If you look around at other people’s grocery carts during these lean times, you will notice several things.
One thing you may notice is that carts have just one or two different items in them — such as 10 boxes of Frosted Flakes and 4 bottles of Hawaiian Punch. Why is that? Probably because the prices on those items are good, and the smart shopper take the time to stock up on the best deals.
Another thing you may notice is that grocery carts are seldom overflowing anymore — even when the shopper is stocking up on groceries for the family. Not to mention the fact that it’s quite rare these days to see people with two grocery carts!
These new trends in budget shopping, make people who purchase large amounts of bottled water, paper towels, and other luxury items seem out of place. It’s enough to make me stop and wonder what these people do for a living that makes loading up on bottled water seem like a good idea.
Here are some supermarket luxuries that most people can do without, as well as tips to make forgoing these items seem a bit easier.
Paper towels are a non-necessity for the home, but they make quick cleaning jobs easier. Paper towels are also one of those items that are easily wasted by tearing off more squares than are needed for the job at hand.
Instead of spending $5 every week on paper towels, you can purchase a stack of cleaning rags to keep in a kitchen drawer to clean up spills and for other household chores. These can be washed and used over and over again. You can take this one step further, and spend the money you would have used for paper towels to purchase new undershirts instead. Then you can take the old undershirts these new ones are replacing and cut them into cleaning rags.
Some reasons to use microfiber cloths instead of paper towels.
It is much easier to use paper cups than to worry about doing dishes. You can purchase fewer paper cups by having everyone label their cups and using the one cup all day. An even cheaper alternative is to have everyone utilize one personal cup or sports bottle all day. Oprah Winfrey recently did a show where she stopped employees from using paper cups and ended Harpo’s 1,600 paper cups a day habit.
Bottled water can be very expensive. It is also another item that is most wasted in the home. It is painful to find a bottle of water that has been sipped from and not touched again because no one is sure whom it belonged to. For the cost of one month’s supply of bottled water, you can purchase sports bottles and water filters that will last all year.
According to the FDA:
Water purified with these products typically costs less than buying bottled water. According to Brita, its high-end faucet filter system provides water for 18 cents a gallon, a considerable saving from $1 or more typically charged for an 8- to 12-ounce bottle of water.”
That $6.99 pudding cake is certainly tasty, but with just a little work, you can make 2 or 3 pound cakes for the same cost. Purchase cake mix, eggs, and butter for the same price and make your dessert budget go much farther. If you are really brave, learn to make your cakes from scratch.
Here are some tips & recipes for making cakes from scratch.
Hot dog and hamburger buns.
Few people today would think that buying hot dog and hamburger buns are a luxury. In fact, they have been called the greatest thing since sliced bread. However, if you grew up eating hot dogs and hamburgers on sliced bread like I did, then you know that expensive buns are not necessary. In addition, you can get greater nutritional value by purchasing a loaf of full grain bread for less money.
Soft drinks and fruit juice.
Leaving soft drinks and fruit juice off of you grocery list will not only save you a lot of money, but also a lot of calories. Neither of these items have enough nutritional value to make them worth the money or the calories. If you can’t seem to get through a meal without having a flavored drink, then make yourself some iced tea or lemonade (using lemon juice). The fact that you have to make it to drink it will also slow down your consumption of these beverages.
Soft Drinks: America’s Other Drinking Problem — an article filled with many other reasons you should eliminate soft drinks from your diet.
I have been a certified tightwad since I became pregnant with my first child and decided to find a way to stay home with him. I enjoy sharing my experiences in my journey back to financial health and planning for a future — which will include sending 2 kids to college and early retirement.