Tracking food costs can help cut your everyday grocery bill--find out how!
Here are three great reasons to stat keeping your very own price book:
1. You'll never, ever, have to pay full price. Because of deals with suppliers and seasonal changes, grocery stores have sales cycles, which typically last between 6 and 12 weeks. That means products are at their lowest prices every month and a half to three months. A price book can help you predict when that will happen.
2. You'll know a good deal when you see it. Apples for $1 a pound sounds great, right? Not if you know that they were going for 50 cents last week. A price book lays out cost trends in black and white, so you can anticipate the best deals and won't be fooled by sales that aren't as amazing as they seem.
3. You'll know exactly where to shop. Of course, one store isn't always going to offer the best deals on every item on your grocery list. Keeping a price book lets you clearly see how vastly costs differ among retailers, and it serves as a guide to the places where you can get the deepest discounts.
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To avoid getting overwhelmed, begin by jotting down the 10 to 20 items you purchase most frequently, and choose one store
to follow. After you get the hang of it, you can add more items and stores.
Before you even step in the store, collect numbers on your own. Go through old receipts and sales circulars to amass prices
for the items on your list, and note them. This will prepare you to put your information into a price book (see different
ways to do so on the following page).
Go to the store every week for 12 weeks, and record prices for each item on your list. Over the course of that time, you'll
notice sales trends and will have identified your "buy price"—the lowest one in the cycle—for each item.
When you see your "buy price," purchase the item in bulk—but be sure you have enough space in your pantry or freezer, and
remember to check expiration dates.
Now that you have a record of a store's sales cycle, check in each month to make sure your book is up-to-date. Inflation and
climate changes can cause prices to fluctuate, so sub in new figures when you see them consistently. Consider those your new