Friday, December 29, 2006

Stock Up On Food Sales - Maybe

Buying in bulk to get a good price or because something is on sale is a great way to save money - but only if you don't end up using more than you normally would.

When my partner and I make up the grocery shopping list every two weeks, we check the sale papers. Often there are sales on items that we normally buy anyway. These sales help us to keep our food budget low, and if the sale is good enough we will stock up.

We are careful about what we stock up on, though, because in the past we've found that sometimes we ended up spending more money rather than less. Why? Because with some items we tend to eat more when we have more.

The way to prevent this is to ask yourself a question before you buy more than you need. "Will we eat more of this if we have more in the house?"

An example of something we will eat more of if there is an abundance is cheddar cheese. Everyone in my family loves cheddar cheese. Cheese is a good source of calcium, and since we don't drink much milk the calcium we get from cheese is an important part of our nutrition.

The problem is if we see a large amount of cheese in the fridge, we tend to eat more. Besides the fact that cheese is high in fat, we don't want to eat more than we need because of the cost of cheese (if you don't know the price of cheddar cheese, I'll tell you. It ain't cheap.)

So, if we stock up on cheese and everybody knows we have an abundance, everyone tends to eat it more often. This ends up costing us more money than it would have if we only bought what we needed.

We found a way around this when it concerns cheese. We just hide it deep in the freezer and once a week we move 1 pound of cheese to the fridge. Out of sight, out of mind works for us in this regard.

I think every family probably has something that tends to be consumed as quickly as it's brought home. With these foods, be careful about how much you buy, or hide the excess from your family (or yourself). Allot a certain amount per week and only have that amount available for consumption.

Make sure those sales actually save you money.