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Written By: Gary on June 30, 2008 One Comment

Since my local Farmer Jack closed and went out of business I’ve been paying attention to different groceries stores and prices. I didn’t pay as much attention to pricing as I should since my mother worked at a Farmer Jack’s and I wanted to support them (also, I felt they had good prices). Plus, it’s just me and it’s not worth driving around all over to save a little bit when I don’t get that much (I average less than $30 a week but I do pick up some grocery items when on sale at Target).

My nearest FJ was purchased by Kroger. I’m not a big Kroger fan for two reasons: I’ve never been thrilled with their meat section that much and it always seems like their dairy products don’t have very long life for their expiration dates. Also, they never seem to have Orange Juice on sale for very good prices (I drink a lot of it).

So I’ve been checking out the other stores nearby: A Meijer which I like but isn’t very close and a Wal-Mart closer and on the way home from work. The prices are significantly different between the stores, I need to hit these other stores on purpose and more often. I need a grocery web site when I can put in (and have it remember) my most often purchase items: OJ, milk, cantaloupe, bananas, jumbo eggs, etc. and have it tell me where I should shop this week.

When my kitchen gets a lot smarter with RFID this will probably be a breeze. It’ll know what I need and tell me it’s time to go shopping or (better yet) tell me to wait a few days since everything I need goes on sale at one of the stores. And tell me while I’m not low on cereal it’s so cheap this week I should stock up.

Written By: Gary on May 13, 2008 One Comment

The New York Times did a really cool graphic last week on what Americans spend their money on. It’s a big graphic and you can zoom in (one level) to read the parts you can’t see and the colors indicate change in prices over the last year. I really like the way they did it.

I’ve say it’s very Edward Tufte, except for the odd shapes of all the pieces. He would have put it down differently, something more symmetrical (or square) so that you could have more easily compared milk to dry cleaning.I found this at Get Rich Slowly.

Written By: Gary on January 14, 2008 2 Comments

I know everyone keeps their eyes open for good gas prices and will hit one gas station over another since it’s a few pennies different. I’m sure some people sometimes waste gas by driving a little farther. I know I’m always happy when I can save a few pennies per gallon (I usually fill up on Tuesdays since I’m usually over by some cheap stations). Here’s something to keep in mind, 6 cents more a gallon (if it’s around $3) is only a 2% difference (12 cents more a gallon is only 4%).

Normally, when I eat at McDonald’s I get a number 3 meal (Quarter Pounder – no pickle, no mustard which includes a 20 oz soda and medium fry). At the McDonald’s by work (Plymouth/Beech, Redford, MI) it’s $4.77 (tax included); at the McD’s by my house (Michigan/Greenfield in Dearborn) it’s $5.36 (tax included). That’s a 59 cent difference! That’s 12% more at the more expensive McDonald’s. FYI, both the McD’s I’m referring to have been renovated in the last few years and the cheaper one has a playland.

So keep in mind if your $3 gallon of gas was 12% more at a nearby location it would 36 cents more per gallon! Now it’s not cost effective for me to take the time (and gas) to drive home to save 60 cents, but maybe I should check out the other two nearby McDonald’s to see what they charge. Plus Kelly always refers to the Redoford one as an expensive one (that’s the one I say is cheap).

When they talk about fuel price gouging, maybe we should consider all types of fuel…

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