When I was growing up, we were the last folks on the block to get a color TV and my parents only got rid of the trusty Gremlin in 1988 when I learned to drive (which they replaced with the tank-like Ford Crown Victoria). My parents were thrifty and frugal.
However, there were two things we were allowed to spend money on: books – I remember going to the Crown Books behind the Dart Drug and picking out first Little House on the Prairie books and later Sweet Valley High books and second, food – I remember going to the Giant with a hand basket and Donald and I would each carry a handle and we’d walk up and down the isles filling the basket with whatever caught our fancy.
So now that I’m grown up, those are the two things I like to spend money on. I don’t have many gadgets, don’t buy any makeup, I have fewer clothes/shoes than Jeremy. I just love bookstores and grocery stores.
My bookstore habit was getting pretty pricey, so now I’ve replaced that habit with libraries mostly. But I’ve never paid much attention to how much we’ve been spending on our grocery bills. The year Edda was born, I really ramped up my cooking skills and I pretty much had a different dinner on the table every night for 6 months. This involved reading lots of magazines and cookbooks and writing down ingredients on a shopping list and buying whatever I needed – jars of paprika, marmalade, capers, fish sauce, adobo sauce. It was a lot of yummy dinners, but also pretty high grocery bills.
I’m not back up to speed on cooking like that yet, living in Singapore meant that a lot of ingredients I was familiar with weren’t available unless I trekked into downtown and here, well, it’s just a mess here – but I have made a great discovery on my quest to spend less money on groceries!
The store brand!
You got store brand organic milk, organic sour dough bread, frozen lemonade concentrate, cottage cheese, and cran-rasberry cocktail. Sitting right next to the thing that you want, there is a store brand equivalent sitting right next to it, usually about 25% less expensive. I know they’ve had this stuff for years, but I guess I didn’t pay much attention to it. You know, I’m so used to buying Land ‘o Lakes butter that it just felt weird buying the store brand. Also, it’s been 5 years since we’ve owned a TV, maybe it’s just taken that long to debrainwash me from buying the branded stuff. Who knows! I just love a good bargain.