Why use price books when doing frugal shopping?

I had a message from a reader about price books where the reader wants to know:

“What’s the purpose behind a price book? To compare prices of the same items at different stores? I get that I guess, but I just can’t see creating a grocery list for 1/3 of my groceries at Safeway, 1/3 of them at Save-on-Foods, 1/4 of them at Costco and little bits and pieces here and there at random places around town. My time is worth more than having to drive all around town to save a few cents on a box of Kleenex, for example… so what purpose does it serve in a really practical way?”

I am new to creating a price book, so some you may have better answers than me! I posted my response to that post before realizing that this might be best as a separate post so that it does not get buried in the comments section of that old post.

My response to the above question is:

I’m not an expert, but here is what I plan to use it for..
1. To see what store really has the best prices on the things that I buy
2. So that when I see a sale ad I will know if it is really a good deal or not
3. If I see something on sale in the store I can check if it is really a good deal.
4. To help set a realistic grocery budget.

I don’t plan on driving all around town to save a few cents cause gas is too expensive for that! 🙂 But say if I happen to be by a Target and I am low on mustard and they have the cheapest mustard then I know that and can run in for it.

So,  now I am calling out to those of you that use price books or have thoughts on them that you would like to share. You can leave your comments on this post instead of the one from last week on price books.

Not sure what a price book is, exactly? Well, if you’re a frugalista like me, then you might be interested in using one of these to get your finances straight. Here’s a good defintion from Penny Pinchin’ Mom:

A Price Book is a list of the products you purchase and the prices you pay in order to watch for sales trends and cycles.

When you know your target prices, you know when the price is a good deal and that you might want to go ahead and stock up. For example, if you know you can usually get your favorite soup for just $0.50 a can, you can watch for the sales cycle and learn that every 8 weeks it goes on sale, which allows you to stock up at the absolute lowest price!

Learn more on her blog post about it.

Self-confidence and self-esteem: are they the same thing?

Self-confidence and self-esteem are pretty popular terms when it comes to self-help or personal development. The question is, are they different things are the same thing?

I think the answer is yes to both of those questions.

I think that self-esteem clearly deals with how you see yourself. Do you think you are smart or stupid? Do you think you are pretty or ugly? Do you think you are successful or not? And so on.

And I think that self-confidence is basically having a strong belief that you can do anything or conquer anything that you want.

That is how I think that the two of them are different.

However, I think that they are the same in that you need one to have the other. If you have bad self-esteem you are probably going to have low self-confidence. And the same applies in reverse. So, while they are different at their core, they are so closely connected that they are not really all that different.

And they might even be part of something else – self-worth. You could say that self-esteem and self-confidence are the peas in the self-worth pod.

If anyone has any thoughts on this that they would like to share, please feel free to add them.

This chica’s happiness revolution

For my morning break at work, I went outside to read some of  What Color is Your Parachute as I’m trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, even though I’m 29. When I got to the bench outside someone from my department was already out there on break and asked what I was reading. I showed her the cover and her face lit up immediately.

“Oh, I’ve read that!” she excitedly exclaimed. “Isn’t it a good book?” she asked me.

I shrugged my shoulders. “I’m not that far in,” I explained, “and so far I’m fairly certain that I do not even have a parachute.”

She studied me for a moment before asking, “Do you like it here?”

I thought about lying for a brief moment. “I hate it actually,” I told her.

“It’s obvious,” she said as she got up to leave. “I hope you find what you’re looking for in there,” she said as she tapped the front of my book.

I smiled. Then she said to me, “I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen you smile! You should do that more often.” And then she went inside.

I didn’t read any of the book on my break as I was consumed with only one thought…

Am I really that unhappy?

Yes, I do not like my job and plan on fleeing from it as soon as possible. I’m in a great relationship though. No, I’m not where I want to be in life but I am confident that I will get there.

I dunno, maybe I am rather miserable. If so, how does one find happiness? Or is happiness supposed to find you? And why is it called finding happiness, is it really lost? Maybe happiness is there all the time and there’s just something blocking it from shining through. A big, ugly anti-happiness cloud. That’s what I call my mother, but that’s another story entirely.

I think that maybe all of us have happiness in us, which is where the finding comes in. Somewhere along the way, it’s gotten buried beneath all the masks we wear and the stresses of day to day life.

For some of us, being happy can be as simple as choosing to be happy. Write a little mantra of ‘today I choose to be happy’ and stick it on your bathroom mirror. As you’re getting ready in the morning, read it aloud to yourself.

Positive thinking is an easy way to let your happiness shine through. By eliminating negative thinking, you are only leaving room for positive thoughts, and thus happiness is born. Avoid negative thinkers.

Surround yourself with other happy people. Much like laughter (and the sniffles), happiness is infectious. Study them, and then do as they do.

Do something to make someone else smile. Sounds simple enough and maybe even a bit lame to you, but do not discount its effectiveness. Sometimes it can be something as simple as holding the door for someone with their arms full of stuff. Remember the pay it forward principle?

Fill your day with things you love. Okay, so maybe you have to work in Finance to pay your bills, but you can still have things you love throughout the day. Love comic books? Treat yourself by bringing some to work to read on your break. If you can listen to music at work, listen to your fave bands. Keep photos on your desk of places and people that you love. Talk to loved ones on your breaks if you can.

Get to know yourself better. By knowing yourself better and being more attuned to your emotion-meter, you will know what does and does not make you happy. An easy way to accomplish this is daily meditation, which clearly I need to work on starting today!

New drivers, please stay home

People’s driving, or inability that is, continues to amaze me. On my commute to work this morning, I got behind a driver that would stop a good car length behind the car infront of her. This is not a problem except that she felt the need to slam on her brakes to make the stop. She also continued to do this once we got on the interstate. I’m not sure why. Usually the brake-slammers are talking on a cell phone, but she did not appear to be doing as such. She has nothing to blame her bad driving on but herself.

