Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 Year-End Review


During the last four months of the year, I've tracked every grocery purchase I made. It started out as a challenge to reduce my spending, as I'd realized that my $400 budget had been exceeded every month for several months, often by $100+. This comes in part from sharing shopping duties with my husband and in part with not realizing how much I was really spending. Part of the confusion occurs because I do most of my shopping at Target, where we also buy non-grocery items. I do, however, include toiletries and paper goods in our grocery budget, as well as diapers. It's easier for me not to itemize these things.

The first month of the challenge was by far the most successful in terms of total dollars spent, with a total of $227.63. The highest savings came in November, with a total of $322.74 saved, in large part due to a Catalina deal at Jewel.

During these four months, the average spent was $328, $72 under budget and a huge improvement. According to my receipts, I saved $967.96 over paying full price without coupons for the items I bought. That doesn't include items I bought at Aldi, where some items are significantly cheaper. (For example, at my Aldi eggs are usually around $1 per dozen and have been as low as $.80. They're usually $1.20 or more on sale elsewhere. Crackers are generally no more than $1.29 a box. Target crackers are $2.50, while the regular price on Triscuits or Wheat Thins can be as high as $4 per box at Jewel and Dominick's.)

Just by focusing your attention and really tracking your spending, really seeing the prices at your grocery options, it's easy to save money. Conservatively, I really think anyone can save 10-15 percent or more just by keeping careful track of spending. Even more can be saved by meal planning, couponing, and paying attention to sales. 

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