Hi. Can we talk about groceries for a minute? I know, BOring, but the alternative at the moment is discussing the yoga class I went to last night and whether or not you think anyone noticed my heels, which are in dire need of getting up close and personal with a pumice stone. I mean, do you think I was screwing up anyone’s savasana or anything because they were haunted by the vision of my scratchy dry FEET? It has been bothering me, this possibility.

So, groceries? Okay then! Here is a sampling of some of the things I buy, which I have copied and pasted from Amazon’s grocery service receipt thingie rather than laboriously re-typing by hand:

Fuji Apple, 1 Large Apple: $0.79
Cucumber, 1 Medium Cucumber: $0.69
Baby Bok Choy, 12 oz Package: $2.19
Broccoli, Organic, 1 Bunch: $1.99    
Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Meats Turkey Breast, Oven Roasted , 9 oz:  $4.12  
Jif Peanut Butter, Creamy, 28 oz: $4.77  
Diet Coke Soda, 6pk, .5 ltr Bottles: $3.08
Isomil Advance Soy Formula with Iron, Powder, 12.9 oz:  $17.99  
Wildwood, High Protein Tofu, Super Firm, 10 oz: $1.94
Alessi Chunky Marinara Sauce, 24 oz: $5.50
Oscar Mayer Oven Roasted Chicken Breast Cuts, 6 oz: $2.88
Chiquita Banana, 1 Ripe Banana:  $0.29
Horizon Organics Mozzarella Cheese Sticks: $4.29
Ziploc Storage, Gallon, 40 Count: $4.29          
Huggies Baby Wipe Refill Natural scent, 160ct: $6.82
Organic Valley Low fat 1% Ultra Pasteurized Milk, Half Gallon:  $3.99  
Rosarita Refried Beans, Traditional, No Fat, 16 oz:  $1.82  
Honey Bunches Of Oats With Almonds, 14.5 oz:  $3.96
Yoplait Light Non-Fat Yogurt, White Chocolate Strawberry, 6 oz: $0.69
Pampers Cruisers, 40 ct:   $18.48
Pampers Swaddlers, 44 ct:  $12.67  

Can you tell me, does that seem like an extravagant list? Because it’s a fairly typical assortment and I swear I cannot believe how much our monthly grocery bills are getting to be. I don’t think Amazon is more expensive than our local store or anything, although maybe I should actually check and see. I’m just looking at our checkbook today thinking that from one perceptive, jesus, that’s a LOT of freelancing that’s going towards . . . what, FOOD? Food that we have to constantly replace? I AM DOING SOMETHING WRONG.

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donna
donna
14 years ago

So are cat and dog having to hunt and kill their own food, or are you just abusing them again, AS USUAL?
LOL, and are each of you getting ONE slice of the ONE apple and banana?
For whatever reason this just cracked me up to no end. (But then I read other people’s lists when they leave it in the basket and I find it.) Grocery shopping sucks the big fat one.

becky
becky
14 years ago

i feel your pain, i just spent $150 on groceries and cannot find a thing to eat in my kitchen. for baby things though, check out babycheapskate.com for deals on diapers, wipes and formula. they also let you know when stores have deals on baby and kid’s clothes.

JennyM
JennyM
14 years ago

I actually felt kind of panicky and HELL IN A HANDBASKET last night after the latest report on gas prices, as soon as I got home from spending a fortune at the grocery store (on nothing exotic!). And it’s just the two of us and we have some disposable income, so we aren’t bad off. I’m plotting how I can not buy gas, but I’m not sure riding my bike to work 10 miles each way through a bad part of town is going to work. I guess we move closer to town? And stop eating? Sigh.

kim
kim
14 years ago

thinking the same as you. With the economy the only options I would send out are Target or Costco. I can’t offer up words for WalMart or Sam’s Club because I so detest their hiring/promoting practices (don’t mean to sound preachy).

prices of everything are skyrocketing.

Dorie
Dorie
14 years ago

Your bill looks about right to me except for the diapers. I get a box of 92 Pampers at wal-mart for $21. Also, their generic wipes are a lot like Huggies wipes but you get something like 600 wipes for $7.

