A price book is a time-tested powerful tool for saving money on groceries. With consistent use it can help you identify a product’s sale cycle and shifts in seasonal pricing so you can determine a “buy” price – the lower than regular price at which you will buy a product. It can help you calculate a product’s unit price so you can compare the actual cost of products with varying prices and sizes. And it can help you make a value decision based on increases in a product’s price and/or decreases in its size.
ValueTracker brings this money-saving tool to the iPhone and iPod touch. It makes it easy and convenient to maintain a price book and reap the savings. Simply create a list of stores where you shop and for each store create a list of products you frequently buy. Updating a product when either the price or size changes will build your Tracking list.
The Tracking list is the most powerful feature of ValueTracker. It is a chronological list of all the price and size data you record for a product. From this list you’ll be able to determine a store’s sale cycle for each product.
Let’s say you’ve been tracking and updating the cost of a 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes for several months. It has a regular price of $0.99 but a check of the Tracking list shows that about once a month it goes on sale and is at least $0.20 off. The sale price of $0.79 occurs most frequently so that establishes the maximum “buy” price.
Perhaps you buy eight cans a month. If you pay the full price six times and the “buy” price twice, you’ll spend approximately $90 a year on this product. But, if you only buy it when it’s on sale at the “buy” price or lower, and you buy enough to last until the next expected sale you’ll spend approximately $76 a year. That’s a savings of $14. Apply this buying strategy to ten products, twenty, thirty and the savings can become substantial.
It is often given advice to only buy fresh produce when it’s in season. But how do you determine what’s in season when the stores stock the same produce year round? The Tracking list will help you with that too.
For example, a five pound bag of grapefruit costs $3.99 in March. In April the price goes to $6.99. There’s the seasonal shift in pricing. The data you collect in the Tracking list can be your guide as to which produce you should be buying at which time of the year. No out-of-season buying means savings for you.
When comparing products of varying size and price you need to know the unit price for each product so you can determine which one has the actual lowest cost. This is done by dividing the price by the total number of units – a unit may be expressed by net weight, fluid ounces, count, etc. ValueTracker’s integrated Unit Pricing Comparison Calculator not only does the math for you but also let’s you do a side-by-side comparison of up to three products in portrait mode and up to four in landscape.
10 bags for $2.68 equals a unit price of $0.268 per bag
24 bags for $4.38 equals a unit price of $0.183 per bag
13 bags for $1.76 equals a unit price of $0.135 per bag
25 bags for $2.76 equals a unit price of $0.11 per bag
10 bags for $1.96 equals a unit price of $0.196 per bag
25 bags for $2.98 equals a unit price of $0.119 per bag
By calculating the unit prices it’s easy to see that Brand B with 25 bags has the lowest actual cost followed by Brand C with 25 bags and Brand B with 13 bags.
You’ll save money by choosing the product with the lowest unit price. This principle can be applied to every product you buy. But there’s a caveat to this: the product with the lowest unit price provides no savings if you don’t like it and need to buy a replacement for it. The savings will come from choosing the best product for you that has the lowest unit price.
Sale cycles, seasonal pricing, and unit pricing are the areas with the most tangible means of measuring savings. An intangible but no less important means of saving money comes from making value decisions.
Let’s say that a product you frequently buy has had its packaging redesigned. The price remains the same but the net weight has gone down. Is it still a good value? That’s a judgement call only you can make. Because of the Tracking list you’ll be more aware of the change than the average consumer and better able to decide if you’ll continuing buying the product or not.
Ways to Save on Groceries
Save money by knowing sale cycles, only buying in-season produce, and comparing unit pricing. ValueTracker, the grocery price book app for iPhone and iPod touch, makes it easy and convenient to do all three.
For more detailed information: ValueTracker
Find it on the App Store