Grocery store reading

puzzlefanJune 1, 2009

It is getting tiresome to shop when you have to spend as much time reading at the grocery store as you do at a library! Have you ever computed the actual cost of advertised toilet paper or paper towels? Per sq ft a bargain is often not, especially when you figure in single ply and double ply. It would be so helpful if stores would post that info just the way they do for unit costs on other groceries. Then there's the "bargains" on coffee. Seems several coffee processors now spray their coffee beans with chemicals supposedly for preservation but they just happen to have a coloring effect. Those unripe coffee beans, you aren't supposed to see them. Cans of fruit and vegetables list their weight but not the percentage of actual food in the can. Does anyone else find this constant vigilance when shopping really tiring?

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Not at all!

Bu spending a few minutes of my time, I can get the biggest bang for my buck.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 10:35PM
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I've normally done my homework before I go to the store based on past purchases and home testing. I keep notes about foods and H&B aids in my Price Book.

I did a test on a large number of TP brands some time ago and figured the cost of TP by weighing the rolls because sheet sizes are different from brand-to-brand, as well as number of plies and ply thicknesses, so they are impossible to figure based on those things. I find weight of the roll the only accurate way to measure, and only common variable, to figure cost one brand against another. After I did this test, I stick to on-sale American Fare from K-Mart (the double rolls similar to Scott) and Scott (with a double coupon when it's also on sale to stack savings). POM was a looser, even though it is perceived as being inexpensive. Occasionally Wal-Mart will sell Tempo brand, and that's always been a good bargain, but they don't have it very often. I tend to use Tempo in the guest bathroom, it's a little "nicer" than the bargain brands.

The Q&E way to check TP is to squeeze the roll. If there is a lot of "give" and it easily squeezes and compacts, you can bet it's not a good buy. I don't concern myself with it being soft and gentle, or if cartoon images of bears like to use it in the forest... I just want a roll to last longer than a day or two. That quickly eliminates the namebrand, highly advertized brands.

I don't purchase coffee, so I can't give you any help there. I'm still thankful I have a large number of boxes of $1/100 tea bags I purchase at Wal-Mart in storage because it's now gone up to $1.25.

The clue for canned fruits/vegetables is to check the Nutrition Facts on the lable for serving size and the number of servings per container, then you can figure price per serving. The servings will not include liquids, just solids.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 8:32AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

The weight thing with tp is interesting and I used that calculation today.
I usually buy the double roll 12 pack Angel Soft but I remembered I had a dollar off coupon for Scott so I put that in the cart and went to put the Angel Soft back on the shelf when I noticed that the Angel Soft package was much heavier than the Scott I had just picked up. They were both double 12 roll packages.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 2:45PM
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bumblebeez -

I opened a 4-roll package of SCOTT Extra Soft - Mega-size, which are larger than double-rolls (it came out of a 12-pack) and 2 of the rolls weighed 165g and 2 weighed 170g. If you happen to have a kitchen scale, could you please post how much a roll of Angel Soft weighs? It seems like the brands are always changing something-or-other, and it's been awhile since I did my original weight test. Thanks...


    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 4:14PM
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For the most part I know the areas to be wary. Paper products are one area. I still use number of sheets for comparison. Especially on the smaller rolls, you need to factor in the weight of the core to use weight as the comparison and that winds up being too complicated for me to mess with. To me, and I think most people, they use a certain length, therefore a certain number of sheets per use. Now there could be a few millimeters variation in the length of the sheet but for the most part I still see the number of sheets as being the best comparison. In reality, I don't use significantly fewer sheets if it's double, triple or whatever ply. It seems to me that in theory anyway, the thicker it is, the heavier it should be and that would throw off a valid comparison of use. I guess short of counting the number of actual uses from a roll it's going to be tough to compare.

The brands I buy are thick enough and soft enough. I still like the 1000 sheet Scott for use and value. I don't find anything that comes close. I was at Kmart recently. I used their AF brand before and the paper was (at least then) thinner and lighter than Scott but acceptable when I could get it cheaper than Scott. I've also used Walgreens 1000 sheet which is much like AF. Lately I buy Scott for 50+ per roll. 1000 sheets equates to 5-6 rolls of Cottenelle, Angel Soft, Charmin, Northern and others and obviously is far cheaper. It's really a bargain. I haven't logged it yet but I recorded the number of sheets and price per package on that Kmart trip. I was going to do some comparing so I had harder figures to see how they compare. Personally I don't like the Scott extra soft as well, but after getting a 12 roll pack for about 38¢ per roll, I decided to get it anyway for the value. They have something like 700 or 750 sheets per roll IIRC. I used to be a diehard Charmin fan but it doesn't matter anymore. It's not the same as it was 35 years ago.

If you're interested I could weigh the Walgreens roll (I think I have a couple left) and the Scott Extra Soft and let you know what it comes in at.

Occasionally I use paper plates. Lately I've used them more often for a few reasons. But I will buy the coated plates because often I have to use mroe than one of the cheaper ones and I only use one of the HD ones. And factoring in the small amount I use, I feel justified.

Coffee is a good example for me. I've tried other brands but I still prefer Maxwell House. I won't pay $10 for a container of it though. I'll buy it on sale for $5 maximum. Actually I usually buy two and it'll last me until the next good sale. With brands I don't like I have to throw it, suffer through it or give it away. Two out of three aren't frugal, and the other isn't being kind to me. And when it comes down to it, I don't use that much and the cheapest brands aren't much cheaper than what I get it for on sale, and sometimes get a coupon with it so I feel justified.

Sometimes it can be tough but other times you just go with a best guess and use products you like, even if it could be a little more. I don't use irrational rationalization to justify using something. I'll pay a penny a gallon more to not drive 10 miles to a cheaper station, especially when I need gas. Occasionally I'll reward myself and buy a nice steak or rack of ribs rather than a more frugal meal. And sometimes I just figure, hey, I'll make it up on something else. Few people I know live as frugally as me, though I'm not as radical about it as some. Some things I can't do, some I can, for many reasons.

Happy frugalling everyone!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 8:31PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I don't think I have a scale Grainlady but I might find one in the basement. It seems like Mom might have had one in her stuff. Or else I can send a roll with dh to work - he can use the postal meter- if he'll do it!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 10:45PM
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Some of the embossed rolls of TP look as though they're nice and large ... and they are - but it's mostly air. I don't like paying for air at the gas station - and even less when I'm buying rolls of toilet paper.

I usually use about 5 - 6 squares of TP - I prefer overusing a bit to having the brittle stuff break, letting my finger go for an unexpected ride (or, rather, a ride in an undesirable location) while carrying out that essential task.

There's a hanging scale in the produce section of our local discount grocery - and son used it while checking the weight of some produce yesterday afternoon.

Good wishes for keeping your fingers where they should be ... or, at least, where you want them to be.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 2:56AM
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