My Thursday last week started with me going over my grocery shopping lists, checking and double checking that I would only purchase the items I needed for specific meals. No extra candy bars. No bag of cookies that was on sale, 2 for $5.00. To doubly ensure my “only on the list” personal purchase policy, I made sure I had a good breakfast, complete with my cup of coffee. Any of you ever experienced that moment, in the middle of your errands and usually on the snack aisle, when the hunger pains hit? For me, it’s the moment I realize I want to eat everything, and anything that is “on sale” is fair game. Thus, my shopping list is rendered useless, and I arrive home with a pound of hamburger, some baby carrots and a bag sponsored by Pepperidge Farm. So, I prepared myself this time by eating a meal and sticking a granola bar in my purse — strategy, it is all about strategy.

Once at the local store, I spent two hours patrolling the aisles, comparing generic and name brand prices, and then scanning the barcodes with a price-checking app on my smartphone. I recorded prices on my list, to compare at the other local store in town. I walked all of the aisles at the second store, even if I’d purchased an item at the first, and wrote down their prices as well. I did not use coupons, but I did try to only buy things that were on sale, or at a lesser price compared to competitors. If I saw something I “wanted,” I looked at my list, and if the list said, “No,” I sighed, put the chocolate down, then listened and obeyed. When the list said, “Yes,” I have to admit I started smiling and tended to happily make my way down the rest of the aisle, with a noticeable bounce in my step. I attracted a lot of attention from other shoppers, but they were easily ignored as I pursued the completion of my list. I was the epitome of focus. When I put that much preparation into a shopping trip, I became determined to accomplish my goal. And I only ventured down the snack lane once. But I saved that for the very last task, and you know what? Strolling down between the shelves of salty and sweet goodness couldn’t tempt me away from the satisfaction of having that list conquered!

Overall, I spent about $100 on the trip, and have enough items for two weeks of healthy homemade meals and snacks for our family of two. I am very satisfied with that, since we could spend that same $100 going out to dinner only five times.

Staying at the store for more than three hours made me very glad that I’d bought everything I needed, too. I have no desire to go back to a grocery store for at least a month. Hopefully the pricing will help it go faster next time, though. Much faster.

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