Monday, July 19, 2010

Never buy Mustard in Winter

You're looking at that title thinking, where is she going with this? but I do have a point and it all goes back to mindful shopping.

If you use mustard regularly or semi-regularly, then you probably buy more one to two times per year. Occasionally, you can find coupons for mustard in the Sunday circular, but they're not too frequent. While coupons are all well and good, step back for a second and think about when people use the most mustard. Answer: grilling season.

If you wait until Memorial Day, 4th of July or Labor Day weekends to stock up on your mustard for the year, you will save probably 60-70% per bottle versus buying in in December with a coupon. If you have a coupon while it's on sale, double bonus because what's better than free mustard?

The point of this little anecdote is not really telling you how to save money on mustard, which is a cheap condiment that certainly doesn't compromise your grocery budget, it's more of an exercise in smart stockpiling and mindful shopping.

Financial advisers who go on Oprah like to say things like, "If you just cut out one latte a week, you'll save $250 a year!" This is completely true, but shouldn't count for just indulgences like that. The point of frugality and budgeting is to start saving small amounts daily, and redirecting that money toward something that matters. Saving $2-3 on mustard may seem like a silly waste of time, but money saved is money saved, and it takes very little time or effort. It's just about a shift in perception.

Start paying attention to when things go on sale. Read your grocery stores weekly circular, and you will start to realize that it's all cyclical. Once you start to notice a pattern, you can start to make plans, and rejuvenate your stockpile accordingly. All this takes time, to be sure, but frugality isn't a diet, it's a lifestyle. You're setting yourself up for the future.

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