Monday, October 27, 2008

Another Money Stretching Strategy

Scheduled Buying is one more way to stretch your buying power. This strategy is especially helpful when coping with fixed incomes, tight budgets and difficult economic times.

We all know the holidays are coming. Most of us have some sort of scheme for buying presents, gifts and all that kind of “stuff.” But many of us forget the cost of groceries when we plan our “special day budgets”. Oh yes, we remember the feasts the weekend of, or the shopping day of, or the weekend of. And then buying extra can break the bank when we try to buy the rest of the regular groceries . Why? Because most of the time these kinds of things ARE IN ADDITION to the regular grocery list. Oh yes, that comment at the beginning of the paragraph, about the holidays. Well, when do your holidays start? Are you thinking just Christmas time? What about families that do double duty of birthday and anniversary, or birthday and Christmas time? Yep, that’s what I thought – Happy Birthday and Happy Whatever day as well, all rolled into one. That’s OK if that is what you plan on. But are you “planning” this way because it’s the only way you know to stretch the grocery budget a little more?

Take the time now to look at your calendar. What special meals, foods, treats, snacks or combinations thereof would you like to have in the next several months. Make your lists and check them twice and start scheming, – oops carefully planning for success.

Start NOW planning that every payday or shopping trip you will purchase X number of the items that are needed for you festivities Even if you cannot find some of those items on sale or at a very good price. Start now to buy and stash all of the ingredients that will fill out the special menus and/or recipes. If a required item is perishable, set aside a specific dollar amount so that when that weekend does arrive, you will be ahead of the game and be able to afford all you want.

I don’t know about your house, but tradition says that it cannot be Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner unless we have tiny Kosher dills and olives. With prices going up and up they have become luxury items in a big way when we have to buy multiples of each for the size our family has grown. And have you ever seen a family that does not snitch three-fourths of all the olives before dinner is ready? That means you must plan on at least two more cans!

As the economy worsens this shopping method will not be a slight way of shopping to consider. In one of my Calendared Buying workshops, a young woman sat on the second from front row. As I taught this concept in detail I noticed that she was crying. I continued teaching and as I finished the workshop she approached me, sniffing and red-eyed. Her comment was, “These are happy tears. I am so grateful that you took the time to expand this idea of shopping out into an idea that I could apply. We have been out of work for many months now trying to get by on any part-time jobs that have come our way, until full-time employment comes through. By thinking ahead and being able to schedule buying a few things at a time, instead of not being able to afford any if I had to by it all at once, will allow us to have special meals again.”

This principle works for your Preparedness Program as well. If there are a few items that will make a difference in special events at your house, buy them. Only buy them one or two at a time. Mark your calendar that you have them and where you have hidden them. (You know, things like chocolate, light and dark.)

Learn this principle and apply it to all special days, weekends, family festivities and Whatever days throughout the year.

Budget a specific dollar amount into your shopping plans to start buying these items. Thus the cost of special foods, or special items – such as birthday candles – can be budgeted over several months. And should you think there could not be anyone who could not afford a box of birthday candles, let me tell you that I know what it is like to tell my children that we could not afford the collective .50-cent ice cream at the BYU Creamery AND birthday candles. It doesn’t matter the amount if it is lacking in your budget – or soon to be. It is the principle of it! There is a way to win the battle if you start working on the strategies now.

Get enthused and get scheming – oops, planning!

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