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CANI, your budget and shopping

About 10 years ago, self help guru Tony Robbins coined a term called CANI – Constant And Never-ending Improvement. What does this have to do with you, shopping and your budget? Everything!

Our debt advice is to try to find ways to save money.

Our debt advice is to try to find ways to save money.

When it comes to saving money, trimming here and cutting there, you are never done. There will almost always be another way to save more. The grocery and retail markets are always evolving, seasonal sales cropping up, products going in and out of fashion, closeouts and product introductions – it’s a constant evolution. And then of course there is your own education and learning  – that should be a lifelong experience.

Here’s a rather mundane example.  For several years, I’ve been a big fan of brown rice as opposed to white rice. The nutritional content is much greater, and I felt justified in spending more for the rice. Brown rice cost me about $1.99 per pound (organic- which I am still unsure is necessary for grain) as opposed to about .89 per pound for white rice. Even at this price, rice is a bargain. Rice feeds over half the world’s population – and the poorest countries generally have the highest per capita rice consumption. Besides that, I like it.

Just last week, I learned that parboiled (converted) rice has over 80% of the nutrition of brown rice! What?  An easier cooking rice with 80% of the nutritional content I  was going for? And at about 1/3 the cost? Yikes! I thought I was making a smart purchase… 80% of the nutrients for so much less? Sold.

And then I learned, that bulk buying of brown rice was not such a good idea. Since it still has the bran and all of its oils it goes rancid relatively quickly. The shelf life is only about 6 months. My credit counseling advice is to find something better for the value. Parboiled rice, on the other hand has a shelf life of 24 months. This makes bulk buying  possible.

I should have remembered this from long ago – when I worked for a former world class chef. He kept a 25 lb. bag of parboiled rice in a huge plastic tub in his kitchen. (Home office, long story – GREAT lunches!  He was VERY frugal.) I did a little shopping around and found I could buy a 20 lb. bag of parboiled rice for about $10, or about .50 cents a lb.

But anyway, back to the point. Never be satisfied with what you think is a bargain. You need to adopt the mindset of “How can I get what I need for less, and not give up the quality I need?”

There will almost always be a way to get the things you need for less. And remember, the first price is almost always too high. Sometimes it’s about where you shop, sometimes it can be what you really know about the product. But its always about CANI. Constant And Never-ending Improvement.

CANI? Yes I can. And so can you. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!)

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 


Andi is a Marketing Assistant at ACCC. He is passionate about supporting financial literacy efforts and helping to educate people on the Talking Cents blog!

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