Monday, June 14, 2010


I hate money. I hate talking about it, I hate stressing about it, I hate carrying it on me, I hate not having it on me.

I sometimes wish we were like the Swiss Family Robinson, living in tree forts and wearing the clothes we were ship-wrecked in (as long I was ship-wrecked wearing something fab with amazing shoes on and my Uggs in my oversized purse, for the times I want to be cozy on our little island and I want Jo to be ship-wrecked in his poker shirt and Lucky jeans because that is what he looks best in). I digress.

I need to talk about groceries, because I am in my own little world and have no idea what is a normal amount to be spending on groceries for a family of 4 per week. I am a pretty responsible menu planner, with lunches and dinners written out for the week. I also am on the organic band wagon for certain items, but had to fall off said-wagon for other items because it was just getting too pricey for me. I’m a store-hopper, if there is a particularly good deal at one store I’ll hit it in addition to my regular haunts.

So, what does it cost to fuel Meanie’s household for a week? This past Friday I spent a total of $122.58 – this included groceries and my own special grape juices with fancy names like Malbec and Pinot Grigio. This was a good week – usually it is upwards of $150 if I hit a Costco, or if Joe Fresh has a stooopid-cute bathing suit that I just have to get Edie or Grace (Gah! Have you seem of their stuff? Your heart is made of dark things if you don’t just swoon over some of their stock).

Is this normal? Am I doing well or am I hurtling my wee family of four into debt with my free-spending ways?


Cindy said...

I don't have a familia of 4 but if you are getting special grape juice and groceries for $122 that sounds like a good dea to me!!

Little Red Hen said...

That's about what I spend for a family of 4 as well. I used to try to do it on 100 but I find it hard and I'm not an extravagant shopper. I don't buy treats too often so that's a bare bones shopping list. I don't know how low/fixed-income families manage and still eat sort of healthy.

Pauline said...

Our grocery and pet food bills are CRAZY!! I try and cut back on impulse buys, but the most expensive things are the healthy food items-fruit, veggies, etc. So that causes the bills to add up quickly!

Mis(s)Mannered Mom said...

250 every two weeks here, so ya roughly 125 a week. That's not including my husbands special barley brew. Ahem. We are also a family of four. Some weeks it's less cause I don't need certain items you only buy every few weeks (laundry detergent for example) and others it's higher if I see something on a crazy sale that I stock my freezer with....And ya, Joe....I love that stuff for my girls. Cheap, can't go wrong!!! I don't tally that in groceries though. That's just in frivolous spending. LOL

Laura said...

I think you're doing well with that amount per week Meanie, especially if you are buying organics. If I shop off my list, I end up spending waaay more. I never used to be a list I can't afford to shop without one.

Lynn said...

Whenever I hear about people spending $125 per week, I wonder what the heck I am doing wrong. I usually spend between $225 and $250 per week on groceries. We're a family of five, but our kids are little (7, 5, 3) and they don't eat very much. I do a solid meal plan and we don't really throw away very much food, so WTF?

I like to comfort myself by telling myself that I do all my drugstore like shopping with my groceries -- stuff like shampoo, soap, sunscreen, allergy meds, and occasionally (although not so often anymore) pull-ups. So maybe that's what is creating the extra cost. We also have to buy a lot of allergy-safe foods for our son, including exotic and expensive rice and soy milks.

BUT STILL. I feel like I need to get it under control.

Love Joe, by the way, for me and the kids. :)

XUP said...

I'm with Lynn. I spend way more than $125 a week on food and it's just two of us..and I don't even buy meat. I usually go to at least 3 different places every week for what we need and probably end up spending close to $200 including pet food and things like toilet paper, cleaning products and special grape juice. Do you guys actually eat all your meals for a week on $125 or do you buy lunches and suppers out on top of that?

meanie said...

Cindy - thanks! it's a fine tuned system I have. remind me to share my family calendar with you one day.

LRH - I used to have a mental block at $100 as well, then a few months ago it just seemed impossible to keep it at $100. I have no idea how fixed-income families do it.

Pauline - That's where my bill gets crazy, all the fruits and veggies.

MissMannered - so you only hit the store every 2 weeks??? Yeah, when I hit Costco, when we have run out of something, my bill is much higher.

Laura - I really need my list. I'm all over the map without my list.

Lynn - When Edie was going through some food testing last summer, and when I was dairy free for a few weeks, it altered our grocery bill dramatically - it's expensive being sensitive!

XUP - Our typical week involves Jo and I dining out one night a week (date night, yo) and the girls dine out 1x a week (usually McDonalds or some other crap like that). Other than that I have a weekly menu planner that I'm pretty anal about sticking to. I rarely buy breakfast or lunch at work. I have the girls lunch menu on a rotation. On occasion I have to pop into the store mid-week to stock up on fruit. We go through it like crazy. After reading these comments, I feel pretty good about what I'm spending/how I'm doing.

Mis(s)Mannered Mom said...

Ya, I shop every two weeks because I hate it so. LOL I might have to make a pit stop for milk again-but that's about it. We also eat take out every friday night which usually runs about 50 bucks. People think what I spend is crazy low (that includes all cleaners and shampoos and dog food). I'm a keener though-and like you-shop the sales/flyers.
When flyers come-I go through them and jot down what's on sale where that I buy/want. I also buy meat according to what's on sale that week. From there, I base my menus around those items. I do create menus for the two weeks, with weekends being more free(like I have an idea but it's not set in stone) Breakfasts are at home, my husband takes his coffee to go. The kids eat the same thing every day. My husband and I have protein smoothies. Lunches are packed-kids get the same sorta things daily and my husband takes leftovers.(I always make more for him so he has a lunch or two out of that) I'm at home so I eat whatever I feel like which is sometimes cheese and crackers. LOL
That's how we make it work, here.

Mis(s)Mannered Mom said...

sorry-adding again

I found I spent MORE when I shopped weekly. The cart doesn't seem as full so you don't think about throwing another item in as readily. When I go every two weeks-the cart space is maximized and there's no room for impulse buys-and I just find I spend less. I'm sure the cashiers hate to see me coming though. LOL

alison said...

I spend about $120 a week for the three of us. We go out for a cheap pizza meal about once every 2 weeks, but eat at home the rest of the time. The girls and I take packed lunches. I don't buy meat every week, as I have a pretty well-stocked freezer from buying in bulk on sale.

And I luuuuurve Joe Fresh for the kiddos.