I'm having this low spend week, just to keep things in check. It is good to take a break and make a conscious effort to watch spending. Sometimes we even need to do it by necessity. I've noticed this week, that I still have thoughts of spending. Those just don't seem to go away even when the goal changes. Darn it!
Depending on the item I have thought about buying, I think about my choices and options. One was laundry detergent. I still have some, but I can tell we are low. It most likely can wait. But what if I realized I'm on my last load of detergent tomorrow, but I have three baskets full of laundry? It is human nature to first think, we MUST go purchase detergent. But after that thought, I realized I could sort the three baskets of laundry to find the most needed items to be washed and narrow it to one load. I could even wash a few items by hand with dish or bar soap. That does depend on the item, as I'm pretty sure I couldn't get jeans clean with dish or bar soap! Although I would be willing to try if necessary.
Do you shop online? It seems so many things are just far cheaper online. And often for the very same thing! Combine online shopping codes, rebate sites like Ebates, free shipping and credit card rewards, the deals are amazing. The disadvantage of online shopping is that you can't get the item in the next 15 minutes. But with some advanced planning you can purchase ahead of time and avoid that extra run to the store. I've noticed that we purchase cat food every two months. I actually have a note on my email calendar to remind myself of this purchase. Once I have the reminder sent a week or so before the food is needed, I have time to be looking for the best price on the food we purchase. It also has time to be mailed. I'm pretty good keeping stocked on toilet paper, vitamins, hair product, furnace filters and cat food.
I'm not an expert in timing all the needs our family has by any means. Not long ago one of my daughter's need a cowboy hat for a concert. The notice was very short. Just a couple of days. Unfortunately I had just donated a cowboy costume hat the week before! Ack. I did ask my neighbors if they had any to borrow. No such luck. But we were able to find one at a thrift shop for less than $2. I don't know my true savings on this item as I don't know what I would have paid at a costume shop, but my guess it was significantly more than $2!
Another thing that seems to come up that can derail spending or my need to go to the store is running out of an ingredient while in the middle of cooking or baking. So frustrating! I know I recently was making a soup that had many different spices in it. I was completely out of one. I ended up leaving it out and it still tasted just fine. It was not worth going to the store for. I will put it on my list for the next time I'm at the store. But what if it is an important ingredient? That is where looking online for substitution ideas or calling a neighbor might be the best choice. Did you know in baking you can substitute applesauce for an egg? Or add lemon juice to milk to make a buttermilk substitution?
It really does pay to stop and take moment before you run off to buy something whether there is another option. One that is free or cheaper and meets the need just as well can be quite satisfying! Do you have an example of a way you have saved recently that might be considering thinking outside the box?