A Look Inside My Price Notebook

May 30, 2012 | Food, Grocery Shopping, How To Save Money

Knowledge is power. The perfect way to identify a good deal is to know how much things cost… introducing the price notebook—track the best prices on your groceries so you always know when you're getting a good deal. Let's show you how it works!

Price notebook on a desk from Fun Cheap or Free

My price notebook saves me so much money I felt that I had to share how this little notebook works. By taking note of the best price of an item, it helps you know when something is truly a good deal, which will help you save big money on your groceries each month! And as you all know, groceries are one of the biggest costs that families face each month… boy, do I have some tips for grocery shopping!

If you're here, you're probably looking to cut your grocery bill down a bit, so let me share a few of my best grocery shopping tips with you from the good ol' YouTube!

While you're at it, check out one of my favorite meal planning videos! Planning is half the battle and we believe it makes a big difference in saving money and making sure nothing goes to waste!


I've mentioned that I keep my price notebook on-hand at all times. Let me tell you, this is an absolute life saver! If an item doesn't have a big “sale” or “clearance” tag on it, how do you know if it's reasonably priced? Sometimes it's tricky to keep all of the “good prices” straight in your head. It seems like milk prices, chicken prices, and even toilet paper prices are constantly changing. And let's face it, we've all got more to worry about than the price of chicken, right?!

Years ago, I found the solution to this dilemma, and I like to call it my price notebook. I keep it in my purse so I always have it when I hit the grocery store. And now you can make your very own! It's so easy. Are you ready to get started?!


Grab a small, sturdy, cheap, flexible, cute notebook (yes, it must be cute). Use your notebook to start a running list of the grocery items you buy most often. Then, next to each of those items, jot down the price you usually pay. This helps you set a base point for each item. 

Got that list ready to go? Start shopping with it! When you're at the store, and you see something below the price listed in your notebook, you know you've found a good deal (score!), and it's safe to stock up on it. Buying extras when your favorite items are on sale will help you save HALF on your grocery bills each month! Seriously. 

As you get in the habit of shopping this way, you'll learn more and more about prices, and you'll be able to snag all of the good deals! (Cue the happy dancing)


I use a simple four-step system to keep my price notebook organized, and let me tell you. It works! So, I encourage you to give it a try. Once you start implementing these steps, you'll be well on your way to saving TONS of money on your groceries.

  • Note the Unit – If it's per pound, write it. If it's per item, write it. If it's a particular type of apple or pear, write it. The more specific you can be, the better. You don't want to compare apples to oranges!
  • Always Keep the Best Price – If you write down a price but come across a better price in the future, update your notebook with the better price. I do that ALL the time. 
  • Keep It Up To Date – Prices constantly change based on what's in season, where you live and shop, etc. Even if you've memorized the price from buying it so often, always be aware of price changes.
  • Include Specific Details – We use a lot of Downy Softener, so I have that item in my notebook and have specified that it's liquid AND how many loads it can wash. It takes hardly any time to do this, but it will make all the difference in the world! Pay attention to the cost per load, ounce, etc.. You might be surprised!

That's it! Easy enough, huh? I promise you, if you keep a price notebook on hand, you will save your family thousands of dollars over time. Truly hope this helps! Knowledge is power, so KNOW YOUR PRICES! Try it and let me know how it goes, okay?

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!


Jordan Page Signature from Fun Cheap or Free


  1. Teri hogan

    Your notebook idea is great idea! i have helped lots of friends with this concept for years now, the only difference for me is i use coupons too. I no longer need a notebook, cause of the amount of years i have done this, but i have always told my friends to write everything done and dont be ashamed to pull out your calculator. I just wanted to pass to you a couple of hints to go with your notebook. 1. if you are a shopper that shops at different stores, it is good to write the price and what store the sale price was. Alot of times the particular store has that sale on a regular basis, so if you are at another store and you are pricing something, when you check your book you will know that it goes on for a better price all the time at a certain store. 2. alot of cell phones now have conversion calculators, which come in real handy, when trying to figure out the difference from grams to kilograms or pounds to oz. for pricing.
    Love your blog!! thanks for the tips!

  2. Beth

    Well, I don't really keep a notebook myself, but I tend to keep a mental note of prices whenever I can. Like your notes, it works wonders. I can't even begin to imagine how much more I would've spent on baby shower gifts without it.

  3. L Hernandez

    I have lots of prices memorized as I have been doing this for years but I use an electronic price book too. Many Smartphones have Apps. that you can use to price book & inventory your food. I keep prices by ounce & by store.
    Grocery Tracker & ToMarket are a couple of the ones I recommend. Thanks for all your tips

  4. funcheaporfree

    Ooh I'll have to check those out, thanks for the app tips!

  5. Kate

    I do all of my shopping at Walmart using price matching (although I'm going to start adding in trips to Costco!). Do you write down Walmarts price, or the best sale price you've found for a particular item? Really I guess I'm just asking how you compiled the information in your notebook 🙂

  6. Mary

    So, I have looked at all your posts. I am a military wife who knows we send more then necessary! Your tips are interesting I may take on some and branch from them. I live in Guam and unfortunetly price mark ups for produce, meats and dairy are crazy! So this may be tuff for me! I wanted to ask you, if the item is not the best deal in your notebook do you buy it anyway? I also do my best to be organic which is difficult here and pricer and there are just item we always use I dont know that I would stop buying them just becasue they arent the best deal. What do you do?

