Slowly Sipping Coffee

Decisions, decisions…

Which would you chose?

Which would you chose?

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!

14 thoughts on “Decisions, decisions…

  1. Mrs. Maroon

    I constantly debate with myself over a couple dollars here or there. Off the top of my head, nothing stands out to me right now though. But good call on getting the Cheetos – those are priceless. I love Cheetos! The next time I find myself in a similar debate, I will try to place the value on my time, and potentially my sanity too.

    Also, I am supremely jealous of you getting to shop at HEB – the best grocery store ever. We have lived away from one for seven years now (gasp! it’s really been that long). Just when they were starting to creep into the fringes of the Metroplex, we go and move 250 miles further north :(

    1. Mr. SSC

      Haha, yeah I think I lost out on time value of debating that option on this go around. Cheeto’s were the ultimate driver for the choice there.

      I do love HEB and am not looking forward to when we ultimately move away. Their no preservative, fresh made salsa is the best I’ve found of any brand. Amazing! Fresh in-house made tortillas, and well, I could go on and on, but don’t want you to get too sad. At least your retirement “beach” is in TX so you’ll get plenty of chances to shop there in the futute. :)

  2. Tawcan

    If it’s the same or similar product I always go with the cheaper option. :) If I don’t like the cheaper option I’ll buy the name brand next time. Doesn’t hurt to experiment a little and try to save some money.

    1. Mr. SSC

      I like their brand of tortilla chips, and I love the fact their salsa is the tastiest and cheapest, and has zero preservatives in it. Usually with their brand products, they win out price and taste, but not this time. The Cheeto’s won out this time. When I see their version of Cheeto’s in the small bag form, I’m ready to try it!

  3. Emma

    Something that really helped me with this obsessive comparison shopping was reading Getting Things Done by David Allen. He emphasizes making fast decisions – otherwise, I would be the queen of grocery store waffling :)

    1. Mrs SSC

      I’ve totally started just going with my gut decision the last few years – saves lots of time. But it is a skill you have to practice :) Thanks for the book recommendation – I’ll have to see if the library has it.

  4. Nikki Frugal

    I will never, ever,ever cut out my hershey brand chocolate syrup (to make chocolate milk of course!) the store brand just isn’t the same to me! It’s close to 1$ difference but there is nothing better then nice cold chocolate milk from hersheys syrup….Now everything else I’ll usually go with the cheaper option just don’t mess with my chocolate 😉 lol

  5. Even Steven

    Sandwich Meat. I very seldom go for the cheap guy, if Boar’s Head is available i’m all over it, next in line is Dietz and Watson, just because it’s on sale for the other brands doenst mean I’m buying it. I take my meat very seriously!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      That’s another good one. I’m the same with that. I eat LOTS of sandwiches, so I take meats pretty seriously still. Not ridiculous but not Budding Ham style.

  6. Justin @ Root of Good

    Ha ha, I’ve had this discussion with myself so many times. Although $1.50 is still real money man! 😉

    My threshold for indifference is something like $0.25 to $0.50. It’s not worth even thinking about the differences at some point. I’d probably go with the generic chips for $1.50 less.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Haha! Yeah, a $1.50 is still money. It’s funny but a few years ago I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought. Now with the FIRE goal, I gave it too much thought. Funny how perspectives change.

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