Ottawa Grocery Price Book

I created and have been using my Ottawa Grocery Price Book on Google Docs for a couple months now. It lets me keep track of the prices at different grocery stores around Ottawa. I also opened it up to anyone in the world who wanted to write in prices from their receipts, so we could create a full crowdsourced spreadsheet of prices across Ottawa.

There hasn’t been much participation, but I haven’t pushed it much either, so I’m not too sad about that. I use it and enter my own info into it, and it’s been a great tool for me. However, I did get sad about something that appeared there when I looked last night. Someone had changed all the store headings at the top, replacing the Ottawa stores with names I’d never heard of!

Luckily I could tell that not much if any of the prices had been changed, and I could remember the four main stores that I’ve been shopping at, so I changed it back. And then promptly locked the document.

I realized that there could be malicious people out there who could mess the whole thing up for everyone; and the thing that bugged me most was that I actually USE my pricebook, and losing it would really suck for me!

I don’t think it was a malicious person who made the edits this time–probably someone living elsewhere who wanted to set up their own price book, and ended up saving their changes to the master copy instead of making a new copy for their own use–but even that kind of error could really mess things up for me.

So in the interests of preserving my handy tool, I’m changing how the price book works. I’ve made it viewable, but not editable. What this means is that you are free to check out the price book, and even cut & paste it as a basis to create your own, but only I can enter in items and prices.

However, if you still want to contribute to the Price Book, you are welcome to scan your receipt and email it to me at frugalurban at gmail dot com. Then I will add the prices in myself when I have a chance. Just make sure your credit card number or any other identifying information is blacked out or removed!

If anyone has any ideas of how to make the Price Book a little more constrained, but still openly editable (maybe locking some fields? Using a Wiki model??) please comment below! I still think it could be a great tool, but I don’t want to jeopardize my own Price Book! I need it too much 🙂


5 thoughts on “Ottawa Grocery Price Book

  1. Sorry I can’t be of much help here, I am a techinicalogically impaired 🙂

    It sounds like a great tool and there must be a way to track changes so you can who has edited what approve the changes. I know we do that at work with out Word docs, but I don’t know if there is such a feature for this type of program.

  2. The idea of a the spreadsheet sounds like a good idea. In my search to reduce my grocery bill ($500 for three people per month) I was looking for one for the Edmonton area but have never found one. It’s too bad it didn’t work out to be a communal thing.

  3. We have created a free grocery price book website that helps users track grocery unit prices paid by item and also shows which items have increased in unit price and units purchased.

    Among the features of the website are:

    1). A grocery list that shows the lowest unit price paid to facilitate comparison between the current store unit price and previous unit prices paid. Very helpful at the store!

    2). Analysis on spending trends to provide a list of grocery items where unit prices have increased and total units purchased have increased, among other areas. Helpful at home for figuring out where to cut costs and why the bill is increasing.

    3). Item detail and trend analysis for additional detail.

    We have our own price book on the site for all to see (which is in USD and English System Units). We do provide Metric System units for our Canadian users. We do not have any collaborative features currently, but the site does make keeping a price book much easier than a standard spreadsheet.

    The site is

    Please let us know what you think!

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