Author Topic: Grocery Price Book- anyone willing to share?  (Read 3769 times)

dkaid

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Grocery Price Book- anyone willing to share?
« on: January 07, 2016, 12:50:35 PM »
I'm working to get serious with saving money on groceries.  I know I'm falling into to thinking I know good price points when really I don't have the data (or memory) to support that thought!  The though of making this book feels a bit overwhelming to me but I really think it will help.  Was wondering if anyone has a system they like that they might be willing to share?

For background: family of 4, 2 adults, 2 elementary aged kids.  Live in the Midwest and shop at Aldi, Costco, Kroger and Trader Joe's.  Eat a fair amount of organic and try to avoid GMO's.  I don't buy a lot of meat as I have a freezer full of venison.  Average spend in 2015 was $850 (ugh), want to improve to $500 but would settle at $600 for now....:)  I am also working to stick to a meal plan and eat out the freezer/pantry.  I cook a lot from scratch. 

Thanks to anyone who is willing to share!
Dawn

meyling

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Re: Grocery Price Book- anyone willing to share?
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2016, 10:27:53 PM »
I just learned what good prices are from experience. I grocery shop every week and i *always* check the ads to see what's on sale. I manage to spend less than $30 a week, though I am just cooking for myself. I also always plan out my meals before I go shopping. I avoid buying frozen meals and food that comes in a box. The only snacks I buy are fruit and costco trailmix.

I find that meat is always the most expensive type of food I buy, but you said you don't buy much meat. I don't buy meat every week, but I definitely cook meat every week. As for fruits and vegetables, I just buy whatever is on sale. Though I find Aldi's prices on produce to be really cheap even when theyre not on sale. Oh and bananas are always cheap. If no fruits are on sale I buy bananas.

Here are some prices that I look for
Boneless chicken breast < $2/lb
Salmon < $6/lb
Shrimp < $6/lb
Grapes < $1/lb
Strawberries < $2/pack
Raspberries < $2/pack
Mango < $.75
Mushrooms < $1/pack
Green Beans < $2/lb
Asparagus < $2/lb
Broccoli < $1/head
Bell Pepper < $2/lb

forestj

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Re: Grocery Price Book- anyone willing to share?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2016, 10:47:24 PM »
I live in a house of 7 young adults and we average about $95 a month for food per person. It helps a lot that we eat vegetarian 90% of the time.

If you can get fruits and vegetables for less than a dollar a pound go for it.

I have found that in frugal grocery shopping, where is sometimes more important than when or what. For example, the dirty, smelly asian marts offer great price points (sometimes lower than 50%) compared to the brand name grocery stores. Also, near where I live, there is a speciality grocery that sells B grade produce. These are things that would normally not make it to the brand name stores shelves since they are bruised, oddly shaped, too old, etc, etc. Often they are marked down to less than 30% of their "normal" price. One time I got button mushrooms for 80 cents a pound, for example. Huge foodservice bags of Kale for a dollar a pound.

If you pay more than a dollar a pound for processed soy protien like tofu, TVP, etc, its probably a bit of a ripoff although to be honest I have yet to find cheap tempeh.

I try to avoid paying more than 1.25 a pound for tomatoes. 
I buy cereal at about $2 a pound or less.  oats and Malt-o-meal.
Squash should be less than a dollar a pound. Note that squash has about a year of shelf life so stock up when its on sale.
Catfish I can usually find for less than $4 or $5 a pound.
You can usually find peanuts for around 1.40$ a pound or less IIRC.
Sunflower seeds are another good and cheap source of protein, I don't remember the exact price though.

Things like spices, oils, sesame seeds, etc, are MUCH  cheaper when you buy the huge container. I try to buy whole spices exclusively because they have a radically longer shelf life, so buying in bulk works better. A bit harder to cook with, but more fun in my opinion. We have a coffee grinder dedicated to spices.

Soymilk should be less than $5 a gallon.

Ask around and see if your locale has any stores that sell b-grade, or any large mexican, asian, etc grocery stores in the poorer part of town, they might have great prices and fun products you cant get anywhere else. If you can't find those your might be able to save a few bucks by visiting discounters like Aldi.

Please note that any prices that someone quotes you are going to be relative to the local shipping prices, taxes, seasonal, etc.


