Ever thought about the price of convenience? We’ve come to the conclusion that convenience has a pretty high price tag. It is so much more convenient to purchase all my groceries in one weekly stop. However, I learned that by doing just that, we were spending a couple hundred dollars more per month in our grocery expenses. We’ve tackled the grocery budget and have seen tremendous results these past 2 months. So I started wondering about other areas in spending where convenience has the potential to run the bill up.
Getting a take-out meal or heading through the drive-thru at dinner time versus cooking a meal at home.
I am pretty good about planning my meals ahead of time and cook virtually all our meals at home (except for the one day per week we go to McDonald’s). I can see how this would be a difficult habit to break though, because it does require a lot of energy and planning to get those meals on the table nightly at 5 p.m. The key for me has been weekly meal planning which includes making the menu and purchasing the ingredients on the weekend, so that during the busy week I have everything I need to cook the meals. It’s just a matter of getting the items cooking at the required time so that everything is done by 5 p.m.
Stops at the 7-11 or Jiffy Mart for a snack or soda following after school activities.
I have to admit I have had trouble with this one, but once I set up a “snack bag” in the van, I don’t make these stops anymore. I make sure I always have some bottled water too.
Purchasing diapers, detergents, shampoos, etc. at the grocery store.
Unless you are grocery shopping at Wal-Mart or Super Target, then the grocery store is not the best place to purchase these types of items. Diapers and other types of baby products are going to be much cheaper at the larger discount stores. This is also true for trash bags, dish detergents, aluminum foil, and baggies.
Buying meats pre-marinated, veggie trays, store bought muffins and cakes.
Marinate your own meat, cut up your own veggies, and bake your muffins and cakes. It just takes a little bit of time, and planning is of the essence. I can throw together some homemade muffins in less than 10 minutes.
Doing all grocery shopping at one store versus comparison shopping at different stores.
This is definitely one area where the price of convenience was making a noticable dent in our budget.
The price worksheet I’ve been doing has been invaluable in this effort. I can see that it is cheaper to shop around to get the best prices. Really scanning those weekly grocery ads helps a lot too. I like finding the Buy 1 Get 1 Free sales and then stocking up on those items.
Making last minute gift purchases.
I have found myself doing this on occasion. I’ve done well with the Valentine gifts though. I purchased a few small items for the kids from the dollar store and will be making Valentine cupcakes on Wednesday. We will all share a special homemade Valentine dinner too. For children’s birthday parties I try to keep a “gift closet” stocked up. When I find items on clearance that would be great to give as a gift, I purchase it to be put into the gift closet. We usually have several different items on hand that can be used to give as a gift, and it really saves not having to make that last minute (and most likely not frugal) purchase.