Friday, July 15, 2011

Whatever Happened to a Grocery Budget?

As anyone who reads this blog can see, I have been spending way more on groceries this year than last year. I have been wondering why that is- am I just being lazy or are there other reasons?
Well, laziness does have a small part in it but maybe the lazy word is being a bit too harsh. At this moment in my life I have a four year old, a two year old and I am five months pregnant with our third child. My energy levels, while getting a little better, are not what they were pre-pregnancy. Add that to the fact that my two year old daughter is in a stage now where she is asserting her independence, meaning that she does not want to sit in a shopping cart at the store and wants to explore when we go shopping. I no longer have the energy to go to two different grocery stores, the drugstores and Target every week- nor do I want to because it just takes time away from my family.

Another reason I feel that I have been spending way more is just simply that we are eating more as a family. I have been eating a bit more because of my pregnancy and my kids are both at ages where they eat a lot- and eat a lot of food that is not cheap and that there are rarely coupons or awesome deals for. Fresh fruit, yogurt, string cheese and whole wheat bread (the good stuff) and milk add up to a lot each week. These are things that are necessary in my house and that we must have on hand at all times. I think we may drink about three gallons of milk each week between all of us (I have a cup with my Carnation Instant Breakfast every morning, my husband uses milk for his Autocrat coffee milk syrup every day instead of buying an iced coffee and my kids drink milk with their cereal every morning and have it with every meal) which alone is about $16 a week. I know we could cut down on milk but why- I mean it is good for us and I am not going to cut food out of our diet that is healthy to just save money. As a side note, I have tons of chicken in my freezer that I got really cheap but since I have been pregnant I have had an aversion to eating poultry so all of that cheap meat is a no go in our meals- this has raised my spending because I have had to buy more red meat.

Another big reason why I believe that I have been spending way more on food is that the awesome deals the stores used to have are just not there anymore. No more Catalina deals at Shaws where I used to be able to stock up on free cereal and yogurt- boy do I miss those! I used to be able to feed my family of $50 a week when my son was a baby and that was with buying a lot of organic food, including milk. Now, forget about $50- even the $75 budget I set seems to be hard to stick to lately (I no longer buy organic because I don't believe that it is worth the extra money- I stopped drinking the organic Kool-Aid).

So yeah, I suppose it was inevitable that our grocery bill has slowly gone up over the past year but it is not something that I really even feel bad about. We are not struggling to pay our bills so if more money has to go towards feeding ourselves good food that we enjoy then so be it. I used to be in competition to try and have the lowest possible grocery budget for my family but now it just as if putting a low ball number on how much I should spend is crazy. We have the money to spend to buy good food and gosh darn it that is what I am going to do. This doesn't mean that I am going to start to spend hundreds of dollars a week on lobster and filet mignon but it does mean that I am going to cut myself some slack and not feel bad for not being a total cheap ass. Plus geez, isn't a stay at home mom's sanity worth something in this world?

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