|Some of what I spent my money on|
But then I have to remind myself that you can't be short sighted when you want to save money, that looking at the long term is certainly more important. Sometimes, in order to save money in the long run, you have to spend more in the short term.
So why did I spend so much money just in the past 7 days?
To save money.
It all started with getting a phone call from my mother. "Josh is right outside the P, the bulk food store- tell him what you wanted to order!"
Erm. I was kind of caught there off guard. I like to pre-plan large expenses, and any shop at the P store tends to be on the larger end.
I've been buying in bulk from the P store for over 6 years already, and I found it has helped me save a lot of money on my monthly grocery bills by buying staples at a fraction of their prices in the regular grocery store. The thing is- you need to lay the money out upfront, and then over time you see the savings. But even having the money to be able lay out initially can be quite hard- however it is possible to bulk buy even without extra cash lying around. But I digress.
I was buying bulk from the P store in various ways. First, my friend M would go drive there occasionally for herself, and when she was there, would pick up some orders for me. Once in a while when I was in the area (a few hour drive from my house) I'd stop by and pick things up myself. When that no longer was an option for various reasons, M would organize group bulk orders- as long as a certain threshold was met, the P store would deliver the bulk orders to her house, where we'd split it up and each take what we'd ordered.
Unfortunately, the person in charge of deliveries for the P store has messed up the orders so many times recently that M no longer will be organizing deliveries from them, which means that getting things from the P store would be pretty much an impossibility for me anymore. That would be really frustrating, since there are some things I rely on buying from there, like coconut oil, which costs $1.29 per pound there but at least $8 per pound not in bulk, and as that is my standard cooking oil, I don't fancy paying more than 6 times the cost buying it at retail prices instead of bulk.
So, I didn't know what to do, because I don't want to be spending extra money on things- my motto is "Why pay retail when you can get it cheaper"- well, one of my mottoes anyhow. My supply of bulk purchased foods was running low, and when I went to price them at the regular grocery stores, and even bargain grocery stores, those items still were much more than I used to pay for them in bulk.
So therefore, when my mother told me that Josh was right in the area of the P store, and was planning on walking in to buy some stuff anyhow, I decided to take advantage of that, and even though I hadn't planned on spending that money then, I had it set aside anyhow and was able to afford to buy those items in bulk. And so, even though I spent $156 in one go, it's going to save me money in the long run, guaranteed.
What did I buy? A 40 lb jerrycan of palm oil, a 50 lb bag of instant mashed potatoes (ok, I'll admit it, I can be lazy in the kitchen but my kids still need to eat, and mashed potatoes are my quick fix that isn't too unhealthy, especially once I mix in healthier nutritious additions), a 50 lb bag of baking soda, and a 2.2 lb bag of gelatin. Each of these were expensive, but once I compared them to how much they cost at the store store and they were at least half the price, if not much more. (Baking soda is 6 times more expensive at the grocery store.) And these are all things that I use regularly, so it was very worth it to buy in bulk.
For now, I am putting it in a separate category on my grocery and expenditure tracking, not considering it as part of my monthly grocery shop, but as another category. In the long run, I'll see how many months this lasts us and be able to calculate how much it cost us per month on average.
Not counting the bulk shop, then, I only spent $216, which still is a large amount, considering the fact that its only the 7th of the month, but again, it wasn't just throwing away money- it was a conscious decision to make a big shop and buy things cheaper there, so I don't run out of them and pay more money at the local mom and pop's store because I needed things.
The majority of my shop, in fact, was stocking up on cheaper quick proteins, namely cans of sardines on sale for 70 cents a can, because when I run out of them, I end up buying more expensive quick things, especially if I need food on the go. I've been going out of the house a lot, working, and I don't always prepare in advance foods that are easy to transport, which means that I end up buying something expensive and less healthy last minute- things like cheeses, hot dogs, and deli meats to eat while out. So buying all these cans of sardines- and tuna- (I think I bought close to 40 cans of sardines and 10 of tuna) should hopefully prevent me from needing to go to the expensive store last minute for proteins to eat.
Even when not traveling, I'm always looking for what is the cheapest paleo protein source that I can eat (eggs are out, unfortunately, as they bother my stomach), and I suspect that sardines are among the cheaper ones, and work out cheaper per serving than chicken breast, but I'm not sure. I still need to do those calculations.
So for now- I am aiming to spend no more than $285 more on groceries for the rest of the month, and ideally not anywhere near that. If I can keep it down to $200-$225 for the rest of the month, that would be pretty terrific, but the question is- will I? Will my preparing in advance actually pay off, and my overall grocery bill this month be less?
Only time will tell.
But I do maintain also that sometimes you need to spend money to save money. And hopefully, by the end of the month, I will see that this paid off.
Do you find that if you spend more money in the attempt to save money in the long run, it pays off? Or do things typically come up and you don't manage to save money and just end up spending more, overall?
What things do you spend money on in advance to be able save money in the long run?