If you’ve been wondering how to make a grocery price book, you’ve come to the right place. A simple price book can save you tons of money on groceries. It can help you figure out how your grocery store cycles through different sales, and yes, they do run sales on a cycle. Manage your grocery budget with this one tool. You’ll finally be able to tell if you’re getting a great price when something is on sale.
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You may be wondering if you should even bother with starting a price book. Will it actually save you money? Won’t it waste a bunch of your precious time? And isn’t something like that just for all those super organized, coupon-clipping, extreme savers?
Let me start right out by saying:
- it is worth your time,
- it will save you a bunch of money, I frequently save 50% and
- a price book will work for even all of us that are not super organized.
How will a price book save me money and be worth my time?
I was inspired to create my price book by the course, Grocery Budget Makeover, where I learned to really get down and be smart about the groceries I’m buying. There were so many tips that helped me change the way we eat and shop. We have literally saved 1,000s of dollars. Created by Erin of $5 Dinners, it can help you cut your grocery bill in half. You can’t get in right now, but get on the waiting list so you’ll be ready next time it comes around.
It only opens a couple times a year. UPDATE: You can get in right now, and it’s a great price!
With a grocery price book, you will be keeping track of just the foods that you regularly purchase and you’ll be able to figure out what their lowest sale prices are, how often they go on sale, and where to purchase them for the best price.
Remember, knowing the best price of everything is on my list in 10 Killer Ways to Save Money on Groceries.
Don’t I have to be super organized to be able to make a price book?
Actually, you don’t. You really just need about 15 minutes to do some brainstorming and a few minutes to look at your weekly grocery ads and store receipts. Honestly, that’s it.
Related: 7 Smart Ways to Stop Impulse Buying
How To Make A Grocery Price Book
1. Print Out Your Price Book and Place in a Binder
First of all, you need something to make the price book out of. You can make a grocery price book from a spiral notebook like this, with some columns drawn in it or some people use a printed planner. In the picture above, I’ve just used a composition book (these ones are really pretty). I think it’s easiest to just print something out so you don’t have to figure out what columns to make.
It would also be helpful to have some sort of binder, you probably want a small one like this, so you can add in pages in the order that you like.
The key is to figure out what will work for you, and what you can start with right away … because waiting for just the right binder means waiting on saving money.
You can download the printable Price Book Packet below and use it for FREE. It will come with all the pages you need to get started.
2. Make a List of Most Commonly Made Meals
I like to have this right in the front of my Price Book so that I can add to it when we have a new favorite or if I’m ready to expand on my price book.
Just start with a list of your 10 Most Commonly Made Meals. You can include breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals if you like.
I don’t want you to start this price book by listing every single thing you buy at the grocery store because you’ll just get overwhelmed. We’re starting small and getting the biggest impact by focusing on the things you use most.
3. Find Overlapping/Common Ingredients
Now that you have your list of Most Common Meals, compare them and see what ingredients have overlap. I’ve included a Common Ingredients worksheet in the download for you to use.
I’ll give an example. We regularly eat Tacos, Taco Salad, Asian Chicken Salad, Grilled Chicken, Baked Potatoes with Chili, Chili Mac, Quesadillas, Omelets, Spaghetti, and Instant Pot Black Bean Soup. So here is the list of items that overlap.
- Ground beef
- Chicken breast (nearly always bought from Zaycon Fresh for the best price)
- Canned Chili
- Italian Sausage
- Green onions
Notice, these are just the items that we use the most, so these are the first things to keep track of in the price book. Designate a page for each of these ingredients.
Get a FREE $10 Welcome Bonus from my favorite grocery savings app, Ibotta. Just click this link and sign up for FREE.
4. Track items in your Price Book
Start by looking at your receipts (if you have them) and list what you’ve paid in the past. Also, look at your store flyer and list the price of these items, if they’re in there.
If you have the extra time, take the list with you on your next trip to the grocery store and track down each item to record the current price.
You’ll want to keep track of the store, date, brand, price, quantity, and unit price.
To calculate the unit price you’ll need to know the price and quantity, whether it’s ounces, pounds, or number of items. You may need to do a little math like in these examples.
- Cereal $2.89 for 18 ounces $2.89/18 = $.16 per ounce
- Tortillas $1.89 for 10 $1.89/10 = $.19 each
5. Evaluate Prices and Stock Your Pantry When Prices Are Low
After you’ve been keeping track for a little while, you’ll start to see patterns. You’ll see how frequently certain items go on sale and what the lowest price is.
When you see that an item you use frequently is at its lowest price … it’s time to stock up.
I know that every couple months diced tomatoes and canned beans go on sale for $.50 per can. When it’s at this price I try to buy a couple dozen cans and stock them away to use until the next time they’re on sale.
We eat a lot of boneless chicken breast, so when it drops down to $1.69 I buy a lot and package it up into Freezer Meals, or smaller portions to make dinners over the month. I make sure to watch my emails from Zaycon Fresh because they’re always having sales with the best prices on meat and I don’t want to miss out on that. I just ordered 40 pounds of the boneless chicken breast for $1.47/lb. because I never find it anywhere cheaper than that.
Meat is the most expensive thing on our menus, so saving there can make a huge dent.
Read 10 Secret Ways to Save Money on Meat for more great ideas.
6. Use Your Pantry Like Your Own Grocery Store
Using your pantry and your freezer will make the biggest difference in your grocery budget. By stocking up on items at their lowest price, then planning your meals around what you already have, you’ll always be making the lowest priced meals possible. Learn how to Super Simple 10-Minute Meal Plan and 15 Amazing Frugal Pantry Staples
This is the #1 way that your price book will help you reduce your grocery expenses. By working the sales, you will be able to get the foods you use the most at half off — that’s a huge reduction in your budget!
The sooner you make your grocery price book, the sooner you’ll be able to start saving – big time!
Steps to Price Book Savings
- Print Out Your Price Book and place in a binder
- Make List of Your Most Meals
- Find Overlapping/Common Ingredients
- Track items in your Price Book
- Evaluate Prices and Stock Your Pantry When Prices Are Low
- Use Your Pantry Like Your Own Grocery Store
Remember to get into Grocery Budget Makeover. You can make back the cost of the course in your very first shopping trip.
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Don’t get discouraged if it takes a little time to see patterns for the items you’re tracking. Just stick with it and you will eventually come up with what is the best price for everything. You Can Do This!!
Did you make a grocery price book? Leave a comment to let us know your biggest wins and the best deals you’ve found for stocking up. We all need to see the progress you’re making.