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It’s either a smart savings technique, or a sign of compulsiveness about not missing out on any deals. A new survey says a good number of us are shopping around for the best grocery deals by shopping at multiple stores – sometimes even on the same day.

The IGD ShopperVista survey was conducted in the U.K., though its results resemble another survey’s findings last year in the United States. Both found that many shoppers don’t play favorites when it comes to where they buy their groceries.

IGD’s survey revealed that British shoppers get their groceries at an average of four different stores each month. And nearly half say they’ve been known to visit more than one store in the same shopping trip.

“Using two or more grocery stores on the same trip is an increasingly popular budgeting technique,” IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch said in a statement. “Shoppers tell us that they’re proud to talk about the savings they are achieving by researching and shopping around more.”

The survey also found that 55% of British shoppers are using coupons, 46% are doing more meal planning before they shop, and 44% have learned to time their shopping so they can score some deals in the fresh food clearance section. “In spite of improving economic conditions it continues to make sense to put in extra time and effort to help us get the best quality, at the best value when buying our groceries,” Denney-Finch said.

And it seems this kind of behavior is not just a British thing. A survey conducted by the American firm ClickIQ in April 2013 found that the same thing is going on in the U.S. The ClickIQ study focused on self-identified “cross-shoppers”, who aren’t loyal to any one store. Two-thirds said they’d shopped at more than one store in the same day, at some point in the past month. The majority said their motivation was getting the best price on everything they need – either because two stores had different items on sale that were too good to pass up, or because one store’s everyday prices on certain items were lower than another’s.

A common criticism of this kind of shopping behavior is, “Think of the money you’re spending on gas, and wear and tear on your car, driving all over town just to save a few dollars on your groceries!” And it’s a valid point, if you’re going to chase every deal no matter how inconvenient it might be. On the other hand, depending on where you live, you may pass multiple stores as part of your daily routine. So stopping at more than one store might make sense for you, if the deals are really worth it.

In the end, it’s all about having options, and not being limited to what the closest grocery store wants to charge you. “There are more grocery choices available, whether it’s additional convenience and discount stores, or extra online shopping options,” IGD’s Denney-Finch concluded. “So it’s never been a better time to be a savvy shopper.”

Too many choices can run you ragged, but it can certainly save you money. And, ultimately, it’s a lot better than the alternative.

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One Comment

  1. My husband and I moved to Granbury, Texas in January of 2014. I love having so many options on where to shop. Where we moved from I only had 1 major store and 2 dollar stores. Here there is a Kroger, HEB, Walmart, Brookshire’s, Brookshire Bros plus 3 dollar stores and Aldi is opening up this fall. I have noticed a big difference in the ability to actually stock up on groceries, not just household and health & beauty products. I will definitely shop at multiple stores on the same day. I’m already out and about so it just makes sense to me.

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