Guest Post: Kim From Living Domestically

Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 07:17 AM

One of my favorite parts of my job as NuVal’s Mom-Blogger is that I get to meet a whole bunch of other bloggers!  Kim lives out in Colorado, shops at King Soopers and she has a great blog called Living Domestically where she is learning to live a healthy life, one mile, one meal, and one day at at time.  Kim was a lucky Trade-Up Tuesday winner here at A Better Bag of Groceries recently.  She most graciously accepted my offer to write a guest post for all of you.  So, without further ado, I give you Kim!

Kim

Last year, I moved out on my own for the first time since college (I lived at home post-college).  One thing I had to learn was how to effectively budget my money.  One thing I have always struggled with was sticking to my food budget, while still making healthy choices.  Has anyone else noticed how coupons really only exist for processed, unhealthy foods?  I will happily purchase the “damaged” produce if it means I can get it at a steal of a price.

I remember watching an ABC News piece last year, where they were investigating the effects of the economy on the food that we eat.  They indicated that while the total product cost might not have changed, the package size was shrinking.  Manufacturers were changing product packaging to decrease the amount of product, while fooling the consumers to think they were still buying the same amount of product.  The theory is that consumers comparison shop based on the overall product price, with little regard to how much product they were actually purchasing.

This is when I began to notice the little boxes on the product price labels that indicate the unit price.  This is how the overall product price is determined.  If something costs 50 cents per ounce and you’re buying 8 ounces of it, then the products costs $4.00.

I usually shop at King Soopers and was thrilled to find out that the NuVal scoring system was being used throughout the store.  It was going to make my shopping trips a little less hectic when brand comparison shopping for nutritional content and product price.  For the longest time I was against store-brand products because I thought that they were less healthy for you (there had to be a reason it’s so much cheaper!).  But with the NuVal scores available, I was quick to learn that sometimes the store-brand products are just as healthy, if not healthier, AND much cheaper.  A win-win if you ask me.

The other day, I wanted to make a Broccoli-Cheese-Rice Casserole for dinner.  I opted for brown rice since it is nutritionally better for you than white rice.  Brown rice scores an 82, white rice scores a 57.  As I was comparing three brands of brown rice, I was shocked to see how much the price varied between Uncle Ben’s, Riceland, and Kroger-Brand Brown Rice (keep in mind that the Kroger Brand rice is a 1 lb bag vs. the 2lb bags of Uncle Bens/Riceland).

 

 

According to the pricing labels, the NuVal score for each bag of rice was the same…a score of 82.  Regardless of which bag I chose, I was going to get the same nutritional benefits.  Next, I looked at the unit price.

Uncle Bens:  15.3 cents per ounce

Riceland:  9.34 cents per ounce

Kroger:  5.19 cents per ounce

I could buy 3 times the amount of Kroger Brand rice for the same price as the Uncle Ben’s rice.  RIDICULOUS!  So it was a no brainer that I walked away with the Kroger Brand rice.  I saved myself at least $1.33 by choosing the store-brand version over the pricey name brand products.

So the next time you’re in the supermarket and you want to save yourself a couple bucks—take a look at the unit prices.  You’ll be shocked to see how much the price varies between brands.  And if the NuVal scoring system is included, you’ll be a better comparison shopper.  Sometimes it might be worth the extra money to get a healthier product.  But be careful—sometimes the unit pricing is NOT the same for all products.  For example, sometimes you might see some drinks listed with unit prices in ounces and others in pints.  Be ready to know how to convert the unit pricing into similar units for easy comparison shopping.

It’s Melissa again!  Great advice, Kim.  Thanks for sharing. I think it’s time to start teaching my kids about unit price.

Question of the Day

Do you look at unit price when you shop?

Posted by: Melissa 8 comments

Posted in: Guest Bloggers, King Soopers

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A Mom Goes Back to School

Friday, September 17, 2010 at 08:11 AM

OK – one more Back to School post and then I’ll give this theme a rest.   Promise.  But I couldn’t let these two weeks pass without paying homage to the the bravest of the brave:  the Moms who decide to dust off their college backpacks and head back to school after quite some time.  Like my good friend, Karen.

Karen lives with her husband, Jeff in Northern New Jersey with their two awesome kids, a girl, age 11, and a boy, age 7.  Karen graduated from Colby College back in 1990 and went on to work in Manhattan in the publishing industry. Soon after her daughter was born, Karen left publishing and spent some time as a stay-at-home-mom while still freelancing in editing at times.  Fast-forward to today.  With both kids in full-day grade school, Karen has decided to go back to school to pursue her M.Ed. in Special Education/Elementary Education.  Wow!  Karen is one busy Mom, but she took a few minutes out of her day to answer some questions for me:

Me:  What made you decide to return to school?

Karen:  I am currently in a program that will certify me to teach Kindergarten through 5th grade as well as certify me in Special Education. I have always been interested in working with children, during college I worked in a camp for severely disabled children. I returned to school part-time when both my children were in school full-day.

Me:  What is different about college now than it was in the late 1980s?  What is the same? 

Karen:  The differences: well, last semester I took  a test in my pajamas at home!  The technology to register, to attend class, to find out grades, it is all on-line and it is such a time saver.  Oh and one word (well, maybe 2) PowerPoint!  Most of my lectures are posted on line  in PowerPoint.  Instead of taking notes most students just print out the PowerPoint.  When I gave my first presentation, my 11 year-old daughter helped me with the basics.  What is the same is the course work – I still have homework and projects although I find I am much better now at studying because I only have a limited amount of time to do so.

Me:  How are you juggling being a student and being a mom?

Karen:  Some days are better than others!  I also work part-time as a freelance editor, so it is all about priorities. The days I attend school can be a bit frazzled but I believe I am setting a good example for my children by showing them that  “Moms” can go to school and an that you are never too old to be a student or a learner.

Me:  What is your goal when you complete your studies?

Karen:  I will be certified to teach and would like to be Special Ed teacher in a school district.

Me:  Shifting gears, I know you have been a long-time ABBG reader.  What do you think of NuVal?

Karen:  I love NuVal. I wish we had it in my local grocery stores. When I was on vacation in New Hampshire, we saw it in Price Chopper.  My children and I loved comparing the scores of products and guessing the more nutritious food.

Me:  What Trade-Ups have you made since learning about NuVal?

Karen: I absolutely love Greek yogurt. I can’t go back to the other stuff.  My favorite is Chobani.  I have also replaced white rice with brown rice and while my family complains a bit (well, mostly my husband) I know it is a better choice for my family.

Thank you, Karen for answering all my questions.  When Jeff whines complains about the brown rice that you are serving him, know that you can always serve him parboiled rice instead.  It actually gets the same great NuVal score as brown rice – an 82! – but it has a consistency more like plain white rice.  I wrote a post about it a long time ago and you can read it here.

Congratulations to Karen, and to all the other brave Moms out there who have made that courageous step to go back to school.  We’ll be cheering you on!

Posted by: Melissa 2 comments

Posted in: back-to-school, Chobani

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