Do Prices Really Vary Depending On Where You Shop?

We often strive to save money by considering what we buy. But how much thought do we put into where we shop? A recent shopping experience reminded me that prices do vary significantly depending on where we shop. Our choice of stores can cause us to either overspend or save.

Do Prices Really Vary Depending on Where You Shop?

Do Prices Vary Where You Shop

First, you have heard it said that we are creatures of habit, and that applies to our shopping habits as well. Consider if any of these statements applies to you.

Do you:

  • Dash into a convenience store because it’s, well, convenient?
  • Frequent a high-end grocery store because you prefer the atmosphere?
  • Shop at whatever store you happen to be driving by?

If any of these apply, it may be time to rethink your shopping habits. Let me illustrate the importance of choosing your destination carefully by looking at one simple item – batteries.

In December there was an advertisement for Energizer batteries that included 1 free child’s movie admission, and you know I love Going to the Movies for Next to Nothing. Since the regular price in Ontario for child’s admission is $8.99, and I can always use batteries, I knew this had potential to be a big money saver. [Sidebar…I see that children in Saskatchewan only pay $5.50….wow!]

energizer batteries

This promotion could be found on specially marked Energizer AA battery packages (quantity 16).

AA 16

I found for the exact same package of batteries from 4 different sources, with a wide range of prices.

Best Buy   Regular price $14.99

Superstore   Regular price $9.97

Toys R Us  Regular price $16.99

The Source  Regular price $15.99 Sale price $7.99

Walmart & Future Shop  Didn’t sell that exact quantity so I couldn’t compare

Dollar Store They only sold smaller packages, and none of them included the movie promotion.

Consider this for a moment. I could buy the exact same item for either $7.99, $9.97, $14.99 or $16.99 depending on which store I shopped at. Talk about varying prices!

So buying my batteries became a multiple choice question.

A. Shop at The Source

I found The Source’s sale price online, but I would have had to call to make sure they had the packages with the free movie admission. Plus our local store is in a mall, and that wasn’t convenient with a toddler in tow.

B. Price match at Superstore or No Frills

This would have been my first choice since I collect PC points. But I did not have a flyer or smartphone showing The Source’s sale price, so this was not an option.

C. Price match at Best Buy or Toys R Us

Both of these stores will look up online prices at customer service.

I happened to be closest to Best Buy, so that was my final choice. They looked up The Source’s online price, matched it and I was on my way in under 3 minutes.

Purchase: 16 AA batteries x 2: I paid $7.99 x 2 + tax = $18.05

I could have paid $16.99 x 2 + tax = $38.39 for batteries plus another $8.50 x 2 + tax=$19.21 for 2 child admissions to the movies.

In total, I paid $18.05, rather than $57.60 for 32 batteries and 2 free movie admissions. And for that kind of savings I will gladly put some thought into where I should shop for the best deal. And this comparison is simply for one item. Imagine the savings when buying multiple items, over a period of time.

Now, when my boys go to the movies, I can smile knowing their tickets are free. And after the baby goes to bed, I can surf channels with my Energizer-filled remote control. Or sleep. Probably sleep…..

 By: Karen Gauvreau

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  1. Olivia says:

    Boy, do they ever vary. Good thing for price matching being honoured. We really have to be on the lookout all the time. Thanks to your site for keeping us on the loop when it comes to deals and prices. In the end, what you save provides you with extra income to spend as you please….bonus.

  2. Karen G says:

    You are so right – price matching opens up many option for saving without driving all over. Good for you to take advantage of the sales we post.

  3. Christine W. says:

    This is something that I have known for a long time. I live in a small town with 2 grocery stores, both considered expensive. Foodland and Your Independent Grocer… I have checked prices at both will get a much better selection at YIG but you will pay for that. Complain all you want but Foodland is the cheaper of the two. It is also across the street from where I live so I save on gas as well. I can and often do get cheaper groceries by going out of town where I can go to No Frills, Walmart, or Food Basics and I can price match to my hearts content. But living in southern Ontario means I must keep the weather and road conditions in mind.
    I find if I shop the sales as much as possible, know my prices and stockpile the good sales I manage to keep things in line with my budget. It takes a little work but it can be done even if your only options for groceries are the higher end stores….

  4. Karen G says:

    Christine W: Sounds like you are making use of a lot of tricks and tips to keep your grocery budget on track. I always like to think of it as a challenge to get the most for the least. I’m sure a stocking up price matching trip once in a while does help the $$. Keep it up!

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