Friday, February 22, 2013

Price Book Data.....Part 2

More on the Price Book numbers......


Ground Beef...2.28/3.69  3.79/3.99   2.79/2.99   2.49/3.89  3.49/2.99  2.79/3.99
Chuck Roast....3.99/3.99  2.99/3.99     3.79/3.79   3.99/5.29  2.99/3.99  3.99/3.99
Hot Dogs....4.99/5.99  4.99/5.99    4.99/3.00   5.39/3.50  3.99/5.99  5.39/5.99
Pork....3.99/3.00  3.99/2.99   3.49/2.99   2.99/3.69  1.99/2.49  3.49/3.69
Bacon....2.98/3.50  3.99/3.50   3.99/3.00   2.98/4.00  3.50/3.49  3.99/3.50
Chicken Breast....2.99/3.09  2.99/3.49    2.99/3.99   1.89/3.29  2.99/3.19  .99/3.29
Chicken Whole.... .78/1.69  1.39/1.89    1.59/1.49   1.59/1.79  1.29/1.69  1.59/1.69
Salmon....10.00/7.99  0.00/7.99   9.99/7.99   6.99/7.99  6.99/7.99  11.16/7.99
Cheese....1.77/2.99  2.00/2.00    1.75/2.00   1.66/2.00  1.50/3.00  2.00/2.50
Butter.....3.00/3.50  3.49/3.98    2.50/2.50   3.00/3.00  3.49/3.50  3.00/3.50
Eggs....1.93/1.50  1.79/1.89     1.83/1.53   1.25/1.99  2.09/1.99  2.09/1.99
Carrots.... .90/1.00  .75/1.29    .90/1.69   .90/1.00  .75/.78  .99/1.00
Potatoes....1.48/2.50  2.99/2.99  1.50/2.00   .94/2.50  2.00/3.99  2.99/2.50
Celery.....1.69/2.59  1.99/1.89    2.99/1.50   1.49/1.50  1.99/2.50  1.99/2.59
Onion..... .49/.75  1.69/1.00  .59/1.69   1.69/.75  1.25/1.99  1.29/1.50
Salad Greens....2.50/1.95  2.50/1.85   2.50/1.85   1.99/1.85  2.50/1.85  2.50/2.50
Pasta..... .88/1.00  1.00/1.00   1.00/1.00   1.25/1.25  1.00/1.00  1.00/1.00
Spaghetti Sauce.... .88/1.00  1.33/1.25    1.50/2.00   1.66/1.50  1.00/1.25  1.00/1.25
Coffee....5.65 lb/5.12 lb  5.65 lb/4.16 lb   (4.00)5.65/4.85*   4.32/4.80  5.65/4.80  3.87/4.35
Soup Tomato...1.05/.75  1.05/1.00   .50/.69   .79/.69  1.05/.75  .79/1.00
Soup Cream....1.00/.75  1.29/1.39    .99/.75   .99/.75  .80/.99  .99/1.00
Flour.....2.19/2.19  2.19/2.19   2.00/2.19   2.19/2.19  2.19/2.19  2.19/2.19
Sugar.....2.69/2.69   2.69/2.69   2.50/2.69   2.69/2.69  2.50/2.69  2.89/2.50
Brown Sugar...1.89/1.69  1.89/1.69    1.89/1.69   1.89/1.69  1.89/1.69  1.89/1.69
Honey.....4.00 lb/3.45 lb  4.00 lb/3.45 lb    4.00 lb/3.32 lb   4.00 lb/4.00 lb  4.29 lb/3.32 lb  4.00 lb/3.43 lb
Deli Ham...5.99/7.99  4.99/5.99   4.99/7.99   3.99/5.99  4.99/7.99  4.99/4.99
Deli Provolone...7.99/8.99  4.99/8.99   5.99/8.99   5.99/7.99  5.99/5.99  5.99/7.99
Frozen Pizza...4.49/4.99  5.00/3.33   5.00/3.33   4.00/5.00  5.00/5.00  4.49/3.33
Ice Cream...3.00/3.00  2.50/3.00   3.50/3.00   2.50/3.33  3.75/3.00  2.50/3.00
Frozen Broccoli...1.88/1.50  2.19/2.00    2.09/1.25   2.15/1.59  1.33/1.25  1.33/1.50
Soda....4.99/4.00  4.00/4.00   3.66/3.25   4.00/3.00  4.99/3.67  3.50/4.00
Chips....3.00/3.00  3.00/2.50   2.15/2.15   1.88/2.15  3.50/2.00  2.15/2.15


Now let's pick out our "Rock Bottom Prices".
Go through each item's weekly prices and find the lowest price for each item and when it occurred.


