Thursday, January 21, 2010

"I Just Don't Have Time!"

It seems I am on a time theme this week and, so, I must be!

Don and I are attending the Dave Ramsey "Financial Peace University" program at a local church. It has been so interesting and we have been thrilled to learn that we do a lot of things "right." And, it has inspired us to do "better." The nicest folks are at the meetings which makes it so fun. And, it is somehow heartening to know that we are all working to improve not only our lives, but also those of our children by teaching them how to live a debt-free life.

Sunday night we were discussing budgeting and the topic of groceries came up.

"How," posed on participant, "do you ever begin to develop a budget for food? I can't do it! There is just no way to manage it!"

One member responded, "I use coupons."

And, several of us joined in giving testimony to the power of couponing and using e-coupons as well.

"I just don't have time!" the questioner shouted. "I can't go buy a newspaper and then find time to cut out coupons. Besides, most of the coupons are for things I just don't use!"

Another member started to explain how to get coupons online, but the questioner didn't want to hear it.

"I don't have time!" she responded emphatically. "I just don't have time!"

Now, let me explain here that she fosters three children and doesn't work a "public" job as the rest of us in the group do. All three children go to school or day care and she is home alone all day.

I tried to tell her how I do it; I make a menu, check the cupboards, and make my list. And, when the budget is getting low, we quit shopping for anything except necessities. She cut me off and very loudly said, "I don't have time! I am too busy!"

At that moment it hit me: choices. Our successes or failures stem from the choices we make every minute of every day. I choose to spend two hours a week working on budgeting, groceries, menus, and so forth. And, I usually save between $30-$40 per grocery trip. The way I look at it, I just earned $15-$20 per hour. I'll take it!

How do you manage your grocery budget? Do you have tricks to help you stretch those smaller dollars?


  1. Anyone who is at home in the daytime can make time. I wonder if she just isn't familiar with how to use the computer or something and is making excuses.

    Stephanie has four small kids and another on the way but she does the same things you do to stretch her food budget.

  2. Here's another Brenda stopping by to say how much I enjoyed your posting. Yes, I agree... it's about choices.

    And recently, my sister and I had the epiphany (not sure where our lightning-quick minds were before)... that our evening meals are a non-negotiable part of our every day life. So, it makes perfect sense to spend time working on what you listed...budgeting, groceries, menus and so forth.

    It's brought a lot of peace of mind, knowing we know what we're doing for supper (most days) before we get started on the rest of our daily activities.

  3. You're right Matty, it's all about choices.

    It sounds to me like she simply chooses to not make the effort to use coupons and menu plans but wants/needs validation of that choice; an excuse is really all it is.

  4. Hi Matty!

    I don't use coupons, not because I don't have the time, but because I rarely find any that are applicable to my lifestyle and menus. But anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I economize by stocking my pantry when the staples are the cheapest and from cooking from the pantry. I also can most anything I can get my hands on and use very few expensive items. Not to say I wouldn't use a coupon if it was advantageous though.Since groceries are one of the few things in your budget that you have much control over, it just makes sense to maximize the savings and take the time to do it!


  5. I work at an elementary school and that excuse sounds like many of our parents who don't work! I love coupons! My sis in law is a better shopper than I am, but I sit down on Sunday afternoons & clip out all the coupons from the paper, and mail off the ones I won't use to my sister in law & my best friend. I can save $4-$20 per grocery trip. I'm still learning about menu planning, but it's a work in progress (I've learned a lot from Brenda on CTB&M). I don't have kids, but I've been coupon clipping since I got married 5 years ago, and it really helps!



Thanks for dropping in on the farm today! I enjoy your comments!