Wednesday, April 24, 2024
HomeLaura PerrinsAm I a cost of living extremist?

Am I a cost of living extremist?


ON FRIDAY evening, my husband and I had a stand-up row over a box of cereal. Perhaps it was because I had just written my piece about the cost of living crisis that I was especially sensitive, perhaps I was being ‘hormonal’, but I had had enough. Here is what occurred. 

We needed milk, so my husband offered to go to Sainsbury’s to get some. Now, usually this is not allowed: he is not permitted to go to the local Sainsbury’s as he will return with a load of old overpriced stuff we don’t need, such as a packet of raspberries for £2.10. But I relented this time. How wrong I was. 

Husband returns with a box of Shreddies. What are those? Why do you have those? I told you just milk. Oh, I thought we had run out, and they were on deal. A deal you say. I checked the receipt. A 460g of Shreddies cost £3.40. What kind of deal is that? The sticker said £2.50, husband mutters. You didn’t check the sticker closely enough, did you, I replied. 

The problem with this is that we already had a 910g box of Shreddies that I had purchased for £3.49 from Lidl that Monday. And I was going to Lidl this coming Monday armed with my 10 per cent off voucher. I said, you owe me £3.40, do you know how much energy it takes me to save £3.40? A lot. Husband then brands me a ‘cost of living extremist’.

He pipes up that I still have use of the Shreddies so I just get the difference that he worked out at £1.17. I returned – No way (at this stage we are standing up and voices are raised; our elder daughter is watching this closely). I laid out my case. 

First, I said, we didn’t even need the box of Shreddies, as we already had one. Second, I don’t eat Shreddies, you can keep your stinking Shreddies, hell I don’t even eat breakfast, and what’s more if I did eat breakfast, it would not be overpriced, ultra-processed rubbish like Shreddies. I want the whole £3.40, I said. I concluded: ‘You better lawyer up, because I am not settling for some measly £1.17, I am coming for the whole lot, the entire £3.40.’

Annabelle then dared to wade in saying, It’s just a box of Shreddies, Mom. I declared, No it is not about ‘just a box of Shreddies’. It is about what the Shreddies stand for. 

And what that box represents, dear daughter, is a reckless disregard for the time and energy it takes for me to save £3.40. (I may have been shouting at this point). That’s the price of a cup of coffee, and I had declined to meet a friend just that very morning for coffee, as I didn’t want to spend the £3 (see previous blog). I said, do you think I enjoy shopping in Lidl, do you think I like parking in their tiny car park, and then wheeling my trolley down their narrow aisles? I miss Waitrose, I said, but sacrifices have to be made. So no, your father doesn’t just get to blow £3.40 on an unnecessary box of Shreddies. 

At this point, husband started muttering something about being the breadwinner for the entire marriage, and if we really wanted to play that game, he could get out the spreadsheet etc, etc. I said, Well if you want to go down that road we could, and that as I had technically produced all the kids, I was getting the three kids. He said, we have four children, Laura, four. I said I know that, but I only want three, and these are the ones I want. You can keep X. 

At this point we called it quits. But it got me thinking, do you have any cost-of-living stories, and do you think I am, as my husband accused me of being, a Cost of Living Extremist? Answers below the line please. 

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