Monday, February 11, 2008

My project

One of the blog entries I didn't get to last week, was an update on my financial goal of reducing my grocery budget. The first weekend in February I did my "big shopping" so it was the first time I got to see how much of an impact some of the things I'd been doing have had.

First, I was very surprised by what my newly resurrected price book told me. Mainly it reaffirmed for me that Wal-mart is by far the best value for the majority of my dry and canned goods. However, some things are still cheaper in bulk at Sam's. But a few things surprised me. I had been wishing Sam's would start carrying oats in bulk, but for years all they carried was big boxes of instant oats, when I wanted rolled or quick cooking. Well, last week, our Sam's actually had a HUGE box of quick cooking oats. But when I computed the price per ounce, Wal-mart was still cheaper! Also, that weekend the cheapest eggs (Large sized) were not at Sam's or Wal-mart but HEB! Go figure!

Second, I noticed that I didn't spend as much at Sam's because I had been watching the meat sales at HEB more carefully and had caught a few things that were cheaper than Sam's.

Third, the biggest difference I noticed was in how much I spent at Wal-mart. My grocery bill there went down drastically due to two things. The biggest was that I wasn't buying toiletries for 7 people there. In fact, the only non-food item I bought was generic allergy medicine, which is still way cheaper at Wal-mart than at CVS, even with all the CVS specials. Since I had been matching up coupons with the CVS deals (and a few from Walgreens) and buying toiletries for pennies, or sometimes for free from CVS, I cut almost a quarter off what I normally spend at Walmart. I also had about $10 in coupons, which helped as well. These were for the things that are not store brands that I would have bought anyway.

So I would say that so far the project has been a success, without my having to change the way we eat, though I could do that if we got really strapped for money at some point.

1 comment:

Candace said...

This is exactly how we have kept our grocery bill down. We shop at all three stores: Walmart, HEB and Sams. We have always been unit checkers. Meaning, comparing the price per unit at all three stores. Our older girls have many of these items memorized and can tell us what the price per unit was at "X" store. Many things at Sams are NOT cheapers just because they're in bulk. We usually hit HEB first to check on their sales and coupons. We buy our bags of chicken breats and tenders, deli, eggs, sometimes butter, and any sale items there. Occasionally, we'll buy Blue Bell ice cream there too because it's cheaper. It's nearly SIX BUCKS at walmart. We pretty much only buy ground beef (80 lbs to share), cheese, chuck roast, milk, pure maple syrup and olive oil at Sams. Most everthing else is bought at Walmart. Right now, butter is cheaper at HEB.

We've kept our grocery bill to $300.00 every two weeks for nine people. This includes paper products and diapers for two babies. We do go back later in the week to get more milk, and sometimes bread (we try to make our bread often), so we may spend $15-$20 in addition.

Takes a bit of work, but we don't mind!