Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to make a price book to keep track of the best deals on real food in your area.
Whether you shop at Farmer’s Markets, online in bulk, or at a variety of grocery and health food stores, chances are there are ‘best deals’ out there on most of the items your family eats. You don’t want to forget where to find them!
Years ago when I kept a Flylady control journal, one of the parts in mine was a price book. It was a really helpful way to make sure I knew basic price points on the staples so I would know if a sale was a good deal or not, compared to best prices at other stores. I didn’t always even have to refer to the price book after I finished it, because I held a lot in my head.
Then food prices started skyrocketing and I had another baby (and started blogging), and that was the last time I kept a price book.
Farmer’s Market Confusion
I remember especially when I first was going regularly to the Farmer’s Market, I’d walk up and down the whole length of the market, checking all the prices and trying to remember the least expensive ones as well as make a mental list of all that I wanted to pick up that day.
By the time I was making purchases, there were so many numbers swimming in my head that invariably I’d be buying a vegetable and just grab another veggie at the same stand, then a few paces down I’d see that second “efficiency buy” for a dollar a pound less. Arg! Foiled by distractions in the stroller and too much information without writing it all down.
I don’t have a smart phone, but is there an app for that? Just think: a Farmer’s Market price book app could track farmer’s prices via GPS according to where their stall is, and I’ve always thought an app that determines best price at various local stores – people could input prices into a shared database like gas buddy – would be awesome. Is there anything like that?
My Price Book
Personally, my price book will be most important for bulk orders, to answer questions like, “What is the price of nuts per pound at Country Life, and is that sale at Meijer a better deal perhaps?”
This week, I’m bound and determined to finish the one I’ve started in a spreadsheet doc and make it work for me. My old one was on paper, which was my first mistake – too hard to update as the prices change.
I’ll save it on my computer, mostly, and find it quickly using my search function trick. I have the items on each row, and the columns at the top are labeled “size” first of all, where I’ll put “/pound” or “/ounce” or “/liter.” Then there are columns for the places I most commonly buy food: Country Life, Costco, Meijer, Aldi, other.
I think I might need a separate page for produce, just so I don’t get too many columns going once I add the market prices.
So far here’s my list:
- Black beans
- Navy Beans
- Black Eyed Peas
- Pinto beans
- Kidney beans
- Garbanzo beans
- Green Lentils
- Great Northern beans
- Sunflower seeds
- Flax seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Brown rice
- Basmati rice
- Sorghum flour
- Arrowroot starch
- Almond meal
- Baking powder
- Dried cherries
- Garlic powder
- Parsley, dried
- Peanut butter
- Olive oil
- Stevia powder
- GF pasta (rice)
- GF pasta (quinoa)
Turns out a price book list is also a good place to note the information you’ve learned about quality and sourcing. For example, some of the spices at Country Life are irradiated and others aren’t, but none of the spices are at my local health foods store, which has great bulk spice prices.
This week’s series will give me a head start in filling the prices in – I’m sharing “What Does a Real Foodie Buy at…?” all week long, with posts on my opinionated purchases at Costco, Aldi, Country Life, online, and Tropical Traditions. Get ready to chime in with your favorites!
If you don’t have access to a Farmer’s Market (or can’t get to your local one at the right time), you can order produce boxes from a number of online sources. If you’re in Michigan, Chicago, Kansas City, Colorado, or the Tri-State area, our new sponsor Door to Door Organics delivers right to your door. (Take $10 off your first order by clicking this link.)
Need More Baby Steps?
Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.
That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and made a printable checklist so you can track your progress.
Sign up to get the checklist and weekly challenges and teaching on key topics like meal planning, homemade foods that save the budget (and don’t take too much time), what to cut out of your pantry, and more.