Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bigger Isn't Always Better

In my latest quest to coordinate meals for 40 people, I am making every effort to save money wherever I can and still get high-quality food. I've written out several meal plans so I know about what I'm looking for, especially the meats. Since I know what meats I want to serve, I can keep my orbs peeled for sales on them. Or, if a really fantastic sale comes up on a meat I don't have planned, I will try and swap it out if I can.

Next week (if it's a go, I still need to make sure I'm doing it - I've learned to never assume!) I have chicken breasts planned. Normally, that is not the cheapest part of the chicken to buy, but I was fairly certain that between the time I planned the meal and the day I would need to prepare it, somebody somewhere was very likely to run a decent sale on it. Sure enough, I opened the sale-papers Sunday to find them on sale for $1.78/lb.

Now, most all people that I've mass-cooked with (aside from my sisters) are all about convenience when it comes to purchasing food. If they can buy it in bulk the day before, then that is the way they will automatically go. I wonder if they ever consider that they could pay 50+% less if they pre-shopped a bit and hit the sales? I dunno. I also understand that it could depend on if you're feeding 50 or 500 - I doubt Food Lion will want to sell you a whole shipment of Chicken Breasts! But they might, who knows :)

Just to be sure, both last week when I was getting 40 lbs. of chuck roasts, and this week when I hope to buy 65 chicken breasts, I've called around to all the "big box stores" to make sure I'm getting the most bang for my buck.

This week, here are the price comparisons for Fresh, Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts:
Costco - $2.99/lb (yoweee!!!)
BJ's - $2.79/lb (Yikes!!)
Sam's Club - $1.97/lb (that's more like it)
Farmer's Foods - $1.78/lb (normally $3.79) - now THAT's what I'm talkin' 'bout!!

I also check with the local store to make sure there isn't a limit on how much I can buy. If I do end up buying from the local store, I will check with them again to make sure they have the amount I want available.

I will most likely end up buying some things from the big box stores, but if I see what I need for a good deal, I'm going to get as much as I can on sale. For instance, I also need Cream of Onion soup for next week. Guess what's on sale at Kroger this week with coupons? Campbell's Cream Soups! For a very good price. A low enough sale price that I won't run to each big box store to compare the per-can price, especially since I won't use a whole case.

I guess the punch-line to all this is that yes, the big box stores ARE cheaper than the non-sale price at the local stores. BUT, so far they can't beat the sales!!


Sally said... [Reply to comment]

Hmmm...that's pretty interesting and good to know. The only meat I'm trying to sniff out a sale on right now is ham. I want some to be able to have ham soups again. So, if you hear of a Kroger or Food Lion sale on ham, please let me know!

Judi B said... [Reply to comment]

By the way I'm glad we have a fearless and frugal meal coordinator (not clear if that's your title officially or not) too help with these meals. We were just praying about it at WMF committee a little over a week ago. I hope that you enjoy it.