In a Pickle

Are you in a financial pickle?

How are you doing sticking to your budget? For sure, some months are easier than others. Once in a while though, no matter how hard you try or plan to stay between the lines, there comes along a budget-buster you weren’t expecting—like a jar of pickles. 

A few months ago, Judah and I were shopping at Costco and were being very careful about what we were going to buy. I had made a list, and we were going to stick to it no matter what!
But Costco is one of those stores where you can never let your budgeting guard down. One moment of weakness and you could end up buying a 10-gallon vat of peanut butter when you’re allergic to nuts.
So there we were at Costco—list in hand and budget well in mind—and I was in protection mode. We were strong!
Up and down the aisles we went, and nothing went into the cart that was not on our list. We made it through almost the whole store with me saying, “let’s think about it,” on nearly every “unlisted” item.
Then we got to the aisle with the pickles, olives, and artichoke hearts—and we began debating on the gallon jar of pickles. Yes, I know. A gallon jar of pickles for two people? But here’s the thing, they were only $3.
We both love pickles so we would definitely eat them. And I knew I had the space in my refrigerator. Did I mention that they were only $3? We put the pickles in the cart.
I don’t know what happened after that—it’s all a blur—but something snapped. The next thing I knew, we were going back through the store grabbing and throwing into the cart all the things we were supposed to “think about.”
When we checked out and made our way to the exit, the employee at the door unfurled our receipt with such joy we began to wonder if we had just single-handedly put his kids through college.
Once we were home and saw with eyes wide open the damage we had done to our budget, as well as to our fridge and pantry, we were mortified. How did we let this happen?
We went back into our mind palace and retraced our steps. We had done so well…up until we saw the jar of pickles.
In that moment I realized—you never know what will become a chink in your budgeting armor.
Any little thing could cause you to lower your guard and throw your budget off track. But if you regularly examine your habits and your attitude, you won’t be left defenseless.
Here are a few things that I have tried to do since that fateful Costco-run that have helped me to stick to my budget when shopping:


  1. I use paper not plastic. Credit makes me careless; cash makes me careful and thoughtful.
  2. I make a list and add up the prices as I go along. This not only exercises my brain, but I turn it into a game (have I ever mentioned how competitive I am?).
  3. I set a timer and get out of the store within the allotted time. I find that when I am able to do this, I spend less. (this is where a shopping list really comes in handy. It’s not worth it if you forget something and have to go back).

So don’t let your guard down and get yourself in a pickle. There’s no reason to lose your mind or your economy over cheap gallon jars of fermented foods (although those pickles were amazing).

Instead, develop good planning and organizational habits so that you are armed and ready to stick to your plan no matter what budget-buster comes your way. Taking control of your finances? How very Nest Pretty.

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