Welcome to ChildWild

I’m Sierra. I live in the Boston area with my family.

Contact | About | Subscribe

The Tightwad Gazette: Price Book, buying rules

by Sierra on April 9, 2009 · 16 comments

in food,money

I’m reading the Tightwad Gazette, famed classic of thrift. Yes, I thriftily got my copy out of the public library. I had been resoundingly unimpressed for the first 30 pages, which were essentially all suggestions on how to “save” on things I don’t spend on: cigarettes, soda, new clothes, dryer sheets.

But then on page 30, things turned around. First, she offers a rule of thumb I like, that builds on my beloved 30-day list for non-essential spending:

Put something on your “to acquire” list, and then shop around for a freebie, a cheaper version, a bargain, etc…until it costs you not to have that thing.

A real life example: I need a wagon for my homeschool group to go to the park near my house. I have needed this wagon for months, but haven’t bought one yet because I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to acquire through Freecycle or another local barter. Now it is spring, and we are going to the park regularly, and it is a PITA. I will buy a wagon this week, probably from CraigsList.

The next great thing she offers is the concept of a Price Book. This is one of those money things so obvious and elegant I cannot believe I did not think of it. She keeps a book with the prices of all the things she normally buys written in it, for every store she shops at. So she knows, when she sees something on sale, if it’s a good deal or if she’d be better off going to Costco.

Now, that plan is brilliant, but a crazy lot of work. Who has time to run around comparison shopping for staple goods at a dozen different stores? Not me. But what I do have is an internet connection and friends. So, without further ado, I present: the Community Price Book. I’ve created a GoogleDoc spreadsheet for grocery and household items. If you live in my shopping area and want to play, just leave me a comment or e-mail me with the e-mail you want to use and I’ll share it with you. Then we can all add our items as we shop, and anyone with a portable internet or PDA can have the whole index with them at any store.

If you don’t live in my shopping area, please steal this idea and start your own community price book. This is the first thrift tip I’ve run across in awhile that I think can really save me some money, and I’m excited to share it.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Related posts:

  1. Book Giveaway/Review: Your Money, The Missing Manual
  2. Your Money Book Giveaway and Top Money Hacks
  3. Buying Bras Without Breaking The Bank
  4. Book Review: Courageous Parents, Confident Kids
  5. The dangers of bulk buying, and joining the Wise Bread staff

  • http://wordsend.org/ vika

    Yes, please! Same address as for the other Google Docs. :)

    [Reply]

  • http://wordsend.org vika

    Yes, please! Same address as for the other Google Docs. :)

    [Reply]

  • Sarah T

    Me!

    [Reply]

  • Sarah T

    Me!

    [Reply]

  • http://childwild.wordpress.com/ Sierra

    I almost added you without even asking – I knew this was right up your alley.

    [Reply]

  • http://childwild.wordpress.com/ Sierra

    I almost added you without even asking – I knew this was right up your alley.

    [Reply]

  • Amy

    I’d like to join if you want me. I shop pretty much only at costco and whole foods during non farmers market months.

    [Reply]

    Marie Reply:

    America’s Cheapest Family is a great book. I too had to wait for it to arrive at our local library, and after it arrived, it was CONSTANTLY checked out! Needless to say it was a pretty hot book. I finally was able to check it out and devoured the book. What’s great about it is that they try to encourage people at different levels of frugality (those who are new to it, long-time-tightwads, and those in-between who want to take things to the black-belt level). Eventually, I kept renewing the book (and tightwad Gazette) so often that I waited to find a used copy of each to have as reference at home.

    If you have kids, I think their money system for kids outlined in the book is a great idea. Check out their youtube channel…they have a segment from a local TV news station on Kids & Money. What an impressive family. Good info on buying cars, homes (and maintaining a home), and other big ticket item. Overall a great, up-to-date companion to Tightwad Gazette

    I also subscribe to their newsletter. I find it to be pretty good, and motivating and economical at $12/yr for 6 issues. (Each year you renew you get a free back issue of your choice.)

    Tara — check out their youtube channel to get more acquainted with the family. They also have a sample newsletter on their website you can download for free.

    Have fun!!

    [Reply]

  • Amy

    I’d like to join if you want me. I shop pretty much only at costco and whole foods during non farmers market months.

    [Reply]

    Marie Reply:

    America’s Cheapest Family is a great book. I too had to wait for it to arrive at our local library, and after it arrived, it was CONSTANTLY checked out! Needless to say it was a pretty hot book. I finally was able to check it out and devoured the book. What’s great about it is that they try to encourage people at different levels of frugality (those who are new to it, long-time-tightwads, and those in-between who want to take things to the black-belt level). Eventually, I kept renewing the book (and tightwad Gazette) so often that I waited to find a used copy of each to have as reference at home.

    If you have kids, I think their money system for kids outlined in the book is a great idea. Check out their youtube channel…they have a segment from a local TV news station on Kids & Money. What an impressive family. Good info on buying cars, homes (and maintaining a home), and other big ticket item. Overall a great, up-to-date companion to Tightwad Gazette

    I also subscribe to their newsletter. I find it to be pretty good, and motivating and economical at $12/yr for 6 issues. (Each year you renew you get a free back issue of your choice.)

    Tara — check out their youtube channel to get more acquainted with the family. They also have a sample newsletter on their website you can download for free.

    Have fun!!

    [Reply]

  • http://asimplelife.livejournal.com/ Tara

    I love these books! I got my first one (the second book) when I was 18 and it changed the way I lived. I ebb and flow in spending but those books have given me the skills to reign in my belt when I need to. In fact, I am re-reading the entire series (I do this a few times a year) and got the complete TG book out of the library so I could read the success stories again :P

    I am currently waiting for “America’s cheapest family” to come in at the library which I am guessing is a similar book although I have never read of it or heard of these people

    [Reply]

  • http://asimplelife.livejournal.com Tara

    I love these books! I got my first one (the second book) when I was 18 and it changed the way I lived. I ebb and flow in spending but those books have given me the skills to reign in my belt when I need to. In fact, I am re-reading the entire series (I do this a few times a year) and got the complete TG book out of the library so I could read the success stories again :P

    I am currently waiting for “America’s cheapest family” to come in at the library which I am guessing is a similar book although I have never read of it or heard of these people

    [Reply]

  • petegast

    If you are still doing this, Sara and I would be interested. I sent you mail with our email addresses, but you may have missed it in the preparations for your trip and your explosion of comments so I figured I would put a message here.

    [Reply]

  • http://childwild.com Sierra

    The document still exists, but hasn't gotten much use. If you and Sara are seriously interested in using it, I'll happily add you and try to start using it again myself.

    I can't recall if either of you are iPhone users, but there are also several iPhone apps that let you collect this kind of data and share it with other users, but I haven't tried any yet.

    Best,
    Sierra

    [Reply]

  • http://childwild.com Sierra

    The document still exists, but hasn't gotten much use. If you and Sara are seriously interested in using it, I'll happily add you and try to start using it again myself.

    I can't recall if either of you are iPhone users, but there are also several iPhone apps that let you collect this kind of data and share it with other users, but I haven't tried any yet.

    Best,
    Sierra

    [Reply]

  • http://childwild.com Sierra

    The document still exists, but hasn't gotten much use. If you and Sara are seriously interested in using it, I'll happily add you and try to start using it again myself.

    I can't recall if either of you are iPhone users, but there are also several iPhone apps that let you collect this kind of data and share it with other users, but I haven't tried any yet.

    Best,
    Sierra

    [Reply]

Previous post:

Next post: