I was sick to my stomach this week but not because I was sick. Remember those charred veggies on the grill that was supposed to be a corn salad for HB boys Boy Scout troop pot luck? Well I wasn’t able to whip up anything before the event so I decide to stop in Main & Vine. Why do you ask that store? Well I knew it would be delicious and it was on the way and figured the the lines would not be as long. So got there but no corn salad.
Bummer what’s a girl to do? Sample a couple of options of course. The tarragon chicken salad caught my eye and it was delicious. I decided to get two big tubs. But then thought, I said I was bringing a veggie salad so I better get something to replace what I was going to bring. I tasted a sweet pea, feta and mint salad. Delicious and got two big tubs of that too.
Standing there I did notice the price but I didn’t have my glasses on so I REALLY didn’t notice the price. It’s time to wear those babies all the time. I go to the checkout feeling rushed like I used to when I would pop into the grocery store after to work to buy sometime, everything for dinner. I didn’t like that feeling. But then I go to pay and notice the price. Now if you are standing you may want to sit down for this one…… it showed $66.98!!!!! MY STARS!!!! That’s my whole spend for a weekly grocery visit! I literally felt nauseated! But I couldn’t put it back, could I? It was just horrible!
Speaking of groceries, this week was a no Costco week so I just went to FM. I did take HB boy with me. Normally any sane person would tell you don’t take you kids with you when you go to the grocery or Costco if you can at all help it. But he wanted to accompany me and he is growing up way too fast so how many more times will he want to spend time with his Momma, SO I said ok. Plus he loves to cook!
Well I ended up spending $91.03 a bit more than normal but let’s back it up and see what I bought because HB boy was there: three can of Bush’s baked beans (they were on sale), two large bottles of cucumber Gatorade (HB boy’s favorite and hard to find), a bottle of shampoo, two lollipops (HB boy convinced my it could be for HB kids Easter baskets), a little yellow mango we have never tried, Tillamook sliced cheese (the most expensive but the tastiest), a gallon on choco milk (should have never started this when half gallon was on sale for .99), and lastly a waterproof instant camera.
Remember those? Well HB boy convinced me this could also go in his Easter basket. He had a good argument. He is going on his first white water rafting trip with his Boy Scout troop next month and wants to take lots of pictures. Well at least it will save our family camera from getting waterlogged! All in all I spent an extra $33.90. But we had fun and how many people can say they their adolescent boy wants to go to the grocery with his Mom and actually have a great time?
Ah yes it is Easter week and of course I wanted to do Easter baskets for the kids. They are growing up too fast and I want to do this while I still can. So I went to the dollar store and got a couple of the traditional stuffers like choco bunny, eggs, gum, etc. I also wanted to get a happy and had asked the HB kids for ideas. Do you know what the HB boy wanted? An electric razor! What ! Can it be true ? Isn’t it too soon? Well I guess if you look from the side and the light is hitting it just right you do see that tell tail dark fuzz that is indicative of a young boy passing into that time. This is killing my Mother in Law and myself and I just can’t talk of it anymore except to the fact that I did buy him that razor at Costco.
I surveyed about 5 customers (men) while standing there looking at all of them, trying to figure out what they all did and how anyone would need three large round razors on one device. Thank you Costco men customers. I couldn’t have done it without you. HB girl didn’t want much of anything but did mention her favorite online clothes store. So I made a gift certificate for her to use later when she finds something she wants.
In a way HB girl saved me this week. I have been dreading this week a little just because I knew I would want to go into TJ or Marshalls to look for Easter goodies. I would have used her as an excuse to shop for something for her. Although I knew she probably would not necessarily like it. We have different taste and I seldom get it right. Anyway because she mentioned the online store I had no “need” to go into THOSE stores! YAY!
And how could I almost forget? I spent $180 on a wonderfully used chicken coop. I have been searching high and low for the right one and was just about to give up and do something I know I would regret. That would be to buy a new one for 3 or 6 hundred dollars. But I looked on Craig’s List one last time and wha-la there it was. The seller obviously has chickens but has expanded his flock so built himself a bigger and better coop. It did look nice. But this little one was exactly what we needed for a new little girls. He had posted it for $220 but I asked what his best price was and he said $180 so I said sold!
