Using a Grocery Price Book to Lower Your Spending

grocery store, and Costco.  Our price book is in Excel.  It currently looks like this:

Wlmrt local store Costco serving size cost/serv
Grain
flax 2.99 1 tsp 0.04
English Muffins 1.48 1 0.25
Rice 1.98 1/3 cup uncooked 0.1
Spaghetti 1.38 2 oz uncooked 0.23
Tortillas 2.79 1 0.28
Multi Grain Tortilla Chips 2.79 1 oz 0.35
bread 3.99 2 slices 0.31
Meat
Lunch Meat 2.99 1 slice 0.19
Turkey Sausage 4.26 1/4 pound uncooked 0.85
Ground Turkey 3.99 1/4 pound uncooked 1
FF Hot Dogs 3.48 1 0.435
Tuna 0.75 1/2 can 0.38
Dairy
Vanilla Yogurt 2.48 5 tsp 0.075
Skim Milk 1.49 8 oz 0.2
FFCC 1.99 1 cup 0.33
Sour Cream 1.68 5 tsp 0.09
Eggs 2.36 1 0.2
FF Cheese slices 2.99 1 slice 0.19
String Cheese 5.84 1 0.24
Hy Vee 2% Mexican Blend 1.99 1/4 cup 0.28
Produce
Dark Green Vegetables
Spinach 2.38 1 cup 0.34
Orange Vegetables
Baby Carrots 3 oz 0.214
Other Vegetables
Shredded Lettuce 1.79 1 cup
Cucumber 0.77
Red  Bell Pepper 1.28
Sweet Onions 0.74
carrots 1.58 3 oz 0.15
Fruit
Limes 0.33
Bananas 0.59 1 0.16
Peaches 1.68 1 0.42
Nectarines 1.68 1 0.42
Oranges 4.48 1 0.37
Pineapple 2.99 1/6 pineapple 0.5
canned fruit 1.28 1/3 can 0.37
Grocery
Beans
Refried Black Beans 1.59 1/2 cup 0.45
Baked Beans 1.48 1.48 1/2 cup 0.42
Black Beans 0.72 1/2 cup 0.21
Nuts
almonds 7 1 oz 0.44
peanuts 6.98 1 oz 0.22
Condiments/Flavors
Fiesta Dip 1.48 enough for 5 tsp 0.08
Lt Smart Sp Sauce 1.95 1/2 cup 0.39
Tomatoes and Jalepenos 0.88
Mandarin Oranges 0.78
Pineapple Tidbits 0.67
olive oil 12.99 1 tbs 0.098
canola mayo 3.99 1 tbs 0.07
canola oil 2.78 1 tsp 0.01
ketchup 1.18 1 Tbs 0.025
mustard 0.99 1 tsp 0.01
salsa 7.69 .3 cups 0.28
balsalmic vinegar 2.89 1 tsp 0.03
light teriyaki sauce 2.59
Kraft BBQ sauce 1.79
Beverages
Kool Aid 0.2 0.2 enough for 16 oz 0.05
Lipton Tea 3.98 enough for 16 oz 0.07
Paper Products
Dixie Cups 3.14
Napkins (600) 3.98 1 0.007
Paper Towels 5.97 1 0.00975
Cat
Cat Litter 4.99
Cleaning Products
White Vinegar 2.48
Frozen
Fudge bars 2.18 1 0.18
Strawberries 9.99 1 cup 0.53

It isn’t completely up to date.  I originally created it from grocery receipts.  I would often take a receipt from Walmart and compare their prices to our regional chain store.  We used Costco more when our daughter was still at home and our food volume was larger.  My wife and I discussed the possibility of shopping at Walmart and our regional chain at the same time and calling back and forth to compare prices.

When I was on sabbatical leave in 2004, I did the shopping and had some general guidelines.  I generally wouldn’t buy meat, unless it was under $2 a pound and wouldn’t buy fruit unless it was under $1 a pound.  At the time, I could get boneless, skinless chicken breast and pork loin on sale for under $2 a pound.  I could also get ground turkey for under $2 a pound on sale.  I can still get chicken and pork for under $2 a pound (just bought pork for 99 cents a pound), but ground turkey has doubled in price.  I still try to use the $2 a pound meat rule, but I have to make exceptions.  Fruit prices have risen.  I now use a $2 a pound rule for buying fruit.  I also look at the fruit size to try to keep it less than 50 cents a serving.  We have found that we can buy peanuts on sale for less than $2 a pound.

I am trying to lower my cost of beer.  I am into craft beer.  I try to buy sampler 12 packs or cases for $1 a bottle or less.  I have found some for this price at Walmart, Costco, and a liquor store in a major city near us.

I did try shopping at a local bread outlet store.  I had a bad experience with stale buns, and quit shopping there.

We do have a second chain in town.  There is nothing we buy there regularly, but we do shop there for sales on produce.

When we were working full time, we just shopped at our regional chain store to save time.  It didn’t work for us to shop at Walmart, because their selection was smaller and they didn’t have fat free or whole grain versions of some of the things that we buy.  If we could have done Walmart as a one stop store, we would have for the average lower prices.  We are better off shopping multiple stores because no single store has the best deal on everything.

I recently added the column on cost per serving.  It is helpful in comparison shopping by unit cost and for calculating the cost of a meal for budgeting purposes.

There should be a way to do a price book on a smart phone.  I’m going to try the free app My Rock Bottom Price List on my iPhone.

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