How to Make a Price Book to Save Money on Groceries

Like any good budgeter, you want to save money on groceries. And why wouldn’t you? Groceries are a necessity that can really add up if not watched carefully.

So you clip coupons, watch sales and compare prices. But grocery price book will ensure that you always pay the lowest price. A price book is your one-income, money-saving power tool that will help you organize what you spend the most on. It will help you watch and learn sale cycles, and discover which store has the lowest price for each item you by. Is it magic? No, but it is amazing!

  1. Get a 3-ring binder. Or a spiral notebook. Or a spreadsheet. Whichever your recording method of choice is. I personally use a Google doc spreadsheet. I can access it on my home computer and on my phone if I need to check or log something in it.
  2. Create your pages. This is the heart of your grocery price book. It is where all the magic happens. Okay, maybe not; but it is where you will be tracking your prices. Think of the items you buy most. Create a page for each item with columns for the date, store, brand, size, price and price per unit.
  3. Organize. This is where I’ve seen different versions of price books. Some organize by categories like canned good, frozen, meat and so forth.  Since I use Google Docs, I actually have 2 spreadsheets: one for groceries and one for toiletries. Each separate item has its own tab on its respective spreadsheet. Choose whatever method makes the most sense to you.
  4. Go through old receipts. Using your old receipts, start recording prices. I’m going to assume that most items you purchased were on sale, so your receipts will give you a good idea of the pattern of sales. If you can, make a note whether the item was on sale or not. You will want to record prices for all the places you shop: drug stores, grocery stores, farmers markets, bulk warehouses.
  5. Bring your price book with you. The next time you go shopping, bring along you price book so you can fill in more prices. Having a thorough record of how much items cost at each store, and also regular prices versus sale prices, will allow you to determine your cheapest option. You should also bring your book for regular shopping trips in case you come across an in-store special. A quick price book check will tell you if the special price is lower than your recorded lowest price and if you should stalk up.

As requested, here is a screenshot of my spreadsheet. It’s not complete, but will give you a good idea of how simple the price book can be. Notice at the bottom there are different tabs. Each item has it’s own tab so I can compare prices for each item easily. I have the date listed (helpful when watching rotating sales), store name (if the item is one sale, I’ll list it as “CVS-sale”), brand, price, size and price per unit since the size can vary. To find the per unit price, I used this equation (price)/(size)=(unit price).

I have the cheapest option highlighted so I can easily find it. So, say I’m shopping at another store and notice mayo on sale. I can check my spreadsheet (I use the Google Drive app) to see if it’s lower than my lowest price. If it is, I’ll add it to my spreadsheet so I can track it, and buy a bunch.

If you prefer the binder method, you can create your own sheet or print out a template. I like the simplicity of this one.

A price book is a way to ensure that you will always pay the lowest price possible. Armed with a price book and coupons, you can stand to save a ton of money each shopping trip.

Do you use a price book? If so, please leave a comment and share how you set yours up.

Comments

  1. I don’t use a price book but I am now comparing ads with my coupons. I started shopping the sales to try to stretch our budget. I think it would be too time consuming to create a pricebook. I am learning how to find products for free or cheap using the Extreme couponing methods.
    Christy Garrett recently posted…Can You Really Find the Right Church for Your Family?My Profile

  2. Could you share pictures of what it would look like? 🙂
    Welcome Home Moms recently posted…Only God is GREATMy Profile

  3. I have actually never heard of this idea before. I can see how once you get a good list of products and prices on to your spreadsheet or into your book, it could really help you save money in the coming months. Do you find that when you work with this you spend more time in the store, or is it pretty quick for you?

    Hope you are doing well. Have a great weekend my friend 🙂
    Sicorra recently posted…Budget Travel In New YorkMy Profile

    • Hi Sicorra, The first couple times where I went and checked prices for the items I normally buy, yes that was a bit time consuming. But for the most part it doesn’t help nor hinder my shopping. I mostly check ads at home and make my shopping list from that, so I can compare prices at home while I’m doing that. The only time I really need to whip out the spreadsheet while I’m actually shopping is if I come across an in-store special and want to check if it’s lower than my recorded lowest price.

      Thanks for stopping by. My daughter is on break so it’s been a fun-filled, but busy, week for me. Can’t wait for the weekend!

  4. I like the idea of knowing the cycles of the things you buy the most to ensure you’re not overspending. Sounds like the initial set up is a little bit of work but well worth it in the end. I’d love to see a snapshot of your spreadsheet or maybe you offer a template? I’d do one on Google Docs myself. Its easily accessible!

    #ImEveryWoman
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  5. Screenshot added! Hope it helps. Have a great Friday my friends!

  6. I love the idea of this, maybe one day I’ll have enough spare time to do this! I would think it would be a little be of work, especially at first.
    Donna recently posted…Margo Manhattan The Original Pink Ribbon Designer #standstrong #breastcancerawarenessMy Profile

  7. Hey Corinne, I too have never heard of a Price Book. And for as much as I am good at coupons and price matching every where else, I really stink at it in grocery stores. But lately I don’t shop our local grocery store all that much. I’ve been buying the bulk of our groceries at Costco to cash in on bulk savings and at Target where I use my RedCard and save another 5% off the price. But I know I could do better on that 25% I do buy at the grocery store.
    Carol B recently posted…Playa Nicuesa – An Off The Grid Fab Family Jungle AdventureMy Profile

    • Hi Carol. I too love my Target Red Card. I recently discovered if I use it online I get free shipping, no matter how little I spend. Free shipping is always good when you live in Hawaii — we are sometimes excluded from the Free Shipping to the U.S.

  8. What a brilliant idea, Corinne! While I don’t use a price book (first I’ve heard of it), I do keep track of what items cost, not only at face value, but per pound, ounce, or count, too. While at face value, a product may appear less expensive than a comparable item, when you look at the “per” value, it might be the opposite.
    Ellen M. Gregg recently posted…Outstanding October: Day 13: SeasonalMy Profile

  9. I love this idea Corinne!

    I have a spreadsheet but it’s a little different than yours. I make my list and put the price down then subtract my coupons but I think this will be very easy to incorporate to mine.

    I never thought about using Google docs. I have mine saved on my computer and if I forget to print it out or forget it all together that’s it for me, LOL.

    Thanks for sharing this with us! Hope you had a great weekend and wishing you an awesome new week!
    Corina Ramos recently posted…I’m Every Woman Weekly Issue #08My Profile

  10. I love that you put it on a spreadsheet you can access with your phone! I heard of several cases where someone had their pricebook in hand at the store and were kicked out of the store for using it. I heard of another case where the person was kicked out of the store just for writing down the prices of somethings. Apparently it’s legal to make you leave the store if they don’t like something you are doing, no matter what it is. So having it all on your phone makes this much less of a problem. I doubt anyone would notice.

    Another way to do this is to go over your grocery receipts when you get home and enter all your prices into your pricebook or spreadsheet. Then when you make out your grocery list for your next shopping trip you can compare the prices in the grocery flyer with the prices you’ve recorded.

    Someone should come up with an app for all of this!
    Maggie recently posted…Halloween Cash Giveaway and My Favorite Halloween TreatsMy Profile

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