Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Grocery price book part 2

Using a price book is a memory aid to help save money.  I like to know I buy stuff at the lowest price available to me.  One store will have an item at one price and another store may have the identical item at half that cost.  I can’t possibly remember which store has the lowest price on all items I buy so the price book becomes my memory.  I only record the price of items I use OFTEN in my price book.  I am not in the business of price checking so I don’t need all prices.  I simply want to know who has the lowest price before I spend my money on the items I purchase.

Food and kitchen 2014 127

There is one exception to only keeping the price of regularly bought items.  That would be a one time special purchase and I want to be sure I get the lowest price possible.  For example, a couple of months ago I had decided to purchase a clothes drying rack.  One of those fold up indoor kind to be used when clothes can’t be hung outside.  This is not something I would want to track pricing regularly but I do want to know when I find a bargain.  So I wrote it on a temporary page in my price book.  The cheapest price I had found was $20.  I was planning to purchase one on my next monthly shopping trip.

Food and kitchen 2014 121

Then I got a sale circular in the mail and saw this.  I wasn’t sure the sale was a good bargain until I looked in my price book.  Oh my, that’s half the lowest price I had found so far.

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Good enough for me!  I bought one.  That is a $10 savings just for keeping a note about the price.

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Now let’s look at items I need to purchase on my next shopping trip.  I see I need t-tissue.  I prefer Scott Tissue single ply brand best but there are some really similar types I will buy if they are cheaper.  There is the 12000 brand and the Aldi 10000 brand.  Actually, most major stores carry a similar single ply brand under their own name.

Food and kitchen 2014 118I look in my price book at the sheet with the prices of my favorite brands.  Click the picture to see it closer.  I highlighted the lowest price I have found so far.  I recorded:

  • Date the price is found
  • Source of the price (whether it be from being in the store, a receipt, or an ad)
  • Which store had that price  (I revert to shortcuts after awhile and use only the store initials)
  • Was it on sale (Y or N)
  • The package size
  • The full price
  • The unit size (roll, ounce, pound, each, packet, etc)
  • The price per unit
  • And a comment column (usually brand goes here so I can find the right item at the store)

Food and kitchen 2014 119Where do I find the prices I put in my pricebook?  Sometimes I jot down prices as I’m walking through the store on a shopping trip.  I chauffeur my SIL to do her shopping and there are times when I finish long before her so I spend time looking at prices.

Organizing 2014 144

I have used some older receipts to re-create this new price book.  I do keep receipts for insurance purposes.  If there is ever again a power failure lasting long enough to loose all the food in the freezer I need proof of what I had purchased.  I learned that lesson the hard way, three times in a row.

Organizing 2014 148

Most often I use the sales papers.  Did you know that unless a sale paper says “save ____” or something similar then the price shown is the everyday price?

Organizing 2014 146

Take for instance this page, there are nothing except a price by the items but the page in the photo above has the information to show how much you save on those items.  The prices below are the everyday price.  The food companies pay money to be featured in a store ad.  Yeah, there are people who still believe everything shown in the ad is sale priced.  Check it out for yourself next time you shop.  Take the ad and check the shelf tags.  Anything on sale will have a bold shelf tag so you can’t miss it.

Organizing 2014 145On some of my price pages I list several different versions of one product.  Like cheese.  There are many versions and I keep track of only a few of each.  (shredded, brick, cheese whiz, string, cream, etc.) I rarely buy cheese because I get it from the commodities but if I need cheese this is a guide for me.

Organizing 2014 147

I keep a copy of my freezer inventory, my canned goods inventory, and my non-edibles inventory in my price book.  Why?  Well let’s say I’m out shopping and find what I believe is a really great deal on something.  I first look to be sure it truly is a good bargain according to my price sheet.

Organizing 2014 143Then I look at the inventory sheets to see if I have any already.  If I have enough then I pass on the bargain.  If my inventory is low then I look to see how many I should have in stock (top right corner of the price sheet) and buy according to that.

I hope I’ve explained well enough how the price book works.  Its a great helpful gadget if used.  Letting it set idle doesn’t help you at all, it must be used often and renewed once in awhile to save you money.  It really will save you money on your grocery bill in much the same way as creating a menu plan saves money.

Sorry for the delay getting this post written.  I’m still quite sore from my fall at the fair but coming along.

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