Like most folks in this economy, Jason and I have become very conscious of how much money we're spending and what we are spending it on.
We've gotten really good at making a list of necessities (prioritizing and deciding which items can wait until the next paycheck), balancing the books to see what we can afford, and then set a "do not exceed" amount.
This works pretty good to keep us on budget but it's so easy to get distracted in the store and end up with $5 or $10 (or more!) worth of "off the list" items by the time we get to check out.
To resolve this issue, we came up with the idea of using a pitch-counter to keep track of our grocery dollars as we shop. Sure we could just use a calculator, but then if you hit the wrong button all of a sudden you're at $565,345. I'm also sure there are Apps for smart phones that scan the bar code, etc, etc. We don't have smart phones and pitch-counters are just fun so we invested $10 and bought one.
We tried out our counter today. Our "do not exceed" amount was $70. I think we did pretty damn good!
This method is great because you just round up on most items and that will probably cover your tax. (Since we don't have sales tax here in Oregon, it's even easier.) When the clicker gets to your target number -- you're done! No mas!
Plus there is also this weird Pavlovian thing that starts happening with every click. I started feeling like "NO! Don't put that in the cart! That's going to be FIVE WHOLE CLICKS!!!" So it really helped curb the urge to throw random shit in the cart.
SEVEN EXTRA CLICKS!?!?!
ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND!!?!?!