Reminder – start buying for the holidays!

Hopefully all of you frugal mamas out there have been taking my advice and buying the deals in advance!  If you have, that’s great!  But sometimes it’s easy for the holidays to sometimes be upon us before we realize it, so I thought I’d remind everyone that there’s just a few weeks until Rosh Hashana!  Remember, now’s the time to get what you need as far as meat and grape juice from Rosh Hashana through Sukkos, since generally the closer you get, the more expensive the prices are.

 Since last month I did my monthly shopping at the end of the month instead of the beginning, that effectively means that I have the bulk of this month’s budget to use for yom tov.  In advance I mentally budgeted a chunk of money this month for grape juice; I try to buy six months of grape juice at a time since I’ve noticed the sales are usually a month before Rosh Hashana and a month before Pesach/Passover.  Last week I stocked up on grape juice when it was 2.99 for a 64 oz bottle.  Well, since I only got 30 bottles I can’t say I exactly stocked up, but they didn’t have any closed cases and it was a pain in the neck to individually load so many bottles, so I stopped at thirty and told myself I’d send dh to get more.  Which of course I didn’t because I rarely ask him to go food shopping and didn’t do this time, either. :)  But it will hold us for a while and I’m hoping that a different supermarket will run a grape juice sale that will allow me to fill in the gap so I don’t (gasp) have to pay full price for even one bottle in the course of the year.

I also bought meat for the holidays.  I buy very little meat and don’t find expensive cuts necessary – we like chicken and ground beef – but since I stocked up on staples at the end of last month, it leaves me with the bulk of the budgeted funds to use on other things.  So I splurged and got four roasts (2 were 5.49 lb, 2 were 5.99 lb), four family packs of ground beef (3.49), and four family packs of chicken cutlets (3.79 lb).  It will add some nice variety to all the meals.

I also bought a couple six pound boxes of ground beef patties and beef hotdogs (each 2.49 lb) for our camping trip next week.  When I got the beef patties, it was just because it was such a great price, but when I got home I realized it was very convenient for our trip!  There are some staple foods that we always take on our yearly camping trips – one dinner is always hot dogs, one is always hamburgers.  Chicken is usually the third night, and we have to have smores at least one night (still have to buy the marshmallows, got the chocolate and graham crackers already). 

So all of the above has been half of my monthly budget, but the most expensive foods (meat/chicken) are stocked up a lot for yom tov and I’ll only need to buy a case of chicken to round it all out.  That will leave an ample amount left for the other things I’ll need.  Hope you’re all filling your freezers with your local bargains!  (I’d love  to hear about your great deals!)


10 thoughts on “Reminder – start buying for the holidays!

  1. Heh — I bought a roast for Y”T at 5.99 a lb a few weeks ago, and it’s waiting in my freezer for R:H to come around :) [I find when making a few meals, roast goes farther since you don’t need a piece of chicken per person, and with other foods and a few days of Y”T, you can actually eat less meat. Leftovers goes toward subs/sandwiches/mock schwarma in pita/salad, whatever…]….Where was the grape juice sale?! I stocked up Pesach time, but I didn’t see ads last week (I usually go to my in-laws on Sunday and check the fliers in their paper but we were out of town.) I need to stock up now…

  2. Since I live in Yehupitz, I am keeping an eye out online for the grocery store sales on grape juice and such (gefilte fish and other fun kosher food for Shabboses). Haven’t seen any yet, but when I see them, I may schedule a road trip to Chicago to hit museums and shop before RH. I think my $.99/lb turkey should last until Chanukah and I hope that our kosher coop that delivers next week will have some extra roasts to sell at a good price like they did at Pesach time. We bought enough Grape juice over Pesach to last until Sukkos (I have 1.5 big bottles left and we are away this Shabbos, RH and YK).

  3. LN – I hate to tell you that the sale was only last week at 7 Mile. I only happened to see it because I went it to the store to speak to the dairy manager about ordering the 5 Spoke Creamery cheese in bulk. You can get their sales flyer online, though – I sometimes take a look at it and if there’s a great bargain that week I run in when I’m in the area. But usually Giant has a sale on Kedem around now. If you notice it, please let me know.

    Yael- since we use one 64 oz grape juice every Shabbos (that’s not even being generous with it!), it’s hard to remember the days when 1.5 bottles of grape juice lasted us for weeks!

