(photo source: Ben)
It wasn’t more than a handful of years ago that I didn’t pay much attention to what things cost in the grocery store. I would go to the grocery store armed with my list and just grab the items needed from the shelf and put them in the shopping cart. Often times I would put additional items in my cart that weren’t on my list.
I know, I know. I am sitting here shaking my head, hanging it low in shame.
I cringe now when I think about how careless I had been with the money I had earned and the food I had wasted. It was bad enough that I didn’t price shop, but I think it was worse that a lot of that food sat on the shelves in my pantry or buried in the refrigerator or freezer well past its prime eating date and I would end up tossing it. Whenever I had to throw away uneaten food I would visualize taking that same money out of my wallet and just throwing it directly into the garbage because that’s what I was doing.
I can hear my mother’s voice in my head right now saying, “always go with a list, and never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.” I should add that she told me buying generic was always the cheaper alternative, however, I have discovered it all depends on what part of the country you live in. It’s not always the case, which is why it’s so important that you know your prices.
How else will you know if that split chicken breast you are buying at $0.99 per pound is a good deal or not? And YES, that’s a GREAT price, but better still is when whole chickens or leg quarters go on sale at $0.69 per pound.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember all the prices for the items I buy on a regular basis, so I created my own grocery price list. Sometimes I bring it with me, other times I flip through it at home and transfer the info onto my grocery list. I’ve also added more items to that list that I don’t buy every week, but often enough to want to know the best price for them as well.
Keeping a grocery price list will also help you see the sales cycles of your local stores – eventually you’ll see a pattern emerge to be able to predict when a particular store will have whole chickens on sale again at the lowest price or some other item that you buy most frequently. That is when you want to stock up on that item, if you are able to. If you are unable to stock up, at least you’ll be able to purchase it at the cheapest price possible.
Along with keeping a grocery price list is being flexible enough to shop at several stores. The area in which I live has 3 grocery stores all within a 2-mile radius. In fact, 2 of them are directly across the street from each other. Try to wipe out the attitude that only 1 store in your area has the cheapest prices because I can attest to the fact that mindset will not get you the cheapest prices.
For example: the priciest grocery store in my area has the cheapest eggs (per dozen) than any other store and between them and one of the local drug stores I can often get them on sale for $0.99 per dozen. I can also purchase saltine-type crackers (a 4-pack) there more cheaply than anywhere else, and half-n-half as well. Most of the time I purchase Milk at Costco as it’s often the cheapest price around, but lately the price has been fluctuating, so there are times when my priciest grocery store offers a sale that makes milk a more frugal purchase with them then at Costco.
I remember a discussion with my husband one time when I sent him to pick up half and half. He made the remark that it’s only $.10 cheaper than the rest of the brands they offered. I told him that if we go through 2 quarts per week, that’s $10.40 per year we’ll save.
I thought I grew a second head with the way he looked at me, but I explained that the bigger picture is that it all adds up: we save $21.00 to $54.00 per year on Milk alone, and the savings on eggs are $26.00 – $52.00 per year. That’s only 3 items that I mentioned where the max savings will be about $100 per year. Add Bread to that total and the savings jump up to $217 per year. (I make our bread – it’s cheaper, healthier and tastes so much better than the breads purchased in the store.) He understands what it all means now.
Starting a grocery price list is easy. The hard part is remembering to take it with you, or, recording your purchases in it when you return home. Once you’ve established the habit, it will become second nature to you – I promise!
I created a grocery price list that I use for my household that I’d love to share with you along with some other forms that I use regularly. To get the 30-page packet free, just sign up by email and the forms that I have created will be emailed to you!
Do you keep a grocery price list? Do you have anything to share about knowing your prices? Please share your feedback below! Thanks!
(This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy here.)