One downside of living in NYC is that you inevitably end up paying more for everyday products out of sheer convenience. With Duane Reades and local bodegas everywhere you turn, it’s always easy to pick up a roll of toilet paper here or some shampoo there. Inevitably, you run out of said roll of toilet paper at a very inconvenient time and wish that you had sucked it up and bought it in bulk. It’s times like this that I dream about having a car and the ability to go to Target every weekend, stocking up on enough household essentials to last me…perhaps more than a week.
There is actually a Target in downtown Brooklyn, two subways stops from where I live. Today, I decided not to succumb to laziness and made the trip. My shopping list was very simple: paper towels, dishwasher tablets, and a new bed pillow. As soon as I entered Target, I remembered why I usually avoid it: the temptation of straying from my no-nonsense list. Target is basically the snake in the Garden of Eden in this respect. I immediately wandered to the $1 section conveniently placed in the front of the store, just to “have a look.” A white plastic decorative basket went right into my cart. Already disheartened, I resolved to go pick up the things I really needed and did this in about 5 minutes flat. For the next 25 minutes, I wandered through the store looking at all the things I didn’t need: a ceramic mug with a dog that said “I woof you”, Valentine’s Day socks, new sheets and towels, another decorative throw pillow. I put the blinders on and proceeded to checkout where, to my surprise, I set a new personal record: I spent only $40!
Here’s what I bought:
- Dishwasher tablets (70 tablets!)
- Paper towels (8 rolls!)
- Macaroni and cheese
- Valentine’s Day candy
- Decorative basket (it was only a buck and was already put to productive use in my bathroom)
Here’s what I avoided:
- Nail polish ($8)
- Blush ($10)
- Workout hoodie ($20)
I could have easily doubled my bill at had I given in to those three items which, on their own, aren’t “thaaaaat much” but do end up costing a lot when added all together. Did I wish I had bought those things when I came back home? Not at all. That’s definitely a sign of impulse shopping and I’m glad I resisted. Another factor that worked in my favor was that I had to carry everything back on the subway. If I bought anything more than I did, I think my arms would have fallen off.
The walk home was kind of unwieldy (how many people do you see on the street carrying an 8-pack of paper towels and a pillow?) but worth it, as I won’t have to go to Duane Reade for at least a few more days…until I run out of toilet paper.