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Old 12-10-2009, 10:11 PM
 
6,455 posts, read 9,501,570 times
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Have you ever kept a price book for your groceries?

I just started 3 weeks ago, and I've learned quite a bit. Like Walmart is the place to go for most of my groceries, including milk (I have to have lactose free), and bread (I'm picky about my bread). I wasn't impressed with their produce, though. I just may have gone on a bad day. And the meat was expensive.

Ethnic markets have much better prices on meat (I buy a lot of meat for my raw fed dogs) and produce. I need to stay out of Albertson's and Vons. Stater Bros. is mostly ok, but not the best, but I look forward to their flyer every week for their specials. Food 4 Less is also very good, pretty competitive with Walmart and the ethnic markets on a lot of items.

I learned I've been throwing away a lot of money I can't afford to throw out. Having to cut back is what made me start the price book. I've learned where to go for my regular needs and I can now recognize a good deal on them when I see them at another store.

I've also learned the CVS extra bucks program doesn't impress me. For the month I've had the card, I've earned just 1 extra buck. On a prescription. Most of the items they offer the extra bucks on are items I don't typically use. It's a waste of money to buy an item I may not use just to the get the extra buck. But I read their ad carefully so I don't miss a good buy.

I joined the Rite Aid Single Check Rebate program, and so far, I'm not impressed with that either. Not many things they offer the rebates for that I would typically use.

I did make a good buy today: Food 4 Less has Crest toothpaste (6.4oz tube) for 10/$10.00. And I had four .75 off coupons. So I spent $7.00 on 10 tubes of the brand of toothpaste I prefer. Yeah me!

The price book is really opening my eyes. Just wish I had done this before.

Any experiences?
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:03 AM
 
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I agree with most of your observations.

Walgreens offers some great rebates with their program. I do not partiicipate as my wife shopd for HBAs and those items.

Dollar stores can offer some great deals. Look for export packs. Those are goods intended for export but are sold in the US. You will see the label requirements added on stickers.

I have not done a price book in years. After all, after a while, you learn real quickly where you will find the best prices and you can concentrate your efforts there.
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Old 12-12-2009, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,838 posts, read 51,286,023 times
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I'm in the process of compiling another one. Doing so properly can be a challenge. Many similar brands or products have different package weights, with dollar stores being notorious for smaller quantities in similar packaging. If you don't do unit pricing, that skews comparisons towards the dollar stores when on a unit basis, the stuff at a grocery is cheaper.

Also, seasonal sales can skew things. Example - currently shelled pecans are $5/lb around here. By the new year, they'll be back up to $8/lb. If I put $5 in the price book, I wouldn't be buying pecans until next Thanksgiving.

What I find useful is looking at the various prices on an item in a price book and creating two numbers - a "this is a great buy" number, and a "if it is higher than this, don't buy it" number. Stores regularly change prices, so what might be a good buy at a store today might be a horrible price next month. By having those two numbers, in addition to the historical comparisons from store to store, you can do a much better job of power shopping.
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Old 12-12-2009, 11:32 AM
 
6,455 posts, read 9,501,570 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post

What I find useful is looking at the various prices on an item in a price book and creating two numbers - a "this is a great buy" number, and a "if it is higher than this, don't buy it" number. Stores regularly change prices, so what might be a good buy at a store today might be a horrible price next month. By having those two numbers, in addition to the historical comparisons from store to store, you can do a much better job of power shopping.
This is exactly what I'm trying to accomplish. I need to learn to power shop so I can build up a "stocked" pantry of staples, then I can buy only when these items are at a good price, along with coupons, and not when I run out of these items. This way, I buy for the future, and not for my immediate needs (except for perishables, which take a serious bite out of my budget).
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Old 12-13-2009, 05:36 PM
RHB
 
1,096 posts, read 1,830,740 times
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I never ran with a book. When we move to a new place (hubby was in the service so we did it every 3 years) I'd ask around who what the best place to shop. I'd then hit all the local stores, did core shopping every week, until I got a feel for the best store for us. I would then do my shopping at the store that provided the best value for my families needs. Then I'd watch the flyers for any special deals, and go to the odd store for those deals.

Now, we are where we are going to be (hubby retired) I shop 2 stores, the one I work at, and the local IGA. Our IGA has great in store specials, and over all are not that much more expensive than the one I work at, and is cheaper than the other 2 chains. It's just not worth my time to get bread at one store, milk at another, vegs at a third etc...

Good job with the toothpaste! That's excatly what I do also, it does make it easier when you find those deals, to stock pile, then you can wait until you see a deal like that again.
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Old 12-13-2009, 06:10 PM
 
Location: Illinois
3,168 posts, read 4,153,023 times
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You have to really learn the Extra Care Program in order to take full advantage of it.

Watch your coupons in your local papers. Then, pay attention to the coupons CVS prints out on your receipt. Also, sign up on their website where you register your card, they will send you coupons and $$ off your purchase coupons via mail and email. Lastly, try to get your hands on the magazines and other coupons they have, usually located in the pharmacy area.

Usually, those coupon items ^^ will be the ones offering the good ECB deals. When you combine all those methods, you get a lot of items free or darn close to it. You then use your ECB to pay for the things you want or need. You can always donate the items you got free or search the net for alternative ways to use them!

Eta, Dollar Stores are your friend! I'm going tomorrow to stock up on hot wing sauce, lol!
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:29 PM
 
6,455 posts, read 9,501,570 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMichele View Post
You have to really learn the Extra Care Program in order to take full advantage of it.

Watch your coupons in your local papers. Then, pay attention to the coupons CVS prints out on your receipt. Also, sign up on their website where you register your card, they will send you coupons and $$ off your purchase coupons via mail and email. Lastly, try to get your hands on the magazines and other coupons they have, usually located in the pharmacy area.

Usually, those coupon items ^^ will be the ones offering the good ECB deals. When you combine all those methods, you get a lot of items free or darn close to it. You then use your ECB to pay for the things you want or need. You can always donate the items you got free or search the net for alternative ways to use them!

Eta, Dollar Stores are your friend! I'm going tomorrow to stock up on hot wing sauce, lol!
Thanks for the extra info on the Extra Care program. I'll check them out!
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:42 PM
 
Location: where the moss is taking over the villages
2,178 posts, read 4,709,618 times
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I don't keep a price book although I've thought about it - seems too tedious for me & if I were to really try, I would just tape my receipts in a book... At one time I thought I would keep a price comparison book but that was too much work for me too.

However, I do check out different sources for staples. I discovered that at Rite Aid, I can get a gallon of milk (from Salem, not some out of state producer & the kind I like: hormone free) for $1.99! And a dozen eggs, the kind I like - veggie fed etc & also somewhat local or at least from WA - for $1.50!!!

Not to mention, if you're in the mood for drinking, Rite Aid has the best deals on beer & wine.

Dairy Mart has a good deal on milk too, but not as good as Rite Aid's, which is almost 50 cents better.

Market of Choice is NOT Price Chopper in the PNW, so I try not to get anything except fresh vegetables there, although time constrictions often compel me to do all my shopping there.

If I can't get to WalMart (which is NOT close to my house), then I try to get my frozen goods at Albertsons, which will always beat M/C prices.

I always keep my eyes open at all grocery stores for the tomato sales, since those prices always fluctuate (at least here) from $3.99/lb even for Romas to $1.99/lb. On a blue moon, I can get tomatoes for a buck or 99 cents a pound. I don't know about you guys, but our tomatoes are hardly ever really red here!!! And they don't seem to "keep" very long... even in the fridge.
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