So I have already had a number of surprises from this little price book experiment. I wish I had done this years before!
First of all, Target groceries are CHEAP. I had convinced myself that Target APPEARED to have cheap groceries but in reality their prices were not good compared to the grocery store, but you know what? I WAS WRONG. There, I said it on the internet.
Here are some of the amazing deals I found at Target compared to my local grocery store:
Morningstar Farms products (the only meat substitutes I purchase) - Regularly around $5.25 at my grocery store. Target's standard price is TWO FULL DOLLARS cheaper, plus they seem to be on sale all the time for 2/$6. Pair that with some $1 off coupons, and I wind up with fake sausages and burgers for $2/box - a full $3.25 savings EACH.
Condiments and some staples. Targets prices on ketchup, salad dressing, bread, dried cranberries, flour, sugar, frozen dinners, pasta and sauce, canned soup, tortillas, crackers, canned vegetables and chili, and a number of other products range from a few cents per ounce cheaper to nearly half price. My sale "stock-up" price on frozen dinners at the regular grocery store is Target's standard price.
Hygiene products. Okay, not groceries, but Target's prices for things I regularly purchase where I am brand loyal (toothpaste, etc) are substantially cheaper than local drug store chains.
However, Target is not cheaper on everything. Their produced isn't consistently cheaper, but is a far smaller selection and what's available is frequently shrinkwrapped unnecessarily. Their eggs and milk are WAY more expensive than the grocery store. And so far, neither can come close to beating Costco on the price for certain things, including peanut butter, which we go through very quickly.
Basically, what I've learned from this exercise is that my assumptions cannot be trusted. I've signed up for Target's circular along with my grocery store (luckily, they are in the same complex) and will be splitting my grocery shopping between the two in order to maximize my savings. The grocery store could still be a better deal if I can pair a sale with a store coupon + manufacturer's coupon, or on double coupon days (which Target doesn't have) but it seems that making dividing my shopping could pay off fairly quickly with regular purchases.
Have you ever discovered that one store is substantially cheaper, much to your surprise?