Christina
14 years ago

Food is one of many areas we are seeing rampant inflation. I am amazed. I am not a big shopper. That is I buy what I like and I like to provide organic healthy foods for my family. This does not include much processed foods. I have noticed a significant increase in some of the things I buy fairly regularly that are “processed” per say and fruits/veggies OMG out of this world!

I would say our monthly food bill has almost doubled. We do buy some food in bulk (like frozen chicken) but not much. Perishable bulk foods generally goes to waste. Diapers and wipes have always been less pricey at Sam’s Club. However I have heard the Target brand is a better deal.

I also noticed the amts people are paying around me at the grocery store. I go to a nearby Kroger (1 of 2 stores – the other is a Co-op) and every single person in all the isles around me paid no less then $100 for food. This is not an upscale store and the people buying the food do so with pinched faces – they generally do not have much food in their cart when they walk out either…

I have read several articles and listened to numerous NPR broadcasts that said inflation on food is something like 25%-45% depending on the item. Good examply, we buy organic milk and my husband about had a heart attack. A gallon of skim organic milk at Kroger was $6.50. It used to be something like $3.50… ACK

Cara
14 years ago

Cheese and rice, man, some of that stuff is crazy expensive! Maybe it’s just different parts of the country, but we paid around $13.00 for the 12 oz. can of Enfamil formula. A gallon of 1% is only $3.49 (it’s not organic, but STILL…your’s is over twice that much). I just bought 12 packs of diet cokes for 3/$11.00 plus that came with a free 24 pack of any coke product.

The previous commenter that recommended White Cloud diapers from Wal-Mart was right on. We used Huggies Supreme with Payton until he was just over a year and then tried some of the White Cloud ones when we had to bum one off a friend. They worked better than the Huggies, in our opinion. I pay about $15.00 for a box of 92 size 4s. I understand putting the baby in the fancy diapers because they’re so soft and we did the same with my daughter for several months. But then we switched her to the W.C. ones too. Sooo much cheaper!

Missy
14 years ago

Your three biggest expenditures aren’t on groceries per se, but formula, baby diapers, and toddler diapers — luckily none of those are permanent expenses! I buy diapers and wipes through Amazon’s subscription service, which gives me a discount. Plus I use my Amazon credit card, so I get rebates and makes the convenience of Amazon worthwhile for us.

Marolyn
Marolyn
14 years ago

It’s been well over a decade ( almost two ) since I had to buy diapers and formula so we don’t feel that pain ~ however I almost fainted when I went to grab a yellow bell pepper at the store and burned my hand on the $2.84 EACH sign ! WTF…. almost three dollars for 1 pepper… even the green one was over a dollar… I’m gardening this summer !

AmyW
AmyW
14 years ago

Some of those items do seem high. I don’t always buy “brand name” groceries though. I’ve tried some things I don’t mind buying that are cheaper than the better known brands.

Also, the feet thing…I HAD to comment to let you know about a product I LOVE. It’s an I-bella pedi-scrub exfoliating foot buffer. Best product ever for flip-flop lovin feet ;) This product will be hard to find, but def. worth it if you can find it in your area. It also lasts a long time!

willikat
14 years ago

groceries have gone up like CRAZY in the last two years since william and i started living together. there’s only two of us plus our dog. i can’t believe how much we spend each month and we do not buy expensive stuff or even shop at a super nice grocery store. it’s kinda depressing, actually.

Katherine
Katherine
14 years ago

Okay, here’s my $.02, adjusted for inflation. I didn’t read all the comments, but there are a number of things to consider:
1) How much are you saving on gas, childcare, lost time by having the stuff delivered? Is it enough to balance out the slightly, sometimes significantly, higher prices than you’d get by purchasing store generics/Costco/trader joe’s products?
2) IMHO, the “cost” of things should include the social/environmental cost continuum (production, distribution, consumption, waste products). To me, items from a discounter like Walmart have a hidden cost that, by purchasing from that establishment, I unfairly push on to an underpaid employee or grower/farmer/producer/trucker. I don’t feel good about participating in that, so I don’t purchase at those stores.
3) You’ve got a lot of brand-name items in there that you could probably substitute lesser known/generics for if you weren’t shopping on line. Also, buying bulk is a good alternative if you don’t go all Costco-crazy and determine that suddenly your family needs a side of beef. Definitely worth it for the non-perishables. (And what’s wrong with a big vat of pickles?)
4) If mother nature EVER decides it’s spring around here, you can grow a lot of your own veggies fairly inexpensively and organically. The thing to remember is to eat in-season stuff. (There are exceptions: I can’t resist the early season blueberries from Chile….)

