I get my Social Security check towards the end of the month which at times can make my life a bit difficult. Financially speaking, that is. This month of April was a busy one, what with two holidays (Palm Sunday and Easter) and a final propane fill up to get us through the summer (after a rather coldish winter) Is it any wonder then why I am feeling a bit tight in the wallet? And it’s only April 19th!
To be honest, of course I can just dip into my savings and pull some money out but I don’t like doing that. Or I could whip out a charge card and pay it off at the end of the month (which has gotten me into trouble at times!) I prefer to dip in to our savings as a last resort. NOT the first choice (otherwise, I’d have no savings in no time). Ditto for my charge cards. I prefer to utilize my creative brain juices and devise a plan to get me through the month when money gets tight.
I have my old standbys such as:
Then I have the mistakes some cashiers make, that when I scour my receipts can come in mighty handy:
Lastly, I rounded up all the cash I could muster (I keep $100 cash specifically for times like these). This time, however, I only had $86.65 cash available for groceries to hold us over till the end of the month. Again, today’s date is only April 19th, so I am in a bit of a pickle. My family guests all came over for our traditional holiday meal last week, Palm Sunday (plus they stayed for 10 days, with me providing 3 meals a day for 5 people….don’t ask!….let’s move on…….) This Easter, no one is coming (thank you Lord Jesus!) BUT, I was getting upset because I really didn’t have enough money to get hubby and I a traditional Easter dinner. The leg of lamb I purchased last week cost $35 and I don’t think there is any justification in buying another one for hubs and I. Nonetheless, I still went to Stop & Shop just to look at the legs of lamb (they were all priced in the $30-$35 range)
Mixed in with the legs was this package of loose, sort-of-boneless lamb. It was priced the same as the leg of lamb ($3.99 a pound, on sale) BUT looked a bit funky. The total came to $11.98. At first I grabbed it but the funky look was bothering me. So, I brought it back to the butcher and asked him if he had another package of the same type of meat, but in better condition (or could he lower the price of what I already had in hand?) Much to my astonishment, the butcher told me the piece was the bottom part of the whole leg of lamb and he could cut me a new one. “Just hand me over one of those legs of lamb. I’ll do it for you right now,” he said. “Can you keep the price close to this one?” I asked, as I pointed to the funky lamb. “I’m going to cut it here (he indicated a cutting line with his finger) and whatever it is, it is“. “OK” said I.
When he was done and weighed it out, I had a brand new, fresh, bottom half of a leg of lamb for only $10.49!!!!! Score. Hubby and I are having our traditional lamb for our Easter dinner!
The gods of the supermarket must have been shinning their golden light on me today (or God just knew I was strapped for money and He granted me a miracle) Our last stop on our shopping spree was a newish Aldi that just opened yesterday (actually, re-opened after a massive renovation). I stuck to my shopping list and bought enough food items to get us through till the end of the month (milk, eggs, bread, poultry, salmon, chicken tenders, ground turkey, salad, fruit etc). The total came to $68.26. BUT because this was the grand store Re-Opening, the cashier scanned a $5.00-off coupon bringing down my food total to $63.26. PLUS he gave me two more $5.00-off coupons for the next two weeks! Granting me a total of $15.00 off over the next two weeks This brings us into the month of May and well after I get my monthly Social Security check. We made it through another month! Score!
Lastly, when I totaled up my two food receipts (Shop Rite & Aldi) I only spent $80.91 out of my $86.65 cash (debit card), leaving me still with $5.74 + $1.65 return bottle fee = $7.39 cash. Hubs took the $17.00 loose/found money coin trade in and put enough gas in his car to get him to the end of the month.
Now that’s what I call creativity!
Side Note: I recently set up a new monthly food budget goal of $450. As of today, I spent $496.24 already, and as I said, it’s only April 19th. Realistically, we spend on average $490 a month on groceries. I’m off to a bad start, aren’t I? I’m certain hubs and I will make it to the end of this month without buying any more necessities (I keep evaporated milk on hand specifically for times like this). Retirement life sure is a challenge, isn’t it?