December 17, 2009

Needs & Wants

Tonight we are going to the store because we're just about out of some essentials (like coffee creamer. Ben can't live without it) and Foodsco has a killer sale on whole chickens ($.67 a lb!!). At least it seems to be a killer sale. I haven't been doing this long enough to know for sure.

My new routine, like I've said before, is go to through the flyers and make my list from those, adding up the prices as I go. I don't have a "per week" number, but if we're over what I think we should spend or what's left for the month then I scratch out the extras that we don't really need. Today it was bacon and mayonnaise.Unfortunately we're still over, but this is a gradual process.

Retraining my brain and how I shop has been a continual challenge for the past month and a half. Even though we did really well last month, I'm still trying to do better. Because of this challenge, I've been thinking a lot about needs and wants as far as food goes. I am going to try to cut out a lot of the things that are extras, while still keeping the things that make Ben happy because... well it makes him happy and I like it when he's happy.

For example, tortillas. Premade tortillas are a want. Something I can easily do at home but always just bought because I was lazy. This will save us money.

Three or four or more kinds of cheeses are a want. I don't often use anything except cheddar and sliced American. So I should just worry about stocking up on those, and leave the mozzarella and Parmesan for a really good sale since we don't really use it. (Although the boys do come in asking for "white" cheese sometimes.)

Red meat is something I'm thinking of seriously cutting down on. It's so blasted expensive. We like chicken around here, and with whole chickens being so cheap I can happily start using it more.

Also, I know I've seen recipes for Hershey's syrup, which is definitely not a need. I can make that rather than buy it. If I can just get it down to keeping the staples on hand, then I think we can do better.

There are so many more examples of all the extra stuff we get. I have a top shelf in my pantry full of things that have only had an ounce or two used up because I thought at the time that I needed it. Asking myself "is this a need or want?" will help us reduce the amount of food that just gets wasted. Which is good since I hate throwing money in the trash.


NetRaptor said...

Yeah, I have to shop that way, too. Like, with cheese, I only get cheddar and mozzerella. Cheddar for sandwiches, and mozzerella for our weekly pizza. (And I sneak it into omlets. Because you can't tell what kind of cheese is in there once you mix in the potatoes.)

As for red meat, I discovered that if you go into, say, FoodMaxx and walk down the whole length of the meat cooler, and just watch the prices, sometimes they have pork roasts and things on sale for 2 bucks. No lie. I saw some last week and still kick myself for not picking it up.

The best moneysaver I've found is just make your menus and buy only the food necessary to make those menus. And the further you can stretch stuff like meat and cheese, the better.

Also, I didn't think that we could live without peanut butter and jelly until we did it. Alex will eat quesadillas for lunch quite happily. So I know you can do it, too! :-)

Meg said...

Oh, I love when I find manager's specials. The "oh, we ordered too much and need to get rid of it" and they have it for way cheaper than the regular price. They never advertise them so it's like a fun Easter egg hunt. I found ground beef like that one time and grabbed a few extra packages. And today I got 6 whole chickens (about 30 lbs) because it was such a good price. That chicken should last us a few months!

I usually do shop for my menus, but I'm still trying to cut down even more. I just have to break myself of some bad habits.

We love quesadillas around here too. It's amazing what you can live without when you have to. A few weeks ago we ran out of milk but I was determined not to go to the store until we had to, so I made do. I think we went almost a week and it wasn't that big of a deal. We've even had cheese and crackers and a can of veggies for lunch when we're running low on everything else.

Farm Girl said...

one thing I would add and I don't know how you could do it early in the morning, but on Monday mornings I found at Vons they mark down all of the chicken and red meat and pork to 60 or more percent. When everyone was living at home I could stock up that way too.

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