Lawyerish
14 years ago

Uh. Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but my WEEKLY grocery bill for a mere TWO ADULTS is usually over $200.

(Just wait til we add formula and diapers! Woo hoo!)

Granted, we live in Manhattan where a box of cereal can run you back $7 (plus we buy organic stuff whenever possible, plus lots of produce and the free-range, grass-fed, hormone/antibiotic-free meat and so forth because I LIVE IN FEAR, so it’s our own fault), but still. The prices have definitely been rising even in the past few months.

Kay
Kay
14 years ago

That is about my grocery list and prices but I don’t buy organic or speciality wipes. I buy unscented wipes of 80 that rival the expensive ones for $2.00 and I just get a gallon of 2% store brand milk for $3.29. I also buy generic where I can, something has got to give, my grocery bill is growing too and not just because I took on raising two babies again! EEK! :(

Sadie
Sadie
14 years ago

Nothing on your list jumped out at me as being singularly outrageous except peanut butter. $4.77 for a jar of peanut butter?!

I will not scold you for buying name brands or organics, and I will not implore you to shop WalMart or Costco. Nor will I ever suggest that you should schlep your tiny children in your SUV while gas is $4/gal to three stores per week in search of the cheapest wipes and bananas. Life is too short.
I will only sympathize, because WORD have groceries gotten re-goddamn-diculous. I just turned over a big patch of dirt in my yard and hell if I’m not growing as much produce as I can this summer…I am NOT paying $3 for a pepper or a tomato.

Kristin
Kristin
14 years ago

Oh my dear good god am I glad I don’t live in Seattle. That… wow. I’m sorry. My husband and I eat well for $300 a month.

1. Stop buying stuff like ziplocs and cleaning supplies from a grocery store (or service). These can be gotten much more cheaply elsewhere. Do you have Big Lots? Same brands, half the price. My rule of thumb is, if it isn’t food, you don’t buy it at the grocery.

2. Oh my god I’m so sorry.

3. Dude! I want to send you a puppy or something. Except that they eat!

Keaton
Keaton
14 years ago

Sorry to go all “economist”, but perhaps this can explain why the bill is getting so high:

http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=11050146

My financial aid better start coming with food subsidies. =P

annie
14 years ago

Who cares about the cost if you don’t have to brave a busy grocery store with a toddler and a 2 month old! :-)

Jen
Jen
14 years ago

I’m a total price dork, but I know that you can usually get that cereal for $2 or 2.50/box at Target or during grocery sales, and it will keep, so that could turn into a stock up item. At Costco, Honey Bunches of Oats is either 5.99 or 6.99 for two large bags. The spaghetti sauce could be cheaper too, most jars are 26 oz and you can get them for 2.00-2.50 at Trader Joe’s or during store sales. That should save you a whopping $10-20 a month. Hope that helps a tiny bit!

mixette
mixette
14 years ago

Just because I’ve been hearing about it so much I just went back and added up my monthly grocery expenses: $450! for ONE person! And I cook almost all my meals. So that’s just ingredients.

I agree with all on the Sam’s/Costco. And you really don’t have to turn half your house into a storage area. The big bags of frozen veggies, individual portions of frozen fish/shrimp/chicken, the large brick of cheddar are faves.

I’m thinking about looking into getting a freezer for the garage. Wondering about the cost of energy to run freezer vs. rising food and gas prices.

So jealous of those who live in Trader Joe’s country….

Joanne
14 years ago

I cloth diaper my baby but my toddler still uses diapers from Costco and I love, LOVE their wipes. They are much cheaper, and I also used formula from Costco, once my doctor gave me the go ahead. It has really been excellent to use the cloth diapers this time, because it’s a one time purchase – it’s so nice to go to Costco and not need diapers for the baby, especially since they use SO many. I also buy organic milk there for the toddler, and, like toilet paper and stuff. Sometimes I buy a big vat of pretzels or 100 muffins but not that often. They have good prices on clothes, too. And books!

