What is a price book and why use one

October 30, 2021

If all supermarkets and stores charged us the same price for the same products then life would be a bit simpler. Alas, that is not the case. So how do you keep track of which store charges what? Enter your new best friend, the price book.

What is a price book

A price book in it’s simplest form is a book where you keep track of the price of specific items at various stores/vendors.

So what does that actually mean practically? You use this little book to keep track of specific items, when and where you looked at them (whether you bought the item or not), and what it cost. For some items you could include details like brand, size, etc

Why use one?

Did you ever have that nagging suspicion that certain items tend to be on sale every now and again? Or that an apparently great sale is not that great? How about that a certain store feels a bit more expensive than the others, but not always?

This is where a price book helps. Let’s have a look at these reasons in a bit more detail:

  • Cyclic sales:

    Certain stores tend to repeat their sales on a rotation basis. That could be anything from certain chocolate brands being on sale every four weeks to more expensive items being on sale every twelve. Knowing that a six-pack of bottled water is going to be 30% cheaper next week gives you the opportunity to spend on the bare essential now so you can stock up when the sale begins and save your hard earned money.

    Something that also falls into this is the case where certain discounters only sell certain things for a short period every year. Having a price book allows you to check when you got it last time and therefore when you can expect to be able to get it again.

  • Not so great sales:

    This happens all too often, especially online. A certain site lists a product at a certain price, claiming a 70% discount. What a bargain! But if you had kept track of the price then you would realise that it is only 10% below the usual price, and that the price had spiked not long before the amazing sale. Then you can decide if it is still a bargain you want to take advantage of or not.

  • Comparing stores:

    There is no way around it, certain stores are more expensive than others. While other stores are more expensive for specific items only, and can be cheaper for others. Keeping track of how much you paid for the different items at the various stores allows you to pick the right store for the right items. For example, your local supermarket might be expensive when it comes to beef, pork and poultry but cheap on other fresh produce. Knowing this allows you to save money by going to buy your fresh produce there, but picking up your meat somewhere else.

  • Helps you to keep track of your spending:

    You could go full out on tracking everything. This would require modifying the standard price book templates that are available for free online, or you could use a digital format like Excel. We use our app designed specifically for that.

So, should you?

The question whether it is worth it or not depends on your situation. The nice thing about it is that you can track as much or as little as you want to. Want to keep track of the price of all your items you buy during your normal grocery shopping trip? Go for it! Or just want to keep track of the price of that new console you want to buy? That also works.

In essence it comes down to what makes sense to you, and what you want out of it.

Happy tracking! (If you decide to go that route)