Confession time: I am awful at food shopping. I want to be that mom who can stay away from the grocery store and survive on once a week trips. But that is not the case. I don’t know if it’s because I am not very good at planning or my general lack of organizational skills. Most days I am frazzled. Most days I run to the store after work with three small children in tow. Most visits I drop at least $150 (did I just admit that out loud?) and still need to go back two or three times more during the week. What am I doing wrong??
Where I Shop
I shop at Whole Foods because it’s the easiest place for me. Yes, I am paying for convenience. I know where everything is located, and the people who work there are friendly. They have the coveted “race car” cart, which can hold 2/3 of my kids (and don’t even get me started about when I see a single child in a double cart.). My kids are also used to the food available to them at Whole Foods. My spoiled kids will accept nothing less than the $2/container yogurts or the $8 piece of cheddar cheese. I wish I was joking but I’m not. I’ve tried cutting corners, and it ends up with a lot of wasted food. I know, this all sounds ridiculous … even to me. Hence why I am sharing it with you.
What I Buy
On an average trip, I end up buying 4 containers of raspberries (at least one gets eaten during the shopping), 2 pounds of cherries, 2 pounds of peaches, a pint of blueberries, 2 containers of blackberries, a bunch of bananas, 3 bell peppers, a container of hummus, 2 packages of squeezey yogurts, 6 Fage yogurts, a piece of Seaside cheddar cheese, 2 cans of olives, 2 bottles of wine, chocolate, 2 packages of precooked bacon, a package of pepperoni, hot dogs, milk and eggs. This usually runs me about $150-$200. That amount will last about 3 days. And then the cycle repeats. Notice that not much on that list is for me to actually cook a family dinner. Where am I going wrong?? I know the one time I actually buy more fruit or veggies will be the time they end up not eating it.
Advice That Hasn’t Worked
I know some advice will be something like, “Cook family dinners.” That is easier said than done. My kids are starving by the time I get them home from school, which is in the 4:45 – 5:00pm range. My husband gets home about 6:00 – 6:30pm. I am not about to force my kids to wait that long to eat. And then there is the pesky problem of the baby. He wants to go to sleep by 6:00pm. When does that leave me time to actually cook for all those people? So most nights, I set the girls up with a buffet of berries, cheese, and whatever else they ask for. If they want me to cook something, its usually eggs. On the weekends, I do attempt to cook but that is just another trip to the grocery and another $150 spent. Where am I going wrong?
Where Am I Going Wrong?
My husband and I joke that we need a line item in our budget just for berries. When the baby starts eating table food, I think that might be true. My kids are like locusts! I don’t want to deny them healthy foods, but at the same time, we spend so much on groceries. And with summer right around the corner and the kids being home all day, I suspect they will just end up eating more since school will not be providing lunch and snacks. Yikes!!
This summer, I am going to attempt meal planning for dinners. I’m not sure that will help, but I can try. Using coupons is not my thing. My biggest budget downfall is on fresh items. So if anyone has any tips or tricks they would like to share, please do.