I’m sure I do not need to tell anyone about how expensive it is to feed a family these days. It’s insane! Add in a big family or eating organic, and it can be more than your mortgage payment. So how do you save?
I have had many people ask how we afford to feed our family of six in general but, also how we afford mostly organic foods. The truth is, it’s a lot and our bill is high. However, I have found a great way to save hundreds of dollars outside of the normal coupons, sales, and buying in bulk.
I really started treating my grocery shopping like an analysis at work. I am sure that you notice prices for some items are less expensive at certain stores. If you are like me, you have asked yourself does it make sense for me to shop at multiple stores. Well, I put that thought to the test last year and started comparing. My answer is yes, and here is how I got there.
How to Compare Grocery Store Prices
First, you want to start out by listing the products that you buy most often, are more expensive, and you buy the most of. I mean, you could do an analysis on everything, but it will take a serious time investment if you buy as many items as we do. The items you list are going to become the products you use in your analysis.
TIP: Don’t use items that you know are specific to one store or that you would only buy from one place.
After you have your list of items, you are ready to plug them into my really neat printable template or you can create your own.
Filling Out the Template
I currently use three grocery stores for my comparison. When I started, I used five but now I have thrown two out because they are nowhere near affordable. I would start by using those stores that you shop at most regularly and you have easy access to their pricing. I will say, I have walked around a bulk store and taken a quick picture of the item and price so that I can update my template when I get home.
The brand column is really for things that you only buy a specific brand of. Like most people stick to a certain toilet paper or snack item. When you compare the price on those items you don’t want to compare a brand to a store brand from a different place or it will not be accurate. Gotta be apples to apples, literally.
Now that you have your stores, your brands, and your products, you can start to fill in your pricing. Most of it can be filled out at home using the store’s app or online. Once I start looking at items and pricing, I kind of figure out what size I am going to use for the analysis. For items like cereal or rice I use ounces but, for items like toilet paper, I use 1 roll.
To get to a price per ounce, you just take your price and divide it by the number of ounces in the pack. Below is an example of calculating cereal at $.26 per ounce.
Tip: Sometimes the prices in the store are lower or different than the prices in the app or online. So, make sure you check when you go to the store.
Once the template is complete, you can circle or highlight the store that has the best price on each item.
Here is a visual of my template with key items that I found major savings on:
Lastly, I have taken this a step further to calculate my monthly savings based on how much of each item we buy. Going to multiple stores, saves us over $150 per month! That is much more than the gas cost it takes to get there.
I really hope that this post and template will help you save money on your grocery bill too!
-Kristy M., Mommy to Many