First, a typical shopping trip with Mom:
- Overriding value: to squeeze as many meals as possible out of every dollar spent.
- Educational activities: Finding the best price on an item (use a coupon or buy store brand?), figuring price per ounce, scanning ingredients for allergens, getting a mix of fresh produce with varying shelf lives… so we can avoid food waste at home, avoiding additives, etc.
- Typical items purchased: brown rice, bagged apples, past-due bananas (Hey! Those make great smoothies!), dry beans, bulk oatmeal, bulk anything, baking ingredients, milk for making yogurt
And now, a typical trip with Dad:
- Overriding value: to have fun together, talk to as many people as possible, and bring home a delicious, ready-to-serve lunch so Mom won’t have to cook
- Educational activities: taste testing at the deli counter, learning about apple varieties from the produce manager, practicing social interactions in every aisle
- Typical items purchased: fresh-squeezed juice, deli meats and cheese, luxurious fruits like mangoes and cherries, ice cream, Pirate Booty, egg nog, and a candy treat
Which is better? My guess is – neither. There’s plenty of time for fun AND frugal. But I bet you can guess which parent rarely shops alone!