I read the Warehouse Club thread and saw that 2 posters mentioned Grocery Price Books/Price Books.
May I ask what they are, and how do you start one/maintain it?
Hi Maddie in ky -
I made my own. I dug around in my pile of "stuff" and used a small vinyl 6-ring loose-leaf note book with sheets of paper that are 3-3/4-inches x almost 7-inches. I have index tabs that cover the alphabet. I purchased a 6-hole zipper pouch at an office supply store and kept my grocery money in there and slipped my coupons in the front sleeve and a REALLY thin calculator I had in there as well. It was small enough to slip in my purse.
I found a black vinyl "Day Runner" organizer at a thrift store in December and I moved everything into it at the beginning of this year. It has a place for my cash, a zipper pouch for change, it holds the same 6-hole paper. I added some "Day Runner" dividers that have a pouch in them and I keep my coupons in them. I keep a running grocery list on a sheet at the back of the book, and a list of non-grocery purchases I need to make. I also have a calculator and some other organizer things in it like a pad of paper, a plastic zip-lock pouch, a mechanical pencil... You can make them as plain or as fancy as you need.
If you Google - Grocery Price Book - you will find some printable sheets for a price book, and also good examples.
Here's the information you will be accumulating on each food item you choose to track. I kept one "cheat sheet" with these things written on it until I got accustomed to what to write.
PEANUT BUTTER (name of food at the top of the page)
Brand: Peanut Delight
Size/Price: 18-oz. / $1.39
Unit Price: .077 cents/ounce
So this is what you'll now find on any given sheet...
18-oz. / $1.79
I use one side of the sheet for the above information and the back of the sheet for inventory, if necessary.
From: "Tightwad Gazette" by Amy Dacyczyn
"I began by writing down prices on sale flyers and from my grocery slips. I made a few trips to compare prices of specific items."
It takes a little work to get it put together, but once you have it, you'll find ways to make it work quickly for you. You probably won't want to put EVERYTHING you purchase in it just things you know you want to compare prices on. So when the sales flyers come and you see peanut butter is on sale someplace, you can quickly flip to that page in your PRICE BOOK and see if it's a REAL bargain. Then I look on the back and see if I can realistically add it to my inventory. Peanut butter is one I really have to track not only how many I have, but use-by dates so I don't get more than I can use.
Always take note of SIZE of foods. One week we were purchasing 6-oz. cans of tuna and all of the sudden they were 5-oz., so you need to recheck those unit prices. I've also run across both 5- and 6-oz. sizes so you have to run the numbers to see the unit price.
You can't always assume the larger size of something is the least expensive.
I'll go back to an old example of peanut butter from my old price book:
Peter Pan - 28-oz. / $2.46 / .087-oz. (on sale)
Kroger - 28-oz. / $2.49 / .088-oz.
Kroger - 18-oz. / $1.00 / .05-oz. (on sale)
Start by making one sheet for each of the foods you commonly purchase that you would need to know prices, and fill in the information as you have time.
Hope that helps you out...
One caution. When people start price books, all too often they dive in and find it overwhelming. I usually suggest people start with maybe the top 10 items they frequently purchase. After all it's the REGULAR purchases that will save you money, the item you buy one of every three years that is consistently priced won't. Once you get the hang of it, add more frequently purchased items and over a period of time you'll hvae a great price book. I found a pocket recorder to be very valuable to just record the prices, unit prices, sizes etc and then logged it at home. Plus, some stores get very upset with people with recorders.
I like the binder method. I divide into dry goods, frozen, refrigerated, dairy, etc for sections and then a page for each item in there, similar to what Grainlady described. Some use a spreadsheet.
Lately, I've been lax on updating the price book, but I've memorized the unit pricing for many things so for some of the frequently purchased items I have a page where I list the stores, sizes and prices. Somehow, I think there's got to be a PDA out there that would be perfect for it... But, the price would have to be right to be worthwhile.
Another thing, semi-related, I have a "Misc From Misc" document where I list stores with certain items I can't get elsewhere or in many other places. I keep the prices in there too if it varies. I've expaned it a bit to include frequent purchases from certain stores, especially Aldi. Then when I knkow I'm going by a certain store and need something special I could stop, and I'll check the MFM list for anything else I might want from there.