Monday, April 27, 2009

Groceries, Budgets and Dinners

I cook dinner every night. If my husband, who is usually sitting in his office directly above the kitchen doesn't smell something cooking by 5:30 each night, he gradually comes down the steps, grabs a Maria cookie (imagine vanilla wafer...only better) and feels me out. He's always careful not to ask, "So what's for supper?" .... if I'm in a bad mood. (Did I say that out loud? I'm never in a bad mood...) But by snacking on a cookie, and letting his eyes pass over all the counter tops, he's letting me know that he's hungry. In my house, husbands don't prepare themselves dinner. Mine has been known to heat up leftovers for himself, or even whip up a mean salami roll, but this doesn't happen often. I believe it's my job to prepare meals for my family. Not just any meal either, but one that's partially healthy. That includes a meat, some veggies and a starch. I prefer to have a homemade dessert on hand at all times, but this doesn't always happen. Since I have zero willpower and I've been dieting, the desserts have been coming less frequently. But I believe a homemade dessert is healthier (can I say that..'dessert' and 'healthy' in the same sentence) than store bought cookies, packaged cakes and goodies.

I have a weekly menu I follow loosely. I don't like rules, so I don't impose them on myself if I can help it. I make a menu, shop once a week for all the ingredients and then I know I have what I need to make 7 meals. Sometimes I change up the days, depending on my mood or time that I have in the kitchen. Occasionally, I'm surprised with a dinner out, but this is not counted on or taken for granted that it will happen 'x' amount of times each week. It may happen once or twice a month, at most.

Our family of 7 can't eat out for less that 25 Euros, and this would be a light meal, not a heavy one. (That coverts to $32.00) So the chances of my kids yelling, "I'm still hungry!" would be great.

I buy groceries for less than 110 Euros each week. I have this much in my purse, and I can not go over it. Sales tax is already calculated into the grocery price, so it's easy to keep up with what I'm spending as I put each item in my buggy. If bread is 89 cents. At the register I pay 89 cents.

Price are still climbing here in Portugal. What are they like where you are? My grocery budget just isn't bringing quite as much food home as it use to be. After I spend 2 hours at the grocery stores ( I go to two...the cheaper one first and then a more expensive one for the items I can't get at the cheaper one) I unload the groceries and put them in the pantry. Michael comes to inspect and says, "It doesn't look like we have any food!"

I tell ya what, this can be frustrating.

I've not heard too much about inflation in America lately.....have some of the food prices gone back down? Is it easier/cheaper for your family to eat out? Have you had to increase your grocery budget in the last few months?

Does anyone feel my pain?!


Mom said...

No way have the prices of groceries gone down! We went to Walmart Saturday and the cash receipt that used to be 2 feet long, now its about 5 inches long. I told Terry this is rediculous! Every thing is $2.00 or more. But you know how it is at my house, we (I) dont cook that often. And we dont have to feed kids anymore. But its still EXPENSIVE.
Does this mean I have to help buy food when I visit? jk
Love you!

Mom said...

OH YEA....





Dani Joy said...

Well, today was my grocery list day! I don´t like to think about it till I have to do it and then when I do it I almost forget to bring it and when I bring it I sometimes don´t follow it.. no really I am not that bad but well... I have come to not like grocery shopping at all! It´s all too expensive and we often don´t have enough for our 4 men!
We have one big meal a day too and I most always cook. but I am thankful for left over days. :)
Like today!! Praise the Lord!

Pam said...

You sound like me in your approach to menu planning!

Some things have dropped in price, mostly noticed is a gallon of milk. I remember a few months back it was over 4.00 at Wally World. Last month, it was under 3.00. But in general, our money doesn't go as far as it used to. I hear it's gonna get worse though. I'm trying to stock up and pad our pantry.

Jen said...

Some things are more expensive here than the states and some aren't. Imported items are definitely pricey so we try to avoid those. I've learned to make a lot of things from scratch which has been fun. And we have a garden full of herbs and fresh veggies. My son, though, I swear he's growing like a weed. I buys snack foods and they're gone so fast! It is interesting because people think because we live in Africa, it's cheap, but that's not exactly the case. Seems like grocery prices are rising everywhere.

TCKK said...

