For some, that’s laundry. For others, it’s vacuuming. Some can’t stand to do dishes by hand.
But I’d do all of those chores to avoid going to the grocery store.
I hate it.
From the moment I walk in the door, my trip is doomed.
I always manage to pick a cart with a wobbly wheel that won’t make turns, which makes it nearly impossible to navigate the narrow aisles.
And no matter how detailed of a list I make, I always seem to go over budget.
After a particularly unsuccessful trip to the grocery story, I complained to my husband.
To my surprise, William happily volunteered to go in my place — even after I told him the horror stories of the towering floor displays.
I anxiously watched him go through the cupboards and fridge making a list before his first trip.
“Don’t forget, we need more of this.”
“And we’re almost out of that.”
“Oh, and Vincent needs more snacks for his lunches, too,” I spouted off.
“You do know that you’re the one who asked for help?” he reminded me. “Let me do the shopping, OK?”
I told him the budget was $100 (though I never can stick to it), and handed him the cash.
About an hour passed before William returned with our groceries for the week.
As he was pulling items out of the bags to show me what he bought, I scrutinized each purchase.
“You bought chunky applesauce.” I said. “Our son is not going to like that.”
“He’ll be OK,” he said. For the record, when I tried serving the chunky applesauce the next morning, it was greeted with an upturned nose from Vincent.
As we finished putting the groceries away, William told me he was under budget.
I was both shocked and pleasantly surprised.
He had stuck to the list he made, bought some of the items in bulk and avoided junk food. Somehow he was filling the fridge and cupboards for less than $100.
The next grocery trip for William was again under budget, and he bought everything on the list — this time, no chunky applesauce.
He put the receipts and leftover cash in an envelope to keep track of spending.
He also attached a whiteboard to the inside of a cupboard door to help us plan our meals and decide which items we need for our grocery list (and stay on budget).
William continued this for about a month before I returned to my role as grocery shopper for the family.
The much-needed break allowed me to return to the store with a new lease on this whole grocery thing.
I’m using the tips I learned from William and my iPod to stay sane in the aisles.
And even though I still managed to pick a rogue cart last time I was there, I came in $25 under budget. Maybe grocery shopping isn’t so bad after all.
Sam Dellinger is a graphic designer at York Daily Record/Sunday News. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.