Last year (2012), I made it a goal to spend 50% less on groceries. At that time, I was typically spending $300.00 a month, which is about $3,600.00 a year. Now, this does include all household products (soap, paper towels, etc.) as well. In 2012, with couponing, I ended up spending about $1,860.00.
I decided to alter my budget a little bit this year, because I wanted things to be separate, but still accounted for, since the program I use to see how much savings I’ve gotten is kindof all-in-one.
For example, I coupon for diapers, but I use them for diaper cakes and the funds for that actually comes out of my gift budget, not my grocery budget. But since I bought them with other stuff, the receipts make it look like I spent more than I was supposed to. I also don’t want to leave it out, because then my coupon savings percentage goes way down on my tracker.
I use this free site CouponRecord.com. I really like how user friendly it is, but the only thing I don’t like is that it reflects and highlights only your coupon savings…but honestly most of time, you’re actually getting more savings from a store sale. And while there is a category for that, it doesn’t project that on the savings chart. Basically, you want your Store Savings and Coupon parts of the pie chart to be larger than what you actually spent. In the end, it’s free to me, so I’m not complaining that much. :)
The only thing I put in with no savings is my Bountiful Basket purchase every other week. I pay $16.50 for a basket of typically 6 different vegetables and 6 different fruits. Though it’s much cheaper than buying produce at the store, I don’t count a savings percentage on it. If you work there and volunteer, you can get free produce. By buying these baskets, I was able to cut down our produce price significantly. Now, you don't get to pick what comes in your basket, but if you're not that picky, this might be a good option for you!
So, I lumped a few things together to make my budget keeping a little bit easier. I bank at multiple banks…but today I'll be talking about Ing Direct, which is about to change to Capital One. The thing I love about Ing, is that you can have sub –saving accounts under your main account. They each have a different savings account number, but they’re all associated with your customer account number.
It’s nice, because I can have a savings account for each thing I budget for. Basically, this is my electronic version of doing the envelope system. Every payday, my allotted amounts automatically go into each account and I can only spend what’s in there for that specific category. Though I’m talking specifically about groceries today, I apply this to all areas of my life budgeting (bills, vacation, crafting, emergency fund, Christmas, etc.)
For my couponing this year, I’m raising my overall budget to about $185.00 a month. This will also include the cost of the newspaper, my hair products, and baby products that I buy for gifts on top of my everyday groceries and household products. I was still spending this money last year, but was tracking it separately.
Since you typically don’t get coupons during the holidays, this time of year is when you get the most inserts. Before I left to Anaheim, I was busy cutting coupons and stockpiling on things. Like my 60 rolls of toilet paper, lol. I think I’m going to over spend for the month, but I figure if I average out for the year, I’ll be okay.
Even if budgeting and couponing isn’t your thing, if you at least buy products when they’re on sale and stockpile…you’d save a bit of money. And really, that’s just spending your money more smart! Which brings me to one of the books I finished last month. Ever since Shaela gave me the tip to put my iPad in a Ziploc bag when I'm in the tub...I've been reading much more! Plus, I did start running again, so gym = more reading time!
I was lucky enough to get this book free...prices change on Amazon all the time, so maybe it'll come up again. For anyone who's financially savvy, this book isn't for you. It's very basic, but if you're just starting to save more money, then this is a great place to start. Reading this book was a great reinforcement that I'm not off from what I should be doing.
Only 13 more books to read until my birthday! I think I can do it! :) Well, I hope you all have a great Tuesday!