After renewed efforts to track my spending in 2017, I am acutely aware of my grocery spending habit. This is the area of my monthly budget where I have struggled the most in years past. My wardrobe and entertainment costs are fairly minimal. Aside from purchasing 3 nearly identical spiralizers, I rarely fall victim to the alluring trap of consumer goods. I guess you could call me an economic hermit, except when it comes to groceries.
The grocery store shopping experience has become my nemesis. Inside those chilly aisles, I feel trapped in the Grocery Games, under some dystopian bubble I cannot escape, where unhealthy choices and overpriced super foods dare me to evade and survive. I head into weekly battle, armed with my shopping list and meal plan, only to face decision fatigue and emerge defeated, take out coffee splurge in hand, money gone from wallet.
There has to be a better way. Is anyone else besides me feeling guilty and unenthusiastic at the thought of having to schlep to a farmer’s market each weekend? I love the idea of a farmer’s market, but Saturday morning is Long Run Day, and by the time the time I finish 20 miles and towel myself off to an acceptable level of sweaty, all the good produce is gone. And what about chia seeds and other healthy pantry staples? I’m not ready to say goodbye.
I don’t have all the answers, but I do believe in experimenting to find out what works. For now, I am avoiding the grocery store as much as possible, and trying a new way. I am using a lovely produce delivery service and an online market for pantry staples. The traditional grocery store gets my business when I accidentally run out of toilet paper…and bananas. I love bananas.
The biggest advantage for me, besides fresher, higher quality products, has been the ability to review my shopping cart online and stay within budget for the week. It’s easy to grab an impulsive take out coffee at the grocery store, but I find heightened awareness online in seeing that the cold brew coffee concentrate is going to take my cart over my self-imposed spending limit. I can take the time to review, make careful decisions, and go back and edit my selections.
It takes some upfront work to start using online food resources like these, and I realize that their availability may be different in your local area. Food delivery also creates additional packaging waste, like boxes and paper wrap. For now, I challenge myself to fill up the empty boxes with donations from my home, and if that is not an option, I am able to reuse the boxes for my small business.
Is it a perfect solution? No, but I believe there is value in questioning the system and experimenting to make progress. May the odds be ever in your favor.
*Apparently, it’s cool in the blog world to put italics at the end of your post disclosing all the places you are making money off of your readers. I am not. Not making money, that is, or maybe not cool. Either way, there are no affiliate links in this or any post.