Dvlshkitten
14 years ago

You’re not doing anything wrong. Groceries are damn expensive! I went to the store the other day and walked out with one bag and a receipt that said $64.78. WTF?!!?

shal
shal
14 years ago

No, nothing extravagant, prices are just outrageous. We spend an unholy amount on groceries with the same exact household–1 3 yo boy, 1 baby boy, 2 adults. We use Costco for diapers, dog food and non-perishables like toilet paper, etc. (and we used to buy formula there for our 1st because it is really cheap compared to the grocery store–the whole reason we joined costco, in fact), and because I am really, really desperate to save money, I have started to use these thin baby towels instead of wipes (I know, gross, but i am desperate to cut corners right now–it is either save on groceries or get rid of the cleaning service, and by god we’re going to be eating ramen rather than do that). We also JUST joined a CSA this week b/c we eat a lot of organic stuff and it seems cheaper than at the Fred Meyer. I hope it saves us money, and it helps that we’ll eat things in season and not destroy the planet (too much) (I hope) with our desire to have kiwi fruits from Chile in December, or what have you. Oh, that was long, sorry.

Briana
14 years ago

I stopped reading comments half way down, but Costco pickles are like $3.50 for a MASSIVE jar, and they don’t cost points on Weight Watchers, so we go through a lot of them. Considering that a jar of picks at Top Foods is $2.50 and 1/3 the size of the Costco one, it’s a good buy.
Also, Costco diapers and wipes–they work great! And the diapers are $.17/each. Swaddlers, while they smell nice and all are the most expensive brand I’ve found. (PS I’m in the Seattle area too, so my prices are locally compared)

laughing mommy
14 years ago

I see there are a lot of comments about cheaper diapers…

I tried every cheap store brand and ended up, after using up tons of diapers that I HATED, back with Pampers.

If your kids are prone to blow outs like mine were Pampers cannot be beat. And in my opinion, are worth the extra money.

Gillian
14 years ago

Not to be preachy, but you could always cloth diaper and cloth wipe. My son’s diapers cost $200 and will last until he’s two (bumGenius.com). I use a cut up receiving blanket for wipes, with a very simple water and oil recipe.

Jennifer
Jennifer
14 years ago

I highly recommend buying your produce (ie. bok choy, fuji apples) from asian markets . i guarantee they will be significantly cheaper :) i’m asian, i know! :)

Andrea
14 years ago

A few things leapt out at me:

-$3.99 for 0.5 gallon milk is nuts! Our local dairy delivers organic milk for $2.52 per 0.5 gallon 1% milk

– $1.82 for a can of Rosarita refried beans is way too much. We buy the same brand at King Soopers (City Market/Kroger) for approx $0.80 per can if I remember correctly.

– Yoplait yogurt is usually on sale for 3 for $5, which is $0.69. That’s a $0.09 savings per carton of yogurt.

-$4.77 for peanut butter seems like a lot. We buy the Kroger brand organic peanut butter for $3 and some change if I remember correctly.

I live near Denver, CO, for reference. I don’t know if stuff costs differently around the country. I’d estimate I pay about $350/month on groceries for the two of us.

Your produce prices don’t seem too bad. Sometimes produce is astronomical and it gets depressing.

We’re expecting our first baby, and we’re going to cloth diaper/cloth wipe to save $$$ and because I just love cloth diapers. They don’t stink as much as regular ones and are less creepy. I hear there is less diaper rash, too.

Advice? Start buying store brand (Kroger brand everything is good, especially their juices.) and clipping coupons in the Sunday paper. You can save a TON like that. One of my friends also buys all her groceries with her Discover card because of the cash back feature.

shal
shal
14 years ago

Oh! And! If you like ordering online, Safeway dot com offers free delivery on orders over $50 if someone in your house works for that giant corporation around the Seattle area. If you want to try it and can’t find the secret code, email me. I did that when I was hugely pregnant and had to give the big F.U. to our three story climb to our Seattle “charmer” or whatever bullshit our crappy house is called. (But, warning, I stopped doing it because the website was super annoying; even MORE annoying than shopping with two boys. I guess I didn’t sell that well.)

