Friday, June 8, 2007

Ode to Budget Shopping

I got off work early yesterday because the office was dead, so I decided to go grocery shopping. It was definitely time to go, and I’ve learned that if I let my cabinets get too empty I end up reaching for my hubby’s kiddie cereal. :oP
I didn’t want to fight the crowds at Wal-Mart, and we really needed meat, so I went to Hometown, a little mom and pop kind of hole in the wall place. It’s clean, mind you, but the building is old and the selection is limited. I like to go there sometimes, though, because they have really good looking produce (a lot of which come from local farmers) and their meat is handled there in the store (verses Wally World’s pre-packaged stuff) and they have this wonderful thing called “Pick 5″. You get 5 packages of meat (of a specific selection, of course) for $19.99. And ya’ll know me - I love a bargain. I can get fresh looking pork loin and steaks and save $5. Love it! :o)
Okay, I don’t know why I just rambled on like that (I’m obviously a carnivore) but the point of the blog is coming, I promise.
Even though Wal-Mart has cheaper prices, I’ve noticed that the last 2 times I’ve gone to Homietown that I’ve spent around $50 for a week’s worth of groceries - verses over $100 sometimes at Wal-Mart. I started thinking about why this could be, and I’ve realized a few things. Here they are. From Mrs. Cheapo to you: (not that I’m an expert…)
1) While on Core I’ve been having to really plan out my menus. Since I take the night before’s leftovers for lunch the next day, I have to plan when I’m going to use my daily starch and plan accordingly. This results in me knowing what I need and what I don’t.
2) Hometown may have a smaller selection, but that could be a good thing. Since they don’t have a ton of 100 calorie packs or 50 different tempting brands of rice cakes, I don’t end up making impulse buys, so I don’t have the extra junk in my house but more cash in my wallet.
3) Hometown is nice and quiet. I have plenty of time to wander through the aisles and really compare prices. For example: I started to reach for a gallon of skim milk, but I could actually SEE the selection well enough to realize that if I bought 2 1/2 gallons that would save about 30 cents. The 1/2 gals were on sale, but the gallons weren’t.
4) I’m less likely to run into someone I know, so I’m able to really concentrate on my mission. I can make sure and get everything on my list, and take my time making my way to the check-out instead of rushing there to avoid talking to someone I know will be hard to get away from. (you know ya’ll do it, too!)
5) The check-out lines are shorter. Enough Said!
There are a few things, of course, that I can’t get there, so Wal-Mart trips are necessary. (I love the Diet Sam’s Cola’s for some reason) but I’m trying to plan ahead for that, too, and buy like 2 weeks worth at a time.
Okay. Just thought I would share my newfound love for our little grocery store. It’s hard to find some of the cool WW friendly foods that ya’ll always mention, but at least I have a little hometown grocery store when I can find my shopping zen. :o)

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