Price Books, New Products & This Week’s Meal Plan

Have you guys ever heard of a price book when it comes to saving money at the grocery store? Me either until the other day.

build the best price book

I read an article in ALL YOU (September 2013) called “Build the Best Price Book,” which explains how to create a price book and then use it to get the best deals on your groceries. Basically, it’s a book that helps you keep track of food costs so you can shop smart and cut down on your grocery bills.

To get started, the article suggests keeping track of the 10-20 items you buy most frequently and then recording their prices (in a book) for a full three months. (The article recommends starting with one store, but you can do this tracking with multiple stores for some serious savings.) Over the course of that time, you’ll notice sales trends, so you can identify your “buy price” for each item. That way, when you see your “buy price” on a particular item, you can stock up and never pay full price for it. Kind of neat, right?

I really love this idea, but it sort of seems like a lot of work, right? Well, maybe it wouldn’t be too bad if I only picked 10 items or so? I can usually spot a good deal at the grocery store when I see it, but I don’t always remember or pay attention from week to week. I actually think a price book would be really useful across multiple stores, but then you’re driving all over creation to get the best deals. I dunno. I’m on the fence about making one. Has anyone ever used a price book? Is it worth the time and effort?

Anyway, here’s this week’s grocery shopping””it was a big one since we had hardly any food in the house.

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A few highlights:

  • Silk Iced Vanilla Latte – I finally found it at Stop & Shop! I tried it back in June when I was in Colorado for a blogger trip with Silk, but I haven’t been able to find it since. It’s definitely delicious, but really sweet, so I mix it with a little bit of iced coffee to mellow it out. It’s so good! Mmm!
  • Raw Coconut Vinegar – Say what?! Exactly. This stuff was on sale at Stop & Shop, so I decided to give it a try. I haven’t used it yet, but I think it’ll make a delicious salad dressing or marinade. And, according to its packaging, raw coconut vinegar is more nutritious than apple cider vinegar!
  • Sriracha – I know I’m probably the last person on earth to give sriracha a try, but after seeing it on lots of blogs and hearing friends rave about it, I finally decided to buy my first bottle. The recipe I posted the other day for Hoisin Heisenbergers actually calls for it, so it was definitely time to hop on the sriracha train. I’ve heard such good things, I am excited to try it!

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And here’s this week’s meal plan:

Questions of the Day

Have you ever used a price book? If so, is it worth the time and effort?

Have you ever tried sriracha? What’d you think?

P.S. I just discovered that Songza has a Breaking Bad option today. Mal and I are “Cooking with Walter White” right now. So cool. I can’t wait for tonight!!!

41 Comments

  1. I’ve never heard of or tried a price book before, but it sounds like it could be a great idea. I’m not a fan of spicy things, so it isn’t something I eat, but my husband is a huge fan of sriracha! He puts it on everything.

  2. I am super aware of grocery prices and sales. I also am a coupon clipper. I know the good deal prices for the few items we have that we could stock up on like my husbands cereal or veggie stock. I’ve never heard of a price book but feel like I’ve got one rolling in my head. I do go to too many grocery stores. They aren’t terribly out of my way and I get what I want this way without spending a zillion dolars so it works for me.

  3. I have never heard of a price book but sounds like a great idea! My husband seems to be able to remember the prices of the things we usually get but I never can. I feel bad when I end up buying stuff at a higher price than the price we can get somewhere else. We actually just started comparing the prices for some of the household items we buy regularly at the grocery store or walmart with the price on amazon, and when we sign up for subscribe and save we can get some really good deals.

  4. I love reading All You magazine and I saw the price book article and thought it would be a lot of work but am going to try it for a few items and see how it goes! I cut coupons too and use them as much as possible. From that current All You issue I started to incorporate 2-3 meatless meals during the week and I recommend trying the Chicken Pot Pie recipe!

  5. I’ve never heard of a price book, but don’t think it would require driving all over town to look at the prices. Would be easier just to look at the weekly ads online and make note of what’s on sale on a spreadsheet over a course of three months. Would be simple to identify the price trends in that format.

  6. In theory that price book is a great idea but in reality if I need something (like milk or yogurts or fruit or meat) whether I’m at Target or Walmart or the grocery store, I get it even if it’s not the cheapest! If you try it out let us know if it’s helpful!!
    -Sammy @ peaceandloveandicecream.blogspot.com

  7. I have been a price booker for a long time. It’s the only way I shop. I only buy things (other than produce and splurges) unless they are the best price. I also only shop fliers, meaning I only go to stores for specific items listed in the flier that week so that way I am not driving all over town. It also helps me use my coupons and lower our food bills even more!

  8. Years ago I had a price book. My sister and I decided to try it. I found it helpful, but, I didn’t keep it up. Maybe it’s because I listed everything I bought in it, and I was keeping receipts, logging prices in the book… I don’t know, it was a lot of work. I usually know when something is on sale or a good price and stock up. I don’t have the time anymore to run around to different stores, so, I keep it to about three places I routinely shop at which include Costco, a farm market, and a grocery store for whatever I can’t find at the first two.

