Inflation is a major concern with everybody in the state and nation.  For months I have heard of the out-of-control price rises in Bozeman, from houses to utilities to groceries.  This may have led to the urban camping there.  My alma-mater town has become too expensive to live in.

On a recent trip there, I started a comparison of prices from the same store chain, Walmart.  Now I know what you're thinking, "Travis, you idiot, you're comparing the same store."  Yes, but in two different locations.  Will there be a price difference from the same department store between two places?

Three points to make about me here: first, I am a cheapskate, got it from my mom and dad; second, I shop at Walmart in Billings Heights, the nearest store to home; third, I buy the store brand to save money.  And I'll wager a lot of you are like me now in this economy.

I checked out the prices on items I regularly buy, mostly the store brand Great Value, first in Bozeman, then later in Billings.  Here are the results:

Item                               Billings / Bozeman

Whole Milk, Gallon              $3.26       $3.26

1/2 Dozen Eggs                  $1.43       $1.43

Shredded Cheese               $2.22       $2.22

Coffee, 26 oz                       $8.73       $8.73

Flavored Creamer               $3.48       $3.48

Bagels, 6/pkg.                     $2.98       $2.98

Progressive Soup                $2.18      $2.18

Campbell's Chunky Soup    $2.26      $2.26

Ranch Dressing                   $1.97      $1.97

Pasta, 16 oz.                        $.98        $.98

Pasta Sauce, 24 oz              $1.34      $1.34

Cereal: Honey Oats              $2.67     $2.67

Oat Crunch                           $2.98      $2.98

Bran Flakes                          $2.48      $2.48

Ready Lunches                    $2.28      $2.28

Toilet Paper, 12 rolls             $11.88    $13.88, on sale for $11.88

Pepsi, 2 liter                          $2.48     $2.48

All Laundry Detergent           $4.97     $4.97

Diced Ham, 16 oz.                $5.26     $5.26

2 Ham Steaks                       $3.48     $3.48

Ice Cream, 48 oz.                 $2.78     $2.78

Had to look at my notes again to verify.  There is no difference in Walmart prices between Billings and Bozeman.

Travis, is there a point to this?

I get it, rising prices on items hurts the family budget and finances.  The standard of living takes a hit.  Folks in Bozeman, if you are struggling with the food bill, you may benefit from some shopping around.  Your local grocer may be great for certain food items or produce, and I appreciate your support for local business, but you may get more mileage for the dollar on other items at the discount retailer or even the dollar store.  At least at these retailers, there is no difference in location throughout the state.

And brand names are not necessarily better and are likely more expensive.

To quote the 70s music stars Captain and Tennille "My Mama told me, you better shop around."

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