One of the Reasons I’m Great With Numbers

I was just talking to my friend Debbie on the phone and somehow the subject of math came up (long story). I told her that I have a very interesting talent; when grocery shopping, I can mentally keep track of what goes in my shopping cart and, at checkout, come up with a total that is often within $15 of what the cashier tells me I owe, including tax and after subtracting coupons. In fact, on one particularly glorious shopping trip I was within one dollar of the total. (and I’m not talking about $20 shopping trips here; these are on the biggies: $150-$200!)

My “talent” comes from shortly after I got married; he was in the Navy and we were on an extremely fixed budget. I used to, when making my grocery list, pencil in how many of each item I would need and also how much (rounded up to the next dollar) I planned to spend on that item. I totalled it up and, if it was beyond my budget, made adjustments to the list.

Nowadays I don’t have to be quite as careful at the store, but I like acting like a circus sideshow and get extra joy when I have a shopping companion who can marvel at my ability. I no longer jot down how much I plan to spend on each item; it’s all mental now. It’s good math practice, I guess.

One of my favorite shows back in the day was this one.

My friend Dawn and I used to talk all the time about going on that show, because we were Super Shoppers! It’s too bad we never got to; we would have ripped the competition to shreds!


  • k a t i e

    Hurrah! I feel no where near as alone in my talent of list making! Just last night, when I couldn’t drift off to sleep in the heat, I got my favorite pencil, a nice big notebook and I added up what I thought each dinner this week would cost us – rounded up slightly, of course, so I can be nicely suprised if it’s less. My partner and I have somewhat competitive natures, and every ‘big’ shop we do, we guess the amount – I win, obviously 🙂

    And here’s to show my complete ignorance – how exactly do you celebrate Hanukkah? I’ve been reading up on it a little, and I know about the Menorah and eating lots of things covered in oil. How else do you make it special? (And I hope in no way that offends you – I mean everyone does Christmas slightly different, and my families traditions are obviously different to other families – I was wondering if you have anything that isn’t listed in Wikipedia 🙂

  • Melisa

    Katie: You’re not alone! I take notebooks to bed quite often myself. LOL (and you don’t have to rub it in that it’s hot down there in Oz…)

    Re: Hanukkah… Basically, it’s 8 days/nights long. Celebrates the rededication of the temple and the miracle of oil (that was supposed to only last for one night) lasting for 8 nights. It’s a very minor Jewish holiday, but fun. I’m not offended at all and will be happy to post all about it, with photos! 😉

    Rick: Welcome to my blog! Yes, you’re right. It was always the coffee, the meats, and the baby formula. I was always amused at the idiots who wasted their time on soups and such.

  • Kat

    That is a great talent you got there. I do that too though I only roughly count what every item I put in my basket costs…