by Bobbie Jean Knealing
Bobbie shares how creating and using a price book can help you save on groceries and other items, she's even found a way to save time while doing it.
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Saving money at the grocery store doesn't have to be a hit or miss thing. By creating and maintain a price book you are better able to track sales. Tracking sales allows you to know where and when you need to shop in order to make the most of your monthly food allotment.
If you are computer literate you can do this on the computer using spreadsheets and whatnot. I, however, prefer the pen and paper method.
I use a notebook. Each week when the Sunday paper comes I take all the ads and sit down and write the items that I purchase in my price book. This is a good time to make your shopping lists.
I keep track of the date, the item, the price, and write the information down in columns in the notebook. Having a separate page for each of the items you purchase helps keep things orderly and easy to read. Doing it this way you may need more than one notebook. I have 3.
When starting out I make a list of everything I can think of that I have ever bought or ever will buy. Then in the notebooks I write down each item at the top of a page.
After each grocery trip I transfer the information from my receipts into my price book.
When I come across a good sale while doing my shopping, I can look in my price book and see what the best price I have gotten on this item is and when it was, as well as where it was. I can then buy or leave it, accordingly. This is a good time to check your coupons too. If the sale is a relatively good one, and you have a coupon that will crease your savings that expires soon it is in your best interest to buy an equal amount of items as you have coupons for.
After you've been keeping a price book you will be able to track the sales at the stores you frequent. When you know how often a sale occurs you can buy enough of the product to hold you over until the next sale. You can also save up coupons to use during the sale.
Creating and maintaining a price book may seem time consuming. I spend about an hour a week on this, in addition to the hour a week (or less) I spend on couponing and menu planning (each).
The longer you use the tools you have (price books, coupons, menu planning, etc.) the less time you have to spend on organization and records.
For saving a substantial amount on my family's grocery budget, I'm happy to give up 3 hours of my time. I usually do this while watching a television program or listening to some good music. The key to saving money and ensuring that your time spent with all these efforts is well spent, is to gather all the facts and information and decide what works best for your family, and then do it.
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Copyright © 2001 by Bobbie Jean Knealing. All rights reserved.