Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Financial Dilemma

I have a dilemma on my hands. First a quick note about my budgeting "real life" we have one checking account and one savings account that are used to pay all the bills. In "financial planning life" we follow a system very similar to the one outlined in America's Cheapest Family, which means I have a 3 ring binder with a piece of paper for each category. There are about 30 categories---groceries, doctor, dentist, school tuition, clothes, prescriptions, etc.....

So, after paying that $1600 dentist bill for Sierra, we had a big fat negative number on the "dentist" sheet that we've been whittling away at. To help that along a little bit, I moved $75 of October's grocery money into the dentist category. I've done a little grocery shopping and I currently have $16 left for the month (we only spend $150/month anyway). Here's where the dilemma comes in--there are some really fabulous deals this week and I can't decide whether to take advantage of them or uphold the budget. If I go shopping, this is what I'd get:

From Kroger:
5 pounds of cheese $10 (requires $10 add'l purchase)
5 pounds of ground beef $6.45
yogurt (usually about $2, so two packs would get my min. purchase, but I have several $1 off coupons)
TOTAL: $18.45

From HEB:
25 pounds of flour $5 (requires $10 add'l purchase, but I'm not sure I've ever seen it this cheap)
5 bags of single serving raisins $5 (we send these to school, one bag lasts 2 weeks and this is also as cheap as I've seen them)
Sun Crystals sugar $1.99 (to go towards min. purchase, I have a $2 off coupon)
Tuna Salad pouch $1 (have a $0.75 off coupon)
5# bag of apples $1.99
Bounty paper towels $1 (to go towards min. purchase, I have $0.25 off coupon)
TOTAL: $13.99

Which would give me a negative $16.44 on my budget sheet. I can't decide what to do. I really really don't want a negative number there, but we're not talking ice cream--these are staples at really good prices. Thoughts?


Megan said...

I don't have a system like yours, but I'd definitely go for the deals. Your "negative" isn't really a negative, and a month is an arbitrary amount of time anyway, assuming you'd actually buy these things anyway, you will come out ahead in a month or two and will have even more money to apply towards the "dentist" column. I do understand, though, I have an aversion to debt of any kind, even when the economist in me knows that sometimes it makes better financial sense to have some (depending on the interest rate and the return to the alternative uses for the money).

I'm not sure any of that made sense....midterm week ;)

Crissy said...

Deals... with deals like that you'll definitely be able make and cook your way into green numbers in upcoming months.

Leslea said...

I would also buy now, it's a very small negative number and with those prices, you will be able to save not having to buy them maybe next week at full price.

Megan said...

Actually, I'll send you the $16.44 if you will just take the would give me $16.44 of satisfaction just to be involved in that degree of frugality ;).

Rachel said...

Well, I think you should get the Kroger stuff. The HEB food is just empty calories, except the fruit, but you can't make a meal out of flour and sugar and fruit. The Kroger stuff is actual food, you know? So that's my vote. I don't know the status of your pantry or freezer, but just solely based on the list of foods, I vote meat, cheese and yogurt.

The Hills said...

I did go shopping, with a few changes. Rachel---what you say makes sense, but the flour is one of the big buys I couldn't pass up. I make all sorts of things (pizza crust, rolls, garlic bread, scones, etc, etc, etc....) from scratch, so we go through a LOT of flour and that price is cheaper than what I usually pay buying in bulk. The sugar was free, just there to get the minimum required purchase ;-)

At Kroger, I checked out and the meat that should have been $6.45 (there was a tag there and everything!) rang up $9.27. I went to the service desk and they told me I had to get the 73/27 meat to get that price, and I had picked up the 80/20. The beef would be nice to have, but we have lots of chicken in the freezer and I had already checked out and gotten my cheese (which is what required the minimum purchase) so I just asked for a refund, which they gave me. That means I got the cheese on sale without making the minimum purchase.

When all was said and done, I ended up with a $10.50 negative balance on my grocery sheet...I can handle that.

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