Dec 11 2007

Forget saving 75% off–I just want to spend the least I can

I used to get really excited when my grocery receipts showed my savings as a percentage.

“You saved 30 percent!” it would tell me. Hooray! or…not.

For awhile, I tried to bump up that number, attempting to save 40 or more percent off my bill.

Then I realized that I was looking at the wrong number on my receipt.

I shouldn’t be concerned with how much I’m saving in percentages.

I should be most concerned with how much I’m spending, period.

For instance, if I spend $35 and “save” 10 percent, versus spending $50 and saving 30 percent, in most cases I’d prefer to just spend $35.

The percentage calculations might not include cost-comparisons between similar items, my coupons, and they certainly don’t include prices at other stores. So really, that “percent savings” figure doesn’t mean much.
I need to forget about saving X percent entirely.

My budget does not state “You must save 30 percent on all grocery purchases.” It states “Try to spend $35-40 on groceries.”

6 Responses to “Forget saving 75% off–I just want to spend the least I can”

  1. Amen!
    I’ve tried to explain this to my mom & sister before, to no avail. They love to shop, and will come home and say “Look what I got on sale! I bought 2 blouses for $30! And a dress marked down from $90 to $40!” and I say “You didn’t save money, you spent money- $70 on things you didn’t need.” Then they will be annoyed I’m not sharing in their excitement. Sigh.

  2. I know what you mean!

    “Save 50%! It’s only $25!”

    To that, I say, “I will save 100 percent, and not buy it all all,” assuming I don’t need it.

  3. Wow Kacie! Good one. I get caught up in my percentages and have found out in the last few weeks that what really matters is how much I’ve spent. The money is still gone whether I saved 50% or none at all.

  4. SO TRUE! I was disappointed recently with a commissary trip because I “only” saved about 15% after coupons, even though I’ve saved as much as 45% there other trips – but then I realized that with smart shopping, including $30 in gifts for family, I was still under budget by dollar amount. Hmm – priorities. :-)

  5. AMEN!! For a long time, I was caught in the coupon snare – buying brands and items just because the coupon was good. My father in law pointed out that most coupons are for new, fancier products, NOT the standbys most people actually use.

    That said, once I had a 45% savings on a grocery bill and I was so proud of it, I taped it in my journal (it was several loss-leader items from the store, plus several store specials that I also had coupons for).

    Just yesterday, I reluctantly put down a Nyquil coupon in the store aisle, and picked up the store brand version, $3 cheaper.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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