Thursday, April 3, 2014

first quarter coupon statistics (+ i want to hear from you!)

after keeping track of our grocery savings for the entire year of 2013, i wasnt sure if i was going to continue for a second year. it was a lot of work to keep track of all my receipts, and it was a lot of math to figure out my percentages since most stores dont calculate that for you (math is NOT one of my strengths, i went to art school, and i dropped out), and really, compared to the year before, i had become a COMPLETELY different person when it came to shopping, i was buying less than ever, focusing on being less wasteful and being and more intentional with our meager budget in order to stretch our limited funds into the most comfortable lifestyle possible. 

which is a good thing. buying less stuff and spending less money on our necessities (so that we could have more money left to enjoy) has been a major priority for me, and im very, very proud of the work ive done in this department, but, our more minimalist, streamlined, absolutely-no-purchases-that-we-absolutely-positively-can-not-live-without shopping couldnt make for interesting coupon statistics, could it? especially compared to last year, which had some very exciting numbers. 

well, in the interest of science, i kept up the experiment to see how my new shopping approach compared to last years. 

and i was shocked. i know that were buying WAY less at the grocery store/target/etc, that were spending WAY less money, and im using WAY less coupons. but somehow, year to date, weve saved MORE money than last year, at roughly the same average percentage per transaction. how exactly did this happen? i have no idea. 

but the numbers dont lie:

last year i posted my first quarter coupon statistics, and at that point, i had a net profit (total savings - expenses such as newspapers and printer ink) of $775.72, and an average savings of 40% per transaction. now, at that time these were some pretty incredible numbers, but was using a LOT of coupons, and inadvertently buying a LOT of things we didnt need. 

and since then, our lifestyle has changed a TON. i found out i have a million food allergies and we stopped eating basically all processed food, so, basically no food coupons. i streamlined our weekly meal planning so that each week we (usually, sometimes i go overboard) ONLY buy EXACTLY what well consume in that week, so, no stocking up on deals (unless they were literally pennies). i decided we werent buying ANY toiletries/cleaning supplies/medicines/household consumables until we were COMPLETELY OUT (again, unless it was something we will eventually use, like toothpaste, and 50 cents or less), so, theres been a LOT less purchasing in general. 

so where are we this year? our cumulative savings for the year (again, minus what i spend on newspapers), was $802.51. EIGHT. HUNDRED. DOLLARS. over $25 MORE than this point last year, despite ruthlessly slashing any and all unnecessary spending. and my per-transaction savings? well that went down a tiny bit to just under 40%. but what matters is that so far were doing better than last year. and i did NOT think that would happen. 

so, thats pretty cool. 

OH! one more thing!

at the well boxed event last weekend, quite a few of the ladies i talked to said they wanted to know more about all the things i do to save money on groceries, and a long, long time ago i started drafting out a series called "the completely normal persons guide to saving money on groceries", but it never really went anywhere beyond one post about target, and another post about coupons. i really want to do more posts like that, because i REALLY want to help people eat better on less money (really if i can do it, on our budget, with my dietary restrictions, it should be easy for anyone else), and apparently, people want to hear about it. 

but "saving money on groceries"? thats a BROAD topic, covering a TON of information. and i dont want to make you sit through a novel just to get one or two tips that might work for you, so i want to break this down into really bite sized pieces. 

so i want to know, what do you want to hear about? budgeting? reducing waste? meal planning? list making? please let me know in the comments, so i can help you out with what YOU want to know!


  1. I've never kept track of my coupon savings and I've been using them since I was 19/20 and living on my own. I do like that Target tracks my savings on the Cartwheel and the Red card though. I have a couple posts on how I do my coupon shopping. I also have a couple on apps I use to save/earn money.

  2. yes! def want to see how you do your grocery list! :) mostly meal planning, bc i already love extreme couponing.. although i spend way too much time on it because i overthink it. we used to buy lots of things we don't need because they were free or cheap, but now that we moved into a smaller space, we are learning to buy only what we need. :)

  3. aaaaaahhhh! isnt couponing addicting? i got six toothpastes at dollar tree for $2.50 the other day. we HAVE toothpaste. it can be a problem sometimes.

    i was thinking that the meal planning and grocery lists might be helpful to a lot of people, looks like I'm starting with those!

  4. yes! the cumulative totals with the red card and cartwheel are awesome (except, once they reach a certain dollar amount it becomes embarrassing), what apps do you use?

  5. oooh!!! i havent heard about ANY of those except ibotta (which ended up not being worth it for us since we hardly use any of the stuff they have offers for), I'm going to have to check out all the others!

  6. Meal planning and grocery lists! When I plan meals and only buy for those meals, we always seem to run out of food before my next grocery trip. I'm also curious about couponing for buying organic products; it always seems like the only coupons I see are for big corporations super processed foods that we don't buy anyway.

  7. oh yeah, there are hardly any coupons for healthy/organic foods, but i do have a few little tricks for stretching your grocery budget to include more organics (unfortunately were too poor to get much organic, but i get it when i can, which is surprisingly often once i started paying attention)

  8. Marisa Jane HirtzelApril 9, 2014 at 7:20 AM

    Can you just do my shopping for me?

  9. I'll do your shopping if you help me declutter and organize my house. deal?

  10. Karolina BeveridgeApril 15, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    I was wondering, how do you find coupons for gluten free foods? I have been meal planning/making lists for a while now but I can't seem to figure out how to save money while doing it.

  11. hey karolina! thats actually one of the trickier things, there are hardly EVER coupons for gluten free foods, and for the most part, theyre stupid expensive. so, generally speaking, i dont buy a whole lot of them and stick to meals of protein, veggies, and rice or another grain. that being said, the things i DO buy are either on sale at sprouts, with a store coupon from sprouts, on clearance at vons (we live in the ghetto so LOTS of gluten free stuff ends up on clearance) OR with a "personalized deal" from the creepy vons app that keeps track of what you buy.

    I'm definitely going to start a series on working your meal plan so that it saves you money!

  12. Ok thank you! I'm looking forward to seeing the meal plan blogs :)