This has got to be one of the toughest times of the year. The Farmer and I are just now recovering from the “end-of-the-year crunch”, which includes the holiday spending, taxes, taxes, and more taxes. And the weather has been a little drastic…cold, snowy, cold, and cloudy (did I mention it has been cold?)
But hey, this is Missouri, so we know the weather will change soon enough and we’ll be complaining about the heat. However, our budget will stay the same.
Since The Farmer has retired, I’ve tried really hard to stay on a grocery budget, and I must say I’ve done quite well. “No brag; just fact” (anyone remember what TV series that quote is from?)
I used to do coupons, but they seem to take a lot of brain power and organization, which I lack in both areas. However, stockpiling comes fairly easy to me. I make a list of the staples that I need during the month: flour, sugar, 5 pounds of chicken, 10 pounds of bacon, 3 gallons of orange juice, and an embarrassing number of 24 pack sodas (etc.), and then I use the rest for items I see on sale.
The trick to stockpiling is to buy more than you’ll need. I always buy 2 of the small ticket items like toothpaste, shaving cream, and pain reliever. If I find them on sale, I’ll buy 3 or 4. With shopping like that at Target, I’ve been able to collect quite a few $5 gift cards which ultimately purchased my shelving unit on which I store my stockpile.
One of my sweetest stockpile items was a November purchase of Oreo cookies—double stuff!
I bought Oreo cookies for an unbelievable price of only $.97 a pack! That’s cheaper than a candy bar!
I’m sure you’re asking “How in the world??” So let me tell you:
When I walked into Schnucks I noticed a sign that said all Halloween items were 50% off. Oh, okay. Great deal if you’re buying candy, but since I just swore off sweets (again), I wasn’t too excited about the deal.
So picking up a sale paper, I noticed that there was a $3 instant savings for buying 3 packages of Oreos, so basically $1 off each pack. Not too bad, and The Farmer and the girls needed some snacks. When I got to the Oreo aisle, the regular double stuff were on sale for $3.00/pk, so I picked up 3 bags expecting to pay $2.00/pack after the $3 off.
After I did my serious shopping, I strolled down the Halloween aisle because I had time to kill waiting for The Farmer to pick me up (that happens—never). The shelves were almost empty, no candy but a few vampire teeth, sparkly paint, and some items that are intended to gross you out (and it did!). But then I noticed a semi-closed box on the shelf. It was full of Halloween Oreos. Wow! I could get 50% off of Oreos. The regular cookies were on sale for $3.00, so I could pay $1.50 instead of $2.00…maybe I should get more than 3 packs?
Being the suspicious shopper that I am, I had a quick thought that these cookies’ price was 50% off the not-on-sale price. But then it hit me! I wondered if I could get the buy 3 save $3 and the 50% off. Unwilling to pack up my cart and go up to the checkout, I just grabbed up three packages of cookies and took them to the cashier.
“Can you check the price on these?” I asked innocently.
“Sure, but they’re 50% off, ” she informs.
(Yeah, I know. But staying quiet, I wait for her answer.)
“$1.97. That’s a great price!” she exclaims.
(Yes, but that means the regular price was 4 bucks!)
Attempting to maintain my innocence I ask, “Oh, I wonder if I buy 3 packages will the $3 instant savings work on these?” (noticing my voice raising an octave higher)
“Oh, I doubt it,” she quickly replies as I hand her the other 2 packages of Oreos to scan. “Oh. Wow. It’s only $2.91 for all three!”
Grabbing the packages and rushing back to the aisle, I called out, “I’ll be right back.”
Daughter #5 was with me, so I told her the good news, as we went to get a small shopping cart. We rushed back to the Halloween aisle (like someone was going to get there before we did), and began loading the cookies into the small cart, three packages at a time.
“What are we going to do with all these?” she asked.
“Eat them, cook with them, freeze them; I don’t know, but they’re only $.97 a pack!”
I grabbed 15, then 18, and then consulted with her, “Twenty-four is not too many is it?”
After “the look”, I put some of them back. “Okay, 20 packages, that’s only $20. Should I spend $20 on Oreos?”
She wasn’t answering by this time, I don’t think… so I carried the conversation on with myself.
“No, I can’t spend 20 bucks on cookies. 18 then; 18 is reasonable, that will be less than $20. Ok, ok, 15,” I gave into myself reluctantly.
Back up at the register, I paid for my real groceries, and then loaded the 15 packages of Oreos onto the conveyor belt. After the cashier (new cashier) rang them all up and saw the price was under $15.00, I could tell she was trying to do the math. I just smiled and kept on walking. (I don’t know about you, but when I get a steal like that, I Do feel like I’m stealing, so there is a little guilt involved with my excitement.)
Unfortunately, The Farmer was late in picking me up, so I had time to lament over the fact that I didn’t get more! To give to others, of course.
I hate shopping, and unfortunately it is a necessary evil. But when I save money, and my pantry is restocked, I’m a very happy farmer’s wife.