Save Money by Using a Price List
Last week when I wrote about 4 Things I do to Keep Our Grocery Budget at $200/mo. for a Family of Four I mentioned that one of the ways that I save is by using a price list and I promised you a more detailed post on that topic. Today is the day I’m making good on that promise.
Have you ever seen an unadvertised deal while out grocery shopping and been tempted to buy it but just weren’t quite sure if it really was a good price? Or maybe you see peanut butter on sale at Kroger and go to buy it but then second guess yourself because you suddenly think you remember that Walmart’s regular price is lower. I used to find myself doing both of those things regularly. Try as I might, this poor brain of mine just didn’t do so well at remembering prices all by itself. And so I came up with this price list idea and simplified my life.
The price list is really a very simple concept- basically you just keep a list of the lowest regular price that you can buy each item for. Here’s a sample of what my price list looks like:
The first column is obviously the name of the item. The second has the price of the item as well as the store name. For sake of space I abbreviated some of the names. For instance, CV is Centerville (a local bulk food store) and WM is Walmart. The blank columns are for me to write in updated price information as needed.
Now when I am planning a shopping trip and want to know if a sale price is a good deal, I simply refer to my handy little chart. The price list also helps me know what to buy where. For instance, when I go to Walmart, I make sure I buy the items that are priced the lowest there- that is if I need the item! And if I am shopping and come across an unexpected sale I can easily refer to my price list to see if it really is a bargain or not.
Using a price list does require a little bit of work. I mean, what good is a price list if it isn’t up to date? So here’s what I do. I keep my price list with me in my coupon binder and when I am out shopping at my usual stores I occasionally double check my prices. It doesn’t take long and I typically don’t go out of my way to do so; I just sort of scan the shelf for the price as I walk by. Then if a price changes, I simply note it in the 3rd, 4th, or 5th column of my chart. Eventually the chart gets full or messy and I have to update the prices in the original document and print out a new price list.
Not only has using a price list saved me lots of headache, it has also helped me save money. I can’t tell you how often I didn’t buy an item that I had thought was a good deal because my price list showed me it wasn’t. Yes, sometimes it was only a matter of $0.10, but let me tell you, that adds up. And if you don’t need the item immediately anyway, why not wait and get it cheaper?
Do you utilize a price list? What other ways do use to keep track of prices?
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