Learn six reasons why saving your grocery receipts is the secret to having a healthy grocery budget and saving more money on food!
There was a time when my husband and I spent over $600 on food in one month.
And that was just for the two of us.
We’ve come a long way when it comes to how we manage our food costs. Back when we cut our expenses in half, creating a frugal budget was a challenge.
It became my mission to keep our grocery spending to a minimum. I learned to make most food from scratch, which reduced our final bill. That helped a ton – but in order to know exactly what I was spending on groceries every week, I had to start keeping receipts.
I know, I know. Those pesky little papers are a nuisance but they are THE secret to a healthy grocery budget!
The Secret to a Healthy Grocery Budget
Try as hard as you can, but it’s just not possible to remember how much you spent, and everywhere you shopped, when it comes time to reconcile the budget.
If you have little ones underfoot remembering things becomes even more challenging! (I won’t mention how many times I’ve left the washer open after starting a load of laundry…ahem!)
I’m backing up my claim with six reasons to keep your grocery receipts. And this doesn’t just apply to those that are just starting out with their grocery budgets. I’m several years in and I still need them to help me stay on track for a healthy grocery budget!
6 Reasons to Keep Your Grocery Receipts for a Healthy Grocery Budget
1. We are called to be good stewards of our finances.
You should be doing the best you can with what you have no matter what your financial situation looks like. Staying accountable to what you spend your money on will give you wisdom for the future, and the ability to achieve your financial goals.
2. You won’t remember how you spent your money 100% of the time.
Keeping receipts is the only way to truly know where every penny is spent. If your goal is to feed your family healthier, you’ll know if you budgeted for a meal plan of real foods – or processed foods. You’ll also learn if you are getting good deals on what you buy. Plus, using your receipts to make a price book will help you save more money in the future.
3. Money stops disappearing and your spending becomes more purposeful.
Money often disappears quickly at the grocery store, but when you have to stay accountable to what that money was spent on, every transaction becomes a purposeful decision. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that being intentional on what you’re buying helps to keep you on budget.
4. In order to work within a healthy grocery budget, you need to know where you stand.
Creating a grocery budget is essentially setting a goal. Think about someone with weight loss goals. Typically, they weigh in every week to know if they are on track. Consider your grocery receipts as a weigh-in to know if you are on track for your month’s goals.
5. Knowing where you stand is empowering.
If you know you only have $30 to spend on groceries, you’ll be very aware of what you are purchasing. Your decisions will become clear and you’ll be less likely to overspend. It may be the competitive streak in me, but I find a lot of satisfaction in staying on track with my budget!
6. Knowing where you stand is also a powerful motivator.
To have a purpose behind saving your receipts makes it easier on the nights when leftover salads, soups, or brown rice are on the menu again. You know your grocery budget goal is in hand when you know where your money goes.
A Healthy Grocery Budget: How to Keep Track of Your Receipts
- Use an online spending tracker or app. I’ve found some great grocery shopping apps that help you save money and keep track of your receipts and prices. YNAB is traditionally a household budgeting software, but some families use it specifically for the grocery budget too. You can use Google or search on Swagbucks to find even more.
- Use a spreadsheet. Simply set up four columns to keep track of what you spend each week. As you get the hang of it, add in more lines for the exact items you bought. This will help you define your grocery budget even more.
- Use pen and paper. This is my preferred method. I simply write down what I spend directly in my planner as soon as I get in the car after shopping. Since I always have my planner on me, it works well. Then I can reference my notes when I reconcile my budget later on.
- The key to making any of those methods work, is to actually use them. Building a habit of writing down what you spend is vital to making your budget work. It is well worth it once you get there, because it’s the only way to a healthy grocery budget!
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What to do with Your Grocery Receipts
Once you have your grocery expenses tracked, you’ll need to do something with the receipts. Be sure to:
- Keeping an envelope for the month’s receipts. You could also designate a cute, small basket for holding receipts, which works really well if you’re not the only one spending grocery budget money each month.
- Make your receipt envelope easily accessible for everyone in the family. Then, pull it out once a week to tally your numbers. At the end of the month, double check your numbers.
- File each batch of monthly receipts in a separate envelope for future reference if you want to check prices and shopping trends. I explain exactly how to do this and how to save even MORE money with your grocery receipts in my course Grocery Budget Bootcamp.
The secret to a healthy grocery budget isn’t rocket science. But it does take some discipline to build good habits. If you are already thinking along the lines of sticking to a frugal grocery budget, you are on the right track. Here are some more posts for ideas on healthy budgeting..
- Why I Quit Coupons (and Save More Money)
- 5 Fail-Proof Ways to Reduce Grocery Spending
- How to Host Company on a Budget
- How to Budget for Bulk Purchases
Do you keep your grocery receipts? Do you have any secrets to a healthy grocery budget?