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Are you a frugal shopper?
Are you always scouting out the best deals? Do you know the best
places to shop?
If that sounds like you, then when it comes to grocery shopping, you must
be using a price book already!
No, you say? What's a price book?
If you haven't used a price book yet to do your monthly grocery
shopping, you're in for a treat. That's because this idea is a
system that will save the frugal shopper real money month in and
out on her grocery bill.
A price book is simply a written record of what your grocery items have
cost you in the past. That's it.
So what, you ask? How can knowing what I've spent on groceries in the
past, save me money this month when I go to the grocery store?
That's exactly what I asked when I first came across this terrific
price book resource for the serious frugal shopper.. I really
wasn't too familiar with the idea of
price book (I had heard the name before), but the idea
of saving money each month on my groceries was very appealing.
I'll bet you feel the same way.
By knowing exactly what you spent on,
say, a can of corn last time you
bought one, you'll know if the one in front of you on the shelf (even
if it's on sale) is a good deal or not. Over time, your price
reflect your frugal shopping habits showing you what each item is
costing you, at the lowest price you've ever paid for it.
You'll use this figure as a comparison when
you grocery shop each week
or month. And, instead of guessing if that sale price in the store's ad
is truly a good deal, you'll know. Because you've got your price book.
This is really powerful.
For the frugal shopper, the only real work to this whole system is
setting up the price book.
Honestly, that can take a little time and effort. You've got to record every
item you purchase in the grocery store, and then break the
price down into cost-per-ounce so you can easily compare with the
store's prices while you're shopping. This is not hard, but it does
take a little time. Frankly, the fastest and easiest way to do this
to purchase your price book, ready to go.
That's just what I did!
I found a great little resource (from another frugal shopper, of
course!), that explains the concept of a price book in great detail
and, best of all, comes with a complete price book, ready to print
or download onto your pda (personal digital assistant, such as a
Expert frugal shopper Lana's price
book comes with a lot of other useful information, too. Lana is the
smart gal who put this data together for the rest of us. Her
facts on how the grocery industry works
are extremely enlightening. She goes into great detail on how the
grocery industry is aware we will save money if we choose to
shop at multiple stores for our groceries (even factoring in gas),
these stores want us to shop exclusively at only their store in order
to maximize their profits from us.
I knew stores wanted my exclusive business, but I didn't realize
how competitive the grocery market is. I always liked the one-stop-shop
idea, but once I was able to open my mind to what I was learning,
realized I needed to try this new frugal shopping idea of using
multiple stores for myself.
Another thing I discovered is that price books will work for anyone
who wants to be a frugal shopper and save money.
Doesn't matter if you are a young couple just starting out, or a family
with plenty of mouths to feed. Doesn't matter if you live in an urban
area or a rural one. If you buy groceries, a price book will help
zero in on getting the food you want at the absolute lowest price
available to you.
That's a savings plan I can live with. As a frugal shopper, I'll bet
you can, too.
If you are willing to retrain yourself a bit for a couple of months and
in return harvest a nice little bundle of change back on your
grocery bills, then you owe it to yourself to try this frugal
shopper system. Get
Lana's price book
and customize it for yourself. Work with it a
couple of months and see the difference it can make for your family's
What a price book cannot do. Even for a
A price book is not a magical tool that you can take with you
grocery store and, buying the same way you always have, end up with a
lower total cost at the checkout lane. Sorry, it just doesn't work that
However, if you are a frugal shopper, then you know that good
can come to those who are willing to make simple, common sense changes.
A price book is all about arming yourself with knowledge. It puts
in control. Not the grocery store. You will decide
if paying more for
your meat, or your bananas, or your canned peaches is worth it to you
or if you'd rather wait until those items go on sale and stock up to
make the most of your food budget.
The frugal shopper and coupons.
If you are successful using coupons to cut
your grocery bill significantly, by all means, continue couponing!
But for me, using a price book and the comparison techniques it teaches
is more useful. I rarely use coupons. I don't like the
time it takes to clip them, organize them, and drag them out at the
Instead, with my price book, the 'work' I do
is just one time, then I
simply add updates as necessary, such as changing a price when I buy
something at a new low price.
Even if I only zero in on a handful of grocery items each time I shop,
over time, I will build an incredibly powerful customized price book
for myself. Plus, it's important to me as a frugal shopper to build my
awareness of how I am shopping and where my money 'leaks' are. For
example, I was shopping for cheese strings for my daughter the other
day, and by using these price book concepts, I was able to find the
best price for my money (and guess what? It wasn't the package of
cheese strings on sale!).
Lana's Grocery Ebook
really has two areas of consideration for the frugal grocery shopper.
1. The price book itself.
This alone, in my opinion, is worth the price of the ebook. Why?
Because time is money. Putting together your own price book is very
do-able, but it will take you some time. With Lana's you can
immediately save it to your computer or print it out and go shopping.
Right away you can see how your frugal habits compare to Lana's
costs as recorded on her price book. Then you can change her prices to
yours...OR...simply add yours next to hers. For me, doing that makes
the whole shopping experience a game. Can I beat Lana's lowest
By giving myself a goal to shoot for, I'm not only a frugal shopper,
I'm becoming an expert frugal shopper!
2. Understanding what convenience foods are costing you.
Lana makes the good point that convenience foods generally cost us
more. A lot more. So she shares many of her ideas for cooking from
scratch that can also save you money.
I agree with her assessment that most of the time, a well-stocked
pantry and a collection of the right recipes that fit your family's
lifestyle will mean you spend no more time cooking from scratch than
convenience foods. In addition, you will definitely save money and
probably eat healthier, too.
So a frugal shopper can really use the Grocery Ebook
effectively in several ways.
1. You can use the entire system.
- Using the price book.
- Cutting back on convenience foods and discovering key shortcuts
the same foods your family loves but cooking them right in your own
- Finding your own local 'best sources' for the products you buy,
instead of just automatically buying everything from one store.
2. You can pick and choose what parts of this
frugal shopping concept you want to take advantage of for yourself.
- For example, you only want to shop at one store, but you always
your price book and then you know you are getting the best deals
offered at that one store.
3. You can focus on getting your pantry stocked
just right for your
household needs, so you can eliminate those costly, last minute trips
to the store because one of the kids needs lunch food or you need to
take something to the potluck at work. How? By...
- Cutting back on ready-made groceries.
- Keeping a short list of recipes (and ingredients) that
work for your family on hand at all times.
This is the equivalent of keeping an emergency fund in your savings
account. It means you have a margin for the times when you need it,
which always saves time, money and sanity.
Any of these ways you choose, you should easily get back the price
of Lana's Grocery
Ebook in frugal shopper savings within two or three
months, possibly sooner. Then the grocery savings continue on for you,
Want more information?
If you want to know where the price book idea came from, here's a
helpful article that explains the reasons why a price book works.
(This link opens in a new window, so you won't lose
your place in this article.)
After you read it, then click to Lana's website
to learn more
about her frugal grocery system. After you purchase her ebook, be
and email me about what you find helpful or if you need more ideas on
how to make the price book work for you.
And don't forget to pat yourself on the back.
Because when it comes to the grocery store, now you really know how to
be a frugal shopper!
Colleen Langenfeld is a mother with over 29 years of parenting experience and helps other busy moms around the globe at www.paintedgold.com.
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