With the prices rising daily at the grocery store and it seems every where else as well, our money goes down the drain quickly. Years ago I made a price book to guarantee that I spent the lowest price possible on my groceries. It was a blessing considering I was an at home mom trying to survive on just my husbands income. That one income was supposed to pay ALL of our bills and that meant I was the one making sure that those pennies stretched. Back then the prices didn’t seem to rise that much so my price book stayed pretty much the same and didn’t have many changes to it. Then all of a sudden the prices started to sky rocket and I just gave up with the darn book. I did however manage to keep prices in my head of the most used items that we used. I still do that to this day. But I have started to think that I might start up my book again. I now have started shopping at scratch and dent stores, dollar stores and discount stores more so I am feeling a need to keep some prices written down. Scratch and dent stores have awesome prices but sometimes I do question myself if they are rock bottom prices. This is where the price book would come in handy. I have to give credit to finding this idea from The Tightwad Gazette. The idea of knowing which prices are the best is handy when you want to stock up your pantry and/or buy in bulk. I tend to shop the most at Aldi, so I use their prices as my base. If I can get something at a lower price somewhere else, I will purchase however much I can afford or how many coupons I am allowed to use.
Since I know my base prices at Aldi for frozen broccoli and whole grain pasta I can read my store ads and compare those prices to my base prices. I noticed that my local Giant Eagle had Barilla pasta on sale for $1 a box and Cascadian Farms broccoli was on sale for $2.50 a bag. I had some coupons for both and I paid 50¢ each for the pasta and $1 each for the broccoli. They were both under the base price I would have paid at Aldi so I bought as much as I could with the coupons that I had. The tuna in the picture is on sale for $1.25 and I had coupons for $1 off when you buy two. I purchased 4 and stashed them in my pantry. This is one item that I have a hard time finding so when I see it on sale at Giant Eagle I try to stock up.
When I had a price book I made a page for each item. If I was buying tuna fish for example, I would put tuna fish at the top of the page. Then I would make a list going across the page; store initials, whether it is store brand or name brand, size of the item ie: 99¢/14oz., and the price per pound. I keep pages in alphabetical order so it is easy to flip the pages to find something. This can be daunting to make at first, but I have to say that once it is complete it is of tremendous help when shopping in unfamiliar stores. Try to keep the book in your car at all times that way you will always have it with you for those unexpected trips somewhere. I remember going to a flea market out of state once and I ended up at a store that had good prices, but I couldn’t remember what I was spending at home for certain items. This is one of those times where you need to keep that book handy. I like to keep my coupons with me at all times, when possible. I will make up another price book and keep it with my coupons, that way I will be able to maximize my savings even more this year.
Any little notebook will do for making a price book. I used to use a mini loose leaf binder but I can’t seem to find the pages for it anymore, so I will most likely resort to a small notebook. Shopping at more than one store is best on your budget, so keeping a price book will help you in remembering those prices.
If you are trying to keep your spending down this year, this is one idea that you really should look into. It will save you a lot of money in the long run. It doesn’t take that long to set a price book up, so go ahead and give it a try!