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Thursday, January 9, 2020

Nipping My Internal Whining in the Bud

a casserole of egg strata

I'm writing this today as much to convince myself as anything else. Sometimes, saving lots of money on groceries is not at all convenient, easy, or pleasant. I say this, not as a complaint, but as a realistic statement about this part of my role in my household. It's my job to make our money stretch as far as possible, so there will be enough money to care for ourselves. We stretch our money in just about every department. Some of that is second-nature, but some of it is work.

Yesterday, I had a project, money-earning tasks, and cleaning on my agenda. My time slots were completely filled for the day. Then an unexpected opportunity to use our family car midday came up. I had a moment where I thought to decline the opportunity and continue in my original plans for the day. Then I thought maybe I could use this opportunity to pick up some of the last of my grocery items before the rest of the locals decide to hit the stores in advance of this impending snowstorm.

I went online to check prices at my last store from my shopping list. To my family's and my fortune, both eggs and oranges were on sale at an even further discount from what I'd thought I'd be saving. Cash & Carry (our restaurant supply that also sells to the public) had 15-dozen cases of eggs for $12.59 (about 84 cents/dozen -- fab price for eggs this time of year) and 40-lb cases of oranges for $15.95 (about 40 cents/lb). These prices were too good to pass up. Yet, going to Cash & Carry also meant I'd have to interrupt my current work and switch around my tasks for the week. But, I'd save about $8 on these two items alone.

What kept going through my head was "this is not convenient today." Yet, I remembered that it isn't exactly convenient for my husband to leave the house around 6 each morning to get to his job. And it isn't exactly convenient for small business owners to work 7 days a week at times. And it isn't exactly convenient for people to make those miserable commutes in rush-hour traffic for an hour or more each way, each day. My own inconvenience is beginning to pale in comparison.

So, my job has some inconvenient aspects to it. I often have to drop whatever I'm doing to tend to someone else's need or schedule. But that is part of my "job." And I know that no job is completely convenient. That's why they call them "work," right?

It helps me to remind myself of how much money I saved by rearranging my plans. Yes, I would probably feel better if after my run out to get those eggs, oranges and other items, if someone had placed a $10 bill in the palm of my hand. 

The appreciation for my work may not come in the form of a paycheck, but instead it comes in the happiness my husband and daughters experience being able to have an abundance of good foods around for snacks, breakfasts, and lunches. 

To refocus myself after this little whining session, I took an additional 30 minutes from my scheduled activities and made a delicious strata that would double as a side dish to dinner and a grab-and-go breakfast the next morning. With an abundance of eggs, milk, ham fat, and onions, plus some stale bread, such a strata was very do-able. Breakfast was easy and filling for my family this morning. Making my family happy can be a reward in itself.


  1. Great way to think about things! I, too, have to do this sometimes and remind myself that this IS my job. Thanks for the perspective.

  2. You are absolutely right. That is your job and you do it very well. I have always told my kids that a job is work and not always fun. That is why they pay you to do it. Your pay has tangible things like the money you save with careful planning and shopping and intangibles like a well-cared-for family. Just as your husband's job has tangibles like a paycheck he uses to pay for things like heat and intangibles like the warm, cozy feelings the heat provides on a cold, snowy day.

  3. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who sometimes has "but I don't waaaaant to do that!" running through my head! I think we've all been there before. You are handling it beautifully!

  4. Hi Cat,
    I do have to have these little conversations with myself from time to time. I'm glad mine helped you.
    Have a great weekend!

  5. Hi Live and Learn,
    You're wise words help with my perspective.
    Have a great weekend, Live and Learn.

  6. Thank you, Kris.
    I just had a thought. My mother must have also felt similar at times, yet I never, ever heard her complain about anything she went through. I sure hope that some day my own children remember me in such a good light as I remember my mother.
    Have a great weekend, Kris!

  7. Recently, I've been on a "what do I want?" Self examination trip. I learned this advice from a crafting video about envy. I don't think it only applies to envy, but more broadly whenever I am unhappy or feeling victimized. The second part is being ready to work very hard for what you want. I've noticed that there are many layers to what I want. In your example about not having enough time to run an unexpected errand, as you've discovered, the savings from running the errand and knowing your family are rewarded with an abundance of good food made the sacrifice worthwhile. That's because your family's happiness and safety is what you truly value most and want. Not the scheduled agenda that was thwarted. Giving that up became less painful the moment you realized what you truly wanted.


  8. Hi YHF,
    thank you for your insights on this topic. They're very helpful!
    Yes, I understand what you mean. I'm finding myself asking the same "what it is that I'm truly after right now?" more and more. I want to make my time and efforts count, now.
    Thank you for your insight, YHF.


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