The Difference a Store Makes: Choosing the Wrong Grocery Store Nearly Doubles Your Cost

-Written by Cel

Yesterday (April 25, 2014), we went to the No Frills in the West End (1030 Demnan Street) for our weekly re-stock. There were a few key items that we needed, and we knew that No Frills has the best prices on them. While we were there, we also picked up a few other things that were a good deal.

Here is a picture of what we got, and a picture of the receipt:

Image

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Here’s a detailed description of what we bought:

6 individual servings of applesauce, 100 ml each – $1.50 (we use this for baking)

2kg bag of Rogers white sugar – $1.97

Fleischmann’s yeast – 113 grams – $4.29

President’s choice frozen berries, 600 grams (4-berry mix) – $3.97

VH Soy sauce 450 ml – $2.59

No Name rigatoni 500 grams – $1.38

Sun-Rype apple juice 1 litre – $0.88 (plus another $0.12 for recycling fee and deposit)

Bartlett pears at $2.80/kg, total cost $1.88

Bag of five small avocados – $2.95

Bag of carrots, 2lbs – $0.97

Bananas at $1.50/kg – total cost $1.51

Grand total = $24.01.

The next day, I decided to go to a different grocery store near where I live to see what the same items would cost, as an experiment. It is a major corporate chain store, not a small independent. If possible, I tried to find the exact same item, exact same brand. If they didn’t have the exact same thing, I got the closest equivalent. The results:

6 individual servings of applesauce, 104 ml each (slightly bigger) – $3.00 ($2.88 when you adjust for the greater amount)

2kg bag of Rogers white sugar – $4.19 (over double the price!)

Fleischmann’s yeast – 113 grams – $6.59

Store-brand frozen berries, 600 grams (4-berry mix, exact same berries as the No Frills one) – $5.99

China Lily Soy sauce 483 ml (slightly bigger) – $3.89 ($3.62 when you adjust for the greater amount)

Bag of spaghetti 454 grams (they only had expensive organic rigatoni, which is not a fair comparison to regular rigatoni) – $1.50

Sun-Rype apple juice 1 litre – $0.98 (plus another $0.12 for recycling fee and deposit)

Bartlett pears at $4.83/kg, total cost $3.24

Avocadoes (They only had individual ones for $1.99 each, but they were bigger, so 3 of them were about equal to the bag of 5) – $5.97

2 lb bag of carrots – $1.89

Bananas at  $1.74/kg = $1.75

Grand total = $38.72 (after adjusting for the 2 items above)

The random nearby store was 1.61 times the cost of No Frills – a huge margin.  Before you say that we only got sale items at No Frills, while all the items at the other store were regular price, that is false. Many of the No Frills items, like the yeast, soy sauce, and pasta, were regular priced. And many of the items at the other store were on sale, like the frozen berries (normally $6.99), apple juice (normally $2.19), and applesauce.

I won’t name the store, because I am not trying to criticize it – it also has some items where they offer the most attractive price, and some items that are hard to find elsewhere.

The point of the experiment is to demonstrate the importance of figuring out what stores have the best prices on whatever staple foods you buy frequently. You just need to do this once, and then it will continue to pay off over and over again. If you don’t do this, you can easily end up paying 1.5x to 2x the price – imagine how much that adds up to over the course of a year!

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: The Incoming Assets Retirement Strategy | Incoming Assets

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