Help You to Death

I have a really great husband. He’s involved in our home life, prioritizes our family above all else, and, above all, he loves me. A LOT. I am a lucky, lucky girl.

Which is why I hesitate to complain about this one, small, insignificant issue…

On Sunday afternoons, Chris drives me absolutely insane. INSANE, people! It hasn’t always been this way. We used to enjoy Sunday afternoons together. But in the past couple months, those days have gone out the window. Why? Well, it began with a Target RedCard.

I do my grocery shopping at Target, and since I was spending about $100 a week there on groceries, I decided to get a Target RedCard. The RedCard has two different options. One is a credit card, and the other is linked to your debit card. I got the one linked to my debit card. It has no enrollment or annual fees, and costs me nothing to use. What it does is send you a specific debit card to use only at Target. When you use that debit card there, you automatically save 5% on your total purchase. So, basically, I’m saving 5% of my own money at a place where I would be spending it anyway. It’s a huge win-win.

So, I started saving money that way. Then, I started clipping more coupons. I use and the Target website for coupons. Both are pretty awesome. With all of these things, I started saving a pretty good amount on each grocery visit. I could easily take $10 off my bill every week. I was bragging to Chris about this about a month ago, and he went out and surprised me by using a Groupon to get us a weekend subscription to the Orlando Sentinel (at 1/2 price, no less!) so that I could clip even more coupons. It was a really sweet gesture and it really helped with our grocery bill. I was now lowering our bill by $20-$30 a week. It was amazing!

And that’s when Chris decided he wanted to help. (sigh)

Two weekends ago, I was sitting down at our kitchen table on Sunday afternoon, planning our meals for the week and creating my shopping list. As I did this, Chris walked in with the newspaper. I wasn’t really paying attention to what he was doing, until he started asking me questions like, “Do you use Pantene?” and “Are we out of stick butter?”

I turned around to find Chris going through the coupons in the newspaper, clipping out what he thought I might need. Which is really nice, I know. But he was also throwing out coupons before I got the chance to look at them. And since I’m the one who makes our list and does the grocery shopping, I really wanted to see the coupons to make sure that he wasn’t overlooking something I might need. When I mentioned this to him, he got really irritated.

“It’s not rocket science, Kate,” he snapped. And then he stormed out. I dug the coupons out of the trash can and continued on my way.

This weekend, I sat down on Sunday to do my list and couponing, and here came Chris again. Sorting through coupons and throwing stuff out that I might actually have needed. Not wanting to hurt his feelings again, I took a more mature approach. I just ignored him when he tried to talk to me about what coupons to cut. I focused on making my grocery list and let him look through the coupons on his own. When I was ready to start clipping, I dug my coupons out of the trash and went on my merry way.

But then, due to some poor planning on our part, we ended up at Target with the whole family. Chris, both kids, and me. It was my worst nightmare. It’s hard enough to go with the kids, but with Chris it is next to impossible. He puts the most random stuff in the cart, and yet he questions everything I put in there. Drives me crazy.

When we were first married, we used to do all our grocery shopping together. It was so much fun. We’d pause for a kiss in the frozen foods section, stroll through the home decor aisles and decorate our imaginary summer house, and spend most our time in the cookie aisle, arguing over who picked the cookies we got last week. It was what newlyweds were supposed to do. But now, grocery shopping is different. For one thing, I’m shopping for four people now, so I’m trying to make sure I get everybody what they need. But mostly it’s different because we’re on a budget, and using coupons requires a little more thought. I have to check my list for what I need, then see if I have a coupon for that item (before I leave home, I usually put a little star beside each item on my list that I have a coupon for to remind myself to use it). When I find the coupon, I have to check to make sure that I am buying the right brand, size, quantity, or whatever is required to use the coupon. Then, I look at the other products to compare prices to make sure that I’m not paying more, even with a coupon. It isn’t hard, but it does require some concentration.

Now, imagine digging for coupons, searching for products, and doing math on the fly, all while having your husband fire 1,000 questions at you:

“Do you have a coupon for that?”
“Is that the flavor we normally get?”
“Is that other brand cheaper?”
“Do you want me to check the next aisle over?”
“Is that the one I liked?”
“Will Bean eat that?”
“Will I eat that?”
“How much is that coupon?”

It drives me CRAZY. CRAZY.

Today, we were two aisles into the grocery trip and Chris asked me his 200th question of the day so far.

“Hey, see those beans behind you? Don’t we have a coupon for those? I think I saw a coupon for that in the newspaper.”

