Thursday, August 16, 2012

Adventures in Wifedom: Tips for Savvy Shopping

No shame, I'll just say it: this one's for the new wives.  For the out-of-our-parent's-housers. For the keeper's of the pad, be it a bachelor's or a bachelorette's. This one's for the people who are finding themselves suddenly responsible for themselves. For those of us that have recently had the sudden realization that houses do not just exist in harmony on their own, those of us that thought at one point, "Oh. So all that shopping and cleaning...that's a regular part of life now, a regular part of my life...oh." For those of us who immediately feel like a four year old as soon as we've had that thought.

If you are one of those people, can.I.get.a.HEY-O!

If I ever get current enough to do *features on this blog, you can bet one of them will be dubbed "Adventures in Wifedom" and it will chronicle all the epic moments I have learning to be a wife. Oh heck, let's pretend like I already have a feature. Here we go.

This week's adventure found me sitting, somewhat hopelessly, on the floor of our living room with the Gateway Shopper (the weekly set of all of Sturgis's local store's ads) spread out across the coffee table.  I have, in the past two months, successfully been able to compare the ads and put together a week's menu and its corresponding grocery list.  This week, however, it looked like I would have to run all over town and visit at least three different stores in order to get everything I needed at a reasonable price.

That thought put me in a bit of a rough mood, and if you have ever gone shopping with me - or if you've met me - you can probably imagine why.



That little bit of truth is magnified when I walk into stores.  I am way overstimulated.  There is just too much stuff.  The bigger the store, the more options, the harder a time I have.  It gets to the point where I am so overwhelmed that I physically feel a tightness in my chest and my breathing gets shallow. Ergo, I generally opt for smaller stores where I kind of know my way around and can prepare myself mentally before I go.  Even then, list and all, there is always something that I forget.

(I am being dead serious about all of this...even though I know it is totally ridiculous as I type it.)

So I had my dilemma. I was faced with spending my entire afternoon, and my precious gas, suffering in all every store Sturgis has to offer.  Of course there was another option in the back of my mind.

could have a one-stop shopping experience.
I could travel to the land of evil.
I could sell my soul and choose to suffer the terribly distressing aisles...

...of Walmart.

If a regular grocery store upsets me, you can imagine the way I'm inflicted in a megastore like Walmart. I can hardly handle myself. If you add to that the fact that our Walmart here in Sturgis is almost completely void of a staff that is willing and able to help their becomes a place that I really like to avoid.

Today, however, it seemed like it was worth it.  It seemed to me like I could save at least a little time, and more than a little gas. They weren't offering the best deals in town, either, but I had recently seen ads on TV that hailed their price matching offers, so I decided to go for it.

I streamlined my grocery list to try and make it as efficient and understandable as possible.  I wanted to be able to get the items on my list from top to bottom without running back and forth across the store in a panic attack.  That took a little time, but it was worth it.  I also took my headphones and listened to music in an attempt to block out every and any thing that might distract me from my mission. That was probably one of the best ideas I've ever had. I think I only spent about an hour in the belly of the beast, and that includes an unplanned pit stop. For me, an hour is a remarkable record.

There may have been some celebratory dancing.

By the time I got in line, I had concluded that it was undoubtedly the best Walmart trip I had ever made. And that's when I met Ashley the cashier. (Cashette?) She was the friendly type; she asked me how I was doing and looked as if she may have actually cared. I had already heard her chatting with the woman in front of me and had judged her to be the congenial type, so I wasn't intimidated about being personable once it was my turn. That was important because I was a little bit (palms pools of sweat) nervous about asking for the price matches. I had never done it before and...well...people can be weird about coupons and stuff like that. I mean, it's already like saying, "Hey, um, I'm cheap and therefore am going to ask you to do about four extra steps in this process to save some money. Okay? Here we go..." I was lucky, though, because I found out that Ashley was a fellow cheapskate. Not only did she give me my price matches without missing a beat, but she gave me some tips as well.  Because I love you, I'll share them with you.

1.) You don't need to bring the ad with you to the store.  There's a sign right above the register that says so.  Just make a note on your grocery list about the price you want to match, but...

2.) ...the items need to be of "equal" value. Same size, same brand, yadda yadda yadda.  If you are trying to match a store brand, you need to compare it to Walmart's brand.  She mentioned that certain items like produce were sometimes a little finicky, but as long as you find a chill cashier who isn't looking to make the customers miserable, you're in the clear.

3.) Probably my favorite tip of all, definitely the one that blew my mind: compare ads online.  Ashley told me that she never pays more than a $1.50 for milk, and $5 for twelve rolls of name brand toilet paper. I was like, "What the what? Where is that sale happening?!" Well, miles away, of course.  There isn't an Aldi's anywhere near Sturgis, but a little time online, and I have their beautiful prices available to me right down the road.

I know that to those of you who have been running a house for a long time, this seems elementary. Well, yeah, maybe. For us noobs though, this is earth-shaking. Embrace it, friends. Be cheap and be proud.

Okay, now you weigh in!! Do you have any tips on how I can be a more savvy shopper?

*For my faithful reader friends that don't spend a lot of time on the blogosphere, and yet are gracious enough to read here: A "feature" refers to a category of posts that would share a similar theme or content set and that would appear regularly on the blog. Something you could look forward to and dream about...because I know you dream about this blog. Admit it.


  1. "For us noobs though, this is earth-shaking." ahahaha... so that pretty much makes me a noob. I've been on this Wifedom adventure for 6 years and was never brave enough to ask about price matching. So... thank you, thank you, thank you. And... pretty sure my husband thanks you too :)

  2. I didn't even think about asking Wal-Mart to do price-matching! That's where I've been doing all of my shopping for the past two years, but then last week I decided to check out local ads to try to save money and ended up going to three different stores. It took 3 hours! Ugh, I would have saved soooo much time if I had asked Wal-Mart to just match the Publix/Winn-Dixie prices! Thanks for the tip!