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In chapter six Crystal Paine talks about making a price book to help you know when a good deal is a good deal. I have known about the power of the price book since I was first married almost 17 years ago and first read The Tightwad Gazzette series.
However, I have fallen in and out of using it over the years. I do well with it for a while, and then life gets busy and I forget to continually update it or to be on the look out for less expensive options for food we eat.
I then go back to shopping at stores I know are the least expensive overall, but I know I could be saving more comparing prices of items in each store.
For instance, last year when I unearthed the price book for a few months, to compare grocery store prices to Sam’s Club prices, I discovered I could save over $80 a year, just buying yeast at Sam’s over buying it at the cheapest price found at the 3 groceries stores I frequent on a weekly basis.
$80 may not seem much but if can repeat that savings with 12 other items it equals $960, and I know from times when I did keep a price book up that such yearly savings and more are possible.
Our family is boring, we eat the same foods over and over. We eat foods that are minimally processed and often organic. We also live in a town where there are few avenues for coupon queens. I do use coupons, but on a small scale.
All three of these factors make a price book a great way, and a major way, to save money on our groceries. It is time to dust off my price book again and reap the savings.
Here is a picture of the inside of my price book. I am just starting to get it re-organized. I use a small index sized binder similar to the ones found here.
I wanted alphabet tabs for my binder but could not find any. I ended up using what I had on hand which are colored labels that I just stuck onto the index cards and labeled with a letter in black sharpie.
Pictured is what an average page in my price book will look like. Since I am just starting it I didn’t have prices to show. At the top of each index card I write, size, store, price, unit price and then at the end I circle it with an S if the item was on sale price or a R if the item was regular priced.
What I love about this book is that it is compact and easily fits into my purse. Since it is a binder, it is also easy to add pages as needed.
In times past, I have sat down and spent 20 to 30 minutes each week logging in my book all that I purchased during that weeks trip. Then next trip back to the store I would compare all those dozens of items to prices listed at the other 2 stores I shop at. The whole process soon became overwhelming and I dropped the whole thing.
This time I am snail pacing it, and concentrating on just 5 items per week, that I will pick out before I leave on my shopping trip and write down the price of those 5 items in each of the 3 stores I shop in.
I also plan to bring the price book with me when an out of town adventure takes me past a Sam’s club or a Gordon Food Service and again just recording the price on 5 items per visit.
Later, I want to compare my in-store finds to those found online. Grocery shopping online is something I have never considered before but in chapter 7 of The Money Saving Mom’s budget, Paine, lists this as a money-saving option.
How about you? Have you ever heard of a price book? Do you use one? Do you keep it updated?
For a list of 52 different websites, apps, and stores our thrifty family uses to help us keep our expenses low, click here to visit our Thrifty Tools Resource Page.