Try Mint to Track your Grocery Spending

The SpendSmart.EatSmart web page and Facebook have been running a poll asking What do you think saves you the most money on your grocery bill? Here is the breakdown from the 315 people who responded:

Strategy Votes % of Total Votes
Making a list and shopping less often 139 44%
Making menus 65 21%
Comparing prices between brands 43 14%
Shopping at a store with lower prices 37 12%
Coupons 28 9%
Other:  sticking to your menu, shop at the same store because I get too distracted looking at a new store, buy in bulk 3

The results of this poll indicate to me that our readers are very savvy shoppers!  These are similar results to what research and the experts promote as the best ways to save money.

Do you know how much you spend for food each month, how many times you shop and where most of your money goes? That is good information to know before you set goals.   I wrote about tracking my food expenses on SpendSmart last June, but now I have a much easier method.

I downloaded a free app on my phone called Mint a couple of months ago and now it does most of the work tracking my expenses.  Mint, which is also available free on-line at Mint.com, links to all your  checking, savings, credit cards, etc..  Whenever money goes in or out of your accounts it is recorded.  The best part is that Mint is pretty smart about categorizing your expenses from the names of the businesses.  For instance, it knows to categorize Aldi and HyVee as grocery stores and Younkers as clothing.

There are many more cool features about Mint.  You can see a recent review of Mint in Doughroller.  The author said Mint is a “good concept and very well executed.”

So what did I find out about my spending? First, I need to spend a little more time categorizing transactions.  Second, there is a lot of variation month to month in both the amount and spending occasions. I can tell when I am not taking the time to plan and just running to the store and buying…these are the months when I have 10 or 11 charges from grocery stores.

I really need to follow my own advice.

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