Yesterday we worked on meal plans and shopping lists. Today we are going to create a price book to help us make sure that we are getting the most for our money along with our shopping lists.
A price book is simply a book to compare what store has the best price on things you normally buy. It can be as sophisticated as you would like, or as simple as you would like. I like to keep things simple, and hopefully you do to, so I'll tell you how I keep mine.
I have a small 3 ring binder, 5x8 size, that I have lines note book paper in. At the top of each page I write an item I purchase regularly. Ex, toilette paper, chicken breasts, canned vegetables, dog food, etc. I don't write specific brands, because brand names really don't mean that much to me.
An easy way to start your price book is to take the receipts of your last few shopping trips and see the prices you paid on your reciepts. Such as, on my receipt from Wal Mart I may see a purchase or a 20 lb bag of Ol Roy dog food for $6.98. So I'll write on the "Dog Food" page, 20 lb @ Wal Mart $6.98 10/01/08. As you get more reciepts you'll have more prices to fill your price book for you to compare.
When you get a sale circular, you may see that Reasor's has Pedigree dog food on sale for $6.50 a 20 lb bag. That's a pretty good price and cheaper than what is normaly paid at Wal Mart. So I'll write on my "Dog Food" page, Reasor's 20lb $6.50... SALE 10/3. I'll write SALE so I can be sure to remember it's a temporary price and not a normal price.
As I find prices at various stores that are good deals, I will mark on my shopping lists which store has the better deal next to the item. That way I can be sure to visit that store, or take that circular if I go to Wal Mart to do a comp pricing.
I don't have pages in my price book for fresh produce because the prices on produce vary according to the season, so I just compare the prices in the circulars and make note on my lists which store has the best prices on what produce. I also like to take advantage of local farmer's markets for my produce.
The great thing about price booking, is once you've been doing it a while, you start to notice trends. Such as certain stores have cycles to their sales, or some items are seasonal. When you start to notice these trends, it gives you opportunity to set some funds aside to take advantage of great meat sales, or buy fresh produce to freeze.
I know it was fairly quick, but I just wanted to give you an overview to get you started. Try creating one and see how it works for you. You can use a small note book, or an excel spreadsheet, its up to you. Have fun and be creative with it.