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Revoking Shopping Rights…


I wasn’t joking on Tuesday when I asked my husband to do the grocery shopping for the next four weeks. I can’t resist Easter candy and we can’t afford it so I thought it would be a good idea.



Last night, I asked my husband to pick up tomato soup and bread for dinner. Total spending shouldn’t have been more than $5.

He spent half our grocery budget – mostly on snack items I never buy.

He was excited to have ‘helped’ and I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’m not sure how we’re going to eat the rest of the month unless I can make meals out of Fritos, beef jerky, and Oreo cookies.

I had wheat bread with tomato soup for dinner last night and wheat bread with oranges for lunch today. 26 more days of 50 cent meals.

I can’t be mad. He was willing to take over the shopping without complaint and bought the things he thought I would like. Sure I’ll be eating wheat bread with carrots or oranges for the next 26 days, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m married to a sweet man… a sweet man who won’t be doing any more grocery shopping alone in the near future.


  • Reply Abigail |

    Oh boy I feel ya.

    I was going to Albertsons, which is the farthest grocery store from us. (About 5 miles instead of 1.5 for the other two.) It’s not REALLY far but I still consider it out of the way.

    So when my husband wanted to go instead, I wrote down the explanations as best I could and handed him the coupons. I had 15 “75 cents off 2” coupons for the TP on sale. Since a four-pack was priced at $1 that week, that meant $1.25 for two.

    He came home with 18 packs and a rain check for the rest. Except that the store had posted a note saying the price had been a misprint. The actual price was $1.69 (30 cents off). But he didn’t have his cell phone so he bought them anyway.

    Which means, instead of $1.25 for two 4-packs, we paid $1.31 for ONE.

    Incidentally, I recommend lots of rice and beans dishes. It’s about all you can really do if you have to stick that closely to a budget.

  • Reply Amy Turner |

    Hilarious!!! Love that post. That is exactly what my husband would have bought. I look forward to keeping up with your progress.

  • Reply Darc |

    I remember when I was a kid and Dad went grocery shopping w/Mom it was the best thing. We would get all kinds of snack food that Mom NEVER bought. I guess some things transcend generations. 🙂

  • Reply Janelle |

    That is exactly why I don’t send my husband in the store! God bless him, but ya know he just doesn’t get it. Example: we were at the store together last week, I asked him to grab a pound of butter to get us by till I got to Costco. There was a big sign, $2.49 a pound. He picked up the obscure one above it for $4.49 a pound. I was glad I caught it. When I pointed it out, he just said, ‘Well its just 2 bucks.’ Huh?? Yeah, 2 bucks times 20 with every other item that would find its way into my cart!

    What is weird is this is the man who packs his lunch, never buys coffee out, and rarely will hit a drive-thru. Weird.

  • Reply jaye |

    Can you return any of those fabulous snack foods? Maybe pick up something you can eat for lunch? Our store takes everything back. I have definitely returned some of my husband’s mistakes.

    Wheat bread and carrots sounds dismal. Though you could make some hummos if you have a food processor. It’s really cheap if you make it at home (I’d be happy to pass on the recipe). Or make some soup and bring it in a thermos! You must have some kind of ingredients left in the back of your pantry or wilting in your veggie drawer.

    I have to tell you: Every time I pass a display of Cadbury Mini-Eggs, I smile. They’re $2.99 here on the East coast this week, too. I think I may just make it through the season without succumbing thanks to you and your tale of karma! I loved it.

  • Reply Jenn |

    Hubby was looking for an erand to kill time while waiting for our daughter’s TaeKwanDo class. I suggested he pick up some grapes and bananas as I was running short for the kids lunches. When he got home I looked over the receipt. Fruit $3.15, DVD $10, chips $5/3…. Everything but the fruit was taxable so sending him for a little fruit resulted in a bill of just over $20. Next time I’ll find something else to put in the kids lunches until I can get there myself.

    We do the groceries together every Saturday and he’s used to me micro managing everything that goes in the cart. Maybe I caused this by being too frugal? I can just picture him running through the store “unsupervised” grabbing things that would never get in the cart if I was there.

  • Reply Cynthia |

    Hate to say it but your Mom told you so. 🙂

    Fortunately for me my husband is an excellent frugal grocery shopper and his bill is usually lower than mine when he does the shopping. He’s pretty frugal anyway…it’s me who puts us in danger of over-running the budget each month! I’m getting better though.

  • Reply Sandy |

    My grocery shopping day last weekend was really good! My total bill was $96, but with all the coupons and club card discount, it only amounted to $58!!!! I was really happy when I left the store.
    That’s sweet of your husband to offer to take over the grocery chores. I totally understand how you feel, my husband is the same way! Whenever we go to the grocery, the bill seems to go higher because he ends up adding stuff that “I’ll like. Sweet, but during these times we need to rein in our spending. =)

  • Reply Jen |

    Have you tried using a list? A very specific list, such as “1 lb Land O Lakes salted butter?” My mom would write up the grocery list each week, and she’d even organize the items on the list to match where they were in the store. She didn’t need to list the brand since I knew which brands she bought, but I’m sure if I ever made a mistake she’d fix that the next time.

    Interestingly enough, she liked it when I did the shopping because 1) she HATES grocery shopping and 2) the groceries costs less when I shopped because I bought only what was on the list. If she went, she’d see other items she’d forgotten we needed, or she’d see some new product she wanted to try. That’s what I do now when I shop for myself.

  • Reply Honey |

    This is funny because my boyfriend is exactly the same way. It’s like men don’t understand that food costs money, or that food money is somehow different than other money. I remember many times we’ve gone shopping together and I told him at the beginning of the trip, “money is tight and we only have xxx to spend,” and he STILL buys two bags of the $5 gourmet chips! And when I say, what are you doing, he is totally confused!

