A long time ago I stumbled on a tip from the author of the Tightwad Gazette. She recommended creating a price book with prices of various items at different stores. I used to have mine in a spiral notebook in my purse. However, it was always hard to find the item I was looking for and it was hard to keep up to date if I ran out of room on that item’s section. So recently I created a new list on Microsoft Word. I now have a table with 6 columns:
Type: Groceries, Medicine, Office Supplies, Supplies (which includes cleaning and baby supplies and toiletries)
Item: the specific name of the item. For items that fall under the same category like cereal, I start with the word cereal and then the specific name (i.e. “Cereal – Honey Nut Cheerios)
Store, Price: I list the store, the price, the size of the item and the unit price. I have three columns for this so I can include at least 3 stores.
Cheapest for now: I list the store where that item can be found the cheapest so far.
Now this may seem overwhelming. But I started slow. I just started writing down prices for items that I wanted to shop around for. I carry the most current list in my purse and whenever I see an item somewhere new, I hand-write it into the chart. When I get a lot of changes, I update my computer file. This chart makes it so easy to see if something is a good deal. I haven’t figured out how to post files on here yet, so let me know via a comment if you want me to email you the file I have created so far.
P.S. I am very busy and do not have time to run errands all over, so my list may not be as extensive as you would think. I have stuck to a few stores where we can get multiple things. For some of the stores, we are only able to go once a month, but those few dollars of savings each trip add up!
Here is a blank version of this form. Price list form