Wednesday, July 30, 2008

One stop shopping

This weekend we made an ill-fated outing to the mall. The mission: a few gifts and new khakis, all on super sale.

2 grouchy kids and a broken dish later, I knew it was not to be.

At home I clicked website after website till my eyes glazed over.

How is it possible to have the world at my fingertips, and yet not find anything just right?

I shuffled to the refrigerator. Out of milk! At least I could run to the corner grocery alone.

What I found there looked pretty good.

Here's my crazy plan: I'm going to do ALL my gift buying on my weekly grocery run.

I can bake, buy, or gift basket--but if I can't get what I want there, I won't hunt all over town for something better. I know I'll save time and energy.

My guess? I'll save money, too.

Above: $9 bromeliad for my husband's office, Cracker Barrel card for the mechanic who fixed the old Volvo at cost, regional food products for a care package.


Anonymous said...

I recognized those Weisenberger Mill bags immediately! The mill isn't far from where I live. I remember going there on a elementary-school field trip.

Just wanted to say, Hi Meredith!


Anonymous said...

Great ideas! The plant is gorgeous. Do you know how long the flower part will last? And, did any of us guess right when it came to what was wrong with the Volvo? Have a blessed day.
Mrs. L.

Debra said...

What a great idea! I figure I spend so much time driving around that I would save time, money, and energy. Great for the sanity!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a decent plan to me, Meredith. Food is always a welcome gift, I think, & the floral departments at most grocery stores have very nice stock....& as you say, it's one less trip!


Catz said...

I have just bought the same plant (lovely isn't it! same colour as well) here in the UK as a thank you gift for my neighbour costs £4.99 at our local Sainsburys supermarket. I agree sometimes it is easier in time and energy to shop for gifts while doing the food shop.

Sarah Taylor said...

You're a smart woman! I'm sure your thoughtful gifts will be much appreciated! Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

I do a ton of gift shopping at the grocery store. I forgot my sister-in-law's birthday one year and remembered at 9 p.m. My little town's version of a "super" store closes at 8 p.m. I bought her a couple books, a box of gourmet microwave popcorn, and 3 sample packs of coffee. She LOVED it! I've bought magazines as gifts, gourmet mixes, coffees, teas, etc. It's a great resource without having to traipse to the mall!


Anonymous said...

We love the local Cracker Barrel. They have a 'porch sale' about 4 times a year. It is wonderful. I have gotten several really nice gifts for very little money there. The food is good too. Roxie

Unknown said...

Excellent thought!

Anonymous said...

You always give me such great ideas for gifts that are thoughtful AND frugal. And yes, with our heat + pregnant, simple is OK! :)

Anonymous said...

Seems like a small price to pay for some energy and calm at a very needed time. Remember that the money that flows into your family is a gift, not a chore. You use money so wisely that you should be proud of learning to use it in new ways (as in this post), rather than chastising yourself for things that may not be as bare-bones inexpensive as possible.

Anne Marie@Married to the Empire said...

Interesting idea! Regional food items are great for out-of-towners. When we visited my sister's family in London for Christmas, I brought them a ton of spices from Pendery's, which is a spice store unique to Fort Worth. I brought them things like fajita seasoning, Louisiana fish fry, the original chile powder, and other Southern specialities. I got a call from my sister a few weeks later asking for a lot more of the fajita seasoning!

Because even most people around here don't know about Pendery's, I buy their spices as gifts for locals, too. Our catsitters each received a bag full a few weeks ago. Again, raves about the fajita seasoning.

Anonymous said...

Hi Meredith-
You know, I actually don't think that this is crazy or stupid at all. It seems that your life is undergoing a real transition right now, with some health issues and (soon!!) three little children. I've been there myself. Sometimes, all those factors make accomplishing even the smallest tasks more than you can do. I personally think your idea is pretty cool, and will likely result in some very creative solutions. Just make sure you share some of what you find with us....I'd love to be inspired this way myself!

Anonymous said...

I'm constantly scouring the clearance racks for deals and tucking stuff away for future birthday and Christmas gifts. I figure we're there anyway as part of our weekly errands, so why not?

I do need to become more diligent about putting together creative gifts and move away from just handing over a gift card.

Renee said...

I guess I have not thought of doing this myself, yet with four kids usually in tow this would lessen my major mommy time crunch before the holidays. And it isn't the whole thing about money as I am pretty chep-o it's the fact of feeling guilty which I know I should really get over. I blame it on postpartum depression that yet cleared from 2006, lol!

Well when I saw the cracker barrel logo I was thinking fried catfish platter with coleslaw,fried apples,and mashed taters w/gravy a girl could dream right?

I wasn't sure about this but how old is your daughter Meredith? Is she potty trained because I need another moms help and advice like yours.

Ok have to go chop some apples and carrots.


Anonymous said...


