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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Making sure I stick to my budget: thinking on the purchases for a couple of days

You know my plight, by now. Over grocery budget for several months in a row. And now it's time to get it all under control. On Monday, I went online to see what the stores had on sale this week. I made my lists. And then . . . no, I didn't go shopping.

I've got my list on my dresser, and I'm just thinking on it. You know, the same sort of advice given for other purchases -- think about it a few days. Do we really need all the items I wrote down? Can we make do without them? Are these true necessities?

So, my list is not extensive, by any means. This is what I found on sale at Cash and Carry this week:

  • mozzarella cheese, 5-lb bags, shredded $9.98
  • split peas, 25-lb bag, $16.98
  • soy milk, 1-qt., $1.14
  • carrots, 10-lb bags, $3.48
  • frozen peas, 5-lb bags, $3.54

It looks like a reasonable list, right? Well, after giving it a couple days of thought, here's what I will really buy at Cash & Carry this week:
  • mozzarella cheese -- maybe 4 bags?
  • carrots -- probably 1 bag, maybe 2?
Here's my reasoning. The cheese is the cheapest I have seen it in over a year. That's under $2 per pound, spectacular for our area for cheese. The carrots work out to 35 cents per pound, good deal for late winter, here. And I'm trying to put a cap on price per pound, on veggies for the time being, at around 59 cents per pound.

The rest of it -- split peas are a good source of protein, but lately I've been gagging on split peas. I don't know why, I used to love them. Now, I'm hoping to find black-eyed peas or lentils to stock our pantry. So, nix on the split peas.

I was considering the soy milk, because it could be a better quality than Dollar Tree's soy milk. But I decided to stick to bargains for this month, so will save a few cents per quart, and buy my regular soy milk.

Those frozen peas are a very good price for frozen peas, at abut 70 cents/lb. (But over my price cap of 59 cents per pound.)  I am reminding myself that I will be finding cabbage for a decent price per pound in just a couple of weeks. And my garden greens are now coming back. I will do without frozen peas for the time being. They'll go on sale again, sometime.

Giving a few days of thought to my grocery list helped me to really pare down my spending for the week. I've used this trick for other purchases with great success. Now with grocery spending, the same old trick serves me just as well.



  1. I am constantly impressed with your thought processes. I would have NEVER thought it through like you did. I consider myself fairly frugal (I rarely ever buy anything unless it's on sale or can't be found cheaper somewhere else) but I am nowhere near to where you are. Maybe someday...

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Linda,
      some folks might say that I over-think a lot of stuff. LOL! But in this case, it might just help me get back on track with our grocery spending. Thanks for the vote of confidence!

  2. Another smart move by you Lili. My process these past couple of months has been to stay away from the store. I haven't done a proper grocery shopping in a couple of months now, so eating from the pantry/freezer is our solution. I do admit to getting a few purchases along the way, by asking my husband to pick specific on sale items when's out doing errands. that keeps me from adding things to my list Keep the great efforts!

    1. Hi Jayne,
      Staying out of stores is another great way to not spend! It forces you to use up what you already have on hand. And very smart move on your part to have your husband pick things up for you. That not only frees up your time, but as you said, keeps you from those impulse purchases. I had a hard time not going down the different aisle, "just to see" when I picked up the cheese and carrots today.

  3. You gotta do what you gotta do. I would certainly leave spit peas off the list if they make you gag. I can understand that because they used to do that to me. Have you told your family that you're cutting back? It would be interesting to see what they noticed if anything that was different about your meals.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      It's funny, but I feel gagging coming on when I think of split peas. Oh well, maybe that memory will dim with time.

      Yes and no. My family knows I am always trying to save/cut back. But they don't know how much I'm cutting back this month. I kind of doubt they will notice much, unless one of them specifically asks me if we can get something I have no plans to buy. I guess I could see that happening.

  4. Lili,
    I often do the same: make my list at the beginning of the week after looking at the ads, culling coupons, figuring out my errands etc. I then pare that down, as needed. Until the weekend of the 14th, I plan on only getting milk, 1/2 & 1/2, and a few must haves that may come up. I, too, am really watching my grocery pennies from a reduced budget.

    1. Hi Carol,
      I've been reading your posts, and taking inspiration from them. It does help to know others are in a similar situation! Good luck with your budget and getting the full amount restored!

      On the positive side, I am finding new foods to prepare and new ways to do things, which I can then use that knowledge in the future when my budget is back to its original size, and continue to save$$. Perhaps you'll find that to be true, as well!

  5. good thinking. I may try and do the same.

    Gill in Canada

    1. Thank you, Gill!
      It seems to be helping me, so far!

  6. Whole chickens are on sale at Safeway for .88 cents a pound. Cheapest I have seen in a long time

    1. I saw those in their ad, too. I am torn on whether or not to buy any. I believe that is what I paid last spring, when I bought about 8 whole chickens. I'll be roasting my very last one tomorrow.

    2. I just checked, I spent 79 cents/pound last year. And I just looked at Safeway's ad again, and there's no limit. When I see an ad with a limit then I feel more confident that it will be a rock-bottom price. So, I may take a gamble and skip this sale on whole chickens, as I still have 2 whole turkeys, and 2 hams in the freezer.

  7. I think waiting after making a list is the best possible tactic. It's funny how many things we can do without if we think first. Now does that mean I always do it? No!

    1. Hi Anne,
      I don't always do it either. It's hard, and I find especially so with groceries. After all, we do have to eat, so I will need to buy food at some point. It's not like thinking on something non-essential like a giant screen TV.
      Thanks for your input here!

  8. Good planning on your part, Lili. I've been doing this lately as well. Rethinking many things, like our sam's Club membership.

    That is a great price on cheese!! I wouldn't pass that one up for sure.

    1. Hi Belinda,
      Giving thought to your Sam's Club membership renewal was a smart move! Those big box clubs can save folks money on their purchases, but not for everyone, as you point out.

      I am hoping this cheese price (and the butter price I found a couple of weeks ago) are a sign that dairy prices may be dropping a bit.

  9. Last night's dinner looks scrumptious! What terrific proof that we can make very inexpensive meals.


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