Even though most people would categorize me as “Type A,” I never thought I’d have the time or inclination to start and maintain a price book. The version outlined in the Tightwad Gazette (an essential read!) was just too complicated:
Each page contains prices for one item, and the pages are in alphabetical order for quick reference. I include my code for the store name, the brand, the size of the item, the price, and the unit price.
While this is valuable data, I could see myself spending hours logging prices from old grocery receipts, combing the store ads for the best prices, and driving around town for the best bargains…spending too much time in the process.
So why am I talking about making a price book? Because I made one that works for me and my kitchen–and you should too!
I thought our kitchen staples like chicken breasts, chuck roast, ground beef, and milk would always be cheaper at the warehouse store. But I was surprised to learn that sale prices at Raley’s and Target can beat Costco, sometimes by a wide margin.
All it takes is an old notebook (or Google Docs file, if you’re so inclined) where you jot down the prices for items you use often. I note the Costco price and the grocery store price, including whether the grocery price was a sale. Then do a bit of math to determine the per unit/per ounce price. This will help you compare things like peanut butter, which comes in huge buckets at Costco and regular-size jars at the supermarket. You could also note the brand if that’s important to you.
Nope, I don’t carry the notebook around with me when I’m shopping. But it sure helps my feeble mommy-brain compare prices when those weekly grocery ads show up!
Do you track prices? Physically or cerebrally? Tell us how in the comments.