Monthly Money Mistake – September 2019

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Not Paying Attention at the Grocery Store

Financially I think I do a lot of things well but there is always room for improvement. The monthly money mistake series is a place where I can highlight a mistake from the previous month.  Provide follow up from previous months’ mistakes.  And record action steps for improvement in the future.

Since starting the Monthly Money Mistake series I have become more mindful with my money.  

Hopefully this series helps to also inspire you to be more mindful.  In the end it doesn’t matter what specifically you are spending your money on.  As long as you are aligning your spending with your values.

Remember personal finance is exactly that, personal.  I’m not here to tell you what or what not to do with your money.  I’m just going to share my journey and hope you get something out of it. 

Reflecting on budgets I’m sure we could all be a bit more optimized.  With that being said lets get to the mistakes.

Last Months’ Money Mistake Follow Up

Last month’s money mistake was “don’t assume someone else will do it.”  This was a good lesson for me to learn and I was able to apply what I’ve learned this past month too.

Related Post: Monthly Money Mistake – August 2019

We had some major renovations done to our new home prior to moving in.  When we had our final walkthrough I was curious about permitting.  Not wanting to assuming someone else had taken care of it I had my husband bring up my concern with the contractor during the walkthrough.  

The contractor was glad that we had brought it up because he had yet to schedule the final approval for the permit.  By bringing it up we had reminded him to do so.

Eventually the final inspection for the permit would have had to have occurred.  If we would have had to apply for it it would have cost us time and money to do so.  Yes, we could have gone back to our contractor for this but that still would have cost us time.

By not assuming someone else would do it and just bringing it up in our final walkthrough the final inspection was taken care of and our final approval granted.  This was definitely a time saver for us this past month.

The Mistake

This month’s mistake is more of a household mistake, but since we combine all our finances and budget together as a family I’m going to include it.

I love grocery shopping.  Yes, I could go online and order my groceries online and save a bunch of time.  But I really enjoy going to the grocery store.  For this reason I do the majority of the grocery shopping for my household and have found ways to optimize it and save a lot of money.

Related Post: How to Save Money on Groceries – 15 Best Tips

This past month I went back to work after having the summer off.  My husband was still at home finishing up the last month of his parental leave.  As a teacher, September can be one of the busiest months of the year.

Sadly, I couldn’t find the time to go grocery shopping this month as I had other priorities.  So my husband did the majority of the grocery shopping.

Receipt Inspection

Being the person that I am, when he got home I would ask what he all bought and inspect his receipts.  Even though we try to shop with a list it doesn’t always happen that way.

I like looking at the grocery receipts, not to judge but just to stay current with that things cost.  Upon inspection of his grocery receipts I noticed that a bunch of things that he bought were a lot more expensive than we usually spend on those items.

Having done a grocery deep dive, I have a pretty good idea of the unit price for our staple items.  Some of our staples he had overspent on.  When I asked him about the cost of certain items what he thought the price was, was not what the receipt had said.

Now one of 2 things was going on here, he didn’t pay attention at the grocery store when looking at prices or the items weren’t rung in correctly.  Either way, there are improvements that can be made.

In Canada there is something called the Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code.  This Code ensures that the list price for an item is the same as the scanned price at checkout.  By not paying attention at the grocery store, my husband had potentially missed out on an opportunity to question the price of certain items.

The Lesson

Although this happened to my husband this month it could have easily been me.  As much as I love buying groceries there are still times when I’m tired and not paying attention at the grocery store.  

Just by paying a bit of attention at the grocery store you can save money on your groceries every month.  It’s not enough to look at price tags when you put something into your cart, you should also watch the scanner as those items are scanned in.  If you think there is a discrepancy, inquire about it.  It never hurts to ask.

Genymoney states how easy it is to just ask for clarification on a price and how it can lead to free food thanks to the Scanning Code of Practice.

Paying attention at the grocery store can save you hundreds of dollars a year.  Use the Scanners Code of Practice to your advance. #savemoney #groceries #moneymistake #handfulofthoughts

Action Steps

So where do we go from here?  Well the simple answer would be to do all the grocery shopping myself when I’m alert and in full on price checking mode.  Unfortunately, this is not realistic in my life right now (maybe one day – a girl can dream…).

Here are some real action steps to prevent this money mistake in the future

  • Shop with a list
    • Write the sale price of certain items on the list before heading to the store
  • Watch the scanner as items are bring rung in
  • If an item doesn’t seem to be the right price on the scanner, inquire about it
  • Pay attention to the price tags on items – sometimes the price tag doesn’t match the item.
  • Only buy items we need – don’t be swayed by promotional prices on things we don’t need
Not paying attention at the grocery store can cost you hundreds of dollars a year. Find out how to avoid this and how to use the Scanners Code of Practice to your advantage. #moneymistak #groceries #handfulofthoughts

Although this month’s money mistakes did not have a huge impact on our monthly budget it still has some effect.  All these little mistakes add up over time.  Correcting them one by one can have a huge impact.  Month after month not paying attention at the grocery store could ended costing hundreds of dollars a year.

What was your money mistake this month?

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6 Comments

  1. Thanks for the mention, shared it on twitter 🙂

    Lol..This is why I don’t ask my husband to get groceries- because he doesn’t care about prices so much. If he does, I tell him to get specific things that are in the flyer, on sale.

    1. Maria says:

      Thanks for the share.

      I know what you mean. Usually I send him with a very specific list with the prices written on it. He also gets explicit instructions to not buy things not on the list. He’s been known to come home with a bunch of stuff we don’t need.

  2. Fellow lover of grocery store shopping here. I think we would definitely save more if I ordered online. But I’m not giving it up 😜

    1. Maria says:

      Me neither. When my little one was super small, sometimes the grocery store was the only outing we did that week.

  3. I like grocery shopping too. What about suggesting your husband use self checkout next time if that option is available. 🙂 I find it’s easier to catch pricing mistakes that way.

    1. Maria says:

      That’s a great idea! Unfortunately he purchased too many items to qualify for self-checkout. I will definitely recommend that next time he has a smaller list.

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