If you have been hanging out in the realm of frugal living, you have probably heard mention of this thing called a “price book” (sometimes referred to as a price list). A price book is essentially a book where you keep a record of the prices that you pay for certain items and what their prices are at the different stores you shop at.
Keeping up with a price book can sometimes be challenging due to the amount of time it takes to keep track of all the prices. That is the reason why I prefer to keep a comparison sheet instead of a price book. A comparison sheet is the same concept as a price book, but for me it is so much easier to keep up with. It helps me determine a “make or break price” to ensure that I am actually getting a great deal on the items we regularly purchase.
How a price comparison sheet works, is you track the price of the items you buy the most frequently for a month. At the end of the month you will know what the lowest price is that you paid for a certain item.
You can track yours several different ways, but the easiest way I have found for me is to keep my worksheet next to my meal plan binder. That way, after I have unloaded my groceries, I can easily write down what I spent from my receipts.
When you are comparing the prices, your goal is to either make or break your lowest price. This helps to keep things in perspective, especially when shopping for toiletries. I am not as tempted to buy lotion that is “on sale” if I know that I have actually gotten it cheaper before.
Side Note: Stores are notorious for making you think that an item is on sale when it really is not. For example, Kroger and Affiliates love to do this by placing yellow tags on items so it appears that item is on sale. However, when you take a few more seconds to actually look at the tag, you will notice that it is the regular price and there is no mention of a discounted price or sale.
You will have to adjust your price comparison sheet because prices do increase. Inflation, wars, and other economic issues will affect the price of food. Although they are sometimes not significant price increases, when they increase, you will need to start your price comparison over – which is normally every three months for me.
Common items that will have price increases during times of war: milk, bread, and dry goods such as flour and sugar.
Do you use a price book/list or some other type of comparison to track how much you spend on groceries?
Oh hey, look, you can download my price comparison worksheets here for free. 🙂 They come with instructions on how to develop your make or break price. You are welcome.
Check back tomorrow for another post in our 31 Days of Real Life on a Budget series!
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