I remember the regular trips to the grocery store with my parents when my brother and I were young. We’d walk up and down the grocery aisles watching my mom pick out the usual items and pull out their matching coupons. We didn’t usually get anything special. Candy and chips were pretty rare in our house. Oreos were a luxury item! I could never understand why my mom wouldn’t let us get the super sugary cereal with the little toy prize inside or the snack size bag of M&Ms from the check lane. It was so frustrating! We weren’t even allowed to have much pop as kids, unless it was 7Up or ginger ale. I guess you don’t really know what you’re missing if you never have it. I remember drinking my first Diet Coke. It was so absolutely delicious! I loved the bubbly taste with the sweetness of the cola. That was the only dark cola that I would ever drink. Since that day, I’ve been a Coke girl. Sorry, Pepsi. But if I’m honest, I really don’t drink much pop at all. Sorry, Coke. But thanks, mom!
Back to groceries… So, I never understood why we couldn’t have what we wanted. For the longest time, I just thought my parents were mean. Then I just thought they were cheap. And then I realized that they were actually being frugal with their money. Back then, my mom was a stay-at-home parent and we lived on 1 blue-collar income. It wasn’t much of an income either. But we survived, and it’s only taken me several years as a parent and homeowner to realize why we could never have more than what my parents could afford. People didn’t live beyond their means when I was a kid. I guess there really wasn’t a need. I mean, at least where I grew up, we kids would go outside for hours at a time to play with friends (or, gasp, even by ourselves) knowing that once those street lights came on, we had better hurry our butts home. No one wanted to hear their mom or dad yell their name and have it echo and reverberate throughout a two-block radius! How embarrassing! See, we didn’t need any snacks or food while we were outside!
Back again to groceries… Tonight as I was perusing the grocery aisles with the hubby, I realized that neither of us really place a limit on what we buy. Sure, I’ve been trying to cut back on that high-fructose corn syrup crud and buy bread and grain products with whole wheat as the first ingredient, but we still manage to sneak in chocolate-covered acai and blueberry bites or a bulk package of Pez (from the check lane) on every trip. We are a two-income household but that doesn’t mean we can just splurge at the grocery store. Which is almost hard sometimes considering our grocery stores are not just simple grocery stores anymore! So tonight I speed walked my cart past the home furnishings department and altogether skipped the girls’ section — I didn’t even cast a glance that way! I was proud of myself! I can’t say the same about the hubby, considering I ran across a bulk package of Pez as I was unloading the grocery cart! I, however, managed to bypass all of the chocolate-covered goodies. Instead, I decided to splurge on the most recent issue of Self magazine. You’ll have to wait to hear about the weight loss tips from Jillian Michael in another blog post. =)
I’m sure my parents kept a close eye on how much was spent on each grocery trip. In fact, I know my dad turned over a few hundred dollars every other week to my mom for groceries, school supplies, and whatnot. Now the hubby and I know that if we don’t spend at least a few hundred on our weekly grocery trips that we’ll inevitably be back in a day or two for any forgotten items. Sigh. I know I could spend less, but I doubt it’s gonna happen at any grocery store in my town. How about yours?