Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Grocery Game

Today I want to share with you my little game I play at the grocery store.  It's GOLD, pure GOLD!

Do you ever get that sick feeling in your stomach when you're standing at the checkout, watching the cashier ring up your cart-o-groceries?  That fear that the total is going to be way more than you wanted to spend?  That used to be me, every single time I went for groceries.  I would just stand there and sweat it out, praying that it would under "x" amount of dollars...

But now I have a very easy way of figuring out, within a dollar or two, how much your final total will be, before you even get up to the register!  No calculator, and extremely minimal math involved, I promise!

Here's my last grocery list.  Pretty typical, I'm guessing:

But instead of simply crossing items off the list, each time I put something in the cart, I flip my list over, and put tally marks for how much the item costs.  (It takes an entire extra 2 seconds.) Think back to middle school math...round UP if the item ends in .50 or more, round DOWN if it ends in .49 or less.  (Example, if something is 1.49, put ONE tally mark down.  If something is 1.50, put TWO.)

If you have a coupon for an item, figure that in, and only put tally marks for how much you will end up paying for the item.  

The back of my list looks like this by the end of my trip:
(It's usually not that much.  I had some extra things I needed this time.)  That horizontal line denotes when I've gotten to $100.  It just makes it easier to count.  I personally like to do 10 marks on a line...then I can just count the rows by 10's and it's very easy.

This way, I know how much I'm spending all along, so if I get to the end and I'm over what I wanted to spend, I can put back something like that $6 can of almonds or whatever else I have in there that's not really necessary, to get my total down to where I need it to be.  It saves the embarrassment of a "situation" at the register, at least!  (Why do nuts have to be so expensive, anyway?)

So anyway, you can see that my estimated total came to $158.  Sometimes I tell the cashier what I think my total will come to.  Usually they look at me like I have three heads, and go back to their job.  But once in a while I get a fun one, who plays along with me!

Look what my actual total came to:

$2.44 over?  Not too shabby!  And notice that before tax, it was $158.58....ho yeah!  Pure gold, this system!  And I promise, I didn't wait for a "good" receipt to blog about...this is pretty typical.  Sometimes it comes out to be more, sometimes less.  I'm hardly EVER off by more than $3-5.  When I get within $1, I call my husband at work to brag.  He loves that, trust me. 

So, what do you think?  Do any of you do this, too?  Are you gonna try it?  I'd love to hear how it turns out!



  1. Umm I LOVE that! Do you know how many times I've tried to keep a tally on my calculator only to erase it all by some stupid accident!? Or tried to keep adding it up as I go, writing 6 different amounts that I have to add together and then..doh! I forgot my calculator and have to do some serious long addition (lets be honest, not my strong suit!)I feel so foolish to not have thought of this myself. Thanks for sharing your gold!

  2. Why have I never thought of this? Genius! I hate getting to the register and being told your total is like $5000. That's always awkward ;-)

    Rachel @ Maybe Matilda

  3. Forgot to mention that Michaels has sheets of canning labels in their $1.50 bins for 50 cents right now. If you can't find them ,let me know and I'll snag some for you!