Grocery Price Comparison Spreadsheet
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- August 8, 2009 Updated
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In the United States, the average household spends 12.8% of their income on food. And yet something like 16% of the food we buy gets thrown away. This means that most of us could save money on food in two ways. First, by knowing how much we’re going to spend and where we can find the best deals. And second, by knowing how much to buy so that we can lessen our waste.
So before heading out to the grocery store, it’s important to budget these things. And our grocery price comparison spreadsheet is designed to help you do just that. An easy to use Excel spreadsheet, it’s designed to help you calculate your food budget by first listing the groceries you need, and then helping you track prices from store to store. This way, you can track your food purchases over time - which can help you know what you’re wasting - and always know where to find the best deal on your food.
Over half (nearly 6%) of the average American’s food budget is on nonalcoholic beverages like coffee or tea, bottled water, juice, and sports drinks. On the typical American household grocery list, fresh fruits and canned and prepared foods are the next biggest chunks of the food budget.
At the same time, Americans spend something like $600 each year on cleaning supplies - things like laundry detergents, paper towels, and surface cleaners.
Purchasing those items in bulk and on sale, and getting the best deal possible, can help you reduce your total food costs. This cost comparison template is the perfect tool to help you fight back against rising food costs. It’s designed to help you compare grocery prices, streamline grocery budgeting and use good deals to your advantage.
The template includes three different worksheets.
- Cost Summary Worksheet - Enter in your grocery list and let this tool calculate where you’ll find the best price per unit.
- Grocery List Worksheet - Create your own personal pricing guide for the grocery items you purchase, at the stores you shop at.
- Setup Worksheet - Customize the template for your shopping experience. Enter in the stores you go to, the brands you buy, and the items you purchase.
When used together, these worksheets will help you track food prices. They also help you know where to get the best deal on the different ingredients you need to buy.
Grocery Price Comparison Spreadsheet Setup
Once you’ve downloaded the template, you can customize it for your grocery shopping list. The first step is to complete the initial setup process with the Setup Worksheet.
It looks like this:
Before you can use this spreadsheet to budget for groceries, you must input some data. That way it is an accurate cost calculator.
To start, think about the stores that you visit when shopping for groceries.
Grocery Store List
Once you have your list of stores ready, insert them into the worksheet. You do this in the “Store” section.
Replace the words “Mart 1” with the name of one grocery store from your list, and the words “Mart 2” with another. Let’s say you shop at three different stores:
- Discount grocery stores
- Trader Joe’s
You must add the name of each of those stores into your stores list.
Take a moment to look over the units in the unit section. Are there any other units of measurement you will need? Are there any you won’t use? You can add or remove items as needed.
This price list section will help you compare the price per unit, which is key when reducing grocery bills.
Now it’s time to customize your brands list. Which brands of items do you often buy?
If you prefer Scott toilet paper, you need to add Scott to the list. If you purchase Aldi vegetables, add Aldi to the list.
As you add entries, remember to include name brands like Nabisco, and generic brands like Market Pantry.
That way you can compare both prices in your comparison spreadsheet.
The category section can help you plan your grocery shopping trip. Several common food categories are already there. It’s a simple process to change these or add more. For instance, you might decide to add a “pantry staples” category. You may also decide to change the fruits category to read “fruits and vegetables” or “produce.”
In this section, you add all the different foods you are purchasing. You can also add toiletries like toilet paper or paper towels.
For maximum benefit, take time to add all the items you purchase on a regular basis. Make sure to include staple ingredients, like salt and pepper, that are sometimes easy to forget.
Next to each entry, select the category. The category column is a drop-down list. The items you can select are items that you added to the category section in the previous step. So, if you have a frozen foods category, you could select that. If you realize you need to add a new category, just click back over to that section and add it.
Take a few minutes to brainstorm the types of food you normally buy. Then add them to item name list.
Grocery Cost Table
Now, it’s time to move onto the grocery cost table worksheet. This worksheet helps you estimate the cost of your grocery list. It looks like this:
You may need to take a trip to the grocery store to gather data for this step. Or, you could use a recent receipt, or a shopping app.
The more data you enter, the more accurate your grocery budget will be. That means you want to price-check several different brands and sizes. If you buy ground beef in both one- and ten-pound containers, write down the costs of each.
Taking time to add everything now will make planning your shopping list simple in the future. You can look over your meal plan and add the ingredients you need to buy in the next worksheet.
The Item, Category, Brand, Unit, and Store columns all rely on the information from your Setup page. They have drop-down menus, so you can select the entries that you want. Here is what you will see:
Once you have this information, it’s time to add in the costs. Type in the quantity. If you are buying olive oil, it’s likely sold in ounces. A large bottle of olive oil could have 64 ounces. In this case, you would enter 64 in the Purchase Quantity column, and select ounces in the Units column.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are not sold by the pound like fresh produce, so you might purchase those items by the bag. If you were buying three bags, you can use three as the purchase quantity and bags as the unit.
If you don’t know the exact price of an item on your list, you can estimate the cost. By overestimating, you will make sure you have enough money in your grocery budget.
If you have a loyalty card to the store, and the price is different when you use it, enter the price you qualify for.
When you have the quantity and price entered, the template will automatically calculate the price per unit for you. This is an important number to compare when you’re trying to stick to your grocery budget and find ways to save money.
Remember, you can always come back and update these prices when they change.
Grocery Cost Summary
Now that you’ve entered all your data, it’s time to learn where to buy each item on your grocery list. This part of the template has two sections.
The first helps you find the lowest price of an item among all the stores. The second helps you see the grocery price list at a specific store. Here’s what this worksheet looks like:
Price Based on Lowest Price
You don’t want to scan through all the data you just entered each time you go shopping. That would take too long.
You need to get the data in an easy to use format. That’s where the final worksheet in the grocery price comparison spreadsheet comes in.
This is where you enter your current shopping list. It’s where you discover which store has the best buy for each item on your list.
Since it pulls the data from the other worksheets, this process won’t take you much time.
You use a drop-down menu to select one item on your list. The other information generates from your setup and grocery list worksheets.
As soon as you add an item to your grocery list, you can see:
- Which category it’s in,
- The brand name you should buy to save money,
- Which store has the best value on that brand, and
- How much the item costs.
At the bottom, you can see the total cost for the food you want to purchase.
Since this is all built on the data that you enter, you want to make sure you use accurate numbers. This is your customized shopping calculator, so take the time to enter the information correctly.
Price Based on Similar Store
The first table on this worksheet will get you the lowest price. But sometimes you don’t have time to drive from store to store searching for savings on groceries. When you’re in a hurry, this table is for you.
Using the grocery list of items that you entered in the first table, this template shows you the best deal at the store you select.
Pick the store from the drop-down menu. If you are shopping at Costco, pick that option. Then you will see which brand you should purchase at Costco to get the best value.
Whether you go to several stores or only one, you can use this grocery price comparison spreadsheet to save money. It is customizable so you can enter local grocery prices in your area and always know how much to budget for groceries.
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