This post contains affiliate links, and we may receive compensation if you click one of the links contained. Please read our full disclosure for more details.
2018 is just about finished. After the holidays, all the year end tasks can be overwhelming, but there is one task that I actually look forward to every year- going over our grocery spending.
I know. It doesn’t exactly sound like date night. But it’s more fun than you think!
You see, we keep track of our receipts throughout the year. Then, at the end of the year, we look at the grand total. We figure out what we are averaging- every month, every week, every day, per person, and per person per meal. It’s a little bit of math, but it feels like a little competition we have with ourselves every year- and I like to win!
I know you want to be a winner, too, so I thought I would share with you 5 ways keeping track of your grocery spending will save you MORE! You can start right now, and this new year can be your best year yet! Here’s how you can SAVE:
1- You have accountability for your budget.
You probably have a grocery budget. Every time you shop, you limit the amount you spend so you can meet your financial goals. BUT, do you ever go over budget? Go ahead. Admit it. We all do sometimes. In order to keep overspending from becoming a budget-wrecking habit, you need accountability. That comes in the form of tracking.
Little numbers in black and white will not lie to you. They will tell you the truth about what you are spending- and you need truth! You can’t look at week after week of going over budget and continue to tell yourself their is not a problem. You will have to face it. It’s a good thing!
2- You can make changes
Once you have faced your spending patterns and you understand them better, you can make changes. You can change your behavior so that you are staying under budget. You can change your budget so it more accurately reflects your needs. You can changes your habits to help you be more successful. There was a time when we shopped bi-weekly and I found that our diet was less varied because I was limiting my opportunities to take advantage of sales. This made me more inclined to overspend on the things we were not getting. I changed our bi-weekly shop to a weekly shop, and it was so much better. It felt like new groceries were coming in constantly and we were not stuck with the same things all the time. The overspending stopped (and, in case you were wondering, the savings even made up for the costs of the additional gas to make the extra trips).
3- You can get/keep your family involved.
I have been in this grocery game for a long time. Our Frugal Family Food Facebook Community Group has over 100,000 members who are sharing posts daily about their grocery shopping struggles and successes (Join the group by clicking here and learn more tips to save you money). If I had a nickel for every time someone told me their spouse of children were not supportive of their grocery saving efforts, I would be a millionaire. Seriously.
You know how to change that problem? Get them involved! We keep our weekly family expenses on a white board in our kitchen. The whole family knows our budget, and they know how much I spend every time I go shopping- and it’s right next to our weekly meal plan. They know when we have extra, and the know when things are tight. It is so much easier to get them to understand when they see the numbers on the board. Just like they tell you the truth, they will tell your family the truth about your financial situation, too.
Believe it or not, your family wants you to succeed. Keep them in the loop by tracking your expenses, and you will save yourself a bunch of time you would have spent before explaining why they can’t have 4 different boxes of cookies and money buying said cookies when you couldn’t take any more of the whining. And let’s not even talk about the stress you will save. In fact, you will probably save even more money because you will save what you would have spent on coffee or therapy just to deal with the whining and complaining. You are welcome.
4- You can plan ahead for bulk purchases.
Last year, my family made some pretty major bulk purchases, the largest of which was 1/8 of a cow to get local, grass-fed beef from a local farmer. It was something we wanted to try for a long time, but we had never felt like we could afford to do. Because we were tracking our grocery expenses and the cow was ordered weeks in advance, we had the opportunity to cut back in a specific way to make up the money to pay for it. It worked out beautifully.
There are lots of items that you may find are more affordable in bulk. My friends and I buy meat at butchering time, but you can also buy grains (like wheat and oats), vegetables in season, and amazing sale items that are only found at certain times of the year (like oranges in December or turkeys, hams, and baking goods at Thanksgiving). Tracking your spending and using your saving can help you meet your financial goals and making the most of every dollar available with bulk purchases.
5- You can set goals.
Honestly, the most fun my husband and I have when we go over our annual tracking is when we start considering our goals. We start by looking at our goals from the previous year. Then, we consider how well we preformed. After considering our successes and failures, we make plans for the next year. This is the fun. I LOVE to dream about what’s to come. How can we do better with our money? What will we use our savings for? And we sometimes get goofy when we make our plans. You can watch us as we go over our grocery spending and talk about all of our goals here:
Some folks I know use their grocery savings to take a vacation every year. Want to talk about getting your family on board?! Her kids and husband are downright cheap about what they spend because they want to do something awesome each year!
Setting goals are not abstract. We pick numbers and use our finances for a purpose- so we can accomplish the things that are on our hearts.
This year, I am challenging you to start tracking your grocery spending and save even more money. Get some accountability, make some changes, keep your family involved, plan ahead for bulk purchases, and set some amazing goals! Then, come back here and tell me all about it! I love to hear saving success stories!
Amanda is a wife, mom, and all around frugal lady. She shares her family and faith on The Fundamental Home and Fundamental Faith YouTube channels. She also blogs at thefundamentalhome.com There, you can find her blog series, “How I Feed My Family of 5 for $100 Every Month.” Amanda is co-creator of Frugal Family Food and, as such, is dedicated to helping families eat well on a budget.