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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Apple Bee's Quality

I just left the grocery store. As the cashier handed me the receipt he said, "You saved thirteen dollars." I cynically smiled as I said, "Thirteen dollars..." And before I could finish my thought he said, "Hey, that's a meal. And not just Burger King quality, that's Apple Bee's quality. You should be proud." I started laughing because, to be honest, I was proud. Thirteen dollars is better than average for me.

I'm every grocery store's dream come true. I am what I call a time saving shopper, not a money saving shopper. I hate the grocery store and, unlike most stereotypical women, I hate all manner of shopping. To be honest, the only store I ever truly enjoy being in is a book store. Most of the time I hate to spend money because I have PTSD when it comes to that. I have had so many years struggling to get by that, even though I now find myself in a somewhat comfortable financial position, I don't like to let go of the dollar frivolously. And I hate crowds of people, particularly people in a grocery store of some kind (don't even get me started on WalMart). And I suppose, given my sentence about letting money go frivolously, one would think that would make me savvy shopper that looks for the best deal but no...

I can't avoid the grocery store. I have to get food and sundries to survive and so money must be spent there and to me that is not frivolous spending, that is a necessity. But time is also of the essence in my life, and, like I said, my need to avoid crowds of people far outweighs my need to find the best deal. To be a savvy shopper requires patience and tolerance of crowds and also requires large amounts of time I'm not willing to spend.

My brother once tipped me off to a website called TheGroceryGame.com (back in the day when I was struggling to make peace with living in the financial red zone). This is an extremely resourceful website for people that are looking to stretch their dollar as far as it can possibly go. The woman that created the site is a Grocery Shopping Superhero. She would do tons of research as to what sales were coming up every week at whatever grocery store, and she would combine those sales with the coupons that were offered in the news papers, and you could take that list along with your coupons and go shopping on double coupon days and save countless dollars on your grocery bill. I took advantage of the site for several months and I admit I saved money in a way that I have never done (either before or after my use of that site). The problem for me was that it took up an entire Sunday just to clip the sticking coupons and study the list and put together what I needed to get and then get myself over to the store on double coupon Sunday (because if I went on double coupon Monday or Tuesday, most of the items were sold out). And the older Hope got the more her schedule started to affect mine, and once I landed a solid career well... time definitely became of the essence. So I eventually stopped clipping and saving coupons and I eventually reached the point where I stopped looking for deals all the way around. (some people are cringing now, I know this)

I just can't take it anymore. I have to find ways to get in and out of that place before I break out into some kind of stress rash because the lady with three screaming kids drives me up the wall and the man in the laundry aisle that smells like he needs to put himself on the permanent press cycle with an extra scoop of Oxyclean and bleach is more than I can handle. I have the location of everything in the store by my house memorized and so I create a list of what I need, I go in and grab the items, and I'm out. I probably hold the record for the fastest grocery shopper in America. Depending on the length of the lines at the registers, I can get in and out of there with a week's worth of groceries in ten minutes, I kid you not. And this, to me, is more important than the dollar I saved. (and more people are cringing now).

So anyway... this is why I laughed when the cashier made the comment about the savings being better than Burger King quality. And I was pleasantly surprised that I saved thirteen dollars today, because I didn't even check to see if I was buying the deals or not. I simply grabbed things and left, so saving thirteen dollars is almost as good as finding a twenty in the pocket of some jeans I haven't worn in over a month. And I always have my "valued shopper's card" and I always run it through at the register, but there have been times when I ran it through only to find out I didn't have a single sale item in my cart and I saved absolutely nothing. (more people are cringing) And so yes... today I saved enough for a meal at Apple Bee's! Awesome! I need to put this receipt on my fridge as a bragging right of some kind. I saved 13% off my grocery bill!

(I would say this is a record, but I am pretty sure I accidentally saved 21% last month so... I can't really put that thing on my fridge, but still...)

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