Do you have a monthly grocery budget? Do you stick to it?
My monthly coupon reports are a way I keep myself in check with how much money I’m spending at the grocery store (well let’s be honest, grocery stores plural) each month and in turn how many coupons I’m using. Coupons are a hobby of mine.
I like to cut, clip and organize for fun but have never really sat down and tracked how much I’m spending at the store each month and how many coupons I’m using. And of the coupons I’ve used, which source did they come from (Sunday paper, digital, etc.)?
I used to track my spending religiously a few years ago based on a friends recommendation. After tracking for over a year I thought I had a good handle on where my money went each month so I stopped. Recently I’ve become curious again as I have a 2-year-old and money seems to fly out of my wallet faster than I realize. So I’ve started tracking our monthly grocery budget once again and have been surprised by the results.
I’m a wife, mom, marketing manager by day, and couponing/personal finance blogger by night. I’m a frugalist who has had a cheap gene her entire life. If there is a deal I will find it. If there is a way to save money on something I will not stop until I figure out how.
Nothing gives me more satisfaction than sharing money-saving tips with fellow savers… who are equally as passionate about saving as I am. I create monthly couponing reports where I keep myself honest about where I spend our household grocery budget. I also like to share personal finance tricks and frugal living tips that I’ve learned along the way.
August 2018 Grocery Report
Total grocery store spend: $635.17 (down from $645.88 last month-we’re still trending in the right direction!
How did I spend our grocery money this month?
I used to just keep track of a complete total of all trips I would take to the store, but that left questions at the end of the month about where I could trim. How can I trim if I don’t know how the total was spent? I decided to break down the total into some basic categories. If I truly want to be more diligent about saving I thought the better handle I had on specifically how I spend the grocery money by category, it would be helpful. Eye-opening at least!
- Groceries – edible: $375.51 (59%)
- Groceries – non-edible (paper towel, toilet paper, etc.): $22.20 (3%)
- Child (ex. Diapers, wipes, etc.): $67.48 (11%)
- Alcohol (self-explanatory): $169.98 (27%)
So not to sound like a lush, but this is a category that I’m fine with. Check out my post “What I won’t give up to be financially free faster” to see why.
Factors for August
It was a pretty standard month. Not a lot stands out that would have impacted why it is high or low.
So my husband had a cabin weekend with the guys’ mid-month. Not only did that mean less food and beverage at home, but I did not factor his food and beverage up north into the monthly equation. So arguably the total is not fully represented having no idea what he spent during his weekend of debauchery.
We have had a pretty hot summer, but the past few weeks have started to cool, feeling a bit more like summer or early fall should. So we did eat out a fair bit. My goal was to start tracking our eating out bills as well but when I missed the first one I simply said the hell with it and just didn’t!
I’ve always wondered if the amount of money I spend on the Sunday papers are actually offset by coupon usage. Never mind my time (although I recognize time is money), but could I look myself in the face and say the money I spend on the physical newspapers are offset by the value of coupons I use in a month.
Plus I’ve been really off printing coupons at home lately. I’m not sure if it’s my internet connection or if the printer is out of ink but I haven’t been able to get coupons.com coupons to print at home for a few months so they have been left out of the savings equation for a while.
- Newspaper: $9.25 – better than the zero this category was last month!
- Printed (at home): $0 (I used to print-at-home religiously but a few months ago I started having issues with my printer at home; I have been meaning to fix it or have my husband look at it but simply have not. No printed coupons in possession = no printed coupons actually being used!
- Mail-in rebate, peely, store display, etc: – $31.83 (I had a larger sum of rebates on beer that I submitted that inflated this a bit)
- Digital/Store Provided: $18.98
(this includes digital coupons I actually had to take some action to receive. Would include a $.50 coupon I clipped digitally from my store’s app. Would not include an in-store special for example on “Buy 5, save $5.00” where $1.00 gets deducted from each item. I do not include these savings as I didn’t technically have to clip or cut in order to receive it)
- “Extra Bucks” type or other: $32.50
- App: Ibotta/Checkout51/Fetch: $3.90
(calculated at the time of earning, not the time of actual redemption as many of these apps have minimums, etc. Fetch is estimated as 1% “cash back” but it is, in fact, a gift card.)
Total Coupon Savings for August 2018: $96.46 (so much better than last month, glad to see this number where it should be)
Favorite Apps I use to Save on Groceries:
Fetch is my new favorite. Works like most of the other grocery receipt-scanning apps but what I love about it is that you don’t have to clip offers in advance, and you can shop at any qualifying store to redeem offers.
New to Fetch? Sign up and enter my referral code M2CNU and you’ll get 2,000 Fetch Points ($2.00 in points) when you complete one receipt.
To use Fetch simply save your grocery receipts and scan them with the app. You earn points to cash in for gift cards. It’s so easy! You can be a couponer and save money without having to actually clip coupons! It’s an easy app to use for anyone looking to save money, but especially awesome for savers who are a little more passive, because you literally scan your receipt and you’re done.
Fetch is a free mobile app that gives you points for purchasing select items. Simply open the app and scan your receipt and your points are automatically calculated for you. If an offer available on Fetch appears on your receipt, you will earn cash back on it. No clipping in advance, no specific stores, it’s pretty awesome.
-Download the app for free. Click here and enter my referral code M2CNU to get 2,000 points
Ibotta is a free mobile app that pays you cash for purchasing select items at a number of participating stores. Basically, you get cash back for the things you are already buying.
First, you need to select the specific store you are shopping at. Once you select a store you can view hundreds of cash back opportunities available by purchasing the specific item and uploading your receipt.
Before you can “unlock” an offer and add it to your account you are typically asked to take an action. It usually just takes a second or two and may consist of watching a short commercial, answering a question or taking a survey. Doesn’t take a lot of time but know there is a barrier between you and the offer you are interested in.
It’s so easy to earn cash back by shopping the way you normally do.
-Download the app for free. Click here
Goals for next month
I really liked the increased visibility in using categories to track the grocery spend. In past months it has just been one lump sum and hard to distinguish what was really driving the overall amount spent. So I’ll continue to do that.
I’d also like to track our eating out/drinking out for next month as well to understand the grand total. I was totally fine with the grocery total for this month but questioning all of the eating out we were probably worse off than in months past I just can prove it with dollars.
Finally, I’m going to continue to challenge myself to get back the couponing basics. Making sure I’m diligently cutting Sunday coupons, printing at-home coupons and looking for the best deals. Nothing makes me more proud than a good cheap haul, and I feel I fell short this month.
What are you doing to reduce your monthly grocery bill?
Take one small step today – to help your finances tomorrow,