As part of writing All The Money In The World, I spent some serious time analyzing my own money hang-ups. One that has showed some surprising staying power is my belief that it’s not OK to “waste” money in the grocery store. I know this is absolutely irrational. Grocery store splurges are small potatoes; the money we saved by re-financing our house would cover pretty much anything I could think to stick in my shopping cart. Likewise, going out to eat one night — because I don’t like anything in the fridge — would obliterate all savings from a week’s grocery store frugality. Or more.
And yet I constantly find myself doing things like not buying strawberries because I don’t think I should pay $4/carton for them. My kids love strawberries. I’d take them out for a $4 ice cream ($2/each), but wouldn’t buy them out-of-season strawberries. Not for green reasons. For cheap reasons.
But the other night, after the kids were asking for strawberries again, I decided the heck with it. I loaded the older two in my car, drove to the grocery store, and put one carton in my basket. Then Sam looked at me and put in another carton. Then Jasper, not to be outdone, put in another. So we had three cartons of $4/carton strawberries. Figuring I’d already thrown caution to the wind, I put a lovely container of mums I’d been looking at during my past three shopping trips in the basket as well. Then I quickly steered the kids to the check-out line.
The grand total? $20. The kids have been happily munching on the strawberries. And I’m sitting here typing at my desk, looking at my beautiful brick-red and yellow mums. They’re the same colors as the trees in my backyard. Every time I look up from typing, I smile. Part of making the most of money is realizing which of the things you spend money on actually do make you happy. Strawberries and flowers do it for me. So I’m slowly learning to consider that $20 well spent.