Q&A Tuesday: How Do You Calculate Your Savings?

I’ve been receiving your emails for a few months and was wondering how you calculate your savings? I went to Publix today and spent $37.07. The bottom of the receipt said I had Store Coupons of $6.81, Vendor Coupons of $7.70 and Special Price Savings of $18.94 = Savings Summary of $34.45. So, did I save over 40% on my groceries or do I only count the savings from the coupons I used? Thanks! -April

Guess what, April? In my opinion, there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to calculate savings and everyone has a bit of a different method to doing so.

I find it fun to see my total percentage of savings based upon retail, pre-coupon price vs. post-coupon, sales price. Of course, most of the prices are much higher than I’d ever pay (I mean, come on, we all know better than to pay retail, right?!), so it’s not exactly an accurate representation of true savings. But, it’s still rewarding and fun to see an 85% or 99% savings shown at the bottom of the receipt! :)

However, how much you spend matters so much more than how much you save. So I’d encourage you to set a grocery budget and focus more on sticking with that grocery budget, rather than getting overly focused on how much you save.

In the long run, consistently sticking with a grocery budget is likely going to save you a significant more amount of money than just concentrating on having large percentages of savings on your receipts.

Just for fun: How do you calculate your savings?

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Comments

  1. Laura says

    Hi Crystal,
    I’m such a fan of your blog. Its very hard to see exactly the savings because in my case we shop at a Commissary where the prices are reduced even more for us, and so I guess I used to not count the sale savings. I used to just count the coupons used. But it got too hard for me so I don’t really do much, other than record the products, and compare the retail value. One thing i have been doing this whole entire year is save all of my receipts. Its easier for me, because I can easily pull them out and show people, and just compare what I’ve bought. Every 3 months or so, I’ll add up all the coupons i’ve redeemed and record it. I keep all of my receipts in a long accordian, with 12 dividers. So I put receipts according to month. It works for me.
    I used to put them in excel, but I just would forget to do it.
    -Laura

  2. Allison says

    I figure my savings off the sale price, or whatever price I would have paid without coupons. I count any doubled coupons as savings, but not, say, the discount from using my shopper’s card, because I would have saved that anyhow.

  3. says

    I include the sale pricing in my savings. Sometimes that sale price can be a deal breaker on whether or not I play a coupon in the first place.

    And believe it or not, there are so many people out there that do pay retail! (I often want to stop these people and say “do you know how much you could be saving!”)

  4. Jennifer says

    I don’t really look at my savings on stores I wouldn’t normally buy full-priced items from. Some places are only good for their “door busters” and the total savings shown on the receipt is really a joke. Now, if I can stop in at WalMart and pay, say, 25% of my pre-coupon total, then I really have something to brag about.

  5. Shannon says

    I have been tracking my saving since January using my store receipts. Each receipt is a little different and sometimes I find the total the store provides don’t always add up the way you think they would. One tool I find useful is the savings tracker I found here: http://thecouponproject.com/

  6. Megan says

    I had noticed a woman at Krogers who was filling her cart with several items that I had coupons for that I wouldn’t be using. I offered them to her and she replied in a very aloof tone, “I don’t need to USE coupons.” and walked away. Some people are apparently too “good” to save! LOL! I love Kroger because it shows my savings in percentage and by categorized coupon savings. Also, with my plus card, I get to see my to-date savings by just using the plus card sales items.

  7. says

    I know I wouldn’t pay the higher prices (regualr prices) on most items to begin with (some things rarely or never go on sale, though). I used to look to saving an amount equal to my total as a good deal–and that was just shopping sales prices, before I used coupons.

    But I still wish I’d kept my recipt when it said I saved $1000 at the grocery store last August buying peaches and pears. I bought them on sale for .50 a pound and they said they were regularly $2.99 a pound (I would never buy them at that price!) The cashier had to get a manager because I had saved “too much”–and all I was doing was buying the fruit at the price that was advertised in the ad! (My total was around $200; I was buying peaches and pears to can).

