Monday, July 27, 2009

Price Book

If you are new to couponing, you may not know what the high and low prices of your common grocery items are. Therefore, you need to do a little research on your household's grocery shopping before getting started.

The purpose of a price book is to track the prices of your most common items over a period of several weeks. By doing this, you will learn what the high and low prices of your items are, which will make it easy to identify when you should stock up on them.

Start by thinking of what your most frequently purchased items are...

Begin by listing each item you came up with at the top of a piece of notebook paper, or in a spiral. One item to a page makes this much easier. Comparing two stores would be great, but if you only shop at one store, this will be fine.

Make columns for each store you shop at and rows for a total of four weeks. Go to the stores you've listed each week (Monday is a great day to do this.) and write down the unit price. The unit price is the total amount of units (pounds, bbars in a box, etc.) divided by the total price. Keep in mind that sometimes buying a smaller size package will be the most cost effective purchase. Bigger is NOT always better. If the item was on sale that week, write the unit price, and SALE next to it.

Look on this list and notice when the lowest prices are. You should start noticing a pattern of when the item is on sale. Try to purchase when an item is at it's LOWEST unit price. Using your coupons during a sale, or when an item is at it's lowest price, will give you the best savings!

Once you get further into shopping, the price book will slowly find it's way into the trash can. You will begin learning when to buy your products and when to hold off.


Does it seem overwhelming to you? Don't worry... It did to me too! I started couponing at the age of 18. I'm only 19, so I haven't been doing this forever, I promise! It gets to be second nature very quickly!

But where do you begin? How do you get started? Here are the steps that Rachel over at Surviving the Stores gave to me when I first started...

1. Start getting the Sunday paper from a big city near you. This is very important. These bigger city papers usually have a couple coupon inserts each Sunday. You will hear me talk about Smart Source, Valassis (Red Plum), and Proctor and Gamble inserts. There are also many sites you can print coupons from that I will refer to throughout our journey.

2. File your coupons. It can take a couple months of collecting from the paper before you can become truly effective at couponing. Don't get discouraged! Use this time to build your coupon stock and learn. I will be posting my method of coupon organization in a later post.

3. Purchase the All You magazine from Wal-Mart every month or subscribe to the magazine. It will cost you less than $2.50 and it is always worth it! There are so many coupons available in these magazines that it's almost ridiculous.

4. I recommend taking a small notebook and using it as your price book. As a beginner, you'll need to learn what is truly a good deal and what is not. I will explain more about the price book later, but it is basically a list of the most used items in your home and the cheapest selling price you can find it without it being on sale. Try comparing prices at two stores nearest you to get the best deals.

5. I can't stress this last one enough... Print a copy of the coupon policy for EVERY store you shop at. This will save you some trouble in the end when you have those crabby cashiers. If you can not find these policies, either e-mail the company, or ask me and I just might have it for you.

Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or additional tips that you think would be helpful to our beginners.

Welcome couponers!

This blog was started with high hopes of helping my fellow Etsy sellers learn the how-to's of couponing. I will be creating some posts tonight to help you understand what couponing is about, the lingo, and how to get started without driving yourself insane!

To quickly search through the mass of posts, just look over to the right ------>
I have added a keyword box and you can click on any of those to get you where you need to be!

I hope you all find this helpful and if there's anything you'd like to see, make sure to let me know!