Ground Beef...............2.28 WEEK 1/STORE 1
Chuck Roast....2.99 2.99 WEEK 2,5/STORE 1
Hot Dogs....................3.00  WEEK 3/STORE 2
Pork............................1.99 WEEK 5/STORE 1
Bacon..............2.98 2.98 WEEK 1, 4/STORE 1
Chicken Breast........... .99 WEEK 6/STORE 1
Chicken Whole........... .78 WEEK 1/STORE 1
Salmon.......... 6.99 6.99 WEEK 4,5/STORE 1
Cheese.......................1.50 WEEK 5/STORE 1
Butter.............2.50/2.50   WEEK 3/STORE 1,2
Eggs.......................... 1.25 WEEK 4/STORE 1
Carrots................ .75  .75 WEEK 2,5/STORE 1
Potatoes......................... .94 WEEK 4/STORE 1
Celery.....1.50 1.49/1.50 WEEK 3,4/STORE 2,1,2
Onion.............................. .49 WEEK 1/STORE 1
Salad Greens....1.85 1.85 1.85 1.85 WEEK 2-5/STORE 2
Pasta.................................. .88 WEEK 1/STORE 1
Spaghetti Sauce................. .88 WEEK 1/STORE 1
Coffee...........................4.16 lb WEEK 2/STORE 2
Soup Tomato...................... .50 WEEK 3/STORE 1
Soup Cream.....75 .75 .75  WEEK 1,3,4/STORE 2
Flour......................................2.00 WEEK 3/STORE 1
Sugar..... 2.50  2.50 2.50 WEEK 3,5,6/STORE 1,1,2
Brown Sugar...1.69 1.69 1.69 1.69 1.69 1.69 WEEK 1-6/STORE 2
Honey................3.32 lb  3.32 lb  WEEK 3,5/STORE 2
Deli Ham.............................. 3.99 WEEK 4/STORE 1
Deli Provolone......................4.99 WEEK 2/STORE 1
Frozen Pizza...3.33  3.33  3.33 WEEK 2,3,6/STORE 2
Ice Cream...2.50  2.50  2.50 WEEK 2,4,6/STORE 1
Frozen Broccoli...1.25 1.25  WEEK 3,5/STORE 2
Soda........................3.00 WEEK 4/STORE 2
Chips.......................1.88 WEEK 4/STORE 1

My data tells me that only 9 items were ever less expensive at Store #2.
Going further, 3 items were equally cheap at both stores on different or the same week(s).
And a full 20 of my 30 items were less expensive at Store #1.
So if for whatever reason I can only get to 1 grocery store during any given week, in general, I am better off making the trip to Store #1, rather than Store #2.

This information, that Store #1 is lower on prices for things I buy on average than Store #2 threw me for a loop!  Store #1 is a local Shursave affiliated market.  Physically the store is tiny, with 5 aisles and a very limited selection of brands.  It's what you would call a neighborhood market.  Store #2 is part of the Weis grocery chain, which is a regional mega-market.  It's like a Shop-Rite, a Kroger, an Acme, a Publix, a Harris Teeter, a Giant, etc.  It's a large store with all the amenities(fresh fish dept., bakery, pharmacy, etc.), bells and whistles as it were.  One would assume that the bigger market with all those choices and extras would offer lower prices, huh?  I guess because they probably have unprofitable extras to keep customers shopping there, and all the extra bills(electricity and rent for the much bigger space as well as many more employees to pay), the customer ends up paying for it all in higher food prices.
Just goes to show that more choices and bigger stores aren't always good for the customers bottom line.

Now let's take that last list and remove the Week/Store information from it.....


Ground Beef........2.28 lb
Chuck Roast......2.99 lb
Hot Dogs.............3.00 

Pork....................1.99 lb
Bacon.................2.98 lb
Chicken Breast.......99 lb

Chicken Whole.......78 lb
Salmon.................6.99 lb
Cheese..................1.50 8oz
Butter.................2.50 lb
Eggs......................1.25 dzn

Carrots.................75 lb

Potatoes................ .94  5lb

Celery................1.50 bunch

Onion.................... .49 1lb
Salad Greens......1.85 bag

Pasta...................... .88 1lb
Spaghetti Sauce....... .88 can/jar
Coffee......................4.16 lb

Soup Tomato............ .50

Soup Cream...............75

Flour....................2.00 5lb

Sugar................. 2.50 4lb

Brown Sugar.......1.69 2lb
Honey...................3.32 lb 

Deli Ham.............3.99 lb

Deli Provolone.....4.99 lb

Frozen Pizza..........3.33

Ice Cream..............2.50

Frozen Broccoli.....1.25

Soda................3.00 12pk

Chips....................1.88 bag

These are my current ROCK BOTTOM PRICES for these items. *From here on out I will abbreviate ROCK BOTTOM PRICE as RBP.
These are the prices at which I will buy these items.  These are the prices at which I will stock up on these items, if I have the room to store them.
I can now take these prices and transfer them into my little notebook.  I take this notebook with me(along with a calculator and a pencil)to the grocery store.  If I see an item I want to buy that is "on sale", I'll refer to my RBP list to see if the item is truly on sale at it's lowest price.  If it is, I buy it.

