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Grocery Price Book - Save Hundreds A Year

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    Grocery Price Book - Save Hundreds A Year

    Before you can truly take advantage of grocery store sales and utilizing coupons, you need to know what price the items you purchase usually sell for. The problem is that most of us shop with general prices of goods in our heads, and not a concrete price that we have obtained from past experience. That's where creating a price book can save you hundreds of dollars.

    The problem is that what a grocery store says is a good price and what actually is a good price aren't always the same. When you walk into a store and see an item on sale for $2.99 that normally retails at $4.00, the automatic assumption is that it is a good deal. If you knew, however, that that same product is sometimes on sale for as low as $1.49, your perspective on the "good deal" would significantly change.

    The truth is that you're pretty much in the dark when the store gives you both the retail and sale price without you having another reference to compare those prices against. This is exactly what the store wants. When they put up a big "sale" sign, they want you to make the assumption that it's a good price. By creating a price book that has your own independent data, you can easily confirm that it is a good deal or that it isn't with a quick peak, and this will ensure that you are purchasing products at the best prices possible.

    A price book is basically a record of the best price you have paid for all the different grocery items you've purchased in the past. It's your history of what a good price is on each individual product and puts you in the driver's seat in finding bargains instead of relying on the store's word.

    Most people don't have a price book for the simple reason that they think it would be incredibly time consuming to create and upkeep. The truth is that it should take less than an hour to create and then a few minutes of your time to update each time you go grocery shopping. All you need is a small pocket notebook and a pencil. Keep them with your coupons so that you always have them at hand when you go to the store.

    To begin a price book, take a look at your last grocery receipt and write down the prices you paid for each of the products you bought. If you don't have that, just write down the items that you are going to purchase on your next trip to the grocery store in the notebook.

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    You probably want to divide the items into a few sections such as fruits & vegetables, meat, breads & cereal, etc. listing the appropriate products in the section where you can easily find it if you need to. Leave a few lines after each product so that you can cross out the price and add a lower one if you find a better deal in the future.

    Once you have the products listed, (you don't have to list everything all in one sitting -- just add more to the sections at the time you purchase something that wasn't in your price book before) the next step is to write down the best price for each item you have ever found. You can use your past grocery lists or the current grocery weekly advertisement flier for the first prices you enter, or just wait until you finish your next shopping run and then add in those prices.

    Many people imagine that searching your price book every week for each item will take a huge amount of time. What actually happens is that you'll rarely have to reference your price book. The act of writing down the prices will make them stick in your mind much more clearly so you will only need to reference it on occasion.

    With your price book in hand, your goal is to purchase products for less than you paid for them in the past. If the price is less, purchase the product, cross off the old "best price" and add your new "best price." If the items is a bit more money than your best price, you can make a judgement call on whether it's worth buying and you don't do anything to your price book. If it's a lot more, pass on that product that week.

    Another advantage to the price book for many is that it turns shopping into a kind of challenge. You have a goal (to buy the products you have always purchased for less than you have in the past) that you can use to rate how you did each week. Chances are that you won't win the game every week, but you will no longer have to rely on the word of the store that a sale items is really a bargain.

    Re: Save Hundreds Creating A Grocery Price Book

    I have a price book and I find it especially helpful deciding what is and isn't a bargain at Sam's and Costco. I also carry a small calculator with me so I can figure costs of large quanities vs: the smaller size when using coupons.


      Re: Save Hundreds Creating A Grocery Price Book

      My pricebook, based on "loss leaders". ie the things stores advertise to lure you to their place, has saved me approximately 48% off my previous grocery store tape...less when my husband's with me. In my Excel Spread-sheet, I award a "Best"rating to the lowest price ( which can be multi-store ) or "target" to those a nickle or so off. When they reach "Best", I buy multiples of items that I know that I will use . I generally use coupons only on Best or target priced items ---bringing the total down to miniscule. Each week, I filter by sale date, print my list, and head out. It's a profitable hobby. Best though, is that I am now the "How-low-can-you-go"authority at work .


        Re: Grocery Price Book - Save Hundreds A Year

        I have just finished updating my price book for this year. (2006) I only list the brand items that I use which is about 20 items, then just list generic items that I use to see what the best deal along store brand name range that I use.

        Our supermarkets here have about 3 different ranges in store brands each. With more than 5 different supermarket chains this can be a problem. They have done this to get back at Aldi and get back more customers into their stores! I am like, Amy Dacyczym the author of Tightwad Gazette, I shop at different store each week only too buy specials along with my basics of that week.

        If you have The Tightwad Gazette do read 'The Pricebook Vol 1 (p33 CTG)' And join me in discussing this book, 'Re-reading Tightwad Gazette' in the Frugal Questions and Answers section.


          Sounds like an app idea for the iphone.


            This is indeed a great idea to carry a grocery book with you always to know the exact price figures.


              Grocery Price Book - Save Hundreds A Year

              To remember all the rates of grocery is quite difficult and the idea to carry the grocery book with self, is not only good but also sounds like smart buyer.
              thank you, because i made me know about grocery book, i didn't know about this.