Pinching Pennies

I am at the grocery store, waiting for the clerk at the register to ring up all my food. He scans two heads of broccoli. The price of one was at ¥211. Wait a minute, I think to myself. Those are supposed to be ¥198 each!

I frown, but I hold my silence. I have my pride. I’m not going to argue with him over ¥26. I wait for him to finish ringing up everything. I pay for my groceries and head to the car, still grumbling to myself, still unsatisfied by the whole thing. Sure, I’m not going to get him to call the manager and waste everyone’s time just to quibble over the ¥26–but still. I paid more than I needed to.

Yes, I know! It’s a terribly cheap issue to focus on, but it’s still the principle of the thing: the price that was on the original sticker was less than what he had scanned it for. He shouldn’t have assumed that it was the regular broccoli that I was buying. I got the ones that were marked down because they were smaller. If I had wanted the bigger ones, I would have placed those in my cart.

Okay, I’m just kidding.

I’m not really angry. I just thought it illustrated the deeper reflection I’ve had since the incident. I’ve had some time to reflect and in the end, it doesn’t really matter all that much. But what bothered me was that something that small can still give rise to my tendency to be cheap, as in really, really cheap. I used to “shop around” going to different stores to find the same product and only buying it at the store where I feel like it’s cheap enough. Sometimes, I would wait too long to buy it and then find out that the item I wanted to buy was gone by the time I went to the store to check, again–for the third time.

When I started going down this path to financially independence, and then after some deep reflection, I realized that wasting time and gas money to do something like that actually causes me to lose more money. It just smacked of inefficiency and pointless action. Nowadays, I value my time more than using all those resources to hunt for the best bargains.

Thirteen yen.

Enter the broccoli, though: I really thought I was past that stage, but this incident really made it clear that I haven’t really resolved the issue if I can still be bothered by losing a mere few yen.

I think it’s time to admit that once you’re cheap, you’re always going to be cheap. Or I still have to resolve the underlying scarcity mindset that still creeps in once in a while. Even though we’re doing okay than most people, sometimes I feel like it can end any time soon. Why is it that I can cry over the increasing price of food and still not realize that I spent too much time watching YouTube videos? In one I wasted time, but not money. And then you realize that money is just easier to focus on instead of being honest about the inefficient use of my time.

Maybe it’s the stress of the recent events that’s making me feel a little less financially secure to feel the loss of ¥13.

But then again, I really hope not.

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