Thursday, April 26, 2012

Shopping Competitively!

Nobody ever said being healthy was cheap.  While I'd much rather spend all my money on these:

 --    kate spade // karolina heels         --         bp // paxton oxfords    --

I have to spend my money on these:

--    all natural import co --

It makes my feet sad.

This week, I spent nearly $50 on remedies.  I bought black soybeans, ginger root, dried daikon, dried shiitake mushrooms, sea salt...  the list goes on.  Thankfully good ol' mom and dad pitched in and bought me the seaweed, otherwise my wallet would bite me every time I opened my purse.

I'm a little ashamed of myself.  Why am I ashamed, gentle readers?

Because I pride myself on saving money, and I burned $10 that could have gone in the Charm Shoe Fund.

I broke my cardinal rule.  I didn't shop competitively.  I love the Kushi Store, and it's fantastic that it's (literally) right at my doorstep, but check the price difference on a 10 oz bottle of Mitoku Brown Rice Vinegar:

Kushi Store:  $4.59 (+ estimated $10.95 s/h)
Natural Import Co: $3.59 (+ estimated $9.47 s/h)
* Eden foods does a brown rice vinegar carried by Whole Foods.  A quick check to the website confirms what I remember, which is that a 10 oz bottle runs about $5.36, give or take local sales tax.

Now, for me it's a better deal to do the Kushi Store.  Right now I get an employee discount, AND I don't have to pay shipping and handling.  So that lops off about $10 right there.  But I'm thinking ahead, and in the interest of saving money on macrobiotic essentials, I need to make a game-plan.

Here is a run-down on some macrobiotic shopping options:


The Kushi Store has a phenomenal collection of macrobiotic books, including out-of-print classics like Kristina Turner's "The Self-Healing Handbook."  These aren't available on the website, but you can pick up your copy in-person at the Kushi Store.  The price difference is significant.  A new copy of Paul Pitchford's "Healing with Whole Foods," the go-to healing book of my childhood, is a whopping $60 new on Amazon.  The Kushi Store?  $29.95.  What an awesome deal!!

The run-down?  I'd CALL the Kushi Store to see if they have the book you want and the price, then check Amazon for a price comparison.  You can also get many of Michio Kushi's books instantly on the Kindle, but I wouldn't recommend that for a reference book.  It's too hard to flip between chapters.

The Steals:  Paul Pitchford "Healing with Whole Foods" via Kushi Store, $29.95
Kristina Turner "The Self-Healing Handbook" Used via Amazon  $9.00

I need to follow my own advice and buy in bulk.  It can be as much as $2 per item more expensive to buy macrobiotic special ingredients at Whole Foods.  Another benefit of buying in bulk?  Natural Import Co. offers a major shipping discount for orders over $300.00.  The Kushi Store has a fairly straightforward shipping policy, found here.  If you are at the Kushi Institute on a program and they happen to be offering a discount, even better.

Here's the skinny on buying in bulk:

Price per oz. of Suzanne's Brown Rice Syrup, 16 oz (non-bulk): $.27 per oz.
Price per oz. of Suzanne's Brown Rice Syrup, 1 gallon (bulk): $.29 per oz.

Price per oz. of Suzanne's Brown Rice Syrup, 16 oz (non-bulk): $.37
Price per oz. of Suzanne's Brown Rice Syrup, 1 gallon (bulk):  (n/a on website, will call)

SUZANNE'S SPECIALTIES (Original Distributer):  
Price per oz. of Suzanne's Brown Rice Syrup, 16 oz (non-bulk): $.31 per oz.
Price per oz. of Suzanne's Brown Rice Syrup, 1 gallon (bulk): $.23 per oz.

You can see here that the cheapest option is buying directly from the company that makes the brown rice syrup, Suzanne's Specialties.

This may sound like pinching pennies, but when you add it up, you save a whopping $7.25 on your barrel of brown rice syrup!

Here's how you can calculate for yourself the actual cost of what you're buying:

Total weight of the item (ounces, grams, pounds)  /  Cost of item in $ 
= ounces/grams/pounds per dollar

Just remember-- if you think you're going to cross that $300 mark, it might be worth paying a little more to get the Natural Import Co. shipping discount!

It takes time to calculate these discounts, but with macrobiotic shopping, there's no "Sam's Club" to help us save money, so we have to put our brains to work to get the best deal!

One final tip:  If you're having trouble hitting the $300 free shipping mark, it might be worth it to see if some macro friends want to combine orders so that the $300 mark gets hit!  Good luck, and happy saving!

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