17 July 2006

The Price of Convenience

Living the single life doesn't always afford one all of the opportunities to save that a typically frugal person might hope. This situation rears up on me sometimes at the grocery store. It is not easy to stock up on staples, nor is it practical for me to make a full turkey dinner with all the fixings. Since I am also trying to cut down on dining out at restaurants (an area that has not been all to successful, of late), so trying to navigate around the grocery store looking for something unique to eat, but mindful of the time/effort/expense of some of the things that I like. Honestly, I think I could be one of the few people in America who could date more often and SAVE money!

Last night, Publix was hawking some of their convenience items in the aisles. At the seafood department, I found some tasty tilapia stuffed with crabmeat. For the first time in quite awhile, I was induced to purchase by a sample tasting. They offered a freshly packaged (in-store, same day) whole fillet, seasoned and stuffed, and ready to spend some quality time in the oven. The price for this convenience, I felt, was quite reasonable - $5.99/lb. I know that tilapia, alone, can be found cheaper, but $5.99/lb isn't really a bad price for a slab of fresh fish. Since this came as a ready-made meal, I would expect to pay a little bit of a premium. The whole cost for the package was just over $7.00.

It made me realize that I am willing to pay for a few other convenience items, especially at Publix. In the deli, I like their chicken tenders - even the cold ones that I have as grab-and-go, and their fried chicken (yes, all the healthy stuff!). In the bakery, I will always grab a loaf of challah bread, if they have one unsliced out on the shelf. Their danish are also good, and I previously mentioned their fresh pizza dough.

I do have my limits, though. It seems preposterous to me to pay for someone to cut up fruit for me in advance. When I look at the price that they charge for a melon cut into chunks versus the cost of a whole melon, I wonder why people pay for that sort of thing. Then I think if other people think that I am nuts for buying a loaf of bread or chicken tenders instead of making them myself.

In case you were wondering, the tilapia turned out great. All it took was adding a pat of butter on top of the fish and about 1/2 hour in the oven at 350. It was delicious, and I was able to portion myself out something for dinner and some for lunch tomorrow. Now, if only I could have grabbed some type of vegetable-type substance, I could have made a whole meal!

No comments: