Friday, January 12, 2007

The Best Deal

I think most women like to go shopping, and many ladies enjoy snagging great deals. I have several friends who love searching for sales. They spend hours leafing through flyers, driving from one store to another, comparing and contrasting various products. I like shopping, too, but I don't have the time and energy to search through many stores. Instead, I have decided to try an idea I read about.

I am going to start a master spreadsheet. It will have columns for entries such as: product, brand name, size, price, unit price, store, and date. Every time I find a great deal on an item I use often (like laundry soap or mushroom soup) I will enter it into my spreadsheet. My theory is this --- some products are cheaper in some stores, but no one store sells every product I need at the best price. I'll save money in the long run if I buy large quantities of items when they are on sale, even if I must drive to two or three stores to find them.

For example, this week Sobeys had a great sale advertised in their flyer. They were selling frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4kg) for $27.95. That is about 25% off the regular price. I would not choose to buy all my groceries at Sobeys because their prices are usually quite high, but I made a special trip to the store simply to pick up some chicken breasts. They were all sold out, but I asked for a rain cheque at the customer service desk. Now, I can keep the chicken in my deep freeze, and I'll enter all the sale information into my spreadsheet.

Most stores advertise terrific deals in their flyers. These are called "loss leaders" because the stores don't make much (if any) profit on them. If I'm smart and disciplined, I can stock up on only the sale items. Of course, the stores try to lure me in with the loss leaders, hoping I will spend money on other things too. As I build my spreadsheet, I can compare the best prices for products I use all the time and buy larger quantities when they are on sale.

I figure now is a good time to hone my shopping skills, when our family is young. Ben and I are hoping God blesses us with many children, and we know He has called us to be good stewards of our resources. I am learning to find good deals for my family. That's partly what becoming a "Proverbs 31" woman is all about.

A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises.
She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it, then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking.
She's quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn't worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing, and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant, and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise: "Many women have done wonderful things, but you've outclassed them all!"
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises!

(Proverbs 31: 10-31, The Message)

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