Monday, July 27, 2015

What are you really saving?!

Fact or fiction?
If I hear one more local brag about
shopping at Costco - I'm going to
scream! Many complain about how
expensive things are in Lewistown -
specifically Albertsons. Hence they
have no problem driving two hours
simply to bag a bargain. The idea
of spending one's time and  energy
in search of a deal baffles. However
maybe it pays? So I thought I'd do
some research and figure it out for
myself. Who knows? Maybe I'm all
wrong. Or... maybe I'm totally right!

Fuel for thought
The IRS allows you to deduct  57.5 cents
for business mileage. In theory that pays
for gasoline and vehicle wear/tear. If one
calculates the miles from our home to the
Costco in Billings it's a total of 133 miles
each way. Using the above formula that
totals to  $152.95 for a round trip. Or you
can simply consider the cost of gas. The
average rate of consumption for a pickup
is 17 miles per gallon. The average cost
of a gallon of regular in Montana is $2.83
per the AAA. Do the math - getting from
here to there still comes to at least $44!!

Shop till you drop
Per the government, the average American
household spends approximately $7,000 a
year, or $135 per week on food. According
to Costco, their average annual revenue per
membership household is $1,500. Add the
$110 membership fee and we'll round that
off to a total of $1,600 a year. Assuming an
average Lewistownian makes four trips per
year - a Costco shopping spree comes in at
about $400. Then add the cost to actually
getting. All of which means you have to
save at least $150 or $44 per trip to save!
Sounds like a losing proposition to me...

More or less
Next I compared the prices for several
items at Costco versus Albertsons sale
prices. In addition when able - I also
explored the savings at Shopko. The
average Costco savings - large mega
sizes plus related waste aside came in
at roughly 20%. Now do the math...
$400.00 average Costco shopping trip
(including membership) yields $80.00
in savings off Albertsons prices. Add
back half of the government's mileage
rate and you saved $5 after expenses.
Or gas alone - you save at most $36.

Is that all there is?
How much is your time worth? Said
shopping trip takes at least six hours.
Computed at the Montana minimum
wage that's worth $48.50. So... add
that to the cost of gas and you spent
$12.50 more than you would have at
Albertsons. Of course you did get a
nice trip out of that. And maybe you
ate out while you were in Billings?
Or bought some togs? So in the end
what did you really save? And was
that minuscule amount of savings
worth punishing our local economy?

We all fall down
You see, locals just like you get paid by
local outlets that employ them. Hence
in theory - the more we spend locally -
the more locals get employed. Let's
think about that - driving all that way
to save a few cents may not make any
sense. Shifting more and more of your
spending outside of Lewistown benefits
Billings or Great Falls - not your fellow
neighbors nor your community. While
you may think you're winning, it seems
that shopping at Costco may actually
be more than a losing proposition.

More than you bargained for
Why can't we put our money where
our mouths are?! Before you lament
the loss of another local business -
do the math for yourself. If nothing
else, do us all a favor and admit that
you don't shop out of town to save
money - but rather for the thrill of
it all. And embrace the fact that your
shopping on the wild size is doing
your town more bad than good. So,
isn't it time to take responsibility for
our community and invest our hard
earned cash in LEWISTOWN?!

Just the facts maam...
For those of you who are skeptics - following are
my shopping comparison facts. Albertsons prices
are from the most recent sale leaflet. All Shopko
prices are also as advertised. Costco pricing was
pulled from recent consumer shopping lists that
are published on the internet. Sadly, no Costco
fresh meat, fish, poultry, or produce prices were
available. So in theory - you can either save or
lose even more depending on what point you
want to make. My point is... SHOP LOCALLY!
Yoplait Yogurt
6 oz for
.49 cents each
24 6 oz. variety pack
$ 9.99 or
.41 cents each
16% savings
Breakfast Sausage
12 oz. for $3.99
6 Pound
Saddle Pack $13.99
= 12 oz for $1.74
56% savings
Sour Cream
Daisy 24 oz $2.99
Darigold 3 lbs $3.99
= 24 oz. $1.99
33.5% Savings
Chunk Light Tuna
Bumble Bee
12 oz. $2.99
Chicken of the Sea
66.5 oz $10.99
= 12 oz. $1.99
33.5% Savings
Squeeze Mustard
Heinz 14 oz $1.49
French's 60 oz $4.89
= 14 oz $1.14
23.5% Savings
Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
32 oz (64 oz) 2 for $9.99
2 liters $11.49
= 64 oz. $10.81
+ 8% higher

1 box $1.79
4 for $5
= $1.50 each
16% Savings
10 for $17.5
= $1.75 each
2% Savings
Fancy Feast Cat Food
24 3 oz cans $14.99 = .62 each
20 3 oz cans for $11 = .55 each
 2% Savings
36 3 oz Cans $19.49 = .54 each
13% Savings
Alcon Opti-Free Replenish
10 oz $8.98 each
10 oz $8.99 each
2 16 oz for $19.59
= 10 oz $6.12 each
32% Savings