Allowing me to grocery shop is like saying, “here’s $400, go nuts.” My idea of grocery shopping has always been to walk down each aisle and purchase whatever the hell I want. I’m the guy the grocery store loves because all those things placed at eye level to help encourage impulse shoppers to overspend, I like all those things.
I’m a list maker because I know there are things I need to buy, it’s the other things I just want to buy; cookies, four Delmonico steaks, 15 pounds of pork chops, artichokes that I don’t know how to cook, assorted home goods like cleaners we don’t need, quail eggs…it goes on and on. All the things I need combined with the other stuff that costs $295.00. I’d proudly bring home my loot and get laughed at. It was funny but in a pathetic out of control way like how you laugh at your friend who’s has one too many at the pub.
Today was the first time I’ve ever gone grocery shopping as a single dad, or single anything for that matter, who has half of the kids each week. I made my list vowing to stick to it. The idea of making dinner for half the number of people was considered when making my list like, instead of two packs of hot dogs I got one. Surely that would help me to keep the spending down. I also decided to first stop at the dollar store just in case they had some things there. I’ve been to the dollar store before but it was for cheap toys and candy. This time I walked down each aisle, sticking to my list, and purchased 18 things. My bill came to $18.54. Most of those items were non perishable and my guess is I would have spent more than tipple that at the grocery store. I walked out with a smile on my face. Will l like the dollar store body soap I wonder?
My next stop was the grocery store and the real test. I walked in feeling determined but that’s where the Sandies Pecan Shortbread cookies are, right at eye level. Instead of walking down each aisle browsing, I followed a patch directly to the things I needed making sure to keep my wandering eyes focused straight ahead. Heading down the bread aisle I saw the damn donuts. They also keep them close to the milk isle, smart marketing, but I only noticed them at the bread isle. The temptation was strong, I even stopped in front of them and almost reached but I moved along. I walked away and felt good about it.
Heading to the checkout lane I felt confident having stuck to my list. I’ve never just purchased what’s on the list but I did it. My total bill came to $83.24. Leaving I felt relief in not just sticking to my list but knowing I can cut back. I think I can make it.
I have a confession. I bought one Cadbury egg in the checkout lane. The wait was long there and the chocolate eggs were piled high with shiny wrappers.