Monday, June 02, 2014

{Let's talk money} Grocery shopping wrap-up

For the full series...

Cleaning stuff

First I want to answer the last few questions and then give you my final thoughts.

From Mandy
what do you consider stockpiling and why don't you?

I consider stockpiling anything I won't use within a month or so. My reason is very simple - I don't have the space and to feel like food or toiletries are all over the house makes me twitch. I'm your classic "a place for everything and everything in its place" girl :)

I like to have just one spare of anything. So I'll always have one spare Dove speedstick or one tube of toothpaste, or 2 bars of soap at least.

But #letsnottalkaboutthenotebooks

We have a pantry with 5 shelves and I think that's plenty for a small family.

My one friend, Natalie, is someone I look up to with this kind of thing. The kitchen is literally empty when she needs to do grocery shopping. I love that.

D, on the other hand, would stockpile if I didn't stop him. I had him pack the groceries away one weekend so he could see exactly what I'm faced with when he "goes wild". There is no space for lots of extras.

Mandy and Heather both mentioned takeout/ takeaways

It's the strangest thing. Since the kids were born, we almost never get takeaways. The only one I still like is Fishaways. I'm super fussy about what the kids eat and then one day I thought, "hang on a sec. If KFC isn't good for them, why would i think it's good enough for us?"

So now we get KFC once a year when they sleep at their Granny's house. (I'm not even joking).

They've had McD twice - once after my friend's wedding where we had to leave due to wiggly twins before supper was served. I just didn't fancy driving around Pta looking for other food before the screaming started.

I need to get some Fishaways! We used to get maybe one Friday a month til I joined Weigh-Less. I weigh on a Sat morning so my Friday nights are "good nights".

How do you deal with incidental household things like lightbulbs?

I have a flat cupboard enclosing the electricity controls in the kitchen. There is very little space but it's just enough for some "incidentals". We have two types of lightbulbs in the house (bayonet and screw-in bulbs) and we use those long-lasting things outside... where we have a fancy timer that works according to the degree of light, not the time of day.


And of course, it was due to the cleverness of the previous owners because we'd never think of things like that. Super useful in winter because when I used to arrive just before 5:30, the lights would just be coming on. And the same things happens in summer at about 7ish.

Those bulbs do actually last Sweet Forever. They cost a lot but since they just keep going and going, and we are not DIY sorts so we don't like fiddling with lightbulbs anymore than we need to, it's all good! I just buy those when they go out since there are about 3 - 4 in the area and they expire months apart....

Look how I've digressed.

We buy the pack of 5 bayonet and 5 screw-in bulbs, and when we use the last one in either pack, it goes on the list. I've never had a new lightbulb go bust on me. They should always work unless you knock them (I think?).

We also keep two sizes of batteries - I'm also not sure exactly what we use batteries for... except in remotes... in that same cupboard. Same story, when we use the last one in the pack of 4, we add to the list.

So here are MY thoughts.

1. I've worked at operating from an abundance, and not a scarcity, mindset.

What's the worst that can happen? You pay R2 more for dishwashing liquid if it's not on sale.

For me, I prefer to have the "white space" rather than save R2 - R5 here or there.

Of course, I do have a tiny thrill if something's on my list AND it's on special. Yay! But I'm not going out of my way to chase a special.

It's like the petrol thing. Have I told you my theory on petrol? Once (2 - 3 years ago) I worked out what the increase in the petrol price would cost me. It was about R15 a tank. My time is MUCH more valuable than that... especially with those queues when the petrol price is about to increase.

So I thought, I'd much rather just drive home and spend those 20 minutes with the babies and pay R15 more when I run out. Much more civilised.

And that's what I do. I just so happened to run out on one of those days over the last year but I would never intentionally go fill up again.

My God is big enough to supply that R15 (or whatever it is now).

And that's how I feel about stockpiling.

2. Question everything

Some of you have told me this series has made you think more about how you spend money. That's awesome. It makes me REALLY glad to know that.

If you get nothing else from this, I want you to know that there's always a different way.

I had brunch with Laura last week and she told me something I'd said to her MONTHS ago. But it stuck with her and made her really think about something and that's awesome. Not that I was some "wise" person but that it caused her to stop and question. Laura, you can share if you want in the comments. It's not my story to share :)

If you grew up and your parents did something one way, that's not to say you shouldn't do it another way. Maybe it is the best way for you, but at least you've thought it through first.

