Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Frugal Francophile and Coupons

Over the weekend I went to the high-end grocery store at the high-end mall here in Madison; Metcalf Sentry at Hilldale. Shopping with classical music in the air and a tasty cafe au lait in hand is decadent, at least in my frugal mind. Weekly I undergo a debate in my mind. One side says to save every penny and shop at Woodmans, the huge warehouse grocery. Quality is not as good, finding things in stock is hit or miss, but it is cheap. Another side says that convenience and quality are more important. Saving 30 cents on eggs is not going to make or break my budget. Living frugally does not mean doing everything based on the cheapest selection. This week that later argument won out, and I was at Hilldale.

At the check out I noticed I was stuck between two very different types of shoppers. The couple in front of me bantered back in forth in French. Ah, French. My ear adores the language and it quickly brought to mind my travels in France in the mid-1990s. Their cart screamed for french cuisine. Several bottles of wine, greens, fresh fish from the seafood section, a $5.25 loaf of whole grain bread, and yogurts. Looking at their purchases, part of me longed to live more like the French. Then I looked behind me. There stood a women, mid-40s. Cart overflowing with frozen pizzas, soda, chips, and granola bars. Without a doubt an American. Then I glanced at my cart: frozen spinach, fruits, cottage cheese, eggs, milk, and quite a bit of meat. Okay, it looked more like the French people than the American lady, so I felt better about our eating habits.

As I paid and walked towards my car I decided my new year's resolution would be to work closer to eating like the French. Not easy when half our household consists of toddlers. But there are toddlers in France, what do they eat? Even if my kids prefer bagels, peanut butter, and cheese, my husband and I can certainly set an example of eating quality meals. So, if you are going to go the way of the French that means saying good-bye to most if not all processed foods. Which also means that the Sunday newspaper coupons will be on little or no use to you. That is except for the coupons this past Sunday. There, nestled between the Toys-R-Us ads and the sports section I founds several great saves:
  • $0.40 off of baker's yeast;
  • $1.00 off of spices; and
  • $0.75 or $0.45 off of "cuties" clementines.
Yes, a coupon off of fruit!!!! Now I just have to decide whether to shop on a Wednesday for double coupon day at Sentry or make a trek to Woodmans and save on their already low prices.

Photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/ - free image.

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