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 (since there was no way to keep it in any order) and it was hard to keep up to date if I ran out of room on that item’s section. So a few years ago I created a 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. Then I created a basic list. I carry the most current list in my purse and whenever I see an item somewhere new or have an updated price, 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.
Here is a blank version of this form. Price list form
This list is very helpful because you can start determining what are the best deals at each store (what you should shop for there regularly). This helps with making your shopping lists. Also, when you are in a store you can easily determine if a sale price or a price on an item you don’t usually buy there is a good deal or not.
I have included Amazon prices on my list as well and use this list when online shopping.
Using a price list is one of the ways we save the most money!
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