Oh My Goodness!!! Last week was definitely one of those crazy weeks. I was so busy that my weekly shopping was being pushed out-of-the-way for more important obligations that needed my attention. We were still doing fine with meals for dinner. Thank God for Angel Food Ministries keeping my freezer affordably stocked!! However, our lunch and breakfast items were running extremely low or completely out.
Drastic measures were being taken. I began stopping at the little corner convenient store near our home for bread, milk, and other foods to tie us over until I could manage a grocery trip. I spent $5 for a gallon of milk. $3 for a loaf of bread. Each purchase was dipping into my weekly budget of $120. We even had to make a fast food drive by while getting from one event to another only because we didn’t have bread or peanut butter to make sandwiches. I am ashamed to say that I completely fell for the “crazy week pitfall!” And it was quite pitiful I might add.
So yesterday I had a window of opportunity to sit down to make out my grocery list. We had just picked up our Angel Food so we were good to go with dinners for the next four weeks. I sat there and planned out the meals like I always do. I checked my pantry and refrigerator for items that needed replenishing or for items I had to make the delicious meals I was planning. I was on top of everything.
After the planning was done, I did my regular estimating of the cost. $129 was the total. OUCH! Nine dollars over my budget. But then remembering the stops throughout the week, I pulled out my receipts and started adding up what was already spent for the weekly Angel Food cost and those items purchased here and there all week. Oh dear…..I only had $65 left of my weekly allowance. A far cry from the $129 I just estimated.
At this point, I had a choice. I could have just gone with the $129 menu or start over. I chose to start over. I reevaluated my list. Cutting out things that we could wait another week for…..that elminated $30. So then I looked at my menu of wonderful yummy meals and redesigned it. Now, I was at a grand total of $85. I worked and reworked that menu and couldn’t get it under $85. That is $20 over my weekly allowance.
So, anyway, I was off to the ATM to get cash. I could only get out $80 or $100. Missing the old days of increments of $5, I selected $80 knowing that something was going to have to be sacrificed. Armed with my list and $80, I set out to shop.
One trick I have learned while shopping is to use a calculator. I have it in my hand the whole time I am putting things in my cart. Adding a running total of the purchases in the buggy helps me keep within my alloted cash I have on me. Plus this keeps me from having to guess how much I am spending and from the embarrassing, “oh dear, I don’t have enough money….let’s put back….” Been there??
Another trick is I round up to the nearest dollar to compensate for the taxes. I punch in $2 for a product that is priced $1.02. This trick really helps out a lot. I would rather be way off on the calculator than way too short of cash at the register.
Well, as I was shopping and tallying up my expenditures, I was making decisions as well. Like, for example, peanut butter….Mark loves crunchy, Justin doesn’t and Joellen can’t because of braces….well, instead of buying both I just got creamy. Mark will live for a week without crunchy. Instead of toothpaste that costs $2 I chose the $1 smaller one. I know that the $2 bigger one will eventually cost me less because it will go further but I didn’t have the wiggle room this week. Clean healthy teeth was my goal. Those little last minute decisions paid off.
I spent $70 on the nose. I had $10 to spare. I was only $5 over my budget. Needless to say that the smile across my face at the register was worth the hard work. So a lesson was learned, when you get in a crunch for time and think that it is worth stopping at the convenient store for necessities, the price paid will only end up costing you in the long run.