Welcome to my “daily comment.” The ground rules Ceres and I have agreed to are simple. I can write whatever I want, ranging from a sentence to an epic, and nothing is off limits. I can even say things like, “Don’t trade stocks yourself — for most people, it’s smarter to invest through no-load mutual funds.” Which it is.

Yesterday, I recounted what Kramer and I know about saving money at warehouse stores. The land-of-the-giants tuna fish episode of Seinfeld.

Today, I take you comparison shopping, just to give you a sense of what’s out there. The idea is to shop smart and save money, because the IRS doesn’t tax you for that. A penny saved at the supermarket is a penny that falls straight to your bottom line.

My motto: NOTHING IS EVER ON SALE AT THE 7-ELEVEN.

The following shows prices for January 24, 1996 in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area. The comparison is in no way meant to be scientific, just to give you a sense of how prices — especially prices per unit — can vary. If you always tend to get the best price, or nearly the best price, you will save a lot of money compared with those who get the normal mix of good and bad prices.

Not shown here are the really bad prices — the travel size toothpaste you can buy in the hotel shop for $2.39.

Instead, I just compared a Sam’s Club warehouse store with two large Southeast supermarket chains, Publix and Winn-Dixie.

Not shown either are the “store brands” that are often another excellent way to save money. Not on ketchup, of course — there is only one Heinz ketchup. But on garbage bags? Paper towels? In many cases, these come off the same production line as the “brand name” products.

And a final disclaimer: I’m not saying you should actually eat stuff like this. Fresh vegetables, baked potatoes, lots of fruit — that’s what you should eat. (Costco sells a mean jumbo frozen fruit salad, incidentally.) The point of this is just to show how prices can vary.

 

Item Sam’s Publix Winn-Dixie
Kraft Velveeta
Price per lb. 1.798 1.995 3.28
Kraft Parmesan Cheese
Price per oz. .31 .37 .41
Stouffer Frozen Lasagna
Price per oz. .09 .125 .125
Tostitos Tortilla Chips
Price per oz. .125 .206 .186
Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers
Price per oz. .128 .215 .193
Nabisco Wheat Thins
Price per oz. .125 .179 .179
Hunt’s Catsup
Price per oz. .037 .052 .047
Hellman’s Mayo
Price per oz. .074 .112 .105
French’s Mustard
Price per oz. .057 .050 .061
Campbell’s Tomato Soup
Price per can .49 .40 .445
Chef Boy-ar-dee Ravioli
Price per oz. .055 .066 .67
Mott’s Apple Sauce
Price per oz. .033 .039 .041
Juicy Juice Boxes
Price per oz. .038 .043 .058
Minute Maid Juice Boxes
Price per oz. .038 .035 .039
Ocean Spray Cranberry
Gallon 5.22 5.99 5.98
Milk (gallon)
2% 2.05 2.87 2.87
Skim 2.05 2.77 2.77
Whole 2.15 2.87 2.87
Kraft American Singles
Price/slice .083 .112 .115
Eggs
18 carton (large) 1.48 n/a 1.85
Pop Tarts
Price per tart .215 .249 .248
Post GrapeNuts Cereal
Price per oz. .125 .162 .103
Wheaties
Price per oz. .158 .166 .165
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes
Price per oz. .117 .137 .137
Maxwell House
Price per oz. .174 .177 .174
Peter Pan Peanut Butter
Price per oz. .081 .107 .106
Bumble Bee Chunk Light Tuna
Price per oz. .103 .095 .095
Del Monte Peas
Price per oz. .027 .036 .032
Del Monte Green Beans
Price per oz. .025 .033 .034
Del Monte Corn
Price per oz. .025 .036 .032
Del Monte Peaches
Price per oz. .038 .051 .051

My other motto: SHOP AROUND.

Tomorrow: Wine by the Case: Amazing Math

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