Succeed At The Store

by Dave on July 4, 2009

As first seen in Coastal Sussex Weekly, June 18, 2009:

by Lisa Sumstine

Have you ever gone to the grocery store and left $100.00 dollars lighter with only two bags? You get home and wonder “What did I spend all that cash on?” It happened for years in our house. We were always out of something so we’d run to the store. While at the store we’re always see things we “needed.” Which of course we really didn’t need. Here are the tips I suggest to start you off budgeting and planning.


1. Set a budget

• Keep receipts for one month
• Set a realistic budget
• Don’t just cut your budget in half overnight. Slowly reduce your budget over a few months

2. Switch to cash only

• Don’t use your debit card or checkbook to pay for your groceries. If you’re hooked like me, leave your debit card at home (or in your car). This will help break the habit.
• You will spend less when you use only cash
• A cash only system helps with making you think harder about impulse purchasing.

Basic Menu Planning:

1. Take inventory of what you have in your pantry

• Go through your freezer, frig, and pantry and write down what you have on hand
• Knowing what you have on hand ensures that you buy only things you need
• Use your inventory when making your menu and grocery list

2. Before you get started

• Check with family to see if there is anything they want to eat
• Write a list of family favorite meals that you eat pretty frequently
• Plan all meals and snacks

3. Planning the meals

• Start planning one week worth of meals. You can work your way to more than one week, but start out small
• Make sure when you plan your meals that you plan easier meals on days when you are busy. Crockpot meals are perfect for those busy days. This will help you not to be tempted to just pick up takeout because you don’t have time to cook
• Base your meals around what you have in your house.
• Your goal is to use what you have and just shop for fillers
• Make a grocery list off of what you need
• Go shopping. Remember to use cash only! Resist the impulse to buy things not on your list.

I realize this is alot of information.  If anyone wants to do a little homework now would be a great time to clean out your freezeer/refrigerator and cabinets. Don’t be scared! You have to know what’s in there to make it work for you! Also ~ sit down and make a list of all your favorite meals. You’ll be amazed at how many things you can come up with!

Here’s a link to the entire class in case any of us asked questions you may have.

Next week: Keeping a Price Book

Lisa can be found on or email

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