WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Frugal living series blog video: Using a Price Book to identify true deals

Posted February 26
Updated March 3

In this Frugal Living series blog video, we are covering the use of a Price Book to help you know when it is time to stock up and when it is time to leave it on the shelf. I discuss how to use the updated Price Book here on the blog so you get the most for your hard-earned money!

A Price Book is simply a list of the items you buy and the best price you can find them for at the stores that you shop.Using a price book allows you to know when that "Best Price of the Season" deal advertised in the sales ad is actually a good buy or just a marketing ploy to part you from your money.

Of course there are some exceptions. If the item is something you must have for a special meal, or if you have allergy issues or special dietary needs (gluten-free, for instance), you might end up paying a higher price for a specific item.

My suggestion is to stock about 4 to 6 weeks worth of non-perishable or freezable items when the prices hit the low you've set as your target.

Here are some basic guidelines:

Produce

Try to stay at $1.50/lb or less for most produce. Ideally, look for produce sales that are $1.00/lb or less. All the area grocery stores often have carrots, apples, pears and oranges for $1 or less per pound on a regular basis. As a general rule, don’t buy packaged lettuce and spinach unless you want to spend more per pound than needed. With the combo of sale and coupon, though, sometimes the packaged lettuce bags are a good deal.

In the Smart Shopper Price Book, you will find some ideal buy prices for fruit and veggies. Keep in mind that when they are in season, you will find these prices more often. Sometimes you will even find them at lower prices. That might be a good time to buy in bulk and freeze the produce. It is often less expensive per pound to buy produce bagged in 3, 5 or 8 lb bags.

When produce is out of season and $50 per pound (ok, not really that high) I often buy frozen produce. When on sale with a coupon, I can often purchase 12 – 16 oz. of frozen veggies including broccoli, peas, corn, carrots and more for $1 or less. Keep in mind that organic produce will usually be much higher than the cost of the non-organic prices I have listed below.

Meat

Look for buy one get one free deals, family size packages and marked down meat to get the best buys. The prices in the Price Book are sale and family size prices. Keep in mind that markdown prices can go even lower so check the markdown meat section at your stores when you shop. I recommend you use the meat that day or freeze it.

Dairy

You can regularly find a dozen eggs at around $1 per dozen and shredded cheese at $1.50 per 8 oz bag.  For a gallon of milk, anything $3 or less is a bargain.

For a detailed list of categories, prices and high and low "buy" prices, consult my Price Book HERE, updated in February 2014

18 Comments

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  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Feb 27, 4:37 p.m.

    You are sooooo sweet, 3boys3! Congrats on hunkering down and paying off your debt!! I am really impressed! And I sorry your health has declined. I hope you are doing better these days. Keep up the amazing debt free work!

  • 3boys3 Feb 27, 4:10 p.m.

    WOW!...more wonderful information! You never cease to amaze me Faye! You always add more ideas and keep things fresh with couponing. I've been doing this with you now for almost 3 years and in that time I've learned that you CAN use coupons EVERYWHERE that you need..not just food but clothes, and other supplies...and you gave me the knowledge and courage to know that and enforce that! We were in rough shape due to my health and no longer able to work and now we have no debt other than our mortage..and I've been working on that now for the past year. One more thing..it's great to read your words each day, but it's CRAZY AWESOME to hear your words and see your face...LOVE,LOVE,LOVE this new frugal living blog videos:)

  • kastagg Feb 26, 1:34 p.m.

    Thanks. This is helpful.

  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Feb 26, 8:20 a.m.

    I reposted this video for those who heard the WRAL-FM radio segment this morning with Lynda and Mike. :-)

  • terr19 Feb 24, 12:21 p.m.

    I loved the video. Thanks for all you do.

  • privilegesrevoked Feb 23, 12:14 a.m.

    Great video Faye! Love the testimonial at the end - so very, very true! My dear Dad used to say "coupons are found money" - and it's true. They are cash, use them and keep your own in your wallet! It really enables you to keep more of your income to use where you want, as you so clearly pointed out with your near debt free life!

  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Feb 22, 10:55 p.m.

    winnieb2 - you can see a photo of everything I bought and exactly how much I paid here on the Super Doubles brag thread: http://www.wral.com/harris-teeter-super-doubles-brag-thread-/13407095/

    You can see where all of the coupons came from for each of the items here on the Super Doubles deals list: http://www.wral.com/harris-teeter-super-doubles-deals-list-updated-yet-again-/13400827/

    I hope that helps! I will cover more of the couponing techniques I used for Super Doubles in the coming videos.

    troublesmom - you can find the Price Book here: http://www.wral.com/price-book-best-prices-for-groceries/7385543/

    You can also find the Price Book on the home page of the Smart Shopper blog (http://www.wral.com/5onyourside/smartshopper/) in the group of boxes in the Resources section in the middle of the page . The Resources section is right below the second post. Scroll to the right until you see the photo of the strawberries.

  • winnieb2 Feb 22, 10:23 p.m.

    Could someone please post a list of the items you bought, the price that was . paid and the coupon used. I would really like to see this as I have never ben able to get my charges below $20.00 for a list that was over $100.00. Would love to see how it is done. Loved the video.

  • jdouglas13 Feb 22, 7:35 p.m.

    Troublesmom, go back to the page on which the video appears, and there is a link for the price book under "More on This" which is just under the blue and white play button on the video.

  • amysdc Feb 22, 6:39 p.m.

    Awesome! I would have love love loved the videos when I started. It's still a nice refresher! Thanks!

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