The Great Grocery Challenge of 2010

I’m trying something new when it comes to grocery shopping. The idea came to me when I was going through my wallet and realized just how many of those annoying grocery discount cards I have.

There’s Bi-Lo, Food Lion, Piggly Wiggly, Harris Teeter, and Ukrop’s. That last one is a Richmond-based chain that I obviously don’t use anymore since I’m not in Richmond.

So here’s the challenge: I’m not going to buy anything at the grocery store unless it’s on sale. There are just a few quick exceptions:

  1. I’ll buy items that never (or almost never) go on sale, like milk, but only if it’s the generic store brand.
  2. If it’s an item that I really want that isn’t on sale, I will go online and find a coupon for it. If there’s no coupon, then there’s no purchase.

So why do it? Simple. Other than saving money, I‘m just annoyed that there are so many of these stores that make you have a free card just to save you money on products that they could sell for less to begin with without the expense of printing plastic cards and managing a database of members. They’d have more people coming in and need less people feeding the information into the computer.

And we‘d all have cheaper groceries.

I’m tired of paying them full price for items just because they didn’t choose to put the thing I want on some silly sale. So when I see a local store that has something I like a lot on sale, I’ll go buy as much of it as I reasonably can, so that I can stock up until the next time it goes on sale.

My first time trying this little experiment, purchasing only things that are on sale and only things that I know I’ll actually use, left me with a bill of $88, until I handed the cashier my discount card, at which point the cash register began whirring away with price cuts, resulting in a $59 bill.

That’s $29 bucks in savings. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

Are you up to the challenge?


  1. Patrick, I subscribe to all you said and yes, there is a thrill when the register backs down from the total and your debit card gets a break.

    Then.. I ask for cash back.

    It’s nice to have some folding bills in my pocket and watching the store hand me money feels great!

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.