With my husband ill, my father-in-law ill and going to work p.t. -gift shopping seems such a chore I usually resort to Amazon. Sometimes I just send an Amazon gift card. So impersonal. I used to bake/make gifts & wrap them up carefully for mailing. My husband said the other day we should start shopping now to avoid credit card shock in Jan. With his ideas and yours i'm going to begin hitting the grocery stores & thrift shops for gifts. Thanks another good, easy idea.


Shannon said...

Meredith - I've been thinking this same thing. I have to go to the grocery store pretty often, if I could stay out of Walmart, though...oh what a blessing! I'm planning a wedding shower for my cousin next month and I talked my aunt (and co-host) into making it a "pantry shower" for this very reason - so I can get the gifts at the grocery store. If I use tablecloths/fabric I already have and make the invitations myself I may be able to do the whole thing without steping foot in WallyWorld:)

Michelle said...

That's a time and money saving idea!

I've made the same decision. It's too time consuming, tiring and too often fruitless.

Also, I do research online for local stores to find out if they have what I'm looking for before I leave the house. That way I know if it's even worth the time/effort/money to leave the house.

letterstoelijah said...

I love Cracker Barrel!! but we don't live anywhere close to one :(

I usually make homemade gifts too... lots of crafty things using photos.

Great tip on using the grocery store for gifts! Need to get organized for Christmas before you know it!

Augurs said...

That's usually what I do too! :) I have a beautiful gift recipe on my blog today, too!

I've been trying to start planning ahead now for Christmas-time (which is extra busy with family birthdays then, also.)


Edi said...

Consumable gifts are great!

I did something similar for my dh's family this past Christmas...throughout the year when I'd come across something unusual or interesting I'd buy it and then I put them all into gift baskets. Some of the things I remember "Rap" potato chips, hot sauce with names like "Black Widow", some products from the international food store etc.

Also we always include some sort of handmade goodies from the "kids" (they help with it) like gingerbread flavored popcorn or super hot Chex type mix - all wrapped up in some fun way.

It's so hard to find gifts for adults - you don't want it to just sit around or be re-gifted, so hopefully the food is something they will actually consume.

Here is a fun idea I'm considering for this yr...we found a "famous" (to our area) old chili restaurant...actually the chili place had been around for many many years - then closed down, then reopened using the same ingredients, decor etc. but new owners. Well I found out that they sell frozen "chili bricks" - so you can take the bricks home and make your own chili. I thought the chili might work for some of our family members...I know I'd like it!

Kirsten Hill said...

What ended up being the fix for your old volvo? As I recall from one of your previous posts, our old volvo has the same problem yours had of dying randomly (not sure if this was the problem you just got fixed or if it was something else).

My husband has been working on ours off and on, but between deadlines at work and a recent illness, it's been mostly "off" for over a month.

Elise @A Path Made Straight said...

Love the idea, and the simplicity of it. I always rest so much easier when I decide I'm not going to make myself crazy- if I can get it on my normal shopping run, great, if not, tough noogies! (Something I say to my kiddos)

All of your finds are beautiful and perfect, too!

Kelly said...

I would be happy with any of those gifts !!! With your skill at finding yard sale bargains , I am sure you will find a lovely basket , bacon press or biscuit cutter to make the Weisenberger Mill bags, even more special.
When I visit family in W.V. Teays Valley biscuit mix always goes home with me , along with a few jars of local apple butter !!!

Anonymous said...

Great idea with the regional foods basket... I keep forgetting that folks in Ohio might love NC grits etc...and the Cracker Barrel gift card.... ALWAYS a great choice!

Christi said...

Smart idea, Meredith. Something I'll have to consider for sure!

Anonymous said...

I've been doing this for about 7 years now and it works great. I think you'll have simply no problem since you already take the time to move a simple gift into spectacular with that personal touch. My experiences were out of necessity and that's fine in the beginning. Now it is out of choice.

Truthfully, sometimes it requires careful thought. Other times I have run into big problems with my one family member who insists on being gifted with things she requests and returns things not requested. But I deal with that. Typically she is the one person I'll modify my shopping for because, I really do love my family just the way they are and pray one day they can accept me for what I am as well.

Anonymous said...

We have been doing a modified version of this ... because our town is so small. (2 miles N-S and 4 miles East-West). There's a grocery store, a 2nd hand store, a quilt store, and a tiny little flower shop that also stocks pretty things that little girls love.

So, when we get a last-minute b'day invitation, I could drive 20 miles to Walmart. Or I could drive a mile to the Flower Pot and let the kids pick out a stuffed animal for their friends.

And what teen, getting an itunes gift card, even CARES if you bought it at the grocery store?

Jane said...

I decided a similar thing recently...
If I don't have a stellar/personal gift idea in mind,I'm giving electronic gift cards to Amazon. I live so far from my family and the time and cost of shipping stuff doesn't benefit anyone if the gift isn't special. And, let's face it, it can not always be special.

Cindy said...

Another Weisenberger Mill fan here - never even thought of using their packets as gifts, thanks for sharing such a great idea!