February 2, 2010

Saving For Someday: January Review

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Is it just me or do you think January flew by, too?  Now that February is upon us it’s time to take a look back at January and see how you did with your savings plan and what, if anything, needs adjusting.  Saving and planning requires frequent review to make sure what you are doing is working as planned.  If it’s not, then an evaluation is necessary.

There were some great sales and I was able to take advantage of them along with some coupons and stocked up on a few things.  I started using cash instead of my debit card and I was surprised at two things – (1) that I would get very odd looks by paying in cash and (2) that I felt so much better at the end of the week seeing cash in my wallet knowing I had made good purchasing decisions.

But back to the odd looks for a moment.  I guess actual money is an anomaly these days.  We live in a credit-friendly society where many places do not even ask for your ID or signature if your transaction is under $50.  I felt like I was blazing a trail when I handed over cash.  I even had a total stranger ask me why I paid for my groceries in cash.  She was concerned that I was carrying around a large amount of cash and that it would not be safe.  Well, maybe thieves don’t think people carry cash so they’ll leave me and my Washingtons alone!

Another thing I started this month was tracking my grocery and drug store purchases.  I always knew I was getting good deals, but now I know exactly how much I’ve saved.  And boy did I save!  I used $249.93 in manufacturer coupons and saved another $655 with in-store promotions, my loyalty card and store coupons.  I’m not quite patting myself on the back, but I think I did terrific.  Just knowing the numbers makes me want to do better next month.

What can I do better next month?  I did forget my coupons a few times so I need to create a system so that doesn’t happen again.  In just a few weeks, my coupon organizer is bulging open and so I will need to better organize and figure out something new so I can find the coupons more easily.  I did make a few stops to the local Fresh & Easy and they don’t take coupons.  While the prices were good, I wonder if I could have saved a few more dollars had I shopped somewhere that took coupons.

What am I proud of?  I spent more time trying to find organic food options and I succeeded while staying on budget.  Also, we eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies and even though January is not prime season there were some great sales and we always met our goal of at least 4 servings of fruits/veggies daily.  In my ongoing effort to control my wheat sensitivity we ate most of our meals at  home.  While I did pull out the pizza for CycleGuy and BabyGirl a few times, we did have fresh homemade meals that were balanced and healthy.

My overall monthly savings using coupons and sales was 54%.  There were many times I had over 80% savings, but because I do shop at Costco for most of our organic fruits and veggies there isn’t a savings factor there because I pay their everyday low price.  I’m happy with how the month turned out and I’d love for you to share your success too!

Please leave a comment letting me know about your January in Review.  Share your success, your frustrations, where you did great or what you might like to do differently/better in February.  Saving and planning are fluid processes and you can only get better when you can review how you did and keep going with what worked and tweak those things that didn’t give you the results you were looking for.

I wish you a Fabulous February!

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