Shopping Sucks

We all need food and supplies to survive. At its essence, though, shopping sucks up time and money, the two biggest elements of my life that I am trying to protect. Not to mention that shopping ranks right down there with going to the dentist on my list of fun things to do.

Nevertheless, I can’t ignore the fact that food and household goods represent 20-25 percent of our monthly spending. Controlling that outlay is a must. We need to save as much money as possible to save for future events like college, a wedding and retirement.

Also, a highly overlooked cost of shopping is time. My wife Courtney has traditionally done the bulk of our shopping, but the only times she can go (Saturdays and after work on weekdays) are the worst to be at a grocery store. I’m the one with the theoretically more flexible schedule, so I’m the one who should be able to go to shopping at market down-times (i.e., weekday mornings).

But from a business perspective I have to be careful. I can’t rework my schedule without impacting my work. If I shop during my core income-generating hours, free run 4.0 v3 then I lose not only the money that I spend but also the money I could have made if I had continued working.

These are the issues that have led us to learn to shop smarter and more efficiently.

For one, we limit the number of trips we make to the store by keeping better track of what we need in the house. The key is that we record items to buy (and then re-stock them) before we run out. This limits the need for spontaneous trips to pick up one or two things we need right now. Just this one simple adjustment reduced our trips to the store by 50 percent.

Another time-suck for me is that I used to wander around the store like a lost dog, returning to aisles over and over to sniff out what I needed. So I made a spreadsheet of our most purchased items, organized by department. Now all I have to do is check off the list as I walk the circuit once. Having an idea where things are keeps my shopping trips fast.

We also bulk-purchase things that we know we will need over the long haul. The spare freezer we purchased eight years ago has paid for itself several times with the dollars and hours saved by storing large amounts of mass-purchased perishables.

One tip we can’t take advantage of anymore (because we reside in too rural an area) is ordering groceries online. When we lived in a more populated region, we used Peapod. For a $5 delivery fee, I could order everything we needed through their website in just a few minutes, as opposed to spending an hour or two making a brick-and-mortar trip.

All these strategies save us time new jordan in ancillary ways, as well. Fewer trips out equals less time packing up our daughter for a car ride, and less time dealing with tantrums because she didn’t get something she wanted at the store. It also equals less money spent on gas, and less wear and tear to the car, extending the life of our vehicles and the periods between repairs.

Now if only I can figure a way to reduce trips to the dentist…

Day 1

My wife Molly just walked out the door. She’s off to her first day at the office since our baby girl (our first) was born just over three months ago. That leaves me home alone with my daughter and my work, both of which will need oscillated attention until the end of Molly’s workday. This is a new experience for both of us (and for our baby Maggie, too, I suppose).

I am comfortable that I am prepared to the fullest — prepared to make just about every mistake possible and to appropriately adjust. It has started already.

I wanted oatmeal  for breakfast, so I got some cooking in the pot. This isn’t instant oatmeal — it’s a porridge recipe that combines rolled and steel-cut oats simmering for enough time for me to drink enough coffee on an empty stomach to give me digestive-tract problems for half the day. (Rationing is key.)

And, as I have done for nine years of working from home, I made one portion.  So I can eat today, but if I want oatmeal again tomorrow or Thursday or Friday, I’ll have Air Jordan Femme to cook more from scratch. I would have served myself better by preparing a big batch and refrigerating the leftovers.

(I used to know this. In my living-alone days I would  often make a quiche at the beginning of the week and reheat a piece for a quick breakfast for days afterward.)

Well, Day 1 and Lesson 1 is learned before Coffee 1 is fully drunk. (I rationed successfully.)

Lesson 2? I’ll need to learn to write in fragmented time segments. In crafting just these 342 words, I have had to change one wet diaper and have been alerted air jordan 4 to a messy one. And Maggie got tired of listening to the muffled Mozart of her playmat and demanded a more fun option. So here I sit, typing these last two paragraphs with one hand, while mi hija straddles my left thigh, kicking her legs and smiling at her newest favorite ditty, “Banana Boat Song.”

Daylight come and I work from home.