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Lots of people are jumping on the Internet grocery shopping bandwagon. But is this the best strategy for frugal families? Let's take a look.
Internet grocery shopping sites, such as Priceline, offer discounts on name brand products. You choose a range of prices you are willing to pay for a particular product, pay online with a credit card, print your receipt, and then go to your local store. Other sites, such as Coolsavings or I-coupon, offer coupons off name brand products to be used at your local store. Some of these coupons can be doubled, but a lot of them cannot. On-line grocers, such as Peapod, sell and deliver actual groceries to your door. These claim to offer you prices comparable to local supermarkets, and accept manufacturers coupons. As any frugal shopper knows, name-brand products are not the best way to go if you want to save money.
For instance, white bread on Priceline runs from $1.09 to $1.33 for a 16 to 20-ounce loaf. Frugal shoppers know that buying the store brand bread, or buying at a bakery thrift shop, will offer these necessities at a lower price.
In fact, the majority of groceries offered on the site are convenience foods, such as chicken nuggets, frozen dinners, mixes, and name-brand cookies. Boneless-Skinless Chicken Breasts are $3.64-$4.44 per 1.5lb package. This is a good price for a convenience food. But at my local supermarket, chicken breasts, with skin and bones, are much cheaper. By spending a few minutes removing the skin and bones, you will have the same thing; in addition, a frugal person uses the "leavings" for crock-pot chicken stock.
By far, the best buy was ground beef and bags of baby carrots, which were 72 to 95 cents.
Sweetened cereal is another good example of how frugal strategies can save you money over Internet shopping sites. Sweetened Cereals at the supermarket are approximately $3.69 to $4.89 for 12 to 20 ounces. There are a lot of strategies to combat this.
The Oatmeal Strategy - For hard-core frugalistas, oatmeal, which is $1.50 a container, and other low-cost breakfast ideas, such as homemade muffins, is the way to go.
The Store Brand Strategy - The store brand version of Captain Crunch is 2.19-2.50 a 15oz box.
The Sale/Coupon Strategy - Using $1.00 off coupon during a sale will turn your $3.89 name-brand box of cereal into a $1.89 box.
All of these strategies will yield you better savings than Internet shopping sites. I live in NYC, one of the most expensive cities in the world, and I believe in using whatever strategies are necessary for saving money. However, internet shopping, while convenient, is not way to go to save a lot of money.
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