Friday, February 4, 2011

Frugal Friday: Shop with Back-Up

I don't mean shopping with an army of police, though you will want to be "packing".

Angela of Massachusetts read my mind this week when she offered this simple frugal tip:

" Grocery shop on a full stomach! :) "

We have all heard it: Don't go shopping when you're hungry.

But what's the plan when you are in the middle of your shopping trip and you start getting hungry?

Painfully recent, I went to the store with my two kiddos for what was supposed to be a short trip with a short list. Mayhem joined us in the dairy section when the 2-year-old began loudly "proclaiming" newfound hunger and thirst. I was steadily losing my wits as the crying crescendoed with every aisle. Fortunately, I bumped into an old friend who graciously offered an "emergency lolli" from her purse.

"I always grab a handful at the bank for emergencies like this," she explained.


That satiated the toddler for a time. Meanwhile, the baby decided to take a turn. Though her next feeding wasn't for another hour, her little body refused to acknowledge the clock. Long story short, I ended up grabbing ready-mixed formula (which we never buy) and Gerber juice (which we never buy) off the shelves and opening them right there in the baby aisle to feed my chunker. That was an unplanned extra $12 and 45 minutes spent. (Thank goodness I happened to have in my coupon binder some baby coupons I had received in the mail, which spared me $4! )

Even without children, we adults sometimes find ourselves in similar scenarios. Have you ever been at the store longer than you had planned and began getting hungry? (Guilty!) My husband and I have in the past bought sandwiches at the deli to eat during our shopping, or worse, bought half a grocery cart of things that sounded delicious at the time of our hunger pangs.

Here's a better plan. When you go shopping, stick an energy bar in your pocket. Or a bottle of water in your purse. Or a Thanksgiving turkey in your diaper bag. Whatever works for you.

After that last shopping trip with the kiddos, I learned my lesson. The diaper bag now contains a mini-bottle of ready-made formula, a small bottle of juice (both left over from the spontaneous purchase on that last trip), one container of baby food, a spoon, a little tub of toddler snacks, and for Mom, some specialty chocolates designed to curb cravings and lift moods. This is not counting the goodies stashed in the car!

What's going in your purse?

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