In an effort to slowly pass my vast knowledge on all things irrelevant to my kids, I have decided I will start putting down these little nuggets of wisdom for TheMonk and Swee’Pea to have at their fingertips in their adult years. Never let it be said I wasn’t looking out for my kids.
So, our first lesson is the art of grocery shopping. Because I don’t want my children to rely on Carl’s Jr. (“If it wasn’t for us, some guys would starve”) for their nutritional needs, I have put together a little primer, if you will, on how to get the most out of your grocery shopping experience. Kids, pay attention.
Buy in Bulk
Now, at first glance, you may ask yourself “Why do I possibly need 42 rolls of toilet paper?” The answer to this, kids, is we will always have a butt to wipe (and judging by your diapers, you’ll have more of a need than others) and the more you buy, the cheaper that roll becomes. Of course, storing these rolls of toilet paper may become a challenge but just think of all the things you can do with a roll of toilet paper. For example, instead of those annoying little spring things that keep doors from putting holes in your walls, just slip a roll of TP behind each door in the house. Now you’re not only frugal, you’re resourceful! And, if you’re buying bulk in diapers, you can save as much as 10 cents per diaper. Over the course of a year, that could be $250 to $300 in savings! That’s 250 to 300 more lottery tickets, boys and girls! Anyway, buy in bulk. Simple economics. Buy more, pay less.
Make a List
This goes along with the old adage “never shop while hungry.” Believe me, if you don’t have a list you’ll walk out of the grocery store with two cans of Spam, a box of Twinkies and a bag of Teriyaki beef jerkey that you’ll have to explain to your significant other. Believe me, make a list and stick to it.
Beware of Bananas
When buying bananas you should always stick to the B = (t-1) equation where B=bananas and t=amount you think you’ll eat. Always buy one less banana than you think you will eat. Inevitably that last banana will rot on your kitchen counter and while your kitchen may smell like banana bread for a few days, the site of a blackened, petrified banana is never a pretty sight.
Know Your Meats
Rump roast, Chuck roast, Top Round roast, Beef Loin Tri Tip roast… Let’s just say there are a lot of cuts of meat. When your significant other asks you to pick up a roast on the way home, how the heck is one supposed to pick the right roast? Now, you can do what your father has been known to do (pick up one of each and let your Mommy decide) or you can learn your cuts of meat. You decide.
Don’t get sucked into the marketing of a product. The box of cereal with the Sugar-Pushing Leprechaun does not taste any better than the bag marked “Marshmallow Treaties”. In fact it will give your kids the same sugar rush at half the cost. There are some exceptions to this. For example, don’t ever buy beer that is marked “BEER”. There are just some lines that shouldn’t be crossed.
Old Stuff in Front, Fresh Stuff in Back
When it comes to perishable items never choose anything that’s directly in front of you. That’s where the store clerks put the items they wouldn’t eat on an episode of Fear Factor. They’re hoping you’ll bring that tomato that was picked last April home to serve to your unsuspecting family. Dig around in the back of the pile for the freshest fruit/vegetable. The same goes for dairy products. You might have to remove 8 to 10 cartons of milk that expire in the next 4 days to get to the milk that expires in two weeks and the stock clerk might give you dirty looks as you pile cartons on the floor around you, but do it anyway. Or ask the clerk if he’d like to come over for some home-made ice cream next week.
Express Checkout – An Oxymoron
Finally, once you have gathered all of your items on the list (of course, you stopped in the frozen food aisle last, right?) you head to the front of the store to pay. Choosing the right checkout line is the single most crucial decision you will make while shopping. The wrong experience at the checkout can ruin an entire outing. Here are some things to look for:
Well, that’s about it on the Grocery Shopping Experience. I hope this little primer will serve you well over your many years. Of course, you could always skip the whole store and order your groceries on-line. But then, you know you’re getting last April’s tomatoes.