Josh and I did a one month experiment this past month. Ever in pursuit of finding the best deals and saving the most money, especially at the grocery store, we decided to see if could save more money shopping at Target vs Kroger. We bought most of our groceries for the month at Target and all our normal toiletries. We still shopped at Kroger to use our WIC checks (Target doesn’t take part in WIC) and to buy deli meat after 8pm, when it is 50% off.
The reason we made this experiment was because Kroger recently stopped doubling coupons, and Target has so many ways to stack coupons and deals.
How to save the MOST money shopping at Target:
- Get a Target Red Debit Card – Automatically save 5% on everything you buy!
- Use Manufacturer’s Coupons (Like you should)
- Use Target’s New Cartwheel Program (where you can save 5% and up on specific items)
- Use Reusable Bags (You save 5 cents per bag used. They do NOT have to be Target branded.)
The best part about all those ways to save? You can stack them ALL! That’s right. Clip your coupons as normal, then check out the Target coupons, and then add discounts to your Cartwheel online or on your phone.
When you go to check out give them all of your coupons, doesn’t matter the order. Then make sure they give you the reusable bag discounts. And then hand them your printed (or on your phone) Cartwheel barcode. All the savings will come off, and then you’ll pay with your Target Red Debit Card, which will save you that final 5% straight out of you checking account. And that is how you stack Target discounts!
It’s mega savings on the right items, especially if they are on sale! For example, I saved big money on Playtex Tampons (spending about $4.50/36-count box down from its standard $6.99/box) among other items.
In joint savings we saved more than $61 this month shopping at Target, a 19% savings. That is about average what we’ve been saving a month using coupons at Kroger. Definitely a fair amount of savings happening. I don’t know how much we saved in conjunction with Target sale prices, as they are not properly marked on the receipts.
Some things I don’t like about shopping at Target:
- The Target receipts are super hard to read.
- Some manufacturer’s coupons are listed under the corresponding item, some at the bottom.
- There is no “Coupon savings” section at the bottom of the receipt.
- Cartwheel discounts are not totaled for you, but read “Cartwheel 5% off $3.49” with the actual price paid ($3.31) above. The lady at the register often told us how much we saved with our cartwheel, but I never remember by the time I got home and wanted to enter it into my cool Excel spreadsheet.
- Sale prices are marked with an arrow pointing down (↓). Sometimes they tell you what the sale was “Saved $2.00 off $5.99,” but most of the time they do not. I like knowing how awesome of a deal I received. Kroger always tells me what the Kroger savings are, immediately after a sale-priced item.
- The Grocery department is just smaller overall.
- There aren’t as many varieties or options.
- They run out of the good stuff quickly. I bought Coconut flavored Greek Yo-Plait cups (for $.60 each, plus the 5% Red Card discount, usually over $1 each) because all the rest were gone.
- The Target Weekly Ad dedicates 2-3 pages to the grocery department, sometimes only listing a dozen or so items on sale for that week, half of which I may not even eat. This is not helpful at all in making a grocery list for the week.
- There aren’t as many awesome sales on grocery goods as there are at Kroger.
- Prices aren’t cheaper on several things. The Market Pantry milk was almost $4 a gallon. We never spend much more than $2.68 a gallon at Kroger.
Another disadvantage to shopping at Target Vs Kroger is that we don’t receive fuel points for these purchases. With Kroger we always take advantage of their fuel points. Each month, once or twice, we take both our Suburban and our Accord up to the Kroger fuel station (which usually has one of the lowest gas prices in town anyway) and fill them both up, garnering that $.30/gallon discount on all 35 allowed gallons. I may have to jump and run out of one car and into the other while Josh stands there holding the gas nozzle, but we use the entire fuel discount, saving us an additional $10.50 (or so) a month.
In conclusion, we don’t think you can save more on groceries at Target in comparison to Kroger. But, we do think that on non-food items you could!
The various non-food items we did buy at Target this month had similar starting price points as Target, but when you stack coupons and other deals on top, which you are unable to do at Kroger, it means big savings. We stocked up on Charmin toilet paper at Target this month, as they were having a “buy 2 get a $5 Target gift card” promotion. I used a Target coupon, two manufacturer’s coupons, used my REDcard, and got a gift card back, making it a great price.
What we’ve decided is that we will return to our regular Kroger food shopping ways, but try to buy non-food items at Target for this next month, and see if the deals we score on these items are better than the deals we’ve scored at Kroger for the same items.
Have you ever switched grocery stores? Where do you fall on the Target VS Kroger debate? Where do you like to shop?