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I can distinctly recall the days where we spent hundreds of dollars every single week on groceries for our family of four. Now that we’re a family of five, we spend roughly $200 per month on groceries.
I haven’t clipped a single coupon. In fact, we don’t even get the newspaper and we lost our printer in a flood, so the chances of us ever even coming across a coupon is slim-to-none. I’ve also found that they don’t tend to carry coupons for things we buy – such as fresh foods, meat, and things not in boxes. No judgment here, mama! If you live for the center aisles, my money saving grocery strategy will still work for you!
You’ll need to get a journal with lines, whether it’s college ruled or graph paper. This way it’s easier for you to make rows and columns. Some people prefer to use a binder for easier organization, or even a digital method. The key is to use whatever method you’ll actually use so you can save money.
Your first few months of this will take a bit of time, but once you’ve got a nice log of prices, it’ll be super easy to tell at-a-glance when an item is a good buy. Sometimes retailers inflate their prices just before “discounting” them so it may look like a good buy to the unsavvy consumer. But not you! You will know because you’ve got all your data recorded in your grocery price book.
You will be recording the prices of items in the store in pencil. I’ll give you an example of what an entry might look like for Beef Jerky purchased at Hy-Vee.
Jack Links Original
So let’s say that you’re shopping at Hy-Vee and see a special price of $5.98 for Jack Links Original. You’ll check to see if the unit price is cheaper than what you’ve logged in your price book. If it isn’t, then it really isn’t a good deal.
By keeping track of these prices, over time you’ll start to see patterns. Maybe you know that Walmart offers a sale on their Jack Links Beef Jerky every June and September. It might be a good idea to stock up during those months!
What Should You Start With?
I’d start with staples that you buy regularly. These could be things like milk, bread, eggs, cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, Monster Zero Ultra Energy Drinks (mon amour), nuts, and cheese. I’ve got it down to such a system that I typically only need to make a run for perishable items regularly but have an entire room dedicated to our food supplies (both home canned and store bought). If we find a really good deal, we’ll typically buy them out and preserve the food (dehydrating, canning, or freezing).
I’ve been using this method to shop for groceries for about seven years now. Not necessarily because we can’t afford to pay more, but because we don’t necessarily want to pay more if we don’t have to. We love organic produce – but this can literally work for any types of food you like to purchase.
Have you ever used a price book? What do you typically spend a month on groceries?