Digital Grocery Price Book Solutions, Apps and Tips
by Reader Contributors
A grocery price book is a savvy money-saving tool for the frugal shopper’s arsenal, but can be a time-consuming, old school tool if you still use a notebook and pen. We asked frugal tech-savvy readers to share their favorite digital price book solutions.
Dear Dollar Stretcher,
Can anyone recommend a good grocery price book app? Or have you come up with an easy way to maintain a price book digitally on a smart phone? I am looking for something that will let me enter items and prices, not just provide me with current sale prices at various stores (although that would be a helpful feature). I used to keep a handwritten price book that I would keep track of when sale prices truly were a best buy but I was never so great at keeping up with it. Plus, it was one more thing to remember to carry to the grocery store. I figured it is silly that I am not trying to track grocery prices on my phone somehow. I appreciate any suggestions!
A Photo Price Book Solution
While I’m in a store, I take photos on my phone of the item I’m interested in and its price tag on the shelf. By doing this, I have a record handy to compare while at other stores. I don’t buy a huge variety of items, so it’s simple enough for me to do this from store to store. If you want, take a photo of the front of the store to keep from forgetting and then go inside and photo the items on the shelves. You’re probably only comparing at three or so different stores anyway.
I started doing this by taking photos of sunscreens that are local to me and then going home to look them up on the Internet to see if I could find better pricing. I also used this opportunity to look up ingredients and read reviews.
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Price Book App in Apple Store
The digital price book that I found in the Apple Store that I am currently using is called MyRBPrices.
Two Price Book Apps to Consider
I use IntelliList. It tracks prices, even same store prices, by making one an older price and one current, so you can see a lower sale price and the usual price paid. Also I made my favorite recipes into “stores” and then copied ingredients I needed to my default store list. This works very well. The creator is very responsive.
However, I’m trying out MealBoard right now. It is difficult because there are instructions for some of its functions, but not all, and it is not as flexible as the price book as IntelliList. It has an extra feature of semi-automatically keeping track of items you already have on hand. I also use it to track leftovers, but that I have to do manually so far.
Make a Spreadsheet with Google
I use Google Sheets (spreadsheet), or you can use Google Docs (word processor). I use Sheets because I can put the item price in one column, the unit amount in the next column and the third column can have a formula to calculate the item price per unit.
The advantage of Google is that it automatically saves and stores documents on Google Drive. I can edit them on any device (computer, smartphone, or tablet) and the documents will always be synced. Also, I can make them available offline, so I don’t need Wi-Fi or cell phone data (they’ll automatically sync when I reconnect to Wi-Fi). Google has apps for phone/tablet that can be installed.
Each item that I want to compare has its own section in the spreadsheet, and the store names are under it on a separate line.
For example, take vitamin tablets. Let’s say the price for 365 tablets is 12.95. Column 1 would have the store name, Column 2 would have the item price (12.95), column three would have the amount (365) and column 4 would have the formula (Column 2 divided by column 3 times 100). This would give the price per 100 tablets.
If the price changes, I only need to change the price and it automatically recalculates the unit price.
Reviewed April 2020
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