It is said that every expert started out knowing absolutely nothing…I’m trying to remind myself of just this as I am not dealing very well with tonight’s grocery trip. I admit it, I failed. I would like to be able to list exactly what went wrong but I am just not sure. Perhaps my coupon coding was wrong, my list off just slightly, I underestimated for meats but regardless, my 130$ grocery budget was pummeled by an additional 26.04$ rollover.
I have to say, I have never in my life experienced such an anxiety driven grocery shopping trip and I went sans children. I don’t know how extreme couponers do it??? As the cart built up, I kept thumbing through my coupons, keeping everything very well-organized, often referring back to my weekly flyer, as well as my list, but my nerves and that oh so familiar anxiety just kept growing and growing. As I approached check-out I did one final lap around the store being sure to double-check prices and make sure that I did not purchase one thing that was not needed or previously “written.” I went through the line and I’m the type of person who hands over my coupons and value card after the groceries have been rung* (lesson learned here) but my previous thought process was the enticing excitement of watching my total do the infamous “drop.” When you wait until the end the drop seems so much steeper, right? Wrong. In reality you are at higher risk for error. As I stood there watching, my initial total came to 206. 96$ PANIC! How the hell am I going to get that to 130??? I instantly knew I had flunked. Now the anticipation was about not ‘Did I make?’ but rather ‘How badly did I go over?’ A much, much worse feeling. When it was all said and done and the total had hit its final stopping point the cashier actually did a quiet clap with a big smile, seriously…”156.04! You did really well” she said. I responded with a “yeah, thanks. It wasn’t what I was hoping for :::pause for a sympathy coupon perhaps:::: but what fun is it to do it right the first time” She smiled sweetly as I swiped my debit card in complete shame.
In hindsight, I did okay. Brent (my optimistic light in any pessimist’s tunnel) commended me and offered much love and praise noting that I was able to get enough food to plan dinners for our family of 4 for the remaining month of March and 3 weeks in April (we are gone the first week); breakfast and lunch for a solid two weeks and all the snacks (adult & kid-friendly) for our upcoming road trip. I also bought a month’s worth of diapers, body wash, and shampoo; all things considered I should be proud. Maybe? I guess that’s a lot for 156$. My Dad would give me hell for going over my budget but not in a mean scrutinizing way but moreso in a humorous manner so to say “you’re harder on yourself than I will ever be” then he would look down smile big and say in all seriousness “it’s alright you’ll do better next time.” I love him.Here are some of my personal lessons learned* from today for next month:
- Overestimate for meats-weigh the pros and cons for buying family size vs. smaller portions
- Give your card and coupons in the beginning so that you can track the items as they ring up to ensure accuracy
- Print a copy or bring a list of your e-coupons already on your value card. It’s hard to remember in the moment
- Cross check the list with your significant other to make sure you don’t forget anything, #trashbags!
In the end, for this time, I’ll give praise right back to my two favorite men. Brent has a great point and I love that he is still proud of me and grateful for what I do even when I do go over budget; and my Dad’s right, lessons learned, next time I’ll do better. ❤