    • Rhiannon says

      @The Prudent Homemaker,

      I love those receipts! The cashiers always get excited and surprised when I “saved” more than I spent. But of course I wouldn’t have spent the original prices anyway!

  8. ann says

    i DON’T count the Savings because those numbers are with respect to the original prices at the grocery store. But I carefully watch how much i SPEND because thats what matters to me the most. I always calculate the product worth. Is the product i am buying is really worth the price i m paying?
    I love seeing the ‘percentage savings’ at the bottom of my receipt though! :)

  9. Christina says

    I’m so glad to hear you say to focus on what you spend, not what you save! I hear/see people promoting how much money they’re saving, but they don’t disclose how much they’re spending. Sure, I could save $100/week on groceries. But am I spending $50 or $500? Big difference!

  10. says

    I add my total spent with my total savings to get the total that I would have spent without any savings. Then I divide my total saved by the total I would have spent without savings.

    Total Savings / (Total Spent + Total Savings) = % Saved

  11. Julie says

    I agree with most of the people above, and only count my savings on whatever coupons or doubles I get credit for. To me, the sale price is what everyone gets it for, and so I don’t consider it a “savings”. Yes, it is cheaper than their usual price, but I don’t usually consider that a savings!

  12. Jenny says

    I love how now at places like Kohls they like to tell you how much you “saved” and circle it with a big red circle… The cashiers always get so excited and tell me you saved $50 ( or whatever the amount is).. and I’m always thinking no I didn’t, I’d never pay that much for these clothes! :)

    • Beth says

      @Jenny, My husband and I were laughing about this yesterday! I bought a pair of sandals that were “originally $59.99″ but we all know that no one actually bought them for that price. They were 80% off, $11.99, plus I had a $5 coupon, so I paid about $7 for them. The cashier was really excited for me.

    • Linda says

      @Jenny,

      I agree! Kohl’s cracks me up because the merchandise is always 50% or more off! Definitely a marketing ploy!!! :)

    • Sandy says

      @Jenny, We have Stein’s Garden Centers here who have price tags on every item and each tag shows a price and a “sale” price. I just laugh because I don’t think anyone thinks of it as savings and it just seems like a lot of work to go through for no reason.

  13. says

    I don’t actually calculate them, but in my mind, it is definitely NOT savings off of retail of the brand name that you are buying instead of the store brand in the first place. If I have a coupon for a brand name item, when I would have bought the store brand, I would not count the full value of the coupon, only the savings off what I WOULD HAVE PAID for the store brand that I otherwise would have bought. If the brand name is more exp than the store brand after the coupon, I don’t use the coupon (unless I am brand loyal, which is really only the case with Huggies diapers – and I have TRIED others – we have decided we have to be Huggies snobs!)

  14. Lynda says

    I agree Jenny – I bought some $4 t-shirts at Kohl’s on the 3rd of July because our daughter and I genuinely needed some new t-shirts and they were on a really good sale. When I checked out, they told me, “You saved $24!” (having spent $12). Uhhh…no, I didn’t, I never would have bought them at $10 each – no way!

    I actually don’t calculate my savings, but just know what our budget is and shop as carefully as I can. I do the same at work where I am in charge of buying supplies for everyone. They used to order from one particular company but when I came there 2 years ago I realized that there were never any coupon codes for these items and you couldn’t shop on-line (only out of their catalog). No one had seemed to question this before. I am the Queen of Cheap and began shopping around on-line and will only buy products if I can assure myself it is the lowest price and can find a coupon code for it and/or free shipping. As a result, we didn’t use our whole supplies budget last year – not even close!

