Wondering if it makes a difference where you shop? It does! Use a price book to track grocery prices, shop the best deals, and save money.
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I’ve never been one to keep a price book. I mean, I heard about them TWENTY YEARS ago, when I first picked up a copy of Miserly Moms at my grocery store. I was pregnant with my first child and we knew we were going to live on one income once the baby came. I devoured that book. In fact, it was my yearly read to keep me on the straight and narrow.
The author was somewhat of a math geek to me since she talked so much about unit costs in that first edition. I tried it a few times along the way, but felt content to just “keep it all in my head.” I had a basic idea of what different grocery items cost.
And for many years that system worked. Until it didn’t. Well, until I did an experiment.
As I was creating the Healthy Eating Made Easy course, I decided to get all mathematical. One weekend, my girls and I traveled to four different nation-wide grocery stores and wrote down the prices on 12 different healthy food items that we normally buy. Then we came home and did the math.
I was shocked and amazed at how the numbers crunched. My favorite store came in dead last, while two stores that take a bit of work to shop at were clearly the winners. I had no idea because I’d not made it a practice to track the unit costs.
(If you want to see how my Grocery Store Showdown turned out, check out the e-course.)
Use a Price Book to Track Grocery Prices & Save Money
Since that a-ha moment, I’ve been keeping a price book in the form of a spreadsheet on Google Drive to help me track what we buy and how much each item costs at my different stores. I’ve crossed one of those nationwide chains completely off my list and am also tracking a California chain that I love — and hope it fares well! I like shopping there! LOL.
A price book is nothing more than a process of tracking prices so that you know a great deal when you see one. Not just what you think is a great deal.
Your price book can be as low-tech as a piece of paper and a pencil where you jot down prices. Or you can get a little more fancy with a spreadsheet. There are even several apps that will help you track grocery prices.
I decided to do my tracking in a Google Spreadsheet. I can access it from my desktop computer as well as from the Google Sheets app on my phone. That way, when I’m out grocery shopping, I can see at a glance what the lowest price is that I’ve paid in the recent past.
For instance, let’s look at the price of milk lately here in San Diego County:
- Ralphs – $2.99
- Costco – $2.25 (when you buy two)
- Trader Joe’s – $2.99
- ALDI – $2.40
- Sprouts – $3.29
Since we go through about 4 gallons a week, it’s not a problem for me to buy milk jugs “in pairs”. Since Costco is the cheapest place in town, that’s where we’re buying our milk, unless we’re pressed for time and already at one of the competitors.
I’ve been pretty lackadaisical about milk prices. I knew Costco was cheapest, but I hadn’t really thought about how it adds up. Let’s say that I was buying milk at one of the more expensive stores and paying 75 cents more per gallon. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, right? But, at four gallons a week, that’s a difference of $3 a week or $156 a year!
The price of milk does make a difference!
So, as I work to get our monthly grocery budget below the USDA’s predicted $1310 for our family, you can bet I’l be keeping a price book to track grocery prices and save money!
Do you keep a price book?
Not only does my e-course, Healthy Eating Made Easy address the big question of where to grocery shop, it also tackles a myriad of challenges that keep you from eating the best you can.
Don’t be stuck without these strategies to save money while eating great food that you prepared yourself! Through cooking videos, meal plans, recipes, and time-tested strategies for saving money, you’ll learn how to make healthy eating easier!
Get the support you need to make changes for the better!
The course includes:
- Encouragement and support to meet your healthy eating goals
- Easy, doable strategies to eat better and save money
- Video tutorials for healthy food prep
- A healthy living daily docket to help you track your sleep, water intake, exercise, daily schedule, positive intentions, and more.
- Deliciously simple recipes for main dishes, sides dishes, sauces, dressings, dips, spice mixes, and more.
- Grocery budgeting helps, including a grocery store showdown and a grocery store audit checklist.
- Ideas and worksheets for reducing spending, choosing the best grocery store, meal planning, using up leftovers, packing better lunches, making healthy food swaps, making better meals, preparing food to freeze, and more.
You’ll also receive a free copy of my meal plan, A Month of Meals: Protein Style. This was originally sold for $9 but is no longer available.