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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

More about the price book and inventory sheets

My apologies for taking so long to get this next post completed. It's hard to think about writing posts when I'm so sick. I'm still not up to my old self but each day is an improvement. I didn't get to go on my planned shopping trip. It will be two more weeks before I go again. I'll attempt to explain it and later show how I actually use it.

Ok, you've done an inventory of all the items you normally buy at the grocery and you have in your house. You have everything written in your price book in the inventory columns. Now you need to know what you paid for the items. There are a couple of ways you can fill in the prices and what store sells the cheapest.

Today is the day the sale papers come out for the week. You can look through the sale papers to see what is on sale. Use these prices for what you write in your price book. It will be a while before everything in your price book is on sale again so it may take a few weeks to fill it all in. While you are going through the sale papers to write prices; you can see your inventory to know if you need more or have a bunch already. For example: cake mix is on sale for 1.00. If I saw in the inventory column that I didn't have any cake mix I might buy some. Since I can see from my inventory that I already have 6 cake mixes I really don't need more.

You also need a store code that's simple to use when writing in your price book. This is my store codes. A simple letter representing the store.

Another way to fill in the prices in your price book is to save the receipts. Use these to write in the prices you paid last and the store you bought from. (I tend to save receipts of all kinds. I use these to work on my budget.)

It really doesn't matter how you create your actual grocery list. Whether from a set menu of meals or like me.... use what I have or what's on sale. I tend to keep my favorite recipes in a file box like this. I separate by main ingredient. Meats mostly. If I see that beef is on sale this week I can look through the recipes I have behind the catagory of beef.

If I want fresh ideas to use beef I may look through some of my books. I'll pick out a recipe that I want to try then copy it onto a file card.

When you are making out your grocery list it is very important to create two different lists. Hmm... how to explain the logic of two lists? One list is for edible items only. The food you will use to create your meals. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The other list is for non-edible items and snack foods. If you see that your money is running short after the edible items.... then cut out some of the non-edible or snack items.

For example if you have set aside 50 dollars for your two week groceries. How much will be for the edible and how much will be for the non-edible? If you use your price book and the sale paper you can get an estimate.

I shop with only cash. I don't use the checkbook and I don't use the debit card. If possible I leave these at home to keep me from temptation. Temptation can ruin a planned shopping trip. You might see an item at the end of an isle that appears to be a very good bargain..... but is it in your budget? Bargain or not.... if you haven't planned this purchase then you are going to mess up. You will go over your budget.

Ok, say it really is a good bargain and it's something you really do use. What then? Well, something on your planned list will have to be dropped. You only have cash with you and when the money is gone.... that's it. You are done. You can't be tempted to overspend your budget with a check or debit card.

When you get home from shopping and have put away all your groceries; use the receipts to update your inventory and your prices. This should only take a few minutes.
Using items from your inventory? Each time I empty something, I write it on a list I have in my kitchen. Say for example: I empty two cans of veggies and take out a meat from the freezer for tonight's supper. I write those on the "used" list. Or if I empty a spice or a tube of toothpaste, I write it on the "used" list before tossing the empty. Once a week I will use the "used" list to update my inventory in my price book. Here you can see a picture of my "used" list on the bulliten board inside my kitchen cabinet. Some people have a list like this that they use to create their shopping list.

I hope this explanation is making sense to you. I know what I'm doing but I'm not always sure I'm explaining it so others understand. If you have questions.... please email me or post a comment.

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