  15. Shannon says

    On my blog I end each post with my savings. It is broke down into coupons, RR/ECB and MIRs. I then have a total as well. This is misleading though because RR and ECB are from things that I wouldn’t normally buy (more often than not) so is it really savings? I would say they same for MIRs. I usually buy things with full MIRs, but sometimes I don’t necessarily need them. Although it is probably not the best way to do it, I enjoy watching that total number keep going up. I also like seeing how much in coupons I am saving. I have olny had my blog for about 3 months and it’s already over $600! I do think I am going to start adding in the % savings with each trip now too. That will only include the areas I already keep track of (not sale prices). Like everyone has already said, those prices are so high just so they can put them on sale and make them look better :)

  16. Jessica says

    It’s a interesting question. I do regular price compared to what I ended up paying. I see that I saved 90%+, but even if I had to pay retail, I’d never pay a CVS retail. I’d go to Target or Wal-Mart. KWIM? So, I think my “savings” are a little inflated. Oh well!

  17. Beth says

    We’ve been keeping track of grocery spending and saving in detail for about 6 months. We use the combined aspect of the various sales and coupons. I don’t typically count rebates (or ECB’s at CVS) though since I’m likely to roll that into a later purchase, and will count it then towards my savings percentage off of my total OOP amount spent.

    I think that the one thing that really keeps me grounded is repeating to myself “this is just a marketing ploy.” Otherwise, why would the cashier be required to say, “you saved $15.00 today.”

  18. Linda says

    Okay, I’m an oddball, I guess :)

    I don’t calculate my “savings” anymore – I just try and stick to my monthly grocery budget. I used to calculate it, but figured, what was the point? I never would have bought the item at full price anyway, so it’s not a “true” savings in my book. It was just one more thing I had to log every week, so I cut that out :) Now, I just have my specific amount to spend each week and I try and stick to it. I found it liberating to not be so caught up in the #s side of it, but that’s just me :)

    • says

      @Linda,

      Not odd at all Linda! That’s exactly what I do as well. I have $125 a week to spend on groceries. What doesn’t get spent is my “savings”. If I come $20 under my weekly budget, I have $20 actual dollars in savings. But when I was couponing and tracking my savings, I never had actual dollars representative of my “savings” based on sales and coupons.

      Mary Ellen

      • My Boaz's Ruth says

        @The Working Home Keeper,

        I like this. The only savings is the money budgetted toward a certain category that is not spent and thus can be put into actual savings!

        Even if I use coupons, if I then go and spend that saved money on something else instead, it is not really saved is it? it just stretched farther than it otherwise would have!

  19. Jennifer says

    I do include my savings because I always try to match up my coupons with items that are on sale and that is smart and hard work! :) So, why shouldn’t I be able to include that on my savings? And then I always try to beat last week’s savings!

  20. Honey Smith says

    I am not a “numbers person”. But people in the store keep asking me how much I save with using coupons (as if I’d lug that huge binder if it wasn’t paying off-haha). I guestimate that I pay 1/2 price. Most of the time I pay 1/2 of the going rate. Sometimes I pay full price. And sometimes I get items for free:) So that averages out to 50%. I’m also not like some who can whittle their grocery budget to $50 a week. In fact, since I started seriously couponing 3 years ago, I did not decrease my budget at all. But I get twice as much as I used to, further confirming my very scientific projection of 50% ;) I have 7 people to feed at my house and I used to consistently go over budget (and still run out of things before I ran out of week). Now I still spend $150/week, but we have all that we need and enough to share even as our family has grown.

    • andrea says

      @Honey Smith, I’m kind of with you. We could never spend $50 a week on groceries—there are 8 of us. We do spend less than we used to—not a huge amount less—but we get way more.

      • says

        For the record, I couldn’t spend $50 a week for eight people either. Do what works for your family and don’t worry about what other people spend! :)

        • Chris says

          @Crystal, and if you have at least one more boy within the next five years, you won’t be spending $40-$50 a week anymore, either! But you know that already, as you watch Silas …

          • says

            ;) Actually, I think we’re bumping the grocery budget up to $60 per week soon. But we’ve not officially decided on that yet. I’m thinking maybe it needs to go up $10 per year per boy until they are 18 or something?? :)

        • Annie says

          @Crystal, Right now, I’m consistently under $70/wk. We are 4 – including a 6 yr old boy and 4 yr old girl. With this, I’m buying only farm eggs & locally produced meats & milk, as well as almost all locally grown produce (from the farmer’s market). I’m trying to buy only staples, health & household items at the drug/grocery stores.

