Today I’m going to help those of you who want to save money in your grocery budget by posting your shops in The Grocery Game Challenge. I’m going to talk to you about the Importance of Knowing Grocery Prices.
Knowing your prices, and knowing them well is the best way to get more bang for your buck in the budget. This is not going to happen over night, this takes a lot of practice and a consistent weekly effort to perfect your grocery shopping. I still don’t have it perfected but I’ve learned a lot and still learn every time I shop.
I’m going to use Whiskas Cat food as a great example.
- Walmart Regular Price is $6.99 for a 1.5 kg. It does go on sale for $6.49.
- No Frills Regular price is $6.49 for the same 1.5 kg bag.
Did you know how long it took me to figure this out? About 4 months. I was so hung up on “Flyer Watching“ and buying items on sale, thinking the sale price is “The Price to Watch for“. I wasn’t engaging in comparison pricing of “Regular Prices” at each store.
This is where I suggest for your to start. Take the basic necessities – the stuff you run into the store for more than 1x a week.
Write down the following: As these prices vary between towns/provinces
Then each time you’re in a different store check on the prices of these items. Don’t be scared to look at Drug Stores, or even your local gas station. It may be one of their “Loss Leader Home Drivers” to get you to come into their store.
Write the prices down in a small notebook that you can carry with you. When you find a better price ,cross it out, and add the new price. You must also mark down if the item is a clearance item or flyer buy. Typically a flyer price you will be able to find at a later time.
I’ve previously purchased cereal for $1.00 on clearance, but I can’t say “from now on, I’m only going to only purchase cereal for a $1.00”. I may be waiting a long time in between finding that deal again and it’s simply not realistic to use that price as a standard. Even if that’s the “BEST Price” you have found it at you may never see it again.
When it comes to cereal the Average Sale Price is around $2.99, but once in a while you’ll find it on sale for $2.49 or 2 for $5.00 (This would potentially be the Best Price) So depending on your shopping habits, you can decide to stock up when the price is cheaper than $2.99.
Tip: Don’t Only shop off your flyers!
Below is where I will typically shop to pick up the Best Prices.
- Milk – $4.43 at Shoppers Drug Mart for a 4L of 1% Dairyland.
- Bread – $2.00 I’m not brand orientated and will buy bread at $1.99 anywhere it’s on sale or not. If it’s cheaper I’ll buy extra, or if I have a coupon. (I will only freeze up to 4loaves at a time)
- Butter – $2.99 at Shoppers Drug Mart for In house name “Everyday Market”. Regular price, and rarely advertised.
- Eggs – $1.99 per dozen at Shoppers Drug Mart. Regular price -Limited to 4 per purchase. Again this is regular price.
So now I know where to shop for these every day items and for the best price. Who would have thought that Shoppers Drug Mart would be the cheapest place to purchase these items. (These are for the stores that I have near me…..Your store and price list may be different from mine)
Example of another product that I found cheaper than regular price is……..
Cheese Whiz – No Frills Reg Price $9.19………. I found the same size at Value Drug Store for $6.99 an Everyday Price …..On sale for this week for $5.99 where the Friday past it was $4.99. A very steep difference in the price for a product that is virtually identical.
Knowing product prices will in effect make it easier to watch the flyers and shops for deals. You may not be tempted to buy butter on sale for $3.49 when you know you can get it cheaper somewhere else for reg price.
Perhaps since I know the best price for butter in my area is Shoppers Drug Mart I will only purchase it there unless I find it cheaper.
Have you ever ran out of an item and had to send your spouse out to pick it up?
Knowing the cheapest shop to send your spouse on these spur of the moment jaunts is important so you don’t cringe when he comes home with an overpriced item.
These are items we don’t buy on a weekly basis, and perhaps sometimes it’s a little harder to know prices when starting out off the top of your head.
This is why it’s so important to be mindful of the pricing of specific products. You also want to watch for weight, size, litres, portions etc.. as this will all make a difference in pricing of any product you wish to purchase.
Fantastic Spray– Regular Price at Wal-Mart is $3.27 with a typical sale price of $2.99. At Shoppers Drug Mart Regular Price is $5.99 and will go on sale for $3.99 …… (So obviously not a good buy at flyer price) When the Best Price is $2.99 on sale, paying the extra $0.27 at Wal-Mart any day of the week is best if you need the product right away.
Some people enjoy Price Matching so they don’t have to go from shop to shop or might not have many shops in their city. Time+ Gas = $MONEY$ and are all very important factors when planning your shopping trips.
Suntan lotion: Variety of brands Regular Price $11.99 at Shoppers Drug Mart, Wal-Mart $10.99 regular. Plenty are on sale for $9.99 and I have seen them as low as $7.99 at Extra Foods.
Washer Fluid – Awesome buy is $1.99 per 4 litre bottle.
Pop/Chips – It’s Summer time and with all the BBQ parties and camping trips happening pop and chips go hand in hand. This week Wal-mart has 24 pks of pop for $6.97 or $3.49 per case of 12. I’ve seen pop on sale for $2.99 per case of 12 so that would be the ultimate time to stock up.
Tip: Do watch your expiry dates as there’s nothing worse than flat pop.
Chips always go on sale 2 for $5 and even cheaper if you keep an eye out depending on the brand you enjoy.
Flyer Shopping – Everything that is in the flyer today will be on sale again in 3 months time as products have a cycle time. Flyer Prices always vary store to store so don’t get upset if you don’t always find what you are looking for. What’s in one flyer this week potentially could be offered cheaper next week at a different store.
Types of Prices
3 different price points you should know
- Best Every Day Price – Only on Items such as HIGH NEEDS – milk, bread, eggs, pet food, baby needs). If you ran out and had to buy these items (This moment – you don’t have a flyer with you, and you’re in a crisis – where would you send your spouse ?
- Average Sale Price – So you can justify what a Low Price is.(buy if you run out, while waiting for the best price.
- Best Price – so you can stock up on these items at the best price.
What Regular Prices should you know off top of your head?
Milk, bread, butter/margarine, eggs, meat per pound or kg, and fruits/veggies. Don’t forget about Pet food and baby needs ( diapers, formula, wipes) if they apply to your household.
Everything else you will simply have to keep track of Sale Prices through weekly flyers. Know the difference between an “Average Sale Price” and a “Best Price” by keeping track of your spending. Prices will come to you with time and writing down your shops or by playing The Grocery Game Challenge will encourage pricing education.
Instead of Changing how you shop 100% today, taking baby steps will lead to permanent changes little by little.
Check out this FREE Grocery Price book for even more help to save you money.
Guest Contribution: Theresa Bruce runs Canadian Free Stuff and has been helping Canadians save money since 1999, by providing free samples, coupons, and free contests to enter.
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