Thrifty is my thing right now. I’m focusing most on budgeting and grocery shopping at the moment. (In case you hadn’t noticed) I am working on a price book again. I have discovered that one of the grocery stores in my area doubles coupons and gives a military discount on store brand items. Their prices can be higher than the norm though, so I have to be careful when and what I buy there. I used last week’s sales flyers to get prices on some of the things we buy most and that’s the start of my book. There are some items whose best prices I know by heart, and others for which I have not a clue. I just buy them when they are on sale. Not best practice. I haven’t done this in a while, so I’m starting from scratch.
I’m including the prices without coupons only. That way, if I have a coupon I can calculate if it’s really a good deal or not. My coupon box has a calculator and pens and pencils in it so that I can do calculations and take notes on my findings. It will also carry my price book (done in pencil so I can change it when I find a better deal). Most serious couponers have a binder with baseball card holders in them to separate out their coupons for easy access and to quickly see what they’ve got. I tried that and found it a huge pain in the rear. Since many of my coupons are printed from online sites, they never fit in the slots. I couldn’t see the expiration dates without pulling them out, and it was hard to get multiples of the same coupon together – they didn’t fit in a singe slot either. So, I’m trying the box method with a photo box that I had laying around and the dividers that came with it. So far I like the idea of having everything all in one place and not having to wrangle the binder (with coupons that fall out of their slots if they’re too small and divider tabs that were constantly falling out as well), the price book, the calculator, and pens and pencils all separately. I gave the baseball card holders to my son for his Pokemon collection and we’ll see how the box works in practice when I do my shopping for the week.
The price book is a work of love. It will take a few months to get through the sales cycles and get the actual lowest prices on things. I will need to write down how often things go on sale as well. When I see that best price I’m going to need to write down the date and pay attention to when I see it again so that I know for sure how often it goes on sale. That way I can stock up enough to get me to the next sale at least. What’s going to throw me are the unadvertised sales that happen when the store overstocks something. Those are usually the absolute lowest price but they don’t come around regularly. At least I’ll know what rock bottom is so that I can tell if the sale is at least good.