  • Reply Sallie's Niece |

    I’m sorry this happened. I would be pretty mad. And I can’t lump all men together like several of your commenters have. My fiance and I like to grocery shop together. He spends an hour every Sunday going through the coupons and making our list.

  • Reply Lynn |

    I hate sending my husband to the store alone because he undoubtedly buys a lot more than we need. And most of it is junk – and he uses the excuse that its for me. “Oh I bought you Honey Mustard and Onion pretzels honey, aren’t you happy?” Guess who ends up eating most of them? Not me! He also uses our children as an excuse too – it drives me bonkers!

  • Reply Jenn |

    I feel ya also, my husband doesn’t do any shopping, even with a list he will still buy stuff we absolutely do not need. My favorite is the cheez whiz he always comes home with…I mean really, that stuff is just nasty!

  • Reply Ronnie |

    I guess I’m with Sallie’s Niece here. My boyfriend goes through the circulars, I do the couponing and menu planning, we both go through the kitchen to see what items we need, and he often does the shopping because I HATE grocery shopping. We were a little silly last month on our bill, so I have to step up the menuing to get us back down to a reasonable range!

  • Reply T |

    I have to second the idea of returning anything that’s unopened if the money situation (and/or health situation) is that dire.

    Heck, I’m going to return some maple syrup later today. Our money situation isn’t dire at all, but that’s ~$15 that we didn’t need to spend (there was a debate about whether we owned it already or not). I’ve never had a problem getting something returned that was unopened, or that had gone bad.

    I also can’t lump all men into the same boat, especially since I (the female half of the couple) am far more the “impulse buyer” in our household. He and I both do so, but I’m worse at it.

    Anyway, maybe a list would help. Or, more likely, reminding yourself how much in fat & money those mini-eggs cost and going shopping with your husband. I find that when I go shopping with my guy, he and I prop each other up in making good choices. Plus, it’s a lot more fun that way!

  • Reply Honey |

    I think that part of the male-shopping-SNAFU (which is a marked trend despite those lucky enough to have partners who don’t adhere to it!) is that it seems like the average man has a very limited understanding of nutritional information compared to the average woman.

    My boyfriend often doesn’t know something is bad for him (and is surprised when I explain); the rest of the time, he figures the fact that he is an attorney who works 80 hours/week, doesn’t exercise, and has a family history of heart disease will never catch up with him even if he makes poor food choices.

  • Reply Michelle H. |

    This reminds me of a story my mom told about my dad grocery shopping when she’d just had a baby and couldn’t get out. He NEVER went shopping and had no idea where to find anything or how much things were supposed to cost. She put TP on the list for “toilet paper” only to find that my dad had bought 12 cans of tomato paste!

  • Reply oilandgarlic |

    I also wouldn’t lump all men together. My husband cooks and does the grocery shopping. He’s a better cook than most women I know. He isn’t as aware of prices as I am but once we set a budget, he got much better at watching for sales. Yes, men can learn. They’re probably smarter too because if they mess up chore after chore, they know that most women will never let them do it again!

    By the way, my best advice for working women is to share cooking duties even if you enjoy it more, because cooking is not just one simple chore. It also involves planning meals, packing lunches for everyone (sometimes) and grocery shopping. Unlike other chores, it has to be done daily so you’re really getting the short end of the stick if you work.

  • Reply Beks |

    Jaye – I’ll take a hummus recipe any day! I love the stuff! And if you can resist those great eggs, you are a far better person than me!! ; )

    All – At least most hubby’s are like mine! I’m not alone.

    Cynthia – I know. She totally called it. That’s what mom’s do.

    Sandy – Don’t you love shopping trips like that?

    T – Our money situation isn’t dire. We could afford to pull the cash from savings but I’d rather stick to my guns and struggle through the next three weeks. I’d hate to get into the habit of pulling out money ‘just this once’.

  • Reply jaye |

    I started making my own hummus because I love the stuff but can’t stand to pay $4.99 for something that’s so easy and cheap to make.

    My recipe is based on the Barefoot Contessa recipe, with a few simple changes. I like it with a little spiciness. Reduce the Tabasco to 8 dashes if you like it with less spice. I often wait to add the salt, as the amount needed really depends on the saltiness of the chickpeas.

    Feel free to use the recipe as a starting point. Sometimes I add chipotle peppers, roasted peppers, more lemon, etc., etc. I hope you enjoy it!

    This recipe makes quite a lot… about 3 cups, I think. It lasts for quite a while.

    Okay, here it is:
    2-15 oz cans chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
    1 tsp kosher salt or more to taste
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1/3 c tahini (sesame paste)
    6 T lemon juice (juice from 2 lemons)
    6 T reserved liquid from chickpeas (or water)
    10 dashes Tabasco
    Freshly ground pepper, to taste.

    Put all ingredients in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until coarsely puréed. Adjust salt, Tabasco and/or lemon juice to taste.

  • Reply Debt Free Dude |

    I don’t think women understand just how hard it is for a man to go shopping. When we had our second child my wife sent me to the grocery store several times and it was always a very painful experience and took 5 times as long. I did get better, but I’m still not nearly as good as her.

  • Reply Joe Dirt |

    Why not return the junk food? And if you are not able to talk to him about this, well then, it might mean you have a bigger problem then money.

  • Reply T |

    Just for the record, Beks, I definitely wasn’t suggesting you pull money out to cover the food. I was suggesting returning unopened junk food to recover some of the grocery budget.

    I returned that maple syrup, and it was as easy as expected. In fact, the woman was surprised I was returning it unopened. I think she figured she had a return based on me not liking it.

    Grocery stores are surprisingly good at taking returns.

So, what do you think ?