New Simple Experiment for Tracking Grocery Expenses
Sometimes the simplest changes can evolve into becoming important habits in our lives. I’m always looking for ways to optimize my productivity and our spending. After my most recent trip to Costco, it occurred to me to try out a new experiment with our grocery list.
Food spending is a common area that trips up a lot of people’s budgets. While I generally think we do a pretty good job of keeping our food costs low due to some specific strategies and cooking almost all our meals at home, there’s always room for improvement.
When I got home, I took the receipt and logged each item into a basic spreadsheet. I included each item one by one, along with the quantity and cost. Admittedly, this is an extremely simple practice that only took a few minutes, but the more I thought about it the more that I’m committed to seeing this experiment through.
I see this potentially having a number of benefits:
1. We’re mindful of each item that was purchased.
Since I’m logging everything one by one, there are no purchases that are glossed over and forgotten about. Each grocery item is purchased intentionally. This also prevents us from not noticing an incorrect charge.
2. We save time generating a grocery list.
Instead of trying to remember what items we need, it’s a lot easier to look back at what we’ve purchased in our previous trips and add it to the list. This helps us avoid forgetting necessary items and potentially helps us avoid additional trips to the store. This was the biggest reason why I decided to try out this experiment in the first place.
3. We see how costs change over time.
Sometimes stores run different sales from time to time. This way we can recognize when items are at lower prices than normal, so we can stock up.
4. Helps us anticipate sporadic costs.
With this method we can see exactly how often we buy household items such as toilet paper, dog food, etc. This helps our monthly budgeting become even more accurate because these sporadic expenses can be better anticipated in advance.
Sometimes the simplest actions can add a lot of value to our lives. I’m interested to see if this could be one of those instances. Since we only grocery shop 2-3 times per month, the amount of time spent on logging the expenses shouldn’t take very long and could result in saving a little bit of time and money long-term.
It’s important to focus on big wins, rather than spending a lot of time to save pennies. Most likely I’ll try this tactic out for a few months to gain a better awareness of what groceries we’re buying consistently, learn from it, and then eventually be able to make these frugal decisions on autopilot.
So what do you think, will this end up being a useful tactic or will it be a waste of time?