Sleepynita
14 years ago

I keep our grocery bill down by planning 9 dinners each week. I shop for those 9 meals plus 2 or 3 lunches and breakfast items each week ( I stock up on the first Tuesday each month where we get an extra 15% off the grocery bill). During the week my husband chooses what he wants the next day off the written menu – and the 2 or 3 meals that do not get consumed are eaten the beginning of the next week. This keeps me out of the store making impulse purchases (you know that 60$ grocery bill and nothing to eat issue?) and has driven our grocery bill down dramatically.

As well Costco diapers and wipes and meats (just buy ziplocs there and repackage them) are really cheap.

We also have a produce store here called H&W where the produce that isn’t sold each day at a local grocery store goes to. I can get 2 weeks of fruit and vegi’s for $18, and the quality is just like the Safeway up the road where the same 3 bags FULL of food would have been 60$ or more. So damn cheap. I often plan our meals around what they have for produce each week.

And to add I live in Canada where even though our dollar is strong our prices are very high, and I feel like mortgaging my home to go for groceries each week.

Sundry
Sundry
14 years ago

Just can’t get into the cloth diaper thing. I know, I’m both wasting money and destroying the earth, but . . . it’s just not for me. Ditto store brand wipes/diapers because dude, I have tried many and there’s a reason I’m loyal to Pampers and Huggies “cushiony thickness” wipes. Less blowouts (virtually none, in fact), easier cleanup.

Also, I realize I am a brand whore about almost everything, but the truth is, there’s usually a reason. Certain brand foods taste better to me than the generic equivalent, and certain products work better than their cheaper counterpart. Of course, I should maybe get over it, since I am going BROKE buying name brands.

andrea
14 years ago

Your list isn’t extravagant at all. I will say that a lot of the brands I notice you buy are available at Costco and although you may not need 24 containers of Yoplait, you get a pretty good savings. I just have to go in there with blinders on so I don’t give into the 96 ounces of animal crackers (but they are organic). I do a monthly Costco run and then use both QFC and TJ for weekly supplements and find that I do save some money that way. I think someone already mentioned the Amazon subscribe and save program, but it is great for wipes, formula and diapers.

Lawyerish
14 years ago

Don’t feel bad about cloth diapers, dude — I just saw in the NY Times Magazine this weekend a blurb about how science-y environmental types have declared a draw between cloth and regular disposable diapers (because of the energy and chemicals required to clean cloth and so forth).

They did say that in-between options like gDiapers are promising since they’re flushable, but those aren’t for everyone, either (I have grand plans to try them but may well run screaming to the Pampers) — and as far as I’m concerned, once you’ve figured out a poop-related system that works for you, you stick with it.

serror
serror
14 years ago

Ooh!
Did you read the story in the Seattle Times yesterday?

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004362688_foodprices21.html

Also, Costco is great for food and toiletries. Just try to stay away from the middle impulse-buy-product section. That is always where my purchases double! Organic milk, good cheese and non perishables, fruit and frozen is what I usually stick to at Costco.

Also I go to a produce stand for much of my produce that I don’t get at Costco. Way cheaper than the grocery store and often better produce.

Joanne
14 years ago

That is funny about your experience with store brand diapers – although Costco diapers (and wipes) are made by Huggies, so I have found them to be virtually identical. I found Luvs to be pretty crappy (no pun intended) for us, but man do I like those Costco diapers, especially for the price. I fear the way that gas prices are going, this is just the beginning for grocery prices going up. Also, I meant to say, we buy our fruit and vegetables from a local delivery place (farmfreshdairy.com) and it’s fantastic and really reasonable. I think it’s cheaper and greener to buy locally when you can because it uses less gas.

Valria
14 years ago

I got nothing to add about diapers or wipes. In fact I got nothing new that hasn’t been addressed in the above comments.

In the spirit of Earth-day I will say the more organic produce people buy the better for their health and the health of the planet. It has more nutrients and really isn’t too much more expensive. The more people who buy it the more demand the more stores will carry it.

Matt
14 years ago

You could save some money by stealing from the store (don’t question the morals, supermarkets put a percentage of their budget to “overstocking” to cope with this and still haul in millions and billions a year). In America, I’ve found, that if you take something in a supermarket, open it, and eat it while in the store, all of the other employees and shoppers will assume that you’ll pay for it or it was bought prior to entering the store. I’m a college student, and I survived doing this for about a month, spending less than $5 the whole time and maintaining a healthy diet. Not once was I accosted.

