I just spent $220-something at Meijer this afternoon. Oh MY goodNess!! For the first four years of our marriage, I averaged somewhere around $60/week in groceries. For the past year, I've been averaging around $80 with several $100/week thrown in for good measure. These make me weep. $220-plus is making me weep, gnash my teeth, rend my clothing, and smear ashes on myself, and wear sackcloth. And, worse worse worse, I only spent $10 on one non-"grocery" item, or otherwise what I would term something that I would not normally buy in a typical grocery expedition. Why the expense?
ABBY. And my cats. And our desperate need for toilet paper. But mostly Abby.
I remember a few weeks after when my first niece was born, my brother made a comment that she wasn't too expensive yet. And I remember thinking, "Gee, maybe babies aren't as expensive as I thought." Oh not so. My brother's idea of expensive is vastly different than mine, I've discovered.
Abby is 7 months old now and a firmly established eater of solid foods. These little jars and containers of pureed goodies are surprisingly expensive. A week's worth of food for her adds up quickly, especially now that she's snacking (I call them poofies) on puffs and melts and yogurt and such.
Breastfeeding has not been easy and is virtually non-existent for us now. This has been a tremendous struggle for us for about 2 months now and has resulted in at least two meltdowns (for me) and hours of fruitless effort culminating in no results. But what this also means is that part of that uber-painful $220 today was $50 worth of formula. It's not just that I'd prefer to not have to use formula, but the cost just rubs salt in the wounds. I used to recycle these formula coupons willy-nilly back when I got them by the fistful in the first couple of months. I wish I had them now.
Another issue is that everything seems to be falling apart right now. Ben's truck (which still doesn't really work). Our light in the living room. The trash can. The nightlight. Granted, these aren't all super expensive, but seriously...uncle.
And, I decided to really make the effort to support organic efforts this year, call it a New Year's resolution if you will, by consciously buying organic whenever possible within reason. This came about after purposefully visiting an organic food market in Carmel on New Year's Eve. Over the past year, specifically, I've been conscious about organic more and definitely have been buying more veggies & fruit, which, I daresay, you can see in the increase in our average grocery bill. As as much as it pains me to pay so much for fresh produce, I've said it before and I'll continue saying it, I won't jeopardize eating healthier just because of cost. Even on a reduced income this year, we are still blessed to have two solid jobs and there's no reason why we can't afford fresh peppers, even if they are $3.99/lb. (Seriously...stupid.)
This has also come about a bit because when I started buying solid foods for Abby, I a) started experimenting with making my own (check our freezer if you don't believe me) and b) buying organic, which is definitely more expensive. By the way...Tyler Florence (super chef cutie) has his own line of organic, and truly interesting flavor combos, baby food with an adorable picture of him and his little guy on the back of the packaging. It's kind of like giving Abby food that a super cutie chef prepared just for her!
Sidenote: I'm determined to introduce different flavors and combinations to my little munchkin than the standard apples & bananas than Gerber provides. Experiments so far--mango & spinach: yum; avocado: icky. We're still working on the avocado. Actually, fresh banana wasn't all that great either, though she was in a mood when we tried that one.
So my resolution is already being a bit tested. We're spending SOOOO much money right now, it seems easy to say "We'll just do organic later..." but no! Not today! Buy organic I did and buy fresh I continue to do!! Now, I need to decide what's reasonable. Organic flour? Organic sugar? Organic cayenne pepper? We'll see. Right now, I'm pretty darn excited about snagging 7 lb. of organic popcorn (bulk) for $1.19/lb. That's totally worth it. And, now I don't have to buy anymore popcorn for Ben until....March. He eats it a lot.