Yesterday I went grocery shopping. When the woman in line behind me noticed my stack of coupons, she jokingly suggested to her husband that they might want to move to a different line. I laughed and exchanged pleasantries with the couple while the cashier rang up my purchases. When everything had been rung up, my coupons had been scanned, my UPromise card scanned and my credit card scanned, the cashier told me that I had saved over $100.
The woman in line behind me was astounded. She asked me whether I saved that much money every time I shopped. I replied that I probably save more than that each week because I shop multiple times in order to take advantage of the savings at various stores and to exploit various coupons. Indeed, I also pointed out that I get a three percent credit from my credit card company for grocery purchases so my savings were actually greater even for that one purchase than the hundred dollars that the cashier had announced.
In looking back over my receipts for the past few months, it does appear that I save between twenty and fifty percent on average when I go grocery shopping. I know some people enjoy greater savings but I am not nearly as fanatical as some couponers and I know I am not nearly as organized as I could be. Nevertheless, think about the savings that I enjoyed with my one trip to the grocery store yesterday.
One Hundred Dollars.
If I do that every week, I will save $5,200 in a year. In ten years, I will save $52,000. In thirty years, I will save $156,000. Now think about what you could do with that money. How much of your mortgage or rent could you pay with $5,200 per year? What about your car? Do you think you could buy a new car with $5,200 per year? You could but a very nice car with that much! Retirement. Vacations. College funds. Just by changing your grocery habits, you will find that you can enjoy much more that life has to offer by not paying more than you need to pay for the necessaries that you purchase.
Of course, most regular readers of tis blog know these things. I wonder, however, how many of us actually do take the time to maximize savings. I know I do not. When I returned to the grocery store today to stock up on more bulk items (bottled water, in particular, was on sale for a very attractive price), I found myself purchasing a few more sale items for which I knew I had coupons at home. When I got home, I found that I had left about ten dollars in savings in my kitchen drawer but I still bought the items in the interest of convenience. If I make that same mistake each week, I waste $520 in a year and $5,200 in ten years. $15,600 in thirty years.
These small decisions about whether to be organized and to maximize our savings power add up. The long term savings are huge if we are organized. The long term waste is also huge if we are not organized. How do you approach savings? Are you wasting money by not planning out your weekly spending?