I am thankful that I live in an area that is close to a lot of stores. For me, driving more than 3 minutes to a grocery store seems like a long time just because I have so many stores that are close to me. I've tried them all and if you don't know this about me I shop sales and I coupon. I try to stick to about $75 a week for groceries.
Now, as I said, I've tried all the stores. I have 2 big chains close by to me that have insane sales that try to get you in the door but then I find all their other items are so overpriced! I don't like to have to go to more than one store a week so I've found that my local, small grocery store works the best for me and the best part about it is that it's only a block away! Here are my reasons for a small store as opposed to a big store.
1~ Small! takes me less time. I get so lost in the big stores and feel like by the time I'm done and bring the groceries home and put them away, it has become a 3 hour ordeal.
2~ There sale items seem to be pretty comparable to the bigger chains.
3~ My store has $.99 isle. It takes up about half the isle and I can find some pretty good things there like generic Teddy Grahams, salad dressing, spices, and other Misc. items that don't go on sale too often or that you might only need for a recipe and you need it now!
4~ My store also has half price bins. They have them in the meat section and dairy section. I can find a lot of items that I usually just throw in the freezer anyway or that we would eat in a few days. Like hot dogs which I have a ton of in the freezer, Oscar Mayer Bacon (the only kind we'll buy), yogurt, orange juice, Pillsbury rolls and the list goes on. I especially like to look for those items that I can use coupons with too.
5~ Store coupons. They have store coupons that I can find in the paper that I can stack with manufacturer coupons, plus they have a couple online coupons each week too. I've gotten Velveeta cheese for super cheap this way!
I'm sure there are many more reasons, but these are the main ones. I also only buy things on sale unless I absolutely need it for a recipe. That means I buy the fruit that is on sale, I buy the meat that is on sale and the snacks. If it's not on sale we do without.
Now I have to admit that I do shop the big chains occasionally, like last night. I went because they had buy $25 of a certain list of items and get $5 back and a $20 rebate, plus I used coupons so they actually paid me $4.50 for $25 worth of groceries. But this too had it's downside. It took me 40 minutes (b/c of some technical difficulties and I didn't know where everything was) to do this from the time I left my house til the time I got home and because of the rebate I wanted to do 2 separate transactions which I didn't have enough time for, so now I have to go back for the second half of my list. But thankfully, as I said, I have so many stores close to me I can do this occasionally and I can wait til my husband is home so I don't have to go with kids.
I also am an Aldi lover. I have certain items that I know are cheaper there and I will try to go there once a month to stock up.
Now as far as my $75 a week goes, I will spend more in one week but then I take from the week after that. It ends up being one week I only have $$$ leftover for milk and produce. These are just some of my tips but I'm a firm believer that in saving money, we all have to keep experimenting and find what works best for our families and our lifestyle.