Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Whip Your Grocery Budget Into Shape: Start a Price Book

Welcome to the second major series of posts on Frugal Made Fun! Each week, I'll post 1-2 tips on how to develop your own plan to save money on groceries. I'm going to start with some of the most basic, easiest things you can do to save money, and then progress from there. You can take as much or little advice as you like. As the series progresses, a little more work may be involved, but you will definitely save more money.

What is a pricebook you ask? It's when you keep track of prices of commonly used items at various stores. It doesn't have to be a book. Just write down some items on a piece of paper that you commonly buy when grocery shopping. Write how much they cost at your regular grocery store. The next time you go to Walmart, Target, a warehouse club, or another grocery store, jot down the price of the items on your list at those stores. This helps you to not only find which store has the best deal but also to know what a "good" price is for that item (i.e. writing down the sale price or figuring out if it is actually cheaper per serving to buy the item in bulk).

After a while, you'll just know if an item is on sale at a good price or not. I don't have prices memorized, but I know a ballpark of what I am willing or not willing to pay for various items. Here is a good blog post about pricelists. There are some examples and even a blank one to get you started.

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