I shared yesterday how I blew the grocery budget last month. Now you all know what I’ve known for years…
I AM NOT PERFECT!
Now that the secret is out, let me share something good about making mistakes.
Yes, there is something good about making mistakes… smarty pants.
Making mistakes provides opportunities for growth.
Not meeting a goal, coming up just a little short, or missing the mark altogether grants us learning lessons. Lessons that should (if recognized and addressed) help prevent us from making the same mistake again.
I have no advice to offer for never making a new mistake – sorry.
Here’s what I’ve learned from going over budget last month.
1. My brain is not as sharp as it used to be. I was once told that my mind was like an elephants’ – I never forgot a detail. My life has completely changed since then. I’m now a wife, a helper suited just for my husband. I’m now a mother, monumentally tasked to train my two blessings in the fear and instruction of the Lord. I’m now a homemaker, responsible for the organization and day-to-day functionality of my house. Those are big responsibilities and subsequently, there’s a lot going on inside my head at any one given time! I forget what I paid last for such-and-such item, where I bought that item, and I sometimes even forget whether the store I’m about to walk into even carries this item (contrary to popular belief, Walmart does not carry everything, especially in a small town). I’ve also had many moments of reaching into the cupboard to pull an ingredient, only to find some of what I need for a recipe. I had remembered to make sure I had the ingredient for dinner, but forgot to make sure I had enough of it.
2. Create and keep a price sheet that’s not inside my brain (see #1 above). I guess I need a bit of my own advice! Relying on my brain is nothing but a disaster waiting to happen. Having a price sheet, using it when I plan meals and shopping trips, and taking it with me when I shop will save me much sanity and money!
3. Even the small stuff needs to be planned for. I can easily remember (maybe) that I need chicken for dinner this week, but I’ll often forget that I need feta cheese and kalamata olives for the Greek Couscous that I know my husband will request. Making random trips to the closest grocery store for only one or two items is fine in a pinch, but this nearly became the norm last month (as you can see in the Savemart category here) and my bottom line suffered dearly. I need to ponder every ingredient required for every meal (and the family’s preferred snacks), and make sure that I a) already have it and enough of it, or b) write it on my shopping list.
4. I’ve become store-loyal… sorta kinda. I don’t shop at one single store for all of my groceries. I’ve been couponing for way too long to fall into the trap of being loyal to one store. I have however, unknowingly been playing favorites. I’ve been choosing convenience out of preparedness; laziness out of diligence.
5. A store report card is needed. Some of the stores that I’ve been shopping at have gradually changed over time. Their prices have gone up and their deals have gone down. Why do I continue to shop there again? (see #4) I need to truly consider why I go to certain store and why I buy what I do. What’s important to me – quality, cost, convenience? Which leads me to…
6. Broaden my horizons of stores. I had always thought that Trader Joe’s was overpriced, but I received their flyer in the mail last week and noticed that some of their prices were comparable, if not less than what I had been paying. I also learned that Trader Joe’s products promise no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, no MSG, no genetically modified ingredients (or GMO’s), and no artificial trans fats. No, I’m not getting paid by Trader Joe’s to write this, nor am I going completely granola-on you (although I do have a FANTASTIC recipe coming up later this week for homemade granola bars!), but shouldn’t we be questioning the source of our foods a little bit? Haven’t you seen Food, Inc., or Forks Over Knives? Eye-opening and thought-provoking indeed!
To further my new-found interest in Trader Joe’s, I spent an hour last week price checking a few things. Do you know what I found?
Of the 13 items I price checked, 8 of those were CHEAPER than were I had been buying them previously. If I had purchased those 8 items at Trader Joe’s instead of Walmart, Target or where ever else I went, I could have saved over $12.
Now I know that $12 isn’t a ton of money, but this is only for eight items and one month. If I multiply that times 12 months, that’s almost $155! Dare I say that is a chunk of money? And remember the high standard of quality they guarantee? It’s a win-win!
So going over budget last month wasn’t so bad after all. It really opened my eyes to where I’ve been less than stellar in my planning and shopping. It allowed me to ponder new locales and I plan to continue to explore even more. It’s allowed me to feed my family better food and I think that lesson far supersedes them all.