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.