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Friday, February 11, 2011

Keeping My Budget Under Control - Shop at More Than One Store/Price Books

One of the ways I keep my grocery budget under control is shopping at more than one store. I know, I hear you thinking "I don't have time to run around to 15 different stores, I have kids and a million things to do." I hear you, I really do. I'm not telling you to go to 15 different stores, but maybe one or two. Think about your grocery shopping now. Are there stores that are within 10 to 20 minutes of the store you shop at right now? If you check out the sale ads for each store and compare prices, you might be able to get a sweet deal by traveling the extra 10 minutes.

I'm lucky to have two stores within five minutes of each other - a Save-A-Lot and a Giant. That's it. Any other store is at least a 45 minute drive from me.But even with just these two stores, I can save a lot.  Right now, Giant has chicken breasts on sale Buy 1 Get 1 Free, which equals out to about $2.50 a pound. Save-A-Lot has chicken breast on sale for $1.38 a pound. That's a savings of $1.12 a pound. Since the chicken is sold in packs of about 5 pounds, the extra traveling to a different store would save me $5.60. And that is only if I bought 1 pack. While Giant is great for when I want to stock up using coupons, Save-A-Lot has great prices on produce. Bananas are [right now] $0.29 a pound. At Giant, they're $0.59 a pound.

There is a lot of reasons for me to shop at different stores. And even though there might be a small drive between your stores, I bet there will be a savings for you if you're willing to look for it. So this next week, I challenge you to find another store you can shop at. Take a notebook into the "new" store with you and jot down some prices on things you would normally buy. You are making a price book.
What is a price book you ask? A price book is a list of products you buy with the price of the item from several stores listed. Sales are not always the best deals. This is what your price book is for! What you need to do is write down the item, and the price, plus the price per oz. The price per unit is the most important information. You need to know if the 16 or the 24 ounce is the better deal. If you have coupons, usually it is cheaper to buy the smaller item. If you don't have any coupons, it is usually cheaper to buy the bigger product.

As time goes on, you'll be able to realize what a good price is without your price book. So that when you see a great deal on something your family uses a lot, you'll be able to stock up!

Next week, we'll be talking about stocking up using coupons to help you stock up!

Do you keep a price book? Do you shop at more than one store?

6 comments:

  1. Both of my kids are in school (weather permitting) so I can hit as many stores as I need to. My weekly shopping trip is like a military operation. I make up my list & usually go to Walgreens, & Schnucks for couponing & sales, then finish what I need at Aldi's & Walmart (only if I HAVE to.)

    I do keep a price book, mostly of Aldi's prices because if it's not on sale w/a coupon, that's where I shop.

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  2. do you know anyone who does this for wegmans? That is where we shop and I am terrible at trying to figure out which coupons when etc like you do. I wonder if anyone does this for wegmans

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  3. I shop weekly at two stores, comparing prices and sales. They are across the street from each other which makes life really easy. I also buy my meat every two months at a local butcher who has the best prices.
    I may add in Aldi soon, I need to check them out. But it is worth it to make a little more time to get better prices.
    I have tried the price book. I started it while pregnant with Owen and it got put aside and forgotten. I just remembered when reading your post that I have it somewhere. I think I need to take it out and dust it off and try again!

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  4. VeggieMom - You're very lucky to be able to shop a lot of stores! I have been wanting to start a price book because of the same reason, Aldi's and Save-A-Lot have almost the same prices, but I'd like to know if it's going to beat a sale price. :)

    Julie - Have you checked out AFullCup.com and/or HotCouponWorld.com? I also found Frugal Friends - http://frugalfriends.wordpress.com/?s=wegmans

    Mindy- Wow, having them right across the street from each other does make it easy! Do they compete with each other giving you super low prices? That would be awesome! I'd love to find a local butcher with great prices. I'm sure there is one around, I just haven't found them. I actually don't have a price book yet. I'm in the process of starting one. I can't wait to see how it affects my spending!

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  5. i do shop more than one store...i love aldi's prices but they don't always have everything i need or want. there have been times when ive gone to 3 grocery stores, but luckily they are right on the same st.

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  6. I shop at 2-4 stores depending on the week. Aldi's is usually my first stop. I go to Costco for some items, but try to only go once a month since I spend a lot there on any given trip. I wrote about making my menu plan and shopping here: http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=6848011671786730803&postID=7718838508648637719

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