I have a set grocery budget every month. It works well for me. I am able to get what I need, and a little extra for storage, when the money allows. That’s the issue, isn’t it? WHEN THE MONEY ALLOWS. Sometimes, there just isn’t anything left. I would cringe at having to pass up the incredible deal because it just wasn’t in the budget. That’s why I came up with this idea. You have to have some self restraint, but it will help you in the long run.
Once a year, when tax time rolls around, I pick my top two stores I purchase from, and invest in gift cards. It definitely depends on my refund, but I try to get $500 for each store. (You could definitely divide this money between more stores if you wanted to, but I have two main ones that I use.) I set these aside, and only use them when I find incredible deals on items for my food storage. I am very picky about what I acquire when using these little beauties. I am going on year 3 of using this method, and I’m liking how it’s turning out. I checked with my preferred stores to make sure that the gift cards wouldn’t expire on me, so if there is an extended period of time before the card is empty, I wouldn’t lose any of my funds. The last gift cards I purchased are still going strong. I still have nearly $300 between the two, and it has been about 14 months since I got them. I LOVE the fact that the balance of my gift card prints on my receipt! I write the new balance on my card with a sharpie, so I don’t forget what amount is available.
I have extras of all my essentials. These items include: dishwasher detergent, hair spray, deodorant, canned food, flour, sugars, ketchup, toilet paper, dog food, shampoo and conditioner. I only purchase these items when they are on sale… a VERY GOOD sale. I stock up, and then wait until there’s another “very good” sale. I use my gift cards for these types of stock up items. They give me the freedom to stock up on those daily use items without sacrificing my grocery budget for the month. It’s a good feeling knowing there’s some extra in my basement. I’m not going to run out. It helps me breathe a little sigh of relief.
I am going to point out the obvious here. Sales are great. Super sales are amazing. These sales AREN’T great if it’s NOT something you use. Items that end up being free are awesome, HOWEVER, if it’s something you aren’t going to use, don’t get it unless you’re planning on donating it. I personally feel it’s unnecessary, and a bit on the greedy side. I love getting things for free, don’t get me wrong. I resist the urge to get all the free stuff. Sometimes it is so hard! I literally talk myself down… I won’t get it because I know I’m not going to use it. I will only get if I know someone or some place I can give it to. Please keep that in mind. Donating to your local food banks, or homeless shelters is a big help to those in need. Use your money saving skills and do your good deed for the day. Let’s find all those amazing sales and stock up!