Thanksgiving grocery challenge: Who can get the best deals?
Many Canadians are thinking about how their Thanksgiving dinners will look different this year because of rising food prices.
Prices for some Thanksgiving dinner staples are up more than 20 per cent compared to this time last year. Statistics Canada reported last week that inflation is up 10.8 per cent across all retail food items.
Last week, CTV News sent two reporters out with identical 12-item grocery lists to see who could find the best deals. It was a close call.
This week, Jeremie Charron and Kimberley Johnson went shopping for a Thanksgiving dinner. Jeremie shopped at a store in Stittsville, while Kimberley went grocery shopping in Kingston.
They were not permitted to use cars, reflecting the reality for many Canadians who rely on public transit, cycling, walking or other modes of transportation to get their groceries.
The items will be donated to local food banks.
Here's the shopping list:
- Box of crackers
- Block of cheese (400 grams)
- Turkey (at least 10 pounds)
- Potatoes (five-pound bag)
- Cranberries (one can)
- Frozen vegetables (one bag)
- Box of stuffing
- Dinner rolls (six)
- Can of gravy
- Pre-packaged salad
- Turnip (1)
- Pumpkin pie
Jeremie's shopping experience
This was a great experience and a reality for many.
No access to a vehicle, just your feet or public transit, and no bouncing from store to store, just one stop – those are often the circumstances for many, and so those were the rules of the challenge.
I chose to walk, with my grocery store about 1.5 kilometres away (busing was not an option for this trip, I live in the suburbs), and that took planning. I brought a heavy-duty shopping bag and a backpack, knowing I would be hauling back some heavy items.
I shopped at No Frills in Stittsville. The walk was 20 minutes, and so during that walk I used the Flipp App to browse flyers in the area for the best deals, ready to price match in store.
I found everything I needed, and got some great prices. But, and there’s a big but, when I got to the cash I realized all the flyers I had used to price match my items didn’t come into effect until Sept. 29 - the day after this challenge.
So I likely left some money on the table, but I swallowed my pride and checked out anyway.
And all of that was the easy part – now to walk home with the haul, but I had a plan.
I put the heaviest items - the turkey, the potatoes, and the turnips - in my backpack, and the lighter items went in my heavy-duty grocery bag.
The walk home was much harder than the walk there, but the backpack helped big time.
In total, my trip took about 1.5 hours, and it was a total of a little over 3 kms.
What did I learn? There are deals to be had, but you have to work for them, and you had better be prepared. In addition, walking is a valid option if you have a store close by, but again preparation is key, and you could count it as a workout – I had to shower before heading back to work.
Jeremie Charron shows off his shopping bag while walking home from the grocery store.
Kimberley's shopping experience
When it comes to walking or busing, there’s a large chunk of time that’s needed to set aside to do that. But, I learned you can have all the deals in the world, but if you don’t check your receipt and make sure you got them, you can really lose out.
As I was headed out the door, I grabbed reusable bags, because Walmart eliminated plastic ones at the beginning of the year, and although you can buy them in store, it can add to the bottom line.
The trip had two options, a 25-minute walk or a 15-minute bus trip, which cost $3.25.
I timed it right, caught the bus and made it to Walmart on time.
When you are shopping at one place, you are at the mercy of the store sales, prices and stock. I grabbed the last butter for the sale price at $4.48.
I also bought a sack of potatoes on sale, larger then I needed, but 10 pounds was a better price.
I missed the bus home, the next one was a 30-minute wait, and so I decided to walk.
At the half way point, carrying more than 20 pounds of weight on my back, I noticed how heavy everything is, needing to rearrange my backpack and two reusable bags on my arms, to make it more comfortable.
However, I got some deals I was happy with - $22 for a 5Kg frozen turkey, and $0.49 for stuffing.
After getting home, I realized I made a huge oversight. I didn’t look over my receipt when I left the store, and I was fully charged for a 10 pound bag of potatoes at $6 vs the $2.50 that the sale price listed for, which means I didn’t get the deal I was expected.
That’s a big lesson; check the receipts, but when you're running for the bus, it’s easy to forget key things like that. Not being able to turn back to insist I get the discount when that means adding extra time just isn’t practical.
Jeremie Charron shows off his shopping bag while walking home from the grocery store.
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