Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Year of Receipts

At the beginning of January 2010 I was reading a lot of blogs about saving money on groceries.

To be honest, I really didn't know how much we were spending on our "budget" of food - we bought, we ate, we bought some more.

I'm not the best shopper - I don't have menus planned for the week. It's a work in progress - and so a year ago I decided at the very least, I needed to know how much we were spending.

And so - I fanatically began collecting receipts. I was very diligent (read as neurotic) and I think at times I may have been mistaken as a crazy paper hoarder if you saw in my purse...but would say that 98% of the shopping trips were collected.

With a years worth of data in front of me...I began the analysis...and this is what I've learned.

1. Unless I immediately attack my husband upon his return from the store, the receipt will forever be lost.

2. The numbers are not fully accurate - it doesn't include eating out, it doesn't include the 25% of a cow that we bought, it does include random household items (air filters, dog food, toilet paper, medications) and it does not include school lunches.

3. I made an average of 5.25 trips to the store per month. (There must have been killer stock-up sales in March - I had 11 receipts!)

4. I spent an average of $279 per month.

5. Now I can really compare prices especially for bulk items.

And the final lesson....Surely, I can do better.

Add that to my resolution list!


Karen Peterson said...

That sounds like a good exercise. I want to do something similar. I need to prove to myself how much money I waste in eating out.

Janet said...

You're doing better than me. I think I go to the store 5.25 times per WEEK! But I probably spend about the same.

Katherine said...

We should do this! This is a great idea. I have a vague idea of how much we spend, but actually figuring it out would be great.

Katie said...

Way back before when we were in the process of setting a budget we did this. I thought it was crazy to see how much we really spent in some areas...and paid no attention to it (read: eating out)!

Great job, you have to be pretty diligent to keep all of those receipts!