Friday, January 8, 2010

2009 Tracked Spending

All throughout 2009, I kept track of each of my grocery and household spending receipts. At the end of each month I would tally what I had spent and what I had saved (along with how many coupons that I had spent and how many FREE items that I had received).

Last January my family budget had been set at $100/week, and I spent every last cent! During the Spring of 2009 I began spending less and less of my weekly allowance while still being able to purchase the items that we use most frequently and continue building my stockpile.

By early summer I decided to drop my weekly budget to $85/week and refocus my spending by purchasing less 'stuff' that I could just get inexpensively.

Little by little I've been learning to widdle away my needless spending. Here's the recap of my spending for 2009.

Spent:$383.60 Saved:$2,129.29 Coupons:670 FREE:479

Spent:$210.70 Saved:$1,022.78 Coupons:429 FREE:291

Spent:$316.65 Saved:$2,321.98 Coupons:842 FREE:477

Spent:$255.52 Saved:$2,180.51 Coupons:710 FREE:405

Spent:$240.18 Saved:$1,935.02 Coupons:713 FREE:469

Spent:$293.16 Saved:$1,471.44 Coupons:580 FREE:360

Spent:$172.62 Saved:$1,002.64 Coupons:417 FREE:272

Spent:$146.33 Saved:$567.73 Coupons:271 FREE:147

Spent:$136.56 Saved:$1,063.95 Coupons:417 FREE:313

Spent:$188.29 Saved:$696.66 Coupons:401 FREE:220

Spent:$122.31 Saved:$1,036 Coupons:242 FREE:163

Spent:$142.45 Saved:$807.53 Coupons:153 FREE:101

2009 Total:

Spent: $2,608.37

Saved: $16,236.46 (Um, yes! Coupon spending really does save a LOT of money!)

Coupons spent: 5,845 (includes doubled coupons)

FREE items: 3,697

*I also received $610 in rebates during 2009.

There is a TON to learn from tracking your spending.

Month after month I could look for ways to curb my spending, if I already had plenty of a specific item in my pantry/freezer, I could skip purchasing more.

I've noticed that during the months that I spent the least, I also saved the least! Spending less money also meant that I was spending less time shopping in the stores! I want to spend coupons to make life better for my family (spend less on necessities and have more for saving and spending elsewhere) instead of spending too much time and too much money in the stores.

In TWENTY-TEN, my plan is to spend, on average, $50 per week.
Hopefully, over the course of the month, I'll keep my spending at or below $200. Time (and tab-keeping) will tell!



I have to ask...

1. If you didn't use coupons, do you think you would have spent $19K on all of these things? I find I can save a lot if I buy things I don't need. I'm not at the point where I am donating....which comes to my second question...

2. How much do you think, of 19K, you have donated?


Hi Laura - I'm encouraged to see how much *less* you could spend when you put your mind to it. I spent $100/wk last year, but we have *so much* food! I am sure I could do better. I'm trying for $50/wk in January, and after that experiment I'll likely adjust the budget to somewhere between 50 and 100. I am getting better at spending less time in stores, too.

Laura Webber

By my best 'guess-timation,' I bet that $10,000 was simply stuff to give to someone else.

I also keep a lot of extra's of the items that we keep most frequently use (my stockpile) and I have plenty to last my family for the times between sales! (And to share with family and friends.)

Most of my heavy saving was in the early months of the year- where I was shopping way too much just to get the rush that comes with saving a lot of money!

The second half of the year, I saved a lot less, but I am much happier with how/why I shop!

Like you, I don't want to be a cheapskate, but I know that with the 'skills' that I have now, I can spend (or choose not to spend) much more wisely!

Thanks for commenting!



How do you calculate how much you are saving? For instance, Meijer has three rows up at the top that list your savings, are you counting the grand total that the receipt says? Because in that seems to be savings from the sales they had that week. Want to try to start tracking mine as well but wanting to use a method that is accurate.

Thanks in advance, Dawn Gatlin

Laura Webber

Hi Dawn, I just posted for you!


As for me. I am new to the whole coupon thing. What months do you feel "typically" have better coupon deals?

Laura Webber

Different seasons offer different deals. If you pay attention all year long, you'll save all year long.

Best Deals:

Spring: cleaning supplies, dental hygiene.

Summer: BBQ supplies, condiments, paper products

Autumn: Canned goods, soup making supplies

Winter: baking supplies


How are you able to spend so little each month and still get produce, meat, dairy, etc?