My mother had an expression too - some people wouldn't know a bargain if it got up and bit them in the butt--
Don't be that person.
Bargains can be deceiving. When buying durable goods, buy the best you can afford. Consider used if that makes sense.
Food can have a 75 percent difference in prices, depending on where and when you buy it, and if you have a coupon. Every community is different. Watching food hauls, tells me different parts of the country have circumstances that effect the prices on some things.
I can only address the PNW.
Tracking more than the few things that you use on a regular basis is fruitless. If you start out with something that isn't sustainable, you won't continue it for the duration, so, common sense had proven.
Tracking something that you buy once a year isn't going to help your bottom line much. Its the things that you buy all the time that will make a big difference.
Looking at the recipes you cook for dinner on a regular basis will give you the best clue. Our family likes a lot of Tex Mex and Italian. I use and stock
- Diced tomatoes
- Green beans
- Dehydrated potatoes
- Pasta sauce
I track meat prices and have a good fro for my buy prices.
Buying at the lowest possible price and buying enough to carry you through until the next sale, is important in the goal of paying 1/2 price for your food.
Paying 1/2 price is going to allow you to feed your family on eight dollars a day equivalent instead of the rice and beans 4.00 a day.