How to compare grocery prices online

karan_in_oregonNovember 6, 2013

How do you search and compare grocery prices for specific items, example,
Folger's Coffee, Maxwell Coffee, and other brands in your own area?
How do you compare different brands of coffee at more than one store in your area?
Thank you so much for any help.

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grainlady_ks

Isn't there an app for Smart Phones that will do that for you? Not that I've had any experience (I have an old TracPhone flip-phone), but I had a friend scan something with her Smart Phone and it showed the prices at other stores in the area - much to my easily entertained amazement.

I'm old-school and I keep a Price Book (which I've done on-and-off since 1993) and track the prices of foods I commonly purchase. I use sales ads to give me the prices of loss-leaders and then I can compare them to prices in my book. For instance, Dillons had butter (1# box) on sale (2/$5.00), but when I checked my Price Book, the price wasn't as cheap as Aldi regular price, so I passed on the sale price at Dillons.

I also track my inventory because I have a large amount of food in storage. I actually "shop" at home for meal planning and preparation, but I stock-up when prices are the rock-bottom lowest.

You may also want to note what you think are "stock-up prices" (VanCamp's pork 'n beans - 50-cents per 15-oz. can), or you may want to track when prices are the "best". For instance, if you buy brand name canned pork 'n beans, they are least expensive around Memorial Day and the 4th of July (or other "grilling" holidays). Condiments are also at stock-up prices during these holidays.

I purchase most of the nuts I store after the holidays when they are 50-75% off and plan my food budget accordingly. I stock-up on cranberries after the holidays when they are drastically reduced (usually around 50-cents per bag). I freeze or dehydrate them.

On one sheet in my Price Book I track the prices (you can see an example of the page at the link below). On the next sheet I track the inventory. When I add something I put a slash mark ( / ), and when I take the item out of storage and move it to the kitchen, I'll finish the mark ( X ). So my tracking will look something like this: X X X / / / and I know I have 3 of them in storage.

If it's something I need to track the use-by date (peanut butter is one I always track by date) I'll write it with the month and year date (12/13 = Dec. 2013). When I take it out of storage I'll cross through the entire date. I know we use one 18-oz. jar of peanut butter each month, so I can easily track how many I can realistically use by the use-by date.

I also find lower prices at Big Lots, Dollar General, Walgreens, etc., so I keep my Price Book in a small loose-leaf book (like a Day Runner). I also keep my coupons, store rewards card, calculator and food budget money in the same book.

Hope that gives you some help....

-Grainlady

Here is a link that might be useful: Make a Price Book and Save Money

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 12:18PM
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karan_in_oregon

Grainlady,
Thank you for the information. Keeping a book and the other ideas really make sense.
I don't have a SmartPhone so am trying to do this on my computer.
I will keep the information.
Thank you,
Karan

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 2:23PM
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grainlady_ks

If I had to make a spread sheet on the computer for what I keep in my Price Book, I'd go nuts!!! Maybe that's because I started using the system before I had a computer.... (Old dog, new trick - LOL), or the fact I never have my computer with me when I shop to check the stats, but I always have my Price Book.

I make notes or changes when I get the sales ads (in the free weekly paper or by checking on-line - I can't justify the cost of the local paper - even for the coupons) or I'll make changes when I'm at the store and notice them. When oatmeal increased from $2.19 to $2.29 for 42-oz. at Aldi (who are always the least expensive), I quickly noted the increase. It's also convenient because most stores have the unit cost printed on the prices posted on the shelves, so I don't have to do the math. Unit pricing is VERY important.

Some things fluctuate all the time - butter, sugar, flour, eggs, etc., and you need to track those almost weekly. Some items I rarely have to change.

Things I don't change, but I might add a note to recall the price, are Manager's Specials, close-outs, and the clearance shelf "treasures", but you have to have a keen shopping eye to spot all of these. It's rare that I pay full price for anything, and that's yet one more way to save on the grocery bill. The first way I save is to have a budget - in cash. Mine is $125 per month for 2 adults, and it's for food ONLY. Non-food items come out of my "walking around" money, which is another set amount.

I also keep my on-going grocery list in my Price Book. I may not need something at the time, but I'll put it on-the-look-out-for list if I know my stockpile is running low so I can try to find it at a bargain price. An advantage of having my price book with an inventory in it, when I find a bargain and can't remember if I already have some/enough at home, I can check my Price Book inventory sheets. No sense blowing money on something I already have in storage and really don't need. Everything is on sale sooner or later....

Free information for the budget minded:

Egg economy:
There is a small difference in the volume between medium and large eggs, so always check the price of medium eggs.

If the price difference is less than 5-cents per dozen, then buy large eggs. If 5-cents or greater difference, buy the medium eggs.

It takes 5 medium eggs to = 4 large eggs, and in most recipes, or for general use, you won't notice a significant difference.
---------------------

I try never to spend more than $2 per pound for boneless meat and $1 or less per pound for bone-in. No matter how much meat is per pound, I don't spend more than $10 per week for meat, and some weeks I don't purchase any but will save back that amount until I can find a bargain.

Have you figured the cost of canned tuna per pound? It's not always a bargain. A 5-oz. can of tuna at $1.19 = $3.81 per pound. You can often buy better cuts of meat or poultry cheaper than what it costs for a can of tuna.

Good luck finding a method that works for you. :-)

-Grainlady

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 5:44PM
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