The Weekly Worries

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

This week we're conducting an experiment in our house. Each weekend, we reluctantly run errands that total $200 or more. It's depressing. They're not meaningless, bored shopping trips; they're planned trips for essential items. Yet, I'm not happy with the amount of money we spend, so we've make a goal not to spend anything next weekend in order to revamp our weekly spending.


Set a Goal

Set a spending goal for yourself. Originally, our budget plan was to spend very little during the week and run all of our errands on the weekend. Our new goal is to cut our weekly spending in half by rethinking the items purchased. By trying to reach our goal we will be more motivated to leave some items at the store that normally would have come home with us.

Stick to the List

We have an awful habit of adding things to our cart that aren't on our original list. Impulse shopping is the biggest culprit of budget overspending. When heading to the grocery store, make sure that groceries are the only thing in the cart. Non-grocery items are overpriced at grocery stores; save them for discount stores.

Create a well-planned list and stick to it. Don't let your mind wander to other projects and needs while wandering the aisles of the stores. Instead, focus only on the list in hand and avoid browsing.


How Much Do I Need It?

Evaluate your list before heading to the store and ask yourself, Do I really need this? Each week our list seems to be filled with essential items, but are they really? A good way to answer this question is to leave an item on the list for next week. In three weeks, do you still need it? Things somehow don't seem important after time passes. There's no doubt that my son needs new sneakers (he has a hole in the toe), but do I really need a new purse? Even if my purse shows signs of wear, I surely can get three weeks' more life out of it. Try to let one thing linger each week or set up a plan that one week you'll visit one department store and the next you'll visit another, making items wait until it's their store's week.

Avoid the Ads

Managing our weekly lists is something that everyone can learn to do. However, looking through advertisements can ruin all of your success. Sales tempt us, and it's difficult to cross something off our weekly list when we know that it's on sale. Now that the purse that I realized I didn't need this week is on sale, how can I turn it down? I shouldn't have looked at that weekly circular.


Circulars with coupons should be put aside. When an essential item is on your weekly list (here comes those sneakers) you can check circulars to find it. However, don't look through the entire circular. Instead, just look at the section for the item you need just like when you enter the store and only target those items on the list rather than browsing.

About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines and has written a history book for middle readers. Visit her website for writing help, lesson plans, history fun, or work for hire at

June 26, 20090 found this helpful

The $50 Rule: Back in the 1980's I got a great tip from a family based radio show. The show's guest said to make a pact between husband & wife to never buy anything that costs over $50 without first thinking about it for one whole month. This doesn't mean you can't buy a new washer, fridge, furnace or get your car fixed if they break down. What it means is to never buy anything on the spur of the moment that costs over $50! He said, If you really still want or need it after that month goes buy, then there's a pretty good chance it's something you should buy. This tip has saved me from going crazy on things that I felt I had to have, but I didn't really need countless times!

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June 27, 20090 found this helpful

It pays to look for sales in ads for sporting goods stores for deals on sneakers. I usually have a mental shopping list - & if I find a really good deal on, say, a purse, then I will pick it up. But when I am on a "money diet" I will only buy rock bottom deals! It's good to keep tabs of your basic home equipment, to see when it will be necessary to replace it, so you won't be rushed into spending more than you can afford. And remember, 2nd hand refrigerators & such are really good deals! I guess I am a real skin flint, since spending $50 on something seems like a lot of money to me! There are so many ways to avoid spending list prices on more expensive items! I usually explore every other way of obtaining something before I would resort to a department store & regular retail prices.

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June 29, 20090 found this helpful

Here is a tip - go shopping on a push bike. We are living in Denmark and the main form of transportation is on the bike. I have some bags that attach to the back of the bike and basically what I carry home is what we eat.

You will not buy any more than you need and you will certainly think twice before you buy milk and potatoes on the same trip. Even though I was quite good about buying food when we lived in Australia I still had things spoil in the fridge. This is no longer a problem. Everything is very expensive so we eat smaller portions, we exercise more and cannot over indulge.

The first week we were here I had to walk to the shops with a push bag for the groceries. One day I did 5 kilometre round trip. Let me tell you food is very heavy when you are the one carrying it back to the apartment.

It is too easy to buy things when you have a car. You simply don't think twice about purchasing anything. Seriously I think that is the key - we need to think and not mindlessly shop.

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June 29, 20090 found this helpful

Here's our method: we don't buy things if they're above the maximum price we're willing to pay. Right now, I'm putting off buying sugar 'til I can find it for $2.19 or less for 5 pounds. I haven't bought a GPS unit for the car yet. I decided not to buy one 'til I could find a great one for under $100. I believe I could find one that fits my specifications now, but I'm still putting it off! True, there are some things you absolutely must have despite the price, but there aren't as many as you think! Cheers!!

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July 30, 20120 found this helpful

I only go grocery shopping every 2-3 weeks. It forces us to use things in the back of the pantry; we get pretty creative. I find that when I went every week, I'd overbuy and forget about some stuff - not anymore. We make new and interesting meals with better quality foods, I no longer make many impulse buys, and we save lots more by cutting shopping trips out. You'll be surprised at the things that you find that can be used as substitutions, what can be homemade at half price of store-bought, and what you just buy out of habit.

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