphone, no worries you can go old school and use a calculator and a small notebook).

Grocery Shopping 101: Keep a price list handy

Here is my simple tip: Keep a price list on your smartphone of the most common items you buy (broken down by unit price) so you can make sure you are getting the best deal when you spot something on sale.

This helps make sure I'm always paying the lowest price. And when something is on sale I can easily check to see if the sale price is better than the lowest price at another store. When I find a lower price, I stock up (and if it is a lower regular priced item I note it on my list).

I hope this little tip helps you get the best deal when you shop!

Looking for more money-saving tips? Check out my guest post on Top 5 Tips to Save BIG at BJ's Wholesale Club.

Want to receive a $25 BJ’s Gift Card (and I'll get one too!)?

Here’s how:

      1. Click here, to go to BJ’s Refer a Friend program, read and agree to the Offer Terms, and click GO to register.
      2. Open your new BJ’s Membership here.
      3. Use your Membership, and you and I will each receive a $25 BJ’s Gift Card.
      4. To receive MORE $25 BJ’s Gift Cards, invite your friends via email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
      5. Once a friend registers online using your link and joins BJ’s, you’ll each receive a $25 BJ’s Gift Card.

Do you have any “must do” shopping tips to share? Leave them in the comments.