It is solid and sturdy and he had even weather stained it! All the girls love it. Already two have laid eggs in it but we keep the “babies” in the new one and the big girls in the other one at night. Our old coop just wasn’t big enough for them all. So the pen is almost 100% complete just waiting for our new gate.
Confession time. I didn’t do any meal prep this week. Not even my beloved quinoa salad. Ms. Mavis was out of town on the day we normally cook and we just had so much going on that I chose to be lazy with my meal prep. I am a little nervous that when Ms. Mavis and my time is “over”, I might become very lazy.
However, I do know the value of this spent prep time because I now have a lot of meals in the freezer. So much that when I have to go out of town, for work this week, I don’t need to prepare anything. If my Mother in Law wants to use some they are there. She usually stays at our house when I have to travel to help HB Hubby with kid transportation and everything else. I know I am truly blessed to have my In-Laws here to help out. They moved up from the South a while back.
Anyway I have been wondering how you all have been doing with your budgets. Is it as hard for you as it is for me? I think for the most part things are on track, expect for the Main and Vine debacle this week. I have taken many of your suggestions to heart. Like having a little money set aside for peace of mind incidentals, using only cash (fell off that for a while but back on track), just stay out of THE stores (this one makes a big difference) and occupy myself with a book, computer work or walking. Now that the sun has started to come out I want to do that one, taking my tennis shoes with me and walk when I have down time. Just not in the Mall. LOL.
Until next week, Mrs HB
My meal prep goes in phases. I’ll really hit on it for a few weeks and make big batches and freeze things. Then I slack off for a while and use up what I made and froze.
Hooray for you! My sons are both involved in scouting and I somehow missed the “thrifty” law of scouting during the last advancement ceremony – I got stuck at work in NYC and didn’t make it home in time to bake so it was $47 for red, white and blue cakepops. Feeling your pain Mrs HB!
Love that HB boy is into scouting – his participation might give you a pleasant surprise in a couple of years when he applies to college. My #1 son is an Eagle Scout and got merit scholarships of almost $50K to use over 4 years for his leadership in scouting from his college. So I guess that you can write off the $66.98 in the future,plus IMHO seeing your kid thrive and learning life skills and making great friends is priceless.
I am thinking of shadowing my younger son when he does the Personal Finance Merit Badge.
Wishing you continued success!
I read several years ago that walking can give the brain the same “hi” as a (non-necessary) shopping trip. I wasn’t sure at first, but I gave it a try and it worked for me. Sometimes we just get into habits, and enjoy the “hi” of retail therapy. After several years, now I’d rather save the money and walking helps to keep me from “wander-shopping”.
Hi Mrs. HB! I agree with Brenda about meal prep. I live alone now after raising a family but still cook like always. I eat the same thing for a couple of days and then freeze the rest for subsequent dinners. If someone drops over (family or friend) I always have something in the freezer. I also stock up when things are in season. Just this week our Winco had asparagus on sale for $1.27!! an unheard of price. I love asparagus in any shape or form so I bought 12 pounds and blanched it. Froze it on a sheet pan then used my foodsaver. I got about 10 packages tucked away. Ever put it on a sandwich? Delicious on a grilled cheese!
Keep up the good work!
Deborah N says
My husband did the same thing with potato salad one day. He bought two big containers and was shocked at the price. I think he saw the unit price or the price for the smaller containers. It is easy to do especially when in a rush. Just consider it a learning experience. After paying that price, you won’t do it again.
I’ve enjoyed your weekly updates and look forward to them. There will always be “oops” around this general area of life. I’ve learned to not beat myself up, acknowledge the lesson learned and move on forward.
