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the magic number system

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legal warning: The information here should not be understood legally as financial advice. If you believe anything on this site is in error, please contact me. I am always open to corrections, new ideas, and new opinions...

The price of an item in a particular supermarket serves a particular interest.  Most of the time, some items are sold cheaper (occasionally even at a loss) in order to pull you into the store so that you’ll do all your shopping there, allowing the supermarket to profit on the more expensive items.

But by watching how much you spend on each item, you can be a step ahead.  Obviously it is annoying to go back and forth to a bunch of supermarkets, but by picking two good supermarkets, you allow yourself the flexibility to take advantages of the discounted items.  But then how do you know if an item is priced well, without going back and forth to each supermarket?

To answer this question I developed the magic number system.  A magic number is a price that I associate with a food item where I know that this price is a good price.  When I see items sold for their magic number or less then I am more likely to buy more of it and keep it for when the price rises again.

Here are some examples:

₪ 4 – Tuna

₪ 6 – Olives

₪ 1.5 – Tomato paste

₪ 14 – Cereal (500 g)

₪ 1 each – Eggs

₪ 4 – Chic peas

₪ 10 – Ground meat

₪ 4 – Pasta

₪ 9 – Bread

₪ 7 – Challah

Let’s say I wanted to add granola bars to this list. I would, while buying granola bars regularly, take notice of the price of granola bars for the next month, waiting until I find the absolute lowest price.  That price (plus a bit) is the magic number.  Next time I see granola bars at that price, I’ll stock up.  If I see the price is too high, I’ll skip it.  If I see one shop regularly charges more for this item, then I’ll buy it at the other one.  The trick isn’t to buy items at the lowest price possible each week; it is to always buy items at a good price.

But be warned, do not buy perishable items and do not over-consume.  If buying more causes to eat more than you regularly would, then you are spending more, not less.  When stocking up, always ask yourself #1 – if I buy it, will some of it go to waste?  #2 – if I buy it, will some of it go to waste (considering my overeating as waste)?  #3 – Do I have the proper room to keep this in storage?  If you an answer these correctly, then use the magic number system and stock up.  (I know I said this once before, but it bears repeating whenever talking about buying in bulk.)


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