Friday, May 8, 2009

Not enough money for all the deals

I recently read a post with advice I needed to take to heart: Just because there's a deal doesn't mean I have to go after it.

I'm not referring to items I don't need here. I'm talking about all the things I will use... eventually. I don't want to eat or store 15 boxes of the same kind of cereal of all the cereals I enjoy, but I do want and have unlimited basement storage for 15 bags of dog food.

I've calculated my savings on my last three major outings to Kroger and Target for basic supplies and am consistently saving 35%. I'm thrilled! I used to be happy because the item I wanted to buy happened to be on sale or if I had a coupon or two. Now, I'm doing much better at lining up coupons with what's on sale and stocking up. However, with my limited budget, I can only go so far.

I also don't know that I will ever reach the level some couponing queens do because I am brand specific on more things than others. As a vegetarian I'm looking for specific foods and products that do not contain animal byproducts. For example, I have no use for Campbell's soup. Or, if there's a brand or line of products of which only two are vegetarian, how many can I use--not so many. And, for the most part, there aren't coupons on fresh vegetables. Doesn't matter what time of year it is or what the price is, I'll always be buying zucchini, potatoes, spinach, broccoli, peppers, etc at a higher frequency than non-vegetarians with only a few exceptions.

Back to money matter at hand, it doesn't matter if spaghetti is on sale for $.05 a box if I only have $.03 to spend.

I found a great deal on Pampers wipes last week (Big Lots in South Knoxville), and I've been dying to go back and get more. In fact, I was counting down the days till payday, so I could hit the deal and stock up on even more... By the time payday came, though, I realized that if my family is going to be able to afford a small beach camping trip we've been planning, I'm going to have to cut back on spending, even if that means holding back on stocking up on good deals to save in the long run.

So, the next thing I need to do is work closely on not over stretching our budget. That said, however, our tax refund check came today! Now I can run over to Big Lots! And, in all seriousness, this year I plan to budget from our tax refund check for stockpiling things we use all the time. Now I'll be ready when there's a killer deal on diapers, dog food, toilet paper, peanut butter--or even spaghetti.

These Peonies from my front yard are eager to burst open!


Gabrielle said...

Awesome savings!! For our personal budget, we buy the things we may need or would use before expiration rather than just buying anything and everything that is on sale. Because I shop for the food pantry at church, I'm often getting deals for them that I may not use for use. I was telling a friend that last summer between the CSA share, trips to the farmers market to pick up other grocery items, and our garden, I spent very little money or time at grocery and drugstores during the summer months. This year might be a little different b/c of the church purchasing, but I would suspect that for our family's usage there really will be no need to get it unless it is free with a coupon and I'm already there. As a vegetarian, a CSA might be a good fit for you and your family. In the summer months we eat very little meat/poultry because we have so many vegetables and fruits that are fresh and delicious. Are you vegan, vegetarian, or a vegetarian that eats a little fish here and there? The purpose of my asking is so I can keep an eye out on good deals for ya. :)

Your peonies look beautiful! I know they'll be gorgeous when in full bloom!

Gabrielle said...

Oh, one more thing that I thought of in relation to this post, which is a great one btw and very thought provoking. At the beginning of the month, I look at our $350 (food, toiletries, paper products, drug items, and cleaning supplies) and start alloting money from that for certain things. For instance "Cruze Farm milk $15/month", "Eggs (we buy them from local farmers) $12" etc. I found that when I do this, I'm much less likely to spend all of the money before the next payday.

Mamabelle said...

You bring up quite a point about budgeting since I hadn't even considered going to that depth--planning what you'll spend on milk and other givens. Thinking through what items I always buy and subtracting that amount will help me stay more focused on carefully spending what I have remaining in the food budget.