Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Economics of Scale

Okay, I admit, I was kind of freaked out about summer vacation starting. I never want to be a mom who complains when her children are home--I mean, isn't having children around kind of the point of having children? And yet...my life was feeling so overwhelmingly full already. How could I carry on without any breaks at all?

Turns out, what I had been underestimating was the tyranny of the clock. This school year had five kids, one pregnancy/newborn, and four different school systems/districts, each with their own schedule and calendar. And no driver but me. Never again. By the time school starts again, Roscoe will at least be able to drive himself, and I'll never have four different schools again. With all the end-of-year parties and school activities, I was driving someone somewhere about every ninety minutes. Meaning that either I'm piling everyone into the car or leaving kids home unattended.

As soon as school stuff ended, our lives became infinitely more peaceful. We have time to do what we choose to do, rather than always squishing life into the cracks between scheduled activities.

Meanwhile, the economics of scale are killing me in the kitchen. We're going through a gallon of milk and a couple loaves of bread a day. The dishwasher is running twice a day. We demolish Costco-sized containers of produce in one lunch. I use serving bowls the size of jacuzzis. I serve what I think will be a ridiculous amount of food, and in minutes the kids are complaining of hunger.

My grocery budget has been about $130 per week, but now that's becoming more like $150-160 per week. (That's not including a biweekly Target run for household miscellany like toothpaste and printer paper and cleaning supplies.) I try to alternate weekly trips to Costco and our local warehouse-type grocery store. I don't do store-hopping for deals because I don't have the time or mental energy, but we do have a mostly from-scratch, mostly vegetarian menu.

So I'd love to know: What is your grocery budget?


  1. I feel good about my weekly grocery trips if they're under $100. But I already have a freezer full of meat and some other goodies that I dont include in that. And I try to keep my Costco trips under $150 once a month - but that goes up if I'm doing diapers. And I make about-every-other-week trips to Costco for 8-10 loaves of bread (depending on how full the freezer is).
    So since you're feeding more people, it sounds to me like you're doing great. I totally agree about the shopping around and with coupons - just plain shopping is hard enough.

    But I kept telling you your life would be easier without the crazy car-rides!

  2. I feel the same way Angela. It seems no matter how much I spend on groceries, it's never enough. It's these crazy teenage boys I tell ya! We budget $170 per week which includes all toiletries, household items, etc. Then I also have $50 to spend at costco each month. It will be interesting to see what changes when Jacob leaves this fall. I know we won't be drinking a gallon of milk a day:)
    And yay! for summer. It is such a great thing after the crazy month of May.

  3. some months I'm scared to find out how much I've spent on groceries. We average around €350 to €400 per month.

  4. In the summer I spend $200 a week just for food (for 8 people, kids ages 3-17). About $20 of that each week is long-term food storage, but I still feel like I'm spending too much. My boys seem to have bottomless stomachs too. Non-food stuff is about $80 per month.

  5. My grocery budget is a little screwy right now. Being on my crazy pregnancy diet, we eat more expensive things, more milk and more meats. Plus my grocery budget includes things from Target, any activities we do during the week, doctor visit fees, etc. It's about $120 a week.

  6. Ours is about $400 a month, including diapers, toiletries, and cleaning supplies. But then, our 3 kids combined eat about the same amount as one adult, so it's not really the same as having to cook for several growing boys!

  7. We had one crazy summer, when all the kids were home for school (except maybe not you, Angel) and all were in growth spurts, and we were trying very hard to be friendly pool-owners who welcomed friends of our children so that we'd know where our kids were. This was 15(ish) years ago and we were spending over $300/week!
    It was a real jaw-dropper!

  8. I can't imagine having teenage boys, although I am starting to imagine it with the way my newest baby is nursing. Eat, eat, eat!

  9. Hm. We must be spending/eating too much. We spend $150/week on groceries. That's two adults and two <40 lb children. You need a blog post outlining how you keep your food budget realistic with so many growing people.

  10. Oh goodness, I can't get out of Costco for under $200. And that's every other week, with other stores for quick trips and other grocery needs. Averaging at about $900 a month. Yikes. I wish I could say it's mostly fresh produce. Ha ha.

    Target is a whole other story...it has it's own section in my budget.