Is it just me, or is your grocery bill outrageous? Everyone always jokes that with two boys and a family history of tall men, we should start saving now to afford the food for when our boys are in high school. I don’t even want to think about what the grocery bill will look like then.

Pre-kids, my husband and I spent about $75-100 per week on groceries. Four years and two kids later and that bill has climbed to about $150! How, I ask? My sons are 4 and 1. Even combined, they do not eat as much as another adult, as my bill might suggest. Yes, prices have increased slightly in the past four years, but not by that much. I meal plan, shop sales, and stock up when things are on sale. I cook things (mostly) from scratch. We almost never eat at restaurants, and I almost never order take-out (maybe one time per month). I compare flyers each week before I shop and go wherever the sales are the best. I buy things in large packages rather than individually portioned bags. We even have 1 or 2 “meatless meal” nights each week. What gives?

What’s really interesting to me is that apparently, our spending is normal! Are we just really being really cheap, thinking it should cost less? Actually, according to this calculator from Department of Agriculture via the Iowa State University, our spending is on the low-cost end of things! While I’m relived to see that I’m not an out-of-control-grocery-shopaholic, I still feel like we must be over-spending.

Here’s a sample of our meal plan for the coming week. You can see we are actually not eating prime rib and lobster tail every night despite our massive bill. I do try to buy organic fruits and vegetables when I can, and I do always buy hormone and antibiotic-free meats. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of coupons out there for the things we tend to buy, or at least I’ve never found them. Here’s what this week looks like:

Dinners:

  • Salad with Grilled Chicken
  • Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries
  • Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza
  • White Chicken Chili with Cornbread
  • Veggie Burgers with Green Beans
  • Pasta with Sauce and Chicken Sausage and Garlic Bread
  • Hummus Night (Hummus with cucumbers and pita chips, usually also salad on the side)

Lunch Options

  • Peanut Butter and Jelly
  • Organic Chicken Nuggets with watermelon
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Hummus and Pretzels with Fruit
  • Evol Burritos (frozen) (convenient work lunch)
  • Naanwiches (frozen tandoori chicken between pieces of naan flatbread) (convenient work lunch)

Breakfast Options

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Raisin Toast
  • Frozen store-brand bagels
  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal
Does all this seem reasonable? Have you checked out the food cost calculator? How does your spending compare (if you don’t mind sharing)? I am venturing out to try something I’ve never done this week and that frankly, intimidates me: I’m going to B.J.’s Wholesale Club to see if I can save a little that way. A friend told me they have started selling more natural foods recently, and my mom gave me a trial membership coupon. My hope is that buying in mega-bulk every other week will be cheaper than shopping weekly at regular stores. If you have found a way to eat healthy foods and spend a little less, I’d love to hear it!

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