There seems to be one problem most college students have in common: money.
Where can I spend the least amount of money on groceries? Why are groceries so expensive? What meals are the cheapest when I need to stretch my last few dollars?
First, we came up with four easy and affordable meals: chicken with veggies, pizza, frozen dinners and spaghetti. Then we threw in the basics: peanut butter, bread and milk. We added a few fruits and sweets as well. To end it, we added toilet paper, which is one toiletry item that seems to cost the most.
Wal-Mart, 10 Box CostPlus and Kroger were the three contenders. We visited each store and compared each item against each other. Then, added up all of the totals of each store as if a shopper had bought one of each item documented. On top of that, we compared experiences and benefits.
If you are interested in the comparison of individual items at each store, visit www.arkatechnews.com for a spreadsheet.
10 Box Cost-Plus: $48.56
*toilet paper skewed the total by a whopping $8 more than competitors
WAL-MART – Walmart is most convenient
Wal-Mart is the best for the convenience. Everything a shopper would need is in one place. Unlike the other stores, WalMart has toys, clothes, electronics, outdoors supplies, an auto center and more.
Wal-Mart has an app called Savings Catcher. You scan your store receipt, they compare the prices, and you get the difference if they find lower prices at any other store. Unfortunately, it does not compare member discounts at other stores, only the original prices.
It also offers $0.03 off per gallon of gas when paying with a gift card. The downfall to this is that the shopper will need to remember to add money to their gift card before filling up.
10 BOX COST-PLUS – 10 Box Cost-Plus is the most affordable
10 Box Cost-Plus was generally most affordable in terms of meat and vegetables. Its biggest con is that it does not smell good and the store is not well organized. It’s overwhelming. Overall, it was cheapest, although it is not the top choice for all items and offers no other benefits. Additionally, 10 Box Cost-Plus adds an extra 10% at the end of your order on top of tax.
KROGER – Kroger has the best benefits
The only thing that made Kroger more expensive was the toilet paper, which was a whopping $8 more expensive than its competitors. Subtracting that difference, it cost the same as Wal-Mart. Kroger has the best benefits, regardless of the pricy toilet paper.
Kroger has its own app, where you can load coupons onto your Kroger card. Kroger cards are completely free. You can also look up items on the app to see what aisle it’s on and write digital grocery lists.
For every dollar spent, a fuel point is earned. Every 100 fuel points earns you $0.10 off per gallon of gas, and you can build up as many fuel points as you want throughout each month. All that is required for this benefit is a Kroger card. On top of that, Kroger members can receive $0.03 off per gallon of gas.