Last week, I shared with you How I Make My Grocery Shopping List, and I mentioned that I compare grocery store prices. So, I’m going to share with you how to know when a sale is really a bargain.
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Grocery store prices fluctuate all the time, so the best way to know what the lowest prices are, is to track store prices for 12 weeks. I shop at several grocery stores, a drugstore, and a club store, so I tracked prices for all of them. I made a spreadsheet for each store that had a column for the store department, date I shopped, the item, size, and price. I learned how to do all of this from The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Bills in Half.
Walmart Grocery Prices Chart
This is the price spreadsheet I made for Walmart. On this page, is the dairy dept., frozen dept., meat dept., bread dept., and canned food/pasta dept.
This page has the continuation of the canned food/pasta dept., cereal dept., baking dept., chips/cookie/cracker dept., and juice/soda dept.
This page has the continuation of the juice/soda dept., vegetable dept., baby dept., health dept., candy dept., and cleaning dept. (I made these price comparison lists a few years ago, so I have some depts. on there I don’t need anymore, like the baby dept., and also unhealthy items that we don’t buy anymore, like Drumsticks)
How to Fill in the Price Chart
After setting up my spreadsheets, I used my grocery shopping receipts to fill in the chart. I listed all of the items I purchased under the appropriate dept. This takes awhile the first couple of times, but after that, most of your items are already in the chart, so it’s easy to maintain. Next to the item, I listed the size and price. It’s important to list that because you might think there’s a cheaper item somewhere else, but if it’s a different size, it may not always be a better deal. Since you know the size and price, you can calculate the price per unit and see what’s the better deal.
So, for 12 weeks, I filled in my price charts and at the end of that, I knew what the highest price an item sold for, the lowest price, and in between. Since I made a chart for all of the stores I shopped at, I also knew which store had the lowest price for each item. The great thing about these price charts is once the 12 weeks is up, you don’t need to keep up with the list anymore. You’ll already know what the lowest prices are, so you’ll know when to take advantage of sales or not.
How to Use This Information
Now that I had this information, I was ready to stock up on sales. So, now, every week, I look through all the store circulars, and when an item I regularly buy goes on sale for what I know to be the lowest price, I often buy as many as the store allows, or as many as I know I’ll need until it goes on sale again. I try not to buy an item if it isn’t at the lowest price, unless it’s something we really need, like milk. You can read more about how I use this information to make my grocery list in this post, and by reading The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Bills in Half. I love saving money at the grocery store!
If you have any questions about how to do this or need clarification on something, please let me know in the comments.