Getting my head around this aka thinking outloud

I have been matching up coupons with sales for about 18 years now, some years better then others, and not as aggressively as I have been in the last 3 weeks, but over time I have developed a shopping habbit that not only includes buying the items that we currently need but also purchasing items I know we will need when the price was right on them. As a result, I started this with a well stocked pantry and nearly full freezer. I still have canned goods and Hamburger helper I paid .50 cents a box for last fall when Yokes and Rosauers had their annual Case sales and we still have frozen chickens that my husband paid .79 cents per lb. for when the store he works at got stuck with several cases of it that they needed to get rid of it.
Which got me to pondering a bit, thinking about how the $50.00 per week budget is really working out .
Many of my purchases this week were for food items that we wont be eating up this week, like the Suddenly Salad, the salad dressings and BBQ sauce, the bag of potatoes and the 4 lbs of cheese and 5 cases of Pop I bought, so how do I factor that into a weekly budget when those items will be used over the next several weeks? What about the Rib Eye my husband is bringing home today? Its going to put me over the $50.oo for this week, but considering that he is a meat cutter and will probably get 2 steaks out of each pound he brings home we will have several steak dinners in the future at $2.00 per steak, how does that factor in? How about the fact that the only thing I purchased this week for tonights meal is the salad, salad dressing and eggs, we already had the hamburger for the meatloaf Im making and the french bread was free anyway.
I need a new way to approach this.
Okay, we NEVER pay full price for meat, my husband makes sure of that. Its also nice to know before hand what is going to be going on sale in the meat department because we can check the freezer and see if it is something we are going to need. If not, we dont buy it (unless it gets marked down even more because the store is getting hung on it).
In the summer when the garden is going we dont buy very much produce either - thats the whole point of having a garden in the first place, why should I spend $1.99 on a bag of salad when I spent less on the seed packet that will give us salad all summer?
Maybe for us, its not a matter of having a weekly budget as so much as keeping track of what we buy, how much we spend and how much we save. I have started a spreadsheet to keep track of this with. Based on the last 3 weeks, I have spent $138.64 for groceries that have not only fed us during this period but will continue to feed us for several more weeks. I have saved $158.35 by purchasing these groceries while they were on sale with coupons.
Here is my new strategy:
  • Continue to create a weekly menu. This is a new concept for me but I am finding that it works extremely well. Based on what I already have I can shop the sales for what ever additional items I need to complete that meal. Bonus, Im also remembering to take what I need out of the freezer ahead of time AND Double Bonus, it has effectively put a stop to the daily question of "Whats for Dinner?"
  • Continue to aggressively match up coupons with sales for items that I know we will have need of in the future. Keeping in mind that periodically I will go over $50 a week but that the additional spending will be spread out over future weeks.
  • Never pay full price for something if it is absolutely un-neccessary!
  • Continue to track the spending and savings on a spreadsheet.

As this is my new strategy I will most likely have to tweek it as time goes by but I think it is going to work better for us and the already established shopping habbits we have. Im still going to try to keep the budget at $50 per week or less, but if I go over Im not going to beat myself up about it. Im going to view it as a guide line to curtail any impulse shopping. And on the weeks when we do better, it will be bonus money for the savings account.




Anonymous said...

Well, how about tracking the cost of each item in some manner...like marking the cost on each package,can,item,etc., or pull the item cost off your purchases spread sheet and when you use that item(s)record the cost in another spread sheet on a basis that can be tallied per meal, per day, per week, per month......?

Leah said...

That is a great idea! I think that marking the cost of each item on the package and putting that on a spreadsheet will be the easiest way to start, maybe include the date I purchased the item and store so I can go back in to my spending/savings spread sheet and maybe figure out how far that weeks spending took me. Thank you for the advice and for checking out my blog :)