note: The Post says this is called Snowzila now. They’re the boss people!
I assume that almost everyone that reads this blog lives in the greater Washington DC area, or at least on the east coast (best coast) of the United States. However, word press’s fancy stats inform me that I have at least two international readers. Hello international readers! This message is for you:
You may have heard that the capitol of the United States completely crumbled under 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters, I got you, Rest of the World) of snow. Just to be clear, that is totally accurate. But, to our credit, we really just aren’t built for snow. Our cars aren’t made for snow and our roads sure as crap aren’t either. ALSO, our natural Washington DC pessimism means that we don’t believe that snow is actually going to happen until we’re literally sliding into pedestrians, street lights, the White House, each other, etc. In fact, I myself, walked to my car last night to go to a friend’s house and I was, again, literally, sliding through the parking lot on about an inch of ice and I STILL got in my car and tried to go to my friend’s house. After a mini-van skidded through a red light, missing me by inches, I decided to go back home.
And of course, this was just the pre-storm. The real storm, named Jonas apparently, is coming tomorrow and according to the Capital Weather Gang, my little town might get up to 30 inches of snow.
So, after sleeping in until noon (thanks whoever decides on snow days for my school district!) I dragged myself out of bed, went to school to feed the animals enough to potentially last through the weekend, picked up some prescriptions, and went to the grocery store.
This grocery store trip was important for several reasons. First, snowstorm Jonas. Second, it was the first time going grocery shopping outside of our weekly budget-grocery shopping. Third, Michael is sick and he couldn’t go so this trip was my first chance to prove I can budget without him. SPOILER ALERT: I cannot budget without Michael. Several things were working against the budget:
- I already have a lot of Marge Simpson tendencies when it comes to my loved ones, but when a loved one is sick it goes into OVERDRIVE. I pretty much bought every kind of food I’ve ever seen Michael enjoy.
- I decided to go to Safeway, instead of our usual Shopper’s Food Warehouse. Mostly because I’m a little sick of Shopper’s, but als0 because I have emotional ties to Safeway and it gives me the warm fuzzies.
- Everyone at the store was acting like the world was about to end and I’m nothing if not easily swayed by others’ panic.
- Adding onto that, shopping with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is already difficult but without someone to bounce obsessions off of then every crazy purchase seems like it will make the difference between life and death.
- Usually, Michael and I make a very specific, handwritten list of items to buy. And if one of us goes off-list then we stop and discuss if the item is actually needed. Without Michael, I wrote a really crappy list on my phone and only looked at it once in the store.
What I’m getting at here is that without Michael, the budget didn’t stand A CHANCE. I promise that some day I will make a post about a budget-friendly grocery trip but TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY.
My first issue happened before I even entered the store. There were NO empty carts ANYWHERE. I wandered around outside until someone finally came out and left one.
I started at the produce section and I was happy to see that it was pretty much fully stocked. I’ve had a lot of friends post scary photos of empty shelves on facebook but I think most of that was from last night. The bad thing about the well-stocked shelves is that a started loading my cart with produce even though there wasn’t a single produce item on my list. Impulse purchases included: clementines (we already had a bag at home), like 10 bananas (I hate bananas, but Michael likes them), two tubs of white button mushrooms (I eat these like candy when I’m stress eating, it’s the only healthy habit I have), and a bag of potatoes (which Michael doesn’t even like but-
Next, I stocked up on dry items. I interpreted “pasta stuff” as two packages of white wheat spaghetti (fuck whole wheat spaghetti, if you think it tastes the same you are a liar and a monster), one package of veggie elbow noodles, two packages of store brand kraft dinner, and four jars of pasta sauce.
For snacks, I went with classics first: store brand chez-its, pop-tarts (we normally prefer store brand, but Safeway doesn’t have a store brand pop tart?!?! Insane), and tortilla chips. I went off-roading with the following: store-brand crackers, store brand ONION FLAVORED crackers, store brand sour cream and onion potato chips, and those honey mustard pretzels that Snyder’s makes. DELICIOUS, yet not cost effective, decisions all around.
Now for essentials:
Now, my beer consumption has drastically gone down since budgeting, and while I’m sure my liver has appreciated the vacation I am just straight up not getting through Snowmageddon 2016 without beer. My go-to beer to buy in larger quantities is Yuengling Light, because, as any upper-east-coaster knows, Yuengling is just as cheap as the big brands but it’s actually good AND actually American. ALAS, storm Jonas affected the one thing I cared about most: there was NO Yuengling Light to be found. (I took a picture of the sad hole in the beer case but apparently my phone was upset too and deleted it) I think I must have spent about five solid minutes staring slack-jawed at the empty space, considering if I would stoop so low as to buy Miller Lite. But then I came to my senses and grabbed a 12-pack of regular Yuengling.
- Milk… product.
Michael and I don’t drink milk. So I skidded on past the laughably sparse dairy case and straight to the weird part of the cereal aisle that carries soy/almond/coconut/hemp/seaweed? milk and grabbed the cheapest one. Which was, as it normally is, Blue Diamond brand almond milk. Highly recommended!
I normally don’t like bread either, but sandwiches are just so budget-friendly, so I’ve been giving it a chance. As you can see, most of the sale bread was gone but there was still plenty of other kinds.
Check-out was pretty painless too. The store had been making periodic announcements that they were about to run out of plastic bags but I had actually remembered my reusable bags (MIRACLES). HOWEVER, as soon as I packed up my car I realized I had forgotten to get headache medicine. I ran back in and grabbed it, to find that all of a sudden there was a store-length line. Oh well. Waiting in lines just means a guilt-free length of time to read tabloids during. I learned a lot about Kris Jenner’s menopausal diet, which reminded me a lot of my normal diet.
When I got home I was truly expecting Michael to question me about how much I had spent, and to lament all the unnecessary purchases I had made. Instead, I came home to a pill-bug who had enough energy to say “Thanks for doing the shopping” before passing right back out.
NEXT TIME: Michael and I inevitably get cabin fever.