Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November Challenge

I'm not big on New Year's resolutions. I'd much rather issue my calls to self-improvement throughout the year. This month I'm issuing myself a money-saving challenge. I'm going to start a price book.

Huh? What's a price book?

I came across the idea of a price book as part of the Home Management Guide found on Want What You Have as well as a strategy recommended by The Coupon Mom. A price book consists of a chart with columns for item, brand, store, quantity, cost, and unit price. It can help you save money in two ways (that I currently know of):
  • Knowing which store sells the item you need at the lowest cost
  • Knowing when an item is really on sale. Did you know that manufacturers pay for space in a grocery store's weekly circular? The price advertised may not actually be any lower than it normally is. It's a little retail head game.
Here is a handy-dandy template for making a price book.

Since our food shopping choices are limited by our family's food philosophy (see Our Family Food Philosophy), I think our non-food shopping is the budget area with the greatest savings potential. Therefore, I'll concentrate my efforts on getting information on non-food items.

For the next month, I'll take a notebook with me when I make a trip to the stores we frequent and make notes about the items we buy. When I've compiled some data, I'll enter it into a spreadsheet, or maybe I'll go more low-tech and print out a few copies of the template.

All of that information is going to come in quite handy for step two of this process. Step two involves a coupon database and a drugstore. But I don't want to spoil December's challenge.
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