For the past month, I've been waging war on our grocery bill. About eighteen months ago, we switched to organic foods, as well as environmentally-friendly detergents and cleaners. And our grocery bill went through the roof. We endured it for a few months, priding ourselves on having healthier meals for our kids and helping the environment by polluting significantly less.
Some changes involved some purchases that were one-time deals and we were fine with that a year ago. And we're still good with that. I don't mind paying a higher price for something that will last for a really long time.
For example, we spent about $80 on resuable snack and lunch sacks for the kids.
We bought them from WasteNot Saks on Etsy and I highly recommend them. The kids take these in their lunches every day and we no longer use plastic baggies. Cheaper in the long run and much better for the environment. We could use a few more and this is an expense I won't mind adding in this month.
Other prices and products, however, are simply ridiculous. And, frankly, now as I'm trying to cut back down on grocery prices, I'm appalled at how difficult it is to keep the prices down and eat healthy at the same time.
For example, I could buy the kids a bag of potato chips for their after-school snack.
This bag of chips was on sale this week for only $1.50.
Compare that to these apples.
These apples cost over $4.00 - and they were fresh and in season.
I went with the apples, anyway.
I could feed the kids their sandwiches on white bread for about 99 cents.
Or I could make their sandwiches using 100% whole wheat bread for $3.79.
I went with the whole wheat bread. I'm never going to win any cheapskate honors the way this is going, am I? Did I mention that we go through 3+ loaves of bread every week? Yeah, it bites.
And milk. Oh milk.
$2.00/gallon for regular milk.
Or $6.00/gallon for organic milk.
Seems like a no-brainer. But for whom? If you're a card-carrying cheapskate, it's a no-brainer to go with the $2 milk. But, if you're a card-carrying organic food buyer, it's also a no-brainer to go with the $6 milk.
Well, what happens to those of us who need to subscribe to both camps? It simply isn't possible.
We do have a few tricks up our sleeves still - we buy in bulk, we don't buy expensive cuts of meat, we'll go to the orchard and pick our own apples for this month, and we'll find other ways to cut back.
But, it shouldn't be this difficult. And it shouldn't be easier to feed your family food that is full of fat and preservatives than it is to feed them fresh produce and whole wheat bread.