Oct 13, 2008

Reiterating the importance of a Price Book

I've been reading a lot of posts in various coupon forums for the last few months, and it's generally fairly easy to spot a good deal: the item in question will be free or mere pennies after the sale price and coupons.

But sometimes, someone will ask, "Is this a good deal?" And whether the item in question is laundry detergent or hot dogs, the same answer always pops into my head: You'd know if it was a good deal if you kept a price book along with the coupon binder.

If you don't know what a price book is, read my explanation from earlier this year. And then start one. You don't have to maintain it forever, just until you've been doing it long enough to be able to recognize a good deal when you spot one. I have maximum price points in my head for almost all of the things we buy regularly, and I adjust that price as the deals get better or worse.

For example, a few months ago, I was happy to see Kleenex (our preferred brand) on sale for $1 if we needed it, and if we didn't, I tried to wait for a price of around 90-cents. But during the last few weeks, there have been some amazing sale prices of 64 cents for Puffs (after coupon at Walgreens) and 77 cents for Kleenex (this was at CVS, and the price came down to 47 cents if you factored in the ECBs). So now I'm looking for a sale price under 80 cents.

If you already have a price book, please consider leaving a comment about how it's saved you money. Let's inspire everyone to make their own!

Image credit: No Credit Needed, who has an awesome downloadable price book template that I highly recommend.


Camille said...

I started one just before I got pregnant -- now it's on hold. But I'm wishing I had it right now b/c I need toilet paper and I can't figure out what price constitutes a good deal!! :-)

Red said...

Camille - I WILL NOT buy tp unless it's less than $.20 per regular roll (or...I'm desperate). Generally, I get mine for either completely free or about $.16/roll.

As to price books - I think they're way too much work. After couponing for about a year now and learning how to effectively bring down the price on my groceries, I know when a deal is a deal without looking it up.

Anonymous said...

I keep my price book in Excel spreadsheet form. I upload it to Google Docs. I can then access it from my phone while I'm in the store. It has saved me many times from buying something in one store when it is routinely less expensive in another store. It also lets me know when something really is a good deal. I have a terrible memory and the price book has become a valuable tool in my frugality arsenal.

Chief Family Officer said...

@Camille - Amphritrite and I have about the same price point, about 20 cents per regular roll. The last CVS deal worked out to 31 cents per double roll. If you have a Walgreens near you and the $1 off Quilted Northern Ultra Plush coupon from the paper a couple of weeks ago, you can combine the $4 for 6 double rolls sale price with the $1 off newspaper coupon and the $1 off coupon in the EasySaver catalog to pay $2, which works out to 33 cents per double roll.

@Amphritrite - Thanks for sharing those numbers with Camille. I'd say that you essentially have a price book in your head! :) But for those who don't have all the data saved mentally, a price book can be a tremendous resource. Of course, if you shop frugally all the time, it's inevitable that the numbers get stuck in your head after a while!

@Mary - That's brilliant! When the day comes that I have a phone with a data plan, that's exactly what I'm going to do!

Anonymous said...

That's an awesome idea. Everytime I'm walking the aisles of our local big-bulk Costco store, I wonder if it's cheaper or I"m getting ripped off. I keep meaning to bring a pad and right down the prices so I can compare at the supermarket.

Anonymous said...

Where might I find a completed price book on the internet that I could download and tinker with myself? I have purchased in bulk when I thought an item was a great price, but I'm really not that sure what the best price is and where to find it and when!