  21. says

    You are so right to say that what you spend is far more important than what you save. I don’t even calculate my savings because a good deal of the items I buy I would never buy if they weren’t free with a coupon. I just keep track of how much I’ve spent for the month so I don’t go over budget. It is fun though sometimes to see how much the total “savings” is.

  22. says

    I think any which way we do it is going to have some flaw. Unless you religiously mark what you would pay if you didn’t have the sale and/or coupon, and I’d bet that many of those things would turn into no savings because they wouldn’t have been bought anyway, or can’t be figured because I would otherwise buy would be whatever brand was lowest that week and who’s to know what that would be, anything is going to be in some way inflated. But I’ve decided to accept that, and I have an overly complicated Excel file (because that’s how I operate) that tells me the retail price at the time of the purchase; the sale price; any coupons I used; the price I paid; the percentage of paid vs. retail (which I then color-code by the percent paid); the “would have paid” price, whether retail or sale, of anything I got free, not including b1g1 sales, only totally free items; my total cost for food only; and my total cost of things I wouldn’t normally get but my mother insists on (because if I had to include her stuff in my regular budget I’d never come in under). Totaled by week and month, dating back to May 2009. Because I’m crazy like that. :) And then I subject everyone to the lists and numbers at least once a week on my blog. lol

  23. Erin says

    I think your answer is great. Couponers seem to get really hung up on savings percentage, but often the “food” they are buying is complete junk–snacks, sugary drinks and cereal, processed foods. In the long run, you pay for those “freebies” with your family’s health. When you are primarily buying from the store’s perimeter, you will *not* get 95 percent savings. I’m not saying there aren’t deals to be had or ways to save money on those items, but you just won’t see the same savings. My goal is 100 percent savings on personal care items (we’re not picky regarding these products) to offset the costs of fresh, whole foods, though I don’t pay full price for produce or meat, either.

    • says

      @Erin,

      I’m the same way. I’m not so hung up on getting all my groceries for free. I’ll use as many coupons as I can, but I try not to buy too much junk. I do make sure that I get all of my shampoo, laundry soap, tp, etc. for free to offset the cost.

    • Liz says

      @Erin, I agree with your comment…however, my kids love to get junk food treats when they are free with coupons. These items are definitely not in my food budget so they don’t get bought normally. However, I think it is cool to show the kids that (1) these are treats and they are special and (2) I hardly spent any money for them using coupons. They also know not to ask for them again unless mommy has another coupon! LOL!

      • says

        @Liz, I agree with you about the free treats. There are a lot of things I would never pay for but if I can get them for free then they are a nice treat for my family (or me- I really like junk food but don’t eat it as much as I used to). Using coupons and having a budget has actually helped me feed my family healthier because I stick to my budget and usually don’t have room for extra junk.

  24. Shelley says

    I go by Coupon Savings only (face Value) – that’s the part I put the effort into…..besides price depends a lot on where you shop. (IMO, Wags and other such stores regular prices are high, so when they put them on sale, it becomes realistic – to count that % drop is counting fluff as you wouldn’t have bought it there on regular price, you would have gone to the store with the best price.) One reason I like going by coupons only is that when nay-sayers claim that coupons are worth it, I know EXACTLY what I’ve used in face value of coupons to prove otherwise!!

