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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Start with a grocery inventory and a price book

You really should know what you need before you go shopping. If you don't make out a list of what you need; you may find yourself buying something you already have. Everybody knows you save money by shopping with a list. Am I right? Ok, you understand doing an inventory in order to make out your grocery list; but, what the heck is a price book? A price book is a list of what you normally buy every shopping trip. It lists the prices charged by several stores or only the lowest priced store depending on what you choose to keep track of. You use the price book to decide where to buy items at the lowest cost.

Not too many years ago; no thrifty stay at home mom would dare go shopping without her handy price book in her handbag. It was a small notebook with a single page for each of several different grocery items she bought regularly. If she saw something she believed was a good bargain..... out came the price book for a look see before buying. If the price of the bargain was lower than what she had been paying.... she bought the bargain. If it wasn't lower.... she walked right on by. You might see this thrifty mom with her price book jotting down prices as she went from isle to isle of each store.

I use a price book too but I don't carry it with me anymore nor do I walk around stores jotting down prices. Actually, I've used a price book for many years. I've come up with a different way of using my price book and I'll be explaining it further in the next few posts.

My price book is created and used at home. There are times when I'm planning a special occasion purchase. It might be an appliance that needs replacing or maybe a birthday gift for someone. This is when I will carry a file card or a slip of paper with me to jot down prices while in the stores. I'm going to be in the store anyway so why not start checking prices on these special occasion purchases..... long before I actually make a purchase.

I must confess. I haven't used my price book for several months. The stress of keeping up with quilting work and all the illness I've had over the past few months caused me to skip it. Now that I'm back to shopping every couple of weeks instead of every 4 to 6 months; I find I'm needing the price book more than before.

When I went to the computer to find my price book.... it's gone! What the heck? It was then that I realized I haven't used my price book since last fall when my computer had to be wiped clean and everything reinstalled. Oooo.... that's not good! How much money have I wasted by not using it? I decided to re create it..... right away!

If you want to make your own price book please use mine as an example. You can create your own after you understand how the price book works. For now, read about mine first. I printed out the pages so it's easy to carry around my house to do an inventory. Later I will type everything in the computer. If you follow my example you won't be carrying a price book around with you and you won't be writing down prices in the stores. Everything will be done at home.

This is what a printed copy of my price book looks like.

Each page has these columns:

Product / brand



Unit price

Sale price

Sale date


I realized after I printed the pages that the inventory column should be before the size column. I'm not going to reprint them just for that. I'll change it before I start typing the information in the computer. This is a simple table done in ms word. I haven't figured out how to use the new excel yet.

The pages are titled with these: (one sheet per title)

Baking and staples


Bread and bakery


Canned goods


Condiments, dressing, and spices


Frozen foods

Health and medicine

Household maintenance


Office supplies

Paper and plastic

Pasta and quick meals

Personal hygiene


Pre made meals (meals I prepared for the freezer go here, as well as store made meals)



I'm using these printed pages to do a complete grocery inventory in my house. I need to know what I have and what I need before I continue to the next step of saving money at the grocery store. I'll carry these pages from place to place throughout my house as I do my inventory. While I'm at it.... I might as well check expiration dates. If something is outdated.... out it goes. The only columns I'll be filling in at this time are the product / brand, size, and inventory.

Please be patient with me for the next step of the process...... I have some other things I need to deal with and may not get to the it for a couple of days. My goal is to explain every step before I go shopping again. My next shopping trip is planned for June 12th.

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