Am I Spending More Money on Groceries Now That I’m Using My Grocery Deals App?

Photo credit: Gina Pina, CC BY 2.0.

So I spent a bunch of time last month figuring out how to save money on groceries and toiletries—which actually meant how to find deals on groceries and toiletries, because I’m already doing most of the saving-money tips like meal planning, buying dried beans, and using Scott toilet paper.

The question is whether all of these deals that I’ve found have caused me to spend more overall.

Let’s look at the numbers:

Thanks, Mint!

You can see that I really kicked into grocery-saving gear in April, when I realized that I was earning less money than I had the previous year AND I had a lot of summer expenses coming up. I was deliberate about it; I stopped buying bottles of wine unless I was taking them to a party, I switched to dried beans, and I bought less meat and fewer treats.

During January-March, I spent $444 on groceries every month (on average); during April-June, I got that down to $303 every month (on average).

Then in July—the month of taking advantage of my Safeway deals app—I spent $397.59. And the month’s not even over yet.

What happened?

First, I threw a party for the Fourth of July, and spent maybe $60–70 on party food and wine. (Sadly, I recycled that receipt so I can’t confirm the exact number.) So my grocery spending for the month is closer to $330 if you’re only counting groceries for me.

I’m also doing more “spending ahead,” now that I know that Safeway will let me save $7 if I buy $70. My freezer has enough $1.99 bread and $2 tortillas to last until late August, and my bathroom has extra toothpaste and conditioner.

In theory, if I spend a little over $70 every weekend—let’s say $75—I’ll be spending $337.50 per month on groceries and toiletries. (July is a five-weekend month, which might also explain why this month’s spending will be higher.)

And $337 per month isn’t terrible, but I’d like to get it back down to $303. Or $250, which was my original spending goal and is doable if I buy no treats and no flowers and no wine for parties. (I think it might only be doable in my imagination.)

So I could tell myself that I have to skip one “save $7 if you spend $70” event per month, and bring my grocery spending down that way.

Or I could say that $337 per month is fine, and not overthink this.

I’m not sure yet which one I’ll do.

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