Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Cost of Living

Anyone who does the weekly grocery shopping has noticed that more than just gas prices have gone up. It seems that the cost of feeding and clothing my family is getting higher and higher (and we don’t even have to feed Bo anymore). Each time I write out a check to Wal Mart, I think, "Wow, what did I buy that made this so high?"

Years ago when Jesse was barely five years old, we were at Wal Mart in Taos. She found a yellow pair of overalls that she wanted. I would have bought them for her, but they were really a little snug. I just could not see buying clothes that she would only wear a few times and then out grow. If the overalls had been on sale – a really good price, I might have bought them. But they were full price. I explained this to Jesse over and over. We argued about it for a few minutes (yes, I argued with a five year old). She was very disappointed and quite dramatic in those days. So, I said we would try the TG&Y store to see if they had cheaper overalls. After much trying on and debating over the clothes, we found something we both agreed on. As I was writing out the check, Jesse looked very worried. She said, "Are you sure we have enough money to buy this?" I bet the cashier was thinking she had better get some ID on this check.

It was Jesse’s first real recognition that things cost money and sometimes you had money and sometimes you did not. After that, she was always more careful with her purchases. She and Bo have both been very good with their money (not always so good with mine). I do think she will make someone a fine frugal wife someday. Yesterday I sent her to Wal Mart to do some major grocery shopping. I gave her a blank signed check. It was certainly not the first time she had done the shopping for me, but usually she is loading the groceries while I am paying out. Maybe it has been a while since she has done this by herself or maybe she has just not noticed the total of the groceries as I pay. Whatever it was, she was not prepared for the higher cost of living. I got this phone call, "Mom, I spent a lot of money." Oh yeah? "I don’t want to tell you how much I spent." Been there, know that feeling! I just laughed at her as she tried to explain her purchases and how it was all stuff we needed. With the higher prices of groceries (which you don't really notice) buying a twelve dollar pair of shoes (a good price really) sent the bill higher thatn she had expected. I laughed even more after she hung up, remembering her as a little girl looking very worried and saying, "Are you sure we have the money for this?"

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