And that’s when I turned around and snapped at Chris in the middle of Target, “WILL YOU PLEASE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE AND LET ME SHOP?!?!?”

And that’s when he snapped, “FINE!” and stormed off, taking the two children with him.

And that’s when I danced a happy jig. Yes, my husband was mad at me, but I was willing to accept that in exchange for a blissful, peaceful grocery shopping trip. He finally reappeared in the snack aisle and decided it was more effective to silently pout beside me for the rest of the trip. Even still, it is much easier to do simple math when someone is silently pouting next to you, as opposed to helping you until you want to punch them in the face.

In the produce section, over a bunch of bananas, Chris said to me, “I just like to do things with you.”

Well, poop.

There he goes again being nice and sweet. And there I go again focusing on checking items off my to-do list and completely missing the little moments of love that fill my day.

Yes, our life is very different now than when we were first married. Much like grocery shopping now, life these days requires a little more attention, a little more concentration, and a little more thought. But shame on me for letting a little more effort replace the importance of things like kissing in the frozen food aisle. Sometimes, I think newlyweds have more insight into marriage than seasoned married couples. They have their priorities right. Love above all. Even in the grocery store.

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29 Thoughts to “Help You to Death”

  1. I could save so much money with coupons but my husband clips them every Sunday while I am sleeping in. He’s so sweet. I don’t have the heart to tell him he’s throwing away things I could use and clipping me random stuff.

  2. My husband likes grocery shopping with me too. He is equally as helpful as your husband, but really we have different shopping styles which makes me tense. He likes to leisurely go up and down every aisle and look at everything. While I have a list (organized by the path I take through the store) and coupons (lined up in order of use) so I can get the hell out of the store as quickly as possible!

  3. September

    A looong time ago (after he tried to buy cereal not on sale and without a coupon for the umpteenth time and sent me over the edge) ago we–well, I–decided that my husband wasn’t allowed to go grocery shopping with me. He stays home with the kids and go alone.

  4. I run through this week’s dinner menu with him but make the list and shop while he entertains Sullivan in the cart. As of right now, we still know our roles. Someone might get hurt.

  5. Sounds like a little mutual understanding is on order. That said, I also prefer to grocery shop alone. You could do other shopping together!

  6. I am much like Lori, but more OCD. My list is in order of the grocery store, back to front. I go the same way every time, flying down aisles while stuffing teddy grahams in Levi’s mouth. When I put things on the conveyer belt to be bagged, I put like with like items so it’s easier to unload. And Matt is like Chris. Willy nilly, a hundred questions, trying to go a different route… But what a good lesson for us planners to learn from our not so planned husbands!

  7. Suzanne

    As a full time student and part-time employee, coupons have become my life. There’s a pretty nifty website that I found that lets you look up coupons in alphabetical order so it’s easier to find things, like online coupons for Kellogg’s cereal. The site is and it also lists which newspaper a coupon comes from (like P&G, week 2/25)

  8. Casey

    I hate grocery shopping with my husband. I’d rather take my 2 toddlers by myself then to have him tag along to “help.” It always ends the same way, me declaring that I love him, appreciate his efforts but refuse to ever shop with him again.

  9. Meghan

    Our joint grocery shopping days ended years ago when, after apparently I had been reading the ingredients of different types of salt a little too long (I like to compare ingredients, price, etc!), my husband snapped at me, “Would you just buy the SALT!?!” We realized at that point that it was not a chore we needed to do together. I am happy to do it…….alone, or with the kids, but we rarely grocery shop together anymore! 🙂

  10. We go together some of the time but the Hubby usually disappears with Jellybean for free cookies and other random adventures while I do the real shopping. Or I leave both of them at home. Yesterday they snagged two cookies from the bakery and every other free sample available!

  11. I totally get this! I hate when my husband wants to grocery shop with me. He will eat whatever I cook, but at the grocery store, he wants to buy expensive things that aren’t on sale/we don’t have coupons for. SO frustrating! On a side note, have you tried using Southern Savers? They match sales with coupons and make it really easy!! (

  12. Chrissy

    No newlyweds have no kids not more insight…. Kids leave no time for even thinking of kissing in the isle…My 2 year old is usually trying to eat everything I put in the buggy and making me a nervous wreck… So a few questions fro the hubby will drive me nuts….LOL

  13. We have all been there. I felt like motherhood made me much more militant. I wasn’t any more thrilled with the change than my husband was, at first. With time, though, you morph into a team much like in the military, where everyone has their own job to do and you work together as a team. Obviously, you are the best person for the grocery shopping. And I really do mean that, and yes, I know it’s not rocket science, but that should not take away from the fact that it is a skill, and a very important one. Maybe you should plan home decor shopping trips together, without the kids. Sadly, you are getting to the point where this will be considered a date. A fun one. LOL

  14. Jessie

    Sounds exactly like something my husband would do, right down to the comment that, “I just like to do things with you.” These days, though, he’s been doing all the shopping while I battle grad school and applying for jobs. There have been a few instances where I get mad because he forgot something or bought the wrong kind of another thing, but the fact that he spends time doing that so that I can do my homework is an even greater blessing and I try to remember that above all else.

