Grocery store profligacy

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.

3 thoughts on “Grocery store profligacy

  1. I totally have this same hang-up at the grocery store. I’ll sit there and debate buying various items, then realize how ridiculous it is to hem and haw over spending $3, but still go back to debating.

  2. This is such a good point. I will blow $10 on coffee and a pastry, and then not buy the nice fruit at the grocery store. It doesn’t make sense.
    Today is grocery day for me- I am going to load up on asparagus, strawberries, seedless grapes, and the expensive kind of ice cream which tastes a lot better than the ice milk junk!
    Great article.

  3. And then there’s also the practice of “saving” money on an item because it costs $1 less at another grocery store. At the price of gas and the cost of time, is it really saving money to make an extra trip?

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