Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Target vs. Walmart. The Ultimate Showdown!

You know you couldn't resist clicking on this link. Everyone knows that Target is far superior to Walmart, but let's face it, we all love reading about why! 

Well read on, dear Targeters. And if by chance you're on Team WallyWorld, you're going to lose. Might as well starting wadding up those panties now. 

A couple weekends ago, I left my brand new pooch at home alone to embark on the ultimate Target vs. Walmart challenge: price comparison.

As I explain in my previous post, I've put myself of a fancy-pansty budget for the next few months (or maybe forever...we'll see) which includes spending as little money as possible on food. I've always wondered where the cheapest groceries are, but I've never known how to really find out. Sure all those couponing website are easy to read, but let's be honest, I don't have the patience or time to cut and organize coupons. And since I live directly across the street from Target, I was really just looking for validation that my dollars were being well spent.

So this is what I did:

I planned my meals for a whole week. I wrote down what I was going to make for breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday-Friday (the weekends generally end up as leftovers for me, whether I plan it or not). I made my grocery list, and then I set out.

I first went to Walmart, where I "shopped" for everything on my list. Instead of filling a basket, I filled a note on my iPhone with how much everything would cost. For items that had various sizes, I wrote down the weight so I could make sure to grab the same size box at Target. 

After completing this info-grab, I ventured back to my side of town and entered the beautiful world of Target. (SIDE NOTE: Has anyone else noticed the subtleties that make Target so much nicer? I mean, do you ever feel clean when you're in a Walmart? No. You don't. I've recently decided this is because of the floor colors. Walmart's floors are grey--dingy, dark, sad. I feel like I'm walking through the far end of a trash can and can no longer see the light. Target's floors, on the other hand, are white, making the whole store look brighter, cleaner, and more organized. Even the brown floors at the grocery end give the feel of an upscale grocer). This time, I filled my canvas bags ($0.05 off your bill per bag) with all my groceries and whipped out my RedCard at the register. It was time to see if saving 5% was making any difference in my grocery bill. 

And ya know what?

It did!

It made a whole $0.69 of a difference!

Here's the breakdown:
Please don't judge my terrible photography skills. I'm not good at this because my brother stole all the artistic genes in the family. 

As you can see, before my RedCard savings, Walmart had actually been winning. $48.44 vs. $50.26. However, once I got my 5% savings, Target came out on top by $0.69 (no pun intended)! 

Add to this the cost of gas that I won't be spending to get there since I can walk, and that's even more savings! 

BONUS! hauling all my groceries by foot means burning extra calories! #eatmorecookies. 

So there you have it. In the Ultimate Target vs. Walmart showdown, Target came out as our winner! Duh.

*Please note that this grocery total is way higher than my average grocery bill. Since I recently moved, I had to buy a lot of items that I generally have stocked--like noodles and frozen chicken. My average weekly grocery bill runs $20-$25.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

It's not what you know; it's who you know.

I have started to budget. Like, a for-real budget.

Ok, not a real, REAL budget, just one of those spreadsheets, inspired by this girl where you write down every penny you spend and set goals and keep up with them, blah blah blah so annoying. Also, my spreadsheets aren't as pretty.

On Saturday afternoon, I spent roughly 30 minutes planning my meals for this week, as every budget-conscious girl does (according to all blogs and pinteresters). From breakfast to dinner, I made a grocery list and compared prices in the circulars I had just picked up from the mail. I carefully counted my pennies and made my grocery purchase, filling my refrigerator with this week's supply. (I even price compared Wal-Mart vs. Target so see which store cost less. I ended up saving $0.69 by shopping at Target and using my RedCard to save 5%! But that's for another blog post.)

On Monday afternoon I was just about to defrost that evening's chicken when I received this text:

"We're gonna have extra pot roast if you want me to bring you some."

YES! Free pot roast!

And there went my perfectly planned meal list.

For those who know me, you know that my mother is quite famous. Not in a real-life-celebrity kind of way, just in a I-can-totally-hear-your-mom-saying-that kind of way. She has a few *catch phrases, and I often find myself mimicking her voice to earn a few chuckles from my friends (no offense, Mom!).

I'm here today to tell you about one of her catch phrases that is dead-on.

It's not what you know; it's who you know.

And it's true. I am not famous. I am not wealthy. I have not made any impact on the world that will land me in history books (will those exist in a hundred years?). And therefore I have no reason to enjoy spectacular events other than by pure luck. Except that I know some people. 

For example: I have had the lucky pleasure to travel to quite a few places around the world in my short twenty-five years. And that's mostly because I know my grandparents. 

Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Been there, seen that.
(Source: Wikipedia)

In America's Most Beautiful Place, I know several families who let me sleep/eat/boat with them all summer long.

Sleeping Bear Dunes, Lake Michigan
(Source: me)

I have been inside Michael Irvin's house, met his wife (who was making banana pudding at the time), and hung out with his mother and aunt. (His aunt, Fanny, even came to one of my high school football games to watch me perform at half time many years ago).

Michael Irvin, Cowboys #88
(Source: here)

What do I know? I'm not a world travel expert. I don't own a beautiful lake house and a boat. I don't play professional football. 

But I know people who do. It's not about what you know, it's about who.

But the best part is, you don't even need to know anyone famous or wealthy. I went nearly two years buying little more than bread and milk because I worked out a deal with a friend who would buy me groceries as long as I cooked. WIN.

And now, despite my careful preparation to plan each of every meal, I'm given free food.

All because I know someone.

Who do you know? 
What cool experiences have you gotten to enjoy because of someone you know?
What do people gain by knowing you?
Leave your answers in the comments!

*For more on Mom's catch phrases, please refer to my childhood.