Grocery Shop Comparison: Calgary

Back in August, 2009 I wrote a post about the price of groceries in Calgary that referred back to some local consumer reporting on CTV.  While it's hard to believe it was that long ago, our increased spending in groceries as of late had me reflecting on it.

The comparison is done by a home economist as part of an ongoing series on price checks. Once a month, CTV creates a grocery list (which seems to average about 40 items) and compares prices at major Calgary stores. If a store has a particular coupon or sale, that is included in the calculation of the prices.

Here is my summary of their reports for the last twelve months, I've highlighted the maximums for each month as that seems to fluctuate.  The minimum cost for the same groceries, is always at Superstore - a constant from 2009.

The last time I had a look at this, Safeway seemed to be a bit better priced then it is now - it is tied for second with Co-Op in terms of how often they are the most expensive.  Another big change is that Co-Op has become more market competitive, it is no longer the most expensive grocery store in the report.  Sobeys now takes on that honor.

Jordan and I shop primarily at Safeway - so 3/12, we're choosing the most expensive place.  Now that we moved, the closest store is actually the Superstore.  It's somewhere where I beleive you have to be careful, because you can buy a lot more than just groceries, but it might be worth trying to focus our grocery shopping their to reap some savings.

Here is a breakdown of our grocery spending for the last 7 months.  In November and December, we were preparing to move, and eating out pantry - in January and February, we've been re-stocking that pantry.   Over the next couple of months we'll be watching this category pretty closely to try to get it back down a ways.

Here are a few suggestions on how to curb your spending on groceries, other than switching stores:

  • Check out store websites for the most up to date savings
  • Plan your meals based on the best prices
  • Make sure you know what you already have
  • Buy whole fruit, vegetables, cheese, instead of the already washed/cut/packaged stuff
  • Ask yourself how important labels are to you and your family
How much do you folks spend on your groceries, and how big is your family?  I'd love to know what stores you shop at too.


Customer Chat Transcript

One of the things on our list while visiting mom was to have a look at her phone/internet/cable pricing.  She lives in a pretty rural area, so has has to have two different companies.  While surfing the companies website we found that they had an online chat feature with customer service.  I hopped on, and pretended to be my mom.

Within about 10 minutes I got my mom a pretty decent discount on her cable and internet services.  Next up...the phone company.

Here is the conversation, feel free to try it out with your company and let me know if this transcript helped you negotiate a successful discount:

Customer Chat Transcript
Please wait while we find an agent to assist you...
You have been connected to Ryan.

Ryan:  Thank you for contacting Phone Company Name, my name is Ryan, and I will be assisting you today, how may I help you?
Jessie’s Mom:  I currently pay just under $100 for tv and internet, however; A Different Phone Company Name offers both of theses, as well as phone for about the same price
Jessie’s Mom:  is there anything you can do to be competitive with them?
Ryan:  I am just checking into the promotions available
Jessie’s Mom:  perfect, thank you
Ryan:  I am sorry, however we do not currently have any promotions that I can update to your account for you.
Jessie’s Mom:  So, you would rather I cancel and move all services to A Different Phone Company Name?
Jessie’s Mom:  I am surprised that you have no other options
Ryan:  If you would like I can get you in contact with our Resolve department to speak about the possibility of cancelling and look into further options for you.
Jessie’s Mom:  thank you

Ryan has left the session.

Please wait while we find an agent from the Resolve department to assist you.
You have been connected to Andrew.

Jessie’s Mom:  Hi Andrew
Jessie’s Mom:  Ryan passed me on to you
Jessie’s Mom:  I am looking for some help on my pricing
Andrew:  hello, I will do my best to help you out.
Jessie’s Mom:  Thank you
Andrew:  no problem. please give me a few seconds, and I will access your acct so to see what i can do.
Jessie’s Mom:  thank you
Andrew:  you currently have a watch and surf bundle with us, and you pay $90.10/mth ... is this correct?
Jessie’s Mom:  It's currently $97.01 plus tax
Jessie’s Mom:  i think
Andrew:  i see. i checked your bill, and the services are $90.10 (plus tax), but what i can do is add a loyalty discount (of 20%) lowering your bill, before taxes, to $72.08/mth (plus tax), if you're interested.
Jessie’s Mom:  that seems very reasonable to me - I appreciate your efforts
Andrew:  that's a monthly savings of $18.02, and i can do this for the next 12 months - an overall savings of $216.24.
Jessie’s Mom:  excellent
Andrew:  would you like me to add this to your account?
Jessie’s Mom:  yes please
Andrew:  just give me one minute, and i'll make sure it gets done for you.
Jessie’s Mom:  thank you
Andrew:  it's complete. you're future bills will be $72.08 ($80.73 - taxes in).
Jessie’s Mom:  thank you very much
Jessie’s Mom:  i appreciate your time
Andrew:  is there anything further i can help you with?
Jessie’s Mom:  No, thank you
Andrew:  it was my pleasure, thank you for contacting Phone Company Name.


Time Away

I've spent the last week and a bit at my mom's with my brother, his significant other, and my husband. They are heading back to the big city in the next day and I will be staying here for another week.  I find myself at a loss with what to write. 

I've started and stopped quite a few times.  I'll write a few sentences and then delete them.  There is a lot of personal stuff going on and everything seems so trivial...so unimportant.

We've been distracting ourselves quite a bit.  We helped mom take a load of stuff to the dump, and have been re-organizing her office a bit.  We did notice that mom pays a heck of a lot more for her internet/tv/phone services then we do - so might try to take on her small town service provider to see if we get get a bit of a better deal.  She pays about $150/month for fairly basic services.  When I asked her for an idea on something to write about - she suggested that.

On a positive note, I had applied through my companies community support program for funding for a family-initiated granting program and was award a significant lump sum.  It's very personal, so I don't write much about it here - but we're a bit better than 80% of goal #1 now.

On another positive note - it's performance review time for both Jordan and I over the next couple of months.  We should both see increases in pay when looking to the market and our performance as well as some educational pieces that add to our profiles.

Also - my photographer sent me higher resolution wedding photo images...super happy about that. 



Our Dogs

I'm spending a lot of time with my family for the next little while and might not be writing as much about $$.

Here are our dogs:

You might recognize Aries and Baxter - the smallest one is Conan. They don't always get along, but a you can see, it's getting better.


Links ♥