I went grocery shopping today, to pick up a VERY FEW things we needed at home. (It’s been months since I last went shopping. I forgot how much I enjoy it, especially when the kids aren’t throwing tantrums.)
I used to grocery shop at least once a week. Kenny would stop by the store a few times a week on his way home from work. We didn’t bat an eye about what went into the cart, and we never worried about what it was going to cost. Spending less than $100 at the grocery store was rare.
Now we are drowning, and my legs are too tired to tread water anymore. I’m so tired of having to choose which bills to pay each month, of negotiating lesser payments, of going to bed each night dreaming of ways to stretch pennies into dollars, of the desperation I hear in my voice when I ask Kenny how much commission he earns on each new car sale, and of the dejection I can’t mask when he tells me it’s just a “mini”, which is $150. (And there are only 4-6 “minis” each month.) I cry grateful tears every time my sweet mom slips me $100 from her paycheck, telling me to spend it on myself, but there is no “me” spending anymore. Minimum wage pays more than commissions, and minimum wage doesn’t even cover the mortgage.
I am so, so weary.
I blame you, Economy. Which means I’m really blaming YOU, Banks, and YOU, Credit Companies. It isn’t that the dealership is lacking for customers, although that was a problem in the beginning. Now the customers are coming out in droves, but the banks won’t finance anyone without stellar credit or a small fortune for cash down. What happened to the billions of dollars you were given to help stimulate the economy? I also blame you, General Motors, for being greedy and refusing to make necessary changes until you were threatened with forced bankruptcy. Look where that got you!
Today I had my own private rebellion. As we walked past the freezer section, I saw the cutest, tiniest Ben & Jerry’s ice cream containers, and they were on sale for $1. (Please, no one lecture me about how the regular size is much, MUCH less per ounce. I couldn’t justify the $3.79, okay? I could barely justify the $1.) On a whim, I threw one in the cart, and then felt guilty about it all the way to checkout.
My monthly grocery bill came to $43.02, and immediately upon hearing the total, I began my mental math game: subtracting that amount from the money we have in the bank, comparing it to the bills that are due and coming up short. We’ve been short for at least six months, and despair is beginning to set in. I’m not asking to be a millionaire, I’d just like to have enough income to cover all our monthly bills, with enough left over to spring for the occasional mini Cherry Garcia.
Is that really so much to ask?