family and money

My Children Might Actually Be Eating Me Out Of House And Home

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woman grocery shopping

When my husband and I first got married, we could easily finish out the week on $125 worth of groceries and eating take-out or going out to eat maybe twice. This would even include us both bringing lunch to work most days. It was very manageable. Once our daughter started solid foods, the bill began to steadily climb. At first, it was barely noticeable- $150 or so, mostly due to fresh fruit that she liked, her yogurt and jars of baby food. Once she started eating what we ate, it went up a little more. Then, our son was born and the climb continued. Now, they are both school-age and have excellent appetites. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for their health and good eating habits but I do believe my children might actually be eating me out of house and home.

It doesn’t help matters that not only do my children eat so much I can barely keep up, my husband also has a huge appetite. I am the only one in our family without a breakneck metabolism, apparently. My husband has always been able to eat anything he wants and not gain an ounce and it would seem my kids both inherited that trait. My daughter is tall and slender but eats more than I do. My son is quite small for his age and he eats even more than his sister. I laugh at restaurants when the waitress brings the kids their regular-menu bowls of pasta and her look of shock when they both nearly finish it. I have no idea where they put it and I’m glad we never have to fight them to eat but the grocery bill is crippling.

I’m not trying to go all Sanctimommy here, but we don’t really eat a lot of processed foods. I am not against them, per se, but I prefer to focus our budget on high-quality cuts of meat, fresh fruits and vegetables and yummy cheeses. We do buy some processed things- cereal, pasta, snacks for the kids to take to school- but most of what we buy is not eligible for coupons.

That being the case, our bill is huge and I am starting to notice it weekly in how much money we have left for other things. I am too embarrassed to admit what we spent last weekend- we did not do a “full” trip the week prior so it was higher than usual but still- ridiculous. A typical week hovers around $225 and no, my kids do not bring lunch to school. I make dinner in very large portions and we still hardly ever have leftovers- it’s like my husband and kids make it their mission to fully consume whatever I’ve cooked, no matter how much I make. And in my defense, we hardly ever get take-out or go out to eat so that $225 feeds us all for an entire week. We also eat breakfast at home most days, all four of us. I know the amount we spend is still outlandish but at least it’s not in addition to many other food-related expenditures.

I know I need to reexamine the food budget and see where I can save but I am not really willing to compromise on the quality of our foods just because everyone is eating in such large portions. The money will probably need to be cut from somewhere else in the household budget. I guess this is a pretty amazing First World Problem to have- wahhhh we buy too much food and everyone eats it- but it is annoying, nevertheless. For me, the “dainty” eater in our house, it is frustrating that a massive shopping trip on a Saturday still means some things I like are gone by Tuesday and I never consumed a single bite. My family just eats so much. If anyone has suggestions to stretch my budget, by all means- leave them in the comments. I am very open to help!

(Image: gpointstudio/Shutterstock)