I know I’m getting older not because of the gray hairs that sprinkle across my hairline. I know I’m getting older not because of the recently created, closed Facebook group for my 20th high school reunion. I know I’m getting older not because the goddaughter whose diapers I used to change is now a college sophomore.
I know I’m getting older because of my plans for my “incentive payout” (not bonus) in this week’s paycheck.
While I do have the usual plans to chip away at credit card debt, my main plan with the funds is to restock my pathetic cupboards and refrigerator. My New York City apartment’s kitchen is more of a kitchenette. I definitely don’t have a pantry, but a few cabinets in which to cram my plates, glassware, and non-refrigerated foods, but lately there’s been a lot of bare space.
Buying meals is a luxury I try to limit to 2-3 times a month, and for when I’m out with a friend. Barring the occasions when I allow Lazy Sundays to be that in every sense of the word, Sunday is meal prep and sometimes grocery shop day. When I’m on point, planning-, budget- and health-wise, all meals and snacks are pre-planned, prepped and packed on Sunday for the workweek. I usually have a homemade smoothie for breakfast and brown bag my lunch, most often leftovers from dinner the night before.
Grocery shopping is attacked with a methodically thought-out grocery list that I rarely deviate from. Deviation throws my budget out-of-wack and causes extreme overflow of the old lady cart I purchased from Container Store. If the overflow can’t fit into the single, reusable bag I packed, I’ve bought too much. Even though the cart has wheels for my blocks-long walk, I have to take into account the flights of stairs to reach my top floor Brownstone apartment.
But not this week. This week I plan to go all out! I’m still debating whether I want to go to my local grocery store or hop the bus or subway to the nearest Trader Joe’s to get more bang for my buck. In either case, the ride home will be in a cab to haul my bountiful booty.
The grocery list won’t be to keep to a budget. No budget. It’ll be to make sure I don’t forget anything. It won’t be of just things that I “need,” like eggs, milk, cheese, and vegetables. Oh, no. I am going to get those granola bars, tortilla chips, and popcorn I often covet but choose only one. I’m going to replenish my dwindling or long gone stashes of almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, dried apricots. Raisins and craisins. Kidney, black, and garbonzo beans. Lentil and split pea. Honey and agave. Sausage and bacon.Two salad dressings. Perhaps some croissants to go with the usual multi-grain bread.
I’ll saunter to frozen foods and grab a personal pizza or two, along with tater tots, TGIFriday’s bbq wings and Gorton’s fish sticks—foods I consider emergency, grab on-the-way home foods when I’m too tired to cook, don’t want to fry eggs or have cereal for dinner, don’t have the money for take-out or don’t want to buy fast food.
Next stop will be the fish market. I’m not a fan of buying fish from the grocery store, except packaged smoked salmon. Other salmon– fillets and steaks–I prefer to select fresh at the fish market, then clean, season and freeze at home. Same for Red Snapper, King Fish, Tilapia, Chilean Sea Bass, all of which I’ll snag during my no-holds-barred shopping spree. I lament my deathly allergy to shellfish, or else I’d grab some shrimp and crab legs.
I sometimes think and feel that I’m younger. There’s no shame in getting older and only one way to stay young. I’m getting older and wiser. Definitely more practical. That’s evident when my first thought of what to do with extra money is to get more food instead of new shoes. I’m not starving, nor do I worry about providing for other mouths. It’s funny how foods I now consider treats (hello, movie theater hot dogs) were my actual diet in my 20s. I want to continue getting older to laugh at my younger self, so I’ll continue to buy the expensive, healthy foods to help me get there.