Although I've been fortunate in my life to have never worried where my next meal was coming from or whether I'd have enough money to pay the rent, I still know how to pinch a penny. After all, if I don't over pay for groceries or clothes, there's more left over for fun things like travel, theater tickets, and a really nice dinner out.
I used to be pretty good at scouring the weekly grocery circulars, menu planning around the loss leaders, and maximizing my savings with manufacturer's coupons. All that went out the window when we went to France where there were rarely promotions in the supermarket and the coupons were mostly for stuff I didn't want to buy anyway. But now that we're back, I'm having a hard time getting back into the groove. For starters, I have no idea what anything is supposed to cost anymore. Is $3.99 a gallon a good price to pay for milk? It's hard to know when you've gotten used to 2.75 euros for two liters. (The math for the currency and volume conversions kind of breaks my brain.) What does a steak go for? A pound of zucchini? A half gallon of ice cream? What should I buy in the full service market and what's worth a trip to Trader Joe's or even Costco (which we recently joined to get some major savings on a new TV)? And just how much time do I want to spend grocery shopping anyway?!!
So for the moment, I'm taking things slowly, one meal at a time. Come to think of it, our grill comes out of storage on Friday and we could do burgers. Excuse me while I go cross check the prices on ground beef.