In this tough economy, many people look for shopping deals to save money. However, when you are in the store and something is on sale, how do you know if the price is less than what you usually pay? Using a price book is a great way to track how much you usually pay and when you are getting a deal. Price books allow you to track prices of commonly bought food and household items as well as bigger ticket items.
Creating a price book is an ongoing process. First, you must decide what type of book to use. Your choices include a commercial price book with pre-designated categories, a blank notebook, or a small address book. An inexpensive address book is ideal to use because of its cost, portability and alphabetized sections. By keeping it in your purse, pocket, or glove box, you always have your price book with you.
Using an address book works well, if you list items in your book alphabetically by the item name not the brand name. For example, put Kleenex under T for tissues or iPod under M for MP3 player. Address books with lines that state name, address, etc. are harder to use, so look for an address book that has blank address lines. In addition, it is better to use a pencil or erasable pen since stores are constantly changing their prices.
To list an item in your price book, you need to break down the price per unit. For example, it is not helpful to list toilet paper for $5.98. Instead, the listing should read toilet paper (Charmin), $.50 per 300 sheet roll, Wal-Mart. Another example would be dog food (Purina Puppy Chow), $.59 per pound, Target. This enables you to compare exact prices. Sometimes the shelf tag states the unit price, if not divide the total price by the units. The Charmin mentioned earlier was $5.98 for 12 rolls or $.498 per roll rounded up to $.50.
A very helpful item that most of us are already carrying around is the calculator tool on our cell phones. This saves space in your purse, but cell phone calculators can be difficult to use. Carrying a separate calculator takes up more space in your purse, but they are usually easier to use.
Use the same book to keep track of different store deals. For example under G for gas, list Safeway’s $.03 normal discount and $.10 for every $100 spent with a maximum $.10 discount.
It can be very helpful to sit down with your receipts after getting home and list items in your price book. You will be pleasantly surprise how much money you can save being an informed shopper. Using a small portable address book is very helpful in tracking prices and knowing when you are saving money.