Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Grocery essentials: Do you have a "buy" price?

Do you pay attention to the price per unit when shopping for groceries? Do you have a price book or list that you keep with you to track your "buy" prices? The price you are willing to purchase a product at because you know it is at it's lowest price. I am always intrigued when I occasionally see someone in a grocery store with a binder that looks like a price book. I am usually overwhelmed with my coupon organizer, shopping list and 2 restless kids to consider toting an additional book.

There is only one item that I diligently track the per unit price of and that is diapers. I still have one child in diapers and we have gone the disposable route. I did cloth diapers when both of my girls were infants. I was given a set of infant cloth diapers as a gift, but when they outgrew the cloth I switched to disposable.

To save myself time and money, I have found that buying Luvs diapers at BJ's (a warehouse club) has been the cheapest for me. I tried BJ's brand diapers and I did not like them. I liked the price, but did not like the diaper. They smelled terribly of plastic and they bunched up. So I stick with Luvs, because they are cheaper than Pampers or Huggies and BJ's usually offers a $5.00 coupon off of a box. That brings the price down to $24.99 a box and my baby wears size 4. With 180 diapers in a size 4 box that makes the price per unit of .139 per diaper. I use that price as my gauge and if I find them cheaper elsewhere I will buy, but BJ's is where I usually shop for diapers. That box will last me a little over a month.

I was thrilled when I read at Common Sense with Money about a Huggies diaper deal at Rite-Aid. I followed her instructions and I bought 5 packages of Huggies for a total of 150 diapers and a price of $57.45. I used 5/$1.50 Huggies coupons. I made 2 separate purchases and used a $5/$25 purchase coupon on each purchase. That brought my out-of-pocket expense to $39.95, but through Rite-Aid's Single Check Rebate program, I earned a $25 gift card for Rite-Aid and a FREE voucher for a package of Huggies diapers.

My final per-unit price will be .08 per diaper. I was thrilled.

Outside of diapers, I don't really track the per unit price of other grocery items. When shopping, I will look at the best price per unit on the items that I need on that particular trip, but I don't keep a price book. There are other items where I think a price book would be helpful, like coffee, toilet paper, chicken, turkey or cereal, to name just a few. These are constantly on my shopping list, so figuring out a "buy" price would help me know when I find a sale if it is a good time to stock up.

I have been working hard trying to reduce our grocery expense. Instead of a binder or book, I am going to write my "buy" price for our main grocery staples or essentials on a 3 X 5 card and keep it in my coupon file. I won't feel so overwhelmed and I think it will help me save some money by knowing when to stock up.

Do you track the price per unit when buying your groceries? Do you have a price book to manage your "buy" prices?

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1 comment:

  1. I track a fair amount of prices 3 of my most common are: $1/lb for pasta, $3.00/lb for cheese, and less than $2.00/lb for boneless skinless chicken. I can usually get boneless chicken for $1.90/lb somewhere and I get really excited when it goes under $1.80/lb. Oh, and I have a 2 year old in diapers, so I have a price for that: .15 a diaper, but he's about to move to size 4s, so my price will have to move up. :(


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