WOMAN ON THE VERGE: Going off my trolley doing the weekly shopping

March 20th, 2022 6:25 PM

By Emma Connolly

The rising cost of living is starting to hit home particularly with the weekly shop, so I’m back saving my €1 coins in a Pringles tube – a tasty alternative to a more traditional piggy bank!

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Dear oh dear ... things are after getting very dear aren’t they? The supermarket visit is not for the fainthearted these days and that’s for sure, although if I got better at sticking to the list I’m sure that would help an awful lot

• LADS, things are getting very expensive aren’t they? And we’re being told they’ll get even more so in the weeks and months ahead. What worries me most is that that I already thought nearly everything (nice) was quite expensive so I’m feeling a bit nervous to be honest, how and where this is all going to end. More and more these days I seem to find myself wondering how other people do ‘it.’ Seriously though … how do you do it all? Am I missing a trick? Also, if it’s your birthday in the coming weeks and you’re in my circle, prepare to be a bit underwhelmed. And sure you can never have too many candles right?

• In the meantime, I was thinking supermarkets should install little recovery benches by the check-out for people to take a moment when they get their bill. ‘That will be…all your available money this week please. Thanks, have you a loyalty card?’ Or have someone on standby with smelling salts (so long as there isn’t a charge for it). My ability to retain information is so low, that if there was a gun to my head I still couldn’t tell you how much a pint of milk or a loaf of bread is, but it’s more than it was this time last year. When I’m doing the shop I’m now definitely thinking twice before picking up little extras like the pricey humous made the Happy Pear brothers. Although to be honest that’s mainly because I tend to eat it in the one sitting. At last count I’ve eight cans of chickpeas in the pantry and I could make my own, but things are grim enough right now as it is. For now I’ll work at sticking to the list and see how that goes.

• Anyway, not that I want to come across as tight or anything. God forbid! I have such an innate fear of anyone mistakenly thinking I might be mean, that I tend to go into proper Mrs Doyle mode when I’m out, practically assaulting the waiter to get to the bill first, and taking people out in my mad dash to get to the till. Genuinely though I cannot tolerate meanness as a personality trait. I remember years ago going on a few casual dates with someone who became known among my friends as ‘The Early Bird.’ Named yes, for his love of the early bird. We only ever met between 5pm and 7pm and he’d sometimes commit the stingiest act of all – order two starters as opposed to a main. Mortifying. And yes of course we always went Dutch.

• On the flip side, there’s no point being stupid with your money either, so it’s about finding that happy medium (good luck with that). I was going through a bank statement recently and copped that those emails I had been getting reminding me to listen in to various podcasts, weren’t just being helpful after all – I was paying for the privilege and just hadn’t realised it. I’ve never been great with the small print. And of course trying to unsubscribe is always infinitely harder than signing up in the first place, but I got there in the end. I nearly felt like buying myself a treat from the sheer effort, but I resisted.

• I’m back saving my €1 coins in the old Pringles tube too. Readers will remember (or not) that I did that during the first Lockdown and found it immensely satisfying. A full tube is the equivalent of €1,000 which isn’t too shabby an amount at all. It is a tortuously slow process though as I keep dipping in to it to buy lottery tickets and still more antigen tests, oh and the mid-week wine when it all just gets too much. A pal shared a nice red available in a German supermarket for under €10. Once I’m nicely stocked up I’ll share the name. C’mon! It’s a man-eat-dog world out there now.

• Wouldn’t it be great all the same if the government launched another SSIA scheme? Like half the country, I sank mine into some godforsaken shopping centre in Germany that never got past the plans I’d say. Let’s just leave that one there (still hurts). Or what about a juicy Pyramid Scheme (ignoring for a moment the fact that they’re completely illegal)? At the very least I’ve my Prize Bonds (somewhere) even if I don’t know anyone who ever won more than €50 on them.

• I’m definitely not one for taking a gamble (can’t afford to lose) which is why I love my reliable Post Office savings account so much. It’s so reassuring to pull out the blue book which shows you fair and square what’s yours, and no PIN numbers or log-in required either. I’m basic, what can I say!

• I recently bought some bed side tables and was offered a €50 membership for this particular shop to qualify for a 10% discount on the purchase. It was an over-the -phone transaction and I was so bamboozled and slow at doing the mental arithmetic

that I went with it. The thing is that I was all set to haggle for the 10% anyway. That’s what we do in West Cork isn’t it? I used to die when my mother, who grew up in a shop and is a bit of a Del Boy, would always ask for ‘a bit of a discount?’ And sure now I’m the very same. ‘What’s the best you could do? Ah go on, you’ll do better than that. For cash? Do you know I’m sure we’re related….’

• Finally, without sounding flippant I’m getting paranoid that I haven’t got Covid yet. Practically everyone I know has had it. Some twice. I was starting to take it personally until I heard Professor Luke saying the virus can shrink the brain. Yeah, I’ve little wriggle room on that front now to be fair so I’ll count my blessings for another week.

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