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A Small Example of How Being Too Busy Has Cost Our Family Money

March 25, 2011 · 15 comments

in Personal Finance

Things have been kind of crazy here since the beginning of February and I have to admit, I have let a few things slide.  Namely, grocery shopping.  I looked in the pantry a few days ago, and I don’t think I have ever seen it so empty!  I usually check what is on sale each week, organize my coupons, and stock up on things I know we will use in the next couple months.  I should have known we were in trouble last week when I realized I didn’t have even one box of pasta.

Needless to say, we have surprisingly been running out of things lately, and I was forced to pay the piper on Wednesday.

My shopping trip began after I dropped my son off at soccer practice.  I was forced to shop at the grocery store closest to the soccer field because I was short on time.  The store I chose is part of  a very small chain, with maybe three stores in our area.  I am not real familiar with this establishment, but I can say I was shocked when they were advertising avocados for $1.99 each, like that was some kind of a good deal.  Fortunately, I only desperately needed three items:  Bounce Free sheets, toothpaste, and bread.  I would have preferred to buy more items, but the prices were so high I only wanted to purchase necessities.  I ended up paying almost five dollars for those Bounce sheets and the toothpaste was expensive too. (The bread was reasonably priced at least.)   I cringed putting those items in my cart as it went against all my shopping beliefs.  But, sometimes in life, convenience has to take precedence over cost.

While I was shopping, I thought about how so many people cannot stand Wal-Mart because they feel big box stores put the little guys out of business.  I understand the empathy for the little guy, but I realized that I am not willing to pay extra money out of my pocket just to keep smaller stores in business, all other things being equal.  I realize that many people may not appreciate my philosophy, but if there had been a less expensive grocery store right next door to this small chain store, I totally would have gone to the cheaper grocery store.

Now, if the prices are comparable, I would definitely support the little guy.  Or if the service was great at the small business or there was some other differentiating factor, I would patronize the smaller establishment.  For example, I would much rather go to the small hardware store near my house as opposed to Home Depot because I always need help in a hardware store, and nobody ever seems available to help in the bigger stores.  However, for everyday shopping, I prefer the least expensive store I can find.  I don’t need to interact with anyone except a cashier and I can make all my purchasing decisions without the help of anyone else.

What do you think?  Am I just cruel-hearted, or a savvy shopper?

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