My wife and I recently made some changes to our budget and how we handle cash versus credit. The result is a stricter, more disciplined cash management system. As a result, we are having to rethink how we approach certain budgeted areas such as groceries.
I think we’ve all read articles talking about how we should make a shopping list before going to the store. That way, you avoid impulse purchasing or making several trips during the week. We almost always make a list. And yet, we still have what I’m going to call “unintentional food storage.” You know what I’m talking about. There is that can of tuna or box of pasta in your pantry that has been in there for ages. We never consume the food since it usually requires more ingredients which we don’t have on hand to make a meal.
Let me give you an example using that can of tuna. The reason my family usually doesn’t eat the tuna is because we often don’t have bread. My wife doesn’t like me eating a lot of breads (something about a low carb diet that I’m supposed to be on). But we have the tuna, some mix-ins like celery, nuts, and apples for flavor, and Vegenaise (I don’t like Mayo and don’t get me started on Miracle Whip). So all we need is bread and we’d have a sandwich. But go figure, we bought roast beef, provolone, and bread tonight so that we can make sandwiches. Now granted, I prefer roast beef over tuna. But, we could have saved money, or at least postponed the purchase until the next paycheck, had we just bought bread.
The point that I’m trying to make is that when planning a trip to the grocery store, dive into your unintentional food storage and see what you can use. One thing that you might try is eating through your freezer or pantry before making any large trips to the store. Make a list of only ingredients that are needed to finish off the half-meals already in your pantry. We recently tried this tip and found that we were able to spend much less money while we paid off some bills.