Stories From Our Readers: How Drew cut his grocery bill in half

“This is going to sound so naive, but I was skeptical about the benefits of tracking my spending.

I had a general idea of where my money was going, so wasn’t that good enough?

No, it wasn’t. After a month of meticulously tracking every dollar I spent, I realized that my grocery spending was double what I thought it was. I couldn’t believe it. I guess all those pints of ice cream and fancy cheeses I was sneaking into my cart really added up.

Before I started tracking my spending, I only made half-hearted efforts at cutting costs. I think a part of me felt like if I didn’t look hard at the details, I wouldn’t have to face the reality that I wasn’t as frugal as I thought I was.

After tracking my spending, I got serious about budgeting. The numbers didn’t lie. I knew I had to make a change.

Soon, I was highly motivated to get my food budget under control. I have now cut my grocery spending in half from where it was three years ago. I still occasionally splurge on an irresistible looking goat cheese, but doing so no longer bothers me because I know that everything else is under control.”

– Drew
Brooklyn, NY

The takeaways

  • It’s easy to fall into the comfort zone of “having a general idea” of where your money is going. Until you take the time to track your spending, you never really know. To get started, check out our money management guide and list of our favorite personal finance software.
  • Financial independence requires a close examination of your spending habits — and that’s hard. Be honest with yourself about the future implications of your cash flow and the courage will come.

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Personal finance can be difficult to navigate, and everyone’s story is different. This series is about sharing experiences of people just like you — the good and the bad — to empower the TSD community. Through your stories, voices will be heard, lessons will be learned, and wins will be celebrated!

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