I can see that I need to amend my new RBP list already, because Store #1 has Butter on sale for $2.00 lb.
So I will change my RBP for Butter and make sure I get up to Store #1 this week and stock up.  Butter can be stored in your freezer for a year or more.  This, along with how much butter I have left in my stockpile and how much we use in a month, will affect my decision on how much butter I will buy this week(unless they have a store limit on how much you can purchase).

If I know a RBP price doesn't come around often, I calculate how much of that item I will buy now(according to how much I have to spend and if I have somewhere to store it at home).  You want to buy enough to get you through to the next time that item goes on the best sale price.

If your data tells you an item goes on sale every 3rd week, then you need to buy enough to last your family 3 weeks.  If your family eats 1 box of spaghetti once a week, that means if spaghetti goes on sale every 3rd week, you need to buy 3 boxes of spaghetti when it's on sale to avoid buying it when it's not on best sale price.
Now if you know that your best buy price is .88¢ on spaghetti and you go to the store one week and they are having a special (loss leader or clearance) sale on a brand of spaghetti so that it's .50¢ a box that week, knowing that the best price is .88¢, you instantly know that .50¢ a box is a "one of a kind" special deal and you should stock up according to how much space you have to store boxes of spaghetti, how much extra cash you have in your food budget to pay for extra spaghetti and how much spaghetti your family will consume before the "use by" date on the boxes(though most items can be used well after the "use by" date).

For me personally, if my family ate 1 box of spaghetti per week and the RBP for this item came around every 3rd week, I would buy 4-5 boxes of spaghetti when it was RBP.  Since I have the space for an extra couple of boxes of spaghetti, I'd buy 1 or 2 extra at the RBP.  Pasta is good to have on hand anyway and you never know when you may need an extra box(for trying a new recipe or having unexpected company to dinner and you need to stretch the meal, etc.).
Now if I hit a .50¢ a box one time deal,depending on the "use by" dates, I'd buy 20 boxes.  I probably would be tempted to buy MORE than that but, boxes of pasta take up a fair amount of room and unless you store in airtight buckets, grains can fall pray to weevils as well as mice if you are storing your foodstuffs in a garage or basement.

Now that you have the RBP for the store you shop at most(or a couple of stores), it's time to go see if you can find a lower RBP at other stores you may shop at also.
If you have a produce market, a discount food outlet, a restaurant supply store, an ethnic food store, a bulk foods store, a warehouse store, etc., that you either shop at already or would go to, check their prices out on items you purchase on a regular basis.  If you find only 1 item that's lower in price, it's still may be worth it.
Say you find that spices at the bulk food store are much cheaper than at any other store.  The only thing is that it's quite a distance to drive and you can't be traveling there every week, because if you're using lots of gas, there goes your savings on the food!  So you figure out how often is worth it to you to go to that store.......once a month, once every 3 months or longer?  Pick how often and then calculate how much of every spice you would probably go through during that interval(and throw in a bit more just in case so you don't run out too soon).  Now you have your list and amounts to buy so go figure how much money you need for this trip.  Once you have the funds, go stock up on your spices.  Now you don't need to worry about finding a deal at the grocery store and buying spices for a month, 3 months or longer.

Now that you have your RBP for 30 items, you can add as many items to your price list as you want.
Just add a new item to your Price List and on your next grocery trip, mark down(IN PENCIL)what the price is this week.
Every week you go back to the store, if the price is lower than the price you had recorded, erase it and mark the new lower price.  After 6 weeks or so of doing this, you'll have your RBP for this new item on your Price List.

Now, a word about maintaining your Price Book.
Like any tool, it won't be worth anything if you don't maintain it.
We live in a country with a fairly volatile economy.  Weather affects food prices.  Energy prices affect food prices.  Government regulations affect food prices.  We are plagued by pretty aggressive inflation currently.  So while those RBP in your Price Book are valid today, what goes on in our world affects those prices.
Every few months you need to take out your Price Book and go over your buy prices.
An example, my RBP for whole chickens use to be .69¢ lb.  About 4 months ago, I noticed that I hadn't seen that price for whole chickens for at least 2 months(since August).  At that point my new RBP became .79¢ lb. because that was the lowest price I had found for it since August.
I had to update my buy price for whole chickens in November because sadly, the days of .69¢ lb. chicken around here were gone.
Of course if I see whole chicken for less than .79¢ lb. again I will happily stock my freezer with it! 8-)
But my Price Book got updated.


I'll stop here for now as I feel this is getting quite boring and dry.
If anyone has an questions about Price Booking or How To Save at the Grocery Store in general, please leave questions in the comments or email me directly and I'll be happy to cover what is on your mind.

Sluggy







2 comments:

  1. This stuff is never boring or dry, especially if a person is determined to spend the least possible money on items. I really admire your ability to type so many numbers. It would take me a week of sweaty headache days to replicate your long list of figures.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sluggy, I think your explanation of how to start and use price book is probably the best I have ever read. I hope a lot of people read it.

    ReplyDelete

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