In concluding this series of posts on rock bottom pricing, I am thrilled to embed a link to Money Saving Mom’s free Customizable Stock up Price List. The owner of Money Saving Mom, Crystal Paine, posted her rock bottom prices. Taking Crystal’s list, Joy (from Fivejs.com) designed a spreadsheet for Money Saving Mom readers. Instead of starting your pricing book from scratch, you can print Crystal’s list and tweak it to fit your grocery needs. Why be concerned with a pricing list?
- This pricing guide can save you money. If you wait for a sale on an item at the price listed on your pricing list, then you can stock up on that product. I get so excited when I find deals at my rock bottom price since I know I am saving money by not purchasing when the product is at full price.
- This pricing list can save you energy. You will not need to create your own list with your store receipts. Updating this pricing guide takes less energy than creating a new list. Save your energy for playtime or another project.
- Using this pricing list will save you time. You do not need to pull out all your grocery store receipts, type in or write out the products, and create categories. All the work is done for you, freeing up time for the things you enjoy.
Are you still skeptical? You have nothing to lose. Just click on this link, follow the directions, and print your free pricing list. Thanks, Crystal and Joy, for helping us save money, energy, and time.
Have you started your pricing list? We have looked at the term “rock bottom pricing,” considered two ways to discover those prices, and considered the simple version. If you are just starting, then continue working on the simple version. Once you have mastered the simple version, let’s kick up your savings with the maximum savings version.
MAXIMUM SAVINGS VERSION:
Transfer your Rock Bottom Price List to a Price Book
By tracking each item, you will get to know the cycle of the sales your stores run. You can organize your pricing book in a number of ways. Yes, I said pricing BOOK. To get those awesome deals, you will be tracking the stores as well as the items. I would recommend a binder or notebook with moveable pages. As you run out of room, you will want to add pages to your book.
Here are some ways to organize your pricing book:
- By store,
- By department,
- By categories that correspond to your coupon file, or
- Combination of the above.
You can be as specific as you need to be. This is your book. These ideas are meant to help you get started. Your creativity is the limit.
Continue updating your Rock Bottom Price List
Be willing to adjust. If you start organizing your book by store and then find it is not working, be willing to change to another option. The goal is to make this system work for you. What works for me may not work for you.
Using your Rock Bottom Price List
Making choices will become easier as you see the cycles of savings. When the prices are low, you will be able to stock up to last you until the next big sale. As you buy ahead at rock bottom prices, you will see a significant savings to your grocery budget.
Whether you choose the simple version or the maximum saving version, you will be spending your time. As you evaluate how to spend your time wisely, I wish you lots of savings while you feed your family!
Finding a great sale in your area is possible. You can do it! You can find the lowest price of the season by planning ahead. In the post from last week, we looked at rock bottom pricing and two ways to discover those prices. Today, I will help you start a pricing list using the simple version.
Starting your Rock Bottom Price List
1. After going to the grocery store, bring your receipt home.
2. Use your receipt to write down the price you paid for each item. I would include the price using a coupon. For example: Let’s look at this Publix deal on Mueller’s pasta: 4 boxes of Mueller’s Pasta – on sale buy one get one free or $.69 each. I used 2 coupons for $1 off 2 boxes which made them $.19 each. When adding pasta to the price list, indicate $.19 as the rock bottom price.
3. Place the date you snagged that price to help you know when that sale might come again.
4. Continue through your receipt adding each item.
You do not need to make it complicated. You can start simple! Instead of writing down the price of EVERY item purchased, start with:
- Items you purchase every week (i.e. milk, meat, pasta, vegetables, bread, coffee, etc.),
- Any 5 items a week,
- A category a month (i.e. pasta, meats, produce, frozen foods, dairy, etc.), or
- Concentrating on 1 store (i.e. Publix, Bi-Lo, Giant, etc.)
Updating your Rock Bottom Price List
Starting your list is great! Keeping it up-to-date is better! Here are some ways to keep your list updated:
- Place your receipts in your pricing book when you arrive home from the grocery store.
- Adjust the prices when you make out your grocery list.
- Take your pricing book to the grocery store and make changes as you shop.
Using your Rock Bottom Price List
Having an updated list is great only if you use it! Keep it close when you make out your grocery list or as you are shopping at the store. You can then spot a good deal and discover great deals. For example, if your rock bottom price for pasta is free and pasta is on sale for $.19, then you have some options. You can:
- Realize this is a good sale and purchase items for your stockpile.
- Notice that you purchased the free items 8 weeks ago. Since most sales run on a 6-12 week cycle, you may decide to wait for a sale to get that pasta for free.
- Compromise and get 1-2 boxes now, and then keep an eye out for free pasta in the next few weeks.
- Know that you have 4 boxes of pasta in your stockpile and bypass this sale.
Having the prices and the dates written down gives you options to consider when choosing how to spend your money. The choice is yours! You might be thinking . . . this is too complicated. I understand that this process takes time, but the benefits are worth it.
I started by having a master list of all the items I purchased at Aldi (my least expensive grocery store). As the prices increase, I do not update my list. Some items I purchase so often (like sugar) that I just know the price. When needed, I refer back to my original list. If I find a deal less expensive than my listed Aldi price, then I grab it. Lest you think that I only spend $5 per visit at the grocery store, let me put your assumptions to rest. This week, I spent $4.86 at Bi-Lo, $5.57 at Publix, and $46.84 at Aldi. My total was $57.27.
