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#58: Learn to Spot a Bargain: Keep a Price Book

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Step #58: Keep a Price Book



What exactly is a price book? It’s a tool used to track prices of things you commonly purchase (typically groceries - but this can extend to clothing or other things as well) at various stores and different times and places. No savvy shopper would be caught without one. If you’ve never considered keeping a price book before, here’s why you should: you’ll be arming yourself with the knowledge you need to make informed buying decisions – avoiding the confusing marketing tactics.

Before you begin, it helps to save your grocery receipts for a month or so. That way, you’re already in possession of the itemized records of exactly what my family had purchased when, where, and how much we paid. You can also grab the store circulars from recent weeks and record that data as well.

Method One: The Notebook
The traditional method, the notebook method, is often what people think of when they think of a price book. A spiral bound notebook small enough to keep in your purse For most people, it works best to label the top of each page alphabetically. Include canned tomatoes on your “T” page, cereal on your “C” page and so on. Record the date of your purchase, the price, as well as the unit size of each package so you can calculate the price per ounce. Start with the 25-50 items you always buy, then move on to things you occasionally buy (avoid recording items you rarely buy unless you really want to make this more of a project than it has to be).

Method Two: The Spreadsheet
If you possess computer skills, this could easily be the most efficient way for you to log your prices. I created my spreadsheet in a couple hours one afternoon. In the rows across, write the names of the stores where you shop most often. On the left column, write the name of the food items you purchase. In the squares where the store and the product intersect, write the price, the size of the item, and the date. What I like about this method is I can upload it to my phone and have the spreadsheet handy while I’m shopping.

After you keep your price book for awhile, your outlook on shopping begins to change. Sometimes you will realize that advertised sales aren’t necessarily all they’re cracked up to be, and sometimes they’re not bargains at all. You’ll be able to spot rock-bottom prices and add them to your stockpile without hesitation – knowing exactly how much to buy.
post #2 of 10
I have done this before, but then it seemed to be too much of a hassle to save $5 by going to 3 different stores - but I think that it may be time to do it again. I noticed some differences of around $2 on one item! YIKES! Definately need to get back to charting the prices! Now it looks like I may be able to save $10 or more on one shopping trip!!!
post #3 of 10
I have this and find it to be a great tool to finding the best deal!
post #4 of 10
I have been wanting to try this. I know it will take some time but I really feel it will be worth it. Especially when I go to Aldi's I really want to feel that I am getting the most for my dollar.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3lynns View Post

I have been wanting to try this. I know it will take some time but I really feel it will be worth it. Especially when I go to Aldi's I really want to feel that I am getting the most for my dollar.

I thought it would be too time consuming too, but to make it easy on myself I just saved receipts and then sat down one afternoon and started entering them in a spreadsheet. It didn't take long - maybe an hour. I don't have a ton on my list, just what we buy the most. I don't necessarily drive to two separate stores every week but it helps me know when to stock up when I do see a good buy.
post #6 of 10
I have started a price book in the past month, but before that - when I started shopping at 2 or 3 different stores, I went up and down the aisles at each store while I was doing my shopping trip and wrote down the regular prices/sizes for products I normally buy. Now I know where to buy things when they don't seem to be on sale anywhere. This was especially helpful when we started going to BJ's and to know what is good to buy there vs a local grocery store.
post #7 of 10
I started tracking things off my receipts (I also thought it would be a time consuming project). I only track what we normally buy so it is a little less work (when I get better at it I'll advance to more items )
post #8 of 10
I thought of doing this a while ago, but I never did. With the high grocery prices now, it may be time to start. I don't necessarily have a lot of extra time. DH and I are both in the military with a DD -3 y/o, 1 dog, 2 puppies and a cat, we have our hands full.

I guess I can try to stash an envelope in my car so that I can put the receipts in it right away so they don't get lost in the mix somewhere.
post #9 of 10
I don't know why I've never done this. I guess it seemed daunting. I'll give it a try!
post #10 of 10
Sounds good its been on my todo list as well as planning out meals so I buy just what I need.
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Mommysavers › Forums › What's New, What's Hot! › Forget the Joneses Project › Forget the Joneses Project 2008 › #58: Learn to Spot a Bargain: Keep a Price Book