Thursday, October 16, 2008

Spending Like A Prince, Eating Like A Pauper

Oh, my God. The price of groceries is OUT OF CONTROL!!! I am spending almost twice as much on food each week as I did a year ago. In recent months, I have watched my weekly food bill inch up until I was spending $300 a week for the four of us. That is way too much, so tonight, I spent a full hour at the supermarket (I usually zip in and out as fast as I can). I compared prices, I looked for specials, I agonized over every item that I chose. In the end, I walked out with half a shopping cart of food for $135. I used to fill up two shopping carts for $135! In three days, I'll have to go shopping again, and I really can't afford it. I'm freaking out.
Then I come home and see this article in the New York Times. This woman in Connecticut obsessively collects coupons and buys sale items in bulk. She managed to cut her $130 total to $96 using coupons. She also locks up the snacks that she buys in a shed in the basement so that her sons don't eat them too quickly. While I probably should admire this woman and strive to emulate her, I actually think that she's a bit nuts because her entire life seems to revolve around those damn coupons.
I just want to feed and clothe and educate my kids without having to stay up nights worrying constantly about how I'm going to make it to the end of the month. I'm so drained by all the worrying. Children are a blessing, and I really do love mine, but boy are they expensive!

20 comments:

SephardiLady said...

I can understand why a mother of teenagers would lock snacks up in the shed! My kids are littler than yours, but even at this point I've resorted to a snack box because sometimes I can't take it. I especially go crazy when I set aside something for an occassion and it is gone because no one understood it was off limits (despite the fact that I might have put it up really, really high).

SephardiLady said...

Now that I've read the article I can just say that I'm glad no store has recommended a write up about me. I have a few tricks up my sleeve that would put this mother to shame.

Phyllis Sommer said...

i think there's a happy medium to be found here somewhere...i agree with you, tho, the food prices are crazy.

Elliot Jaffe said...

One of the reasons I moved to Israel is that food prices are much less. Assuming you can find a reasonable job, not only do you pay less for food, but Jewish education is almost free.

If you have ever considered moving to Israel, now is the best time.

Elliot

SuperRaizy said...

SL-
Yes,there are times that I have to restrict snacking as well, particularly on Shabbat afternoon when the kids' friends come over. I make sure to put out cheap snacks only like potato chips and pretzels, because otherwise they could scarf down $40 worth of food in 10 minutes.

phyllis-
I feel like I spend my whole life looking for the happy medium.

elliot-
I'm so glad you stopped by!
I did move to Israel, but had to move back to NY when I got divorced. During the three years that I lived there (with my then-husband and kids)we were always broke. Our salaries were just not high enough to cover the monthly expenses- and we had bought our apartment with dollars, so we didn't even have a mortgage!

RR said...

Food prices are going up here in Israel, too! $300/week is about 1050 shekels, and I was spending about that much until I decided to cut it down. I try to shop only twice a week and I'm VERY careful, comparing prices (I WISH we had coupons here!) and not buying expensive stuff. I've gotten it down to about 800 shekels- that's about $230. STILL too much, I'm trying to cut it down more but it's so hard! And lately with all the chagim it's been a lot more than that.

Women who can grocery shop so cheaply in the US are most certainly not Jewish- or if they are, they don't keep kosher. Kosher food, especially meat, chicken, cheese, etc. is so much more expensive!

Leora said...

If you eat mostly beans and rice and eat little meat, chicken, cheese (wow, is kosher cheese outrageous or what), you'd save a lot of money. But you'd also have unhappy kids. I don't think you would enjoy it, either. Actually, I take that back, the price of rice has gone up recently, too.

You can't win. Maybe start putting ads on your blog? Web Ads? You could make a little grocery money that way.

SuperRaizy said...

rr-
Absolutely- keeping kosher just exacerbates the problem.
leora-
We almost never eat beef (except hot dogs). I buy only chicken and turkey. And my kids LOVE cheese and cheesy dishes.
I don't have enough readers to benefit from WebAds. But I have started writing a children's book. Who knows- maybe that will turn into a second source of income.

ilanadavita said...

Here too the prices of food are going up an dup. I have cut down on meat and try to make as many dishes myself as possible; which is also more healthy.
Good luck with your book!

Baila said...

Food prices are just to depressing to comment on. Thank G-d we have our health!

Eees said...

Is it crazy to suggest not buying snack foods (except, perhaps, for Shabbos)? I stopped buying those baggies of nosh in bulk like I used to do. Its probably healthier to do without it anyway.
Or, you could buy a large bag of chips or pretzels or whatever and ration it out in baggies for each child for the week.
I know. Too much work, right?
Sorry, that's the best I can do right now. :(

... Is the Window to Our Soul said...

I just returned from Trader Joe's and I couldn't believe I spent $45 on nothing - I mean 2 bags of dry apricots, a few boxes of breakfast bars for the kids, apple sauce, pasta and some nuts - $45.

CRAZY!!!

... Is the Window to Our Soul said...

and btw I was just having a conversation on how expensive it is to be a Jew. Food by itself, especially if you want healthy food without the preservatives, addictives, etc., is incredibly expensive if you buy Kosher.

... Is the Window to Our Soul said...

Sorry to hog, but one more thing, there are some great kosher meat co-ops to join, whose food is organic and relatively inexpensive (maybe a few dollars more overall compared to butchered kosher beef.) My friend belongs to one that sells buffalo meat. I am thinking of trying it out, anyone have any opinions of Buffalo meat? Not quite sure I want to commit to buying 25 lbs of something I've never tried.

SuperRaizy said...

I see that everyone is trying to find ways to save also.
Eees- I have cut way back on the snacks as well (along with chicken, frozen food, fresh fruit, cookies, Sabra salads, juice, etc.)
Windows- I have never tried buffalo meat, and don't plan to ever try it.
I wish that salaries would rise to meet the increase in prices.

Annette said...

Buffalo meat is very lean, like good ground beef. It's quite tasty. I'd like to find a way to buy it in bulk myself.

Anonymous said...

we installed combination locks (not a big deal just need an electric screw driver) on our fridge and pantry. I cant tell you how incredibly much it has helped. My kids are young but would constatnly be snacking on fruits - unnecessarily.

jaime said...

Annette, I don't know the name of the ranch, but it's located in New York. Try looking online - it might be there.

SuperRaizy said...

Combination locks on the fridge and pantry? Really? I'm sorry, but the idea bothers me. I don't want to teach my kids that food is bad, or that they can't be trusted to get themselves a snack or a drink. And young kids do need to snack more often than adults do. I'm not looking to prevent my kids from eating, I just want to be able to buy groceries without going into financial panic mode each time.

The Babysitter said...

I saw this article that you might find interesting Kids are expensive...

btw, I still remember what you once said by a different post.
"Gourmet groceries- $600.
Complete lack of self control- priceless."

"I actually think that she's a bit nuts because her entire life seems to revolve around those damn coupons."

yea, that does sound nuts to me. I think people can be money aware, but not obsessed!