How much do you pay for a bar of soap? Do you know? How do you know when something is a its rock-bottom price if you don't know how much you pay for the item normally anyway?
Whenever I speak at an event or teach a class, the absolute most important information I can give is to create a "Price List" or a "Price Book".
Grab a piece of paper and make four columns.
Column 1: Item Description (This can be very generic, like "Bar Soap". If you're brand loyal, write that down, like "Lever 2000 Bar Soap".)
Column 2: Unit Size (How is your item measurable? Meat would usually be by the pound, other things could be by the ounce, by the bottle, or by the bag. For things like bar soap or sandwich baggies, it would be by the individual piece.)
Column 3: Regular Price (This is where you fill in normal everyday prices--especially if you're knew to frugal shopping. Lever 2000 soap 8-packs are $4.64 at Wal-Mart. That makes each bar cost 58 cents.)
Column 4: Stockpile Price (You might want to use a pencil in this column. This is where you look for sales and/or coupons. If your local grocer puts the soap on sale for $2 per 4-pack, then each bar is 50 cents. If you have a .50 coupon that doubles, then each bar is only .25! That's a stockpile price--buy a bunch!)
Take your newly formed price list throughout your home and write down the items that you buy regularly: groceries, toiletries, cleaners, paper goods, pet items, and baby stuff. Then start filling in the columns.
The best thing about creating a "Price List" is that it's still very effective for people who don't use coupons! If you want to save money on your groceries, toiletries, and household items, you need to start by knowing how much those items cost. Then you can monitor "sale" prices and know if it's actually on sale or just being advertised.
I'll share many of my "Stockpile Prices" soon!