One of my most popular posts, even 4 years later, is How to Feed a Family of Five Under $75 Weekly. Daily I get a hit or two on that post alone.
For years I was able to come in at $75 or under a week for groceries. All that went out the window when Jacob got sick. We were blessed by being surrounded by caring people who dropped off meals, sent gift certificates for the grocery store, or local restaurant gift certificates. That took a huge strain off of me having to closely budget and shop all the sales. It allowed me that extra time with Jacob, which I will forever be grateful for.
But a lot happens in three years, mainly rising costs of groceries. And boy, did the cost of groceries rise in the past five years! When I went back to budgeting, meal planning, and detailed grocery shopping in the fall of 2013, I was horrified by how our grocery budget needed to be doubled, if not tripled, some weeks.
Still, I am in sticker shock. My problem is doubled by the fact that I could care less about food. No, I haven't stopped eating, probably the opposite is true, but the pleasure of meal planning...of even being able to think up a menu seems a little beyond me yet. It's grief, it's not really caring about this issue, it's trying not to stress out about it.
But stress I do.
I find myself running to the grocery store a few times a week. Spending $30-$40 and walking out of there with just a few meal's worth of food, then repeating the process a few days later. I find myself sending hubby to the store for something, only to have him return with several bags of (unasked for!) stuff. I find us eating too much junk. Going through food too quickly. Wasting time and money. It's a circle way too easy to fall into.
I've gotten to the point that I don't even know how much we spend on food, and am a bit scared to find out. I don't even know what a reasonable weekly food goal is at this point. According the a quick Google search it sounds like $900 or more for a family of four?!
I did the Frugal Housewife's $70 Menu Plan (which ended up costing me $82) in 2012. We found the menu to involve way too much bread and not many meals that we liked. I did a $400 Healthy Month Meal Challenge in 2010 and don't think I could replicate that 5 years later.
We are a family of five. My husband packs a lunch each day for work. With us homeschooling, every single meal and snack is on me to provide. That adds up to a lot of food. Add in a 6 year old boy that literally grew out of his shirts in a one week span and a tween that will soon be as tall as me. A toddler that burns her energy as fast as she makes it. Food, food, food seems to be the theme around here! Even the cats beg for food all day long. :/
What is my point? I'm hoping to get back on track. My first goal is getting together a good menu and shopping list for this coming week. My next goal is to figure out just how much we are spending on groceries each week. My next goal will be to see how low we can go. I shall allow you peeks into this process.
What area of the country do you live in and what is your grocery budget each week?