The Cost of Living

February 2, 2009

One of my goals for 2009 is to get organized again and go back to living on a budget, keeping track of what we spend on things.  When we found out about Olivia’s allergies & she started drinking Alimentum formula ($1.75/serving), I stopped keeping track because I figured we had to buy food that suited her diet, so why stress myself out about how much it was costing?!  It’s hard for us to set a budget for food and stick to it, because obviously we spend more when there are guests in the house.

I set up a spread sheet and kept track of everything we spent in the grocery store or in restaurants for the month and was astounded to discover when I totaled it all up, that we spent $1334.72 to feed our family this month!  Of that, $113.50 was eating out and $175.94 was on milk!  (Just cartons of rice milk, soy milk & cow milk – not including yogurt, cheese, coffee cream, etc.)  13% of our grocery bill is milk!  Crazy.

As it is, I don’t feel we go crazy on food, but we do try to eat as well-balanced a diet as possible, with lots of fruits & vegetables.  I don’t buy many snack foods or processed food.  I plan our supper menus for the month and write it on the calendar to help me plan and also so that I don’t get lazy, and instead of coming up with something to make, just order out!  Each week we make homemade bread & chicken stock.  We eat vegetarian at least once a week, and I pack lunches for D’Arcy & the boys. 

We do buy the boys lunch at school once per month (lunch is $3.00/day/kid) and they have made a deal with their grandparents that they can earn lunch money sometimes for being helpful to them.  It astounds me that parents think they can’t pack a lunch for less than $3.00.  If we bought both boys lunch every day in February it would cost $120.  That’s a lot of juice boxes!  

I’m not quite sure how we’ll cut back this month.  Fresh produce are very expensive here at this time of year.  Maybe more soup & casseroles?  I’ll let you know how it goes next month…

(On a similar note, we recently got our power bill and after installing the new CFL’s all over our house, we are using 13 less kilowatt hours of electricity per day than at this time last year!)