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How to calculate grocery savings

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Here's how to calculate grocery savings

Here’s how to calculate grocery savings

Calculating the amount of money you save with coupons and discounts puts your efforts into perspective. There?s nothing more motivating than knowing you?ve saved real money, and trying to increase those savings week to week. 

The math involved is straightforward and these days many stores provide a savings total right there on your receipt. Whether money is tight or your family is saving up for a big trip, knowing how to calculate grocery savings will help you reach your financial goals. 

Many savvy shoppers are in the habit of doing this on every receipt, as well as once at the end of the month. The following will lead you through the process and throw in some tips to save even more money on home staples and nutritious ingredients.

Starting total

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Your starting total is the amount your purchase would have been before the sales discounts and couples. Often this number is provided on the sales receipt. Stores want customers to know how much they save by shopping there so they?ll continue to do so. Let’s look at an example in which the retail price of a bag of oranges is $3.


Actual total

The actual total is the actual amount you paid after the coupons and discounts. In coupon lingo, this is referred to as your Out of Pocket cost. Let?s say the bags of oranges are on sale for $2.

Find out how much money you saved by subtracting the actual total from the starting total. In our example, we subtract the following to figure out how much we will save on a bag of oranges: $3 – $2 = $1. We save $1.

Obviously the math isn?t always this easy. The nature of grocery shopping involves numerous small purchases that vary each week. Let?s use an example with more realistic figures to demonstrate how to calculate grocery savings.

Stating total: $55
Actual total: $32

$55 – $32 = $23

The savings here is $23.

Savings percentage

If you really want to have some fun, the math continues. One more straightforward equation will help you find the savings percentage. First, take the savings total ($23 in the above example) and divide it by the starting total ($55).

$23 / $55 = .42

Next, you move that decimal point over two places to the right. Here, we get 42%. If this were a real grocery receipt, the shopper would?ve walked away with groceries at 42% off. Not bad.

Seasoned coupon clippers know the savings percentage can go much higher. All it takes is a little time spent going through the coupon books and discount sites.

Track what you save

Recording your grocery savings is just as useful as making a budget and sticking to it every month. The two go hand in hand when it comes to saving money on food bills. If you?re looking for a simple, paper-free way to do this, try a savings tracker app or the tracker tool on The Coupon Project website.

Finding coupons

Store coupons are the best because it?s guaranteed that they?ll be accepted. Many manufacturers also offer coupons on their websites, which you can print or scan at a store. Call ahead first, as some stores don?t accept manufacturers? coupons.

Finding the best discounts

Signing up for your go-to stores’ newsletters will keep you in the know of the hottest sales of the week. Make note of which places offer the best deals on staples like milk and bread, but be prepared to go elsewhere for produce and packaged foods. Offering the lowest prices on staples is a strategy to get customers in the door, but it doesn?t guarantee good deals to be found elsewhere.

Sometimes you have to shop around a bit to save the most money overall. Now that you know how to calculate grocery savings, you have real money to show for this time and energy.


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