Stocking Up

by Kelli Ellenburg

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Reading through the grocery sale flyers recently, my palms became sweaty and my bottom lip brushed the table at which I sat. What a deal on whole fryers! I thought about stocking up. But, how many? When is enough, enough? I don't want to be singing the blues, so when I see a great deal, I sit down with my recipe book, pencil, and calculator to make the most of my grocery investment. You can, too! Follow these simple steps:

1. Consult your Grocery Price Book to determine how often and for how much (or little!) fryers go on sale. Every two months? Four months? Whatever the length of time, plan to stock up until the next great bargain. For our example, let's make the math simple and assume this deal only comes around once every three months. Knowing when to expect the deals is a priceless advantage to lean grocery budgeting.

2. Figure the amount required for your favorite chicken dishes. This is easier than you may think. Most families repeat the same or similar meals two to three times per month. Decide how often your favorite chicken recipe(s) will be served, and how much chicken is needed for the recipe(s). For our example, let's say my family eats chicken and rice or chicken enchiladas once per week, and I know that each recipe requires two cups of chicken per meal.

3. Calculate the total needed over the next three months (i.e., the presumed length of time until the next sale on whole fryers). In our example, I know that I will need two cups of chicken per week, or roughly eight cups per month. From experience, I know that I am certain to get at least four cups of chicken from one small fryer. This means I will need two small fryers (two fryers each providing at least four cups of chicken) to supply my family's demand for chicken and rice or chicken enchiladas each month. I know that the deal only comes around once every three months, so I will need two fryers per month for three months, or six fryers total. In other words:

2 cups of chicken X 4 weeks per month = 8 cups of chicken

8 cups of chicken = 2 small fryers

2 small fryers X 3 months (the amount of time between sales) = 6 fryers needed

Buying more food than you can consume within a given timeframe or not purchasing enough while the item is at the best price available is wasteful. Only purchase what is needed without ever over or under stocking. By following this method, you'll be singing your own Billboard Hot 100 money-saving tune all the way to the bank!

Kelli Ellenburg is a freelance writer and human resources professional. Her current projects include Human eSource, a firm that specializes in helping clients create their own first-rate resumes at an affordable price, Wild Squirrel, a blog about common "cents" strategies for modern living, and raising her four daughters.

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