Tuesday, December 4, 2012

When a Good Deal Isn't a Good Deal...

I have a confession to make:
I throw away way too much food. I'm ashamed to say, but sometimes I'll purchase food because it's a great deal and end up never using it. Past it's expiration date, I often end up chucking it.

I have another confession to make:
I just donated a bunch of unused "clearance" toys that were a great deal, but I never had anyone in mind to give them to. So they sat...and sat...until they were given away.

Last confession:
I have 14 tubes of toothpaste that will expire in the next few months...all picked up because they were on sale, yet will need to be given away because no human being brushes their teeth 34 times a day!

It's not a good deal if you never use it!

Here are some tips for getting the most of your money:

1. When buying food, have a plan for using it.
Try to work it into your weekly menu plan. If it is a pantry item that you're stocking up on, make sure it's versatile enough to use often. Here are my favorite pantry items with ideas for using them.

2. When buying a gift, have a recipient in mind.
I don't know very many 8-year olds. I haven't had to purchase anything for an 8-year old in years. So why did I spend $10 on a clearance toy that's geared for 8-12 year old boys? Because it was marked down 75%. Yep, said toy was recently donated. I didn't save 75%; I wasted $10. Having a recipient in mind will keep you from buying for the sake of buying.

3. Give Yourself Limits
You don't need 50 bottles of mouth wash. Five bottles bought on sale will last you just fine before the expiration date. We were cleaning out my husband's late-grandmother's kitchen cabinets several months ago. We found 6 unopened jars of almond and vanilla extracts that expired in the 1980s. We won't discuss what was in the freezer...

4. Know the Difference Between Stocking Up and Buying for the Sake of Buying
Stocking up is purchasing items you know you will use within a set time period. Buying for the sake of buying is picking something up you may not use, just because it's cheap. The latter option often costs you money, as the "good deals" turn into an unused heap of donated or trash items.I love stocking up on items we use...I've saved a great deal of money doing this! Unfortunately it is sometimes offset by purchasing items I don't need just because it's a good deal. 

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