I walk through the sliding doors pushing my cart and holding a “sale” paper that essentially saves me 0.25 cents on balsamic vinegar. My first stop is the produce section where the fruits and veggies are perfectly stacked, shiny and flawless. They’re labeled organic and conventional with a nearly 0.75 cents – $1 dollar difference in price between them. Still, I can barely afford the conventional, so I hustle through the produce only grabbing the bare necessities…spinach/mixed greens, (4) roma tomatoes, (1) bunch carrots and (2) onions.
Next, I head to the seafood counter with the hopes of a deal buster on fish. The color and fresh ocean smell is intoxicating, and all that’s missing is a serious price break. Still, I bite the bullet and order 1 lb of wild caught salmon. Organic chicken thighs are next on the list and I’m lucky if I can get a small pack of 6 for under $6 bucks. I search through the packs of meat to find one labeled $5.83. Score! I book it over to the dairy section for milk, but not just any milk. I’m purchasing the hormone/antibiotic free milk which usually runs me nearly $7 per gallon.
I head over to the bread area and grab the cheapest thing I can find that’s wheat and seedless (since Phil raises hell when the seeds get caught in his teeth) and then I totally get caught up…
Not only have I been forced to skimp on the basic stuff, but now I’m surrounded by the goodies. There’s pizza, cupcakes, gelato, cookies, chips, soda etc., all of which carry the label of “unbleached flour” and “cane sugar.” My will is weak when it comes to junk food, but now enter the semi-organic junk food which makes it just a tad bit less like… well…junk food. I toss in a bag of cookies, I bypass the pizza for sushi (which I hope is a healthier alternative), and I floor it to the checkout counter before I mentally review the list of items I didn’t purchase that would totally bankrupt me.
The checkout clerk is super friendly and talkative. “Did you find everything you needed?” she says. I smile, nod and turn to laser in on every line item on the register screen. The “beep” “beep” “beep” that accompanies the sight of my groceries sliding across the counter haunts me like the helpless man in Poe’s Masterpiece. Quoth the raven, “BROKE…forever more!”
“That will be $98.01,” she says, still smiling at me. I nearly faint, and if it weren’t for my desire to live a long, healthy, semi-preservative and pesticide free life, I would stroll me and little Zoe straight to Food4Less without looking back. But, instead, I swipe my debit card, grab my 1 bag of groceries and I head for the door.
It looks like once again our piggy bank is blown to smithereens. Only Zoe will sleep with a full, round belly tonight since her meal is supplemented by Mommy’s Milk; Phil and I will be sharing a salad.
Have you figured out how to eat healthy AND keep a little money in your piggy bank? If so, please share.