Saturday, February 21, 2009

Shopping at Safeway

When we were newlyweds in 1970, my budget for the weekly groceries was $10. I shopped at Safeway just up the street from our apartment on Church Street. I would make my menus, then my want list. It was a limited menu; spaghetti, hamburgers, and pot pies. A lot of pot pies. They were 4 for a dollar. Oleo, we called margarine oleo, was 10 cents for a little round patty that lasted a week. Nearly 40 years of wedded bliss have passed and I can still remember standing there at Safeway’s meat counter looking at the packages. My rule was if it was over a dollar, I didn’t buy it. Sometimes I would pick up that slice of ham and it looked so good, but it was $1.04 and I would put it back and choose something else. It didn’t hurt us or make us resentful doing without. It made us smarter. Smarter about the choices we would make down the line. Making each cent count, stretching those dollars. We don’t have to pinch the pennies quite so bad these days but it’s a hard habit to break. It would be impossible nowadays to find anything to eat at the meat counter less than a dollar.

My daughters and their families face these tough times with almost no way to save on grocery bills. Coupons are of little use, the name brands cost more so you don’t save anything using them. Cooking from scratch used to save money, now I think it’s the most expensive way to cook.

I wanted to fix a nice Valentine meal for the two of us last weekend so when I went to Walmart on Friday I had made a list.
Sourdough bread
2 baking potatoes
Salad mix
I had a steak in the freezer so it was just a handful of things to buy. The bakers were 98cents a piece, the sourdough bread $3, the butter $2.54, the salad mix $2.58, tomato 75cents and the cucumber 50 cents. That came to just under $12 with tax. One meal…40 years ago that would have been a whole weeks worth of groceries. We enjoyed our steak dinner even though I did kind of ruin the romance by going on and on about the potatoes costing 98cents each.


  1. Thank You for stopping by and leaving a comment. The Welcome/Go Away sign came from a garden shop in Murphys, California.

    Roberta Anne

  2. you're absolutely right. i think our grocery bill is somewhere around $600 a month. i think if i really sat down and counted everything it would be shocking.

  3. I always have to remind myself that eating at home is usually better and it does cost less than eating out. We have two sons who can eat alot!


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