‘Saving money‘ is a contentious issue in most marriages, I would hazard a guess.
And due to impending huge changes in Dysfunctionality House, (and no I’m not pregnant and neither does this have anything to do with the resurrection of Kurt into the perfect child), the old man is on another of his saving money pushes.
One of the changes on the Idiot Spender’s Guide To Saving Money that he handed me the other day, (and which he has kindly customised for me), is that from now on I am only allowed to food shop in Aldi.
And while I know that Aldi is cheaper, it is not an attractive coating to what is already a menial and odious task.
I admit that even I have been secretly appalled by the increase in the cost of food in the monopolies of Coles and Woolworths recently, especially when I compare the cost of my current food bills to friends in the UK. And it doesn’t help that I appear to be running a hostel for teenage waifs, strays and stragglers in Sydney.
But whereas ten years ago I spent on average $200-$250 a week on food, these days it can be anything upward of $400.
I do realize that I am now feeding four adults, including one who (suspiciously) gets the munchies a little too often to be plausibly explained as a growth issue.
Nevertheless, it’s too much. Added to which, NC is now iron-deficient and I’m having to buy red meat again because apparently my low-cholesterol diet of fish and chicken may actually be killing my own child.
Trust NC to highlight my poor parenting skills.
I kicked and screamed about having to shop at Aldi – I mean we’re not exactly on the poverty line – but even I couldn’t ignore the massive savings (that could be spent elsewhere, like Witchery) when we furtively bought all our ski-wear there a few weeks ago.
But there’s a system to Aldi – justifiably, I imagine, for deterring impatient, spoilt, middle-class people like us; and it takes a while to get used to it.
For a start, our local Aldi doesn’t have a car-park, which makes it impossible to offload a full trolley of shopping by yourself.
‘No problem’ insisted the old man, ‘we’ll do the food shop on a Sunday; TOGEVVER!’
‘Yay!’ I didn’t say.
I’ve learned that when I do the food shop with the old man, I have to push the trolley to give myself time to consider all the things I don’t need to plan meals and be cost effective, because in the hands of the old man, food shopping is a race to the finish line.
So we shopped and I ignored the constant criticism of ‘do we REALLY need that?’ and we bought all the Aldi brands – including Aldi tampons which I shall pass to NC to test – and I only called the old man the c word three times I think, which is a record.
And we made it to the checkout, which as anyone can attest to is rather like The Greatest race to see how quickly you can get your shopping on and off the conveyer belt and through to the safety of the packing zone.
Aldi is Ikea for food.
And then we repacked the shopping AGAIN and transported it all to the car in runs. Actually, I guarded our precious trolley of cheap cargo while the old man did runs to the car and scowled at me every time he came back for another load.
What could I do – the trolley was precariously parked on a hill?
And I think we probably did save about $120, which is not to be sneezed at unless you count the real cost of the cost in labour of us BOTH having to do the shop, the extra time needed to pack and re-pack, the detrimental effect on our marriage, the detrimental effect on our social life should we have been spotted by anyone we know, the fact that Kurt refuses to eat anything from Aldi and the fact that our dog has turned into a true Aldi dog with an embarrassing taste for cheap kangaroo off-cuts.