One area of saving money that I have been erratic about is keeping a grocery price book. Over the years I have had a few spreadsheets where I tried to track low prices. I didn’t really take the next step and use the information, however, because it was never on hand when I needed it. I know that my attention (obsession?) with having a surplus at the end of each week sometimes causes me to not buy enough of an item when it may be at its lowest price. This does make Mr. Saver crazy!
I wanted to see whether “there’s an App for that”, as they say, and found the .99 cent ValueTracker app for the iPhone.
The app allows you to enter the stores you shop at, and within each store’s database, you can record the price for items you buy. You can use the camera on the phone to take a picture of the item and it turns the item into an icon, which makes the app more visually pleasant to use. The app does not use bar code scans – you have to enter items manually.
The app maintains all the prices you enter over time for an item along with the date. After using the app for a while you would be able to see price trends. Is ketchup cheapest before the 4th of July? Is butter cheaper before Thanksgiving or before Christmas? What is the best price on peanut butter, and how often does it occur?
Mr. Saver will be happy that I noticed that our turkey sausage, which is usually $2.59 at one store, was on sale for $1.50 at a competing store this week. I recognized the good price because of ValueTracker and picked up a box since we have grocery money still available.
If you are already working a written budget and are looking to make your make your money work even harder, maintaining a grocery price book can be a wise move.
Are you currently using some system to keep track of the lowest prices throughout the year?