Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Making a Price Book

I am a huge believer in using a price book to help me remember and track prices on food items. When I started learning how to save money on groceries, I didn't think too much of this suggestion, even though every resource suggested it in some form or another. After a while, I realized that I may remember a good price on boneless chicken breasts and butter, but there's no way I can remember prices for everything that I may need or want.

My price book is really casual, basically I am just interested in recording the lowest price that I have seen or paid for an item. Some folks are really into figuring out the sale patterns at the stores they frequent, meaning how often will those chicken breasts be at the lowest price? Most stores have a sale pattern of 6-8 weeks, so I just buy whatever quantity I think I will need for that period of time, considering how much storage space I have. I don't worry too much about trying to guess when an item will go on sale again, because if I run out before it goes on sale, as a rule we just don't eat it. I'll talk more about menu planning in a later post, but my basic approach is buy what's on the best sale, add it to your stockpile, and "shop" what you have when you are deciding what to make for supper.

So, on to the numbers. Keep in mind that these are the prices I have found locally, and your prices will vary. Another thing to consider is that at times you find items for so ridiculously cheap that you think you're in frugal heaven, but those savings aren't sustainable, meaning, you're not going to see that item that cheap again for a long time. Stock up when you see the chance, but don't feel terrible if you have to pay a bit more next time. Just don't pay the regular price! I absolutely encourage you to develop your own price book, and if you know of a local price that's better than these, I really want to hear about it! I'll just cover some staples in this post, more to come!

Eggs; .06 cents or less per egg
Butter; less than 1.75/lb (best I've paid is 1.29, but that's rare)
Whole Wheat bread; 1/loaf (best I've paid is .25/loaf, but you gotta get lucky at the bakery thrift store, and then load up!)
Cheese; less than 2/lb, I don't care if it's shredded or block
Milk; 2/gallon, as low as 1.25 when near sell by, in which case freeze it!
Flour; 1/lb
Sugar; .40/lb

Flour and sugar are two items I am looking for better prices on.

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