No Credit Needed asked what area of PF management we’d like to improve. I think mine would be maximizing savvy shopping.
As I mentioned in a guest post on PaidTwice a while back, I’m an underbuyer. I don’t like to buy more than the minimum necessary. I don’t know why. It’s not like money’s so tight that we’ll run out of it if I buy more than one bag of rice at a time.
I thought that to help myself understand how to improve it, I’d break it down into downsides of the problem, reasons for the problem/fears, and steps I can take to make it better.
What are the downsides of being an underbuyer?
– We run out of stuff more often, hence more trips and more gas.
– We don’t maximize the sales.
– Therefore, we aren’t spending efficiently.
What are some fears/concerns which lead me to underbuy?
– That we won’t use it all. This is a big one. One answer would be: don’t buy perishables. Stick to buying things which we use on a regular basis — rice, beans, canned tomatoes, canned mushrooms, bread. Keep them in places where we won’t lose them. Don’t buy objects in bulk unless they’re staples.
– That we won’t have enough money. This is silly. We do have enough money. And I can look at it this way: We’ll have even more if we don’t have to go shopping as often.
– We won’t have enough space. This is a better point, our kitchen is pretty small. But we have more space than we use. And there’s more space in the apartment we could use as a pantry for canned goods. But I don’t even need supplies in bomb shelter quantities, just more than we normally buy.
What are the best strategies for me to motivate myself to buy efficiently?
– Shop at the local organic co-op. Advantage there is that the pricing is pretty good and it’s easier to buy in bulk. Why? Well, in part it’s farther away. Much harder than going to the Giant that’s maybe 3-5 minutes from our house. More reason to stock up and go monthly.
– Make a list of items it’s ok to buy in bulk. Take that list on shopping trips as a kind of permission slip. If the item is on sale, then buy in bulk. If not, then buy enough.
– Always buy more bread than we think we’ll need. Between sandwiches and toast, it seems we sometimes run out of bread.
That’s my plan anyway. Let’s see how it goes!
Are you planning to improve anything with your finances? (I think it’s better to start now than January 1st, less pressure and not the same experiences with New Year’s resolutions gone awry.)