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How to Create a price comparison spreadsheet

One of the best elements of the Internet revolution has been its ability to take the hassle out of so many of life’s tasks. Want to make a payment – use online banking. Want to find a recipe – do a Google search. And want to find the best priced loan, then check out a price comparison web site. However, despite the influx of price comparison web sites, there remain gaps in the products and services that they cover, which is where making your own price comparison spreadsheet comes in.

Decide upon the elements you want to measure in your comparison spreadsheet

When we need to choose between competing products there are usually a number of key features that we weigh up to determine which product most appeals. Let’s take the example of booking a self catering holiday cottage. The daily or weekly rate will clearly be one of the main considerations but other factors that are worth considering are proximity to amenities, size, facilities, and user recommendations.

Use the Internet to research competing providers

To get value for money, the key is always to shop around rather than picking the first company that you find that sells the product or service that you are after. As a typical guide, it’s usually worth compiling a shortlist of at least six providers, so that you can have confidence that you have scoured the market sufficiently well. Use the Internet to identify suitable candidates and then scour their web sites for the information to insert into your home price comparison spreadsheet.

Enter the relevant details into your price comparison spreadsheet

The focus of a price comparison spreadsheet will normally be upon the cost aspects of a purchase. Therefore, you will typically enter information about all the associated costs in the first few columns of your spreadsheet. This may include the main quoted price, plus any fees or deposits that may be required. Then, for the other attributes you wish to compare, arrange them by order of significance.

Scan the price comparison spreadsheet to determine which product to purchase

The advantage of a price comparison spreadsheet is that it neatly summarises all the key bits of information that you need to consider to make your purchase decision. Try to avoid overly sprawling spreadsheets that are crammed with too much text as they make it more difficult to quickly analyse the merits of the various options. Another advantage of using a spreadsheet is that you can use the “Sort” function to arrange the options by ascending price. This will therefore immediately show you the lowest cost options and you can then look at the additional attributes to determine if there’s a compelling reason for choosing one of the higher cost products or services.

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