Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 11 – The Cheat-Sheet

So we're in the home stretch. Just a few days left. Will we rebound out of control, buying everything our little hearts desire? Funny, but I'm not really desiring much, except to stockpile some fruit!

I'm preparing for next Monday when I actually go to the grocery store again. I have a typed up master version of my typical shopping list, and I've been looking it over. In the book I borrowed from the library the other day, Living Rich by Spending Smart, by Gregory Karp, he suggests that we should stockpile food on sale for our best savings. He asserts that most people can save up to 20% by stockpiling on food and non-food items. (Based on our guestimations, 20% saved on grocery store purchases would be $1500 - $3000 a year!) In the world according to Karp, we should buy items on sale, use coupons, stock up, try store brands, and even consider a second freezer which will pay for itself over time. It's important to know the best prices for the items one tends to buy, so you can snatch an item when it's a great deal. Or buy as many as you are allowed to, or can afford!

I am goal-setting now. Making a plan. I don't want to go crazy. I'm still feeling miserly and we still have a fair amount in the cupboards…

First, I want to buy the things we really want, or need. So far, that list includes fruit, espresso, extra -virgin olive oil, onions, bay leaves, eggs, yogurt for the kids, no-salt added diced tomatoes, no-salt Dijon mustard, applesauce, and gas for our two cars. The kids want cream cheese for their bagels again; we were completely out when we started the experiment and they have been good sports about giving up their "favorite" breakfast item. (Their "favorite" changes about every four days.) I also want to head to the post office to mail a gift to a friend who recently had a baby.

Next, I want to identify the grocery store products that we use on a regular basis, and I will look for coupons and stock up on what we can. I intend to create meal plans around what we still have in the pantry, fridge, and freezer. Unless the item is very greatly wanted or needed, or very reduced, I don't want to buy it!

I started looking at the grocery store's circular fliers to find low sale prices and I'm noting them directly on my master shopping list. That way, we have a low-price goal, and if we forget what a good price is for a particular item, we have a cheat-sheet. Some people can just remember the best price per pound for 7 different cuts of various meats, but not us. We need the cheat-sheet!


Ambria said...

What a great idea to have a list AND to keep track of what a good price is! Is the list (sans prices) something you could share?

We are doing something similar to your post-fast plan. For the past month I've made a list of necessities and either bought on sale, with a coupon, or at costco. Then I shop from my cabinets. I *think* it is saving us money and I know it's saving lots of time we were spending running to the store every other day!

Rachel W said...

Well done all of you! It is a good lesson on the difference between need and want. Gas and basic food items are necessary, while stopping for coffee or treats after swimming, not so much. It is useful to look for bargains, seems a good suggestion to stock up on basics this way. another advantage of an extra freezer might be that when some fruits and vegetables are freshest, local and relatively cheap you can freeze a bunch for later- cooked or uncooked. Berries for smoothies, tomato sauce, and my fave, ratatouille.

Dr. Mom said...

Congratulations on going frugal! Stockpiling is truly a great way to save money. I generally only buy what's on sale with additional coupons. There are some great resources on the web. I generally save between 60% to 80% on average, frequently getting things for free. We buy things that we use and actually the quality of the items purchased have improved (store brands are now more expensive). Good luck on your price book. There are some frugal bloggers that publish their price books online.