Shopping At Multiple Grocery Stores: Our Breakdown

Our family is lucky in that my wife has time to go shopping at multiple grocery stores.  Many people are limited by time to one trip per week.  This can mean having to pay more for groceries with some items not on sale. But, our situation allows my wife to find the best deals.  She spends more time shopping at multiple grocery stores, but is able to buy more items on sale.

I always track our spending and I had a hunch that our breakdown by store might have changed.  So, I went through our last few months of charges and came up with the following breakdown.

grocery store shopping
Shopping at multiple grocery stores can lead to big savings if you have time.

Breakdown In Spending – Shopping At Multiple Grocery Stores

This is our data from our credit card statement. It’s not scientific at all. I would say it’s fairly accurate, but there are definitely some issues.  For example we buy some staples at Costco.  But I didn’t include any of our Costco spending in here.  It’s simply too hard to figure out (or guess) the allocation that goes towards groceries.  At least at the grocery store, it’s fairly safe to assume you’re buying groceries.

With no further ado, here is our grocery store breakdown.

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Tipping On Carryout Orders – Yay Or Nay?

Lines on credit card receipts for tips have popped up everywhere.  It used to be that sit-down service was the only place where a tip applied.  Now, that is not so much.  Tipping on carryout orders is now a fairly common practice.  At least, if you believe how often the tipping lines appear.

So, what is the expectation for tipping on carryout orders?

tipping on carryout orders
Tipping on carryout orders is more common now than ever.

The Case For Tipping On Carryout Orders

While some would say that restaurants are being greedy looking for tips on carryout orders, many workers would likely disagree.

In many cases, workers are dedicated to the carryout section of a restaurant.  There is a local pizza place that we love, but we’ve started doing carryout only.  It’s so popular that waits for tables are usually at least 30 minutes, even on the least busy day of the week.  So, the solution is to purchase carryout.

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How One Local Brick and Mortar Store Is Keeping Up With The Times

The apparent death of the brick and mortar store is well documented.  And, with pretty good reason.  At least once per week, we see another big name store closing up shop.  Toys R Us.  Payless Shoe Source.  Gymboree.  These are just a few of those that hop right out at me without even looking anything up!  And I know there are tons more.

However, not all brick and mortar stores are content to sit back and let online businesses take them away.  I am pleased to mention one such experience.

New Running Shoes

I run about 10 miles per week.  Lately, I’ve noticed that my shoes have started to feel a bit worn.  They have around 500 miles, which is honestly around the top end for running shoes.  My shoes are pretty sturdy, so that is actually about right.

running shoes
Does a brick and mortar store compare to online options for new running shoes?

I had bought my last pair at a local store called Hanson’s Running Shop. They specialize in shoes and gear for runners.  I had a great experience and they found me a pair of shoes that offered extra support.  This is important to me given that I’m prone to plantar fasciitis

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How We Avoided A Smaller Tax Refund (And What We’re Doing With It)

Have you done your 2018 taxes yet?  Are you one of the unfortunate people who are seeing a smaller tax refund this year?  If you are, I hope that it won’t impact your finances in a negative way.  Thankfully, we were able to avoid a smaller tax refund this year.

tax refund checklist

How We Avoided A Smaller Tax Refund

When we got our tax forms back, we were happy to see that we’re getting a little more back than last year.  While many people think getting any sort of refund is bad thing, I actually welcome a refund.  We don’t count on the refund.  For us, it’s just nice to have money that isn’t a temptation to spend during the year.  The removal of that temptation is worth the small interest we’re foregoing.

So, how did we avoid a smaller refund? There were two main reasons.

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Don’t Pay With Cash Unless You Have To

Do you pay with cash or swipe a card?  Some will swear that paying with cash can save you money.  After all, you’re only spending what you have on hand.  This is definitely true, but that doesn’t mean cash is king.

Why We Don’t Pay With Cash

For our spending purposes, we rarely pay with cash.  The only times we do is when we have no other choice.   We don’t think paying with cash is necessarily a bad idea.  It just seems that using a card works better and offers us a few more advantages.  Here are a few.

Credit Card Rewards

We do most of our spending on three different cards. They all provide different rewards.  We pick the card we use in order to maximize our rewards.

credit card rewards
Reward credit cards can give you freebies.
  • Costco Cash Back Visa Card.  We use this card primarily for gas, restaurants, travel, and Costco shopping.  The reason is simple.  It provides 1% for all spending, but provides between 2-4% cash back on all of those categories.
  • American Express Blue Everyday Card. This is the card we use mostly for grocery shopping.  Same deal as the Costco card, in that it gives 1% on everything, but for grocery shopping you get 3%.  With our family of four that includes two very fast growing children, that extra amount adds up.
  • Southwest Visa Card.  Most of our other spending goes on our Southwest card.  This gives you one mile per dollar spent.  I’ve done the math, and at least last time I checked, the standard ‘cost’ of a flight using miles works out to be about 20% cheaper than paying in cash. We took an anniversary trip to Cancun a couple of years ago with no cost whatsoever.

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Thoughts On Selling On Facebook Marketplace

In the past, I’ve sold some items on Craigslist.  While I love selling online, it’s no longer my go-to site.  I have started selling on Facebook Marketplace.

Why Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace was rolled out a couple of years ago.  With so much selling going through Craiglist, eBay and the like, it was natural that Facebook would want to get in on the game.

I like Facebook Marketplace for the following reasons:

  • Familiarity – I use Facebook almost every day.  So do many people.  You don’t need a different login to sell (or buy items).  You don’t need a different app.  It’s all right there.
  • Real People – When you’re buying or selling on Facebook Marketplace, you’re using your regular profile.  So is the other person.  You instantly have a name and a face.  It seems to make things more personal.
  • Size – Facebook is huge as it is.  So right away you’ve got a built in audience.

It’s been a cool experience so far.  But, I have some observations.

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