Shopping vs. Saving

Yesterday was the last day of the month and in spite of my best intentions I went shopping. I was really excited as I was going to be under my budget this month and was looking forward to saving the extra money. The problem is that on Tuesday I offered to host my mum’s birthday lunch for the family which means I couldn’t avoid spending.

A friend of mine was hosting a NYE party and since we both needed to do groceries I picked her up so we could have a bit of a visit and be adults. The test came when she asked to go to a superstore rather than a regular grocery.

I normally avoid this store as it often has terrible sales masquerading as good deals, is chocked full of things that I want but don’t need, and is ginormous. As it’s part of the grocery chain from which I get additional points for shopping I decided to stay focused and keep an eye on my prices.

I was doing well since I knew what I had in my budget. Then it happened. I wandered into their Christmas discount section. Standing before me was my tree except it had lights – it was a pre-lit version of my tree. It was the tree I wish I had purchased 7 years ago and it was deeply discounted. ML and I had spoken about replacing our current tree as it’s been losing branches over the last 2 years. The cost of this tree was 1/3 of the sales price we had agreed on. The tree went into my cart.

I then turned a critical eye on my cart:Did I need the extra tray of chicken? Was the lettuce a great deal or would I waste it? Any item that didn’t past my test went back on the shelf. My bill was still going to be a bit higher than I had anticipated for the grocery run but I would not be blowing the December budget.

Yet I felt a pang of regret. Shopping on NYE in a superstore gives you time to reflect on your choices as people meander through the aisles. I realized I was a bit upset that I wasn’t putting extra money towards my savings. I took another look at the cart: Would all these things bring me true joy?

The answer was yes. The ingredients for my mum’s birthday lunch including the extra items that weren’t on my list would make her birthday special. Every year I put up my current tree I miss lights so the tree in my cart also passed the test. I struggle with frugal vs. cheap every so often and that was an “aha” moment. If I have the money available and these things will genuinely make me happy then purchasing them makes sense.

When I got to cash and scanned my card to collect my points it turned out I had more than enough points to cover my grocery run. So I treated myself. As the points can be cashed in increments of $20 I ended up paying $4 for the $84 bill. It was a lovely way to have my cake and eat it.



One thought on “Shopping vs. Saving

  1. I think in the end, you were making a smart decision even if you had to pay the extra $80 now. Yes the budget would have been blown but you had taken care of a big expense for next Christmas without paying the big expense. This is where a budget needs wiggle room. If I see something I need later and I can get it much cheaper now, I go ahead and get it because it is saving me in a future budget.


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