grocery price books for the semi lazy

October 7th, 2007

Grocery Price Books For The Semi-Lazy

I in no way claim this is the best, most effective, or most accurate and useful way to make a price book. One of the comments on my next steps post about bulk buying asked me to share my price book method, and so I am. I love the *concept* of a price book but I just never got around to the *implementation* part. And the idea of constantly maintaining it made me cranky. I’m just inherently… that lazy. So I decided to implement this sort of hybrid concept, that gives me some price tracking information but is by no means comprehensive. And here it is. Take from it what you can, and improve on it for your own use. In fact, feel free to share improvements in the comments and we can all learn something. :)

Basically, my price book method is all about the receipt. I shop at Aldi first, and I get my receipt. Then, when I go to Walmart, I will note on the Aldi receipt the price of the equivalent item there… provided I remembered to bring a pen and I happen to see it. I don’t generally seek the stuff out. I usually end up noting the price at Walmart of about half of my Aldi list.

When I get home, after I write my grocery roundup post, I open up my spreadsheet program and enter the prices of everything from my receipts in a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet has a column for each week and each row is an item and location. I put the Aldi and Walmart equivalents in rows right next to each other. So for example, if I have the price of Aldi spaghetti, the very next row will be the Walmart spaghetti.

Date: 09/30/07 10/06/07

Walmart 16 oz spag. 1.29 1.29

Aldi 16 oz spag 0.99 0.99

On the spreadsheet everything actually stays in columns, I’m technologically challenged and haven’t figured out how to import things like that to the blog.

That’s it. I use the spreadsheet to decide what store to buy which items from my list before I go, and also to decide if items from the Kroger circular are worth buying. I don’t keep Kroger in my price spreadsheet generally but I will use the circular to look for deals there compared to the prices of the “normal” stores I shop at. Kroger is basically across the street from me so it is easy for me to go there without making a whole special trip if there is a good deal available.

Knowing I am inherently lazy, feel free to suggest improvements!

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12 Responses to “Grocery Price Books For The Semi-Lazy”

  1. I tend to think that I can handle remembering my grocery price book in my head…but of course, who can remember all that? I like your set-up, though. Never thought to take one receipt in and compare it in the other store…weird how something so simple just flows out of your head, hey?

    I was poking through some old posts of yours (I’ve been MIA…just being ornery, I guess) and noticed you mention how the $1000 EF sometimes just doesn’t feel like enough. I’m so there just because of what happened a few months ago – since we used our entire BEF, it was such a slap in the face, it’s been REALLY hard to get back on track. I love your idea of using the $25 (or whatever) amount in an account, and when it reaches “X”, to use that chunk to pay down other debt, then start rebuilding again. I may steal that idea from you, too. :)

    Have a terrific week –

  2. If you use Gmail, you can upload your Excel file to Google Documents. Google Docs is an easy way to share your spreadsheets with others. You can allow for collaborators, or make it a read-only version.

    I think there’s a way to post a link to it to your blog. I haven’t tried it yet, though.

    This way, you can share your prices with your readers, and if someone in your area spots a deal, they can let you know about it.

  3. Thanks for posting how you do this. I tried to start a price book tonight with my previous month’s receipts from Walmart/Albertson’s/SuperOne/CVS. ugh, it’s just too much to write.

    I think it would be easier to enter each item from each week’s shopping @ Walmart and then use that master list to compare loss leader prices from other stores (which is what I buy from the others anyway)

    thanks again.

  4. I just make note of the price and the size on my shopping list. For me, it’s easier that way because I don’t have to decipher my reciept and then get up to look in my pantry to see how many ounces the item was so that I can find the unit price.

  5. I do the “in my head” method too — speaking of lazy.

  6. Kris – you can do it!!! I hate setbacks. Bah.

    Kacie – I shall have to look into google docs, i heart google

    paula – that sounds like a good practical system. it is kind of what i do with kroger, just compare loss leaders

    alison – your list is a good place too. i like to cross out my list and rip off sections and throw them away. lol

  7. I’ll confess to doing it in my head too. I know how much things cost in our local Giant and so I know if something else is a deal or not. Apparently, price books are supposed to do things like help you track sale cycles and such. So I’m missing out on that. I’ll have to see if that’ll work in my head too.

    Comparing receipts sounds like a good idea. Much less intense than writing things down in the store and such.

  8. Nice approach. I have been looking for a simple way to tackle the price book idea. I do track a lot of things in my head, but I suspect I may need something a bit more reliable to continue making cuts on the grocery spending.

    Thanks!

  9. I was thinking of something similar. I have to work from the receipts. Can’t do much with a notebook when there are four kids “helping” me shop! :)

  10. Thanks! I find the receipts less daunting to deal with. I seriously love the idea of a price book and I seriously hate the idea of actually doing one… what to do, what to do lol.

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