Your mom is right, prices haven't gone down. I'm kinda like your mom though. I don't cook any more than I have too. :) Actually hubby does most of our cooking. He's better than me, plus he gets home in the evening before I do. Being a pastor his work schedule is a little move flexible than mine. He doesn't work less time but his hours are more flexible. We usually go out to eat on Wednesday night before our midweek service. Makes the night easier. Sometimes we have a night like tonight. Everyone is on their own to fix what they want. Hubby grilled some stuff on the grill & everyone is offered some if they want it. I made some macaroni and cheese and they were offered that. But otherwise, they fix what they want. One had a sub sandwich, I'm not sure what the other had and that's how those nights work. That's the great part of having teenagers! lol

The Hat Chick said...

You already know how I feel about grocery shopping, so it's even more frustrating paying a fortune for everything. Bread is $2.59. CRAZY! Organic milk is the only thing that seems to be coming down in price, but it's still $5+ gallon.

Big Daddy works very late every night, so I get away with a tonight, the peeps want grits and toast for supper. No arguments from me!

Janna Qualman said...

All I know is, I get so overwhelmed at the grocery store. I need to pre-plan better, like you do, with menus and everything. Great idea!

I'm pretty decent with budgeting, but it certainly doesn't help that I've been seeing costs gradually climb, too.

Jill said...

I totally feel your pain. I am feeding five boys between the ages of 10 and 20. I try to shop once a week, and I do as you do--I plan for 7 meals and then switch them up as I feel the need. But somehow we usually end up running out of a lot of things halfway through the week. I spend so much time in the kitchen and I feel all I have to show for it is a group of hungry boys!

Amrita said...

Hi Nina,

Yes I feel the pain. Our food prices have gone up. We are on bare necessities. But still $110 would buy us a whole month of groceries.LOL

I have a recipe for a nice easy dessert on my blog, you you care to visit.

The Herd said...

Food prices are going up here in Russia. In our family home that includes 9 people, we have our budget set for us, and we all pay into the "pot"...recently, our pot runs out every month...and us Americans have to take up the slack. The more the prices go up, the more slack we have to pick up. I remember the prices going up about a year ago in the it's crazier to imagine them even higher than when we left, but it's probably the case.
We cook every night here too.

Marytoo said...

We live in an area of Texas which, due to an overwhelming military presence, has seen very little economic disturbance. The worst problem we have is the grocery prices going higher and higher. Some things have gone up by half. They started the price increases saying that it was compensation for the rising cost of fuel and transportation. However, as gas prices have gone down, almost in half again, grocery prices have come down not at all. So I don't get it. I also cook every day.

perrinministries said...

Bummer...I think prices have gone up everywhere. We're missionaries in Germany.

Nina...I want your mom to adopt me! I love seeing her sweet comments and dream that my mom is as supportive!

Starla said...

I don't think they have really come down. My mom is always saying that everything is high. And it is way cheaper for us to fix our own food then to eat out. Also we try to find places that have items that we use a lot on sale. It also helps when people give you chicken eggs and fish from their fishing trips.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain! We don't have any super Wal-Marts on Long Island (they aren't allowed). I end up paying twice as much as I'm used to paying for items that we use and need. It's killing me. I really was good at cooking cheaply, but I can't say that anymore. I just can't find cheap.


Janice: AKA Nanny said...

As you know, your step father-in-law is very picky about food. His favorite phrase is "I'm not hard to please", however mine is "sure, he isn't, just give him what he wants". He only wants what he wants and that frequently involves favorite name brands that are rarely on sale. I have been shopping at Aldi, a German owned grocery store in Homewood. I have found some bargains but some prices higher than Wal Mart. I cook 2 meals every day and three on week-ends unless we go to Mawmaw's. We may eat out a couple of days a month. A few prices have come down with the decrease in fuel prices but not many.

I am praying that your garden has a bumper crop. It is better than store bought and helps stretch your budget. You are a wonderful manager but I know it is still very difficult when you want to provide good meals and snacks for your family.

I love you all.

Tammy said...

Hard times bring out the creativity in the cook! I'll bet you do a great job stretching those Euros. :o)

I make out a weekly menu, too, and use that to make my grocery list. It's amazing how much you save that way! I buy the fresh stuff in the open market - it's cheaper. Then dry goods, etc., at the grocery store. If we find a really good sale on items that we would buy anyway, we try to stock up, and I adjust the menu to accommodate it.

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