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:
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.
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.
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.