6 - 2007

Monthly Wrap-Up: June savings update

As I mentioned earlier on this blog, I’ve been tracking my performance in all kinds of ecological and economical ways. Here are the first results.

During June, I spent $416 on groceries. This was the total after saving $42 using coupons and saving $109 from the store discount cards. The total savings (what they measure on your register receipt) was $150.72, or 27 percent of all my purchases, including Costco and Berry Patch Farms (where the “savings” or discount was zero).

That total pays for two adults and one 6-year-old to eat pretty much all meals for the month.

I saved high percentages (66 percent and 43 percent) at Safeway, but that’s because I typically only buy sale items at Safeway. The more I watch prices, the more I see that at least in our markets, Safeway’s loss leaders are great deals, but otherwise, King Soopers beats Safeway hands down.

(Loss leaders are the extra-cheap deals advertised to lure shoppers into the store. The store is willing to take a loss on these products in hopes that shoppers then will buy enough other items to make up for the bargain.)

Total Savings
I tally my various categories on a detailed spreadsheet that came to more than 100 rows during June, so I won’t reproduce it here. But here’s the rundown:

The final tally:

  • Cash: $365.39 saved
  • Plastic bags: 56 avoided (I think I received two. One was a big bag from Hobby Lobby that I re-used as a kitchen garbage liner; the other is in my bag o’ bags in the laundry room).
  • Water: 175.4 gallons saved

The breakdown:

Most of the money savings come from shopping. My grocery savings were more than $150, and my savings on other shopping were more than $175.

I counted in the “other” category things I saved money on and would have bought anyway, e.g., the 50% discount on shopping at thrift stores, the fire pit we plucked out of our neighbor’s trash but were planning to get anyway, the hammock I got on super-sale that I was planning to buy.  I gave us credit for these items in the amount of the difference between the lowest price I’ve seen (what I would be willing to pay) and what we actually paid.

For other things, like a huge planter I picked out of another trash pile (with a cracked rim, but still perfect for a tomato next year) that we weren’t planning to get and probably wouldn’t have bought, I gave no credit.

At any rate, a lot of our shopping was recycling, so that makes an exciting (lack of) impact on its own — never mind that I just bought some unused clothes, as well. (They go into July, but they get no savings credit even though they were on clearance.)

By following the “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down” rule and re-using water for flushing, I did not use 111.2 gallons of water this month (and Little Cheap saved a few when she got in on it late in the month). That’s 69 low-flow flushes.

Navy showers (turning the water off for the time it takes me to shave my legs) saved another 49.2 gallons.

Utilities & Misc.
My laundry procedures (wash in cold only, hang to dry) saved about $12.85, according to Xcel Energy estimates of energy used.

Bag credits at the grocery store (5-cent-per-bag credits given sporadically for bringing your own bags) netted 75 cents.

I saved $12.53 in transportation costs: Avoiding pay parking by walking a bit further, walking instead of driving to a local shop, and most of all driving gently to improve my gas mileage. This last is a rough average, calculated on the improved mileage over my usual best-of mileage. Driving will be a post in itself one of these days.

All in all, this is an exciting experiment. I can’t wait to see my annual totals. There’s nothing like a good solid number to inspire me to keep moving. It works for a diet, and it works for reducing our footprint, even if just a little.

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