In the honour of the late Max Satanove, the man who wrote a weekly Edmonton Examiner column, "Max's Edmonton Food Basket", that compared grocery prices in the Edmonton area for 18 years, and in my quest to find more savings in our household monthly spending, I've created my own "Pricebook" that compares items that my family would have in our own shopping cart at any given time during the year.I've added Costco and Walmart to the store list for the sake of comparison and any loyalty points in dollars value that would be given for the amount spent on the shopping list.
Please note all items and prices in the cart were adjusted accordingly to the same per unit size as indicated on the chart. Items were selected to be the same brand in all the stores to the best of my ability or the cheapest one or sales tag I could find at the time. Keep in mind these are prices for this given date and include price savings from current sales promotions, coupons, and membership programs. All items were priced at Edmonton west-end locations; hence eliminating issues with prices varying at different chain- store locations and the question of more time spent driving to or gas expenditures used driving to a farther store would be only mere pennies for the trip.
The best deal was at Costco, where the entire cart amounted to $189.91.
The same goods were bought at Walmart for $238.93
At Superstore, they were $192.85 to my surprise. Superstore has always been the clear winner in this comparison even when Mr. Satanove was still writing... But, a head to head with Costco and Walmart has never been done... until now.
And, the most expensive was Save-On Foods where the entire cart cost $250.23
Best buys were Huggies Pull-ups 40 count for $12.50 at Superstore and Safeway; Sobey's had the cheapest soda pop- Pepsi 24 can cube for $5.99 (ends today); and potatoes at superstore were at blowout prices— $4.88 for a 20lb bag of Russets and $5.97 for a 10lb bag of yellow potatoes.
Ranking the stores from cheapest cart price to most expensive, we have Costco, Superstore, Sobey's, Walmart, Safeway, and last Save-On Foods. So as expected, and what Mr. Satanove's weekly comparison showed also, Superstore and Costco came out the clear winners in this comparison while the others jostled around each week for third place and under. Keep in mind, this ONLY shows the consumer getting the best bang for his buck or value on a per unit basis NOT overall savings per week spent. As anyone who has shopped at Costco knows, one cannot buy such small quantities as shown above; surely your weekly food bill would be substantially higher in real money terms just on sheer size of the portions Costco sells. That is why when shopping at Costco, we know each individual item we look at on the shelves is a great deal for that price, so we throw it into our shopping carts. But, we are always agape in shock when we get our receipt at the till.—doesn't fail; does it to me every time. Heck, I'm in awe when I spent UNDER $100 on a weekly trip to Costco!
What is impressive about Costco is these prices are their everyday prices for all the items listed. The other retailers' prices include many of the items currently being on limited time specials or in the case of Superstore, limited quantities of one or two.
Everyone knows if one to drive to each retailer and buy their cheapest items and time each sale correctly, they would be guaranteed to get the best possible deals and come out further ahead in terms of savings. It would prove interesting to see if one were to buy the same bulk quantities as Costco's portions, if one would really save as much money per unit since prices tend to increase dramatically when you buy over the maximum allowable limits Superstore has set out. And as with the other grocery stores, if one were to go shopping on customer appreciation days such as the first Tuesday of every month with Safeway and Save-On Foods and get an additional 15% off their total bill, one would also see the gap between savings per store narrowed.
And of course, as we all know, when picking up a couple of items only such as milk and eggs, it would be a waste driving all the way to Costco, only to try to find parking and then fighting the long lineups at the till; it would be definitely more cost efficient buying milk and eggs only at your local Safeway for the few pennies more it would cost at the till.