Every Tuesday, all month long, I have been talking grocery budgets. We started with an honest discussion talking about our Monthly Food Costs. Then I shared my free printable monthly food tracker, while you chimed in with how you handle budgeting your food. Last week, you gave some amazing wisdom with your #1 piece of advice for someone new to the world of cutting food costs without coupons.
This week, I am going to briefly share a necessary evil – the grocery price list.
A price list or price book is an ongoing list of items that you commonly purchase, and a means of recording how much you pay for them at the different stores, as well as noting their rock bottom prices.(The lowest amount they reach during a sales cycle.)
If someone is truly going to slash their grocery budget, they need to understand grocery sales cycles, know what is truly a sale vs. a marketing ploy. Not every sale is really a sale, but when you spend a few months tracking those prices, you will soon understand and know how to spot a good buy, thereby stocking up at the perfect time.
As I have introduced friends to the world of couponing, I often cringe as they share their excitement of a “great buy” on “item xyz.” Not wanting to burst their bubble, I smile and kindly tell them their next step – keep a price list until you truly know when that good buy occurs. Often, their great buy is $1 – 2 more than I would spend on the same item.
Over two decades ago, I first read about this concept of a grocery price list in one of my favorite books, The Tightwad Gazette. She addresses exactly what many of you are thinking right now,
At first you may think this is too much work and the idea of shopping at so many stores will be inconceivable. It will pay off. A good strategy is to shop at different stores each week of the month so that within a 30-day cycle you can hit them all. We have our shopping system down to once a month with only a few short trips to hit unbeatable sales.
Keeping a price book revolutionized our shopping strategy more than anything else we did. For the first time we had a feeling of control over our food budget.
It might take you a total of five hours to make up a price book for comparison shopping, but after several years of supermarket excursions, you may discover that your hourly “pay” for those five hours was over $1,000.
I was correct, wasn’t I? If you have tried comparing grocery prices before, you are thinking it’s too much work. What if I could tell you it could save you hundreds of dollars a month? Would that change your mind?
Determining those rock bottom prices that I refer to in my grocery guru posts are key in slashing your food budget with or without the use of coupons. I don’t have the time to shop at three different stores each week, but by zeroing in on what I will pay helps me navigate those decisions better.
For instance, I won’t pay more than $1 for a box of cereal, so if it’s $0.50 – $1, that means it’s time to stock up, so we’ll have enough to last till it drops to that price again. Oh, I am getting ahead of myself. We are going to go into the nitty gritty of rock bottom prices and this grocery list in another post.
For now, I challenge you to determine how much money a month would you need to save in order to make the hassle of comparing grocery prices worth it? It’s honestly different for everyone, and for some, it’s still not worth the inconvenience.
Would it make any difference to know that we’ve created a Free Price Comparison List that you can just print off for your ease and convenience?
What if I told you that the price of peanut butter is increasing by 50% next month (true statistic) and that is just the start of rising food prices? Would that help convince you that it’s time to start taking a hard look at this area?
I’d love to hear from those of you who have done a grocery price list and what revelations were revealed. Did it make a difference with how you shopped?
For those that have never done done this before, have you found something that works better or does the thought of starting just seem daunting?
How can we help? I’ll address it in the “nitty gritty” rock bottom price list post. 🙂
Now off to see what you are all cooking up for Tasty Tuesday. I love all your recipe inspirations.
As always, thank you for linking up to your direct recipe post and not your general url, as well as including a link back here in your post, so that everyone can join in on the fun. Please limit your links to newer posts.