My husband and I received our tax refund this week and the extra money in the bank has me planning all kinds of wonderful ways I could burn through that cash. New rug in the dining room? New sofa in the playroom? No more skimping on the monthly food budget? I have about a million different ways to spend that money floating around in my head. But when I come back to reality I realize that the money needs to be put into the savings account and used for a rainy day. Ah, well, a Cheap Mama can dream, can't she?
In all of my new-money-dreaminess I had to remind myself that the way we have kept our heads above water, financially speaking, is by my implementing all of my Cheap Mama tricks and sticking with them month in and month out. It's not always easy or fun but it does help me sleep at night knowing that I'm doing all I can to be responsible with what God has given us.
The grocery budget is always the easiest place for me to save money but it is also the easiest place for me to blow money. The way I keep my head on straight in the grocery store and not give in to those impulse purchases is to continually say to myself the phrase that keeps me focused. It's my grocery store mantra. Cut the Cheese.
In my experience as a Cheap Mama I've come to realize that if any of the work is done for me when it comes to food items, I'm paying for the extra convenience. Is it a pre-made meal? I'm paying extra for that. Is the product pre-cooked? I'm paying extra for that. Is the cheese already in convenient little plastic-wrapped slices for me? I'm paying extra for that. Cut the Cheese means to look for the food products that are in their whole, natural state; the actual ingredients themselves because they will always cost less than the pre-packaged, done-for-you food items. They are also usually the healthier item as well.
So when I am in the grocery store and can feel myself losing it because my head hurts from making the 817th food decision, the kids won't stop talking at me, and the old lady in front of me has parked her shopping cart in the dang middle of the aisle with no way to get around her, I take a deep breath. I put the impulse purchase back on the shelf. I center myself. And I remind myself to Cut the Cheese. It reminds me to get back on track in my effort to stretch my grocery dollars and the bonus is, it always makes me laugh. Because let's face it, farts are funny. Always. Funny.