Mar 11, 2009

My Philosophy.

In our ward here in Massachusetts we have this very adorable girl who works at a TV station in Springfield. I know for sure that she anchors the weekend news and I know she does other things too but sadly my brain has not done a good job of retaining that info. We have had this girl and her hubby over to dinner several times. We love fun conversation and they are always willing to oblige. I would love to do anything I could for her. But yesterday I discovered that maybe that is not true. :) She is searching for someone to do a grocery shopping piece for her for the news. A piece showing me grocery shopping and explaining how I save money in these tough times and feed my 7 children. She had called a few people and was not having any luck finding someone willing. Funny how you imagine that you would jump at the chance to be on the TV and tell the world your philosophy then when the moment comes you are not so sure. I think the thing that held me back from yelling, "heck, yes" to her was that I had this realization as she was talking that I am, very sadly, not sure if I am that great of a shopper anymore.

What does it mean to be a great grocery shopper? I must not have much of a life because I laid awake last night thinking about this topic. The Baird family is in a very expensive phase of our lives and I am wringing my hands every day wondering how to cut things back. (what? give up movies and eating out with friends?) I have a missionary, a child heading to BYU, (she is strongly encouraged to get more scholarships since her older brother had his whole first year completely covered) and 5 other kids in varying stages of need at home.

When we were first married and lived in Princeton I really think I was a great grocery shopper. We had 4 kids by the time we left Princeton. I got $60.00 every week to go grocery shopping with, I cut coupons, I made lists, I NEVER went over that $60.00. I was afraid I would melt away if I did. Plus, I would always take one kid shopping with me and it would be their "special time" with me. AHHH the "good mom" days.

That 3 years in Princeton was the "Mt Everest" of my shopping career, things basically went downhill from there. It happened slowly and very sneakily as everything evil does. You go over your budget just that one fated week and your nice husband covers for you and then all restraint is over when you realize you have an "out" and that you did not melt as I afore mentioned.

I did not do too bad grocery shopping in Lawrence either. But how can you go over your budget with a Checkers and an Aldi together in the same town ? My money went super duper, fantastically far. I got more lax with the menu and "making a list" thing but I had a little more money to spend so I got "cocky." I always had enough money and I never remember noticing prices going up, like I do now days. I did not clip coupons anymore. ( Do you see how carefully and slowly without me noticing things were going downhill?) It was in Lawrence that I first started noticing how other people shopped and if they paid attention to prices or not. I started getting out more with girlfriends. I remember harassing Kristy for buying grapes that were not under a dollar a pound. SO sorry Kristy. :)

Everywhere I have lived I have always been able to find cheap places to shop. But of course Massachusetts had to change that. I was shocked when I realized last night that I do the majority of my shopping at Costco. (my 30 year old self would be aghast!) I was shocked when I realized I buy things I never used to buy. (Eggo's and Nutri Grain bars) I was shocked when I realized that my kids can be in a house full of food and think there is nothing to eat because what they mean is that, "there is nothing with a wrapper on it" to eat. I lost the plan and I can't get it back. My lame excuses:

I have older kids that eat more.

They need food for lunches that is easy to take to school.

They eat 24/7.

I have no control like I did when they were little.

Sit down and eat dinner is not as easy as it used to be.

I offered my TV friend a few suggestions of people that shop oh so much better than I do and would not embarrass themselves on televison. And I realized, as I was offering suggestions, that the people I suggested were all young mom's, not evil mom's of teenagers that just do not care anymore about being better :)

I mean can you imagine me on the television telling all of Massachusetts that I buy Nutri Grain bars in bulk from Costco? Shame on me. I should be making my own and posting the recipe for you all.


Kristy said...

You are the very best of all grocery shoppers! Why, heck, you just scolded me last week (and I quote):

"Kristy Merrill! You can NOT spend $4.69 on a box of Frosted Flakes!"

See? You're the best. Plus, I want to see you on TV. Do it!

Kay said...

I used to buy treats from Sam's Club, lock them in the filing cabinet; and then if the children wanted something, they had to pay me for them. That lasted only until they found where I hid the key to the cabinet.

CJ said...

Hahahaha! I am sure you do fine grocery shopping! Around here Costco seriously IS the cheapest place to shop and buy in bulk.... I walked around the grocery store in a daze my first time there. I seriously put very few items in my cart because I was afraid of the prices.

In fact, I used my visa check card from our KS bank. The card was declined and I was like What?? I have money in the account.... then my cell phone starts ringing... it is my bank's security department, they are asking me if I just tried to use my card at Shaw's in "XXXXXXXX", MA. I said yes..... they said they were alerted because normally I did not make purchases that big. I said yes, unfortunately grocery prices here are doubled and this store having a very good canned good's sale so I have 2 carts full of groceries...

I HATE paying $1.69 for a can of green beans that cost .50 cents in KS. Our closest store is one of the more expensive ones so I make trips to 2 of the further away stores when they have good enough sales to warrant making the trip or when I have to go that way for something else too. One thing that I found handy was how they have to list the price per pound, ounce, per 100 etc.. here.

Some of the stores like Roche Bro's have online shopping and you can put things in your cart online and compare prices. It helped me to learn which brands are cheaper out here and the adds that come in the mail each week let me decide which store to go to and if it is worth driving further to save more. I have seriously spent most of the day for several days comparing prices between the stores and some weeks I will stock up and other weeks I will just go grab the things we really need right then if the sales are not very good.

I tried to add up our grocery receipts to give you a comparable of 2 people vs. 9 people in MA but it is hard to add up because one month I stocked up and one month I didn't..... now you got me curious... I might just have to go back to when we moved here and add everything up from that point until now..... See what you started lol!
j/k I love reading your blog. :)

Andy said...

Is there such a thing as a way to save money on groceries in MA? Maybe the new piece should focus on why groceries cost so much more in MA than in the rest of the country. I seriously spend 3-4 times as much on groceries here than i did in Cincinnati. Crazy.