From the new eBook: All Four Burners Ways to Make Meal Prep and Life in The Kitchen Easier.
“The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and leaving with only a loaf are a billion to one” – Erma Bombeck
As a writer and humorist Mrs B was known for her keen observations on daily life. Through her syndicated newspaper column she let people into the life of a housewife. Making time for Julia Child like fun is a challenge for many. As is grocery shopping.
To be fair, the shelves in the stores of today are heavy with selection. 11 flavors of this, 15 of that. It is amazing to me just how many times something can be repackaged. Apparently I’m not the only one who has given this some thought. One online study shows that over a 30 year period from 1978 – 2008, the average number of items in our supermarkets increased from 8900 to over 47,000. Is it any wonder then why shopping has become such a task?
Growing up grocery shopping was actually something of an adventure. My mother was the original extreme couponer. Long before a television show about it, I clearly remember a small, tan, plastic filing box. The type just large enough for index cards. Except instead of index cards there were newspaper clippings, coupons, and two-for-ones. I should know, I helped cut them out of the inserts from the Sunday paper every week. I looked forward to getting to the checkout and watching to see how much the total bill came down. You see, she typically shopped for the whole month and we most often had 2 carts to push.
In some cultures it is chic to only buy for the meal at hand. Across the pond in France for example, a trip to the supermarche is quite different than here in the states. French kitchens, unlike their American counterparts, are much smaller and most often do not have the room for wholesale 12 packs of canned goods. Also en france, it is typical to visit one shop for your produce and the quaint bakery for your baguette.
The french also adhere to a culinary philosphy of fresh, fresh, and nothing but.
The store with the 10 foot long receipts
Back when I was a kid one-stop-shop was the way to go, and we had a large freezer in the garage to accomodate everything. With all the aforementioned abundance of selection, a little comparison shopping is a down right necessity, and couponing a true art form. I suppose it always has been, although with the advent of the world wide web it’s gotten incredibly sophisticated as stores have doubled down on us walking out with $50 worth of merch for a mere $1.64. Over the years I’ve known some truly talented couponers – some even getting paid by the store. Albeit in rain checks but still, I’ll take a rain check.
Some cashiers even seem to resent all this. Truth be told I really don’t understand why they care what we’re doing, and I have politely requested to speak with management on more than one occasion. I also don’t remember anyone ever giving my mother a hard time with her box of savings. Maybe I just didn’t notice.
Have a good system and by that I mean know what it is you’re shopping for. One truly gifted couponer I knew had three kids. Thats a lot of shampoo, so big ticket items for her were hair products. Pick what is essential week to week. Shaving cream, paper towels, laundry detergent, whatever it may be start looking for coupons for those items.
Becoming familiar with a little lingo also helps. “Stacking” for example, refers to using multiple coupons for the same item. You may have an in-store coupon for paper towels combined with a manufacturer’s printed from online.
If you’d like a cyber-monday free copy go here! ⤵
“It’s choice not chance, that determines your destiny” – Jean Nidetch