Today I got the register and had to put string cheese back.
It’s day six of week 1 of the MyPlate on My Budget experiment, and I had $20 left in my grocery budget. I wanted to buy oatmeal, peanut butter, apples, string cheese, a couple of things for a yummy recipe next week, and ice cream.
I had to buy the ice cream!
This morning my kids discovered that Daddy had finished all the ice cream in the freezer, and they pretty much flipped out. In order to bring peace, I had to replace it.
That meant I was $1.50 short for the string cheese.
I know in my head that this is an artificial experiment, but in my nervous system it’s not playing out that way.
I feel like a failure for not budgeting well enough so that I can afford string cheese this week. I feel guilty for denying my kids a healtful snack. I feel stressed from walking around the grocery store like a human calculator, constantly adding up the contents of my cart.
Most of all, I feel humbled.
For most of my grocery shopping existence, I’m completely blind to the people around me. I have no idea what the mom with the cart next to me is facing. She might be one of the 15.4% of Washington families who struggles with hunger.
For me, this thrifty budget experiment only has three weeks and one day left to go. But I know that it is already changing me.
I am realizing how lucky I am to be able to afford food.
I don’t think I’ll ever take string cheese for granted again.