3. Own your decisions

Here's the thing. We were talking about groceries but it applies to everything financial.

E.g. 1. I pay more for coaching than I do on clothes. Some people would be horrified but that's okay. It's my choice and I own it.

E.g. 2.  I've been driving the same car for the last 8 years, and it was one year old when I got it. I've taken care of it and I intend to get a few more years out of it. I really love not having a car payment. My car was one of the oldest and cheapest in the parking lot at work but so what? I chose to do other things with my money. Like my tithe, a well-padded savings account and travel.

If you like a nice car, own it. Don't moan about not having something else but honestly say, "you know what? It's important to me to drive a nice car rather than do ____ with my money.

Final thought!

A friend of mine and I are similarly minded with money. Except she likes lots of expensive clothes too :)

Anyway, we were talking about budgets and such once and she said, "you know what? The only area I'm really excessive in my spending is grocery shopping and to be honest, I like it that way. I love entertaining and having people over every weekend and I'm not going to change that.

And I said, "well good for you!"

If you feel that way, then good for you too!

What are your thoughts? Share with me in the comments.

This post is far too long but clearly I was on a roll (Iistening to a love songs compilation I made for a relationship workshop for couples I did ages ago)!


  1. I love this owning business! #noshameinyourgame
    Just to make you twitch, I purchased 60 rolls of toilet paper today with out the slightest clue where I'm storing it. :) I'm curious about your big purchases now. I can spend $100 twice a week in Target on nothing in particular without batting an eye, but those big purchases make me tremble. I still cringe to think about what you spent traveling here! Also, entertainment budgets!

    1. Yes, I'm twitching :) :)

      I can also spend random money without blinking... usually on nail polish. But I kind of have my threshold, which is around R250.

      I will email you about the travel and big purchases!

  2. With groceries, I save where I can...but I don't skimp -- ever -- on food. I clip coupons and I price match (Wa.lmart will match the price for any local I make my list and get the best prices from each store when I shop there...HUGE savings on produce). But...if I want to make shrimp for dinner, that's what I do. I figure, since the girls were born, we eat out MUCH less than we once did. Even with me buying/cooking what I want and when, it's still a big savings over what we once spent.

    One thing I'm loving about our new house is that I have more space to stockpile. I don't do anything crazy, but I do buy multiples on certain things -- like toilet paper, paper towels, and detergent -- to save, specifically at Tar.get. And I LOVE having an extra refrigerator. Since we started buying organic milk, which has a longer shelf life, I can stock up pretty substantially when it goes on sale.

    1. Wow, that is great - Wal.mart :)

      Mandy, i want pics of the stockpiling :) :)

    2. I owe you lots of pics, don't I?! ;) Why don't you just come over and I'll show you myself!!!

      P.S. Read Audrey Bunny tonight and thought of you. <3 I think I told you that I taped the Amazon greeting card to the inside of the book. It makes me smile to think of you and K&C. :) :)

  3. I am doing a post about excess today and I will mention the story :))

    Ja I think what I learnt doing this is to accept how your family works! We work differently to you so our budgets aren't going to match and that's ok :)

    I just have to say that I think your extra R15 thing on petrol went out the window a few increases ago! Petrol is R14 now!!!! It used to be under R8 not so long ago - its a BIG difference when you consume a lot of petrol :))

    1. I meant the difference per fill-up. So if my tank takes 45 L (I think that's right), and it costs R14 P/L and an increase makes it R14,08 P/L (R630 in the first vs R633.60), that R3,60 (where did I get R15 from?!) is not worth the time spend.

      How many L does your "bus" take?

      I love that you've got acceptance. Your word!!!

  4. Oh that's funny... I blogged abut grocery shopping too... 'tis the season clearly. We don't stockpile at all. Seriously with ten of us... where would we keep the extra stuff... I consider it a privilege that I can store anything I need in the grocery store rather than squeeze it into my grocery cupboard. And we found the best way to save on petrol... but most folk would find it a bit minimalist to just go without a car... extreme I know, but it is wonderful not to even have to think about budgeting for petrol. I am all for different folks doing different things, we all beat to our own drums... but I do get irked when stores go out of their way to spend money on things they didn't want to buy... or mark something as a super special when it is the exact opposite. I think honest marketing would change my view of grocery shopping considerably but I don't expect that to happen - like ever!!!

