Monday, February 2, 2009


Ok I have your attention. I honestly can't take credit for this, I have read about the concept in several books and any financial person worth their salt should recommend this to folks.

Saving money on food is usually painful, involves coupons, or driving to several stores to find the best deal. Realistically do you even know what the best deal is? There is a sure fire way to have that information at your fingertips anytime you want if for items you commonly purchase...

Enter the PRICEBOOK...

My wife and I started a pricebook several years ago and can in a matter of seconds tell you what the best price we ever paid on any given item was. The pricebook involves a little work in the beginning and ongoing maintanance everytime you go shopping but it is SOOOO worth the effort.

My wife and I created a spreadsheet but you could also do it in a notebook if you wanted. The most important things to include are the item name, where you bought it, the size, and the price (you can add more columns if you is the limit). If you have those four columns at a minimum that is a good start. List things in a way that is comfortable for you whether that is strictly alphabetical or by categories.


Bread: Rolls
Vegetables: Zuchini, Potato
Dairy: Milk
Poultry: Chicken

Ours looks like this and is alphabetical:
ITEM                        STORE               SIZE              PRICE
Beef, Ground              Walmart             Per Pound      $1.99
Chicken, Split Breast    Food Lion           Per Pound      79 cents

Your pricebook will take shape after about six weeks of shopping. Every week, take your receipts and update or add items as required, keeping only the lowest price you paid for that item. So if I was able to get split breasts for 69 cents I would overwrite 79 cents in my pricebook.

Keep in mind the prices are reference, if you got a great deal for split breasts at 49 cents per pound, that may only come around once in a blue don't kill yourself trying to get the lowest price you EVER paid for an item. The purpose of a price book is to keep you informed and tell you if you are getting: a great deal, paying the going rate, or getting ripped off. We actually have a column called "lowest price" and another called "typical price" to help us keep things in perspective.

My wife and I don't go shopping without price book in hand and I can safely say we are FAR more educated than we were before we started using it with regard to what we pay for food. We have also saved a lot of money as well realizing when stores are offering loss leaders on certain items and gouging you on others to make up for it.

Start a pricebook today and save TONS of money.

...that is all.

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  1. Absolutely true, if one does not know the prices on specific items across several different commercial outlets one will lose money while purchasing supplies.

    Some stores offer better deals by weight, and often times they are the stores one would not think to shop at, a price notebook helps tremendously.

  2. Great idea.

    I do all the shopping for our household and I'm going to give this a try over the next several weeks.

    It could also help to determine some seasonality (i.e. apples are cheaper in the fall than summer, pumpkins and turkeys go on sale in October/November, etc.)

    Great post!