Smart Shoppers Want to Know

I was recently left the following comment.

First I want to thank you, again, for providing this couponing information. It has been very inspiring and helpful. I do, however, have one very important question. In one of your pics, it looks as if you write the price next to each item on your grocery list. I would like to be able to tally my grocery total before I go to the store but I don’t know how much items that are not on sale cost. How do you know the price of each item?

The Proverbs Wife Responds…

Well first I should thank you for supporting my blog with your visits, comments and questions. I was asked this question a few weeks ago and had neglected to respond. This is a great question and I’m going to interject a bit of background behind my methodicalness.

I am the Co-CEO and Co-CFO of my family. It is my responsibility to research ways in which to help our family operate better. With that being said, when I began looking for ways to reduce our grocery spending I started keeping a “price book”.

I started with a spiral notebook that I would use to keep track of the price of items that I purchased on a regular basis. I lined my paper with 9 columns. Column one was used for item name or description. The other eight columns were dated one week apart. Each week that I shopped I would insert the price that I paid for the item in the column under the corresponding week.

(example of a price book page above)

I did this for eight weeks. Once I look at something multiple times I begin to remember the information. After eight weeks I had a clear idea of the lowest price of an item and the highest price of an item. This system helped me do a couple of things.

1- I now knew for certain when it was time to stock up on an item.
2- I was now able to determine if an item was truly “on sale”
3- I was able to tally my final out-of-pocket price before visiting the store.

I no longer need to keep the price book since the average prices are in my head. Prices spiked on just about everything in mid 2008. Some items such as milk, cheese, ice-cream and eggs just about doubled in price and I just added the new price to my memory yet still retained the early 2008 prices.

For example: Eggs $0.99 average (1st quarter 2008)….Eggs $2.20 average (3rd quarter 2008)

With these two prices in mind I knew when it was time to stock up on eggs. When they went on sale for $0.88, I knew that it was time to stock up. Eggs these days have a 3 week expiration date and can be purchased for a month at a time when found on sale.

When milk is on sale (like it is this week at Kroger) buy extra and freeze the extra. Be sure to pour out about 3-4 ounces from each bottle to account for expansion.

So let’s recap…

~Create a price book. This can be a sheet of paper in your HomeMaking Binder, agenda or on a sheet stuck to the fridge.

~Record your prices from your receipt after every shopping trip.

~Use the prices to determine if something is a sale in the weekly circular is truly a sale. (Does not apply if you are using coupons since coupons create their own sale)

~Price books are most beneficial for items that rarely offer coupons like meat and produce.

Final, note when calculating remember that you must take into account size, weight and quantity. If for example your comparing eggs, purchasing the dozen and a half may be cheaper per egg than buying a dozen at a lower initial out- of- pocket cost.

Anonymous, I hope that this answers your question.


  1. Melinda says

    I can’t even say enough good things about having a price book. We made one over the summer and it has really, really served us well!


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