Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Frugal Shopping Thoughts

So the last few months my main goal (in terms of shopping/money) has been to get used to this new shopping stuff as well as build up our stock pile of supplies.

I've learned how to cut/organize coupons efficiently.

I've learned how to figure out the best sales and what's worth buying (although that's still a lesson in progress).

I've learned some valuable lessons and rules regarding couponing/frugal shopping (I need to update my rules list I posted before as I've come up with some more since then).

I'm working on trying to plan meals a week in advance and actually follow through on the menu (this has proved to be challenging somewhat, especially when I I hit a gluten-attack and wind up exhausted and cranky and in pain).

As September gets closer, I've been thinking about how to tackle the next month.

(side note - A very wise person told us before we got married that a great budgeting technique is to always be one month ahead of yourself in pay checks. In other words, all of the pay checks we receive in August get put in the bank and not a penny is touched until September 1. Then at the beginning of the month we have our entire month's budget already in hand and we go from there - as opposed to living from pay check to pay check. I don't remember where it was we picked up this concept, but it has been amazingly helpful. Any ways, so when I look at finances and stuff, it's very easy for me to plan a month in advance because I'm not theoretically projecting what we will have in the bank, I know what we have!).

So, in September while obviously continuing the rest of the above techniques (especially the meal-planning because I can't escape people talking about how that is the best way of saving money on food), I'm going to try adding another step to my shopping.

Currently I have a monthly amount of money set aside for groceries etc. I want to break that down into a weekly amount (slightly smaller than what our current budget would allow weekly) and see how I do on that.

It's going to require really thinking through what I'm buying every week, but I think it will be good in the end. And I think that's going to be the real way to start cutting down on our actual grocery budget.

A tricky part is that everyone I've read on this stuff is emphatic about only using cash. And while I do see the benefits of that (forcing you to limit your spending, etc), we use a credit card because of frequent flyer miles (the card get paid in full every month - never again do I want to experience the agony of paying off credit card debt!). And in my family situation (being spread out all over the world), frequent flyer miles are an essential part of life. So I'm going to have to work on being really disciplined on still paying with our card but only allowing x amount per week.

Oh the fun and joys of frugality!

1 comment:

Hillery said...

Making menus can be a pain, but in the end it frees me. No worrying about dinner, no decision to run out and buy something expensive because I can't figure out what to make. And as long as I remember at the store to buy everything on my list, we are set! Sometimes I plan a week ahead, other times two weeks ahead. Depends on what is going on, and how often I can shop. Good luck!