Wouldn’t it be nice to go to the grocery store and spend whatever you wanted? That would be awesome but it’s not my situation and probably not most people’s situation. Unfortunately, most of us have a budget.
Making sure we stay within the budget while we’re grocery shopping is sometimes tricky. But here are three ways that will help keep track of your spending while you’re strolling down all those aisles:
- Use a calculator. I’ve had limited success using a calculator while shopping. I usually end up hitting a wrong key and losing my total. It’s so frustrating that I’ve abandoned using a calculator. However, I see other people using them who do just fine. So a calculator is a very good option.
- Keep track on your grocery list using boxes and tally marks (see example below). Here’s how it works:
- Decide how much you’re spending.
- Draw boxes for each $5 ($100 would be 20 boxes).
- As you spend, put a tally mark for each $1 in the box – but only $5 per box – and the last tally mark in each box will be drawn diagonally over the others.
- When the boxes are full, you’re done.
I used this method for a long time. It sounds cumbersome but it’s not hard at all. And you don’t have to worry about messing up with the calculator.
- Prepare a detailed grocery list with dollar amounts next to the items (see example below) and add it up before you go. If the total is too high, remove some of the items. If you’re under budget, record the amount you’re under somewhere on your list and use that amount for impulse purchases (we all do it sometimes!) and items you might have forgotten. Just keep track so you won’t go over. And as long as you follow your list, you’ll be right on budget.
The other thing I might mention is sales tax. On options 2 and 3, I round up the product amounts and that usually covers sales tax. On option 1 you would need to add in the
approximate sales tax amount as a separate entry.
That’s it. Any of these three methods will help you keep track of your spending while you’re shopping. Hopefully your next trip to the grocery store will be right on budget!