  7. funcheaporfree

    Yes, I often times buy items even when they aren't the EXACT price in my notebook. However, you don't want to make that regular. Your price-notebook is a guide to help you notice when there is a great deal, so you can stock up like crazy on it. If the price of the item is MUCH higher than your notebook price, pass on it, and wait for it to go on sale…because it's bound to. You just have to get in the habit of only buying what's on sale. It's so much easier than you think!!! Good luck!

  8. Gina

    So, I was wondering how you know what a 'good' price is for an item (the price that you want to stock up at)?? Are the prices in your pics from your actual book…I am basically asking if I can copy the prices in your pics, to give me somewhere to start, if they are up to date, lol?? Thank you!!

  9. amy

    I am wondering how you remember where you found the best prices? Do you only shop at one particular place? I would have to make a side note of which store the price was at.

  10. funcheaporfree

    You could certainly make a side-note, but it's not entirely necessary. I basically shop at Walmart and Costco 100% of the time so that makes it easier for me, but generally, if you find prices are better at one store over another much of the time…choose the cheaper store!! No reason to pay more for the same item elsewhere.

  11. Lisa

    Just discovered your blog and I am excited about using your budget system and notebook. I am confident this will help me get a handle on my spending. thanks

  12. funcheaporfree

    Yay! Thanks for reading!

  13. Jennifer

    Awesome idea for keeping track! We are a family of six (and keeping an extra person right now, so 7). It seems I'm having to spend a ton in groceries these days, especially since school has started again and I have to get things for packing lunches. I can't remember pricing very well, so I will definitely give this a try! I also liked your budgeting idea, which we also struggle with finding the best way to deal with. I'm so glad I found out about your site (while reading an email from Jillie). Groceries have gotten more expensive for me, especially since I'm having to go organic and gluten free right now. Talk about crazy prices on that type of food! I hate couponing because it's so time consuming, and most of the coupons are for name brands and I save more buying generic; not to mention the most recent coupons are all mostly deodorant, hair dyes, and shampoos. Sorry, but my family can't eat on those, lol. Give me good food coupons and I'll make the effort! For any of your readers who shop at Kroger stores…you can go online and select electronic coupons that are added onto your Kroger Plus shopper card so no clipping is required! Same for proctor and gamble and shortcuts.com. Just enter your particular store card info and it will load those eCoupons onto your card. The savings automatically come off at the register!

  14. funcheaporfree

    Thanks for the comment! UGH frustrating how expensive organic and gluten-free foods are, huh? Such a bummer. Thanks for sharing!

  15. salina

    First i’d like to say that I am so glad I found your blog 🙂 So DH just put us on a budget and I’m in absolute freak mode…. honestly I think the moment those words came out of his mouth I immediately had that money blown in my head with things I desperately needed 🙂 LOL, but I do have a question: about how many pages do you have designated for your lists. I’m trying to set mine up but am apprehensive about how many pages I should allow for each category. Also, just to make sure I understand, do you first go to dealstomeals and write down those prices and then adjust prices as you seem them?

  16. Emily

    Hey! I was just wondering what items you categorize under “Grains?” I’ve been making my own budget sheets etc. lately and they are working really good, but you inspired me to make a better grocery pricing sheet, and i’m not sure what to add there. I added a category called “dry goods” for myself and put pancake mix, all sorts of pasta, and bread crumbs etc. in there. Anyway, what is under that section in your book?!

    • Emily

      Nevermind! I was just going through my own list and realized it’s most likely breads. Duh for me. Sorry!

    • FunCheapOrFree

      Great question! Yes, breads is part of it – bagels, bread, tortillas, muffins…but also chips, pasta, crackers, etc.

  17. Camille

    Hi Jordan- I had a quick question about your price notebook- how do you keep up with inflation and when costs go up? I have noticed from some of these posts that are a couple years old that prices have gone up:). I have price matched for a few years and so I have gotten pretty good at knowing what is a good deal and what’s not. I love the idea of a notebook to keep all that information because honestly what mom doesn’t need help remembering things;); but I was just curious if you have to update it if you haven’t seen something at such a good price for so long, or do you just go with a sale that is pretty close? I don’t know if I am making any sense… for example, ground beef used to go on sale for $1.99/lb pretty frequently, but I have not seen it at that price for well over a year. If I was keeping track in my notebook, would I write a new low price down, or just compare each sale with this original price? Sorry if this seems like such a silly question but I am so impressed with your website and I am always looking for ways to save and do it efficiently:). Thank you!

    • FunCheapOrFree

      I used to be religious with my price notebook, and now I just don’t use it much. After watching prices so intensely for a few years, my brain is programmed and remembers them pretty well now (since I’m buying the same things over and over it seems). But I would just scratch out and update pricing as new “good deals” arise! Constant updating is important because it keeps your brain fresh too. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

      • Camille

        Thanks for responding:).

  18. Rachel

    Hi Jordan,
    Thank you for all the wisdom that you have shared with us ,moms. Im taking a lot of notes =). Speaking of which, do you have an updated verion of your notebook? I noticed the price list were written last 2012.

  19. Kamryn Carlson

    I need to have one of these! Great idea!

  20. Madelyne McKee

    This is brilliant!!!! I have some prices memorized, like you said, but I just went shopping with my mom and she pointed out how expensive the lemons and limes were. I felt sick because I had just bought some a few days prior thinking they were probably a good price! I’m going to start implementing this today. You wise woman, you.


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