We Spent How Much???

After coming home from the commissary this week, I stared dumbfounded at the receipt in my hand. I had estimated how much this trip would cost as I planned the menus, and this was not the figure I came up with.

Does this sound like a typical day at your house, too? Want to know where that money went and how to keep it from happening next week? Here are some of the things I discovered as I assessed the situation.

* Plan your list in advance. As you fill out your shopping list for the week, planning menus and restocking the pantry, stick to exactly what you need. Copy ingredients straight from the recipes and actually look to see what empty. This will keep you from guessing later while you're at the store and buying things you already have.

* Decide now exactly what you'll get as a treat. If you're wandering down aisles at the store and something looks good, you'll throw it in the cart. In the next aisle something else will catch you eye, but you don't put back what you got in the first aisle. Splurging on yourself is totally acceptable, but not a grab bag from throughout the store. If you choose something ahead of time, you can pass up the others and save money.

* Don't shop for groceries when you're hungry. This sounds tired and cliche', but it's absolutely true. You'll buy more, bigger, and differently when you're shopping on an empty stomach. Everything looks good, and you stray from your list, when that voice in your tummy says "Ooh...look!"

* Use coupons only for those items on your list. But I have a coupon for 10 cents off a 75 pound bag of dog food! I'm saving money so I should get it, right? Wrong! Even if it were a great sale, make sure it's something that goes with your meal plan for the week or is something you're running out of. If it's something you never buy or have to buy six more ingredients to make it a meal, skip it for now and plan on it for next week.

* Avoid impulse buys. There are some great sales at grocery stores right now. There are new items being added all the time and they're presented in eye-catching ways. Don't fall for it! If it's not in your spending plan and it won't fit with this week's meals, don't get it! The end caps of aisles are notorious for having "sales" that really aren't. The checkout is the worst place to buy snacks or drinks because they are outrageously expensive. Plan accordingly and save some serious change.

* Don't let others enable your spending. If you're shopping with someone else, make the decision before you ever enter the store that you're going to stick to the list, get in and get out. If you've already decided on your splurges, don't be talked into adding something to the cart. And don't try to talk them into saying it's OK to add something yourself. If you truly want to save money, you have to curb the extras - save them for something truly special.

* Make sure you know your store's policies. Don't assume anything - do you have the current sale paper? Do they offer rain checks when items are sold out? Will the accept coupons printed from the computer? Do they double and triple coupons, or accept competitor's coupons? If you've planned to spend a certain amount and any of these assumptions fall through, you'll spend a lot more than anticipated. Check out the situation before you reach the checkout line.

Comments

  1. Decide now exactly what you'll get as a treat

    I wish I'd read this yesterday before I went to Kroger. Then maybe that bag of Cheetos would've stayed on the end cap instead of jumping into my basket. And then they all jumped into my mouth. At least they were baked, not fried!

    *sigh*

    ReplyDelete

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