Create a Price Book to Save Money on Groceries

A few years ago I started reading a blog that posted grocery store coupon match-ups. After reading for several weeks I got my list together, clipped my coupons, and headed to the store to stock up on all sorts of free products. Except when I arrived at the store nothing was free, or even close to free. In fact only one of the six deals I was trying to buy at the store was even a good deal compared to what I usually paid at the commissary.

The problem, the blog I was reading used prices from the midwest and I was shopping in the DC suburbs. The difference was amazing. I’m sure if this is true for me, then it is probably true for many of my readers as well. How do you know if a good deal you see on a blog, in a newspaper, or in a store flyer is really a good deal?

Create a grocery price book.

A grocery price books allows you to track the prices of groceries at the stores where you normally shop. Creating a grocery price book is a great way to know what the best prices are for your area! A few weeks ago I was talking grocery prices with some friends and the price of milk varied by $2. The stores where only three miles apart! Since the price of groceries varies so much based on location a price book is the best way to determine when to stock up.

For example, if the price of tuna never goes below $0.75 a can at your store, then you know to stock up when it goes on sale for $0.44 a can at If you can find tuna for $0.25 a can, then you don’t need to snag that deal. A price book works because you keep track of your best prices, not the prices of people who live 1,000 or even 100 miles away from you. You can use the grocery price book with the grocery store coupon match-ups to find the best deal for you!

By using a price book, you determine the best price and when to stock up. I have yet to create a price book for my new location, but it is on my summer to do list. Do you have a grocery price book? Has it saved you money on groceries?

Image source: Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn

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  1. I would love it if you could do a post expanding on this idea. Like how to make the book, and what you put in it, and all that. I have never heard of this idea and think it’s great, but have no idea where to even start!

  2. I would like to create a price book… just seems like a very daunting task. I think I would actually pay someone to do it for me lol! 🙂

  3. I was just telling my husband last night that our Grocery Gadget app on his iPhone and my Android would digitally do this for us. It’s a got a great ‘scan barcode’ feature. Great tips, thanks!

  4. I agree! I have a price list for Aldi because it is the main place I shop. It’s really helpful for me to see if the ads and/or coupons from other stores are worth a trip to an additional store! 🙂

  5. Knowing the stock up prices for your household staples is the only surefire way I’ve seen to stay within budget. This is great advice.

  6. I’ve done a price book in the past but I haven’t actively kept up with it for a long time. I can remember the prices of every item that I buy within a few cents of the actual price paid at the three stores I shop at, so I don’t bother spending my time on a price book any more. It does save me money though knowing the prices so I know when to stock up and when to only buy what we absolutely need. I’ve always been able to recall numbers fairly easily though, heck I remember every address and phone number I’ve had since I moved to the US when I was almost 3.

  7. kimarie says:

    I copy and paste all the sales prices for the commissary into a spreadsheet that I use to see if the stores have a good price. I also compare prices to Costco because I really do like Costco:)

  8. Tiffany says:

    Great idea! Just one question- How do you do it? Do you carry a notebook to the store and write down prices or do you make it at home off your receipts? Is there an app for that? I’ve recently tried to start one just in the “notes” section of my meal planning/grocery list app but I accidentally deleted all my milk info when I tried to add the newest price! Clearly I could use some help in how best to keep a price book!!

  9. TheHappyHousewife says:

    Great idea Kathryn. I’ll definitely add that to my post list.

  10. I love my price book and don’t know what I would do without it. It has saved me so much time and money. I keep my price book in the front of my coupon binder, that way I always have it when I am shopping.

  11. Ditto to what Kathryn said. I am very interested in learning more about this, but have NO CLUE how to get started! I would love to know more abou it.

  12. Jenn M. says:

    what app do you use?

  13. I was going to ask the same thing. I’ve heard about them and would like to make one.

  14. This is a great idea, every penny counts nowadays, especially for a family of 7!
    Thanks for the help.

  15. I recently started looking at your website and I love it. I agree with the other ladies about the price book.

  16. Grocery IQ. It’s free on both the iPhone and Android Market. Good LUCK!

  17. Darci Dembroski says:

    My Mom and I did this together… We used an Excel spreadsheet and wrote down all of the regular items that we purchase. Then in three columns we wrote the names of the three grocery stores we frequent. We spent some extra time writing down how much each of those items cost at each of the three stores so we’d know where we were getting the best deal. I then created a grocery list for myself for each of the three stores. The only warning I would give is… you must update this every few months because the prices do change at stores regularly. A bonus around us: Wegmans Supermarkets have lots of items that they’ve guaranteed a price on all through 2011 so we know those won’t change! I love that idea.

  18. I’ve heard of doing one of these for years but have never taken the time to do so. I keep numbers in my head pretty well but I know that I don’t always get the absolute best deal. I depend on the Grocery Game for a lot of my shopping bargains due to lack of time, and I never spend more than 50c a roll on TP, but for all the myriads of other items I buy… a notebook may be the best thing to start.

  19. I just did this! I started with my Costco latest receipt and just keep adding to it. I did this mostly because I was curious if buying this on was cheaper than Costco. It turns out that it isn’t usually. It was also useful to compare Costco prices to coupon deals. I should mention that I live in Alaska. We have significantly fewer coupons and stores available to us here so it’s especially important to be aware of how much you are paying for things. Fortunately, I purchase most of my groceries at Costco (which is usually the best deal anyway), so starting to compile my list was easy!

  20. Can I just say that I JUST started reading your blog and I’m so impressed and thrilled with your ideas and pictures and concepts. THANKS! I can’t wait to see how to create a price book. I live in the Northeast and the cost of groceries is outrageous.

  21. I loved the tip, it’s a great money-saver to know where we can find the best prices; it seams doesn’t seam a great deal at the beginning, but when we sum it all up in the end of the month, the difference is quite substantial.

    I just found the site, and I’m loving it!
    If you don’t mind the suggestion, I think a monthly budget plan would be a great addition to this topic

  22. I just started this, thanks to your post! I bought a 3 ring binder and normal college ruled paper. I am going to organize product by thing rather than brand name. Ex: Peanut Butter and then put the prices based on my receipt. On that same piece of paper I will put the brand name and the price so I can tell if the product is on sale, I can compare to generic brand and see if it is cheaper. I have also left room on the page to add when the items go on sale and at what price. It will take a while but my memory is HORRIBLE and this will be a start to helping me remember!!

    I love your website! 🙂

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