January spending scorecard

3 02 2009

As promised, I am reporting in on how much money we spent — and how much we saved — at the grocery store and pharmacy during January. Click here to read the original post. 

Over the last few years, I’ve tried to stay within a $50 per week budget so I’ve always known — within a few bucks — how much I was spending.

 But I’ve always had to guess how much I was saving. From the volume of coupons I clip and the weight of the coupon binder I tote with me on every shopping excursion, I knew I saved A LOT. But now I have my first month’s worth of solid evidence:

I brought home $908.79 worth of groceries, cleaning supplies and health and beauty products. That’s full price, which, of course, I would never dream of paying.

I saved $284.35 by shopping sales and using my loyalty cards. I saved another $346.25 using coupons for a total of $652.92 in savings.

I paid $56.23 using various gift cards, which I received as gifts or earned through various promotions, leaving $199.63 that I paid out of pocket. Crunching the numbers, that means I saved 78 percent on grocery and drug store items for January.

For those of you following my no-spending-in-February challenge, I was happy to see that when I tallied the final receipts I didn’t go over my standard $50 per week budget. I wanted to go into the challenge with the same amount of food and household supplies that I normally do to keep the experiment honest. (Click here and here to read the first two posts on the no-spend challenge.)

 My only real shock — and I have to admit, disappointment — was in the number of shopping trips it took to obtain this level of savings. After tallying my receipts, I discovered I made 28 trips to seven different stores. I shopped at Harris Teeter 11 times, CVS seven, Kroger four, Food Lion three and Lowe’s Foods, Super Target and Super Walmart once each. If I were working outside the home, I seriously doubt I would make that many trips. But since I am at home, trying to get the most out of one salary and save substantial amounts for retirement and college, I see it as part of the job. And thankfully, all of these stores are within a mile or two of my home, with the exception of the Super Walmart, so I’m not burning up too much gas to go after my bargains.

But still, I never realized I was shopping that frequently. With the help of a large freezer bag, I do try to group some of my shopping trips together to save time and gasoline. Even so, I think I could do a better job of consolidating. I’m hoping maybe January is an aberration. I guess we’ll see as the year wears on.

One final note:  My $50 per week budget covers a full-time family of three (two adults and one 10-year-old) plus two college boys who come home about every two weeks to do their laundry and raid the pantry.

How much do you spend per week on your groceries and household supplies? Do you keep track of your savings? Do you go to several stores per week to chase the deals or do you stick to one store to save time? I would love to compare notes.

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3 responses

4 02 2009
Roger

Quite an accomplishment – congratulations!

Are you able to actually “save” the $700 in a separate account? What I try to do – although sometimes it’s more than I am able to – is take 50% of the savings and deposit it in a separate account. So far (since last June) I have saved $1000 in a checking/savings account at BB&T. Since it’s just me I don’t spend as much as a family would but I still try to realize the money that I’ve saved so it is meaningful at the end of the day.

I tried to do the “no-spend” February but I fell off the wagon the second day when someone posted a deal at Harris Teeter that I just couldn’t pass up -LOL!

Good luck on your goals!

4 02 2009
clippyclippy

I agree about the # of trips – sometimes I wonder how long I can keep it up. Do I want to spend the rest of my life running around from store to store each week tracking down the best deals?
Sometimes I get weary, and I think back to the days when I only went to the grocery store once per week at the most, and never stepped foot into a drug store. The amount of time couponing consumes really adds up.
However, it is worth it for me right now, when the savings help the family in so many ways, and above that to have so much to share is a blessing.
Keep up the good work!

4 02 2009
catlover

Wow!!! That is just great.. I have been working on my spending, because I can never get it to where it should be.. I have an 11 yr old at home and one away at college, hubby and cats. I just started this past 5 months or so making coupons work for me, I have always been a couponer, but I was happy when I saved $8, now I am able to save double digits and get many things for free. I think what stops me from doing my best are a few factors: 1. Menu planning is a hard one for me because there are times I make a menu for 2 wks( hubby gets paid bi-weekly) and I don’t stick to it, and our eating needs differ each person so many times I have to make 2 meals. I know people are going to give me all types of suggestions of this, but I have tried and tried, but nothing works.. I don’t ea any type of meat except for fish, hubby won’t eat anything if it doesn’t contain an animal and Dd will eat chicken or shrimp and that is about it. When Ds is home he eats anything. A good example is tomorrow I am planning on making Tortellini soup.. Dd and I love this hubby will try a small bowl and then make something for him. Or last night I made Hubby and Dd Baked Chicken with potatoes and salad.. I had to make myself a veggie hamburger.
A typical week I spend like this: $60 at H.T. $100 for 2 wks at Sam’s club
CVS- $10 a week ( I use coupons and ECB’s to get freebies) Pet needs are $120 a month. Then there is always the run to the store for milk, produce or eggs. So you see I spend too much, I used to spend more, there are times I spend less sometimes more depending on my menu. I have read lots of frugal tip websites but I can’t seem to get this better, I admire those who can, and I am quite jealous. Cheryl

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