The Cost of Groceries, or My Weekly Bend-Over By a Random Guy Named Ralph
This morning I did what I always do. I woke up. I grabbed my computer. I scrolled through to see how people were disparaging me overnight on my blog. I’m not saying that people always do, just every once in a while someone disagrees with me and calls me something nasty. Anyway, so I checked my email and my blog, then my Twitter and Facebook … the usual.
As I scrolled through Facebook, I saw that Momspirational (another mom blogger) had posted a question for her fans: how much do you spend on groceries per week? Oh, you mean how much do I get bent over for every time I go to Ralph’s?
I should have just put in what we spend and been done with it.
I actually should have just kept scrolling and erased having seen the question from my memory.
I should not have clicked “see all comments” or whateverthefuck that stupid Facebook link says that opens to a long list of things other people said that you really do not want to know about. I should not have done this. But I did.
I immediately became nauseous. I very literally felt like I was going to puke.
People’s responses were pretty varied. Some paid about $500 a month. Others paid a little less. A few paid a little more. One woman said she pays $200 a week and doesn’t use shampoo but makes her own soap. That comes a little close to what we spend, but we don’t include toiletries in our grocery budget. (And I don’t make my own soap, either.)
Our food budget every month is close to $1300. This doesn’t include alcohol. It doesn’t include toiletries. It does not include house supplies. It does not include lunch every day for anyone but my husband (I know, seems a little unfair).
There are a couple of things that go into this. Despite the fact that he’s going to get defensive and annoyed and come home acting pissed off because I was honest about it, I’ll just say it: my husband eats a lot. I mean a lot. As an example, last week we went out to eat with my dad for dinner and so I made my husband a chicken and vegetable stir fry that I planned on making for all of us. Since I planned on making it for all of us and it turned out being only my husband eating, I thought he would just eat about half of it and the rest would go to leftovers for lunches.
He ate the whole thing. Four diced chicken breasts and a large package of mixed, frozen vegetables. That was organic chicken, the package weighed 3.5 pounds. My husband’s meal that night cost $34.
He still ate dessert.
Had I not prepared that; had I halfed it and just put some in the refrigerator; had I made something lighter or had we eaten at home too; he would have grazed on top of eating dessert for the rest of the night. One night, after eating an entire meal he came into the living room an hour later with an entire peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Another night I had a writers group over and after it he gobbled up an entire brick of cheese that I had set out for the group. The whole, entire brick of cheese.
One time I made a 12 pound turkey and he ate 3/4 of it, along with all the sides. I had plans to make three other meals out of that turkey.
One time we went out for pizza and he ate almost the entire thing. You’d think that was enough; I mean I was still eating my first slice when he polished off the rest of it himself. I set down my slice for a second to take a sip of my Diet Coke, and he started to grab the pizza off my plate. Off my fucking plate, faithful blog followers. Off my fucking plate.
His lunches are worse. The stories go on forever.
So you get the point, my husband eats a lot. Rather than admit it, he generally gets defensive. He’ll come home tonight in a horrible mood and he’ll probably start blaming everyone else for all our problems to compensate for how the truth about this makes him feel. (Responsible. I know. How dare anyone take responsibility for their behavior?) And to be fair, I’m not really complaining. It is what it is. He has an appetite. If he eats less, he’ll get cranky. I’ve moved on, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to lie about it or hide the truth just to help him deny the realities he imposes on our daily lives.
Back to our grocery bill. So it’s about $1300 a month. We don’t eat fast food. I cook almost every meal at home. I have to use my share of the spending money to feed us lunch, because if I had that stuff around the house my husband would gobble it up too, and it just isn’t in the grocery budget anyway. Seems a little unfair, I know; but again, it is what it is. I’m choosing for us not to eat fast food. While I joke that we should just start eating at McDonalds like the rest of America, I never will.
There are other factors, though. We live in California where the cost of living is exponentially higher. When we were in Chicago earlier this year on vacation, my cousin’s wife went grocery shopping and bought more groceries than we have ever purchased in our house at one time, and she spent about 1/3rd of what we would have spent. I went to Whole Foods – the most expensive grocery store on the planet – while out there to get a cake to take to a party as well, and was just completely floored when the cake only cost me $8. Eight dollars?! Are you serious? The same cake at the Whole Foods out here costs $27.
So it’s about $1300 a month. When I see people talking about their grocery bills only costing $500 or $600, or even a cool grande with toiletries and house supplies included (we buy toiletries out of our personal spending and house supplies out of a separate, budgeted amount); when I see how much they spend and look at the last grocery receipt sitting in my wallet… Which was just bare essentials to get through the week. Bare essentials. Nothing extravagant. My husband’s lunches, breakfast food, and ingredients for dinner every night. When I see that and hear someone say that what I spent for one week is over half what they spend every month, I want to puke. I want to puke because while I always felt like I was getting bent over every time I go to Ralph’s, I didn’t realize it was really that bad.