Thursday, October 11, 2012

Update: Target, Wal-mart, and the Pantry Challenge

We ran out of coffee.  This lead to me stopping in Target on my way back home from dropping off the kids at school and deciding to do a quick check of prices on the items from my last post.  Which also lead to stopping in at Wal-mart (oh the horror) to check prices their too as they are reputed to have the "lowest prices" and supposedly have started carrying more organics.

I added my findings to my spreadsheet.  Instead of copying and pasting from Excel which leaves the table looking a little wonky, I have uploaded it to Google Docs.

Wal-mart did beat Whole Foods on non-organic items, however their selection of organic items was awful.  I also have other reasons for not shopping there such as horrible customer service, way too many crazy customers, and the fact that they are rated extremely poorly by better world shopper. Target didn't do so hot on prices, although they have a fairly decent selection of economical fair trade organic coffee which I was in desperate need of Tuesday morning.  The least expensive price for each item is highlighted in yellow.  As you can see, no one store offers the best price across the board.

My advice to you if you are on a super strict budget is to keep a notebook or a spreadsheet of prices for items that you buy on a regular basis, much like the spreadsheet above.  If you can hit two or three stores without going too much out of your way and wasting gas, then go to more than one store to get the better overall price.  Keep in mind that grocery store prices fluctuate a lot.  If you combine a sale with a coupon at a grocery store that doubles coupons, you can actually beat Wal-mart's prices.  Websites like charge a small fee to track sales and coupons for you if that's your thing.  I personally don't coupon because I've found that there are very little coupons out there for the products we buy.

Pantry Challenge Update

My little OCD self created yet another spreadsheet to inventory the items I had bought through Azure Standard the last two months, complete with cost per unit for future price comparison, estimated length of time the product will last us, and the cost per month.  When it was all said and done, I discovered according to my spreadsheet (which erred on the side of caution) calculated the monthly cost to be 92.24, which means I have an extra $2 per week.  Woohoo!  

The bad news is I already dipped in to tomorrow's grocery budget  for bacon, snacks, and fried chicken from Target. (The dentist appointment ran late, the chicken wasn't defrosted in time, etc, etc.)  I only have 16.09 to spend at the store tomorrow.  I have no idea how I'm going to make this work.  Maybe I'll dip into next week's budget...

Day 8
Breakfast: Milk, Leftover Apple Butter Cupcakes Muffins (They didn't even have frosting on them. Don't judge.) 
Lunch: Kids-leftover Sweet Summer Corn chowder, Quesadillas; Adults-BBQ Chicken Sliders (leftovers in freezer), Cucumbers
Dinner: Spaghetti, Salad
Dessert: Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

Day 9
Breakfast: Make your own cereal (My kids LOVE this.)
Lunch: Leftover Spaghetti
Snack: Pretzels and goldfish from CVS after looong dental appointment
Dinner: Fried Chicken from Target, Potatoes, Cucumber & Bell Pepper Salad

Day 10
Breakfast: Peach Pecan Waffles (Thank you, dear.)
Lunch: Chicken Wrap
Snack: Yogurt and half a peach
Dinner: Tomato Basil Soup, Garlic Toast
Snack: Homemade popcorn

Day 11
Breakfast: Toast with Almond Butter, half a peach
Lunch: Chipotle (out)
Dinner: Chicken Teriyaki Thighs, Rice, Cucumer (Finally used those chicken thighs I've tried to defrost three times...)

Wish me luck shopping tomorrow.  I'm going to check the sales online.

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