To market, to market....

Just completed one of my least favorite jobs these days--going to the grocery store. There was a time in my life when grocery shopping was the highlight of my week. Sad, but true. As a girl, I LOVED to grocery shop with my mom. I would walk around the store with my own cart, begging mom to let me get some things for her. Of course, that was pretty much impossible because my mom was the "coupon queen" (she actually had a box special made for all her coupons), and my mom took grocery shopping seriously. We went to no less than three stores every single week to make sure that we hit all the sales at each store.

My mom knew exactly what things cost where and which store would have any particular item for the cheapest price. When I was little, it was pure joy to go to the store with mom, stay up late, and get home to find daddy asleep on the couch while Johnny Carson joked in the background. Occasionally, if we were really good, mom would treat us to an ice cream cone from King's!

Even as a newlywed, I loved to grocery shop. We were so poor that I was thrilled to be able to spend money on things we really did "need". I drove to the store with my forty dollars of grocery money burning a hole in my pocket. Each week, I bought five apples (for Jeff's bag lunches), two cans of the cheapest tuna they had (I swear I ate a few bones), one box of blueberry pop-tarts (for Jeff's breakfast), a bag of Mike Sell's potato chips (those were our favorite and a definite treat on our budget), a half-pound of turkey ham lunchmeat (the cheapest), and whatever else they had on sale that we "needed". I remember several times when I got to the check-out and had to put things back because $40 was my limit. I had forty dollars cash and not a dime extra.

But those days are gone. Oh, I still have a budget, but I rarely stick to it. And rather than enjoying grocery shopping, I dread it because it's another thing I have to do in between homework, baseball, football, piano lessons, church responsibilities, laundry.........you get the idea. One box of pop-tarts doesn't cut it anymore--how could it when each kid likes a different flavor, that is if you call strawberry milkshake a pop-tart "flavor"? And Sun Chips have replaced Mike Sell's as we get older and try to eat better. Not to mention, now we "need" things like Gogurt, Little Debbie swiss cake rolls, Gushers, and corn dogs!?!?!?

Try as I might, I have not achieved my mom's "Coupon Queen" status. I definitely use coupons--but I have only barely hit the "coupon princess" level, and I can't be bothered to race around to the four grocery stores in our tiny little town and try to figure out which store has fruit roll-ups for 2 cents cheaper than its competitors. My time (and gasoline!) are much more valuable these days. How things change!

I'm sure that pesky "Proverbs 31 woman", who haunts me continually, would probably "comparison shop" (heck, she probably grew her own yeast and canned everything from her four-acre garden in jars that she blew in her glass-making shop!). And I'm certain she would stay within her budget--all with an angelic smile on her face and an attitude that would rival Mother Teresa's. But I'm human. I guess I'll have to settle for Proverbs 30 1/2! :-)


Tamera said...

I remember grocery shopping with you guys! I remember the coupon bos and the cart load of groceries that I swear they gave your mom back money for =)

Sadly, none of the coupon-ness rubbed off on me. I have, however, discovered online shopping at "my" grocery store - the $10 they charge to go through the aisles for me and then bag them for me and bring it out when I ask - priceless!

Reb said...

Yes, Tamara is right. Mom did get money back from Path Mark sometimes. Where can I find that luck? The only things I get money back for are cans and bottles, and it was already my money to begin with.
I wonder what people thought when they saw Mom pull out her tape measure to get the exact size of the child seat in the cart?

Jeff said...

I'm glad she grocery shops even though she's hates it. On behalf of the other five of us: WE THANK YOU! What's this about not sticking tothe budget??