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Amanda 02-09-2002 06:52 PM

Using a price book
Can anyone explain how you use a price book? It's basically comparison shopping right?

kimmyo 02-09-2002 08:03 PM

This is the information I was given on another site. I haven't ever used it but I know alot of people swear by them including the famous AmyD herself. I believe there is an article in the Tightwad Gazette about it too!

The Price Book

One 3 ring binder
Loose-leaf paper
Some time to do this

Start by listing all of the groceries you buy on a sheet (or two or three) of paper. Don't list things you occasionally buy, list things you always buy, especially staples, such as bread, milk, eggs, flour, etc.
Next, take a whole bunch of paper, and label the top right hand corner of each sheet with the name of one item you buy. The reason it is on the right hand side is for quick reference.
Now put the following headings on each page as follows:

Date Store Item Size Price Unit Price Sale

Arrange each page in alphabetical order for easy reference. If you have too many pages, you can arrange them by food group, but I prefer alphabetically.

To use: each time you shop, save your receipts and then enter the prices of the items you buy. You may also want to copy prices out of store ads and add "normal" off sale prices for reference. Make sure to note the date and whether the item was on sale (I just make a star in this column). Even if it is a pain, always calculate the unit price! This is very important, since groceries can be packaged in a dizzying array of sizes. The unit price is the only way you can measure them all up and see what is really a value, and what is just a trick.

Remember: How often you use your price book is up to you. It is a valuable tool for tracking sales and making sure you got a good deal. I have found that I have learned the "best prices" for most items I buy, and I note them at the top of the each page. That way, if I forget, I have a quick reference.

Have fun and happy shopping!

elg71 02-10-2002 11:46 AM

I use a price book
I did my price book through Microsoft Excel. My columns included:

Items-then under items I list them like this (Ice Cream (Breyers 1/2gal.)) Catagorizing the items like this lets me know all the specifics to compare with fliers and coupons.

Then Store-listing all the stores I shop at (Food Lion, Winn Dixie, Kroger)
Under each store I list the price for each item.
This lets me know who has the best price, therefore where will my coupon save me the most and if I get a flier I know if I'm really getting a deal. Also, I can tell what I'm going to spend before I ever leave the house.

It is time consuming setting up a price book for the first time, but once you have it started you can add all new items from your receipts within just a few minutes to maintain it.

I use microsoft excel because with a push of a button I can alphabetize my entire list after adding new entries to the bottom. This makes it easier to find the items when shopping day rolls around. Then I print the list. I don't usually, but I can take my list with me to the store to see if their so called deals are really deals (this helps when I don't receive a flier to view at home).

Oh yea, when I make a grocery list I write the price I know the product to be plus my coupon discount (if applicable) and when I'm at the store I can tell at a glance if I will save more getting a different brand. This saves me time a the grocery store.

I hope this makes sense and saves other 'frugals' money and time on shopping day:)

kimmyo 02-10-2002 01:31 PM

Wow that looks like a good idea! I have just been too lazy to set up a price book myself! I really need to do it though, because I'm sure it would save me some money.:)

Amanda 02-10-2002 03:54 PM

Thank you Beth and kimmyo! Actually after kimmyo posted the first thing that popped into my head was Excel hee hee! So glad to hear it works well for you in there BEth, I'll be following your lead!

If anyone else has ideas or tips I'm open!

cmaris 02-15-2002 01:10 PM

Using a Price Book
Hi there:

I've just recently started using a price book, too. I wasn't sure if it would really be worth my while at the beginning, but it didn't take long for me to become a convert. WOW does it make a difference.

All the responses to your question have been good, but here's something I haven't seen yet.

I shop at several different stores -- because of price, and because of inventory -- and I have a hard time keeping track of the store coupons they give you at the register. I've devised a system that's made it possible for me to use these coupons more efficiently. (It actually works for any kind of coupon, but I find it's especially helpful for the store coupons.)

My price book is a half-size 3-ring notebook. In the very front I have all my shopping lists, one for each store. I've made up a bunch of small Post-It notes that say "ALBERTSON'S COUPON" and "PETSMART COUPON" -- five or six for each store where I shop -- and I've stuck them on the inside cover of the price book.

When I get a store coupon for a product I use, I take one of the reminder notes for that store and stick it on the price page for that item. For example, if I get a store coupon from PetsMart for cat food, when I get home, I'll put a "PETSMART COUPON" note on the "cat food" page. I always bring my price book with me when I go shopping, so this means that the next time I'm in PetSmart shopping for cat food, I'll see that reminder note on the "cat food" page, and know that it's worth my while to buy it here and now. (I've recently made up some notes that just say COUPON for the generic ones -- another good reminder!)

Many of the store coupons have expiration dates, and I missed a lot of them because I buried the coupon somewhere. This system has helped me to maximize the savings on those coupons, and it's worked really well. I have a plastic pouch in my price book for all my coupons, and I don't have to go shuffling through them before I go shopping -- all the reminder notes are on the product price pages.

I absolutely LOVE my price book -- it's saved me a TON of money. It takes some getting used to, and you have to be really good about putting prices in there, but once you get used to using it, you know immediately when something is a REAL bargain and when the store is just using advertising tactics to get you to buy something. It also helps me to make out my individual store shopping lists, because after awhile you figure out that Store A always has better prices on paper products, while Store B has great buys on meat. So you're always getting the right product at the right store.

Good luck with your price book!


squigglyml 02-18-2002 08:03 AM

Using my price book
I use the price book that was explained by Kimmyo and it has worked out great. What I did though was combine it with my coupons in the different sections. I have a 3 ring binder that zippers closed. I made tabs for each section of coupons and inserted the price sheets behind my coupons so everything is organized and with me when I shop. I prepare a shopping list before shopping using the sale circulars and compare it to my price sheets to determine whether a sale price is really a good price. Then when shop, I take my price sheets/coupon book, grocery list and circulars with me to the store. Carrying the price book with me also allows me to compare brand to brand for price differences. When you find a store with super double coupons or some other special in-store promotion, you can quickly check to see the best price and whether you've got a coupon for it!

It took a long to set up my book but it works great and I highly recommend spending the time to create one.

If anyone has any specific questions I'd be happy to answer them!

Mary Lynn^^

smiley 02-18-2002 10:13 AM

I use a pricesheet created in Microsoft Word to track best prices as well. I have a MONTH column so I can keep track of which month I got my best prices on each item. That way, if I'm running low on something and I see I got my best price during the upcoming month, I'll wait until then to purchase in bulk for the upcoming year. My friends are amazed at how little I spend to feed my family. About $160/mo for family of four.


AmandaTheMom 02-19-2002 10:54 AM

Smiley, How In The World Do You Do That?
How do you possibly spend so little to feed your family? I thought I was doing pretty good, but I spend twice that much. Can you give me any other tips? My e-mail address is [email protected] if you can contact me. Thanks a lot in advance. :confused:

Renee 03-11-2002 04:43 PM

I just started using a price book the first of the year. It has taken some time, but I am seeing results.;-)

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