Sometimes I find myself focusing way too much on money. I stand in the grocery store aisle staring at shelves and shelves of items, trying to figure out whether I should buy the larger can or the smaller one; the name brand or the generic.
I waste time staring at a wad of flimsy newspaper clippings, trying to match sale items with coupons. I once spent three minutes riffling through my binder in search of a coupon for butter. I catch myself running to the grocery store in the middle of the week in order to use a coupon for $5 off a $40 purchase or kicking myself for noticing that a high value coupon has expired.
While spending some time comparing items, clipping coupons and searching for sales is certainly worthwhile, I wonder if my overall savings goals are too extreme. Do I really need to aim for a minimum of 20 to 30% off the bill every time I shop for things?
Last weekend I planned to drive to the grocery store to pick up items for three days worth of breakfasts and brunches. When I rattled off the typical list of eggs, bacon, bread, coffee, cereal and donuts my husband suggested I pick up food from the local, but highly overpriced market in town.
He pointed out the beautiful weather and suggested that it was more important to enjoy the day then to save the money. Rather than driving fifteen to twenty minutes out of my way, I could travel just five and have every thing I needed, but in order to save time I would certainly spend a lot more money.
After thinking it over for a minute longer than I should have, I opted to drive to the local market where I spent $55 for food that would have otherwise cost $25 to $30 after sales and coupons. My husband came along for the ride. We drove to the store, shopped, loaded the car with groceries, drove back home, unloaded everything into the fridge and cupboard and were back outside enjoying the weather within a matter of minutes.
As we sat on our back deck enjoying the weather I had to admit that the time saved was definitely worth the higher prices. Yet, somehow, despite that recognition I still struggled with the idea that a slightly longer drive would have saved us $25.