Friday, March 12, 2010

Tracking Your Grocery Expenses: Why It Works for Me

Recently, Jen at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam had a great post about lowering your grocery budget by tracking expenses.  I do this every time, and it really has helped me lower my budget!

First of all, it gives me accountability. When I'm tempted to buy something I didn't plan for, I think about the fact that I'm going to write it down... and the publish it here in the blog for the world to see... and usually I decide to put the item right back where I found it.  Cha-ching, instant savings!

Second, I have all the records of what I bought, when, and for how much, which helps me decide what to buy where when I don't have a deal or a coupon.  It's sort of like having a price book, something that most frugal bloggers suggest doing but, to tell the truth, I've never done.  So I can see, looking through my grocery expenses, that bananas and milk, two frequently bought items in this household, are expensive at Publix but much cheaper at Walmart and, surprisingly, SuperTarget.

How do I go about keeping track?  Well, first of all, when I get receipts, I don't just put them in the shopping bag or in my purse; I put them in my left front pants pocket.  Luckily, all my pants have pockets.  When I get home, I put them on the computer keyboard so that the next time I'm at the computer, I'll remember to enter them into my spreadsheets.

Yes, spreadsheets.  Two of them.  The first is the spreadsheet you see linked in my Wednesday Weekly Shopping posts each week.  I got this simple spreadsheet originally from Michelle at I Heart Publix, though I've since made some changes to it.  The other tracks store expenses for the year and allows you to see if you are staying on budget.  That's how I get the information on the sidebar about how much I've spent and saved each month.  I got the yearly expense spreadsheet from Angela at The Coupon Project.

I find it fun to see what I've bought and saved each week and each month, and to really see that I'm staying on budget (or not).  I hope you do, too!

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2 comments: March 12, 2010 at 11:49 AM  

This is something I've been saying I need to do. I'm really good about staying on track during my "big" grocery shopping trip each's that stop for one or two items throughout the week that I know could be contained better if I saw exactly how much damage I was doing!


Stefany March 17, 2010 at 3:06 PM  

This is a great post! I am doing all I can to get more control of my money and purchases so this would be helpful!

Thanks for linking up with SSO!

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