I have always been intimidated by the word “spreadsheet.” I don’t know why — maybe because numbers intimidate me! Nevertheless, when I realized my methods of tracking my budget were ancient, time consuming and inefficient, I decided to be brave and start a spreadsheet for my couponing adventures. Setting up the spreadsheet was not exactly easy, but now that it’s done, it has become my new best friend! You may have read this recent KCL post on using a spreadsheet to track your savings. If you still aren’t convinced, read on. Here are seven reasons why you may find it worthwhile to use a couponing spreadsheet:

1. Instant gratification

I love to enter my receipts and see how much money I saved. Sometimes I feel like I can’t get to the computer fast enough! For example, here is how I entered a recent receipt from Walgreens on my spreadsheet: Total cost; $7.98, coupons; $6.00. Final out of pocket; $1.98. Percentage saved: 73.89%.

2. Combat overspending

We’ve all done it. How many times have you looked at your budget and realized that you spent more money than you intended to at one store? For example, Harris Teeter is my main grocery store. I was reviewing my spreadsheet for this month and saw a receipt for $117.00. That is much more than I normally spend at one time, so I pulled the receipt to see where my money went. There were several stock-up deals, some great prices on meats, and dog food was on sale. The money was well spent, but that red flag on my spreadsheet helped me make sure I wasn’t mindlessly going over my budget.

3. Track rebates

How many times have you mailed in a rebate, only to lose track of how long you’d been waiting for your check? Set up your spreadsheet with a rebate column so you can track the amount of your rebate and when it was mailed and received. Rebates help your bottom line, so it’s important to track them carefully!

4. Spending accountability

This is my least favorite part of the spreadsheet. I admit it, I love to shop. I love it even more when I save lots of money, so since I’m a KCL, I tend to shop a lot. At any time, I can look at my spreadsheet and see how much money I have left to spend for the month, so I know when it’s time to slow down my spending and use rolling rewards, gift cards, ECBs and +UPs to get the items I want and still stay within my budget!

5. Paperless tracking

I use one particular credit card for all of my coupon purchases. This card is paid off each month, has no yearly interest fees, and I make money with my purchases. However, I don’t like to log in to the credit card account to track my expenses — it’s just too much trouble. I’ve tried writing down my purchases to keep track of how much I have spent for the month, but that’s too time consuming, and then I have to be sure not to lose the paper. My spreadsheet is saved in my documents on my computer — no password, no paper, and no need to access the Internet!

6. Calculate your savings percentage

Set up your spreadsheet to track how much you saved on each purchase. I log store discounts and coupons for each transaction to find my percentage savings. My target is at least 50 percent savings, and my goal is 75 percent. Look below the total on your receipt and you will find your store savings and coupon savings. For example, Harris Teeter figures the store savings amount along with the coupons I have used during the transaction. Their receipt also shows my store savings for the year. Per my spreadsheet, my current monthly savings rate is 63.04 percent!

7. Transitional changes

As you know, a budget is a guide — it’s not set in stone. Some months I may spend more because of holidays or birthdays. Some months are shorter, so I might save more money in February than I do in March. Sales are cyclical, and you can adjust your budget accordingly. Your spreadsheet will help you see how fluctuations in your monthly expenditures tend to even out in the long run. Flexibility is something we couponers are well acquainted with, so don’t forget to apply that adaptability to your budgeting, as well!

This article will show you how to create an Excel spreadsheet for your family budget. You can also use Google Sheets for access to your spreadsheet from any device!

This is a guest post by Tammy from St. Pauls, NC
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network!

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16 thoughts on “Extreme Couponing Tip: 7 Reasons to Use a Couponing Spreadsheet”

I am looking for a couponing spreadsheet that I can use when I go to the grocery store. But I shop at bi-lo store and save a lot. So I need a spreadsheet for that stores. Please help

Looking for a free app to download to my iPad

I love the idea but I have no clue how to do this with excel I saw a site that said what he did but I have idea how to put in this formulas he was talking about

I found the sample spreadsheet that I use on The Coupon Project.

I love mint.com for budgeting in general, and I have been tracking my couponing savings on my account here to save time over a more detailed spreadsheet. It’s a great idea, but for those short on time, it hardly takes any effort, and you still have a general idea of what you’re spending and where. :)

:) jmjmroy@gmail.com
My main shopping is at Walmart, Target, Walgreens, and Rite Aid.
Greatly appreciated!!

anybody?? I could make one, but with my ADD it would take FOREVER!! Please let us know if you have one you would like to share!!

I would LOVE an example template as well!! I have tried a few I found off Google but I really didn’t care much for them :(

I use my spread sheet for my shopping list’s

do you have a blank master copy you would be willing to share?

I swear I am one oddball couponer! I don’t make spreadsheets….

I work about 50 -60 hrs a week while in school full time so I just make a quick shopping list once a week for CVS, Walgreens, Target and Walmart. Spreadsheets are great, but I only have one for my bills/budgets for the month. I did watch an extreme couponing episode where the lady looked pretty calm and confident about her purchases versus the others who did not have a spreadsheet. I’m actually curious how many people do make them?

I hear ya, as a school teacher….yah, I don’t have time LOL

I have seen how other people use spreadsheets for couponing, but I am fairly new to couponing and have no experience with spreadsheets… I tried to follow the link for setting up a spreadsheet, but it seemed more like a family budget than a coupon spreadsheet. Are there any pre-made spreadsheets for couponing?

I am in the same boat, I am fairly new and would LOVE to be able to set up a spreadsheet (I am SUCH a big fan of keeping track of the smallest of details). I just know that if I attempt to set it up myself I will drive myself KRAZY with ridiculous details. LOL. Anyone have a template for this??? I would be EXTREMELY grateful! <3 TIA!

I would also love to see a good spread sheet for couponing, not one that just keeps track of your spending after having purchased items but one where I can put in my coupons and then sales info and have it help me find the best deals for stores that are local here.

Search “fabulessly frougal”, on that website there is a pre-loaded spreadsheet with all the coupons in the newspaper, organized by insert! You can easily delete any old inserts, and add a new page to keep up with it. This really made my shopping trips so much easier, because you can just hit “Find” and type in the coupon you’re looking for, instead of scrambling through all your coupons.