Monday, March 03, 2008

The Shocking Truth

I like to consider myself a good grocery shopper...well, actually I like to think that I'm a better shopper than most. How quickly we fall from the pedestals we build!

Ok, like I said in my last blog, I went to the store for milk, eggs, bananas, and lettuce. It's raining, so I dug around for a dry cart and headed merrily on my way to the produce department. Bananas - $.59/lb. Hmm...they used to be $.50 -- bummer, everything is going up. But today I don't need to weigh my purchase because I'm only buying four things -- I should stay well under my budget of $20. (Key ominous music)

Right across the aisle -- grapes on sale for $1.88. Yum, we haven't had grapes for a long time, and that's a lot cheaper than last time I looked. I picked up a bag and set them in the cart. Off to the lettuce. I picked one out, shook off the extra water (that adds weight), bagged it and moved on without my usual stop at the scale to price it.

I drooled a little at the blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries (are you detecting a trend?). Nope...don't need them and they are expensive this time of year. I slowly walked away...toward the bags of lemons. Oh, yeah, the recipe for tomorrow calls for lemon juice. I know I could make it without, but I have extra money today so why don't I follow the recipe (for comments by those who have to EAT my cooking)? I picked one up and remembered that Wednesday's dinner requires two limes. I got them and wrapped them proudly in the nice green plastic bags that preserve food for longer (just like the expensive ones on tv).

I glanced at the asparagus and corn on the cob (we're basically out of veggies), but they were pretty expensive so I passed them by. As I was leaving the produce department I remembered that we only have two potatoes so I grabbed a 10 pound bag (SO much less expensive per pound that a 5 lb bag).

Walking down the bread aisle I remembered that we have hamburgers that could to be cooked (it was one of the preplanned menu items). I was going to bake them in gravy with mushrooms, but the kids (including Doug) would probably prefer real burgers, so I grabbed a bag of hamburger buns.

Next I rushed past the meat, straining to see if there were any orange "manager's special" tags showing that it's a great deal for someone who wants to freeze it or eat it right away. I talked myself in to moving on...I CAN do this!

I picked up my eggs and a gallon of milk and rushed past all the slow shoppers to the express check out lane. I mentally listed all the things that I wanted to buy but passed up, proud that I could stick to the things that we really needed. I talked with the cashier about the impending weather as she rang up my purchases.

Guess what...$19.77!!!! I couldn't believe it! How in the world did I spend that much money...I thought I'd get out of there for less than $15! Bummer...

On the way home I thought about my trip. I broke FIVE of my most important shopping rules:

1. Don't shop when you are hungry (it was 11:30 -- I planned to eat when I got home).
2. Have a menu (then I would have known that the potatoes and the hamburger buns could wait until Thursday -- or even NEXT week)
3. Check the fridge and pantry before you leave and make a list (I had my mental list of four things)
4. Bring your calculator and USE it! I could have even mentally totalled things up to know that I was getting myself in trouble.
5. Follow the list!!!!!

My shopping gremlin (I call her Greta) beat me again. She knows exactly how much money I have and will fill the cart so that all is spent. Her favorite store is Target, but obviously she likes the grocery store, too.

So, even though I've gotten pretty good at this thrifty shopping gig, I obviously MUST stick to the rules or my years of training go down the drain!

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