So many of you asked about my "target price" card: a short list of grocery items and the prices at which I stock up on them.
Here's a perfect example of the pantry principle and price list in action. We have been scraping our last jar of sale-price mayo for a month now, waiting for the right price for a stock-up. We're a Hellman's family, but we also find Duke's to be nearly as good.
This week Hellman's went on sale for $2.50. Duke's was priced even lower, at $1.50 (my target price point). Each jar is good through May 2008, so I bought enough jars to last us until then.
Why buy ahead at this price?
For one, you'll never make a grocery run for mayonnaise! But the savings are not insignificant. Let's say your family uses one jar of mayo each month. For ease of calculation, that's 10 jars through the expiration date of May.
Regular price ($3) - Sale Price ($1.50) x 10 jars = $15 savings
But wait! Let's investigate a common excuse. Why not just buy generic, save just as much, and not store 10 jars?
Generic brand ($1.79) - Sale Price Name Brand ($1.50) x 10 jars = $2.90 savings over generic brand
You can get the brand you really want AND save $2.90, if you have room to store 10 jars. I might not give up a lot of pantry space for a five cent savings per item. Mayonnaise, on the other hand, is both shelf-stable and high dollar. $15 savings plus convenience makes it worth a pantry stock-up for my family.
UPDATED: No sooner had I posted this than Publix marked Hellman's mayonnaise buy-one-get-one-free at $2.23...that's $1.11 a jar! (Of course, I also noticed that the jar had suddenly become slimmer at 30 oz instead of 32!) I'm going to amend my target price card to $1.25 for Hellman's.
Thanks for sharing this insightful cost breakdown. I completely agree with you. There is such a satisfaction in gathering food for your family, at great prices, and then with it, preparing a great meal for them.
Keep up the hard work. It's so worth it! :)
Thanks for sharing this detailed explanation of how to stretch one's food budget.
This scenario is exactly why I have become a loyal Grocery-Gamer. My Hellmans is $1.30 this week down from $3.69 at our local Kroger (combo of store sale, newspaper coupon, and additional store combo deal). And that is just one of the many products I will stockpile this week. My Ragu pasta sauce, softsoap, and shampoo and conditioner will be absolutely free. We save so much in our grocery budget - despite our family growing from 5 to 6, and the addition of diapers and pricey goat's milk the past two years, we spend much less than we did before.
You do your pantry like I do. I look for deals on Coke products. I know Coke is not a food item, but it is the one thing both my husband and I love as a treat to ourselves. We do not eat a lot of sweets, we do not drink beer etc. We do like a tall glass of Coke with our burger on the weekend. I do not care at all for the store brand of soft drinks. I have tried them all. I do not care for Pepsi. Yes, there is a huge difference in taste. So it has to be COKE...the Real Thing...My target price is $1.00 for a 6 pack..same price as the store brand...I can get that price ever couple of months by watching for sales. I never pay more. I will do without before I pay for. Coke is NOT a nessary item, it is a 'treat' item...Your blog is wonderful. Thanks for sharing it. Roxie
I like your idea of a "target price" card, I think I'll add a "target price" list to my food section of my home management binder. Thanks for being such a wealth of good ideas!
I have been reading your blog everyday for the last month and I have to say you have great ideas and have really inspired me to do my job as the CEO of our household better. I love this idea I have never really thought about stocking for what you will need for a while and doing shoping in that way, I love it! I feel empty headed when it comes to money. keep the good ideas coming
Do you stock your pantry from your grocery budget or is there other money set aside for this? Are you still in the artificial scarcity mode? Will you limit your stocking up if stock up items come out of the regular grocery budget and you are still in artificial scarcity mode? This is a great price for mayo and I totally agree with stocking up at a target price my question comes up because it seems like I always find great stock up prices after I have spent most of the months budget. This is not a scarcity issue(real or artificial) for us and I'm not trying to be nosy. We follow the Dave Ramsey budgeting method and I'm constantly trying to tweak my method to spend less. Stocking up at a great price is something I'd like to do more often. Thanks-Melissa
Check your coupon stash. Duke's mayonnaise currently has ninety cent off coupons available. Our local grocery store has Dukes mayonnaise on a "2 for $3.00" special this week. The store also doubles coupons and lets you keep any extra cash this generates. I was able to get two large jars of Duke's mayonnaise for free with coupons and got back 60 cents to use on the rest of my shopping purchase. I am hunting for more of these coupons. I love a deal, but free with money back is as good as it gets. Miss Kris
I wish our grocery let you get money back! Their computer programs are too sophisticated for that and stop when you hit zero.
