Ever finished your shopping, headed to the register, and guessed what you’re about to spend? That’s me, every time. Honestly, before a group of my friends created a guessing game, I didn’t really know how much other people spent on groceries. My receipts have always on the higher end, but with a family of six who all eat a lot, that made sense for my shopping haul.
Sometimes, moms post on Facebook groups asking people to guess their total, and there would be a whirlwind of answers with receipt totals high and low. I never wanted to comment on these posts to avoid passing judgement or causing embarrassment. Like “Wow, that mom spends too much!” However, when some of my best mom friends started chatting daily through our apps and social media during the pandemic, we realized we had a lot in common with our shopping hauls whether it was food, cleaning items, or even a sweater or a book tacked on here and there.
We’d make fun of trivial day-to-day stay-at-home mom tasks together, and we’d share tips and tricks with each other—like how to cook an egg on a dash waffle maker or how to get a streak-free clean window with vinegar or how to fold like Marie Kondo. So naturally, a conversation about grocery shopping turned into a grocery haul guessing game.
I don’t even remember who I should credit for beginning this game since we’ve been playing it for a year now, but I am most certain it started out at Costco where spending a lot seems inevitable (I think with my friend Callie. She shops at Costco a lot.).
So let me explain our game. It’s pretty simple. We’d share a photo or a video of our haul, describe some of the items in our haul, and everyone in our group of friends would throw out a guess. Like I said, simple. Some like to throw out vague guesses ($100, $150, $275, $380) while others like to go through each item and calculate a total for their guess ($124.78, $237.56, $322.45). My tactic is to visualize and add items counting by 10s.
As the pandemic days, weeks, and months continued, so did our game. Some of us got better and some of us got worse, but all in all, it’s just fun and games. There are no big winner or loser, just bragging rights throughout our group, although recently one of our friends made it interesting and Venmo’d $5 for a cup of coffee for the winner—I won! (Thank you, Jayne, for my coffee.) I will definitely be paying this forward to the winner of my next haul.
As we realized how similar our purchases were and how we shopped, we eventually opened it up past the grocery stage and headed into the Target and Walmart phase because, hey, we get some groceries there as well aside from the usual Vons and Ralphs; or in our case here in Kansas City, Price Chopper, Hy-Vee, and Hen House. (In case you didn’t know, I am a Southern Californian transplant.)
The fun thing about this game is you learn how your friends shop. You learn about what they eat, their diets, what they feed their kids for snacks, their treats, and everything in between like what kind of toothpaste and toilet cleaner they use. Because of the game, I started to pick and choose things that I wouldn’t have thought to incorporate into my own shopping list and began asking for tips and ideas on meals, etc. I also learned a lot about my friends through their groceries and actually feel more bonded to them than ever. For me personally, I also really like seeing how much they spend because it somehow helps me justify my own spending.
My last haul was hilarious. As I took photos of my groceries while I filled the conveyor belt, I had a couple of people behind me chuckle and ask what I was doing. Because the game is quite easy to figure out, a few of them took some guesses, too. That afternoon, there were some sighs of defeat and some cheers for winning. It’s especially funny when you are nearly one hundred dollars off (face palm) which most of us were, including the cashier. However, even with that disappointment, I found that the greatest thing about this game is how it can bring people together, even strangers.