Thursday, July 21, 2011

Just because they say they're the low price leader...

Repeat after me - "Just because they say they're the low price leader...doesn't mean they really are."

This is a lesson I confirmed once again this weekend when I updated my grocery price book.

A True Life Example
What's a price book, you may ask?  Well, it's this nifty tool that helps you compare prices of products at different stores.  This tool comes in handy when you're looking at the weekly grocery ads and wonder, "Gee, is that a good price on tuna?"

Some use a notebook system but I find that too clunky and time-consuming for me (I'm a single mom - time is a short commodity around here).  Instead, I use a price book app on my itouch.  It does all the calculations for you...and best of all, I don't get strange looks from grocery clerks - it looks like I'm texting someone instead of writing down pricing information.  ;-)

The last time I updated my book was back in April of 2010.  Add to that the fact that I recently renewed my Costco membership, it was about time I updated the thing so I knew precisely where to shop for what.  So, I spent last Saturday popping between stores, quickly taking down notes while I finished the weekly shopping.  (And yes, I lead such an exciting life!)

What did I discover that day?  Well...
  • Peanut butter prices went up $2 - 4 a jar in the last year!!!  That almost made me faint.   (Yes, I know it's not paleo but my son LOVES PB&J sandwiches and won't eat any other nut butters.)
  • The stores that have huge banners proclaiming that they're the "low price leader" usually are lying.  Maybe their junk food prices are the cheapest in town but when it comes to the typical staples and healthy stuff, their prices suck.
  • The prices at Safeway, the largest chain here in Nor Cal, was good for laugh...that's about it. 
  • Costco is great for the staples (eggs, string cheese, sour cream, peanut butter, mayo, olive oil, raisins, tuna, garlic, etc) but their bread prices suck. 
  • Eggs are now around $1.99/dozen at regular stores.  If you want cheaper prices, buy in bulk, join Costco (15 dozen box for 1.21/dozen)...or look in other types of stores (my local Target had them @ 1.69/dozen).
  • And most importantly, shopping around DOES save you money.  I wouldn't suggest that you go to individual stores each day - the gas costs will eat up your savings - but hitting them in a chain, one after the other, works great.
  • Oh, and I found a new place to buy inexpensive produce!  Yes! 
(Yes, the screenshots are from my own little pricebook.  Please excuse any strange spellings or abbreviations.  Typing quickly on the itouch keyboard was....interesting.  ;-)  )
    Do you shop around?  What sort of trends have you seen lately?


      1. I shop around and like you have a price book, mainly it is in my head. I know where I can get the cheapest items and know what is a good price or not. It kills me when a local sale will advertise a product as "On sale for only >>>>" but it really isn't on sale as that is the regular price!!! Most people are so gullible and trusting of the stores.

      2. I have a spread sheet with the price listed and generate grocery lists from it, so if I see a deal, I can tell.

        Eggs are around $1.69 here, but other than that we are in the same boat as you.

        Soooo tired of stores pretending their prices are low.




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