Sunday, January 11, 2015

Grocery Buying Blues

Whenever Hubby and go grocery shopping, I feel like I'm living Groundhog Day as soon as we walk through the automatic doors. I pick up organic onions and Hubby says, "Those are a dollar more a pound than the regular onions. Why can't you just get the cheaper ones?" I pick up organic potatoes, and hear Hubby say, "Geez, those are expensive." And so it goes for the entire shopping trip. By the time we reach the check out, I'm exhausted from trying to explain why I buy organic when I can. After paying the bill, I get to hear about how we're paying too much for groceries because I insist on buying organic. Yesterday, before even reaching the check out lane, I had arrived at the point of just being tired of hearing it. Hubby and I definitely part ways when it comes to food. I'm deeply concerned about how our fruits and veggies are grown. I'm just as concerned with how animals are treated before their lives end so that we can eat.

Yesterday, my breaking point with the conversation came when Hubby complained about how much we spent on groceries last week--$165. What he doesn't realize is when that number is broken down, our daily food expense was around $23. He further doesn't realize that when the $23 is broken down, the cost per person came in under $6. If I take it one more step, I could break that $6 down by three meals per day, which has each member of the family consuming $2 worth of food per meal. Maybe I'm figuring this all wrong, and if I am, please show me where I'm messing up the equation, but in the event that I'm not, I'm thinking $2 per person per meal each day is cheap.

Granted, our grocery bill yesterday was about $55 more than last week's. This happened because I bought several bottles of wine to use when cooking, and I bought grass-fed ground lamb, bacon that came from pastured pigs, and a frozen free-range chicken. The wine will last nearly a month, maybe longer, so we won't have that cost for several weeks now. With the chicken, yeah it was twice the cost of the conventional chicken available, but I have peace of mind knowing the chicken I bought wasn't trapped in a cage where it wasn't able to move, and it wasn't pumped full of growth hormones so it grew faster than is normal. When Hubby saw the price of the chicken, he went on about how much more expensive it was than the conventional chicken. What Hubby doesn't get is from that chicken I was able to make nearly 20 cups of stock that I'll use when cooking. Those twenty cups equal about $30 if bought at the grocery store. Also from that chicken was our meal for this evening, and there was plenty left over to make chicken noodle soup later in the week. So the $18 I paid for that chicken? Nominal when it's all said and done.

Because Hubby was complaining so loudly yesterday, I did some investigating. What we are paying per week on groceries most often falls between what is considered a thrifty plan ($146) and a low-cost plan ($191) (info taken from "Latest Statistics," USAToday, May 1, 2013). We definitely would be paying less if I didn't buy the organic produce and the grass-fed meats. We could buy more processed foods, bringing our grocery bills down even further. But I can't and won't live that way.

Another issue Hubby wasn't addressing yesterday was how often we were eating take-out through November and December. Just about every evening. I was thankful at the time to not have to worry about cooking as that was when I was going through a bit of a rough spot. After work, I wasn't feeling up to cooking, so coming home to dinner already taken care of helped. The problem that occurred, however, was the increase to our weekly grocery bill. Then, we were typically spending around $130 a week for groceries. Add in all that take-out we were consuming, and the weekly cost was easily anywhere from $280-$300. Funny, I didn't hear any complaining then. Hmmmmm.

In the end yesterday, my solution to our disagreement over the kinds of groceries we buy is I will buy for myself and the boys, and Hubby can buy for himself. I will fix meals for myself and the boys, and Hubby can fix his own meals. Not a great solution by any means, but really, I don't want to be caught up in Groundhog Day any longer. It's not fun.


John Romeo Alpha said...

Since I eat meat and wifey doesn't, and since she eats a ton of carbs and I need to stay away, we end up shopping like this, too. One clear drawback compared to unified family shopping, though, is that, ironically, you end up spending more this way, since you don't get to buy the ten pack of pork chops or the ten pound bag of rice, but rather the smaller portions that serve fewer people. It can be frustrating. But, your post also sounds very familiar.

JK said...

I've been wondering about cost if we go the route of Hubby buying for himself and me buying for the boys and myself. Might be a fun experiment to track costs associated with this approach, at least for a little while.

Thryn said...

Not easier just to leave him at home and give him a pie chart at the end of the month? :)

JK said...

Ha! That is a thought. What peace and quiet that would be!

J said...

Oh dear... I spend more than that on groceries in a week. *hugs*

Thank you for caring about where our food comes from and how it is grown/treated.

JK said...

Because I'm really paying attention these days, I've notice how the prices on some items have seemed to skyrocket. I bought a bag of red grapes recently, and it wasn't quite 2 pounds, but it cost over $8. I was floored. It's very difficult to keep the weekly cost down and try to eat healthy at the same time.

J said...

I'm convinced that a large number of people are obese because the healthiest foods are not affordable, but Little Debbies and hot dogs are.