-The high price of convenience

Out of curiosity I decided to do a price comparison between Sam’s Club (bulk buying store) and that of a “normal” grocery store (in this case Cub Foods and a bit of Target). I’ve always known that Sam’s Club helps us to save money, but I never took the time to see just how much that really was. So I put together a spreadsheet, comparing the prices of foods we often purchase for our family.

The “measurement” column is the minimum quantity you can buy at Sam’s club, which doesn’t always equal out to what you can easily buy “off the shelf” at a normal grocery store. So in those cases I had to do a little math, figuring out the cost per ounce or unit and then multiplying it according to the Sam’s Club measurement. Also bear in mind that I wasn’t able to compare the exact same brands for everything, however I did compare prices similar to how I would normally shop. Meaning if I normally choose brand “xyz” for a particular item then that is the price I used, and in most cases I stick to lower end to mid range priced items.

I’m so glad I did this exercise, as it REALLY opened my eyes to the monetary difference between convenience shopping (normal store) vs. more intentional shopping (Sam’s Club). If you look at the totals below you’ll see that we saved about 39% on our grocery bill! I know it takes more time to plan meals ahead, divide bulk items up for freezing, look for new and inventive ways to use certain ingredients, etc.. but the saving is un-disputable and so worth it for us! Yes, at times the price difference is not much, and once in a while “normal” buying can actually be cheaper (as things go on sale). But overall the bulk-buying route is well worth the yearly fee, which I believe is around $30, as that can be re-couped within the first trip!

Standard Grocery Store vs. Sam’s Club MEASUREMENT NORMAL PRICE BULK PRICE TOTAL SAVINGS
Butter 4 lbs $9.16 $6.32 $2.84
All-Purpose Baking Mix 5 lbs $4.66 $4.46 $0.20
Canned Green Beans 12 cans $10.80 $9.16 $1.64
Caribou Coffee Beans 40 oz $27.63 $17.82 $9.81
Cheddar Cheese 5 lbs $25.00 $10.86 $14.14
Classico Tomato & Basil Spaghetti Sauce 3 jars $8.85 $7.88 $0.97
Country Hearth 12-Grain Bread 2 loaves $7.18 $4.88 $2.30
Cream of Mushroom Soup 10 cans $15.00 $8.18 $6.82
Eggs-Large 18 count $2.79 $2.13 $0.66
Flour-All purpose white 25 lbs $10.95 $7.78 $3.17
Heavy Cream quart $3.89 $3.12 $0.77
Honey Nut Cheerios 3 lbs $10.50 $7.23 $3.27
Bratwurst 3 lbs $8.10 $7.86 $0.24
Milk-skim 1 gallon $3.79 $2.24 $1.55
Mozzarella Cheese 5 lbs $25.00 $9.86 $15.14
Mushrooms-whole 40 oz $7.48 $6.45 $1.03
Nestle Chocolate Chips 72 oz $15.00 $8.87 $6.13
Parmesan Cheese-block 1 lb $11.00 $9.00 $2.00
Pecan Halves 2 lbs $18.98 $10.42 $8.56
Poptarts 18 packs $8.97 $6.52 $2.45
Progresso Soup-Beef Variety Pack 8 cans $20.72 $11.16 $9.56
Quaker Quick Oats 9 lbs $13.68 $6.87 $6.81
Sour Cream (Daisy brand) 3 lbs $6.50 $3.87 $2.63
Sugar-white 10 lbs $4.59 $3.54 $1.05
Sugar-brown 7 lbs $5.78 $4.39 $1.39
Yoplait Yogurt-6 oz. Cups 18 cups $13.50 $8.42 $5.08
Red Delicious Apples 8 lbs $11.92 $7.42 $4.50
Russet Potatoes 10 lbs $5.98 $4.86 $1.12
Tyson Frozen Chicken Breasts 10 lbs $41.45 $22.88 $18.57
Taco Seasoning 1 lb
$14.24 $3.88 $10.36
GRAND TOTALS
$373.09 $228.33 $144.76
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