Saturday, July 7, 2012

For ONLY $1.99

Cereal is my preferred breakfast food. Heck, I can eat cereal for a snack, too, any time of the day. I love oatmeal but for ease of preparation, open cabinet door, remove bowl. Take box off shelf, open, dump a mound of cereal into the bowl. Add milk and eat. Plus, in taking Prednisone, I need the milk to minimize the bitter taste of the pills so drinking any leftover milk from the bottom of the bowl facilitates taking the pills.

But cereal is so expensive. There was a time, a few years ago, when cereal prices dropped. That was about the time sugary cereals were excoriated in the press. In order not to lose market share, Sugar Corn Puffs, among others, was renamed just Corn Puffs and there was a price reduction across the board so people would continue to buy. Since then, however, prices have continued to go up. I have already read that we can expect higher prices for items that use wheat and other grains thanks to the drought cutting yields.

I used to keep Cheerios in the house always. They used to be one of the cheapest name brand cereals you could get. I like Cheerios so having them be cheaper than most other cereals was a bargain. That's not so anymore. Cheerios, as almost every cereal along that aisle, has gone up in price. I only buy them when they are on sale and that's become true for every other cereal. If it's not on sale, it doesn't find its way into my cart.

But it seems as if the same cereals are on sale. Chex, corn flakes, Frosted Mini-Wheats in the cinnamon flavor. Corn flakes don't hold up to milk so I don't eat them. The other two, well, I don't want to eat them week after week after week. So, on last week's trip to the store, I started looking at the other offerings, the bags and boxes on the side opposite General Mills, Kelloggs and Quaker Oats.

Bagged cereals have long been touted as a way to save money. I have a vague memory of mom buying cereal in a large bag when I was growing up. I think I purchased it once a long time ago and it left much to be desired. Plus, the bag that cereal was in easily broke open and I'm pretty sure I spent an hour chasing stray pseudo-Cheerios from the corners of the kitchen.

Dominicks has a collection of cereals labeled "Pantry Essentials". They are cheap, $1.99 for the box. It's 8 ounces but that's still cheaper than the $3.49 they wanted for a 15 ounce box of Cheerios. (Yes, I did the math to figure that out.) After looking up and down the aisle at what my choices for cereal on sale were, I figured I'd give this kind a try.

It was pretty good. The box lasted me 6 servings and I probably could make it last a week if I didn't fill the bowl to the brim, which is more than the "suggested" serving size. There was a nice sweet flavor and they survived spending the whole the meal in milk and didn't get soggy. In the drive to cut the budget to make the ends meet, switching from the higher priced cereals to this makes monetary sense, particularly as I will eat cold leftover pizza, oatmeal, pancakes, yogurt and berries and other things for breakfast thereby making the box last longer.

I'm also wondering about the $1.99 price. I'm thinking this box might have been much less, which makes it a doubly good deal. They have a Cheerios look alike and I remember a frosted flake kind. I'm thinking there are 5 different varieties, all of which I would eat.

Normally, I'm brand loyal, almost fiercely loyal. As long as Cheerios is going to be a high price, I need to drop the loyalty and look for ways to make my dollar stretch farther. These cereals will certainly help.

Beverage:  Blueberry juice


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