Alas, it is time for me to tackle an issue I am horrible at. Simply horrible. I am the cliche male when it comes to going to the grocery store. I load up on anything that pleases my tastes at the moment, and it drives my wife crazy. From what I understand, this is a phenomenon that plagues all men, and pushes women everywhere to the verge of insanity. I mean, how hard is it to go to the store and buy only what is needed, or on the list? It is HARD!
Here is the bad thing. Not only do I give in to all sorts of different splurges, but now that I am on a healthy kick, all those items are expensive! For the past couple months I have been trying to plead with my wife to let me go grocery shopping alone, because in the past I clearly cannot be trusted, sometimes adding $30 to $40 to the grocery bill. I admit it, I am a grocery store shopaholic.
Here are the things I tend to buy the most, especially when it is not on the 'list': meat, cheese, wine, chips, snacks, all sorts of extra fruits and veggies, electronics, baby items, baby toys, spices, herbs, sandwich makings, need I go on?
The bad part about all this is that I fully am capable of sticking to my 'list', but the urge is there, slamming into me every time I go into the store!
Number one, as a man, never, ever go to the grocery store hungry if you are trying to save money. I find myself about 800 times more likely to stock up on extra food if I walk in craving burgers, nachos, ribs, cheese dip, etc. The problem there is that all that is junk food, so I start thinking healthy, and then we start getting even more expensive. Blah!
Second, work out a compromise with your wife to let you have a couple items or small dollar amount you are allowed to spend on 'frivolous' groceries. Notice how I am assuming we need to get permission from our wives. It's a fact of life in my house, so I accept it! A compromise allows me to get a couple things I want, without going overboard. Eventually, if I can suppress my spending for a longer stretch of time, I may evolve past needing this.
Number three, stick to the aisles that only have what you need. If I stay off the random isles I normally like to peruse, I am much more likely to avoid extra costs. Normally, I make a beeline for the diapers and baby food, then to yogurt, milk and eggs, then to the chicken and shrimp, etc. I hit the necessities and blow right by my indulgences.
Number four, and this is the hard one. Try bringing cash and leaving the debit card at home. This is the last resort, the failsafe so to speak. As long as you only have so much cash, and all forms of cards are not accessible, you are forced to stick to what you need. I have never had to resort to this, and let us hope I never do.
Let us recap here:
- Never go grocery shopping when hungry
- Make a compromise list or dollar amount
- Stick to the aisles that only have what you need
- Bring cash and leave cards at home
If men stuck to these four suggestions, then I think we could slowly turn our grocery shopping image around. Who knows why that impulse grocery gene is so dominant, but I can personally tell you it is a beast to fight back! Good to luck to everyone trying to kick the spending habit, and yours truly is currently in remission, spending only what he needs to...for now.