I Bought What? How Much?

Four pounds. It was just four pounds but one of my bone head buys as it turns out.

It all started when I had a yen for tabbouleh, a simple Middle Eastern salad consisting of wheat bulgur, tomatoes, olives, lemon, parsley and mint tossed in a simple oil and vinegar dressing. Pretty simple, right? I know that wheat bulgur is easily found at say, a high end grocery store like Whole Foods but I was of no mind to venture that far afield so I turned to Amazon.

Sure enough, there it was and dirt cheap too. I had in bought and shipped in no time at all.

The only problem was, four pounds turned out to be a whole lot of wheat bulgur. A. Lot. At first I thought I’d simply share with my daughter but then I remembered that she’s gluten intolerant. No wheat ANYTHING for her.

Well, heck. So here I am stuck with a lot of wheat bulgur because four pounds, trust me, is a lot. I froze half of it and am using the other half in place of things like wheat germ and other grains but even so, it is going to take me quite some time to use up this mistake. And I say mistake because I could have as easily bought half or even less of the amount I bought. I simply saw the price (dirt cheap), did the math and thought, wow, this is a bargain.

Until it wasn’t. I simply bought way too much of a something that I use infrequently. So, as a frugal person, I am trying to learn from my minor mistake and stop myself before I buy anything in bulk again. I now ask myself the following questions:

  1. How much of this do I really need?
  2.  Is there a lesser amount that I can buy?
  3.  What will I do with the leftovers/excess?
  4.  Is there something I already have that will do instead?
  5.  Can I do something like take out for this one item, just to try it? (Frankly, it would have been better in the long run to buy a side of tabbouleh from a local restaurant rather than try and use up so much of this grain.)

And now that that mistake is behind me, I often think about how many other things I might buy that I didn’t need so much of. I could only think that we have a lot of canned goods but those we rotate and use up with disciplined frequency so I decided instead to come up with some simple guidelines for what to do when you over buy:

  1. Can you share your excess with someone else?
  2.  Search the Internet for ways to use up your mistake. I found about a million new recipes for wheat bulgur that are both tasty and nutritious.
  3.  Find a way to store your purchase long term. Luckily for me, wheat bulgur freezes really well.
  4.  Keep a hit list on your refrigerator. Just a simple NO list that lists your bone head purchases that you should not do again. Mine is blessedly short but I make sure to read it prior to buying something like four pounds of wheat bulgur ever again.

This frugal strategy should help you build the discipline to stop impulse purchases or to at least think twice before hitting ‘buy now’.


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