For the last two months I’ve been keeping a Price Book of my grocery spending. I put my receipts in a spreadsheet that includes where I bought the item, how big it is, the price, and how much the item cost per unit.
Here’s a screenshot to give you an idea:
I’ve been doing this for two months and intend to do it for longer, at least 6 months. So far, my spending dropped $50 from May to June. The price book allowed me to see ways I was wasting money and correct it, which naturally led to saving $50.
For example, I was buying my son fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt for $1.29 a container, or $.22/ounce. Since I was doing it regularly, I bought a big tub of plain yogurt instead and mix homemade jam or fruit in it, for about $.10/oz. This simple change saved me about $10.
Here are other changes from 2 months of looking at grocery spending. I:
* Stopped buying baby food meat ($.33/oz, and questionable quality) and started making my son pureed soups using a variety of vegetables and meats for much less money.
* Discovered it’s not always cheaper to buy dried beans in bulk, and that sometimes canned beans cost less.
* Realized which stores have the best deals on what items. I should never buy produce at Whole Foods or juice at my local store, for both stores gouge on these items.
* Started making desserts. I was in denial, thinking we weren’t eating sweets, but we were buying expensive chocolate bars too regularly for me to continue to claim that’s the case. Since those bars cost over $1/oz, I started making the occasional cake or pie to compensate. Mr. Savvy doesn’t seem to mind.
* Saved the most by buying loss leaders, markdown produce, and bulk cooking ingredients. I knew that, but it was good to see the numbers.
* Am considering making candied nuts. I like them in salads but they are expensive.
* Might start buying bigger containers of cream, as I apparently go through more of it than I thought.
* Always lose out when I don’t think ahead.
* Have to find a cheaper way to get spices. They are costly.
* Consistently buy fancy food for celebrations–picnics, Mother’s Day, my anniversary, etc. I should think ahead for these events so I don’t do a lot of last-minute impulse buys.
* Am encouraging Mr. Savvy to make more beer, since it is the cheapest way to drink quality beer.
Overall I don’t spend all that much on groceries. The June bill was $513 for the three of us. That’s not too bad… but we can do better.