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January 15, 2011

Grocery Prices

You walk into your favorite grocery store.  Instantly your eyes are bombarded with colorful tags and signs:  50% off, Clearance, Managers Special, Limited Time Offer.  You walk past a table of Hot Sale items in order to get to the rest of the grocery store.  You came to the store with a small grocery list, but now you are wondering if maybe you should grab a few more items while they are on sale.

Then you ask the question, "What is a good price for this item?"

One of the first steps in saving money on groceries is figuring out prices.  An item might be on sale, but your job is to determine if that sale price is really a good deal. 

Grocery stores are out there to make money.  They know that they can sell more by putting items "On Sale" and positioning them so they are more visible.  Sometimes the sale actually is a good deal for the product, and sometimes it is just a few cents cheaper than the normal retail price.
So how do you know when it is a good deal?  Good Question!  Unfortunately, there is not just one answer.  Every person and situation is different.  How much you spend on an item and your stock up price for that item depends on how much of the product you use and how often you use the product.

For Example:  Daniel and I usually eat cereal once a week or less.  I usually try to purchase cereal for under $1.00 a box.  I stock up on cereal if I can get it for $0.50 a box or less.  This works for Daniel and I.  A mother with 4 children who eat cereal every morning would probably spend a little more on cereal because she has a greater need.

It takes a while to figure out "good prices" for items.  I recommend that you start by making a list of the top 10 items you buy most frequently.  Keep track of sales & store prices to determine the lowest price you can get those items at. 

Here is a list of the prices I look for on some of my top grocery items:

1 Gallon 1% Milk         - $1.68
1 Dozen Large Eggs     - $1.00
Sour Cream 16 oz.       - $1.00
Cottage Cheese 16 oz. - $1.00
Cheese                         - $2.00/lb
Meat                            - $2.00/lb
Cereal                          - $1.00/box
Lunch Meat                  - $2.00/lb
Apples                         - $.89/ lb
Granola Bars                - $.80/box
Pasta                            - $.50/lb

It is much easier to see past all of the colorful sale signs and mark down tags when you know what price to look for on the products you buy.

For more information about building a stockpile, see my Grocery Saving Secrets post.

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