  4. Whoa! Does every boy make kiddush for themselves each meal or is it a special Shabbos treat? We make kiddush once at night (perhaps more if people come in during the meal) and for breakfast, the lunch meal (at least once — more guests dropping by) and Havdalah. I have to make some official calculations to see if it would be cheaper to use beer for some of those — I don’t think so at the sale price of the grape juice.

  5. Oh, well. Giant and Shoppers usually have good pre-R”H sales on grape juice. I’ll keep an eye out. Anyway, I was thinking last night as I was shopping about a “tip” I’ve seen to help people spend less. This tip involves setting out cash in an envelope and only using that to buy groceries. I thought to myself that would actually cause me to spend MORE money. I can understand it might be good for people who otherwise spend lots on things they don’t need, but for those of us who are basically buying staples, it makes more sense not to limit exactly how much is spent on one shopping trip because I wouldn’t be able to stock up on sales that way. If I needed cheese for example, I’d have to buy the small packets to not go over my “allotted” amount instead of buying it in bulk. I’d end up losing out a whole lot more. People don’t understand how “little” I spend on groceries, when I actually think there is a lot I buy I don’t need to, but do so anyway to make my kids happy or for convenience every now and then. And it because I shop the way I do, it all evens out. I just finished stocking up for yoshon, and yes, I went over my regular spending by about $30. Over the next 7 months, that will definitely be absorbed in all my shoppings that are lower.

  6. Yael – dh and one boy make kiddush at each meal. Dh gives everyone about a half a cup of grape juice, and the boy making kiddush has whatever is in his kiddush cup, but that’s it. It goes quickly when there are so many people! We make sure to leave just enough for havdala.

    LN – I found it most helpful to set aside an envelope with my *monthly* amount of money for exactly the reason you stated. Initially I started off with equal amounts allotted for each week but saw it forced me to limit stocking up when there was a good sale. Eventually it’s turned into the huge monthly shopping I now do in the beginning of the month. I also think that I buy a lot of unnecessary and extra foods and smile to myself that people would imagine how poorly we must eat for the amount we spend monthly – so untrue! Now I don’t carry cash when doing my big shopping trip because I’m not comfortable having such a large amount on me, but I still stick to the principle of setting aside a predetermined amount for food every month.

  7. I’m all into budgeting, as long as it’s not strictly limiting your shopping to the point you spend more on each product. I like a monthly total vs a weekly sum better since you have more leeway how the money is dispersed. I guess I trust myself enough to know I don’t go well over on any given week unless for a specific reason (stocking up for 7 months for yoshon is a good one 😉 and that extra $30 canceled out the $30 less I spent the week before….) I guess whatever works for everyone, but I don’t see how I would manage with a limited amount of cash in any given week. (And knowing me, if I had extra money, I would splurge more since it’s was allotted anyway :P)

  8. There are a number of widely touted money saving tips that I think are of limited value because they don’t take into account a long enough term view. This one you gave is a good example of that!

  9. Cash flow, thankfully, is not an issue we face. I have a few figures I keep in my head:
    -the maximum I’m willing to for the products we like (e.g. I have a limit on price per lb that I will pay for fruit/veggies for snacking, but am flexible for ingredients that we don’t buy in large quantifies like a single pepper for a dish I’m making)
    -the amounts I will need of certain products that must be bought on sale (read: grape juice)
    -the total amount I’m willing to spend for groceries.

    My monthly expenses can vary up to $300. This month will undoubtably be massive. I’m waiting for the grape juice to go on sale, I found some super deals on canned products and other products I can freeze, I bought all the meat and poultry I will need to get through yom tov and hopefully a bit beyond, I ran into a real deal on cheese and bought a case to freeze, I found a super deal on veggies for the soup my kids love so I stocked up and froze enough soup to get us through at least 3-4 months of Shabbat dinners, and this week I opened up the circular to see a super coupon promotion. I’m guessing that October might end up being one of the lowest amounts we spend all year because I will be down to buying produce, milk, baking goods, and eggs.

  10. Just to let you know the main money saving tip I’ve learned from you is assertiveness and creativity goes a long way. If you think what to ask, and do ask, you can save a lot….your stainless steel pans (I’m jealous ;)), thinking about asking if buying cheese in bulk saves you, etc is not in my innate nature, but I’m seeing if I learn to be more assertive and think outside the box, I could save even more.

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