Wednesday, November 14, 2012

price of food

Today I went to Whole Paycheck Foods for vitamins and contemplated a $13 rotisserie chicken, and $10 sweet potatoes.  I decided I would eat lunch at home.

When the Mister and I first got married, we would buy the smallest possible portions of meat at the grocery store.  Usually a pack of chicken or pork would have three to four pieces, and we would each eat one for dinner and either eat leftovers the next night or take them for lunch.  I realize this was ten years ago, but we rarely spent more than $5 on any package of meat.  When we ate pasta we made half a box, or we made the whole box and had leftovers for days.  We consistently spent the same amount on food every month.

After having one child, I did not see a large increase in our food bill.  (Except for the special formula he ended up on at 8 months, which cost nearly as much as the food bill for me and the Mister.) But what we were spending on actual food stayed about the same.

After the second child, our food bill started to creep up.  By the third child, our food bill had doubled from when it was just me and the Mister.  I'm not sure why, since my children reject every meal I make.  However, I would say that our meat consumption was about the same.  We were still buying one package of meat to feed five people.  Obviously I wasn't eating lots of leftovers from that one package of meat, but, on average, one pound of meat stretched to feed two adults and three children under the age of six.

It appears my children are growing up, because one package of meat is not really doing it for us anymore.  I am still only buying one package of meat, and pushing the vegetables, but the childrens are not so fond of the vegetables.

One reason I am still only buying one small package of meat per meal is because meat is ridonkulously expensive here.  I used to pay about $4 for a pound of pork or $7 for a pound of chicken  in New Jersey.  Here I am paying $12 (discounted with my Ralph's savings card from $18) for a pound of pork.   Bacon, commonly $6 in New Jersey, is $13 here.  What the hell, people.  We are not vegans, but it looks like we might end up that way.

I find that eating healthy and from scratch is actually not that cheap.  Because of Peter's food allergies, we eat very little food that comes out of cans or boxes.  We eat mostly chicken, ground beef and fish, fresh and frozen vegetables, and lots of fruit. We eat a vegetarian pasta twice a week (homemade tomato or pesto sauce, or a pasta with a vegetable sauce). I make most of our bread and desserts from scratch.

Irony: I detest cooking, and yet I spend a significant portion of my day doing so.

How about you?  What do you and your family consume?


  1. I had no idea that it was that much higher in CA. Food prices in general, are just crazy. All the boxes are smaller, and the prices have gone up. I feel like I quit on this effort, because my kids are never happy with dinner either. I have friends that do meal planning...and don't get me started on what we throw out.

  2. First, try Trader Joe's as an alternative to Whole Paycheck. When we lived near one, I found I could buy the majority of my groceries there, and it wasn't too bad. Second, we eat much more chicken and turkey than beef and pork. We also have about 2 meatless nights per week. $13 for a pound of bacon???? I paid $3.49 last night, and see the price creep up every few weeks. Of course, we live in a place where the only organic anything I can find is milk.

  3. Lady! Do you not have a Costco card? Recommend, before the price of pork sends you to the poorhouse.

  4. It is just two of us and I am always amazed when when the grocery ticket rings up. I can't imagine what families do to make it. Eating healthy is very, very expensive.

  5. Agree - TJ's is way less expensive than Whole Paycheck. Also, if you do searches on "meatless Mondays" you'll find a lot of ideas for non-meat based meals.


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