Something you may have heard about is creating a grocery price book. Basically, you write down the groceries you buy often and then note the price you paid for them. It’s a great tool to get the most out of your grocery money (for more background on the idea, read this great post at Get Rich Slowly).
When it comes to groceries, I have been fortunate thanks to my past experience working at a grocery store. Hours of pricing and scanning things left me with a thorough mental price book. So I never created a physical copy. While we were at the grocery store today I realized that the years have taken their toll on grocery prices and my mental book was now greatly outdated. My buying price points were way out of whack. It was time to start a new grocery price book. This time, it won’t be in my head.
I fired up a spreadsheet and listed everything in our cupboards and fridge. There are columns for item and price, as well as quantity, total, ounces and price per ounce. To help aid our grocery shopping, our price book is going to double as a shopping list. Before we go shopping, I can print out the list and look around the house to see what we need. I can also choose to add quantities on the list right on the computer and get an idea of the cost of our trip since I included a total column as well. Here’s a pic:
I thought it would take days to complete, but it didn’t take that much time at all. We really don’t have too many different things that we buy now, since we have been making more and more from scratch. Because this price book is also serving as a grocery list, I included non food items as well on it.
The end result for a few hours of my time is something that will save us money. It will also save us time since I won’t have to write a new grocery list every time (or skip the grocery list all together and end up buying things we didn’t need yet). It will keep us focused on getting the best value on our groceries.
It will probably be a month or more before we’ll need to do some major grocery shopping again. I’ll report back on how well it worked and if it indeed helped us save money.