If you are just tuning in to the series this is what you’ve missed as far as tasks:
So up to this point you have a path you want to be on. You’ve made a budget for helping guide you on that path and you are watching for deals/coupons on the most used and highest priced items that you use. What’s the next step?
As I mentioned in the last segment, one of things you want to try to avoid is having to pay full-price for any item that you buy. While you may be searching for the best prices on the items that you use the most you also need to know which items you are getting a very low inventory on. This will help you decide what you need to spend your money on that week should several deals pop-up that you often buy.
For example, let’s say that both shampoo and paper towels are on a hot deal this week but you only have enough money budgeted for one of them. You take a chance and pick up the paper towels only to realize you were down to the very last of your shampoo. But if you had a “Low Inventory List” you would have known that your better option was to buy the shampoo and wait for another deal on those paper towels.
How many times has the following scenario happened to you….you start to make dinner, proud that you actually planned something for the night, only to realize that you are out of one of the ingredients that you needed. Now you either have to try to whip up something else instead or call for pizza delivery or something. If you had kept a “Low Inventory List” you would have know that you didn’t have enough of that item for your recipe.
This may sound like a lot of work but once you get started and get into the habit of maintaining your list it’s actually quite easy. You don’t need to get all fancy making this or that–just keep it as simple as taping a sheet of blank paper to the inside of your pantry door, bathroom closet and one on the fridge. That should cover most of the items you use.
At the end of the week, take a minute to check your lists so you know what items you need to focus your money on that week.
Now when you start out, use this task as a great way to get yourself a bit more organized. Go through your pantry and pull out all the expired foods. When you are checking the dates, if there are some that expire in a month or two, put those in a separate pile. What you want to do is keep one area of your pantry as a “use first” section and put those items there. When you go to make your meal plan for the next week, try to incorporate those ingredients into your recipes. This will help you make sure those items don’t go to waste and maybe even help streamline your meal planning that week.
Once you are done organizing, take a look at what’s left….and what’s missing. Jot down all the items you need to buy ASAP and then the items that you can wait on until a good deal pops up.
Want to be super-efficient? Date the top of your low inventory list. When your list gets full of crossed-off items, put it in a folder. At the end of a 3 month period, check your lists. This is one more way to not only see what you are buying a lot of but also a better gauge of how often.
1) Go through your pantry and pull out any expired foods. Don’t forget to check condiments/spices!
2) Take any items with an expiration date of 2 months or less and put them in a separate area of your pantry. Use those first!
3) Go through your bathroom closet/cabinet and pull out any expired products.
4) Tape a list to your pantry, bathroom closet and fridge.
5) Jot down any items that you see that are getting low on inventory.
6) At the end of each week, check your lists to see what items you need to find deals on.
At this point, don’t tackle your fridge. That’s coming up soon enough!
How Does This Save Me Money?
1) By keeping a list of items you are getting low on, you can make sure you look for a sale price for them so you spend less money.
2) You won’t fall trap to being unable to make a planned recipe due to a missing ingredient and having to order carryout.
3) You can better budget each week’s money as you’ll know what things you have to buy. Maybe you’ll spend less on groceries if you need more household products or vice versa.
I know that life gets super busy. But one by one we are going to tackle these things and get us all a little more organized so we can start making the most of the money we have. Remember, I’m doing these things right along with you!
Stay tuned for the next post in this series!