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Combating the High Price of Food Step Four: The Price Book

May 1, 2008

In the last step we talked about combining menu planning with grocery store sales and loss leaders. But how do you know if a sale is a good one? How do you know if a generic would be cheaper or maybe a warehouse club price? The simple answer? Create and use a price book.

A price book is a list of the items you buy and the prices that your various stores charge for them. It can include as many or as few stores as you like. It can include regular prices (I like to have these as a benchmark). It can (and should) include sale prices.

Two years ago on this blog I wrote about what’s useful in a price book and easy ways to start and maintain a price book. With food prices now so high, I’ll take this opportunity to point out the necessity of keeping up with your price book. Something I’ll be focusing on in the next few weeks.

The truth of the matter is that the price book step should have come earlier in this series. Ideally it will be used along with step three. But a price book takes some time and effort to put together and, if you’ve never used one before, you might be in danger of becoming discouraged and abandoning the whole plan if you attempted to create a price book first.

So, while I feel a price book may be the most important thing I do to save money on groceries, don’t be tempted to put off the whole process until you have one. But do get started on one right away. It will become your most valuable tool!

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