Two weeks ago my husband challenged me to avoid paying full retail prices for thirty days. For the last fourteen days I’ve been trying my hardest to adhere to the rules. I will admit that some purchases have been easier than others.
Overall I’ve had a lot of success while grocery shopping. I now search the sales circular and create a solid list before I leave home. I also take the time to look for similar sale items before placing any item in my cart. I even pointed out a sale to another grocery store shopper. A man beside me picked up two boxes of pasta and placed them in his cart. I said, “sir, did you know that this one is 30 cents cheaper.” He immediately replaced the boxes in his cart with the sale items and thanked me. It’s amazing how easy it is to pick up one item without comparing the prices of the others beside it. This challenge has taught me to scan the shelf for an extra second before placing any item in my cart.
Not everything has been easy. I mentioned last week that I couldn’t find milk on sale. This week I had the same problem with bread. Although a few stores had bread on sale, the sale items had already been cleared from the shelves by the time I hit the store. I know that most items tend to go on sale in four to six week cycles, but sometimes we run out of an item like bread in the middle of the cycle. When that happens I’m bound to pay full price for it. Luckily this week I found a coupon for it.
Grocery shopping has gotten easier since I took on this challenge, but eating out is harder than ever. In the two weeks since I started this challenge I’ve only eaten out three times. That has been a difficult feat in and of itself. On one occasion I was able to use a coupon. On the other two occasions I wasn’t able to coordinate the friends and locations with discounts. On my first outing without a coupon, my good friend M.W. actually paid for my $6 breakfast. I paid the tip, but she sincerely wanted me to win this challenge, and paid for my meal to prevent me from failing. Unfortunately, I went out this afternoon for lunch without a coupon. I did order one of the cheaper specials, but I couldn’t avoid paying the listed price.
I could have asked my friends to meet at a place where I had a coupon or declined the invitation altogether, but my friends mean more to me than this challenge, so I bit the bullet and paid full price. Despite this one failure I plan on continuing this challenge for two more weeks. So far it has taught me a lot about my shopping and saving habits. This week I saved over 40% at the grocery store. Next week I hope to do even better.