Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Grocery Experiment

Alright, I HATE grocery shopping. It's true. Mostly because I hate spending money on ANYTHING. Yesterday, I told K it almost physically hurts me to spend money. (I've surely got psychological issues with money) I don't know why. I love my kids, I want to feed them. I love my husband, I want to feed him. Heck, I love to eat and want to feed myself. I just don't want to buy the groceries.

I'm constantly on a guilt-ridden search to buy more food for less money. I already shop only every two weeks and limit my budget to strictly no more than $175. And I do mean strictly. As in, if the total on my calculator that I carry through the store gets close I'll just stop shopping and we'll just go without whatever I haven't gotten yet. Crazy, I know. I don't understand it myself.
Anyway, until recently this plan was working pretty well. However, the kids are getting bigger and eating us out of freakin house and home. Groceries that are supposed to last for two weeks are now lasting maybe one week.

So, ever in search of more food for less money, I read that a local grocery store that I NEVER shop in just completed a $3.5 million renovation. Wow, I thought, I've really got to check this out. Expanded produce section, more choices, more organics!

Sidenote: Another issue I have is that I HATE WAL-MART. And I mean hate like a crackhead hates crack. You know its evil and destructive but yet you cannot tear yourself away from its tentacled grasp.

On Friday I excitedly (sad, I know) drive to the grocery store and practically run through the parking lot (again-sad) into the store, grab a cart (called a buggy in the South), and plunge into the frigid depths of the store. I can barely look around because all I can think is that this place is @#$%*&^ COLD!

So, immediately I do notice that the store looks nice and there is a great produce selection, as advertised. Bouyed by this I make some produce selections that are less expensive and more yummy looking than at the "Son of Sam's" SuperCenter. Then I head deeper into the store, pass no less that 4 aisles of beer and wine (I kid you not), and puruse the store.

Second Sidenote: In addition to this trek to a new store I also made a goal to cut the amount of HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) that we ingest. Always try to be a better Mommy, right?

Aaanywho, as I cruise the aisles of the newly remodeled, super freezing store I start trying to check items off my list. Capri-Suns, uh, where are the Capri-Suns, oh, no Capri-Suns, uh, ok. Moving on, Del-Monte Ketchup (no HFCS), uh, no Del-Monte brand anything, weird. I pick up a few items, notice they are 50 cents to $1 more expensive than the "Son of Sam's" SuperCenter and I crack. I can't do it. I make it through the rest of the store and go to checkout. I've got a few BOGO items and the produce.

At the check-out I am told proudly by the cashier (who just heaved all of my produce down the ramp to the bagger-girl who mashed them all together into the bag) that I just saved $15.51! To which I want to scream, "Shows what you know, I just spent $20 more here than I would have at the "Son of Sam's" SuperCenter! Thankyouverymuch for mashing up my tomatoes!"

Dejectedly, I drive to the SuperCenter. I troll through the gigantor parking lot and slog into the store with my head hung low. I finish out my list and drive home.

I unload enough groceries to feed a Roman legion, sweating in the 90+ degree heat all-the-while.

Oh well, I tried. I tried to overcome my psychological/emotional money issues. I tried to break the hold that the evil Super Retail chain has over me and my family. I tried, I really did.

On the bright side, we are making an effort to cut the HFCS. I've found that although the nasty stuff is in many things we eat it is also NOT in many of my family's staples. Yay! Now time to start cutting out the bad and making some better choices. Can we do it? We'll see...


Emily said...

I too, HATE spending money on groceries. It makes me sick to my stomach. I also reach my spending limit and leave. You need to try that Aldi store! Milk is always $1.99. And the rest of their food is an awesome deal to. There is one in Gadsden and I think B'ham. I go to the one in Decatur. Since I only shop twice a month it doesn't kill my gas, since I don't drive much anyway. I got a cart full(on bottom too) and only spent $87!!! It was awesome!

Jennie said...

I've heard of it (with mixed reviews) and thought of checking it out but I hardly ever go to Gadsden or B'ham. I think I will try to go there next time I need groceries though.

Mama Hen said...

Funny post, but so true. Sometimes I just want to scream because of the cost (and time it takes to buy the groceries). And its also true about the kids eating more as they get older. I can't even imagine when they are teenagers!

The Archibald Family said...

Bless your heart! I've just come to accept the fact that I will have to go to Wal-Mart for's cheaper hands down, unless there is a sale somewhere. Produce and meats I get other places. But it makes it a pain to have to go all over creation to get food. And it's depressing because you spend all that money on something that you will not see least after you eat it. At least enjoy it while you're eating it.
A way I think of it too, is that I enjoy shopping and spending money, but usually don't feel justified in doing so. But with groceries, I have to buy them, so it fills my shopping an extent. Make sense?