How to Create a Price Book

Thank you to Lauren from Mama’s Laundry Talk for this great guest post on how she created her price book!

After my first child was born in 2005, I decided I needed to be more frugal with our money.  We were spending a shameful amount of money each month on groceries.  So I was determined to find a better, wiser way to spend our money.

Enter the Price Book.

I was first introduced to the concept of the Price Book from a frugal website I stumbled upon.  And I was immediately intrigued!  What a fabulous idea – to know the rock-bottom prices of items we typically buy.  And then buy our groceries when the prices were lowest.   Genius.

After scouring the internet and reading every post I could find on it, I formulated this method that has worked really well for me.  Here is the process I used to create my price book.

From Wal-Mart I purchased an 8.5×5.5” 3-ring binder and 2 packs of dividers.

Next, I created tabs for my major categories.  While the categories will vary for each family, I’ll list mine to get you started:

Baby Items, Baking, Beverages, Bread & Cereal, Canned Goods, Condiments, Cleaning, Dairy, Fruits & Veggies (fresh), Meat, Paper Goods, Toiletries, Household Misc.

After each shopping trip, I use my receipt to enter my data onto my form.  I have one sheet that corresponds for each type of item:  Diapers, Canned Tomatoes, Milk, Yogurt, etc.  Here’s an example:

So in my Price Book, ‘Diapers’ goes behind the ‘Baby Items’ tab.  All of the Items are listed in alphabetical order behind the tabs so I can quickly flip through to the page I need.  It takes me about 5-8 minutes to enter a receipt of a typical weekly shopping trip.

On the form, I have my own abbreviations for ‘Store.’ Wags=Walgreens, Kr=Kroger, WM=Walmart.

Under the ‘Size/Price’ column, I write the quantity or size of the item and what the listed price is.  So in my above example, the pack contained 35 diapers and the listed price was $9.99.  If I was entering cheese, the Size/Price could be 8oz./$1.50.  If the item were toilet paper, I would list it as 6 Mega Rolls/$5.99.

The ‘Unit Price’ is the price divided by the size.  In my diaper example, the cost of each diaper comes to $0.29.

Under the ‘Sale’ column, I note if the published price was a sale price or the normal non-sale price.

Tips:

  • It is better to over-categorize than under-categorize.  It is easier to find the right page to enter data if your book is more detailed.
  • Print out more forms than you think you’ll need.  The longer you utilize your price book, the more items you’ll want to record.  I keep a stack of blank forms in the back of my book for this reason.
  • I use the front pocket on the inside cover of my binder to store my receipts until I can get them recorded.
  • I record my items in pencil.  It just seems neater and I’d much rather erase than scratch something out on my beautiful new form!

I’d love to share my form with you!  My husband tweaked it to make it even more user-friendly.  So you are welcome to download the price book form to help you get started in making your own!

Simply print on an 8.5×11 sheet of paper.  Cut on the dotted line and 3-hole punch…and you’re ready to get started!

Lauren Hill is the mama behind Mama’s Laundry Talk. She loves all things laundry, including keeping track of laundry detergent prices! Lauren is proud to be a wife, mama to 3 fantastic little people and a Child of God.

Comments

  1. This is something I want to start doing! But I have a question, do you record the price without the coupon or with a coupon?

    • I personally record withOUT the coupon.

      I reasoned that coupon amounts vary (Tide coupon of $0.35 vs $1) widely from month to month. I wanted to have a firm idea of what the BASE price was. And then I mentally add my coupons on top of that.

      :)

      -Lauren

  2. great idea! I used to do this even before I couponed and somewhere along the way I stopped. But you’ve inspired me to start again!
    .-= Leslie´s last blog ..homemade refried beans – cooked in one hour from dried beans! =-.

  3. Price tracking is prudent! I do this within my recipe software:-)

  4. What a great idea! I often find myself forgetting what is cheapest where. This looks like a straightforward way to solve that problem and save a lot of money easily.
    .-= Cheryl@SomewhatCrunchy´s last blog ..31 Days to a Somewhat Crunchy YOU – Crock Pots and Toaster Ovens =-.

  5. Thank you for this post. this will be much easier than trying to keep it all in my head. :) And I will be able to see much more quickly if a sale is really a good deal.

  6. How long do you do the price book for?

    Thanks,
    Kymree

    • Usually sales cycle through about every 8-12 weeks, so I would do it at least that long to make sure you’re getting the best prices. Plus, you might want to revisit your price book if you notice prices rising like they are now to make sure it is still accurate.

  7. Hello. my name is louise just wanted to say thanks for the price list it gave me spot on direction for what i was looking for on saving my receipts. my family and I are very price conscience on all items purshased in our home.

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  1. […] now I have a printed copy of Walmart’s coupon policy in my price book (um, yes, I also have a price book) so nobody can overcharge me 3 cents next […]

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