There were several things we have run out of here at home or that we will be needing in the near future. These are items that I can buy in Small Town or Big Town, but which I knew I could get cheaper at the local Scratch-n-Dent grocery store. The plan originally was to go Tuesday morning, but then the weather was calling for snow so I decided to go on Monday. It was a good thing too.
Sunday morning we had a wintry mix that froze on the roads. However, with the sun out all day Sunday the roads were looking great, so I decided to go before the snow came. The roads were good, until I got off the main roads and onto the paved country roads.
The country road I had to drive was still covered with ice, and not just in patches. This wasn’t a problem until I had to actually stop for a stop sign. At first I was pretty sure it was going to be more of a “sliding through while making sure no one else was there” kind of a stop.
A good thing about driving a car with a manual transmission is that it is very easy to take the transmission out of gear and let the car slow and stop on its own. Doing it this way usually means no sliding on ice from brakes being used; it runs out of momentum all on its own. However, it does take planning as it doesn’t just stop in a few seconds. We weren’t in a hurry so I was in no rush to stop and take off, which was a very good thing.
The list only had 5 things on it – bacon crumbles, salad dressing, pull-ups, bread and a certain brand of peas if they had them. All these items I knew they would have, but I had an idea of other items I would look for if they were available – Nescafe Mementos, evoo, canola oil, coconut oil, and various condiments.
Here is what I ended up coming home with:
Pull-ups 4T-5T, 72 count – $18.41
Pepperidge Farm bread, 4 loaves and one bag of buns = 1.09*4= 5.46
JIF Hazelnut Chocolate Spread, 14.1 oz – $1.49*3= $4.472.5*\
Wild Harvest Organic Creamy Ceasar dressing, 12 fl oz – $.99*3= $2.97
Butter, 1 lb
Crisco Pure Canola oil, 48 fl oz – $2.99
Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 68 fl. oz. – $14.95
Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, 10 fl. oz. – $2.35*5= $11.75
McCormick gravy mix packet – $.35
Quacker Cinnamon Pecan Bread soft baked bars, 5 ct. – $.35
Fiber One chewy bars, 5 ct. – $.35
Cascadian Farm chocolate chip chewy granola bars, 6 ct. – $.35
Cascadian Farm vanilla chip chewy granola bars, 6 ct. – $.35
Eating Right raspberry fruit & grain cereal bars, 8 ct. – $.50
Kraft salad dressing – $.50*3=$1.50
Golden Barrel coconut oil, 32 fl. oz. – $6.49
Horizon organic vanilla milk, 8 fl. oz – $.25*6=$1.50
Hormel real crumbled bacon, 20 oz – $11.09*2= $22.18
Nescafe Memento, mocha, 8 ct – $1.95*4= $7.08
Nescafe Memento, carmel latte, 8 ct – $1.95*2 = $3.90
I wanted to see just how much I had saved, so I went to a grocery store’s website, one of the stores in Big Town. Not much luck there as no prices were listed. In the end I did a combination of Amazon, an online price book I found for Meijer, and some of my Buy Prices I have memorized. There were a few items that I couldn’t find a store price for, so I didn’t add them to the calculations.
After doing all the math, I found that I saved over $80.44 on these groceries. If I had to pay regular store price for several of these items, they would not have been on my list.
One that really stands out are the Nescafe Memento. These boxes of coffee mixes contain 8 individual packets and are REALLY good. We tried these first after receiving a free sample. When I went to the store to buy them, however, the $6+ per box price turned me off very quickly. While it is cheaper than buying a coffee at the coffee shop, there were cheaper alternatives that were available and ones that we also liked.
My total came out to just over $100. At first I was very surprised, then I realized that a large portion went towards three items I had planned – pull-ups and bacon crumbles. These 3 items alone accounted for $40.59, add in the olive oil and the total rises to about half the total at $55.54.
Yes, I realize there are many non-essentials in the group, but there are also things that we feel makes our life (menu) more enjoyable. One of the reasons my grocery budget in the past has been high is due to shopping at this store. This time I shopped remembering that I was trying to stay in a budget while still getting some of the things we enjoy.
So how did I shop differently? I didn’t buy multiples of things I really didn’t need right now. Like what? Well, the pull-ups for example. There were two boxes on the shelf but one box will last us over two months. I know that I will come back in next two months, so there was no need to buy both boxes. However, I bought two of the bacon crumbles as we use those more than once a week.
Another example were the $.99 cartons of almond milk. They were really tempting and I had to talk myself out of them, which took several minutes since I knew we would use them. Then I remembered the three cartons I have in my pantry and that by not buying them I would save $3 that could be spent elsewhere.
I realized I had become addicted to having a large stockpile at the expense of our budget. After shopping at these stores for the past few years, I have gotten a good idea of items they usually have and which ones are harder to find. Maybe the frequent winter weather has been a blessing for me this winter. I don’t go shopping as much and have spent more time analyzing which bad habits I have formed.
Have you slowly picked up any bad habits when it comes to shopping? What might you do to start breaking those habits and returning to balance?