Overall I think you did great! You have a cooking fail and you were not prepared to fix it right away.. Obviously you know that prepared foods items cost more at the store.. you are paying for that convenience… Now you REALLY know how much you PAID for that convenience.. Holidays will bring gifts and you would have bought that razor and clothing eventually.. practical and useful gifts are the best. That coop IS a great deal.. it is amazing how expensive things can be!
Reading about your weekly efforts have inspired me. I created a budget a few weeks ago. It’s by no means a low budget, but it’s really the first time. I also changed up my list making, too. It’s changed everything! I’m thrilled that I finally found a system that works for me.
Tracy L. says
THANK YOU Mrs HB. Thank you for being real. Thank you for sharing your successes and your pain. When you began this journey, it was to be a journey. A learning experience. As in life, we (can) learn from our mistakes. You know going into those stores you will get something delicious, but, you also know you’re going to pay for it. You know it will always cost more than if you made it. Sometimes it happens, sometimes you need a safety net to fall into. It doesn’t mean you have to do this every week. You are learning to be more conscious of your decisions and what they really mean, instead of mindless buying. Having cash, shopping with Mavis, etc. You are learning awareness, now your choices are informed choices. You get to choose how your money is spent. This falls into your live and learn notebook.
Quite new to Mavis but have caught up with all your trials and tribulations which have made me realise I have a problem with food buying, for me it’s not handbags or shoes although when younger this too was a problem. So I thought when we got home from our winter away I would try and see exactly what I do spend of my monthly household budget on food! Very scary, I have set myself a budget of £350! three adults two labradors I think it was wishful thinking! You are doing great, it is all a learning curve and I am just five weeks in but very determined to make some changes. I will be sad when we no longer have your weekly report.
Preppy Pink Crocodile says
I don’t have any budget suggestions for you because I think you’re doing great. No one learns to ride a bike the first time they sit on one. Give yourself more credit because you’re doing more than so many other people are willing to do!
I do however have a tip for your meal prep (or any other task you don’t love). Find a podcast you enjoy and only let yourself listen to it while doing that task. Something you look forward to so that you will be more inclined to want to do the task and listen to the program. (I binged on S Town last week and it’s awesome if you need a rec)
Apparently, commenters on Mrs. HBs overpriced salads want to be positive and accommodating to her still being on a learning curve of wants versus needs. It is very nice of them . However,at this point, commiserating with and telling someone who has done something absurd and somewhat ridiculous that it is okay, when it isn’t, is not healthy nor helpful. Mrs. HB admitted to feeling sick to her stomach over it… and she should… quite frankly so do I . I was not going to comment as this is obviously negative, but decided I would anyway as a different opinion can open a healthy dialogue . It should be crystal clear that she did not need whatsoever to buy these over priced salads, she just wanted to due to lack of planning. All of this time that Mavis has spent trying to teach her about impulse shopping and only buying Needs, not submitting to wants, impulse spending, and proper planning has not sunk in. There is no reason why after learning the prices of the salads (I can’t believe Boy Scouts would want to eat a sweet pea and feta salad anyway) that she did not PUT THEM BACK. Everyone makes mistakes does stupid things and purchases things they shouldn’t …but almost $70 for some salads for a Boy Scout function is Way Beyond The Pale. What a waste … so you had extra money then?
Well, those dollars could have been donated to a food bank or woman’s shelter or an animal rescue society, even the Boy Scouts camping fund, or you could have stuck it in your kid’s piggy banks. So, on another Point since I’m on a roll here and I’m sure I will hear about it, who buys their kid a watch as an Easter gift? Easter is a religious holiday… I get it with the baskets with some candies or an Easter plant for grandma or Mom.
Just scale back Mrs. HB just scale back and rethink everything. Not just your grocery shopping but all aspects of where your money is going and why you are buying things that are outrageously priced and that you don’t need. Even if this had just been one instance the cost was outrageous but every week there are excuses as to why money was spent on things that it shouldn’t have been spent on. Now is also the time to teach the children that they will not get everything they ask for and that they need to evaluate their own Wants vs. Needs. So rethink,refocus,start again and learn from this experience. I do commend you for admitting to this grevious spending, I am certain it was difficult for you to do and wish you the best in your future purchases.
