I had planned over my spring break a few weeks ago to compare prices on products we often buy at different stores across the city. And I mostly did it. I went to: Cub, Target, Rainbow, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Mississippi Market, the co-op.
I made a worksheet in Excel with the names of each product and the price at each store. I wasn’t too picky about brands, I just compared the cheapest brand that met my requirements (e.g. organic, no-salt added, etc.).
Not all stores carried everything I wanted, so I just left those spaces blank. Phil did some analysis for me afterwards and added the categories and the priorities. I wanted to make sure one store wasn’t “winning” on cheapest just because it had the cheapest of the less frequently purchased items.
Phil made this graph. I have to confess I’m not entirely sure how to read it, but I couldn’t figure out how to make another one that expressed what I wanted to. I think it does show the end result by the highest overall bar: Whole Foods is overall the cheapest for the products I buy!
And Target came in second. I’ve heard that Rainbow is super cheap on organics, but the location I went to didn’t carry many organic products. I have yet to check out a second location to see if they can beat Whole Foods. Also, Trader Joe’s is not this amazing cheap place like people are always talking about. They have a few products that I like that aren’t carried elsewhere and a few products that are cheapest (like the sesame rice crackers).
I’m also excited to have the document, so that when I see a sale or a coupon, I’ll know what price I need to actually compare it to before declaring it a bargain!