    1. Of course not! I had a big element of marketing a few roles back and even though we were as ethical as possible, you're still SELLING.

      LOVED your post. Busy leaving comment now!

  5. I do not stockpile at all apart from toilet paper which we get a great deal on at the office - I basically pay for nice baby soft (48 rolls in nice 6 pack sizes) what one would pay for 1 ply in the shops. I have one cupboard this goes into. The rest I buy when we need - I will however buy say 8 tins of tomatoes in stead of 4 if they are on special - but not 20 So just for say the next month maximum. Checkers has Nutella on special R22 for the big bottle - this is almost half the price. We only eat this as a treat say on Sundays on croissants so it keeps for ages - but I did buy 2 and not the usual 1. Not say 4.

    And what I have accepted - I will stop for bread and milk at Woollies or Spar almost every day (because thats the spead at which it goes in our home and we like fresh bread) and pay a bit more because I do not have the time every day to go to Pick n Pay or Checkers

    1. Your system except for the daily bread run sounds exactly like mine when I allow a bit of extra :)

  6. I don't stockpile either. I aim at buying about a month's worth of something, but the way things are packaged sometimes stretch things to 2 or 3 months on slow moving items. I'm okay with that. Whatever is on the list by pay day gets bought and anything popping up after we do without till next pay day.

    1. I'm trying to drag the rest of the household along your path.

  7. I enjoyed this grocery shopping series. I do stockpile when there are good specials especially with the items we use a lot of, like long life milk. Woolworths usually have them on special once in 3 months and I buy enough to last me 3 months. The difference between the sale price and the normal price for the 6l pack is about R 15 and we go through 3 to 4 packs a month. I think I save about R 550 a year just by buying milk on special. I love love a good bargain. I do the same with items like eggs, cereal, teabags, sugar, oil, etc. I do check the expiry date when buying bulk.

    1. so glad you liked the series! thanks for the feedback.

  8. I liked your series, an I love that I could catch all the links in one place. We shop mostly at Checkers because Hubby works there and gets a 10% discount on everything we buy there. Anything we cannot get at Checkers I get at PnP. I hardly ever go into Clicks because the supermarkets also have pharmacies now (well the ones I go to)
    Every 3-4 months we will shop at the farmers market for bulk veggies. This works for us. We chop, peel julienne or whatever and freeze it. I know frozen veg is not for everyone, but it works in our house. So we will have stirfry, soup etc ready to cook from frozen. We bulk buy meat because it is cheaper to buy the bigger pack than smaller packs (sometimes 50% cheaper). We do stockpile other non-perishables, but we stockpile only until the next seems to work out somehow. We also freeze meals that can survive well in the freezer. It saves electricity cooking wise...also we do not cook everyday. Each meal must last at least two days or enough leftovers for lunches as well. Our grocery/food bill sits at about R1500/pm. We are very strict about what the money is spent on and what luxuries are allowed. Especially electricity. We like to splurge on a takeaway once a month, family breaks and birthday presents. This is worked into our 12 month budget.

  9. When the boys were still at home I used to do a huge bulk shopping every second month and had a well stocked freezer. Now I don't stockpile anything...our closest supermarket is just around the corner. I just buy what is needed weekly. I hate shopping so I usually make a list and send B.

    Where clothing is concerned I don't spend a fortune but I buy quality classic clothes and where shoes are concerned I prefer to buy leather because I know I will get years of wear out of them. Due to my fobia for shops I do most of that via the internet too.

  10. Loved you series and lots of great ideas.
    I lived in a family where we lived in excess...Big Stockpiles of Everything Food, Clothing, etc.
    It's taken me all of 40 years to change how I raise my family.
    I am working very hard to be conscious of what I buy and separate between a need and a want.

  11. I loved this series! I do stock pile and that is something I need to stop. Stuff like soap and toothpaste does not need to be stockpiled. We use an abnormal amount of bog roll and I am now on a mission to figure out WHY!!!


  12. There was a time when I was stockpiling but it was mostly on the cleaning materials and things like rice etc. In actual fact, I wasn't technically stockpiling - I was basically doing grocery shopping for the festive season so my money could stretch over December and January. I haven't really been doing it lately but I may start to do it on a small-scale again. Problem is the space. Also. My cleaner. She's wasteful. AND, I find that if there's extra then everyone in this house (except me) becomes wasteful because there is more in the cupboard! I HATE that.


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