It's one of those interesting things in these times. On Sunday, the article on the front page of the Baltimore Sun's business section was about the expected inflation estimates for food this year.
My first thought was, "Okay. Tighten the belt a little more before I have to."
But, what really goes?
When you go to the grocery store, how do you cut? I learned this strategy from my mom. It's okay to put something in your cart that you're considering, but before you check out ask yourself if it's a need or a want. It's okay to hand something to the checker if you decide that you don't want it or can't afford to get it. Even if something is on sale or on clearance, if it's not in your budget, it's wiser not to get it. At least that's what I've come to believe.
This week, I reminded myself of this when I was at Kohl's this week. I bought three sets of sheets for my kids. Eli really needed two sets. But, I bought one. That was what was in the budget. His birthday is coming up and I can buy a second fun set then as a birthday gift.
The girls got new bunk beds in January that I posted about. I would love to get them matching comforters, but I haven't. I've decided to save that idea for their birthdays in the fall. A few weeks ago, I saw the perfect sheets for them, but they were $25 for one set, which would have been $50 for two sets plus tax. I told myself not to get them. They aren't a need.
The reason I bought the sheets at Kohls, because though they technically weren't a need (they each have one set of sheets), I had $30 Kohls cash which almost covered the cost of all three sets.
But, back to groceries...
How can we cut if we need to this year?
This is my plan:
1) I'm going to start a file of especially inexpensive meals. This week I made minestrone soup and my whole family loved it. Minestrone is very inexpensive. Soup and bread--vegetables, protein, and the bread group in and easy, quick meal.
2) Stick with the milk one meal, water one meal, and juice one meal with the kids. And water for all three for the adults.
3) Sweets are my weakness. Make Izzes really a treat. Sometimes I have them more often. Keep frozen cookies and treats around instead of buying Ghiradelli as a treat.
4) Use my allowance to buy gum (always using coupons) rather than the grocery budget. I don't spend much on it, but if I really would like to have it, I should spend my allowance on it.
5) Cut in other places...
If it came down to it, Molly's grooming every three months can go to twice a year or once a year with more frequent brushings.
Get better at cutting my husband's hair.
6) Work on letting less produce go to waste and only buy the produce I really need--even if it means shopping a little more often at first.