By Catherine Martinez

Have you bought a dozen eggs recently? If so, you might have felt a little nauseous at the cash register. Egg prices increased by 49% in 2022 and will keep rising in 2023. This raises a question: With inflation, how can consumers tell if they’re getting a good deal at the grocery store?

I used to be a pro at knowing the price of each item on my grocery list—and that helped me plan my weekly meals and shopping trips strategically. But with costs constantly rising, I have no idea what a good price point is for basic items anymore.

There are still plenty of ways to save money at the grocery store, like smart shopping tips and weekly meal planning. But for the next few weeks, I’ve decided to go back to basics and take the Grocery Journal Challenge. My goal is to relearn my grocery store’s best prices and save my family some money. 

How the Challenge Works

The Grocery Journal Challenge is simple but effective. You can do it by shopping in stores or picking up online orders. Here’s how it works:

  • After shopping for groceries, examine your receipt and write down the name of each item along with its price. For produce and meat, make a note of the price per pound.
  • Write down any relevant notes, like whether you used a coupon or scored a special deal like a buy one, get one (BOGO). 
  • Don’t forget to write down the total amount you spent.
  • Repeat this process for six weeks. 
  • Each week, compare the items’ prices and note any changes. Take note of any patterns.
  • For each item, circle the best price you got in the whole six-week period. Make a list of your most common purchases at their best prices.

What You’ll Learn 

Over the six-week challenge, you’ll discover new things about your buying habits and your grocery store’s pricing cycles that will make you a better strategic shopper. Here are some of the things you should take away from the challenge:

  • You’ll know the best prices on items that are often on your grocery list, and you can take advantage of those. Now that you know what that best deal is, you can stock up on that item the next time it hits that low cost. Make room in the freezer!
  • You’ll be able to spot an advertised deal that’s not really a deal. Stores are great at making consumers feel like they’re getting a good deal when they’re not—so get ready to see through that marketing strategy!
  • You might notice items you’ve been buying that you don’t really need. Are those pre-packaged snacks worth the cost? Taking the time to write down everything you buy will help you shed purchases that you don’t need.
  • You might discover the best days of the week to shop at your store. I usually go to the grocery store on weekends, but that’s not usually the best time to get deals. When I did this challenge for the first time a few years ago, I noticed that Tuesdays were a great time to get sales on meat at my local store. 
  • Journaling may help you realize if you’re overbuying a particular item. By being conscious of every dollar you’re spending, you may be able to eliminate food waste. 

Grocery journaling is a commitment, but you will reap the rewards of your hard work through the knowledge you gain and the money you save. Are you ready to join me?