I promised Beth Anne that I would guest-post for her while she was recuperating from having her wisdom teeth out. Well… I’ve been fighting an ear infection and am low on sleep so I forgot until this evening. Oops!
Since Beth Anne is the Catholic Couponer, I thought I’d become the Lutheran Consumer. I know almost nothing about couponing but I can shop with the best of them. So what are my rules?
[+] Go for quality over quantity. My husband goes for the cheapest price possible but I am of the opinion that you do get what you pay for and there are times when I would rather buy brand-name item instead of the generic version that doesn’t work. Example: I’m back to using Tide Coldwater because the Dollar Store stuff my husband bought doesn’t work as well.
[+] Buy what I need vs. buying for later. I have no problem with stocking up — I just have no storage space in my parsonage. I buy stuff like toilet paper in bulk but I limit myself to one big package vs. buying lots of packages in one shot.
[+] Make a list and stick to it. I find that I do better when I make a list of what I need to buy before I go shopping. I have hideous short-term memory so I know I’ll manage to get exactly what I need if I do this. My shopping trips usually involve more than one store so I’ll break down my list by store and by how long said items can survive in the car. Obviously, the more perishable items will be purchased at the end of the trip.
[+] Factor gas money into the cost of items. Target and WinCo are in the town to the north of me and while they’re cheaper than the grocery store in my town, I also have to drive for at least 15 minutes to get there in addition to however long it takes to find parking. Thus, I really only go there for things where the price is still cheaper once I’ve factored in the gas money. Diapers are usually worth it. Milk (if it’s the only thing I need) generally isn’t.
[+] Reward good businesses. We saw with the recent Chick-Fil-A debacle that people tend to vote with their dollars. I don’t exhaustively research every company I do business with, but I do tend to put my business with companies that either aren’t messing with my ethics or who have treated me well. For example, I will *not* shop at Walmart, no matter how desperate I am. They have an abysmal record in terms of worker rights and human rights. Another example is Trader Joe’s. They’re an ethical company and my local store has employees who made an effort to get to know me and who will actually stop me when I’m with my three year old son to have conversations with him. He’s not verbal so the conversations are a bit one-sided but I still love that they make the effort to do that.
[+] Buy local whenever possible. My husband served two rural parishes before we came back to California and we had parishioners who raised everything from chickens to cattle. Buying wheat from them wasn’t economical (not to mention we lack our own mill) but we did buy eggs from them and we could have bought milk, beef, and chicken from them as well. We bought vegetables from the Hutterites and other parishioners told us which brands of milk were from co-ops in the state. In California, we live in wine country and that means buying from local vineyards.
These are just a couple of my “rules”. God bless and see you the next time Beth Anne lets me take things over.