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Thursday, August 17, 2017

When It's Okay To Go Off Your Grocery List

Hey everybody!  So my summer vacation is over.  Yesterday was the "First Day of School" at my work site.  Seeing a new batch of kids enter your classroom and calling out new names for roll call is quite exciting.  Why?  Well, if you're a people person like me, you like meeting new people, no matter what age they happen to be.  An occupational hazard, so to speak, that all teachers have to endure on the first day back is getting their teaching legs and voice back.

Boy were my dogs tired at the end of the day.  Don't you just love American expressions that make no sense?  And my voice box was burning too.  But all in all, I had a great first day back at work.  And after school I was off.  First I hit the gym.  Then a little grocery shopping on the way home.  An Albertsons is on my way.  Not the most inexpensive grocery store in town, but convenience often trumps costs.

My list, texted to me by my wife, Jessica, who was at home starting dinner, included the following items: sour cream, pinto beans, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and ground turkey.  We were having tostadas by the way, and we had plenty tostadas at home.  Jessica handles the family budget these days and I dare not deviate.  Last week, I accidentally made a second $250 payment to my credit card and she just about killed me.

Apparently, I had made one payment as soon as I got paid on the 31st and I made the second one on the 12th.  Mind you my remaining balance now is only $315.  That's all the credit card debt I have left!  She didn't care.  "You gotta tell me when you're doing this kind of stuff!" she said, adamantly.  (I would've if I had known I was doing it at the time!)

But going back to my grocery shopping stop.  So I walk into the Albertsons and low and behold I see this:




Honey Bunches of Oats for $1.88!  But only if I bought 5 boxes.  I go through a box of these a week so it was a slam dunk to add to my shopping cart.  It wasn't on my list because I still have cereal at home, but when you come across a sale like this (one where it is obvious the store is trying to get rid of inventory) you can't pass it up.  Obviously you'd pass it up if you don't eat cereal for breakfast, but for all others who do...who cares if HBoO aren't your favorite!  Think of all the money you're saving on future cereal purchases.

I felt good loading the grocery cart with 5 boxes of cereal.  I continued going down the aisles, looking for the items on my list, and came ever so dangerously close to the booze section.  Too late.  I was pulled toward the wine aisle like a tractor beam had been applied on my cart.  I wasn't low on wine at home, but feeling like I'd already won by saving on cereal, I decided to take a gander and found this:



A $12.99 bottle of red wine for $3.97!  I'm a Cabernet Sauvignon man, but how can you pass up a bottle of a red blend wine selling at a 69% discount?  You can't!  It would totally upset the balance of good versus evil.  So I grabbed two bottles to not be greedy and left some for other lucky customers.

What's My Point?

Well, if it isn't obvious yet, I think we get too hung up on shopping lists.  They make us inflexible, and unadaptable.  You've probably read countless personal finance articles online that have suggested you have a shopping list so that you don't overspend at the grocery store.  And I get it.  Without a list, you will undoubtedly fall victim to all of the juicy marketing tricks grocery stores employ to get you to buy more.

But people, common sense has to prevail.  You have to realize that lists are not set in stone.  Say I had decided against the purchase of the five boxes of HBoO.  I would've spent less for sure.  But in a week or so I would've needed cereal again.  That same super sale may not be available and I'll be stuck paying full price on a box.  Not smart.

So I got home and proudly reported to Jessica that I'd saved $21 at Albertsons.  She asked how much I'd spent.  She entered the total cost of my trip to the store on her budgeting app while listening to me tell her about the five boxes of cereal and two bottles of wine.  Did she get mad?  Nope!  I lived to shop another day...

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