"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Friday, March 9, 2007

One Small Step for Frugality!

Today was a huge milestone for me--I did some 'conscientious' grocery shopping.

For a long time, groceries were the only flexible thing in my budget. I'd buy food when I could, went hungry when I couldn't, and didn't bother looking at coupons or offers for a bunch of reasons I'm sure made sense at the time (stupid, I know).

Today, I decided to start my price book. I think that what did it for me is that mangoes were selling for 1.29$ (regular 1.49$) each and I didn't know if that was a good enough price to treat myself to more than one.

Because I had an errand to run in the area, I decided to go to the huge Loblaws in town. I tend to favour IGA with the odd jaunt to the more convenient Provigo for PC items, but once in a while, I feel like a foray to Loblaws.

I used to love Loblaws until it became too damn big. I don't want to have to pass six aisles of toys, camping equipment, miscellaneous furniture, and clothes to get to the tampons (this Loblaws) or the cheese (the other Loblaws I visit). I'm also not nuts about the fact that they advertise 'sales' in their flyer (no coupons), but don't mark what the 'regular' price is. Guess I'll know once my price book gets going!

Before I went to the store, I loaded up their website and opened the e-flyer. There, you can click on the 'sale' items you're interested in and the site will make up a nice printable grocery list for you! This is the first time I used the site and I will do so from now on. Except for the cheese (since premium and 'cheap' cheeses are sold separately), the list printed everything in the aisle-order of the store! It was so easy and the list was detailed enough for me to know if the item I had in my hand was the 'sale' version or not.

At any rate, I went to Loblaws and paid a lot of attention to unit prices. I know I saved some money:

-52 count of tampons for 8.59$--I normally pay just shy of 6$ for 20 (so they were worth the hike)
-Dr. Oetker pizza for 4.99$--I normally pay 5.99$
-2/5$ on the Europe's best frozen veggies--I normally pay 3.99$ per bag and would have bought four bags had there been two more bags of a type I like (no asparagus for me, thank you kindly)
-Lactantia cheese, 2x300g for 5$ or 0.8333/100g--I normally consider around 1.50$ for 100g a decent price worth stocking up on for 'cheap' cheese (eesh). I don't often buy 'cheap' cheese often now (IBS, remember), but when they're giving it away, it's a treat. I do pay top dollar for premium parmesan cheese from the Italian deli, however (must start shopping for that!)
-Tostitos, 2x300g for 5$--I would normally pay about 2.99$, if I normally bought Tostitos, which I don't because they're overpriced. But there was no 'plain' PC or NN tortilla chips, so I went with the Tostitos. I don't usually buy chips and junk but tortilla chips and salsa was the one 'acceptable' junk food growing up and I can't get it out of my mind that nachos (just plain chips and salsa with a sprinkling of cheese and maybe no-fat 'refried' beans) isn't a healthy lunch, but anyway.

My favourite savings was on the tomato soup. Yesterday I found myself cursing myself once again for having run out of tomato soup. Tomato soup is to me what ground beef is to some households. It has a million uses, from as-is to cake, and I just never manage to keep enough on hand. Zipping through the 'club size format' section of Blobblobs today, thinking there would be nothing there to interest me, I noticed a lonely 12 pack of No Name tomato soup peeking out from behind the cream of mushroom. No Name is acceptable, although I do prefer Campbells, and is the type I tend to buy unless Campbells is really cheap (I stock up then). At any rate, the 12 pack of soup was retailing for 0.158$ per 100mL. I put the pack in the cart and made a note to see how much individual cans were going for--0.173$, a saving of a cent and a half per can. Okay, that's not much, but I did save 18 cents on a product I use a lot instead of buying it at full price. Go me!

Another interesting thing I noted was the cost of a container of hummus is 2.99$ for both PC and Fontaine Santé brands. But the unit cost on the former is 1.317$ per 100g while the latter costs 1.50$ per 100g. Whopping difference! And, yes, I do plan to start making my own hummus again once I have a kitchen; stopping bugging me.

However, PC brand 'ground soy' was exactly the same price as Yves 'ground soy', so I went with the name brand.

Toilet paper is a perpetual irritant; with all the different types of rolls out there, how am I supposed to know if 25 cents per roll is a good enough price to have gotten the jumbo pack? I guess I'll know one day, if I keep building my price book.

I'd budgeted 50$ for today, expected to pay 100$, and came out at exactly 75$, so I'm pretty pleased. I have lots of easy to make without a kitchen foods that should last me a couple of weeks and not too much junk (no desserts, for example). That's what I've tended to call a 'good grocery.'

Taxes paid on this grocery bill: 2.79$; for the tampons and chips *makes a mental note to write to her MP again about the unfair taxation of women for necessary products... then order a Keeper*

I'm off to input my data into my Excel spreadsheet (I'm such a geek).

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