One thing that I get asked a lot when I’m shopping (besides, “Where’d you get all those coupons!”) is, “What’s that’s little book?” The Answer: It’s my price book! It’s a little spiral bound notebook, like this one.
It is a perfect tool for tracking price per ounce, which will help you determine the best price. Prices in a price book should be listed by cost per unit so you can easily compare different size packages from different stores. Your price book is a great tool to help you determine if a sale is really a deal.
Your price book can be as complex or as easy as you want it to be. You can calculate price per unit, or just list the regular price of each item at each of the stores you visit in your area.
If you have an iPhone or other smartphone, there are several apps available for purchase that take the guess work out if it. If you are computer savvy, you can do a price book in Excel and print a copy when you go to shop. There are several available for download free on the Internet. Google search “Excel Price Book download”.
Your price book can be as simple or as complex and you want it to be. If you are new to the concept of prices books, you may wish to add as much detail as possible, to track your savings to the penny.
Basic information for every price book should include:
- Date (you can date the top of each page or note it somewhere within the columns)
- The brand– i.e. Hunt’s
- The item– i.e. stewed tomatoes
- Size -in ounces or pounds, however the item is listed on the container (i.e. 14.5oz, 2 lbs.)
- Price- for the entire package. i.e. $1.89
Name of store– This is helpful if you are trying to find the cheapest price for an item within a range of stores. Is deodorant really cheaper at the grocery store, Target or CVS in your area? Start price book and find out!
Because of my price book, I know the cheapest place to get bananas is 99 Cents Only: .49/lb all the time! We eat about 2-3 lbs of bananas per week. Most grocery stores charge .69-.79/lb for bananas. By buying the least expensive bananas each week I am saving approximately $30.00/year. That’s just on one item we shop for each week!
- Sale price (if any)
- Date of sale (if any)
Listing sale information may assist you in tracking when sales occur, and plan your shopping trips throughout the year. Knowing when to stock up on specific items may save you a couple hundred dollars a year.
Your price book will help you determine if that 50-gallon drum of yogurt at Costco is a better deal than the 32-ounce tub from the supermarket. Not all bulk purchases are a better deal.
I have a sheet in my price book for each store that I shop at. One page is for food items, and the second is for HBA/toiletries. I tend not to buy toiletries at Costco, as they are generally NOT a good deal.
My grocery stores include: Albertsons, Costco (so I can determine what is a good deal), 99 Cents Only, Wal-Mart, and Target.
I update my price books once a quarter. When it’s time to update, I take a little extra time when I visit each store and just double check prices and sizes. Sometimes the size of the product changes too.
Here are some websites that talk about price books and give examples:
- Organized Home ( I use sheets from this website for the Price Book I keep in my family binder. I use them as a “master list”)
- No Credit Needed
- Suite 101
- Cheap Cooking (this one has a template in Excel!)
- Grocery Price Comparison (specifically for those in Ohio- but it may be helpful for others in the US)