Looking at my collection of coupons and the effort I put toward grocery shopping and frugal living occasionally makes me wonder if it’s all worth it. Is it worth it to find, clip, keep and protect, match to a sale/grocery store, and use a $.50 coupon on a pack of toilet paper. Really? It’s $.50, I could find at least that much in any public fountain or on the side of the road.
Then, I did a little research and found out that the average American spends $200 per month on food (2005 US Census Statistics). That means my family of five should be spending $1000 per month on groceries and eating out (probably less since three are small children, but even if you count them as half that’s still $700). And, I don’t think the statistics take into consideration cleaning products and personal hygiene products.
I just recently adjusted my grocery shopping budget to $60 per week and that includes all those household and personal items. We do occasionally go out to eat, but don’t ever spend more than $100 per month. Adding it all up we spend a whopping $340. Less than half the national average. All that coupon clipping, deal chasing and using less really adds up! (read a great post on using less here)
So, what’s the point of my rambling? Small and simple things like buying on sale, clipping coupons, and really watching each penny we spend adds up to huge savings for our family. I call it the principle of little things.
But behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass;
— Alma 37:6
And it is not only in grocery shopping where this principle is evident. Good people go to heaven because of all the little things they do, not because of one big thing. The ocean is made up of millions upon trillions of tiny water droplets, but we wouldn’t even have a puddle without one drop. One great act did not create the Grand Canyon. Millions of years and wind and rain each had a small part in that creation. The way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time (as the saying goes).
So, now whenever I feel the monotony of what I do to save money or question why I’m doing it. I just step back and take a look at where we’ve come from and how now I have more money to use on paying off my debt and later to use for fun stuff and helping others. And, I am content to keep working just as hard if not harder.