By this time, you already know my secret.
I’m a nerd. About certain things, anyway. I’m a nerd about frugality and budgeting and finances, but hey I have a degree in Accounting so what do you expect?! Give me a break, it comes naturally.
I’m about to tell you another way I show my nerdiness. I made a price list.
Yep, that’s right. Like a sheet listing the different prices at each store. I realized a few months ago that while I loved shopping at Tops for deals, I was having a hard time determining what a “deal” really was. If something is BOGO, it automatically makes me think it’s a deal… but if the price is double what I could get it for somewhere else, it’s really not great savings. I hemmed and hawed over this for a few weeks, frustrated about the fact that I would buy something for a “great deal” and then never really know if it was one.
Enter Excel. (As with all of my nerdiness).
I took one free afternoon while Tyler slept, and headed to the grocery store, notebook in hand. I walked up and down all of the aisles and wrote down every price for things I usually buy. Okay, not every price… but a good chunk of them. I also wrote down the size so that I could know the price per unit. I went to three stores that day and completed this process. It took me a little while, but it really was only that one time, and now I have a great base in order to do my shopping!
Now, if I go to Tops and see that something is BOGO, I can pull out my list and see how much it is at Aldi and Walmart and if I really want to buy it. It also helps ahead of time when I’m making my list, because I can categorize things according to the store. I know I’m a nerd and that not everyone has time to do this, but it honestly didn’t take too long and was so worth it to me. A couple of tips:
- Don’t do this when you have your kids or husband present. Unless they’re particularly in to this kind of stuff, they are going to be bored and complainy and you are going to get mad and say “WHY DO I TRY TO DO NICE THINGS FOR THIS FAMILY” and it’s all a waste and you’ll tell me how terrible this idea is. Don’t do this. Try and squeeze in this time alone. All it takes is one afternoon.
- Continue to update slowly. If I’m at a store and happen to see something that I know is missing a price on my list, I’ll snap a quick picture of it on my phone in order to add later. No fuss, just quick and done and I’ll fix it on the list when I get a chance. Also, some of my prices on the list are my sale prices
- Realize that sometimes for convenience, it’s worth the extra cent. I’ve found that once I made my price list, I do almost all of my shopping at Aldi. Turns out the great deals I was getting other places weren’t as great as I thought they were. However, Aldi has limited hours compared to our 24-hour Walmart. Obviously, Walmart wins sometimes. Also if I have only one thing to get at one store and all the rest at another, it’s not worth making the trip for one item that’s a little cheaper.
- It does add up! I know that you might think it’s not worth the trip to a store like Aldi or Save-A-Lot that might not have everything you need, but think again. Doing this price list made me realize that some things are quite a bit cheaper at Aldi, and boy does it make a difference. For example, I can get cream cheese at Aldi for .99/block, whereas at Tops I can get it (on sale) for 1.50/block, and at Walmart 1.99/block. That means it’s double the price at Walmart. Once I started seeing this on my price list I realized it was ridiculous not to shop at Aldi. There was also a week where everyone was rejoicing over grapes being 1.99/lb at a couple grocery stores. Meanwhile I was buying them at Aldi for .99/lb, and they were great quality. A dollar here or there may not seem like a lot, but it is!
So there ya have it, folks. I know, some of you are thinking this is just crazy. But I like to pretend I’m organized now and then. 😉
This post is part of the series 31 Days of Getting My Crap Together!