Savings: From Your Receipt to Your Bank Account


Most of us have been there: filled with excitement while looking at the store receipt that says: “You save 80% off your purchase today.”  However, week after week goes by and our bank accounts are not going up by the same percentage.  This is a question I see asked often:  How do I translate the savings my grocery receipt shows into money in my savings account?  The answer resides in yourSELF.


Let’s face it, most of us lack it.  Personally I can’t trust myself to make sure I stash the $100 I am supposed to have leftover from my budget at the end of the month into my savings account.  Chances are very good that I will find “something” to spend it on.  This is why I rely on automatic savings.  Instead of saving left over money from my budget, I put away money as soon as a paycheck hits my account and live on the leftover money.  Backwards thinking huh?  This is also the fastest way to start living below your means because you learn to live on less than what you make and save money.  So, how do yo get there?  You do it in baby steps.  Start with an amount you feel you won’t miss at all or only a little bit.  Start with $25 or $50 every paycheck.  The secret is to start.  Then you move on to the next step.


Once you have created the habit of putting aside a set amount of money every paycheck, challenge yourself!  Start with $25 but don’t keep that amount forever.  Push yourself to even higher amounts.  Challenge yourself to start saving for multiple purposes: emergency fund, retirement, college savings, car fund, etc.

I am a bargain shopper. But I use coupons and shop bargains not just so that I can say “Look, I saved 70% or $x.xx, my receipt says so”  I am a bargain shopper so that I can say: “Look I saved $xx my bank account says so.”  If you have been looking for a way to translate your coupon savings  into actual savings in your bank account I highly encourage you to give automatic savings a try.  Start small but challenge yourself big.

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  • sally

    I have been a serious couponer for about 6 months now. I know I am spending the same as before however; I have gotten many free items that I would never purchase. Besides all the great deals I get, I now have a full pantry. I live on a very small fixed income & I used to plan every meal exactly so my food budget for the month would last all month. I am now eating much better & always have a few meals in the pantry/freezer that I did not have before. Thanks for all the great tips. They are especially useful for people like me on a fixed income. Your tip on saving is good one. You don’t spend it if it’s not available. The savings account is the answer.
    Thanks Again.

  • I love this and completely agree. I got laid off in June and have been couponing for about 6 months now. I’ve decided to put myself on a $50/week budget for groceries, drug stores, and Costco (dog food, cat food, cat litter). See my post at

  • dj

    Wow! Thank you! I’ve had it all backwards. This could work! I’m excited, thanks!

  • Amanda

    I just started this type of thing 2 weeks ago. I opened a bank account at the bank that my check is drawn on so that they cash my check for free (normally I would pay $10 to cash it at a check cashing place instead of waiting for my other bank account to take 2 business days to process it) so that $10 that it WOULD’VE costed me to cash my check is going into my new account. So I am not missing ANY money at all – I am truly “saving it”. I will bump it up to a higher amount though this paycheck!! Thanks for the words of wisdom!

  • Kim

    I am a life-long couponer, my mom did it and I do it. I do much better now and have shown my mom how to do it my way (actually Mercedes’ way).

    Before I was laid off from my job of 19 years, I would use coupons at PnS and whatever I saved on the receipt, I wrote a check and put into my savings account. This was my way of seeing how much I saved.

    Since I was laid off, over a year ago (and now under-employed), I have become the extreme couponer – thanks to Mercedes’ help. While I am not able to write checks to my savings account for the full amount, my goal for 2010 is to start doing it again for 10% of my savings. I know I can afford the $3, $4 or $10 that equals the 10% of my savings – just until we get back to being out of the red again. My plan is to do it for PnS, CVS, Wags, anywhere I can see the savings.

    Thank you Mercedes for everything you do, I am blessed to have found you.

  • Faith

    a lady i work with told me the same thing. She said i need to pay myself first, and everyone else after. so i have finally taken this advice and opened a savings account that 10% of my paycheck goes into automatically via direct deposit. This way i never have to think about it. the other 90% goes direct deposit into my checking. so i have now saved THE MOST MONEY I HAVE EVER SAVED (for longer than a week) a whopping 200.00

  • aip

    A pocket change savings plan is what i’ve always used. It’s a trick my father taught me. It’s easy and works well for saving. First, find a savings vehicle at a savings institution such as a money market account or similar. I found a great CD program with a local bank for 3.85% with a minimum $500 deposit. It’s a 13 month CD that you can continue to deposit to. You can’t, however, make withdrawls.

