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Grocery Reckoning Day

December 22nd, 2012 at 08:22 pm

This past week, I spent most of my free time either physically shopping for groceries (or xmas), comparison shopping for groceries, or entering data about my comparison shopping into a spread sheet. I swear, besides taking care of two sick kids and eating way too many Christmas cookies, that's ALL I did. I may have piles of boxes downstairs left to wrap for the kids, but I have grocery price data compiled for you dear readers!

I won't bore you all to tears though by listing things like the price of bananas and greek yogurt at 3 different stores. Instead, I'll just tell you the bottom line. We could reduce our weekly grocery bill by about 30% if we stop getting our groceries delivered. Thirty. Percent. That is a weekly savings of almost $50 or around $200/month. Or in other words, this single act alone would move us from the USDA's http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/2012/CostofF... liberal to moderate food cost budget (a previously stated goal of mine). Sigh. And now what to do with this new knowledge?

I must admit, I knew we were paying a premium for our grocery delivery service. I figured the convenience cost was probably around 10-15%, and my husband and I both felt that with twins boys under the age of 3, that extra cost was worth it. But looking at the numbers, it is clear now that it is costing us at least double, possibly triple what we had assumed. And I hate to even think about how much more than that it was costing us before we started using our discount warehouse store for frozen and non-perishable items. Holy. Crap.

The idea of adding another hour to hour and a half of shopping into my week makes me want to gag though. I loath shopping, especially for something boring like groceries. But 30% is just too much. In fact, the amount that we could save by me spending that extra time each week is roughly equivalent to the amount I would make if I put that much extra time into my home business. So if it pays as well as what I do for a living pays anyway, how could it not be worth it?

I still, however, can not wrap my head around the idea of bringing twin toddler boys with me during these weekly expeditions. I know some people do manage this somehow. If it were the difference between me eating or not I suppose I would too...maybe. If they were aged 3 and 1, where one could be in the child seat while the other held on to the cart, I think it could work. Or if they were even just a little older, 3 instead of 2, so that I could trust them to stay next to me instead of both running in opposite directions at the same time (or just plain sitting down and refusing to move anywhere), then it might work. But right now, they no longer both fit in the seat and they do NOT stay by the cart. It takes forever to dig one of those double seater carts they never have enough of out of the cart return bins (all the while blocking traffic) and its almost impossible to push them through the snow anyways. Our discount warehouse store has huge, two child cart seats that I love, and that I do manage with the boys occasionally. But these new weekly trips at the local super store -not possible yet.

Hubby, however, after looking over the numbers, has agreed to watch them for me on the weekends while I go. Normally this is the absolute last way I would like to be spending our precious family and personal down time on the weekends. But we have almost no money allotted for family outings during this year of debt reduction anyways, and the boys right now are at the age where during the winter they are almost as often sick as not, so many weeks (like this one) we can't do anything anyways. And by this time next year when we're out of this mess, I might finally be able to trust them to stay by the cart and hold mommy's hand.

So thank you everyone for this kick in the pants I needed to come to this difficult decision. It will probably save us over $2500 this coming year, and that gets us to our debt goal all the sooner.

8 Responses to “Grocery Reckoning Day”

  1. Homebody Says:

    When I went back to work full time with a 5 month old and a 2 year old, I gave DH a list of everything I did and said "which half do you want to do?". Yeah well I was 23 and stupidly thought hey it was the height of women's liberation, early 80s, surely DH would happily do his share. After much weeping and gnashing of teeth, he took cooking, grocery shopping, our bedroom and the livingroom. I had laundry, kitchen (boy that was stupid), bathroom and girl's room.

    34 years later and DH is still doing nearly 100% of the grocery shopping and cooking. I was disabled for 2 years and just went back to work in late July. For those 2 years I cooked breakfast, lunch AND dinner during the week, but DH still did the weekends, I did most of the shopping.

    So we never really had to deal with kids in a store, though I do remember daughter #2 when she was about age 2 throwing a fit in the store and I took her out to DH's truck where she threw a full-blown tantrum, while I ignored her. Haha....good times. (She is 31 now).

    Maybe you should try something similar with DH?

  2. LuckyRobin Says:

    Once the kids get to be about 3 1/2 to 4 years old, it will make it a lot easier to shop with them. We instituted a rule with our kids that they had to have one hand on the cart at all times. But it really is better to shop without them. I have found that the more people who come on the shopping trip, the more unnecessary items end up getting bought. Whereas if I go by myself with a list I get out of there on budget and in a much faster amount of time.

  3. MonkeyMama Says:

    Sounds like a good plan!

    No one in my household never did regular grocery shopping, or any errands really, with small kids. It would be even worth to pay a babysitter or something since you would save *so much money!* I believe in simplicity, and simplicity is not dragging little toddlers to the grocery store. Wink Mine are not twins. If I were single I'd suck it up, but glad I don't have to. My spouse always did grocery runs on the weekend while I was not working. Honestly, I think he came to enjoy the quiet/peaceful time (as a stay-home parent).

  4. wolfy Says:

    Where we live, a couple of the grocery stores have daycare in the stores for parents to shop without having to worry. I don't know what the minimum age is, also as far as I am aware neither one of them charges for this service. Maybe that is something that might work.

  5. North Georgia Gal Says:

    Glad that you finally realized how much money you could save! Babysteps...

  6. CB in the City Says:

    When my kids were small I was taking night classes once a week (and paying a babysitter during that time). I grocery-shopped right after the class -- about ten o'clock at night -- so I could shop without the kids!

  7. rob62521 Says:

    Thirty percent is a lot....I am sure you will work out the grocery shopping and child care issue...just keep telling yourself how much money you are saving. You might already do this, but if not, you might want to make your grocery list in the same order as the aisles of the store so you can more quickly shop.

  8. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    Did you do it? I SAH and I grocery with kids. I find night runs most efficient after kids go to bed. But then I sleep around midnight and up at 6. So I go around 830-9

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