Monday, January 19, 2009

A trip to the store when you're poor

Yesterday, I ended up getting $260.00 back on my debit card and $40.00 in cash for returning nine clothing items at Talbot's (not recent purchases - purchased over the past two years when I had money to blow at an upscale woman's clothing store).

Today, I went to the grocery store for items to make dinner. I planned on a chicken chili because there is chicken in the freezer and I want to use some nice sourdough bread bowls purchased last week. If they are not used soon, they'll be too hard. So off to the grocery needing milk, vegetable cooking oil, onions, peppers, stewed tomatoes, cheese, sour cream and cat food. My total bill came to $22.88. I agonized in front of the canned tomatoes trying to find a better deal but the ones I needed were $1.99 a can (and I needed two). The same thing in front of the cooking oil. As it is, I usually buy the house brand. I couldn't believe that oil is around $6.00 a bottle but I got the cheapest and smallest size for $3.00. When did it go up in price?

What really got me about this shopping trip though was the feelings I was experiencing about wanting items and not being able to afford them. For some odd reason I saw a box of Hostess Ding Dongs and wanted them, although that is not typically something I would even consider buying for the boys. The fact that a box was on sale for $2.50 made it even more desirable. Then there were sugar cookies decorated with the face of President Elect Obama and I was tempted because they were so unique and cute. But at $3.99 a box I could not justify the purchase and I also was not sure I wanted to be eating the head of our new President (even before he is sworn in!). I just thought they'd be a fun treat for the boys.

When you're poor you can't afford those little extras we all seem to take for granted when the funds are plentiful. And not being able to afford such little treats makes me feel deprived and even worse about my situation - really not being able to to spend a mere $2.50. So that is just an observation about my situation and how quickly I have come to have feelings of deprivation.

Today I am thankful:

1. That the cold spell lifted and the sun is out. 22 degrees feels like spring!
2. That at least we'll have a good/filling dinner tonight.
3. That I have come out of my dark mood to a less hopeless mindset.

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