Friday, April 2, 2010

March recap: Saving (or Losing?) for Italy

As it turns out, I am not doing well so far saving for Italy. Here's how much I spent in the month of March:

Groceries: About $135 - used to spend: $120/month, so lost -$15
Booze at home: $69.35 - used to spend: $80/month, so saved $10.65
Dining out: $96.35 - used to spend: $160/month, so saved $63.65

TOTAL SAVED: About $59

Cha-ching! Not really - but I have to stay positive, right? ;) I have definitely been spending less than I used to, but I am still not completely in-line with my new monthly goals. However, sitting down and reviewing my receipts has taught me a few lessons, which I plan to apply in the month of April and moving forward. I am determined to have a financially worry-free time while I'm in Italy, so I am buckling down today. Here's what I learned, and the actions I am going to take to avoid overspending in the future:

-Review grocery receipts every week; not just at the end of the month. Reflecting on how much I spent one week will put me into the next week with a clear idea of my budget. 
-Don't go to the grocery store hungry - it's dangerous, and I end up buying insanely unnecessary items.
-Make a grocery list/menu plan for the week. I used to be so good at this, and due to lack of time/patience lately, I've stopped. But preparing my meals for the week is extremely valuable, and keeps my wallet in check when I'm wandering the grocery store aisles.
-Use a basket vs. a cart: I normally am only shopping for myself and maybe one other person, so this tip's easier said than done. But if my arm's hurting and the basket's full, I won't keep walking around the grocery store for more items.

I still have quite a bit of time to save for this trip, but the sooner I get serious, the better off I'll be come vacation time.

How do you prevent overspending at the grocery store?

1 comment:

  1. Both having a list and using a basket are great ideas. I also buy a lot of store-brand items and have gotten better about cutting coupons (though remembering to bring the coupons to the store can be hard!).
    Another thing I look at on the prices is the price-per-pound area on the prices on the shelves. You might think you're getting a deal by buying the bigger/smaller package, but looking at the per-pound cost can help you stretch your dollar a little more!