« Last Edit: January 07, 2016, 11:03:53 PM by forestj »

jengod

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Re: Grocery Price Book- anyone willing to share?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2016, 10:57:50 PM »
Column headings in my spreadsheet:

ITEM    DETAILS   STORE   DATE     SIZE    REGULAR PRICE   SALE PRICE   UNIT PRICE   UNIT PRICE 2

Sample entry:
Salmon   Canned PINK WILD 365 brand   Whole Foods   3/11/2015   14.75 oz   $3.99   n/a   $0.27/oz   $4.32/lb

[crosses fingers that math is right in this example]

esq

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Re: Grocery Price Book- anyone willing to share?
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2016, 09:19:24 PM »
You should also be able to google this, or maybe go on coupon websites like afullcup.com for information.  Keep in mind prices will vary depending on what parts of the country people are from.

I'm of no help.  I have a book, but it's in my head.

redbird

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Re: Grocery Price Book- anyone willing to share?
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2016, 07:56:38 AM »
I assume that $850 is per month. That means you're spending more than $200 per person. O_O

One way you might be able to save is to look at name brands versus non-name brands. I personally like Kroger's store brand stuff. Most of it tastes the same or, in a few circumstances, better than the name brand. That has been saving me money compared to buying the same thing name brand. This is not true for most store brands for me. Most store brands taste worse and not worth the savings in my opinion. It varies.

Another way is I assume you are buying a lot of organic produce, if you're spending that much but not really buying meat. If you end up throwing any of it away because you can't eat it fast enough before it goes bad, that's going to make you waste money. You should look into seeing if you can freeze any of it.

It just really depends WHAT items you're buying as far as how you may be able to save money.

MayDay

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Re: Grocery Price Book- anyone willing to share?
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2016, 08:59:56 AM »
Midwest (oh), 2 adults, 2 elementary kids, shop at Kroger, Costco, and TJ, here. I dislike Aldi quite strongly ;)

I did a price boom (paper notebook) for awhile. I found it hard to keep up, and we only get giant eagle circulars through the mail, and they are always more expensive. And Costco prices are in store only. So that's why I did paper.

I did it awhile, got a general idea, then stopped, but I should do it again to update.

We are vegetarian and spend ~500-600 eating almost all organic.

Zamboni

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Re: Grocery Price Book- anyone willing to share?
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2016, 09:56:19 AM »
I just keep track in my head and try to be flexible about what I buy each week. So instead of making a list and deciding "I must buy this specific thing today," most of what I buy is opportunistically a loss leader or at least somewhat in season and/or on sale. There is also no room for brand loyalty in my life in most categories.

It means that we have ingredients on hand to eat for about at month at any given time, which is not always ideal, but I don't think we ever overpay for much based upon an immediate need.

Right now we're working on eating down reserves since some things have been pushed to the back and nearly forgotten. That means sometimes buying a specific item as the last ingredient for a dish to use up 3 other things I have. Like I have frozen crusts and frozen spinach and ham and eggs, but no cheese . . . so will probably buy cheese to make quiche but first will look to see what recipes online suggest. It will be interesting to see what I end up spending on groceries this month.

babysnowbyrd

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Re: Grocery Price Book- anyone willing to share?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2016, 02:46:55 PM »
When I was trying to be more diligent in the past, I used an app called Grocery King. Supposedly, it lets you track prices by store and by history

dkaid

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Re: Grocery Price Book- anyone willing to share?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2016, 03:45:44 PM »
Thanks for the replies!  In just planning more carefully the last 2 weeks I do think waste has been a big part of the equation, which is so unfortunate. 
I'm not brand loyal at all but I can be lazy, not having the time to visit multiple stores to seek out the best price.  I have found "some" price book info on-line but in many cases it's dated or not reflective of what I buy. 
I'm thinking for now I might just track the 15 items we buy most often and see where that leads me. 
I hear often about trying out the ethnic markets but honestly I'm not sure what I would buy there- but I should have a look before I vote the idea down....:) 
Will check out that app....

Dawn

MsPeacock

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Re: Grocery Price Book- anyone willing to share?
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2016, 03:55:20 PM »
It isn't too hard to make a price book. I did one shopping trip where I went pretty slowly and wrote down everything at Costco that I typically buy there (everything, not just the stuff I purchased that day). I made one trip to Aldi's where I did the same. Put it all in a notebook. It really took maybe an extra 30-60 minutes. All the unit prices are right on the shelf. It gave me a good point of comparison for "good" prices on items for all the shopping I do at any grocery store. Costco and Aldis were particularly helpful for me as price points because they tend not to have sales - and I can compare their prices to the sales flyers from the other grocery stores.

