ByJoanna Lacey

Nov 20, 2019
woman pulling wheeled cart

Mom was very organized when it came to holiday food shopping. She would plan for a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal weeks in advance by checking out the circulars from our local supermarket and purchasing food when it went on sale, oftentimes in bulk.

When the large containers of ricotta cheese or the 28-ounce cans of her favorite tomato sauce went on sale, she walked to the supermarket to stock up. She also purchased large boxes of aluminum foil for roasting and to wrap leftovers.

She towed all of her purchases home in a wheeled cart we called a “carry-along.” How I used to make fun of that thing when I saw her coming down the block! I would say, “Mom, please wait to go shopping until I can pick you up after work!” But she liked to be independent and shop when it suited her. And the wheeled cart allowed her to take home heavy or cumbersome items without straining herself.

Now I am the one using her carry-along to go shopping. Like Mom, I enjoy walking to the avenue to do my shopping. It allows me to get some exercise while reducing my carbon footprint. But some of my purchases are really too heavy and bulky to put in my soft tote bags and carry the five blocks home from my supermarket. The wheeled cart makes it easy to bring home my groceries.

I have found that if I pack everything carefully in the cart — from bottles of wine to aluminum foil to cartons of eggs — I can avoid plastic bags when shopping and I can manage a large amount of bulky items at the same time. And planning in advance and buying my favorite items in bulk helps me avoid food waste.

Mom, Grandma, and all the great ladies of past generations have so much to teach us, we just have to listen!

By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.