I did have Duke's coupons for two of the jars. Must find a source for more coupons soon!
This is great advice, Meredith! It is a wonderful reminder for stockpiling your grocery and health items. Thanks a bunch!
I'm with you on the stock up program... but my brand is Miracle Whip.. I just hate it when we run out between the sales and have to pay full price. LOL
We do keep some Duke's on hand for a cousin and nephew that love that best!
Another great thing about mayo in the pantry is you can use it as a substitute for eggs when baking a cake from scratch!
A target price card is such a wonderful idea! I have been working for months to figure out the best places/brands to shop for the best price, but I always am relying on my memory--which is not necessarily the best method! I will have to start working on one of these. Thanks for your constant thoughtfulness!
And good mayonnaise (i'm a hellman's girl at heart -- although we don't get Duke's here) is so sublime, that I also think it's worth the extra little bit, especially if you are saving so much on the special anyway.
Good shopping sense!
The other great thing about a stocked pantry is you always have a good selection of groceries on hand, which saves trips to the store, which keeps you from making impulse purchases! I love heading down to the pantry in a winter storm and not having to step outside for something I need! I have been reading your blog for a few months now and love it! Such great ideas, thank you:>)
Ha! When I first saw the title I thought that you had bought the mayo at Target. =)
Frugalmom, In your comment you mentioned substituting mayo for eggs in scratch cakes...but how much equals the other? I egg for 1/4 cup mayo? Does anyone remember? Thanks for the tip and thankyou Meredith for opening up this subject. I'd never heard of this brand..maybe it is a back East brand?? Or maybe I don't get out enough to see it :-)...Kraft Mayo here is 99c this week and I will be at the store as usual, to get some!!
Duke's mayo originated in South Carolina. Most folks around here will only buy Duke's brand.
Makes sense, Miriam. I first bought Duke's at Harris-Teeter, which is a Carolina chain.
The other regional mayonnaise I like is Blue Plate (from the deep south), but I haven't seen that here in TN.
It's almost worth buying Duke's over Hellman's just for the retro/Southern label : )
I have just been learning about the "pantry principle" and making a price book by reading the Tightwad Gazette. This post was right up my alley. It almost seems unnatural at first as I am used to buying what I need for the week, instead of buying whatever is at the lowest price point to stock the pantry. I am in the process of collecting prices for most of the things we buy weekly that way I can always be sure to pay the lowest price for all my goods! Thanks for sharing ;>)
One of my local chains has Hellmann's for $1.88 this week. I'll use the .50 coupons doubled and my final price will be .88 a jar. A **Great** stock up price for me!
Angie, that's awesome! I usually try to wait until Hellman's goes to $1.50 to stock up, but I must have been out of town this summer during that sale.
Never has our existing jar of mayo been scraped so clean!
I set up a price book that turned out to be more elaborate than I'd ever use realistically. I read your tip about using a simple card for prices in an earlier post. I'm going to start one now.
That was a good money-saving tip. We moved to Texas from NC, where Duke's was the only thing my family ever used. SO, on our last trip back "home" we bought 6 of the economy jars to last until our next trip back. This practice also guarantees me a trip back to NC twice a year. :-) But, I will definitely have to use my new coupon knowledge on something else.
Sorry I haven't come back to check this before now, maybe you won't even see this Anna, but it's 2 tbsp mayo per egg, my book says when a recipe calls for 2 eggs and you just have one you can substitute it that way. I have a couple recipes for Mayonnaise cakes that use mayo instead of oil and eggs.
Meredith, I really enjoy your blog, it is always so positive and uplifting.
Thanks for sharing such a great tip! I try and stock up with things that we use when I see them on sale, but I've never actually sat down and set a target price on the item - I will be doing that very soon! God bless! :)
Love your blog, will be visiting often. Just thought I would share some tidbit of info-go to this site for an excell sheet pricebook. This would be handy for those who have handheld devices like palms--I plan to check your card idea out--Do you have any suggestions for how you don't go overboard on the sales--I struggle with deciding to go over budget or not for a good deal.
I cant find your tips for "target price cards" could you post where it is-thanks
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