Another way I save, and my way of stocking my working pantry at the lowest cost, is to have two lists. One list is a list of things that I need NOW…this week’s shopping trip. The second list is how I save money.
List two has the things that will need restocked soon. Usually within the next month or so. Down to two light bulbs? It goes on the Long Term List. How does this help? Two distinct ways.
First, I have time to work it in my cash budget. Since I use a cash envelope for all groceries, household products and pet supplies, I sometimes have to spread out purchases. I know I can’t buy our groceries, paper products, shampoo, and food for both pets in one week. If I know I need cat food in a couple of weeks and have a little extra in my cash this week, I’ll add the cat food. It helps me to plan some lower cost meals knowing that there are things stacking up on the long term list. I like being able to spread it out over a little longer time period. This way my budget stays more consistent. I don’t go over budget one week, hoping to be under to balance it out the next week.
The second way that I save with the Long Term List, is by watching for sales. I can always buy items at full price. With things sitting out on the second list, I tend to look harder for sales on those items. If we get down to where the item will run out, it gets moved to the weekly shopping list.
This has worked really well for me. In fact I sometimes find that things on the Long Term List never get purchased. It turns out what seemed to be a good idea when I wrote it on the list may no longer hold its appeal by the time I’m ready to buy it. I may have found an alternative or possibly just decided I was happy doing without that item. When I quit rushing out to buy things the same week I needed them, I had time to realize I didn’t really need some of them at all.