Budgeting 101 – Keep a Financial Log Using a Price Book

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Save Money with a Price Book

You’re out shopping for groceries and the main item on your list is, let’s just hypothetically say – Oatmeal with Raisins. You finish up, head home, unpack, turn on your favorite Netflix sitcom and relax. Let’s talk about a Price Book

The next day at work, you’re going to lunch and remember that toilet paper didn’t make it into the shopping cart the day prior. Opting to head to the market before going home, you head to the closest grocery store along your route. Upon shopping for the toilet paper, you happen to notice the same Oatmeal with Raisins available at a significantly discounted price!

This scenario might trigger an internal wave of emotions ranging from anger to disappointment. Saving money is stressful on its own, but realizing that you could’ve saved money hurts that much more! For consumers throughout the world, this has probably happened more times than they can admit.

The Solution

Thankfully, there’s a solution to this everyday problem that’ll help you avoid this situation from happening again. The solution is known as a price book.

A price book is a ‘book’ or an app that records the prices you pay for specific items you might purchase daily, weekly, and/or monthly. It’ll help you in trying to reduce your grocery budget or if you’re having a tough time staying within your suitable financial needs.

With a (grocery) price book, you’ll be able to figure out what the lowest sale prices are, how often they go on sale and where to purchase these items for the most ideal/savings price.

How to Make a Price Book

Either a notebook, binder with paper, or an app like ‘Google Sheets’ on iPhone/Android phones are useful sources. In this day and age, whipping out your phone and jotting down prices is probably easiest and quickest. However, using a notebook and your trusty pen is fine, too.

Steps to Your Building and Logging Your Price Book

  • Make a List of Your Most Commonly Made Meals/Snacks
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Label Your Columns
    • Name of Item As Your Header
    • Date | Store | Product Information | Price | Quantity | Unit Price (Per Unit)
  • Find Common Ingredients (Items You Tend to Use the Most)
    • Example: Pasta, Rice, Lettuce, Spinach, Green Onions, Cheese, Etc.
  • Start Tracking Your Items In Your New Price Book
    • Analyze your receipts (if you still have them) and list what you’ve paid previously
    • You’ll want to keep tally of the store(s) you visit, date, brand, price, quantity and unit price as mentioned.
  • Evaluate overall price and Shop When Prices Are Lowest
    • Once you’ve been keeping track of pricing with a few grocery stores for a month or two, you’ll see patterns of items that go on sale frequently and what the lowest price point is.
    • Stock up on items frequently used items like shampoo, conditioner, lotions, razors, etc. and buy enough at that (low) price to last a certain amount of time. This will save you multiple trips to the store throughout the month!

You might want to start with a minimum of 10 items for your first two weeks. Browse around at least 3-4 chain or mom/pop stores. Make it a goal to update or add to your 10 items bi-weekly!

The Benefits of a Price Book

  • Saving Consumers Money in the Long Run

The benefits of saving money are tremendous – whether it’s to go on vacation, buy a house or purchase a car. Creating a price book, as mentioned, can translate into a habit of identifying your strong and low points financially. It’s one step, of many, that’ll help you in your ultimate financial goals!

  • How a Price Book can be a Starting Point for Rebuilding Your Credit

If you have bad credit, a price book might, in turn, become your payment calendar. It’ll be filled with payment schedules, how much you owe and how to lower that amount over time. Taking a deep dive into where you stand with your creditors and your credit history is a sure way of getting out of the current rut you’re in. Car loans can even help you rebuild your credit!

Rebuilding your credit history is a crucial step to a better financial future. It can translate into consumers finally purchasing an automobile when getting approved for an auto loan, getting a new car, obtaining a credit card or achieving financial freedom. Learn more at https://www.creditkarma.com/shop/autos/