Tuesday Tip: Buy Price Journal

Back on board with Tuesday Tips…

Keeping a “Buy Price Journal” is this week’s tip! A Buy Price Journal is a list of the best prices for your most commonly purchased items. There is a sales cycle for most items at the store, usually ranging from 6 to 12 weeks. These cycles differ according to product, store, and region. As you begin to pay closer attention to the prices of the items in your cart, you acquire a feel for this cycle and are able to stock up accordingly. Often, though, there are so many other things going on, it’s hard to remember what a great price is for a particular item. This is where your Buy Price Journal comes in. The journal makes these decisions (to buy/stock-up or not) easy.

How to start a Buy Price Journal:

  1. List your ten most frequent purchases – your pantry staples (i.e. milk, eggs, pasta, evaporated milk, etc.) – in a journal. A small spiral-bound notebook is perfect!
  2. During your weekly trip to the store, record the selling price of each item.
  3. Identify trends in the prices and determine the lowest selling price.
  4. Consider whether coupons are frequently available for the item. Factor these into your “buy price.”
  5. As you get a feel for the first 10 items, add other items you buy often/are curious about.

How to use a Buy Price Journal:

Once you’ve got a price journal going, you’ll be able to use it in the following ways:

  1. Identify if a “sale” is really a sale. Is it worth your money for the week?
  2. Identify which items you’ll always buy with a coupon and which items you’ll rarely have coupons for.
  3. Define sales patterns. You’ll know how much you need to buy before the item goes on sale again.
  4. Challenge yourself. “I will not buy ______ unless it is $___ or less.”

When you follow these simple steps, there is no need to buy a Buy Price List (which surprisingly to me, are available). As prices vary by region, these aren’t even helpful in my opinion. If you are able to attend one of my Couponing Workshops, I have a Nashville/Mid-South Buy Price List available to you.

Do you have suggestions about how to maintain a Buy Price Journal? Leave your ideas in the comments!

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