Thursday, March 5, 2009

Discussing the Rising Prices of Groceries

Writing about getting groceries this morning reminded me of something else I wanted to write about. Last month I was out grocery shopping and ran into a couple of good deals on meat. I am not normally someone who believes in stocking up, but once and awhile I will be drawn into a good deal. In this case it was a number of wonderful cuts of meat that had some outstanding sale prices. (This is one of the benefits of the current economic crises, you can get some mighty fine deals right now if you look.) Anyway, sometime after I bought my precious cargo of meat home and stored it away safely in the freezer, I was chatting on the phone with my mother on the best way to cook a roast. Somehow the conversation proceeded from there to recent grocery store finds.

Mom was telling me about things she stocks up on, canned goods in particular. I don't like many canned foods (with the exception of black eyed peas and garbanzo beans) but she had hit a good sale recently. Then we both lamented about things that have gone up recently like toilet paper and laundry soap (neither of which I have to buy for a long, long time) and commiserated on the high cost of quality aluminum foil - something neither of us buys without a coupon.

It was after we got off the phone that I was suddenly reminded of a memory from childhood...

It was Thanksgiving. I must have been in junior high or so and I, along with the rest of my mother's side of the family, were celebrating the holiday at my Aunt Carol's. It was after dinner and the menfolk, my uncles, were all gathered in one room watching the football game. All the cousins were hanging out downstairs, and my mother and her many sisters were lingering over coffee near the kitchen. I snuck upstairs for some reason, probably to see if there were still any olives in the relish tray, and I happened to hear my aunts talking. They were discussing the price of soap. Palmolive, actually. One aunt (I don't even remember which) was talking about finding at one place for one price and then finding it for a dime cheaper somewhere else.

As I left the room I distinctly remember thinking to myself, "I am never going to be that lame. I am never going to sit around talking about the price of groceries and how to save a dime." I then promptly went downstairs to find my cousin Denise to talk about something far more interesting - like the cute boy at school.

When I think about that now I just crack up! I have over 20 posts alone that are tagged with "groceries" and I don't know how many posts about how saving small amounts of money really adds up! My, was I cocky in those days!!

As I think about it, I wonder, is it just a sign of the times? There was a rough patch in the early 80s, and that would have been at just about the right time for this memory. Do conversations on how to save on groceries come up whenever times are hard? Or is it a sign of maturity? I don't have a weird Science teacher or a cute boy in English class to talk about anymore. As we grow older do the things we have in common become more, well, commonplace? Or is it in my heritage? Whether you are Scottish, Dutch, from the east side of town, the next state over, or whatever the definition may be, i>n almost every culture, in almost every part of the world, there is always one group that is considered "cheap" by the other. My people are quite proud of their cultural past of being tight with a dollar. Tell me, was I born to talk about groceries?

Whatever the case, I'm not ashamed of it anymore. In fact, I am rather proud of this little blog and all it has helped me accomplish. What about you? Is there anything you find yourself doing now that you would have laughed at a few years ago?

(Speaking of which, I just read Cut Your Food Bills in Half on Mother Earth News. There's some good information in there! A lot of it I knew, but there's some great ideas in it for us frugal folks.)

Photo by: Joan Thewlis


Kristy @ Master Your Card said...

I always swore I'd never wear bell bottoms, but that was in the 80s when I was rolling my pant legs for the tight fit at the ankles. Here we are today with flare jeans, which are essentially bell bottoms. LOL.

But, I don't think it's that you were born to talk about groceries. If the economy were different and your life were different, you'd have something else to talk about. It's simply a product of your situation. Nothing wrong with that, though. Sometimes it's good to reflect on these things because it helps you and it helps others.

Dawn said...

I know exactly what you mean Kristy! Even my favorite bootleg jeans would have been "dissed" back in the 80s. :)

You might be right, it is funny how each generation goes through these things, you know? My mother's mother really had to scrimp and save - she raised 7 kids on her own in pretty trying times. I'm not planning on having kids, but I wonder what the next generation will have to bare?