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How to Make a Price Book for Household Expenses

Updated on October 21, 2012
How I organized my price book on Microsoft Excel
How I organized my price book on Microsoft Excel

Using a Price Book to Cut Household Expenses

A price book is a simple, easy to use tool to increase savings. Commonly used for grocery items, it can be expanded to cover all household expenses, such as cleaning items, pet products and school supplies. The price book keeps the items organized through distinct categories, making it simple to find what you are looking for, as well as track purchases. Not only is the price book easy to use, it is easy to create one.

Making your Price Book

There are various ways to create a price book, ranging from "old-fashioned" notebook paper, to sophisticated computer programs. You can use a small 3-ring binder, notebook, or a spreadsheet program on your computer. If you use a spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel, you can even print the pages out and store them in your 3-ring binder to take with you when shopping. The 3-ring binder and spreadsheet also make it easy to add and replace information and sheets as necessary.

Whatever form you decide for your price book, there is some basic information that should be included. They are the item name, brand, store where purchased, the date when purchased, the price, and if the item was on sale. Some option information that can be useful is the unit price, if you used a coupon for that item, and price limit for the item. The price limit is the highest price you are willing to pay for that item, and is important to set if you are really trying to cut down on expenses or stick to a budget.

By using Microsoft Excel, I can easily add sheets for my various categories, as well as add information in a sheet easily.
By using Microsoft Excel, I can easily add sheets for my various categories, as well as add information in a sheet easily.

Organizing the Information

Now that you have decided on your form and what information to include in your price book, it is time to sit down and figure out how to organize it all.

There are two main ways to categorize the items. Both ways create sections, such as groceries, coupons, household items, etc. This also allows you to further customize your price book by using subcategories, such as canned foods, cleaning items, and pet food. In one method, you have one item per page, ordered alphabetically for easy searching. This lets you track all the information for that one item, such as canned corn, over a long period of time. The other method lists all items in a category, using new pages for each shopping trip.

Using the Price Book

Congratulations, you have just created your price book! Now that it is complete, you can start implementing it to save you money.

After you are done shopping, you will want to record all of your receipts Many grocery stores offer itemized receipts, which makes this take much less of a hassle. Try to shop at different stores to see if the prices differ or if their sales are better than where you currently shop. Getting sales fliers in the mail or checking other stores fliers online can be especially helpful. If you decided to use a 3-ring binder or notebook for your price book, you should bring it shopping with you so you can compare the price you paid for it previously as well as keep track of your price limit. If you opted for computer software, when you write down your shopping list you can include your price limit as well as the price you paid for it previously.

After entering in your receipts, you will want to look at the price trends to see if a sale price is really a sale price or a gimmick, if going with one brand is cheaper than another and to see when it is okay to stock up on certain foods.

If you find that a price book may be too much of a time investment there are many websites that offer price book templates. There are even a few free price book websites, such as You may not see the savings instantly, but over a longer period of time you will notice that you are saving money, as well as being a smarter shopper. Good Luck!


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