My 3 Monsters: Desperately Seeking Simplicity

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1.10.2010

Desperately Seeking Simplicity



OK, so maybe I'm making just one teeny tiny little resolution this year.

I resolve to SIMPLIFY my life.

As a creative thinker and a perfectionist, I tend to over-complicate many things.  I do more than is strictly necessary and no one reaps the benefits of my over-action.  Except for me.  I get a sick satisfaction in knowing that I did it my way, which is, of course, the right way. I'm starting with the grocery shopping, a chore that I detest.  It has always been a day-long project: poring over the ads, cross-referencing with my coupons, deciding what to make each night of the week, writing a list, organizing my things, going to three different stores (on an easy trip) and putting it all away.   My purse is littered with scraps of paper containing old grocery lists and crumpled receipts.  And I always over spend.  Always.  This year we're on a tight budget, what with our war on personal debt.  And by tight, I don't mean slightly uncomfortable.  Remember the jeans you wore in high school?  Now imagine putting them on today.  Yeah, that tight. But that's our choice and a few years from now we'll be swimming in those figurative jeans.  However, overspending now is not really an option.  Also, I've come to realize that my time is a valuable commodity. I don't want to spend an ENTIRE DAY each week procuring food for my family.

I've been thinking about this for months.  How?  How can I make it better?  How can I find the happy medium between tedious planning and running willy-nilly through the store buying whatever looks good, but is really bad for my waistline AND my bottom line?  Then it occurred to me: Automation.  Ninety percent of my list is the same from week to week.  I buy the same handful of items at Costco every month.  Most of the "old stand by" recipes my family loves require the same basic ingredients.  What if I made up a "master list" (and printed it out and laminated it -- oooh, my OCD heart just lept for joy) that I could use as starting point every week.  Then, knowing what's on the master list, I can clip only the coupons each week that will work for my list.   I can take few moments to peruse my vegetable crisper to see what we got from the produce co-op, which is different every time, and decide what to make.  Add the few extra, meal-specific ingredients and incidentals and I'm off to the store. Just one store, knowing basically how much I'm going to spend, because it's basically what I bought the week before. 

Maybe I'm not simplifying at all.  Maybe this is just my new version of crazy.  Maybe, upon re-reading my madness, I won't even click that Publish Post button.  But I'm excited to give it a shot.  And I spent too long typing this to not publish it.  Have a great day, everyone!

(You may notice a few GLARING omissions from my list above:  anything fresh (co-op), deoderant/ toothpaste/personal grooming (still have a monster stash from my old mega-couponing days), and staples like flour, rice, sugar and such (fully-stocked food storage).  Yes, we do eat healthy and groom ourselves here.  No need to worry.)

4 comments:

  1. Can I just mention that I am THRILLED that you buy RANCH DRESSING weekly? Thank Goodness I am not the only one! Whew! I thought we were crazy!
    And - what are you cooking? What are your family's staple/go to meals? I am trying to cut back on the ole budget and my groceries (even with coupons) are crazy expensive...
    Do share!

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  2. Tammy,

    We're so boring. Our staples are things like spaghetti, burritos, tacos, enchiladas, hamburgers, meatball subs, grilled chicken, pizza, etc. Nothing fancy. Just cheap and easy.

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  3. i'm curious to know how this is going now that you've had some time to put it into affect! I'm a list maker, laminator, organize freak and wonder if this might be the answer to EVERYTHING wrong in my life! jk - just maybe a few things.

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  4. Ya' know, it's working really well. I've also tried e-mealz, a web site that e-mails you a menu and a grocery list every week. It's a little more expensive, but gives us a little more variety. Even with their prepared grocery list, though, I find that a permanent list of staples is really helpful.

    ReplyDelete

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