Unearthing the Price Book


price book

Back in February I  told you that my husband gave me a copy of The Money Saving Mom’s Budget for Valentines day.

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 on line. Grocery shopping on line 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?

 This post is linked to Frugal Fridays at Life As Mom

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  1. I have a very bad system for this…it is called keeping all of my receipts in a pile and looking at them randomly. I don’t coupon, mainly because what I buy doesn’t usually have coupons, and it would cost more in gas for me to go to other grocery stores that are more accepting of coupons 🙂 I think I will have to try this price book though. I notice that during my monthly Sam’s club trip the prices tend to be different each time!

  2. Yes, I need to dust mine off, too. But most gluten-free things are not available in many places, and I know the produces prices off by heart…so it’s not like I’ll save any huge amount. But like you said, a little amount is good!

  3. I used to be so much better about this. It really does help to know your prices. Thanks so much for the reminder.

    I would love if you would share your post at my new link up, “Prudent Projects & Smart Solutions”. It’s a collection of money-saving and time-saving ideas.


  4. Thank you so much for a great idea! I actually featured your idea on my pinterest journey. I did link back to you too. Thanks again!!!


  1. […] explained in a former post that I am unearthing my price book. My goal is write down prices for just 5 items per week. At this snail pace, I hope to avoid being […]

  2. […] a price book : A price book will help you cut the cost of groceries even when you don’t live in double coupon […]

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