Spending money on groceries is a necessity, but it does not have to drain your budget. You can take advantage of the sales when you spot a great deal. To see these savings, start by making a pricing list and using that list when creating your grocery list. Next week, I will address the maximum savings version of the pricing list.
Last week, while defining and explaining how to stockpile, I mentioned the term “rock bottom prices.” For example: “My rock bottom price for marinades is $.75 or less.” This means that, for me, $.75 is a low price for a marinade. If I can purchase a marinade for $.75 or less, I will stock up on marinades since I probably won’t find a lower price.
DISCOVERING MY ROCK BOTTOM PRICE
You can make this process as simple or as complex as you need to save money. I love to save money, but I also love to spend time with my family. If my budget has some wiggle room, then I might purchase a marinade on sale for $1 which is a good deal. But when my budget is tight, I will spend more time working the sales and seeking the rock bottom price for some of the extras, like a marinade. Overall, I have a simple organizational system, but you can save more by using your time gathering the information.
Simple Version: Shop the sales at 2-3 grocery stores in your area. Then supplement those purchases with items bought at the least expensive grocery store in your area. You can then compare what you pay at all the stores to find the best savings.
The least expensive grocery store in my area is Aldi. I use their cost per unit as my rock bottom price. I keep my receipts and refer to them when I need to compare deals. For example, the price of sugar at my Aldi is $2.39 for a 5 lb. bag. While at Sam’s Club today, I priced the 10 lb. bag of sugar at $5.95. After a little math, purchasing 2 – 5 lb. bags at Aldi for $4.78 is less expensive than the same weight at Sam’s Club. Having done the comparison, I chose the better deal. I picked up 2 sugars from Aldi while I was there shopping.
Maximum Savings Version: Use a pricing book, which is a journal or notebook that lists the prices you pay for items. When a sale comes along and you snag a great deal, update the pricing list with the lowest price you paid for that item. If you have the time and energy to keep up a pricing book, then do so. This system is more complex and more time-consuming, but you will see deeper savings to your budget.
Whether you choose a simple system or the maximum savings version, you need to have a price list from which to work. Next week, I will use the simple version and walk you through creating your rock bottom price list.
Do you use an organizational system, like a pricing list, to help you compare, have a general idea within $1 or $2, or really don’t care as long as the item is on sale? I’d love to hear how you save money and time as you gather items to feed your family.
The term “stockpile” refers to items that have been purchased at rock bottom prices prior to needing the item. Some people use their garage, pantry, and linen closets to house their stockpile. I have a few places where my stockpile resides: pantry, outside freezer, garage, under the sink in the Master bathroom, and the Master bathroom linen closet. I keep food in the pantry, outside freezer, and the garage; and I place the toiletry and personal items under the sinks and in the linen closet of my Master bathroom. When I arrive home from shopping, I have a designated place to put my free to really inexpensive items that we will be using in the future.
When I find a great deal on items we need, I buy ahead and place those items in one of the locations of my stockpile. For example, on Monday I shopped at Publix. (These sales prices ended on Tuesday and are no longer available. This breakdown is an example of using the sales to add to my stockpile.)
Here’s what I purchased:
4 boxes of Mueller’s Pasta – on sale buy one get one free or $.69 each. I used 2 coupons for $1 off 2 boxes which made them $.19 each. I consider $.25 or less a rock bottom price for pasta.
1 bottle Ken’s Steak House marinade (16 oz.) – on sale buy one get one free or $1.49 each. I used $1 off coupon from newspaper which brought the cost to $.49. With grilling season around the corner, this teriyaki marinade on chicken is a family favorite. My rock bottom price for marinades is $.75 or less. If I had had more coupons, I would have purchase more.
6 bags of Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers – on sale buy one get one free or $1.19 each. I used 2 coupons for $1 off 2 bags which made 4 of the bags $.69 each. I also used 2 coupons for $.50 off one bag. Since this coupon doubled, I was able to get 2 bags for $.19 each. My goal is to purchase frozen vegetables for less than $1 per bag. This sale pairs with the coupons reached my rock bottom price.
2 containers of Friendship Sour Cream – on sale for $1.25 each. I used 2 coupons for $.55 each off which doubled. My final cost was $.70 each. My rock bottom price is $.99 for sour cream.
My total for these 13 items came to $5.57. I saved $20.69 with sales and coupons which was a savings of 79%. After celebrating my savings, I placed the pasta and marinade in my pantry, the sour cream in the refrigerator, and the frozen vegetables in my outside freezer. As I plan my menu, I now have an assortment of pasta and vegetables from which to choose as I feed my family.
Unlike some, my stockpile will not feed my family for 2 years. Since the sales typically run in a 6-week rotation, I can purchase at rock bottom prices enough items to last me the next 6 weeks. I will usually purchase only as many items for which I have coupons to get that rock bottom price. Since I am willing to wait for a sale, I will be patient and not make my broccoli and cheese soup until the half and half and cheese goes on sale.
You can stockpile even if you don’t have a lot of space. Just purchasing one extra item at a rock bottom price will be a savings to your grocery budget. Start small as you find a system that works for you!
Next week, I will explain more about rock bottom prices, and how I determine that price for my family.