  9. I like the idea of a price book– though I feel like I have a crazy obsession with making sure I’m getting the best deal on my staple items, even if it’s not much. Like for instance, I KNOW Market Basket has the best deal on Boston Butt roasts, Whole Foods has the best price on organic apples (after BJ’s but I prefer those at WF’s), Brussel sprouts and often, spaghetti squash. I, however, did just put in a large order at Lucky Vitamin for coconut aminos, nectar, Bragg’s ACV and Enjoy Life Chocolate chips because their prices beat WFs and Stop & Shop by far! (see, it’s kind of a sick obsession.) Also, love Sriracha and you bought the best one (people say TJ’s is good but I go with the kind you buy!)

  10. I think a price book would be great; however, I am terrible about using paper coupons or planning for my food costs (I’d love to improve…but I don’t have high hopes for it lol!). I love apps like SnipSnap and Ibotta though 🙂 Both have saved me a ton.

  11. LOL – I saw the Breaking Bad option on Songza tonight and laughed. I haven’t tried a price book – I’m just starting to get into meal planning, so price monitoring is WAY out of my league – I’m no where near organized enough for that… yet.

  12. Sriracha and pad thai! Perfect combination. Have you also tried the thai sweet and spicy chicken sauce? I’m not sure of the name but it’s also delicious. Sriracha goes well with soup noodles but use sparingly cause it gets a little salty.

    I haven’t heard of a price book too. But it does sound time-consuming.

  13. I love sriracha… it was all over the place when I lived in Asia! I found a recipe for sriracha salmon BLTs that I want to try. Bruggers Bagels by my house also has a Sriracha Bagel sandwich… but I try to stay away from bagels for the most part!

  14. The coconut vinegar is great and that company also makes a soy-free sauce out of coconut too that is delish.

    The price book thing is interesting and sounds like a good idea for a very large family where the savings might really pay off. Personally, I like convenience over price since I have such limited free time. I’d rather just pay a few cents extra for my food items, not worry about coupon clipping or running around to various stores or tracking prices and just be done with my shopping.

    Maybe you can do the price booking thing as an experiment and report back to all of us on whether or not you like it.

  15. I guess I kind of inadvertently created a price book! I save my grocery receipts so I can see how much things cost when I am making the next week’s meal plan. It definitely helps me keep tracks of our grocery budget! I refuse to drive to more than two stores for groceries each week. I just don’t have the time to visit more than that!

  16. Sriracha is the shizz, you are going to LOVE it. We eat it on everything Asian-inspired, but my favorite is mixing it with mayo and dipping sweet potato fries in it. I use a mix of smoked paprika, chili powder and garlic salt on my fries and the combo with Sriracha is crazy good. Enjoy!

  17. And not to be all weird and spammy, but I’ve created a HUGE price comparison list on my blog. There is a Google Doc and PDF version for easy access and I’ve listed tons of different items with Costco prices to compare per ounce/per pound. I try to update it at least once every six months. You can easily edit the list as well, as the items I have aren’t necessarily going to be what you use in your household.

    http://www.beautifulfrugallife.com/2011/01/pantryhousehold-stock-up-price-list/

    I don’t carry a price book when I shop, but I have been tracking prices for so long that I know probably the top 20-25 items we buy by heart. The one really nice thing about keeping a price book or list is that when you see an item you use all the time at a rock bottom price, you can stock-up knowing that the deal is legit. It can be a great tool!

  18. The next time you make sweet potato fries, make some dipping sauce to go with it. 1/2 cup mayo, juice of 1/2 lime, 1 garlic clove minced, and a few T of Sriracha in there. Start with one and taste from there. Our families favorite – including our kiddos (4&7).

  19. I enjoy reading your blog everyday Tina! I am entertained and I learn so much! Thanks for sharing your days with us! I have a question about snacks. I lost 90 lbs on Weight Watchers in 2012, I have kept it off by eating healthy, running (ran a marathon in Feb.) and working out! I am loving my new life! Anyway, I eat mostly clean now so I don’t truly count points. Do you snack regularly or just when hungry? I still worry about snacking because I’m hungry versus just snacking to be eating. BTW, I bought your book when I started getting healthy and I love it! Thanks!

  20. I consider myself an extremely conscious grocery shopper- I’m ALWAYS looking at the prices from week to week and know exactly where to go for the best deals. It saves me a lot of money and I love knowing where to go to get the lowest prices

  21. Oh I love love love Sriracha! Sooooo good! Price book sounds like way too much work for me. I would totally hire someone to do this for me though. Same with figuring out all my credit card and other frequent shopper/flyer points! Serious savings but not enough time!

  22. Everything looks yummy! For Stop and Shop being “non specialty grocery store” its pretty much the best! I love their natures promise organic selections. They don’t have some items i really like but its better then over paying… like Shaw’s. Shaw’s is the WORST out of all of them.

  23. We made a price book: just make a lil spreadsheet in Excel (so you can read it :o) with the items on the side and the stores across the top, print and fill it in with the regular prices as you walk around your stores. We use it for oils (olive, coconut, etc), flours (coconut, tapioca, etc), meats (which don’t really fluctuate), and froz foods (meats, veg, etc). It doesn’t work that well for fresh veg/fruits b/c the prices fluctuate, but if you eat local-seasonal, it does help you get an idea of what is a good deal. Good luck :o)

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