Thursday, December 15, 2016

Spending Now so We Can Save Money

It kinda sounds like one of those scammer commercials doesn't it?
I'm well aware most of the nation is focused on the upcoming holiday.
I too am looking forward to it.
However, this elf has been busy not making toys
but planning for a new challenge in the upcoming year.
It might sound a bit silly or hair-brained,
but it's what I will be trying.
First, we don't actually shop how most folks shop.
We typically think on an annual basis rather than monthly or weekly.
We purchase a whole grass-fed beef each year.
When canning, we know about how many quarts and pints 
of various veggies we will need to tide us over until the following year's harvest.
That's what "got me to thinkin'."
Why on earth am I going to the store so often?
We do purchase fresh veggies and dairy throughout the year,
but there's sure more than that in the cart.
My solution was to try to think of all the things we need/use in a year's time.

Over the course of the past couple weeks, 
I've been stocking up.
Not just stocking up on food ~ we're pretty good about that.
I've been trying to think of everything including:
dish soap, coffee, vinegar (for cleaning,) TP, ketchup, lye (for soap making.)
These are things we don't make at home.

So why on earth would I torment myself by trying to figure all this out now?
My goal is to save money by staying out of the stores.
I'm already one who tends to put it off.
I don't browse the isles.
And I don't shop for fun (no way!)
What I am apt to do is think,
"Since I'm here, I should pick up X."
What happens is 3-4 days later, I am back in the store to get something else
and do that same thing again.
My plan is to (hopefully) go to the store twice per month.
I figure that should work from a veggie and dairy stand point.
I do use a list, but having set grocery days planned
should eliminate many trips all together.

There are certain things I know we will need like
pet food (not sure how long it keeps) and peanut butter (keeps about 6 mo.)
If we run out of something in October, we will put it on the list and 
pick it up on grocery day.
We aren't punishing ourselves.
We are simply trying to figure out how much and of what we use
so we can budget knowledgeably rather than blindly.
We just seem to work better with figures on an annual scale.

The other thing that has occurred since beginning to work on this is 
I now have a relatively thorough master list.
I am hoping to print it out so I can keep better track 
if adjustments need to be made.
Our electric isn't always reliable 
so I prefer the old-school method of pen and paper.
This could also be done on a computer or phone of course.
We don't make new year's resolutions,
but finances are worked annually so the new year is a reasonable time 
to implement new goals and changes.
As far as results, I will have to let you know.
If nothing else, less time spent in stores will give me just that much more time at home which I relish.
So far, I've spent about twice what our "normal" monthly grocery budget is
and have about a year's worth of supply.
That in itself amazes me and tells me 
there's extra spending that happens weekly/monthly.

I do foresee part of the challenge as being "retraining ourselves."
Once we get used to the new schedule,
it should work more smoothly.
As with any change, the beginning is usually the most difficult.

This does pose a question for you folks though.
Does anyone else plan annually?
If not, how do you plan?
I ask because it often seems like we are "oddballs" for doing so.
Of course, we could just be "oddballs" :).



  1. With our budget, it's hard to plan at all, but we USED to plan in quarters, though not years.

  2. I'm with Gorges there, it's hard to plan anything right now. I do try though. We buy 96 rolls of tp at a time and that lasts more than 6 months. Good ideas, you've got my mind spinning on what else I could do.

  3. I think you have a great idea! I'm going
    to have to think on this... also it's a savings
    in gas!

  4. I think the premise behind your idea is great, but unfortunately it won't work for us. Living in an apartment means we have very limited storage space and most often have to buy things on an 'as needed' basis. We do buy paper towels and toilet paper in bulk at Costco though and have a dedicated storage space for that. I'll be interested in progress reports later on to see how your plan works.

  5. I shop for bulk items about once a month and many things I buy on rotation, like laundry we buy about twice a year, and I stock up on flour, sugar, and staples etc. Some things cannot be stocked like fresh fruit and veggies, dairy and that produces the quick trips to the store, unfortunately, that result in other buys that we don't need. I like your planning efforts, and will definitely give more thought as to how I could make it more of a yearly effort, rather than monthly or every six months or so.

  6. I am paid every two weeks. I have a list that I use for buying bulk items like you have mentioned here, things that I can't make myself, ingredients for cleaning, etc.I have been doing this for the past few years, the white vinegar, T.P., coffee, organic sugar, molasses, things that make recipes more interesting: capers, marinated artichoke hearts, tomato products paste, sauce, whole, diced, etc., organic mayonnaise, baking soda, washing soda, borax, ....the list goes on. Every payday, I purchase about $50. of these items. I rotate and buy some food products, some non food items. I also stock up on things that I normally don't use, and these I set aside for bartering with "later". (coffee used to be on that list, however, I have discovered I LIKE coffee! that isn't a bartering item any longer...)I hope to have at least two dozen of the items (or more) and then will rotate with new so I will always have at least two dozen of whatever. this is actually fun for me to do, and like you, I feel that I am spending now in order to save later. To me, it is wise thinking.
    Carol L

  7. I like the way you think! I do think annually, for some things but not for others. I think annually with most things we can produce ourselves: fruits, veggies, milk, eggs, cheese. I get my grain in bulk, but other things I buy at the store. One "problem" is that my husband is a dedicated meat eater and even though we harvest much of our own meat, it isn't a year's worth. With him working over the road, I buy things that he can fix or warm easily in his truck, including lunch meat, cheese, and sandwich rolls, and small cans of fruit. Even so, I'm always thinking about what I buy and what we could do without. It's foremost in my mind that if the sugar hits the fan, we'll adapt.

  8. I am aghast at what things cost now compared to 20 years ago. I remember if I didn't have much for groceries I would get Ben and Jerrys ice cream and a magazine. Ha not now $10 for a magazine! Times change.