Guest Author - Reshma Vyas
A grocery price book is an easy way to keep track of commonly purchased food staples. There are significant benefits to using a grocery price book:
Help in menu planning.
Aid in matters of home budgeting.
Become better informed about the merchandising and price cycles of food items that you buy on a regular basis.
Keep track of weekly and seasonal sales promotions at your favorite supermarkets and warehouse clubs.
Reduce unnecessary trips to the supermarket.
Maximize savings from every shopping excursion. Being able to rely on an accurate, historical record of past food purchases will enable you to refine and adjust your shopping strategies. You will know when to stock up on a particular item, when it pays to buy generic or store brands, gauge the frequency of consumption of a specific food and determine whether or not bulk buying of Product A truly results in additional savings.
Detect real bargains from meaningless advertising sales gimmicks.
Become more attuned to your individual preferences and habits regarding brands.
Creating A Grocery Price Book
You can use spreadsheet software but the simplest method is to use a small spiral notebook or binder (this will make it easy to carry and access for quick reference.) A price book can be extremely detailed and lengthy or rather basic in nature, one which keeps track of only a few food items. When creating your price book emphasize convenience and function rather than style.
There are generally two types of price books: an alphabetical listing of all entries or one which is organized by category. For a price book organized by category, it is helpful to use dividers. Items within each category should be in alphabetical order. A grocery price book organized by category is particularly convenient for those who do a lot of bulk shopping and like to keep a well-stocked kitchen pantry.
Example 1: Grouping Items By Category
Regardless of whether you use an alphabetical or category approach to organize your grocery price book, there are specific criteria you want to track such as: the store, item, size, unit price and price. You may also want to distinguish brands (e.g., manufacturer brands from store brands) or have a column for personal notes.
The following is a general example for a grocery price book organized by category. Every category should have a separate page.
Category: Baking Supplies
Create horizontal columns for each subject (as provided in Example 3).
In terms of formatting, you can either use a separate page for each food item within the category or use a single page and just list the items in the category alphabetically in the sidebar. If using separate pages for each category item, they should be organized in alphabetical order for handy referral.
Creating the grocery price book is extremely time-consuming, at first. Filling in the entries will be extremely tedious and difficult if you do not have previous sales receipts for reference. You can use prices from store flyers or visit your favorite supermarkets and warehouse clubs to fill in the price book entries. Use abbreviations that are simple to remember. Take a calculator along to figure out the unit price. You can also refer to the unit price on the supermarket shelf tag. Start with a few staple items and gradually build your price book.
It takes at least 3 or 4 months to gauge your savings through the use of a price book. You can update and discard outdated information as needed. Your price book and your supermarket shopping strategies will evolve to accommodate changing situations. Regardless of the format of your grocery price book, the underlying goals are the same; to help you purchase items at the lowest possible price and manage your food budget more effectively.