  15. I second everything you just wrote. My husband and I usually end up getting into some sort of argument if we go to the grocery store together. We very seldom go together since it’s proven so horrible in the past and now we also have two kids to cart around. When we do go together though, I usually send him off with the kids on little tasks. We have gotten better, I think we just expect to get fussy now so it doesn’t happen as much. Mommies need quiet time too!

  16. J.S.

    Cute post, I can relate. May I suggest something that really helps me? When I make my list, if I’m using a coupon for a certain item, I make a note on my list next to that item that specifies exactly what the deal for that coupon is (ex: ounce size, must buy two, certain flavor, etc.). That way, when I’m in a hurry I don’t have to stop and dig for the coupon to see what it says, I can just read my list and know exactly which item(s) to grab. Then, I quickly sort out which coupons I’m using while the cashier rings me up and I don’t have to double check. It takes a bit longer to make the list, but saves a whole lot of time at the store!!

  17. This is a great raw post about how to do this thing called marriage. Excellent work Katie. A MILLION THANKS for putting it all out there!! XOXOXXOXOXOXOXOXXOXOXOXOXO

  18. Aw man. He knew what he was doing when he said that. He got you 🙂 haha Just kidding. Very sweet. But, I feel you on the grocery shopping alone. When Mike comes with me, we tend to gain a little weight after the trip: chicken patties, cookies, Doritos, frozen pizza. It’s not that I don’t want to eat that stuff…the problem is I really do!

  19. Rachel @ The Ongoing Planner

    Still being a newlywed and childless we usually do pretty good at the store together. 🙂 I definitely plan on being the only one to do it in the future.

  20. Nikki

    I love grocery shopping with the Hubs. I have a shopping list, but I’m really bad about deviating from said list. He keeps me in line, which I desperately need!

  21. Still a newlywed but I have to admit that the Type A checklist is my head often makes me *completely* oblivious to the hubster’s sweet gestures . . . but somehow I don’t think adding “notice hubster’s sweet gestures” to the checklist is going to help!

  22. OMG I hear you! “Oh there’s a coupon for [spam]!” Yes dear husband, but we don’t eat spam. It gets even worse for Costco coupons. “They have a coupon for a 57″ TV.” And???

    Then the other day he starts going through my coupon stash and starts throwing some away because coupons ‘bug the sh_t out of him.’ But, like you, I do the shopping, so who cares?! Men are weird – you don’t need to manage something when us women are doing it just fine without you.

  23. jenny-bird

    I know exactly what you mean. I shop for specific items and then scrutinize the unit pricing as well as the package label for unnatural ingredients and high sodium and fat content. My husband, on the other hand, picks the first item he sees. Whenever I think about how grocery shopping or *insert activity here* would be easier alone, I try to remind myself how lonely a night in or *insert activity here* would be without my best friend, i.e. my husband. Sometimes my frustration wins and sometimes my compassion wins. When all is said and done, I’m glad we’re together…but I still want to go grocery shopping alone. 🙂

  24. jenny-bird

    P.S. Bean is growing bigger everyday! What a handsome boy.

  25. Kat

    I really need to get better at using coupons. And I know exactly what you mean about needing all the concentration that you can get in order to accomplish this seemingly easy, but totally all consuming task of grocery shopping on a budget.

  26. thank goodness i’m not the only one who can’t stand to go to the store with my husband! i mean, i love him, and he means well, but he does the same thing… throws everything in the cart and then wonders why it was so much more than our normal grocery budget. i love his help but the grocery store is my little haven! 🙂

  27. Jenna

    We had a VERY similar experience … in which I got annoyed with the poor guy and started a grocery store tiff because I was focused on the wrong things! Thanks for putting it into words 🙂

  28. Mary

    I like shopping with my fiancé at the grocery store. (and only at the grocery store.) he keeps me focused and I end up with less fun things. we have had a few disagreements about what goes in the basket and what doesn’t belong. And one time he tried to buy ketchup from amazon…in bulk…while we were on the ketchup aisle because it was cheaper per bottle.

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