I like to call people like her ‘new drivers’ because I like to think that they drive like assclowns because it’s new to them. Maybe they don’t have a lot of experience. And they’re nervous.

My real problem with ‘new drivers’ is the fact that they are out at rush hour. Rush hour traffic is bad enough without the addition of ‘new driver’ mucking it all up.

Speaking of bad drivers, why is it that I can get on the interstate to go to work and the slow lane is the only one that does not have a lot of traffic in it. I can go the speed limit almost the entire way to work simply by riding in the right lane. I don’t like to do this though. Why can’t people follow traffic laws and ’stay right except to pass?’ My favorite is when I am in the center or left lane and people are going below the speed limit and I have to actually pass on the right. I don’t like to be forced to do that. I always try to give people a chance to get over, but they never do.

Even better than that is when some assclown switches lanes to get infront of you as you are coming up on them for no reason at all. There is no one in front of them, they are not in an exit-only lane, there are not bumps or potholes in their lane. They just want to be an asswipe. That is the only possible answer. And it seems to happen on a daily basis. Or maybe it’s just where I live? Maybe it’s only the people here that are mentally challenged when it comes to driving.

6 Tips on Vacationing with Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend


Going on a vacation with your boyfriend or girlfriend can be a memorable or a disastrous experience. How can you make sure your vacation doesn’t ruin your relationship?

Plan your vacation together!

And make sure you both agree on the plan. You should agree on where to go, where to stay, and what to do. Plan your itinerary and budget. Agree on the duration of your vacation. When you’re there, you won’t have to discuss about your schedule and you know exactly what to do.

Never overestimate your time.

If you think you can spend ten things and go to ten places in one day in a foreign town, think again. Ask anyone who has been there. Most destinations allow you to check out a few places in one day. Usually, you would be too preoccupied in a single spot alone that you will only have time for three or so stops. If you rush from one stop to another, you won’t enjoy each place and you will quickly feel worn down.

Pack snacks.

Pack snacks during your trip. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 3-hour car ride to a beach resort near home or a plane ride to the Caribbean. Have something you can munch on, especially if you or your lover is someone who gets grumpy when hungry.

Bring your own cash.

Whether you’re choosing a holiday destination anywhere in the country or traveling abroad, you need to have cash handy. Finding a bank or ATM to get cash can be inconvenient and can eat into your travel time. If you are planning to go to a foreign country, have enough cash converted to their currency. Either of you probably holds the budget for your entire trip, but it’s still wise to keep some cash in your pocket for emergency cases.

Plan a day or two where you go to different places.

It is a good idea to have some time apart. You can’t always do the same things and go to the same places together. At some point, your differences will get in the way. If you don’t like to go a museum and your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to, plan a day wherein you can let each other go see places you want to see. This way, you both enjoy the trip together without restricting each other. The mistake is to let the other person do all the itinerary plan without considering your preferences or to do all the planning without considering the other person’s preferences.

Do something memorable.

Add a thrill to your vacation. Aside from lying on a beach bed under the sun, consider doing something more adventurous, like hiking mountains or trekking caverns. Being thrilled together can add a whole new level of experiences into your relationship.

8 Tips for Better Communication Between Couples

How you and your partner talk with each other affects the health of your relationship. After all, good communication is vital to any relationship, be it romantic or professional. Nothing is not resolved over a nice and careful exchange of thoughts.

Say what you need.

Instead of immediately pointing out what you think is the other person’s mistake, start with pointing out things you need — more time, more attention, more thoughtfulness, etc. This way, you would not sound as though you are blatantly criticizing them, and they would not feel as though you are attacking them.

Listen when the other is talking.

Talking about issues entails listening. When your partner is talking, keep yourself from interrupting as much as possible. It’s so tempting to respond angrily to some points you disagree with, but raising your voice while the other is talking only fuels a heated argument that doesn’t resolve anything.

Ask questions. Do not assume.

Many people rely on their hunches too much. Hunches can be a product of our personal biases and irrational thinking and can sometimes backfire wildly. Never make unfounded assumptions. Ask your partner about something that is bothering you before jumping into conclusions.

Insert not past issues.

Past issues that you have resolved need not be brought up in current argument. Just talk about your current issue. Digressing is not only illogical but is also adding insult to injury. The next thing you know, you’re talking about more than one issue and you end the day with animosity for each other.

Acknowledge your shortcomings.

You might have done something that has led to this predicament in your relationship. Or you might share the bigger role in it. If you want to patch things up, there is one thing you need to do — keep your ego at bay. We tend to go on a defense mode and rationalize our mistakes. This is a good way to injure a relationship. Know your faults, and admit them.

Be sensitive to your partner’s feelings.

Choose the right words when resolving issues. Just because it is their fault doesn’t mean it’s right to disrespect them and burn them with invective. Everyone makes mistakes. Your partner is not a perfect machine incapable of making mistakes, and just because they make mistakes doesn’t mean you can hurt and break them.

Calm down.

Don’t engage in an argument when you are angry. We tend to get irrational when we are angry. We tend to assume. We tend to think we are immune to errors. We tend to lay all the blame on the other person.

So if you are fuming, get out. Have some fresh air. Come back when you’re calm, and commence the talk.

Try considering the other person’s perspective.

Something may seem right from your perspective, but try imagining yourself in your partner’s shoes. Try to understand their motivations. This way, you would gain some insight into their behavior and choices, helping you understand them. Ask yourself this question: what would you have done if you were in their situation? Of course, this doesn’t apply to every situation, but it’s worth understanding why your partner acted in a way they did.