Good evening! I got a fair amount of questions and comments the other day about the free Savings Tracker spreadsheet. I made a few transactions today and entered them to illustrate how I’m personally making use of this tool. I thought I’d share it with you to give you an idea of how it can be used to work.
First, I made my line item entries just below the orange bar in “January Spending & Saving Details.” For each receipt, “Shelf Cost” is what I would’ve paid had the store offered no discount and had I presented no coupons. To keep things simple, I include tax since I figure either way, I’m paying it.
Coupons are both store and manufacturer coupons. Important note here: this is how I’m accounting for Register Rewards & Catalina coupons. Why? Essentially they’re treated and redeemed as coupons. Why make it more complicated than it needs to be? You’ll notice that in the “Comments” section I mentioned that I earned a $10 OYNO coupon during my Albertsons trip today. That’s just for me to note that I have it. So let’s say I redeem it tomorrow on a $20 transaction. That line entry will include it as $10 in “coupons.” I would treat this the same for Walgreens Register Rewards. In the end, your overall savings is still correctly reflected in your “Savings Rate” in the At-a-Glance section.
You’ll also note that on my Rite Aid transaction, I have a $2 rebate. I should now be sure to enter the rebate into Rite Aid’s system. Additionally, I could note it on the “Rebate Tracker” of the spreadsheet if I care to track when I submitted it and when I received it.
Rebates are a tricky business and I like to keep my tally both before and after rebate. If you notice in the “January At-a-Glance” section, my “Amount Paid” includes my rebate savings. In the right-hand column there’s also an “Amount Paid” figure that excludes rebates. Here’s another important note: the variance figure is calculating your budget less amount paid that includes rebates.
Finally, sometimes I’ll have trips that may not necessarily include sales or coupons – I’m still counting them! Today I purchased some spice and bulk items at Winco. You’ll notice the shelf cost is also the cost I paid. I’m not overly concerned about calculating what I would’ve spent had I purchased spice bottles and not in bulk; I’m more concerned about coming in under my $300/monthly budget. That is the most important figure on the spreadsheet for me – even more so than savings rate.
I hope those that are using this tool are enjoying it! I hope you also take the time to make it your own. I understand everyone’s brain works different, so feel free to tweak formulas, shift columns, or add your own notes to make it work for you. Throughout 2010, my goal will be to do a better job of tracking my savings and spending and share those results with you.
Best wishes for 2010!