Like thousands of other Australians, at this time of year I have always had a whooping big Chrisco Hamper delivery, boxes and boxes filled with groceries and goodies that we love.
I love the excess of $1,000 turning up all at once. I love that the hampers are always filled with brands and goodies that I might not buy often throughout the year, but that are luxuries for our home. I love freeing up my usual grocery money to spend on Christmas foods and presents since my cupboards are usually straining with food by now.
But last year, the meat that arrived really wasn't that good (sorry Chrisco) and to my irritation I found myself casseroling all of the meat on the steaks because they were too tough to eat.
It occurred to me that maybe this year instead of buying Chrisco meat hampers, I would instead put the meat money aside in a separate bank account and take the plunge at buying a whole carcass from an independent butcher, and see if there was better quality and value to be had that way.
And since I was going to cancel that much of my order, maybe it was also worth cancelling the grocery hampers and seeing if I could pull some better value by buying the products myself. Since I cancelled my order late last year, I have been transferring my $20 every week to an ING account kept sacred for the purpose, and now I find myself with $1,000+ to spend on groceries. The meat order is placed (and I will write a separate post about how that went).
This week, I set off with the 2012 catalogue for Chrisco to my local grocery shops to see how I would go replicating one of my favourite hampers.
|Image taken from 2012 Chrisco Christmas Catalogue - Breakfast Hamper|
I completed a clean cost comparison between what Chrisco says the Breakfast Hamper is worth, and what the shelf price at Coles says the hamper should be worth. I didn't take into account all the specials that Coles had on many of the products. And I was shocked at the difference. I was expecting to see that Chrisco does not pass along their bulk buy costs in the hamper absolutely. Maybe even a small markup. But the outcome is a whopping 31% difference. The Chrisco 2012 Christmas Hamper Catalogue tells us the hamper is worth $184.60, whereas standard retail shelf prices at a mainstream grocery store tells us the hamper is worth only $125.79.
**Imported Nescafe Coffee sourced from www.officeworks.com.au & Kelloggs Fruit Loops sourced from www.woolworths.com.au. These specific products/quantities were not available at Coles.
I cannot believe I have been paying such a massive premium on my hampers all these years. I cannot believe how much of my money I have been throwing away. Hundreds of dollars every year, without a clue.
Today I wandered across to both Woolies and Coles to actually buy my own version of the hamper. Taking advantage of their catalogue specials I bought bigger quantities of all our favourite cereals, spreads, juices, and used the difference to buy extra items to bulk out the cupboard even more. My cupboard is overflowing with pancake shakes, cereal, syrups, spreads of all kinds, crumpets, raison toast, baked beans, spaghetti's, you name it, its in there. And I spent less, but got so many more products. All of the cereals were bought in the much larger sizes, but the unit price of each item was less than the standard RRP for the smaller quantities.
I wanted to pay special attention to this particular hamper, so I haven't even begun to buy some of the other products we would normally have gotten in a hamper, but I'll be back to the stores to buy more soon. Am going to do an Aldi run as well for frozen goods, because the stuff is such great value and we love the taste so there will be even more value to be had there when I do.
If like me you love the excess of food at Christmas, I cannot encourage you enough to make the change in 2013 to self service your own hampers. Set up a dedicated bank account have the money transferred there routinely, and buy the food yourself. Don't keep paying a massive premium for someone else to do the work for you.
Are you a hamper buyer? Will you keep buying now, or make a change?