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Why You Need a Grocery Price Book

If you’ve been couponing as I have been, you will start to notice that not all sales are really a good deal. And sometimes buying an item in a bulk pack is not necessarily cheaper.

It gets confusing at first since every store has a different sale and you don’t know which one has the best deal. Sometimes it gets overwhelming when I’m looking through the Sunday coupons and inserts.

The key is to be organized about couponing. Our grocery bill is the next largest bill after rent. So it was definitely worth my time to figure out how to do this. And I want to stay a stay at home mom.

As I read a lot of  frugal living and stay at home mom blogs, I’m learning about the grocery price book. A grocery price book is a record of your past purchases on items you buy the most so you can determine which store had the lowest price on a particular item.

grocery price book

What’s in a grocery price book:

  • Date
  • Store name
  • Item/brand
  • Size
  • Unit price
  • Notes: Was it regular price, sale, or with coupon?

You can even go a step further and have one page per category like for baby items, frozen foods, paper goods, etc. Do what works best for you.

There are 3 ways to track your grocery purchases:

  1. Past receipts
  2. Sales inserts
  3. In the store

Yesterday, as I was waiting for my tires to be changed at Costco, I had 2 hours to kill. I decided that it was the perfect time to go through the whole store and record all of the items I usually buy. Since my daughter wasn’t with me, it made it easier.

I walked down every aisle and recorded the item, size, and price into my iPhone. Anyone can do this but you just have to invest your time.

I have already saved money on baby formula, an item we need every week. Instead of waiting until we run out of formula, I buy it a few cans when it’s on sale. If you wait until you need it, then you’ll be desperate and will pay full price on an item.

Date Store Product Size Unit Price Price Notes
 7/03  Walgreens  Baby Formula  25.7oz  $1.01  25.99  Regular Price
 7/10  CVS  Baby Formula  23.2oz  $1.08  24.99  Regular Price
 7/15  Walgreens  Baby Formula  23.2oz  $.95  21.99  In Store Coupon
 7/21  CVS  Baby Formula  25.7oz  $.77  19.99  In Store Coupon
 8/6  Target  Baby Formula  23.2oz  $.84  19.49  Sale
 8/10  Safeway  Baby Formula  23.2oz  $.90  20.99  Buy 2 Sale
 8/12  Baby Formula  23.2oz  $.78  17.99  25% coupon code


The formula can comes in 2 different sizes – 25.7 oz and 23.2 oz. Sometimes the bigger can isn’t available. But the sales and coupons apply to both sizes. As I look at my grocery price book, I notice that what I thought was the cheapest price, $17.99 for a can from, wasn’t the lowest after all! Because of the different sizes, it’s confusing and deceiving.

Now I know that if I buy the 25.7 oz sized formula at $19.99, I’m getting the best deal. If I can’t find that size, then the next best thing is to buy the 23.2 oz during the Target sale or with a 25% coupon code.

I save at least $5/can for formula per week when I wait for a sale. That’s $20/month! If I combine the sale with a formula check, I save even more.

What I do know is that I’m never paying full price for formula again. That’s where the grocery price book comes in handy and why you need to start one!

You can create your own grocery price book with a simple notebook, binder, or Excel spreadsheet. Anyone can do it.

Coupons procured by

Beginning Couponing Articles:

Photo Credit: Polycart


11 Comments on Why You Need a Grocery Price Book

  1. Brooke
    October 30, 2011 at 10:41 am (3 years ago)

    This whole “creating a grocery price book” is kind of an overwhelming concept for me. I’m a college student on an incredibly tight budget, and I want to start good financial habits now. Could you give me any more detailed tips on how to start and maintain a price book?

    Thank you so much!


    • Fanny
      October 31, 2011 at 11:57 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Brooke,

      It’s just a record of your purchases so that you can use it as a comparison guide for the lowest price you can get for a particular item. You can use a notebook or an Excel sheet. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. But do whatever makes sense to you.

      Start small and focus on things you have to buy every week or every month. Then as you get the hang of it, add more items.

  2. Kimberly
    August 28, 2012 at 4:23 pm (2 years ago)

    Hello, I just want to make sure you know that now Walmart and Target price match. So maybe that can help your followers. It helped me by school supplies for my 4 school age kids and purchase a computer and printer. I saved enough for the big buy. So thanks keep up the helpful info.

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