Skip to main content

Aspiring Grocery Goddess

I just spent 2.5 hours at Shoprite. You read correctly: 2.5 hours. With a three-year-old "driving" one of those horrendously huge carts with the car on the front. Wearing big boy pants for the first time in public. Yelling "Honk! Honk! I want to go home now! Honk!" the entire time. Have I mentioned that we were shopping for groceries for 2.5 hours?

I hate grocery shopping. Hate it! For some reason I have always felt some sort of weird grocery entitlement, like standard food items, such as chicken and milk and bread, should be just delivered to our homes each week, no charge. We need this stuff to live, after all. Sure you can pay for fun stuff like Twinkies or ice cream, but the basics should just arrive at my door, kinda like the water just arrives in my tap (I know I pay for that too, but you get my drift). So you can imagine my annoyance about paying over $4 for a gallon of milk! Or $5 for a bag of grapes! Or $7 for a friggin' frozen pizza!

The good news, I suppose, about tonight's trip -- and it's relative, mind you, as far as news goes -- is that I spent only $150 on two weeks' worth of food. And I "saved" (according to the receipt) $75. Cool me! (I did a little happy dance as I pushed the overloaded cart to the car, and Sweet Boy gave me a high five -- I've trained him early, yes.) This was not my best grocery-saving experience, but it'll do.

There was a time that I would just walk into the Acme, nary a list, and just wander the aisles, throwing stuff into the cart and paying whatever the gum-cracking checkout girl told me to pay. That was before I had a child and a giant mortgage payment. Nowadays, I'm a coupon girl. And since a wise friend clued me in to the Grocery Game and CouponMom.com, I've discovered the strange little high that comes from watching the subtotal come down as the checkout girl scans my pile of clippings. (By the way, they looove to scan those coupons -- the eye rolling and sighing really expressed their understanding of frugality.) My stomach does little flips as I hear the boop-boop-boop of each scan. One of the biggest thrills of my life (and I know as I write this how pitiful I'm about to sound) was the first time I did all the coupon-circular work and looked down at my receipt to realize that I had spent $100 and saved $125. I'm thinking this is the rush that thieves feel.

The grocery savings, of course, only occurs with great preparation: poring over the weekly circulars on Sunday night to decide which of the major stores has the best deals on the stuff I need; clipping the week's coupons and throwing away all the expired ones; making a list, then organizing the coupons according to what's on sale. It's hard damn work.

Mind you, I am a Grocery Padawan, still learning the ways of the Grocery Jedi. I really don't know how people like this woman waltz out of a grocery store with a full cart and a full wallet. But you can learn a bit from the Coupon Mom's "ebook" PDF.

I still hate the grocery store, I still hate grocery shopping, and I still hate paying actual hard-earned money for something as fleeting as food. Especially when the only time I have during the week to grocery shop is 6:00 on a Thursday night with a tired, cranky toddler in tow. (Did I mention that Sweet Boy peed his pants as we left the store tonight? So, make that a tired, cranky, wet, and stinky toddler in tow.) And I still feel that inexplicable sense of grocery entitlement and skyrocketing-price rage. But learning the grocery ropes, then planning out the shopping enough to see the big savings at the bottom of the receipt takes a little bit of the sting out of the experience. And knowing that I'm saving a bunch makes it easier to buy the $3 treat for Sweet Boy on the way out to the car.

I'm sure there's a ton that I still don't know, but I really want to be a Grocery Goddess someday, so please send along anything you've learned in your search for cheap groceries.

Comments

  1. You rock, Tall Girl! Great post! I have fallen off the coupon wagon (due to the time constraints you know so well), but I have gradually been climbing back on. I have missed the high you talk about when looking at the receipt and realizing I just snookered the store outta lots of cash.

    My favorite SuperFresh just bought out PathMark and is rebranding as a PM so I have to learn the store and its deals all over again come Nov 1. Ugh. If it's not better than SF was I'm going to start shopping at the ShopRite in Eddystone before picking up Padraic on a Mon or Fri. It's a big, awesome store. Even better: They *triple* coupons up to .50 every single day. Awesome. And of course they routinely double coupons that are .50-.99.

    OK, now I'm wishing we were due for a grocery shopping so I could go save some money! LOL!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Grace happens

Today Honey's roommate in room 364 at Maine Medical Center was discharged. Some other day I'll tell you about why Honey is in the hospital again, but this story is about the roommate because it's way more interesting. Let's call him Elton, because all I really know about him is he plays guitar in an Elton John tribute band and he's originally from the very northern part of England, bordering Scotland. (Or as Honey described it, "that place in England where the Roman Empire decided, nope, those Celts are crazy, and put up a wall.")

Elton was in room 364 before Honey arrived, and what struck me immediately, besides his delightful accent and soothing Liam-Neeson-esque voice, was his gentle, good-natured manner. He was going through heck from a botched surgery and compartment syndrome - pain and gore and fear of losing the use of his dominant hand - yet he spoke kindly and softly to every person who came into his room. Every time a nurse walked in, Elton gree…

Math lessons

I was really great at school as a kid...but I'm really lousy at school as a parent. And I was reminded once again of this while sitting at my son's conference yesterday.

Seventh grade has been hard on all of us. Beyond the obvious physical changes -- Happy has grown at least 5" since this summer and now looks me in the eye (yeah, remember I'm super tall!), his voice is weird, he can't get out of his own way -- we're all trying to navigate his ever-changing need for independence. His teachers want him to take more responsibility for his learning, which in theory sounds like a great plan for all kids at this age; they have to not only learn how to learn but also learn how to advocate for their learning.

In reality, though, when you're the world's most laid-back 12-almost-13-year-old who really only wants to listen to music, play drums, video games, and action figures, taking responsibility and advocating for your learning is not highest priority. In fact…

Happy curls?

I dreaded the passing of the peace each Sunday when I was a little girl. Every week the old church ladies would comment about my hair...
    "Shirley Temple curls!" they cooed; I didn't know who Shirley Temple was.
    "So soft!" they petted; I didn't want their wrinkly, gnarled fingers on my head.
    "I pay a lot of money to have hair like yours!" they exclaimed; I couldn't figure out why anyone would pay money for frizzy, fluffy, brillo-pad hair.

I hated my curls. I felt embarrassed by my hair -- it was short, kinky, cut badly -- quite different from the long straight hair my friends all wore at the time in my life when I just wanted to fit in. Oh, how I wanted a ponytail! Or a braid...to braid my hair on a Sunday morning with ribbons hanging down, that was a dream.

Today during the passing of the peace, I found myself next to one of the older ladies in our church. Every week I marvel at her elegance, the way the dresses, the slow and grace…