Aug 27, 2009

Highway Robbery

Speaking of groceries … since when did you have to either take out a second mortgage or pawn the jewelry you inherited from your grandmother in order to buy a few weeks worth of food? Yesterday’s excursion to our local chain grocery store cost us $282 and we barely bought any meat. If you subtract the beer and my little air freshener gadget it still came to $255.

I think I haven’t noticed because lately we only pick up a few things here and there. But we were low on quite a few things and with the faint hint of an autumn nip in the air, a person gets the urge to fill the larder for winter. In an effort to save some money we bought some stuff from Sam’s Club but having an 18 year old son in the house defeats the purpose of bulk buying. He sees 20 boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese as a personal challenge not as a long term food buying strategy.

One thing that bothers me about groceries is the healthier options cost more money. If the words "Low Fat" or "Fat Free" or "Organic" are anywhere on the package, you will pay a premium. Shouldn't it be less expensive if you leave the sugar and fat out of it?

To create the illusion of savings I don’t give the clerk my “Savings Card” until everything is rung up. My bill magically went from $318 to $282. False satisfaction, I know, because their real purpose is to track all my purchases for their marketing geniuses to analyze and devise new ways to entice me to spend even more money. I feel like such a pawn.

*Disclaimer in the interest of full disclosure. In no way did the contents of my basket resemble the healthy assortment of food in the picture included in this post. My defense is that it's hard to find a picture of a grocery cart containing Little Debbie Nutty Bars, Doritos, Diet Coke and Cocoa Krispies cereal.


  1. I understand so completely. My monthly budget is getting harder and harder to balance because of food costs. And I shop for generics as much as possible.

    And why do low fat, low sugar foods cost more? If they are putting less in then shouldn't they charge less also. Forgive me for thinking. I should know better.

  2. It would be nice to eat healthy, well balanced meals all the time, but it is a lot more work than I care to do. No kids at home any more so the food budget is not a major problem for us. Our kids with teen- agers struggle to keep them fed.
    At my age i think preservatives are good for me.

  3. You guys can afford food??..
    I get all my daily nutritional requirements from beer,and whiskey.
    Tobacco is a vegetable,..right?

  4. My idea of a well balanced meal is a bowl of vitamin fortified cereal, preferably the frosted kind. Especially the kind with whole grain. What more can you ask for, vitimins & whole grain in one shot!

  5. I love the comment about Mac n Cheese as a challenge.

    How long will these last you? We've had to go to a cash only system with a strict cash limit for each week for buying groceries - if we go over at the register, we discard items. I've never been a coupon clipper, but I have a friend who saves loads of money that way. What she does takes hours, though.

    Ah, irony. My CAPTCHA word is "ingles", a grocery store here.

  6. Rae - It's no wonder that obesity is such a problem in this country when the lowest cost foods are the processed garbage filled with fat and corn syrup. Can you pass the Cheetos please?

    Mom- My son goes back to college in a week. We should see a considerable decrease in the food budget. Milk and cereal is expensive.

    Sling - If only it were, it would give me one more reason to take up smoking again. Right now the only incentive is it's magical weight reduction properties. I know I'd drop 20 pounds in a matter of a few short months.

    Scarlett - Wh do you think you're fooling here. I've seen you polish off a pretty healthy slice of coffee cake for breakfast.

    Alice - Those groceries will last us about 2 weeks. Part of the problem is my oldest is a vegetarian and likes organic foods. An organic bean burrito is damn expensive.

  7. Amazingly, our local grocery store (Jewel) has cut a lot of its prices. A couple of weeks ago, I got a box of strawberry shredded wheat cereal (yummy--to me at least!) for 37 cents!! I was so surprised--I bought 2 of them, but I should have bought more!

    Also, I think that Nutty Bars are a gift straight from heaven. I'm just sayin'. :)

  8. Grocery shopping is nuts! It's just my son and I, and I still spend $200 every two weeks...and we're both on diets! I'm learning to be a coupon shopper. It's either that or get a part time job to support our food habit.

  9. I KNOW! I feel like you should save on organic since you're not paying for the expensive chemicals they spray on it. AND I also hold out on my savings card until the end savoring the satisfaction of seeing a few dollars get taken off....sadly only a few dollars. If you have a CSA farm near you try that next year, it cut my grocery budget down quite a bit. And it makes me eat my veggies, 'cause like you I'd have a cart full of tasty treats instead of spinach.

  10. Wow "Kraft Macaroni & Cheese " a was the first dinner don cooked for me in 1972 - I was 18 he was 22 and I still love it...I get the one with he cheese sauce in the can

  11. MHP - 37 cent cereal? You should have bought them out. That sounds like some sort of pricing error.

    Julie - Hi. Thanks for stopping by. I use coupons normally. The problem with coupons is sometimes you end up buying something you normally wouldn't.

    Kate - What does CSA stand for? I've heard that if you want to eat healthy you should shop around the outside aisles of the grocery stores. That way you would only end up with veggies, dairy, meat and breads. All the processed food is in the middle.

    MHP - My son is a gourmet when it comes to the Mac & Cheese. He also boils a mean hot dog. But his go-to food choice is cereal.

  12. I am an impulse shopper with a very organized list. I can't take my husband to Costco because he gets lost in the electronics department and comes out with things like back up drives, thumb drives and 40 packs of ink. And then there are the flats of things like palm hearts, beets and bean salad that he likes for one serving and them doesn't want again. I do a lot of boxie type meals...sad I know. I am a poor cook, am uncreative with meals and that all costs. Serves me right for what our groceries cost.

  13. I know what you mean and you can only eat so much Spaghetti and Ramen..

  14. Rosemary - My husband sneaks things into the cart too. He goes for cereals and salad dressing. Strange but true.

    Grish - God Bless the Chinese. What would we do without the noodle.