Cheap, cheaper and REALLY cheap grocery shopping

Over the Easter weekend, after taking my four-year-old to see Horton Hears a Who, we dropped by our neighborhood grocery store to buy soda pop and dog food. By the time we were finished with our trip, I had spent $76.

Naturally, I bought a few other items, but what struck me as the number on the cash register kept getting larger and larger was how little food there actually was for having spent $76. Not that I want to blame all of this on my daughter, but I did listen to most of her grocery suggestions. Aside from the soda and pet food, our cart was full of doughnuts, Lucky Charms cereal, cookies, Goldfish crackers, a bright bouncy ball that retailed for $1.49, and then a few smarter items like some yogurt, toilet paper, paper towels and, yes, some actual food, enough for -- two dinners.

Granted, I broke a lot of rules. I didn't go in with a prepared grocery list, or coupons, and I brought in a precocious four-year-old who I have a tough time saying "no" to, unless it involves her playing with sharp knives or matches. But I'm beginning to think, with food prices rising the way they have been, that it's time to consider the idea of dropping by a discount grocery store.