Sunday, May 25, 2008

Comparison Shopping

Readers, I'm sorry that I'm not checking in more often but we are BUSY. However, I did promise you a comparison of prices between San Miguel de Allende and Houston. I finally had time to do it.

Here are the parameters of this comparison which is hardly comprehensive. The Mexican prices were recorded at Mega before we left and they were changed from kilograms, liters and pesos to equivalent pounds, quarts and dollars by my resident engineer, aka Ned. The exchange rate used was 10.35 to the dollar which was the rate when we left San Miguel but now it is about 10.1. The first numbers will be the equivalent cost from Mega in San Miguel and the second number will be the cost this week at Walmart in Houston. If I had compared the costs in San Miguel to some of the 'Flagship' grocery stores the prices would have had a much broader spread with higher prices in the Houston.

eggs(see note 1) 1.65 doz.....1.42 doz
rice .76 lb..... .68 lb
bread 1.95 loaf..... 2.74 loaf
red beans .62 lb..... 1.16 lb
pinto beans .61 lb..... 1.06 lb
Barilla pasta .88 lb..... 1.23 lb
flour .57 lb..... .66 lb
tomatoes .68 lb..... .98 lb
iceberg lettuce .58 head ..... .98 head
delicious apples 1.19 lb ...... 1.38 lb
white onion .28 lb..... .50 lb
bananas .38 lb..... .48 lb
select rib-eye steak 5.70 lb..... 6.78 lb
whole chicken(see note 2) 1.30 lb..... .82 lb
medium shrimp 5.66 lb..... 6.38 lb
whole talapia 1.52 lb ...... 1.97 lb
hamburger sirloin 2.59 lb..... 3.32 lb

note 1 eggs..... we buy eggs at the tiendas near us for about 1.23 doz
note 2 whole chicken..... I saw chicken at other places in Houston for about $2 lb and I saw it on sale for .65 lb.

I was surprised at how often the prices were similar. I have always sensed that the prices in Houston were about one-third higher than in San Miguel but that didn't hold true in all cases. Of course this whole comparison hinges on where you shop. If you are shopping at the tiangus and mercados in San Miguel or if you are shopping at 'Flagship' stores in Houston your mileage will vary. I apologize for not figuring out how to set up a table to report the info but I wanted to get this posted. I hope you can figure it out.


Babs said...

Thanks for the info -and thanks for taking the time to do so! Very interesting..........

Steve Cotton said...

Thanks, Billie. Your calculations are similar to what I did in December -- comparing Portland food prices with those in La Manzanilla. The way to save on food costs in Mexico is exactly the same as in the United States -- use fewer canned items and take the time to cook. Moving to Mexico to save on food costs will simply cause disappointments.

jennifer rose said...

Thanks for an honest report. Frequently there is a tendency among people living in Mexico to report the prices of only the least expensive items when making these comparisons.

Last summer I compared prices of the usual stuff I buy at Costco in Morelia with the same items in San Mateo, and I was surprised to learn that the prices were about the same.

Melissa said...

I just wanted to coment on your blog. I used to live in San Miguel when I was little. I lived there for four years. It takes me back there reading through your blog. Thanks for that.

Mimi said...

Thanks Billie,
I'm going to take your list when we go shopping at Soriana in Playa del Carmen and see how the prices compare over here.

Keep enjoying that 3 year old, he'll be 10 before you can even blink. :) Or so it will seem

Billie said...

I'm glad all of you find the comparison interesting but as I said, much of it depends on where you shop both in SMA and Houston.

And Melissa, I'm glad you found the blog and I hope you'll keep coming back. We'll be heading home before too long so I'll be back to writing more about SMA.