* or a razor
I agree, Lynn. While I understand the sentiment of doing things with your children, using the excuse that they grow up fast (which they do!) does not cover the sin of being a poor example in hard times. Mrs. HB, you have a good and caring relationship with your children; you do not have to buy their affection OR allow them to finagle you into purchasing something they want. That said, great deal on the chicken coop! Do not lose heart. Today is another day.
Tracy W says
Wow, that was harsh and very judgmental. I guess I prefer encouragement instead of beating someone down. When we get discouraged we tend to go back to the “comfortable”; backslide to our old nature before we were trying to change. Change is hard, humans make mistakes, but beating yourself up over it won’t change what happened. identify it. accept it, and strive to change it going forward. The change in your budget, spending, and cooking habits over the past several weeks have been encouraging. Keep at it…or as my Grandma says “keep plugging along”.
My two cents…
I agree with Lynn but I just don’t have extra money to spend like that. I would have found something less expensive to buy. Did the salad at least go or were there lots of leftovers? Cheryl
Yipes! Some of those comments are a bit harsh. I do understand where the are coming from. I think however that the fact of financial availability is not being taken into consideration here. Everyone’s finances are different. I’m sure Mrs. HB would have NEVER spent 60.00 on salads had the money NOT been available. Had she less or no money available, I’m sure she would have found a different avenue to take. Whether you make 100k a year or 25K a year will impact how you spend your money. So many factors to be taken into consideration. Dependents, deductions, on and on. Look how much Mrs. HB SAVED on the coop!! Way more than the 60.00 spent on salads! I’m awed she is sharing her spending with the world. It’s something I would NEVER be brave enough to do. Rock on Mrs. HB!!
A seventy dollar mistake might be devastating to some families, but I am guessing that Mrs. HB has a good job and is not in danger of slipping thru her safety net. I am also guessing that Mrs ,HB is very generous with others and with her donations and charitable contributions – am I right Mrs, HB?
Sometimes we need to give ourselves grace and I think that this is important for Mrs. HB to keep this in mind.
One of the reasons some of us have spending issues is that we a juggling too much and shopping becomes a stress reliever. Giving yourself grace and taking care of yourself and what you and your kids need is important Mrs. HB and I am living in the no judgement zone…. Yes you could have made other choices but you didn’t.
I keep a slush fund around for these sort of mistakes that I tend to make and it really does help me not feel guilty or ashamed when, like you, I do sometimes veer off course. We are all human and we do make decisions that are not always the decisions that others agree with or value.
Helen in Meridian says
Great find on your girls new to you doll house. I would have grabbed Costco’s asian salad complete bag and spent the difference on an electric pressure cooker for your kitchen. I really overspent on easter candy this year. I think I spent $36 on all the kinds I bought. I also went to TJ’s 3 times, and found polish pottery for mother’s day and easter gifts for sis, niece and me. TJ’s hadn’t rec’d any .when I was there for almost a year.
Angela D. says
Wow– One really needs a thick skin to read through these blog comments! Big hugs to Mrs. HB! What I took away from her post was the quality time she spent with her teenage son. Priceless. I certainly didn’t get the feeling that she has to “buy” his time; they were just out together having fun…and if they can afford to do it, then why not? It’s easy to suggest that high-earning families overspend or should donate to the needy. What’s not easy is all of the hard work Mrs. HB and her husband have put forth to get to where they are financially. Thanks for continuing to share your experiences, Mavis and Mrs. HB! I’m reading to take away what might help me, not judge you for your choices or “supposed ” mistakes.
The way I read it, I thought she bought the salads from the deli–or by the ounce/pound. I don’t think anyone can return salads to the deli.
I dunno……But I think Mrs. HB is a friggin’ ROCK STAR to be putting her stuff out there like she does! People, she is admitting to what she does whether good or bad! She doesn’t have to, jeesh! Give the woman some slack. Haters be hatin’………
BIG HUGS, Mrs. HB.