A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about ways to save money on groceries. Our food bills have gotten out of hand and I honestly cannot figure out why. I tried out my advice and carefully saved my receipts for the month of April. Here is what I found.
Extra trips are budget killers
Almost 17% ($132) of my grocery receipts were from "extra" trips and all of those "extra" trips were to Trader Joe's. While living in a walkable community saves money in some ways, it also increases our need for self-restraint. Something none of us have when it comes to food!
If you are not hungry when you are shopping, getting prepared foods can be cheaper than going out.
There were two nights in April when I was not feeling well and we decided not to cook at home. Both times, we made a trip to Whole Foods. With some foresight, we made these trips several hours before dinner when we were not starving for dinner! As a result, we spent $36 on two dinners in the Whole Foods prepared section. Much cheaper than going out/getting food delivered; although, still more expensive than just cooking at home.
Apps save a little money, but increase time
I saved a grand total of $2.05 on groceries by using Target Cartwheel. I'm not sure how much time it took me but more the $2.05 worth! Maybe if I got into discount cards at major grocers or big box stores I would see more results, but I question if I would feel the time investment is worth the savings.
Lists are awesome
I would have stated this regardless of our grocery store woes. I am a list person. They provide me with immeasurable COMFY. So, this piece of advice was not hard to follow. I don't have a way to quantify how much this saves us. However, I am bound by my lists so it really takes a lot of self-justifying for me to go off my list. I have turned down numerous snacks, "new" items, fancy beverages, and desserts because they were not on my list!
Remember my tote bags
Many of the stores I go to offer a 5 cent bag refund. It is not much, but it is something. I was very good at remembering them at the beginning of the month, but my enthusiasm waned as the weeks went on. I did take an important step of putting a few tote bags in the car, so at least they are accessible!
Price Comparisons with Giant, a GASP...big box store, TJs, Whole Foods, and Target
I am really going to try to find some time this month to make a list of our 20 most purchased items and do a price comparison and the 4 most locationally convenient grocery store types: major grocery chain, a (GASP) big box store, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods. Admittedly, this is a bit exciting to the researcher in me, but also a bit daunting to the timekeeper in me!
In the end, I did learn some things about our grocery spending, but I have not really saved any money (unless you count the $2.05 using Cartwheel!). I am very curious to see the results of my price comparison and would LOVE to hear your time-efficient ways of saving! Until then, I'm off to the store, but only ONCE THIS WEEK!
Do you use Personal Capital to track your spending? If not, may we recommend you do so. It's very handy, and free! Not to mention, you'd be helping us out by singing on. Check it out!