I've been working on a price book. Basically you get a notebook and you write down on the top of each page every item you purchase. Then you write the following columns: store bought at, when purchased, brand of the item, the total price you paid, the size of the item (ounces, pounds, gallons, etc), and price per unit.
And it's mind boggling. I usually check the ads for particular sale items. The front page and the back page being items that the store is selling below their purchase price. They do this to lure you in to buy other items. I was thinking that one particular store would stand out, but that's not true at all. Some stores have better deals on bread, milk, and meat. Other stores have better prices on yogurt and cheese. And I also use Walmart's ad match program to my advantage so I don't have to go to three stores at once. However, there are some items that are cheaper per unit price at other stores. Go figure. I still think my ad matching keeps my budget low. But maybe I'm dreaming.
Mary Ostyn, author of Family Feasts, is the one who gave me the idea to finally do this. She suggested stocking up on sale items and to rotate stores. Instead of planning what I purchase around meals, I need to start stocking up and planning meals around the food that I already have.
Granted she also suggests meal planning and how to stretch your meals. I already did a buy one get one free on pot roast. Froze one and used one. The used one was main course one night, turned into pulled-beef sandwiches another, and beef stew for our church's soup/bread pot luck.
I'm hoping that by both stretching out our meat consumption and by watching my purchases, I'll be able to cut our grocery bill down. As it is for our family of four (one of whom doesn't eat table food and the other who barely does), we spend 120 dollars per week. Now 75 dollars (which is what the book claims) is probably unrealistic because as many mentioned, she has her own veggie garden, cans her produce, doesn't buy that much milk, and owns a deep freezer. I live in a apartment in an unfriendly for growing things environment. Until we move, there is no way in Hades I could do that. But I also have a smaller family. So anythings possible.
My neighbor has a small deep freeze outdoors. I was eyeing it in front of Hubby (okay drooling over it). And Hubby said that because it was small that he would consider getting us one for our patio too. :D One can only dream.