Got more time than money? Need to conserve your money more than your energy? Here's a way to make the most of your price book (see article) by taking major advantage of the weekly "loss leaders" supermarkets offer to attract you; prices so low, they know they may lose money. It's worth it to them to lure you into their aisles in hopes you'll spend some impulse money with them. But, you're going to fool them and not spend a cent extra. This strategy calls for an initial investment of time and effort, but after that, you can cruise on automatic, secure in the knowledge that you're getting the most possible for your money and what's more, have enough staples on hand to weather a real crisis. Here are the components of the plan:
If you need help: Look in the white pages for your local extension service, listed under your state university. (Meal planning and food conservation are specialties for them). Visit your local library. Do a Web search. Call the American Dietetic Association Consumer Nutrition Hotline at 1-800-366-1655 (M - F, 9 - 4 Central time) to question a registered dietitian.
Now, notice the loss leaders. These are usually the big print, front page offers and can be a buy opportunity, depending on your needs, preferences, storage space and budget.
Put as much of your budgeted food money into loss leaders as you can afford, after you buy the essentials on your list. Needless to say, you only buy what you know you'll use or you've just created a new money sink instead of saving. This strategy allows you to stretch your budget the farthest and to build up a stockpile of staples. A full pantry (even if your "pantry" is under the bed, in the garage or under the tablecloth covering an end table,) gives you some security; a base you can build on. The Dollar Stretcher offers lots of advice on storage- take advantage of it! Full cupboards help make you independent. If you work this system to the max, it's possible to go to a grocery store only when you CHOOSE to; saving money, time, effort and gas.
A tip: put a can opener in your car, along with a plastic fork and spoon. Then you can run in, buy one can of a loss leader you're not sure you'll like, open and taste. Stock up on the spot, if it suits you. You may spend a few extra pennies and a little time, but it can keep you from owning a case of something your family hates and return trips to the store to stock up after a home trial. This is especially important if you don't usually shop in this store and/or have traveled farther than usual to get there.
Though not about this plan, there are two books by Doris Janzen Longacre that will help adjust your attitudes, motivate you and give you specific information, advice, guidance and recipes: Living More With Less and More With Less Cookbook. You'll probably have to get them though interlibrary loan, because they disappear from library shelves. They both have much to say about living simply, saving money and making choices, with stories from people all of ages, living in many different circumstances. There are dozens of easy to adapt and adopt ideas to live in harmony with ourselves. our communities and our world.
Louise is a regular contributor to the Dollar Stretcher. If you have a question or comment please contact her at email@example.com.
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