My food of choice for breakfast is (and has always been) cereal. I am generally not very picky as to the brand or type although my favorite is Frosted Flakes. Since I eat cereal almost every morning, we tend to go through quite a bit of it. Walking down the aisle at your local Walmart or grocery store, you'll see an endless selection of brands and types. There are the name brands offered by General Mills, Kellogg's, and Post as well as store brands. Store brand cereal does not bother me.
In 2011 I first noticed while shopping at Walmart that pricing of their cereals were constantly changing. I began not paying attention to the actual price I was paying, but rather the price per ounce. After several years of watching the price per ounce, it seemed that most cereals averaged a little over 20 cents per ounce. The Walmart brands were lower, but still ranged between 13 and 19 cents per ounce. There were a few cereals (mainly the Walmart brand of Frosted Flakes and Honey Bunches of Oats w/ Almonds) that were less than 12 cents per ounce. Those were generally the cereals I would purchase.
When Aimee and I moved to Elizabeth City in December of 2012, we discovered Ollie's. We had always heard about the store, but never ventured into the discount retailer until we moved. Among many of the other cheap items they had for sale, we found Ollie's generally sold cereal on the cheap. At first, we were apprehensive and wondered about the quality of the cereal (expiration date, staleness, etc.) but nevertheless gave it a try. None of the cereals we purchased were out of date, nor did they taste stale. When doing the math, many times we were purchasing cereal between 8 and 10 cents per ounce, and some of these were name brands! At one point in 2013, Malt-O-Meal (the cereal in a bag people) had a campaign to put some of their cereals in a box in order to try to raise awareness for their bagged cereals. They figured that if people tried their cereals in boxes, maybe they would switch to the bag and effectively "bag the box". I'm not sure if their campaign worked, but they had quite a few leftover boxes of cereal on closeout at Ollie's. These cereals were priced around 8 cents per ounce and included their off brand of Captain Crunch w/ Berries, Frosted Flakes, and Apple Jacks. On one occasion in early 2014, we were able to pick up a box that contained two bags of Frosted Flakes at 5 cents an ounce.
One might wonder, what the difference is in a few cents per ounce. Assuming I consume around 2 ounces of cereal each day six days a week and another ounce once a week as a dessert, my annual cereal consumption is 676 ounces. Conservatively, if am saving around 7 cents per ounce (most of the time it is more than that) my annual savings is $47.32. Some might balk and say that is not much, but in my Toyota Corolla, that is a tank and a half of gas (600 miles worth).
I have often times wondered the potential savings of purchasing in bulk from Sam's Club or Costco. Unfortunately, I do not own a membership so I cannot analyze whether or not the bulk savings is equivalent to that of Ollie's.
If you know of a way to save on cereal or have a suggestion for a savings tip, please email me at PennyPinchingPaul@gmail.com.