Monday, February 19, 2007

Best Price vs. Most Convienent

I am grateful that we are able to afford to buy gluten free without having to draw from our savings or having to give anything up - but I am still a bargain shopper at heart and I hate to spend any more money than I need to.

On the other hand, I want products to be available close by. Sometimes it is a difficult choice to decide where to buy my staples.

Take my favorite pasta - Tinkyada. The Rainbow Foods store right here in my suburb carries it and I'm glad they do and I want to encourage them to carry it and more gluten free foods, but at $4.19 a package it is quite expensive. I can get it for $3.59 a package if I drive to Fresh and Natural Foods in Shoreview (14 miles one way). Or I can order it online from for as low as $2.96 if I buy 12 at a time. Even with paying shipping, the savings of buying online is quite substantial. Especially if you consider that we eat a lot of pasta - we probably go through 4 packages a month - that's 48 a year. At a difference of $1.23 each that's $59.04 a year.

Sometimes it is cheaper to buy locally. Take Panda Puffs. I can get that at Super Target right here in my suburb for $3.64. If I drive the 14 miles to Fresh and Natural, it will cost me $4.37. has them for $4.25 and Miss Roben's has them for $5.29.

It can be very confusing to know what is a better deal where. For myself, I keep an excel spreadsheet listing the items I buy and the prices at each of the stores I shop at. I then highlight in yellow where it is the cheapest. If I am placing an order online anyway, I will check my spreadsheet and see what else is cheapest there and go ahead and order some. If I'm getting low on just one item and I can buy it locally I probably will even if it's a few pennies more. I check my receipts against my spreadsheet and make sure I update the information periodically.

It's a lot of work making sure you get the best price and balancing buying locally to encourage the local grocers to carry more gfcf products - but it is something I feel I have to do. I just hate throwing money away. Just because we can afford to buy this food doesn't mean we should pay the highest price we can. And I would like to quit my job some day and that is only going to happen if we can afford to live without me working.

And don't forget to throw taste into the mix. Miss Roben's is more expensive than on a lot of the items I buy - but you can't beat their taste or their customer service. If no one in the family wants to eat it - it wasn't a bargain!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I get really confused too. GFCF foods are so rare over here (uk) that they cost a fortune. The only good side of this is that my son, (who was overweight), has not been able to overeat and now looks fit again. I'm beginning to discover that it saves me money to give him lots of fresh foods (fruit, veg and grilled meat) as I can't afford many special gfcf foods.