If you’re going to successfully navigate the mine field that is personal finance, one of the things you must be is flexible. You have to be able to recognize when something is not working quite right, and tweak your methodology. I recently ran into just such a situation with the weekly chore of grocery shopping.
I typically do the grocery shopping early Saturday morning while the shelves are stocked and the crowds are small. If I went later in the day, I’d typically find items out of stock, or become frustrated enough with the crowds roaming the aisles, check out and go home. Both of these scenarios result in a secondary trip to the store. In fact, there are weeks where I’ve stopped at the grocery store every day either on my way to the gym in the morning, or home after work. These trips open myself up to overspending and breaking the grocery budget.
To eliminate this temptation, I tried the hard line approach of making only one trip to the store. If I find I forgot to put something on the list the day after shopping, we would just have to wait until the next weekend to get it. This works well, until you discover something you absolutely MUST have. It was time for a grocery shopping methodology tweak.
I created the concept of a fully sanctioned and funded secondary grocery shopping trip. Here’s how it works:
Meal plan, make list, and execute the primary grocery shopping trip of the week. This trip has a firm budgeted amount.
Create the “Things I Forgot” list. A piece of notebook paper is put on the counter, and items are written on it as we realize things that should have made the list, or things that were not available at the time of the primary grocery shopping trip.
On my way to the gym, I stop at the grocery store and pick up the things on the list. This secondary trip also has a budgeted amount that must be honored.
We’re all human, which means we forget things and make mistakes. Sometimes circumstances are out of our control and and item is out of stock. Having a planned, smaller secondary grocery shopping trip gives us the opportunity to make up for any such mistakes that occurred during the preparation and execution of the primary grocery shopping trip. By having firm budgeted amounts for both, we are much more likely to get the things we want and need for the entire week, and stay within our allocated grocery funds.
Do you plan on going to the grocery store more than once a week? Do secondary grocery shopping trips blow your budget?
Brought to you courtesy of Brock
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