I think meyling's post is pretty much on point for what I found to be "good" (e.g. sale) prices on items.

ooeei

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Re: Grocery Price Book- anyone willing to share?
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2016, 08:20:02 AM »
Thanks for the replies!  In just planning more carefully the last 2 weeks I do think waste has been a big part of the equation, which is so unfortunate. 
I'm not brand loyal at all but I can be lazy, not having the time to visit multiple stores to seek out the best price.  I have found "some" price book info on-line but in many cases it's dated or not reflective of what I buy. 
I'm thinking for now I might just track the 15 items we buy most often and see where that leads me. 
I hear often about trying out the ethnic markets but honestly I'm not sure what I would buy there- but I should have a look before I vote the idea down....:) 
Will check out that app....

Dawn

Most "ethnic markets" will have common fruits and vegetables, as well as meats, flour, sugar etc.  The rest of the stuff depends on the market, asian places will have tons of noodles, rice, soy sauce, chili sauce, dried things, stuff like that.  Take one trip to just check it out.  Wander around and see what they've got, you may be pleasantly surprised.

I suspect if you're spending $850/month, waste is a big issue.  Saving $.50/lb on potatoes isn't going to help much if you still throw away half the bag.  Try a few weeks with a hard limit of say $100, and see if you can make it work.  If you literally run out of food halfway through the week (doubtful), take a trip to the store to get the bare minimum to make it to the next trip.  Focus each week on what you run out of, and what you throw away.  I notice a lot of my friends tend to buy things they wish they would cook (3 pounds of broccoli, a pound of mushrooms, 5 zucchini, a 3 pound bag of lemons, 4 kinds of lettuce, etc etc), then end up letting it go bad.  Be honest with yourself and buy things you'll actually cook.

The more you shop, the more you'll understand what a good deal is.

vhalros

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Re: Grocery Price Book- anyone willing to share?
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2016, 10:52:44 AM »
I just maintain my price book as a google spreadsheet. Items on the row headers, stores in the columns. I can edit it on my phone, but more often I take a picture of the price tag and edit later.

Rightflyer

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Re: Grocery Price Book- anyone willing to share?
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2016, 11:46:16 AM »
Our simple system is a column of generic names and the lowest price we have ever found. The list is kept on a white board attached to fridge...right beside the white board where we write the grocery list.

We only track commodity type staples...chicken/pork/beef/canned tomatoes/canned fish etc.

The No Frills here price-matches generic items, so we only need to make one stop most weeks.

« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 11:48:16 AM by Rightflyer »

Rightflyer

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Re: Grocery Price Book- anyone willing to share?
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2016, 11:52:12 AM »
Thanks for the replies!  In just planning more carefully the last 2 weeks I do think waste has been a big part of the equation, which is so unfortunate. 
I'm not brand loyal at all but I can be lazy, not having the time to visit multiple stores to seek out the best price.  I have found "some" price book info on-line but in many cases it's dated or not reflective of what I buy. 
I'm thinking for now I might just track the 15 items we buy most often and see where that leads me. 
I hear often about trying out the ethnic markets but honestly I'm not sure what I would buy there- but I should have a look before I vote the idea down....:) 
Will check out that app....

Dawn

Most "ethnic markets" will have common fruits and vegetables, as well as meats, flour, sugar etc.  The rest of the stuff depends on the market, asian places will have tons of noodles, rice, soy sauce, chili sauce, dried things, stuff like that.  Take one trip to just check it out.  Wander around and see what they've got, you may be pleasantly surprised.

I suspect if you're spending $850/month, waste is a big issue.  Saving $.50/lb on potatoes isn't going to help much if you still throw away half the bag.  Try a few weeks with a hard limit of say $100, and see if you can make it work.  If you literally run out of food halfway through the week (doubtful), take a trip to the store to get the bare minimum to make it to the next trip.  Focus each week on what you run out of, and what you throw away.  I notice a lot of my friends tend to buy things they wish they would cook (3 pounds of broccoli, a pound of mushrooms, 5 zucchini, a 3 pound bag of lemons, 4 kinds of lettuce, etc etc), then end up letting it go bad.  Be honest with yourself and buy things you'll actually cook.

The more you shop, the more you'll understand what a good deal is.

I agree.

Soups and stews are the secret for us. I make soup out of anything that is getting close to going off.

Also, shredding vegetables and adding them to bolognese, chilis con carne or curries uses up old produce...and is probably good for us as well.