Food is a big deal in my house.
Not only because we love to eat (we do!), but if you look at our budget, it’s kind of a big deal.
We’re not big spenders – If the quality and taste are the same, store brands are our preference. Still, with a family of four, groceries can easily balloon and take a huge chunk of money.
One helpful tool we used is a price book.
I know it sounds old school and might scare you off, but let me show you why and how it works and then a few tools you can use to save next time you go grocery shopping.
The Power of Grocery Price Books
In short, a price book tracks how much certain food costs. Some people like to break it down and list prices from several stores while others (like me), jot down the lowest average price and where you found it.
The idea is that you’ll not only save money by knowing where the best deals are, but you’ll also avoid having to hunt around a few stores trying to get a great price.
I’m all for saving money, but I’m happier having my time saved as well.
How to Create a Price Book
Having a price book isn’t complicated and doesn’t take long. You can make it as high or low tech as you want.
Here are a few steps to get you started:
- Make a list of groceries to track. Here’s where people can give themselves more work than they need to. You don’t have to track every little item you’ve ever shopped for! Instead look at your meal and the grocery list you created. Chances are there are several core staples on your list. Focus on those.
- Record as you shop. Visit your normal grocery stores and record the price and the size amount for each item. You can jot down on paper or use an app like Google Notes or Evernote.
- Review your finding. You can load up the data on a spreadsheet and figure out who has the deal by comparing unit prices (apples to apples comparison).
Boom! You’re done.
You now can base your shopping trips on who has the best value for certain products.
You’ll discover trends on certain items and where you’ll most likely find the best deal.
Save More on Your Groceries
If you want to shave a bit more from your food budget without taking time out of your schedule, I have a few more tips:
- Use a price book along with paper and printable online grocery coupons can drastically cut down your bills.
- Buy meat in bulk and freeze. We try to get a good amount of meat on sale, divide it up for several meals, and then freeze it. That tip drops the cost per pound down. When we get home, for example, I have broken down ground beef into several bags for meatloaf, spaghetti, tacos, hamburger helper, etc.
- Take advantage of sales that you’d actually buy without the sale. Sometimes I want to buy something because it’s on sale. It’s not something that we use a lot or even at all. When you do that you’re not really saving money, you’re spending more. It’s not bad if you do this once a shopping trip if you want to expand your menu, but if you’re on a tight budget, try to minimize this.
Hope this helps you guys!