Consumption Tracking

google calendarI don’t think I’ve written yet about how much I love Google.  How much do I love Google?  Well, pretty much whole-heartedly. I use iGoogle as my homepage–it tells me the weather, my agenda for the day, the phases of the moon (so important 😉 ), and recent news updates.  I don’t have any “office” software on my desktop at home, but use Google Docs instead.  I do use a Moleskine calendar, but I also use Google’s calendar app for many things.  I also store photos on Picasa and of course, have been using Gmail since the days when you had to have a friend “invite” you to use it.

I think the fact that Google rhymes with frugal is no mistake. Their apps have so many functions that can help get you organized and save time.

Today I thought I’d mention something I recently began doing with Google Calendar: tracking my consuption of household items.

With Google Calendar you can create new calendars with different names, to keep track of different types of events.  All your different calendars will be listed under “My Calendars” and you can turn on and off which one(s) you want to view at a time.

I have one calendar for work, one for the community garden I’m involved with, one to track my cycle, one for regular life stuff, and my new one called “Consumption”.  My idea here is to track how long it takes me to go through certain household goods, which will help me to budget for these items, and could even help me to determine savings if I make a change in how I do things.

For example, I am now tracking how long it takes us to go through a package of toilet paper.  I wish I knew the info for before I started using my cloth toilet wipes (for pee only), but I didn’t think to track it back then.

Some items I want to start tracking:

– flour: since I make all my own bread, cookies, and other baked items, I want to know how quickly I go through a 10 kilo bag of flour.  That way I won’t be tempted to stock up with more than I can use before it goes bad.

– laundry soap: how long does it take me to go through a box of laundry soap?  And from this, how much do I spend in a year on laundry soap?  Given this figure, does it make sense to revisit making my own laundry detergent?  Would it save me a significant amount over a year?  The jury is still out . . .

– hand soap: how long does it take me to go through a bar of soap?  I can then determine how much I spend on soap on a yearly basis.  Then if I feel the urge to start making my own, I can determine how much it would save me over the year to make my own (my inkling is it wouldn’t save very much, which is why this isn’t top of my priority list right now!)

– bread: how much bread do we go through?  Just out of curiosity.

– anything else we might buy in bulk, i.e. from Costco, etc.  Like rolled oats, for instance, or brown sugar.

Overall, I’m hoping this tracking calendar will yield some interesting results, and help me to determine where I should concentrate my money-saving efforts.

Do you use Google Calendar?  Any creative ways you use it to save?


10 thoughts on “Consumption Tracking

  1. I have done something similar for years, totally without Google. I just use a pen to write the date on the package when I first open it.

  2. Colleen

    Another beautiful post of wonderful ideas.
    We live about 70km away from the city and with teenage daughters I have learned to make sure to have a shock up on things. I have however done some tracking of how long it takes to go through things ( consumption). When I used liquid laundry detergent ( Sunlight) one (23 load) bottle did me 35 days. last October I switched to making my own. The box of washing soda and borax lasts 1 1/2 years when making the gel detergent but to switch things up this time I made the dry detergent with the same ingredients plus baking soda. I can tell you that it isn’t as messy or time consuming but it doesn’t do as many loads. It does however make the whites more bright ( we are on a well with hard water).

    Your Google idea is wonderful. I use it for homeschooling, and menu planning and recently started one for paying bills.

    the only down fall was from June 26 till July 14th we couldn’t access Google due to some connectivity issues. Makes you wonder if sometimes paper is the best method.


    1. I’ve used Google for menu planning too, but then I switched to a paper method for that. I do wonder sometimes what would happen if Google crashed . . . shudder! Frightening idea!

  3. I just stumbled on your blog. Great information. I’ve been trying to do the same thing, but have never used the google calendars. Thanks so much for the idea!

  4. Ahhh thanks for this post! I was only just wondering if we had actually reduced our consumption of paper towels by using napkins, or if it just felt like we had …. off to check this function out!

  5. OMGoodness I have gone Google calendar made. Created one for day to day, one for garden, one for consumption tracking, linked it all up with one i created for hubby … we are all synced and linked and I love it thanks for this idea! Hubby says he told me about Google calendar moths ago … *blush*

    1. Hi Tammy, glad to hear you’re loving the Google Calendar! I love it too–especially when I remember to check it!!!

      1. Hi there!

        I actually work on the PR team at Google and recently came across this great post!

        We’re always interested in learning about the interesting ways people use our products, and using a Google Calendar to track your consumption of everyday household items is one of the most creative ideas I’ve come across!

        I was wondering if you might have time to chat about this. I’d love to hear more about your story.

        Look forward to hearing from you!


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