How did you fare financially over the Xmas period?? Too afraid to log in to your internet banking account?? I tried hard to make Xmas 2015 as simple as possible. In previous years, I worked myself into a spending frenzy. I’m not talking about a bit of overspending, I’m talking about some serious debt to kick off the new year. Whenever I hear disappointing Xmas retail figures announced, I feel like tweeting #dontblameme or #ididmybit. In these maniacal spending years, I didn’t have a plan and bought additional gifts per person on each shopping outing. An extra $20-$50 per person really starts to add up if you go shopping every weekend in December. It’s no surprise that my first 2 blogs were all about having too much stuff…are you starting to see a shopping pattern/problem here??
However, 2015 was different. I was well prepared on the shopping front and did my research so I didn’t pay over the odds. I was also mindful of the post xmas sales. Why settle for 20% off when I knew it would be 50% off 2 days later?? I find it fascinating that we spend like mad in December and then justify that we need even more stuff and hit the sales with a vengeance. I am as guilty as the next person here, but I can genuinely say that the only ‘sales’ items I bought were a new knife block, a replacement saucepan and a pillow. Anyhoo, I digress!
In case you’ve missed it, if shopping were a field of study, I’d have a PhD. Not only am I good at it, but I actually enjoy it – groceries, electronics or a new set of tyres, I’m a happy camper. A key factor in raising the ‘fun factor’ is buying stuff on sale and feeling like you’ve got a bargain. This is no doubt due to my procurement background, but I HATE to pay full price particularly given the ridiculous mark ups products attract. But don’t get me wrong, I hate haggling and while I have never been to Bali, I’d be the sucker who pays $50 for a bottle of water! Marc is more likely to ask for a better price, but that’s a ‘good cop/bad cop’ technique we use when shopping for big items (works a treat). It’s ironic that I used to negotiate with suppliers for a living, but Marc takes the lead in our personal life…weird!
Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like getting a bargain isn’t enough anymore. We’re a typical Aussie family with a sizeable mortgage and limited discretional income, so I try to make every dollar count – you too?? As a means of stretching our dollar further we’re encouraged to buy in bulk to get more for our money; spending more to save more as it were. Even before the arrival of American giant Costco to Adelaide, buying bigger at the supermarket was nothing new. The introduction of unit pricing on the sales ticket is a great way to get more bang for your buck (budget permitting).
Costco in Adelaide has been open just over a year and its got everything from the massive TV’s to an enormous wheel of camembert. We joined fairly early on and probably do a shop once a month. The fresh produce, meat, pre-prepared meals, baby products and books are all regulars in my trolley (which are horrible to navigate through the store). There are dozens of other genuine bargains that I walk past without a second glance. Why?? Because even though they are ‘cheap’ I have nowhere to store them. My earlier posts have suggested that storage space in my house is as exclusive as a mansion in College Park, so I have to be particular about my bulk buys. It’s like that Simpsons episode where Marge and Apu are shopping at the Monster Mart – I don’t have room for 5lb of nutmeg! Therefore, I have 2 golden rules I stick to when buying in bulk:
- Take a photo of the inside of your fridge, freezer and pantry before you shop. Buying a mega pack of meat is only a smart buy if you have the freezer space or a BBQ for 10 people that night.
- For paper based products (toilet paper/hand towel etc), laundry and bathroom products and non-perishable groceries only buy them if they will fit into your existing cupboards/pantry. There is no point buying a 48 pack of toilet paper if it has to live on top of the washing machine for the next 4 months.
Of course, if you have a big shed and/or chest freezer (I am SO jealous!!) these 2 rules are less applicable. The trick then is to set yourself reminders of when you bought particular goods so they are still edible when defrosted/rescued from the shed.
In my quest to ‘spend more to save more’ I am working on some DIY storage solutions around the house. I’ll share these with you soon with some before and after photos. In the meantime, happy shopping. Head over to the L&A Facebook page and share with me your favourite bulk buys. https://www.facebook.com/listandassist/