  25. Sandy says

    I agree with Erin. I used to pick up every item I could get for FREE because of coupons I would get and found I was filling my home with snack and convenience foods. I decided it was enough! I now trade my FREE item coupons with others for coupons I can really use. I have been couponing now for about 3 years and I work the deals at Walgreen’s, CVS and Target. I’ve reached a point where I only buy what I can get for free or make a profit at. Wih all I’ve learned I am able to get the everyday, non-food items such as toilet paper, tissue, laundry and cleaning supplies, foil, paper products, health and beauty aides for free because of coupons, deals and profit money. I am then able to buy all the healthy food I need/want AND stay well within my budget. The savings I have because of coupon has truly been amazing. I am able to provide all I need for my family and save as well. No doubt, there’s a Divine Intervention in that!

    • Sandy says

      @Sandy, I forgot to mention I don’t look at percentages. I do count the cost of coupon clipping services and tax as part of my cost basis so, no item is ever 100% free but, darn close. I do set up a budget with a limited amount of $$ for couponing and groceries and I have found what used to be difficult to stick with is now easily done, often times with money left over.

  26. says

    I always calculate my savings based off the regular price, even if I know for sure that it’s a price I never would’ve paid for it, or in the case of CVS or Walgreens, even if the price was grossly inflated. I love being able to say I saved 50 or more dollars on a shopping trip, it impresses my relatives, and that’s half the fun! ;) At the same time, though, I have a strict budget of 150 for my monthly shopping for my family of 3, so the bottom line is also very important. I sort of see couponing as part necessity and part game. My savings percentage is how I keep score in the game, but it’s the amount of necessities I can get for my small budget is the important part at the end of the day.

  27. Sara says

    I may be the oddball here, but I never calculate my ECB’s until I’ve spent them. For example, one week I may have spent $15 dollars OOP at CVS and gotten 40-50 dollars of (overpriced) merchandise for it but been given 5-10 ECB’s for next time. I don’t then think to myself, or say to others, that I spent 5 dollars on those items unless I turned around and used my ECB’s to actually make it that much. ECB’s may determine whether or not the sale + coupon is a good enough deal but they don’t count as a ‘savings’ in my mind until the purchase I’ve used them on. As far as grocery stores go (publix), I have a monthly budget more than a weekly. If I go 20 dollars over, I’ll spend 20 dollars less the next week. I have a handful of things I buy whether they are on sale or not and then I try to plan meals and snacks based on their BOGO’s. I usually don’t walk out of there thinking how much I saved, I walk out of there thinking how much food I got for still being in budget!

    • Amber says

      @Sara, I’m totally with you on the ECBs. You don’t realize the savings until you spend them. It *is* possibly (though maybe not probably), that they would expire before you spent them and then you wouldn’t have saved at all! :) Like you, I do factor in the ECB value in determining whether or not to buy an item.

    • Rae says

      @Sara, I agree, I count them after I have used them. The worst though is when I see people brag about their CVS trip (or Wags) and say that they spen $1 oop (but they used $10 ecb) and got $5 ecb back. If you want to count the ecb you get back instead (so that would be $11 oop, $5 ecb back), that’s fine but counting them twice is not an honest representation of your trip.

      • Jill says

        @Rae, I count them as I earn them…but yes, if I spent $1 OOP using a $10 ECB, earning a $5 ECB, I would view it as that order “costing” $6. It really irks me when other people double count their ECB. Which is another reason why having a budget & sticking to it is so great – you can’t fool your budget into saving twice with ECB. =)

  28. Amber says

    I don’t calculate my savings at all. Sure, I look at the bottom of my receipt and see where it says “total due” and “amount saved” and get some satisfaction from the “saved” amount being equal to or greater than the “total due”, but I have a hard time congratulation myself based on that alone.

    As others have pointed out the savings should really be compared to the lowest regular price of a comparable product. Let’s say an item is regularly $3, but is on sale for $2 and I have a $1 off coupon so I pay $1. Did I save 67%? Or if the same item is regularly $2 at a discount store, did I really only save 50%? I like math and numbers and spreadsheets and all of that, but I don’t have the time or energy to put that much effort into figuring out.

    I have a “buy price” for most items which is the price point at which an item will go on my shopping list whether I need it or not (assuming it can be frozen/stored). That and my monthly budget dictates what I purchase much more than being lured in by a percent savings!

