Daily Money Tip: Create a Price Book

Wanna save a lot of money and don’t know where to start? Want to get a better handle of what is a good price to pay for things? A price book is an invaluable tool for anybody wanting to cut down on grocery expenses or just wanting to make the most of their money. The purpose of the price book is not only to record prices but keep track of sales in order to be able to identify when you are getting a great deal instead of just an OK one. In the past I have relied on my own memory to keep track of sale prices for items I am more likely to stock up on, or just items that I feel have the most impact on my grocery budget.

Decide what’s worth looking into. When I decided to finally put together a price book, I chose to track prices of things that I usually stock up on, or things that I buy often and take a bite out of my budget. So for example, I have meat (ground beef, turkey and chicken breast), toiletries (diapers, wipes, toilet paper), household cleaning items (paper towels, cleaning pads, laundry detergent, dish washing liquid) and other items such as soda. These were the things in my budget that I thought were worth looking into.

Decide how you are going to keep track.  You can keep records on a handwritten notebook or a Excel Spreadsheet.  For every item you have chosen to track record: Date (of sale), store name, brand, product size, price and the unit price. I suggest you keep track of prices for every product and every brand you will consider using or are available to you. Then start recording prices of items at the stores  you shop regularly.

Pay attention to unit price.  I found that with things like paper towel, or toilet papers you have to find a common denominator to make comparisons effective. Manufacturers have found ways to confuse you with the way they market their products in different outlets. For example, toilet paper is sold as: mega, jumbo, big, double and regular rolls. So you need to bring it down to how much each sheet costs to be able to make a fair comparison.

Keep it Updated.  Once you have your book set up, keep it updated.  It is as simple as looking at the weekly sale circulars and you find a better sale, record it.  This will also help you identify the cycle for the sales at the stores near you.

A price book gives you facts and information that allows you to make better purchasing decisions.

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