I slack when it comes to estimating how many calories I consume each day and the cost of the groceries in my weekly shopping cart. But I am getting a handle on that second one.
Looking at what I dole out to feed our small household, which I tally monthly on the tidy Crouse Spend Plan Excel worksheet, makes me want to become bulimic (which would just further blow the food budget….)
So now when I grab my cart I tote out my trusty calculator to make sure I stick to my $125 weekly limit. My mom refuses to shop with me for that reason. She says it is embarrassing, and she walks several yards ahead of me while I punch in every dollar and cent. I counter that what I am doing is not unusual and is a must if we are to combat the ever spiking prices of food and shopper impulse tendencies that the store chains subliminally support.
Yesterday at Wal-Mart in Huntingdon, I took the time – really the first time ever in a year of number cramming – to see if I was the only crazy lady in the store keeping tabs of her spend (okay considering the location I was definitely not the only crazy lady…). Aisle after aisle, everyone seemed oblivious to the cha-ching-ing I heard as they dropped item after item into their carts –and some had two! Not one person was computing, and only a few had stacks of coupons.
And that is what surprises me. That in this age of extreme couponing- which to me is Hoarders, only more organized – and with spiking food costs and the struggles of most families to see it through to the next paycheck, more people are not making overt efforts to track their purchases before they get to the checkout.
The average two-person household spends $76 per week on groceries, but I reckon that takes into account that a lot of diets are beige. Meaning take a look at the color of the food on your plate, and if it resembles this hue – while all the rage for heels- it probably means you are shorting yourself in the nutrition department. I don’t do beige food, so loading up on veggies, fruits, Greek yogurts, and whole grains automatically puts me in the higher cost bracket.
I know my family is far from desolate, and for that I am thankful, but I also get a deep sense of satisfaction when the cashier gives me my total and it is right on budget, a much better feeling than guestimating – which always gives me a deflated feeling akin to overeating. Groceries are now a game. I have to rethink what I really need, then can have the chance to make a small splurge when I am able- like a trashy Okay magazine, which I typically only buy for a plane flight! And I recently downloaded a calorie counting app so I hope to see small losses on the weight front as well. If only there were monetary rewards for sticking within my calorie limits…
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