How I started using a grocery price book….
A few years ago I started reading a blog that posted grocery store coupon match-ups. After reading for several weeks I got my list together, clipped my coupons, and headed to the store to stock up on all sorts of free products.
However, when I arrived at the store nothing was free, or even close to free. In fact only one of the six deals I was trying to buy at the store was even a good deal compared to what I usually paid at the commissary. I was so disappointed!
The problem, the blog I was reading used prices from the midwest and I was shopping in the DC suburbs. The difference was amazing. I’m sure if this is true for me, then it is probably true for many of my readers as well. How do you know if a good deal you see on a blog, in a newspaper, or in a store flyer is really a good deal?
Back in my twenties I was able to remember the price of just about everything. However today is a different story. If I don’t write it down I can’t remember it five minutes later, let alone a week later!
A grocery price book tracks the price of the things I purchase regularly at the stores where I shop. If you haven’t created one yet, I highly recommend it.
How to Create a Grocery Price Book
Create a grocery price book with a lined notebook or spreadsheet. I create pages based on stores because I only shop at a few places. If you shop at multiple stores, it could be better to create pages based on grocery items.
I have six columns on each page: date, item, brand, prize, size, and unit price.
Date: When did you purchase the grocery item. Prices and sales fluctuate by season so date is important.
Item: What are you comparing? Seems obvious, but if you are shopping with kids, it’s important to write everything down. 🙂
Brand: At my local grocery store there are at least five brands of spaghetti sauce. Over time you will see which brands are consistently on sale or always priced lower.
Size: Where I live $2.50 is a great price for a 16 oz box of cereal. However it’s not a good deal if the box of cereal is 9 oz.
Unit price: You can find this on the shelf tag in incredibly small print. This tells you exactly how much you are paying per ounce or pound for an item. This allows you to compare to real price of different sized items.
It’s important to track price and unit price because unit price allows you to compare multiple sizes of the same product and find out which brand or which store is cheaper.
When you shop, fill in the price book with the information. I recommend tracking only the items you buy regularly at first. Most people purchase the same 15-20 items every week, so start with those and then expand your price book as time allows.
How to Use a Grocery Price Book
Using a grocery price book is a great way to track the best prices for your area! A few weeks ago the price of milk varied by $2 at stores in my area. The stores where only three miles apart! Since the price of groceries varies so much based on location a price book is the best way to determine when to stock up.
For example, if the price of tuna never goes below $1.00 a can at your store, then you know to stock up when it goes on sale for $0.75 a can at Amazon.com. If you can find tuna for $0.60 a can, you should pass up the deal on Amazon.
A price book works because you keep track of your best prices, not the prices of people who live 1,000 or even 100 miles away from you. Use the grocery price book with the grocery store coupon match-ups to find the best deal for you!
By using a price book, you determine the best price and when to stock up. Do you have a grocery price book? Has it saved you money on groceries?