  29. Sherri says

    I have to say that I do not calculate my savings % either because it would never be accurate. I can’t imagine that I would ever spend $5.97 on a stick of Old Spice deodorant at Rite Aid :) When I get if for $.50 I am probably saving about $1-2 on the dollar store brand that I would normally buy if I didn’t have a coupon and a sale.

    I am trying to come up with a list of prices that I try to not go over for everything that I buy so that I can compare to that. Crystal – Do you have such a thing posted anywhere?

  30. joybles says

    Simple: I don’t. : ) If you focus too much on the ‘amount saved’ you end up spending more OOP than necessary.

  31. Karen Rucker says

    I try to take a low-key approach to couponing. I don’t track my savings because it’s extra work with no extra benefit. I also don’t have set-in-stone goals for savings. Hitting every great sale would involve a lot of extra gas money for me as well as extra time running errands. Instead, I just try to save when I can and relax when I can’t. I find that a big benefit of couponing for me is that saving money regularly helps reduce my stress during the times when I need to spend more. My mom recently had heart surgery and I was eating out a lot more frequently because of being on the road a lot. But I was okay with that because I knew we had wiggle room in our budget thanks to all the other times we’d been frugal. That little reduction in stress was worth far more to me than any percentage or goal.

    • says

      I love your mantra of not doing things which require extra work without extra benefit. You sound like a girl after my own heart. :)

  32. Chris says

    I only track the savings on what I buy for charity and I track it based on the retail price in that store. Someone does buy that item in that store for that price. I’m also on a strict budget for the charity, so I do keep track of how much I spend, including taxes and stamps for MIR. I include the papers (I buy 2 for the price of 1, then hit recycling bins) I buy as part of my grocery budget. I just make sure with my personal grocery and “pharmacy” spending that I stay within my monthly budget. I look at the receipts as far as percentages off, but I don’t track them. I tried that, but it burned me out on couponing completely within 3 months and didn’t really try again for six months.

  33. says

    I love what you said about what you spend mattering more than what you save! So true. I tell people that I haven’t changed my grocery budget. That same budget used to feel like never enough, and we rarely had more than the absolute basics, but when using coupons, shopping sales etc., it feels like an abundance. Now we have full cupboards, enough to give when we hear of someone in need, and a little extra to splurge on treats!

  34. Rae says

    The totals in the example are off. It would be about 28% (coupons) or 48% (coupons + sales). And it all depends on your preference. I agree that tracking what you spend is WAY more important that what you “save”. On a forum I used to frequent one lady would post how much she saved in coupons every shopping trip and then a total each month but she spent a LOT in the process (she didn’t do the great matchups just used coupons) and I sooo wanted to suggest that she focus on what she was spending instead but didn’t want to seem pushy. I do track what I save loosely just so that when my noncouponing (and some of them even so far as not even sale shoppers) friends ask me how much I really save using coupons/rebates/paying attention to sales I can give them a rough percentage estimate.

  35. says

    I don’t really calculate how much we’re saving. I tried to do that when I first started couponing, but it was just too hard with the different prices at all the stores I was going to. Now I just try to stay under the budget we used to spend at Walmart before I started couponing. My husband didn’t get it when I first started couponing. He didn’t think it would actually save money because I was buying so many stock-up items. It’s been almost a year now and we are consistently under budget and get a lot more food.

    With my ECB’s, I don’t really count them as a number saved. I only count the cash that comes out of my pocket with each trip. The ECB’s I get back from that trip are going toward my next purchase so I don’t want to count them twice.

    It’s funny now that I’ve been couponing for awhile, I find it very difficult to spend more than a couple dollars at CVS or Rite Aid because I’m so used to getting most of those items for free. I dread buying formula because I feel like if I’m in CVS/Rite Aid, I should never have to spend more than two or three dollars!

  36. ShorterMama says

    I like seeing the total before handing them my store card and coupons and then watching it drop. Seeing it drop in half or more makes me happy regardless of whether it’s with coups or sales.

