This past weekend, I was at the grocery and had an interesting moment arguing with myself over a dollar fifty… Yep, a dollar fifty… It started like this.
I was in the potato chip aisle looking at which options to get for my lunch the upcoming weeks. I usually tend to get the mix bags of 20 or so bags to keep up variety. I’ve tried buying a big bag of the same chip and parsing it out, but it never tends to last as long, because I overfill and then I get bored of the same chips all week long. Anyway, as I’m contemplating the different flavor combos for the next 3 weeks, I notice the price difference in store brand versus name brand. I’ve noticed this before, but rarely pay too much attention to it. As I stared back and forth, I was thinking, “Hmmm, $4.98 vs $3.48. The bags are the same size, flavors are mostly the same. I’ve tried these before and they’re ok, I mean it’s hard to screw up chips. Hmmm, no Cheetos in the store brand, or equivalent… Hmmm, $3.48 or $4.98? It is $1.50…. We could save that just by choosing different chips…” At this point Mrs. SSC had moved on to the dairy section while I stood locked in debate with myself over which brand to choose.
Suddenly, I felt this sharp stinging sensation like I’d been slapped. Startled, I was like “WTF?! Where did that come from?” Then I realized it came from me. Not my logical side, but my more practical side which just entered the debate. Apparently, this whole chip debate had only included the frugal side and the logical side and they were both about to agree on store brand when the practical side jumped in and literally knocked some sense into me. It went like this, “Slap! Seriously? $1.50?! You idiot just wasted 3 minutes standing here debating about chips over $1.50?! Look dummy, you’ll have the rest of your life on a budget when you can eat store brand chips. Right now, you can spend a $1.50 and get the name brand chips. And QUIT standing in the chip aisle looking slack-jawed at the chips. This isn’t a groundbreaking Supreme Court decision, it’s chips!”
So I grabbed the name brand and wandered on with our grocery shopping. That got me thinking. I’m at least becoming aware of being frugal, and have worked it into my life in many other ways. Recall the tolls and money saved by using the next on-ramp? Now, I skip the morning tolls altogether due to finding an even better route. But back to the point of this post. I have no problem eating store brand on a lot of things. Our local grocery makes awesome store brand foods, and they’re almost always better quality and price than name brand. I also don’t like the feeling that I’m shorting myself just to save a buck. It makes my skin crawl and reminds me of the times growing up when we had to short ourselves because there were no bucks to save, much less spend on things other than rice, beans, other staples, and utilities. So I find it’s worth the $1.50 to “treat” myself to something that yes, I could buy cheaper. If everything is save here, pinch there, cut this out, cut that out, I tune out and lose interest in any savings because there’s nothing that bring a little joy.
What are the little things you still get even though you know they could be cut out? Do you have any things like “my chips” that give you a little smile when you enjoy them?
Let me know, I’d love to hear about them!