What are “Non-Negotiables”?

The “non-negotiables” are on my shopping list each time I make a visit. In every workshop I have this listed as an imperative part of your shopping plan and always explain what these are.

“Non-negotiables” are those must-have, can't leave the store without, big reminders on the fridge when we're out items. Everyone has a different list. These are much like pantry staples and may resemble the items you are stockpiling. For me, it also includes some other items that we need to replenish on a regular basis, such as:

  • Fruit
  • Fresh Veggies
  • Milk
  • Sour Cream
  • Yogurt
  • Bread
  • Kashi Bars

If you play the deals right, sometimes you can get your “non-negotiables” for free at the drugstores, or even at the grocery with store promotions or Catalina offers.

What are your regular “non-negotiables”?
Do you ever get them free by using a shopping strategy above?

by Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on April 05, 2011


  • Erin - April 05, 2011 @ 10:32 am

    My weekly non-negotiables are milk, eggs and produce. Then usually every other week I need flour, yogurt and half and half. Actually these are the ONLY things I’m buying this month, b/c I’m challenging my family to eat what we have and put this month’s grocery budget toward our vacation. I’m allowing $5 per week for the essential perishable items.

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 05, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

      Erin, what a great challenge!! Do you make homemade bread too? I used to do that all the time and have gotten away from it! I was spending a lot less then too!

  • Mitchell Wischmann - April 05, 2011 @ 11:31 am

    Your non-negotiable list is the exact same as ours!
    We use our overage at Walmart to get these items cheap or sometimes even FREE!

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 05, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

      Mitchell, have you had any issues getting overage at Walmart since they have updated their policy? I wondered how that was going. I haven’t shopped since the update.

  • Terri - April 05, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

    I try to buy my milk and eggs at ALDI whenever I can. I’ll also buy fresh fruit there. I try to buy bananas and whatever fruit and veggies are on sale. I like to stock up on frozen veggies when they are on sale at Kroger. For salads I usually buy romaine lettuce because it lasts a long time in the fridge. I get that at ALDI too. For bread, whenever I’m at Kroger I always look for markdowns (Manager’s Specials). Whenever I see them at $0.49, I’ll buy a bunch and freeze them. If we run out of bread, I try not to make a special trip to the store. I bought a 50 lb. bag of bread flour at Costco (I think it was around $14). Mostly I use it for making homemade pizza dough or special breads like ciabatta, but to prevent a trip to the store I will make a loaf of bread for lunchbox sandwiches (if I remember the night before!).

  • Stephanie - April 20, 2011 @ 9:02 pm

    Oh, this makes sense! I am (semi) new to all this (new to buying ONLY items with coupons each week) and my family goes through cheese, eggs, milk and bread at least every 2 days. The more I stock up, the more they eat! So since I’m only paying the lowest rock bottom prices for things now, there’s many times we run out of cheese or bread and we just do without until I get it on sale again. It becomes quite annoying not having them around and not being able to whip up a quick sandwich for lunch or make anything with cheese in it. Sometimes we even go a couple weeks without cheese! But you talking about “non-negotiables” makes a lot of sense… I need to keep those things in stock even if it does mean paying full price sometimes. As crazy as it sounds, I just didn’t know that was an “ok” thing to do in th eyes of couponers!

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 21, 2011 @ 10:57 am

      Stephanie, the one thing I found out quickly was I didn’t have to sacrifice much to get those non-negotiables in our budget. I could save so much on everything else that it was nothing to pay full price for the things that we really enjoyed. That’s the whole point in this for me, saving on what we need so we can enjoy more of what we really want!

      And, never worry about what’s OK in anyone else’s eyes. It’s for your family and if you’re saving more than you did that’s awesome in my opinion!

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