Thursday, October 6, 2016

My Food Spending/Tracking Method

Reader Linda asked earlier this week in a comment my method of keeping track of my food budget spending so I am here to reveal my secrets.
Secrets, riiiiiight!

Nothing hi-tech here as you can see.
Here is my secret weapon......

A good old notebook.
It sits on the bookshelf by my desk.

When I get home from the store my receipt(s) go into this notebook.........

I put all grocery/food/toiletries spending receipts in the front cover of said notebook.
When a new month rolls around and I get receipts, those receipts go into the back cover, and at some point in that next month, I purge the last month's receipts out of the front cover when I am done calculating or sending for refunds/rebates in which I need those ones.
And the process starts all over again.

The secret is to have a place to gather all your shopping receipts so you don't misplace them.  You aren't always going to have the time to immediately record your receipts(or the energy after putting all your spoils away).  When you can't get to it right away, have the receipts somewhere handy you can access them when you do have the time to record them.

When you are ready to record your spending, pull out your receipt(s) and do so.
I use a new page each month(and any overflow if I have a lot of shopping trips that month go onto the facing page.
I put the month at the top of the page, then list the date of each trip and which store I shopped at.
Across the page goes my OOP spending, the reg. retail value of that trip, how much $ was saved and then if I am not rushed for time(and feel like it)I calculate out the percentage of savings for the trip.
The only other tools you need are a pen or pencil and a calculator. 8-)

At the end of a week I will add up the columns to get a weekly Total of my spending/savings.  Then(if it isn't the first week)I pull forward the spending total to do a Month To Date entry so I can keep an eye on how much has been spent so far that month and how much I have left in the budget.

By the end of the month there is a lot of writing on those pages as you can see from the photo of the September 2016 pages.

When the month has finished I add up all my individual stores entries and get subtotals of how much was spent/saved/% at each store and then what was spent/save/% overall for the month.
From this information I can do my monthly spending total post as well as update my Food/Toiletries webpage for the year(accessed from the top tab on the site).

It's important to know how much you spend, period.  Sure, not everyone wants this much detail so do what works for you.

It's not rocket science.  Just get a system down that works for you and track that spending!



  1. I really hope the paper notebook never goes out of use. I would be lost. I use a notebook for a daily to do list and I keep my budget and packing lists tucked away in the back.

  2. I put all the receipts in my coin/cash purse that is small. Consequently, they are so folded up that I make my coin purse so fat it won't hold anything much. OR, I stuff them into my purse. Either way, I just never pull it all together. Then, the food and hba are on the same receipts. For the longest time, my vision makes it difficult to attempt any sorting and thwarts attempts to figure out what I have done. Okay, now this sounds like a bunch of silly excuses. However, I did not know you listed every item you purchased in a notebook. When I get new lenses, I won't have an excuse. Thanks.

    I have a stack of notebooks, actually, a box full and pencils and a calculator!

    1. I don't list every item in a notebook, just the totals for each shopping trip. Listing every item would be a bit anal or OCD. 8-)

  3. But then I would have to find the notebook, waaaaaaaah........ splat!

  4. I'm with Linda. My receipts are in my purse, then they become purse stuff and get cleaned out when I can't find anything in it. Typically on a road trip. Then the receipts sit in the door pocket until we stop to use the potty, then get pitched in the garbage.
    That's my secret system...

    1. Where did I put that little bag of receipts that I removed from my purse before we went out for dinner or when I put my Epipen in my purse. Oh, yeah. Here they are...six months later.

    2. A purse crammed with receipts would drive me bonkers! Maybe I am OCD after all.....

  5. Why do spread sheets and all that stuff when a notebook will do? I like stuff the old fashioned way (she typed on her laptop with her smart phone at her side).


  6. that sounds most sensible and easy to do and takes away the fear it can't be done.


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