Friday, March 25, 2011

Publix vs. Kroger - Week 4

My experiment is over. I spent the last 4 weeks shopping at Kroger in order to compare grocery shopping at Publix. You can read week one here and week two here. I was out of town for the weekend of the third week, therefore Allison did the shopping and I didn't post on her experience.

Obviously, there are many contributing factors that may skew the results of my very non-scientific experiment. Allison and I did, however, keep our shopping consistent. We have recently tried to make an effort to cook more at home and eat out less, but overall the 2 four-week periods were consistent in the types of items we shopped for.

Most of my opinions were outlined in week one and didn't really change. The main non-monetary issue I have is that Kroger doesn't have as many generic items as Publix. The other big deterrent was that Kroger does not appear to carry grass-fed beef. Publix carries it, but we are probably going to start getting it at the Nashville Farmer's Market so this may be a moot point. In terms of dollars, both stores are essentially the same for the Bussell family. Through 4 weeks at Kroger we spent a total of $8 more than the 4 week period at Publix.

Based on this experiment, it appears that financially it may not matter where you get your groceries. It mainly depends on, at least for us, on items and the shopping experience. And if you're like Cooper, which store will give you get a cookie. He refused to go shopping with me once he learned we weren't able to get a cookie from the Kroger bakery.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Publix vs. Kroger - Week 2

This past weekend capped the second of four weeks that I am shopping at Kroger in my comparison of Publix and Kroger. You can read my thoughts and observations from week one here.

Okay, I'll admit, my bias toward Publix came through a little strong in my last post. I decided that if I was going to be able to change grocery stores, should my experiment favor Kroger, I need to have a little more open mind about shopping at Kroger. That being said, I went into my weekly shopping trip with a much better attitude than last week. Disclaimer: last week Cooper went to the store with me, we were in a rush because we were going to the Vandy baseball game, and given the fact that I usually shop at Publix I couldn't find things at Kroger. None of those things are Kroger's fault, but it did affect my attitude.

This week was much better. I didn't have as much to get, but I was also able to find the things I needed. I still think that the store is not as well lit and the aisles are more narrow than Publix, which can become uncomfortable if the store is crowded, but things seemed much better yesterday. I am also still of the belief that Kroger has taken some tips from Publix. Everyone I encountered was super friendly and helpful. After 2 weeks the dollar comparison is starting to come into view. I am , however, reserving that opinion, especially on here, until all 4 weeks are complete.

There is definitely one advantage that shopping at Kroger has over Publix. By using your Kroger card you accumulate points. Once you reach 100 points you can redeem those points at participating Shell gas stations. I realize that 10 cents isn't a huge amount, but when gas is $3.49 per gallon, every little bit helps.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


When Allison was in law school we met Jeff and Ashley Beck. They became, and are still, some of our very best friends in the world. It was through this relationship that we were first introduced to Lent. Traditionally Lent is 40 days in length. This represents the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert, during which He was tempted by Satan. There are several practices that are associated with Lent. The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigor during Lent are prayer, fasting, and giving. Since learning about Lent, Allison and I have tried to give something up each year. I also think each year I get a better understanding of what Lent means or at least what it means for me.

One day in the last week or so Allison suggested that I give up Facebook and Twitter for Lent. My first thought was, "Nah, that would be no fun at all." If I'm honest, however, that thought had crossed my mind more than once prior to that conversation but I had just brushed it aside. By her mentioning it, it was sort of confirmed that maybe that is what I need to do. So, beginning today I am fasting from Twitter and Facebook. I don't necessarily think they have a grip on me or are a vice, but they definitely take up time that I can use to grow closer to God. I am also going to try to add another hour to my day. Typically we try to go to be around 10pm and I get up around 6am. I am going to extend those hours. Probably 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night. These will be times I use for prayer and studying God's Word.

My prayer is that I can use Lent as a time of reflection, learning, and growth toward God. Not just for the 40 days, but as a springboard for the future.

I would love to hear what others are doing. Do you give anything up for Lent? Do you add anything?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Kroger vs. Publix

I've decided to do a little experiment. Allison and I started shopping at Publix when we lived in Smyrna. We have also shopped at Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Bi-Lo during periods of time in our marriage. At some point we just decided to give Publix a try. Because we follow the Dave Ramsey cash envelope system, we could easily tell if going to Publix affected our budget one way or the other. After several weeks we determined that it appeared as though Kroger and Publix were comparable when it came to price and because of the great customer service and friendly people, Publix was the place to go.

Fast forward a few years. We are still using the cash envelope system, however, we are using to track our budget and spending. This method compiles the information on a monthly basis, whereas before we essentially budgeted on two-week time frames. For the month of February we shopped at Publix for our groceries. And for the month of March we are shopping at Kroger in order to be able to compare the two to decide if it may be worth a switch.

Here are few of my thoughts and observations from week one of my experiment. Keep in mind we are BIG fans of Publix, so I definitely have a bias. Also, I don't really use coupons. We buy a lot of generic items and shop based on need and a list, therefore coupons and sales are really a bonus for us. My first observation was Kroger didn't seem to be as well lit and the aisles seemed to be more narrow. Keeping in mind my bias, I don't think this was because of pre-conceived thoughts I have. This, however, is not a reason to stop shopping somewhere. My second observation is that Kroger does not have a big of a selection of items/brands as Publix does. This could end up being a deal breaker. As I said before, we buy a lot of generic items. There were some things that I was not able to get generic at Kroger that I can at Publix. In this same vein, there was not much organic/grass fed meat and only 1/2 gallon in organic milk. After watching the movie Food, Inc., Allison and I try to eat organic/grass fed beef and drink organic milk. The third thing I noticed is that Kroger, at least the one I was in, has taken notice of the friendliness at Publix. I was engaged by several employees and everyone seemed very helpful. This was a big deal to us when we started shopping at Publix. It was just a better shopping experience.

As I'm typing this I realize that my bias toward Publix is shining through. I am definitely trying to be open minded and if there is a significant amount of savings by shopping at Kroger that is what I will do. As I've told people in the past, it's worth $5ish per week to me to shop at Publix. If the amount goes above that I'm not sure it's worth it. I plan to shop tomorrow and hopefully will have some additional thoughts and observations to share.

Do any of you have a preference? Is there a reason you grocery shop where you do?