Monday, January 3, 2011

Clean Out the Cupboards Challenge: My goals (link yours up!)

Welcome to the Clean Out the Cupboards Challenge, co-hosted by Laura at Frugal Follies, Denise at Shopper Strategy, Robbie at Going Green Mama, Crystal at Mrs. Happy Homemaker, and Rebecca Jean at Midnight Maniac.

We invite you to join us!   Please read the rules of the challenge first.

What are your goals for the challenge?  Some might want to do it solely to save money.  If that's the case, figure out how much money you want to save, and what you'll use the money for once the challenge is over.  Is it to put toward debt? pay bills? buy something for your household? treat yourself?

Others might want to do the challenge to clear out some space in the pantry, or to use up food that might otherwise be thrown away.  Or some might have a combination of these goals, or others.

My goal, in a word: simplicity.

I love to find great deals on grocery items, combining sales with coupons to get food, personal care items, cleaning supplies, and paper goods at rock bottom rates.  But lately I've been wondering how much is too much.

You see, I am blessed with a huge amount of shopping options.  In my area, within a five mile radius of my house, I have the following places to shop:
  • Publix and Winn-Dixie supermarkets
  • 2 other local grocery stores
  • A warehouse club
  • CVS and Walgreens (but no Rite Aid *sigh*)
  • Super Target with a full grocery section
  • Super Walmart with a full grocery section
  • ALDI (just opened in November)
I'm guessing that some of you with limited shopping options are probably salivating at that list, but for me, it's just become too much.  I blog about my shopping at Wednesday Weekly Shopping, and looking back, most weeks I manage to hit at least 5 of those stores, and there have been weeks with 6 or 7 of them.  It's hard to say no to deals at each of them each week.

But, I'm wondering - is it worth it, hitting all those stores?  Is it worth the time to plan shopping trips to each store, the time to drive to them, park, walk in, wait in line to check out, load up the car, and go again?  Is it worth the gas to stop so many times, even when it's close to my home?

So, my goal for the Clean Out the Cupboards Challenge is to shop only at ALDI for dairy, bread, and produce, and ignore all the deals elsewhere.

I know I'll be getting a good price at ALDI (check out my ALDI price list), even if it's not the rock-bottom best.  And if ALDI doesn't carry it, it's probably not something I truly need.  I'll still collect coupon inserts and any other coupons that come my way, but I'll save them for next month.

A couple of exceptions: I'll still buy medicine, Goodnites for my daughter, and any items needed by my husband for work or my daughters for school.

After the month is over, I fully expect to go back to getting great deals, but with a little more perspective.  Perhaps I'll decide that some stores are not worth it for me.  Or I'll set a schedule and stick to it.  I'm not sure yet.  (But don't worry - I'll still post all the great deals at those stores in my Under a Buck series!)

Of course, I expect to save some money, too!  Any money I save from my normal food budget will be used to help pay off my home equity line, which is my financial goal for the year (see Elevate Your Goals in 2011 for more information).

So what's your goal for the Clean Out the Cupboards Challenge?  Leave a comment below, or if you're a blogger, use the linky below to link to your post.  And please check out my fellow co-hosts at Shopper Strategy, Going Green Mama, Mrs. Happy Homemaker, and  Midnight Maniac as well!



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3 comments:

Noelle January 4, 2011 at 8:58 AM  

I'm not really participating, but you did inspire me to do a quick once over on my pantry (with my two year old assisting ;) )In about 30 minutes, I did a quick expiration date check and pulled a few items that are close to expiration. I moved them out to remind myself to use them up! I was also able to identify some items that are not as close to expiration, but that we will be unlikely to use before expiration and have moved those out to donate.
Thanks for the inspiration!

Marianne Giullian January 7, 2011 at 10:14 AM  

We just cooked an extra turkey from Thanksgiving and that will last a few days! We are doing a type of this challenge. I put all the freezer food that is old on specific shelves and am putting any new food on other shelves. We are eating the old until it is gone first. But, I am still buying new so we don't end up with nothing at the end of the month. Also, if there are good sales on produce, etc. we will still have fresh items. I can't do without fresh! I am doing the same with cupboards. The old is separated from the new. If I get some good deals, I won't pass them by, but we won't use them until after the old is gone.

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