You could save on a meal or more every time you visit the supermarket..;-)

victoria
victoria
14 years ago

The formula & pampers are half the bill. Get rid of the kids and you can freelance.

Lesley
Lesley
14 years ago

Google “food prices” and shudder. There are riots happening around the globe because people can’t afford food anymore.

Btw, speaking of ratty heel syndrome, here’s an indispensable product: Glytone Ultra Heel and Elbow Cream. I believe US citizens can buy it on Amazon. Use this once a week and you will never need a pumice stone again. It actually does a much better job. It’s got, like fruit acids or something, that exfoliate the old skin and leave only smooth heel skin. I swear by it.

Tessa
Tessa
14 years ago

I get those same beans here in AZ on sale 3 for $1 – I stock up whenever I happen to notice that sale. I actually do that whenever I notice a non-perishible that we use pretty regularly on sale – our pantry stays pretty full, and I usually have enough random stuff stockpiled away to make a emergency dinner if I burn the one I was originally making. There’s only the two of us, though, and I think this whole concept will be a lot harder to carry out when we finally do add to our family – less space, less sleep, etc.

Our friendly neighborhood Fry’s (Kroger, in other areas) is offering a 10% match if you put your tax rebate (anywhere between $300-$1200) on a Fry’s gift card. I’m thinking pretty hard about doing it. I mean, I’ll be spending that money there anyway, I might as well get a free $60 bucks out of the deal. I certainly won’t be getting 10% interest if I put it in savings…

christen
christen
14 years ago

Hmmm…. even down here in good ol’ So Cal, things like your lunch meat and pasta sauce are WAY cheaper – but I am a sale shopper AND a coupon shopper, so I don’t usually pay full price for anything…

Someone Being Me
14 years ago

ACK! 40 diapers for 18.00? That is CRAZY. I do the Amazon subscribe and save for 144 Size 3 Huggies for $27.00 a month. They only offer subscribe and save in the Huggies but they work fine for us and it saves us a lot.

Jennifer
14 years ago

It’s completely fucked how expensive groceries, gas, etc. have become. Every time I get sodomized at the register I can’t help but think about how so many people have it so much worse and that I should be thanking my lucky stars that I am able to afford to feed myself and put gas in my car.

While I’m on my soapbox, my mind is blown every time I pass Whole Foods and the parking lot is packed to the gills. Who the hell can afford to shop there anymore? I am clearly in the wrong line of work as I can’t afford to buy an apple at that place.

The Walrus is a big fan of Costco brand everything. For a recent baby shower he sent me off with a 10,000 count container of wipes and a flatbed full of diapers that he paid about .30 for because he had a coupon. We also rely on Costco for paper towels, toilet paper, etc. May I suggest a 20 lb. box of Nerds to go with your vat of pickles?

Kim
Kim
14 years ago

I’m not registered over at ParentDish but I love reading your articles over there! Anyway, don’t feel bad about yesterday’s drama. Look on the bright side — 112 comments. :)

danielle
14 years ago

Jeez! It always takes my breath away when the lady at the grocery store tells me my total!

Sunny
Sunny
14 years ago

Have to agree with Emily. Hubby is GM of a food processing company in E. Wash selling to Costco, Whole Foods, Wild Oats, etc. Prices are skyrocketing to contract with farmers and bring it to the consumer. I still think it’s worth the added cost for organic though.

Sunny
Sunny
14 years ago

And unfortunately, we don’t get a discount- bastards!

Pete
Pete
14 years ago

That’s what most people think about Costco. You can buy smaller sized containers but you usually have to buy two. Two gallons of milk is $5.50, bunch of bananas 1.29, 18 X-Large eggs 1.69. They now have a ton of fresh vegges. Formula and diapers. Those two alone were worth the cost of the membership.

awittykitty
14 years ago

I’m on disability and the government just cut my foodstamps from $140 to $10. Try that!

Claire
Claire
14 years ago

comPLEEEETEly offtopic, but my, those parentdish commenters sure have a lot to say, huh! good on you for keeping on doing it despite the cranky masses. and i agree. hitting an 18month old=fuckucked up