    The next step is, at the end of the day, open your wallet and remove all bills and change under $5.00. Place all of your change and small bills into a bank bag every day and then deposit the “pocket change fund” money into your savings account once a week. Roll your coins and deposit them right along with the paper money when you have a roll’s worth. Most banks will give you coin wrappers for free.

    If you’re consistant about it, you will continue to save a bundle. It’s very simple and you’ll save.

  • Tanya

    I have been seriously couponing for about 5 months now and have built up a good stockpile. I am able to give some of that to friends who have lost their income, but the part I am excited about is we are saving $200/month towards a new TV. We are looking at spending about $1000 on a good one and we are almost there. It’s fun to see that amount go up each paycheck! Once that is done, we will move on to other big purchases that we have been putting off because we “don’t have the money.” So glad I have found this site and others to show me how to spend less. Thanks!

  • Melanie

    What a great post! I was just thinking about this the other day. I have made automatic deposits into my savings account for as long as I can remember. If you don’t see it, you don’t spend it.

    But, since I’ve been doing this “couponing thing,” it’s been difficult for me to translate my savings into actual money in the bank. I mean, my cabinets, fridge and freezer are busting at the seams, I donate tons of food & household stuff to not only the pantry but also to friends and family. I know I am getting so much more for my money. But, I believe I am actually spending about the same amount of money as before.

    My goals for 2010:

    **keep picking up the free stuff but be a little more selective about everything else—don’t chase as many deals just because they’re “hot” and run myself ragged

    **for the first couple of months, eat some of the food that has been here awhile. Continue to buy fresh produce/fruit, milk, eggs, etc, but actually put that stockpile to use before anything goes bad, which is the ultimate waste of money

    **during those 2 or so months, put some extra $ in savings. How much, I haven’t totally decided yet, since it is just my boyfriend and I and not a family of 4 or 5, but commit to sock away at the very least $100 each month.


  • I totally agree with you! I never pay attention to how much I save, ONLY what I spend. That’s really what it comes down to for me. I pass up a lot of deals because of this, but its okay! Sometimes I would get bummed because I missed a good deal or forgot to use a coupon, but my mom always reminded me, there will be more deals tomorrow. She is so right! PS: I’m still establishing blogs I follow and I think you made the cut, haha!

  • Becky

    When I first started couponing, I fell into the trap that probably many new (and maybe experienced) couponers do: you buy cheap/free “junk”. I was so excited to get Poptarts for .15 cents when I first started that I ended up with over 10 boxes (I do have 3 growing boys). But after a while I realized that even if something is free or cheap doesn’t mean I need to get it.

    I get REALLY excited now when I get coupons for meat, cheese, produce, etc. And I use ECB’s or RR’s (usually when I make money on them) to buy things like milk that almost NEVER have a coupon.

    So I scrutinize my shopping list and sometimes cross off things I really don’t need (like more candy or chocolate!!) and that helps save more money too. I am stockpiled on rice and potatoe products so there really is no need to get more, but put the money to things that I can’t stock pile. Of course, when Spring comes around, hopefully I will have a garden again and that will save on the produce!

    One last thing: make it yourself. 1) It’s better for you (no preservatives and you know what ingredients you put in) 2) It’s probably cheaper (bought flour for .59 cents with coupon and made cinnamon rolls, coffee cake, etc…; probably would have costs $$ even with coupons to buy those things).

  • Jackie W

    Thank you for your post! I have been a frugalista my entire life…I was raised by a mom who had little, but made the most of it and grandparents who could give me anything I desired. So I learned to want the best in life and be VERY frugal getting it. I’d rather forgoe a trip to the grocery store and eat something in the house I got for free or cheap so I can buy a new pair of nice $200 shoes for $39.99 at the outlet store. I am already automatically save $35 per paycheck directly to my savings, but since hubby and I have upped our goal of what we want to have in our savings account for 2010 I think I’ll up my $35 to $70. That would def. help us save for a debt free trip to Disneyworld in 1 – 1 1/2 years! Thanks for your advice.

  • Thanks for the tips! I feel bad because I read through your blog all the time, but the I click on your links and forget to comment!

    So, finally, I am commenting. And thanking you SO MUCH for all the deals you have passed on!

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