Staple prices

I am getting a bit out of touch with what real things cost in real stores. Which is surprising, considering I could use being more price-conscious.

The past few months, I decided to save up the receipts I get at supermarkets, in order to be able to compare prices.

My expectation was that Albert Heijn would turn out to be significantly more expensive than other supermarkets. This did not turn out to be the case.

Things I noticed:

– A single store brand item could make up for the difference in prices of all other (inter)national brand items;

– Less than half of the things I buy are staples across supermarkets; of each supermarket, I seem to have an internal list of favourite things to buy there (as you can see further on, my staples over at least three months of shopping consist of 9 items, most of which have to do with drinking drugs, or feeding the cat).

– Receipts are not specific enough to make a complete comparisson. For instance, if I buy a liter of store brand milk to put in my coffee at store A, and a liter of a known brand, different type of milk, but with the same purpose, at store B, I should be able to compare these. For a better test it is therefore better to take notes, rather than save receipts.

Furthermore, it seems to me that the type of store determines the kind of shopping you do there. Writing a shopping list beforehand would probably save me a lot more money than choosing a particular store. On every receipt there were one or two impulse buys; cutting these out would probably save me more money than switching stores.

Especially the Aldi is an impulse-buy trap for me. Usually I have one or two items I want to buy there, yet end up going home with five or six. I do use these items, though, and they partly replace items I would have bought later.

Here’s my list of 9 items:

– 1 ltr. sterilized milk, creamy, Friese Vlag: 0,81 euro (C1000), 0,86 (Albert Heijn).

– Dubbelfris (fruit juice mix): 0,59 (C1000), 0,65 (Albert Heijn).

– 1 ltr. chocolate milk (Nutricia): 0,89 (De Deen, C1000, Albert Heijn).

– 1.5 ltr. coca Cola: 0,91 (C1000), 0,95 (De Deen, Albert Heijn).

– 0,5 ltr. skimmed yoghurt (different brands): 0,47 (Albert Heijn), 0,54 (C1000)

– 1 ltr. sterilized milk, somewhat creamy: 0,72 (C1000), 0,79 (Albert Heijn)

– Tortellini: 1,99 (C1000, Albert Heijn)

– Max Havelaar coffee (250 gr.): 1,95 (Albert Heijn), 1,97 (C1000).

– Whiskas catfood, tin, may be different types: 0,69 (De Deen), 0,75 (Albert Heijn)

Another comparison: can of beer, Hertog Jan: 0,72 euro; can of beer, Grolsch: 0,69 euro; can of beer, store brand (Euroshopper): 0,37 euro. Although the former two taste better, the store brand is not so much worse that I would never drink it. It is better than some other brands I could mention, like Amstel. Oops!

As for why tortellini is a staple (in case you wondered): it is fairly easy to make a complete meal using tortellini, tinned or jarred vegatables with sauce, and a salad. So it is the sort of meal I fall back on when I am in a hurry, or when I don’t feel like cooking.

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