    • says

      @ShorterMama, I feel like the coupons are my blood sweat and tears (ok, a little dramatic) so it feels like what I spent my time on is paying off while the store savings is something that I would have gotten by doing nothing but handing over my loyalty card.

      • ShorterMama says

        @Erica @ Just Call Me Cheap, I guess, but I have strict rules for myself for when I’ll buy things, so I want to see the combo effect. Couponing definitely takes more work and I’m just learning the ropes, but I can always win by staying with in the boundaries I set for sales – they’re pretty fierce.

  37. Alaine says

    I keep track of how much I save (including sales and store coupons) and how much I’m spending as well. The one thing that gets me is that occasionally, it is actually cheaper to buy a store brand item than a name brand with a coupon, but according to my receipt I haven’t technically “saved” anything – though I really did, in comparison to the more expensive product!
    Also, at drugstores, I don’t count ECB or RR as money saved from my current purchase, since I use those on my next purchase. I see a lot of money saving blogs that calculate it that way, when in reality it’s still costing you money unless you can roll it over next time!

  38. says

    I have a budget of $60 a week for my husband, myself, a three year old boy and a one year old girl. I feel succesful when I end the week under or on budget and don’r really pay attention to my savings. I feel like if I did I would feel discouraged because I buy a lot of produce and other things that don’t usually have a huge percentage of savings on them. My son is so picky at what produce he will eat so I don’t always buy in season and end up paying a lot more but it is worth it because I am buying something that he will eat. Don’t get me wrong- when there is a sale on something that my family likes and I have a coupon (and wiggle room in my budget) I will stock up and be proud of what I saved. I feel like when I was focusing on my savings I was blowing my budget regularly so what kind of savings was it really?

  39. CJ says

    I dont keep track of my spending or my saving and I dont have a budget. But I do like seeing how much I save with coupons on a store trip. I calculate the coupons vs total price the register rings up (sale prices or whatever price each item is that day). Yesterday at the grocery my total was $34 minus $21 in coupons and rebates. Today my total was $21 minus $10 in coupons. Thats good enough for me! I count my RRs and ECBs on the item I am getting the RR or ECB for, because otherwise I wouldnt be buying that item at all. I never let RRs or ECBs expire, thats like just throwing cash in the garbage.

  40. lu says

    I think you are all crazy. I keep it simple. I get what I can on sale at the best price and use coupons if I can and stock up. It has to be items we really use. And I stick to a total budget for the week.
    I don’t even attempt to save all those receipts ( what clutter) or record percentiles or $ amounts.
    All that savings persent is too time consuming. I’d rather spend that time chasing the deals.

    Also it variers from store to store. For example:
    Store # 1 sells Kraft salad dressing for 2.99 BOGO and I use 2 coupons so that make them both $1 or .50 each
    Store #2 has the Kraft dressing for 2.39 on sale for 1.99. The let you stack a .50 store coupon with a 1.00 maufacturers coupon. So you get it also for .50 a piece
    If you look at the receipt from both stores you will see different savings so it mean nothing.

  41. Lainey Jane says

    In my house it’s not about how much we save but how much we pay out of pocket. Staying within your budget is what it’s all about and when we are under budget we can transfer that extra money into savings.

  42. Traci says

    I agree with Crystal, it’s what you spend – not what you save. Is it better to buy a box of cereal at Target for $2.49 regular price or at the grocery when it’s BOGO at $4.99? The stores with higher markups also tend to offer bigger sales, so percentages can be really misleading.

    I think the best thing to do is make a list of the items you normally keep on hand, and research prices at whichever stores at whatever stores are convenient for you. This way, you’ll know when a “sale” is really a good deal or if it’s just the same price as another’s store everyday price.

  43. says

    Interesting to see the ECB/RR conversation in the comments…I’ve gone back and forth on when to count them! I’m finding it best to count them when I USE them because it keeps me accountable to out of pocket cost!