Monday, February 22, 2016

The Day I Shopped for Groceries Myself--with Children!

My long-time blog readers know that I do all my grocery shopping online and have done so since I was pregnant with #3. Any specialty shopping at Trader Joe's or Costco is done by my husband every few weeks.

When my children do get to enter a grocery store, they act like kids from Cold War Russia who have never seen stocked shelves before.

my grocery haul for half what I'd normally spend

Lately, my girl friends and I have been talking about Aldi, the very inexpensive grocery store, owned by the same company as the hip Trader Joe's, as it gets renewed, positive press for having recently removed many unhealthful ingredients from all of its foods (the same way TJs did years ago). Healthier options and dirt cheap?

I decided to give Aldi's another try as a way to cut the fat from our grocery spending. Unfortunately for me, that means actually going grocery shopping in person. The first time I did it, I went with just my baby, and even then I felt harried because I'm so out of practice standing in the aisle making decisions (as opposed to sitting at my computer making decisions).

The second time I did it, I went on a Saturday, knowing it was my last opportunity before Chris left town all week. It was now or never (not really never, but you understand my dramatic perception). I was going and a team of wild horses wasn't going to stop me.

Here's where it got funny--as far as the lives of boring homemakers go!

The idea was that I'd take only a couple of big children with me, leaving the rest with Chris, but then Chris took my biggest helper and left on his own errands. Never mind, I am strong and I would still go.

The time kept getting away from me as one after another of fifteen-minute urgent childcare tasks came up and now my window of opportunity was rapidly closing. Never mind, I am fast and I would still go.

All potty checks completed and feed shod, I loaded up the children, whereupon I noticed that my three-year-old was wearing his pajamas. To my credit, he had been wearing daytime clothing earlier, but his daddy had given him a needed mid-day bath right before nap time, so put him in pajamas unexpectedly at that time and I just hadn't noticed. I am not a mother who lets her children go out in pajamas past infancy when there is no distinction between pajamas and daytime clothing anyway, so you can only imagine how bullheaded I was being when I declared . . . I don't care what others think, I would still go.

As we were pulling into the grocery store, I remembered that I had failed to bring paper shopping bags with me, to this store that does not provide them unless the customer purchases them for six cents apiece. I glanced at the clock at it was already 3:15, when normally I need to be standing in my kitchen beginning to cook dinner at 4:00. No time to drive home and grab shopping bags. At this point, I almost started crying but decided I DIDN'T CARE WHAT I HAD TO DO: I WAS DOING A REAL GROCERY SHOPPING TRIP LIKE A REAL HOMEMAKER DOES AND WE WOULD CARRY THE GROCERIES IN OUR BARE HANDS IF WE HAD TO. I WOULD STILL GO!

(And isn't it psychologically fascinating that the option of buying, say, six paper sacks at six cents apiece did not cross my mind because "that is wasteful" and the whole point of going to this store was to "save money." I'm sure Aldi's has done studies on this behavior.)

My husband (and parents!) know that I am bull-headed, which can be a pro and a con. I just really couldn't stand the notion that I can't even manage a simple grocery shopping trip with my kids, unlike virtually all other mothers in the world. Pride, pride, pride . . .

It went fine, although required all my patience to behave as a wise, gentle mother in the aisles. I wouldn't volunteer to shop with a whole load of children if I can help it! We got home late, with no dinner plan, and a bunch of hungry birds.

But, I managed a grocery shopping trip and I saved probably half what I spend at our regular store!


  1. Way to go K! I have become a very regular Aldi shopper and you just can't beat the savings. I do everything possible to go sans children though!

  2. I LOVE Aldi!! As a veteran Aldi shopper here are a few tips. Always keep an Aldi quarter in the car for your cart. I keep a stash of plastic grocery bags in the van in case I forget my good reusable bags. If you are without any bags the chip, paper plate, and cereal boxes work great for loading up the groceries.
    Funny story. I took my 5 yo shopping with me on Monday. We just needed a few things and a couple of those were not found at Aldi so I was just going to go to Walmart for everything. My 5 yo was appalled. "But mommy most of the things on the list are so much cheaper at Aldi!" We made 2 stops!