Unless you have super human strength, we all fall victim to impulse buys now and again. While I would LOVE to preach the “don’t buy it if it’s not on the list” speech to you- I’m pretty sure you know that. Others have drilled it into your head for years. So I won’t play the same tune, but instead I will introduce the idea of a whole new symphony.
Budget, budget, budget.
You’ll hear me say it a million times over and in between you may hear me say the words “meal plan” and throw in phrases like “round your prices up to the dollar when shopping.” Never forget those as they are your friends.. always your friends..
BUT, there are things that your meal plan, and shopping list don’t include. Things that you can’t anticipate.
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A good example of something you can’t anticipate is clearance racks.
While you may get good at knowing when newly marked down items are put onto the shelf, you never know what items are going on that shelf, until you see it.
You’ve budgeted, meal planned, and you have your lists ready to go.
Your grocery budget is set for the month. If there is any wiggle room in this budget after compiling your lists and information, impulse buying will be even harder to resist. Because you now remember that there was money left in your budget.
Your shopping list includes sales prices, and you’re smart enough to have included a total. So you know what you’re ringing up for at the register.
And as you’re shopping, your mind keeps tracking the prices, adding and rounding money up, you still see the money left over.
So once again, “unless you have super human strength and can hold on to that spare cash, at least spend it wisely.”
Don’t impulse buy something frivolous. Something that will be tossed aside or gone in a short time. A candy bar is a good example, 3 bites and its gone.
Besides giving you a sugar rush and a few added calories, what has it done for you or your budget? ..nothing.
The trick is to impulse buy something beneficial to your budget and family.
If you look around the store, I’m sure you could find some budget-fitting item that helps your family. For example, a box of jiffy cornbread mix is about .50 pretty much anywhere. These can be used in a variety of recipes and as a side dish as well. Shelf stable, non-seasonal and it won’t take up much space at home.
When shopping at Kroger- I personally enjoy buying the store brand versions of things. $0.50 pizza crust mix, $0.50 brownie mix, $0.50 muffin mix $.50 pancake mix, etc.
They are my guilty pleasure stock up items besides canned items and the clearance rack when it has sweets.
I normally keep my house pretty healthy, only exceptions being the snacks and sweets. Even that is limited, these days. So finding a delicious thing of half priced cupcakes, is usually hard to resist.
The canned items, and the cheap foods I buy with my leftover grocery budget help us out. Especially, when we get into a financial bind.
Or if we have a late night craving or midday snack. If it sits there long enough we can even apply these foods towards the next month’s meal plan.
Don’t let it become food waste though! Only make the impulse buy if it’s helpful, within budget, and will be used in a timely manner.
So I urge you to shop smarter whilst under your budget, and do so in a way that benefits the family.
Buying nonperishables with this small excess in the budget is a great way to knock out meal planning the following month. Or buy 1 or 2 small items for the upcoming holiday feasts.
You may not realize it, but by time November gets here and you’re working with the meal plan and shopping budget for the month, you’ll see those nonperishables.
You’ll have been so smart to buy in advance, that now you are capable of throwing together a large Thanksgiving feast. Maybe just adding in the cost of a turkey, a bag of marshmallows and fresh produce.
Sales happen in cycles, so being alert to what comes on sale and when, can also help you not to buy things at non-stock up prices.
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But besides saving money during the holiday season, you also just saved yourself all the stress.
No one enjoys meal planning the holiday, shopping for it all, and washing the dishes.
Crowded stores and unhappy people all shopping for the same reasons.
It’s stress filled. Making lists and crossing things off. Buying substitutes if the original item you want is sold out. With the added expenses of life making your budget shrink around that time of year.
But if you had those smart impulse buys in your pantry-
You now get to enjoy your holiday. Spend time cleaning, cooking, BEING WITH YOUR FAMILY, and looking for those good sales popping up for the holiday gifts.
So as you may see, while saving your grocery budget’s leftover finances and sticking to the “not on the list, don’t buy it” rule of thumb, there is also a whole other world of beneficial possibilities that you have open.
If you shop smart and use this as opportunity to stock up on other needs and wants. An impulse buy doesn’t have to be budget busters or a frivolous waste of money.
Don’t feel excluded to pantry stable impulse buys, you can save money on fresh produce and use those to help stretch meals as well!
What are your thoughts on food impulse buys? Tell me in the comments below!